Hari Mari Dunes II Review
Cons: Not good in mountain terrain, loose fit
Manufacturer: Hari Mari
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Dunes II are specialists. There are plenty of areas where they don't excel, such as hiking and playing in the mountains, but that's not what they're made for. These are water/boating specific flip flops that perform excellently in that wheelhouse.
While the Dunes II were out-performed in comfort by several competitors, this shouldn't discourage you. These flip flops are specialists made to enhance your experience at the beach or while boating. Having a low arch support and flat sole detracts from overall comfort, but also allows water to channel away instead of pooling inside as it does with many other, more comfortable, models. While we are suckers for ultra-comfortable flip flops, this small sacrifice of arch support and a rigid sole makes sense in the context of maintaining grip in wet environments.
If we look at comfort in wet environments, there is no flip flop tested that comes close to the performance of these. The smooth tubular webbing and proprietary MemoryFoamToe make for some of the most comfortable straps right out of the box. Additionally, the straps dry extremely fast and hold their comfort even when your feet are in and out of the water all day.
Support and Stability
Some of the attributes that provide excellent wet condition traction also detract a bit from the overall support. Compared to some of the ultra-comfortable flip flops we tested, the Dunes have a very low arch and feel nearly flat underfoot. While this definitely detracts from any potential support, it seems to increase grip in the wet.
The ergonomics and support aren't top-notch, but the Dunes are definitely stable. The sole is a dense grippy rubber with a completely flat and low profile. They feel magnetically adhered to flat surfaces like the dock or deck of a boat with essentially no roll underfoot.
As you might imagine, being a wet environment specialist, the Dunes can lay down the grip when the waves start crashing over the front of the boat. To keep traction in the wet, they are extremely flexible and compliant instead of being rigid like other trail-specific flip flops. This pliable and grooved sole and footbed allow the entire sole to contact a walking surface without hydroplaning. While this does keep the flip flop in contact with wet surfaces, it makes walking on rocky surfaces downright uncomfortable as the rocks tend to be felt easily through the compliant rubber.
The footbed on the Dunes is one of the most effective we tested at retaining foot to flop grip when walking through water. On hiking trails or granite slabs, though, it is a fish out of water. Being designed so specifically for laying flat and channeling water on wet surfaces left the Dunes ill-suited for gravel or rocky trails.
If we look at all of the potential uses for flip flops such as hiking, casual footwear, boating, beachwear, river trips, camping, or a night on the town, the Dunes II aren't incredibly versatile. That being said, what they do, they do well. Their performance in wet environments, an area that many flip flops struggle with, is unparalleled.
The Dunes are also quite stylish, which boosts their versatility a tad. While they might not be appropriate for a formal event, they look dang good for hanging out in town or for sitting at the coffee shop writing the next Jack Kerouac ripoff errr, inspired novel. But, overall, it's kind of unfair to pit specialty footwear such as the Dunes against other heavyweights that perform well in every single category. It's like having Michael Phelps play tennis against Roger Federer.
Throughout several months of testing, there was no sign of delamination between the footbed and sole of the Dunes. Additionally, the thong straps remained fully intact and showed no signs of detaching — one of the most prolific flip flop durability problems. The solid rubber sole also gives a huge boost in the durability department. Softer foam sole flip flops don't stand up to abrasive surfaces or rocks and tend to fall apart quickly. The rubber soles of the Dunes showed nearly no wear after significant time under foot.
Initially, we expected the memory foam chock between our toes to quickly fall apart and lose its spring back. This wasn't the case. The toe block foam remained supple and was able to return to its initial shape quickly, even after having been in the water all day. Overall, the Dunes are excellently durable, but keep in mind we didn't take them on trails or into the mountains as much as more capable flip flops made for that environment. The outsole, while all rubber, isn't thick and chunky like some of the competition, making the Dunes ill-suited for rugged or sharp surfaces.
"Hey, everybody, come and see how good I look" - Ron Burgundy
These flip flops look good. There is a wide variety of color schemes to choose from with the Dunes and, whatever you choose, the styling makes it obvious that these flops are suited for showing your feathers, perhaps while drinking a Crispy Boi on a wake boat with your fraternity brethren. We felt at home anywhere between the beach and the cantina, but still had to go with something a bit classier when we really wanted to impress.
The hamburger sandwiched layers of these flips harken back to the 1980's vintage flip flops your dad used to wear. While the styling of the Dunes II does give you a warm fuzzy retro tingle in your heart, they still look distinctly modern. They also feel distinctly modern, which is good since the 1980's flip flops felt like a chainsaw between the toes.
If you're looking for a great pair of flip flops for lake trips, boating, beach days, or hanging out, these are a great value. They aren't the most versatile, which does detract a bit from the price/performance ratio, but the wet environment performance really makes up for it. When it comes down to it, we would recommend these flip flops to our water going friends in a heartbeat. However, if you're planning on walking several miles or need a flip flop with some trail capabilities, your money would be better spent on something a bit more rugged.
The Hari Mari Dunes II are our Top Pick for Wet Environments. The sole and footbed are equipped with water shedding channels which help grip when it's wet, the anti-bacterial rubber resists odor, and quick-drying synthetic materials make this a superior beach or boating flip flop. To top it off, they float in water (a nice feature for when those Crispy Bois catch up with you…) Bottom line: the Dunes are a specialist flip flop. They lack the versatility of some others but offer competitive features for wet environments.
— Brian Martin