Reef Cushion Phantom Review
Cons: Traction and durability is subpar
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Cushion Phantom is highly focused on comfort. The squishy footbed is its most notable feature, and it is very comfortable. Imagine sinking your foot into a giant tub of room temperature Country Crock butter, and you'll have an idea of how soft the footbed really is.
As long as you stick to mellow terrain, poolsides, beaches, and your home, the Cushion Phantom is ultra-comfortable. Reef states that the footbed is made from the softest material they make. We have absolutely no doubt that this is true. To be any softer, Reef would have to come to your house and cast your foot in a bowl of jello and call it "Jello Moon Boots."
Not only is the footbed on this flip extremely soft and compliant, but the arch support is also quite adequate — about a medium-height — and the straps and thong are cozy and well made. The fact that absolutely no break-in period is needed for such a high level of comfort makes this an excellent choice for those looking to scoop up a pair of flops before catching a flight for a beach vacation.
Support and Stability
When we think about support and stability we think about rugged trails and pushing footwear beyond what it was made to handle. Pushing the Phantom beyond its capabilities isn't difficult because it was made for ultra-plush squishy comfort. These have about the same support and stability as a pack of peeps would have if you taped the package onto the bottom of your foot. Obviously this is an exaggeration, but the point is, the Cushion Phantom is ultra-soft. We would be wary of taking these off the beaten path for fear of thorns poking through the sole or the potential for rolling on off-camber terrain. No these aren't very supportive or stable, but they more than make up for it with a super squishy and comfortable footbed.
The ultra-soft footbed of the Cushion Phantom combined with a relatively low-density sole doesn't offer the grip or stiffness necessary for good traction. This flip flop is so compliant it lets your foot slip right over rocks and roots. When it came to poolside traction, it performed ok but struggled on wet smooth surfaces like tile. Bottom line, to get such a soft footbed, the Phantom really sacrifices stiffness and traction.
These don't excel in this category. Durability and traction are lacking, so these aren't practical for more rugged outings. This shouldn't deter you from trying these ultra-comfortable flips though — they are great looking and ideal for hanging out and relaxing.
We wanted to make a joke about how the Cushion Phantom has similar softness and durability to a nice creamy goat cheese, but we're above that! While the footbed is made from a fairly low-density material, giving it its squish and bounce, it still held up fairly well throughout our testing. However, when we attempted to wander away from civilization out into the wilds, the Phantom didn't handle sharp or jagged terrain very well. The low-density footbed is vulnerable to anything pokey, and we had a few chunks taken out of the sides.
The Cushion Phantom has simple, clean lines, and almost every color scheme available is a blend of earth tones. You can get away with wearing these flip flops pretty much anywhere flip flops are acceptable. They don't look overly "outdoorsy," nor do they look like they are intended for dressing up. The Phantom blends into the surroundings pleasantly and doesn't draw much attention. While other flip flops would inevitably draw the question, "Oh cool, what kind of flip flops are those?" this one didn't.
When shelling out our hard-earned dollars for flip flops, we expect a lot. Where the Cushion Phantom excels is in providing out-of-the-box comfort. If you're heading out the door on a beach vacation tomorrow and need a pair of flip flops you know will be ultra-comfortable while you hang around the cabana, this is a pretty good choice. If you're expecting a bit more performance and versatility from your flip flops, the price isn't justified through performance.
Despite not being a great value, we really do like the Reef Cushion Phantom. The soft and squishy footbed is one of a kind. If we were judging all flip flops on their out of the box comfort for hanging around the pool, it would be hard to compete with these fluffy foot clouds. Ultimately, as outdoor folk, we really demand a high level of durability from our footwear, and the Phantom just can't quite keep up.
— Brian Martin