The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Reef Draftsman Review

These are a stylish leather option for the beach and around town.
Reef Draftsman
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Price:  $60 List | $49.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Stylish, casual
Cons:  Not durable, very shallow tread
Manufacturer:   Reef
By Matt Bento ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 10, 2018
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51
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#13 of 14
  • Comfort - 30% 6
  • Versatility - 25% 5
  • Durability - 25% 3
  • Style - 10% 8
  • Traction - 10% 5

The Skinny

With soft leather soles and leather straps, the Reef Draftsman is a casual and stylish entry to the flip-flop pool. These flops are lightweight and low key, and won't draw any attention to your sandy, salty dogs. You can probably also get away wearing these out with a nice pair of pants, and no one will suspect that come midnight, you'll be crawling back into your surfer van for a quick snooze before a beautiful, glassy morning in the waves. There are definitely some more durable flops out there, and a few flops that have better traction, but the Reef Draftsman offers that classic look at a decent price.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

Comfortable  but not very durable  miles of hiking will wear these flops out faster than burlier models like the Chaco flip Eco.
Comfortable, but not very durable, miles of hiking will wear these flops out faster than burlier models like the Chaco flip Eco.

Performance Comparison


The Draftsman scored middle of the road to low in most of our metrics while getting great marks for style. The Hari Mari Scouts have a similar leather look but are more durable, more comfortable, and only cost $5 more. For an all leather stylish flop that can manage some moderate hiking and look great for a night out, check out the OluKai Ohana.

These flops have a thin sole  more suited for around the house than out on the trail.
These flops have a thin sole, more suited for around the house than out on the trail.

Comfort


For hanging out by the water, chilling around the house or working out back in the garden, the Reef Draftsman is a perfectly comfortable flop. Its soft leather footbed is quick to break in, while a firm arch gives you a little support and houses the built-in bottle opener (a controversial feature among our testers) on the bottom of the flop. The strap is soft single piece of leather, and none of our testers experienced any blisters or chaffing. Again, the Hari Mari Scouts are more comfortable with a jersey-lined strap, a memory foam toe post, and a firmer footbed.

We loved the simple  no-frills look and feel of these flops.
We loved the simple, no-frills look and feel of these flops.

Versatility


These flops suffer from a serious tread deficiency compared to flops like the Chaco Marshall and the OluKai Ohana. This restricts the Draftsman to seaside docks, restaurants and sand dunes. If you never plan on leaving the maritime environs (and why would you?), you'll be any to go most anywhere you need to go in these flops. If you're like our testers who wear flip flops every day except for 2 or three days in January, you'll need a flop with more arch support like the Chaco Marshall.

Durability


These puppies aren't very durable compared to burly flops like the Chaco Flip EcoTread. The footbed is soft, but it breaks down quickly. A thicker footbed takes longer to break in, but will also last much longer. We also noticed partial thickness creases occurring through the leather footbed and part of the midsole where the flop flexes during uphill travel. This didn't occur in any of the other flops we tested. The other flip-flops in our review all have thicker footbeds and will last longer.

These flops have a classic look  but they lack the versatility of our award winners.
These flops have a classic look, but they lack the versatility of our award winners.

Style


These flops have the classic look of the casual leather flop made popular by Rainbow at a similar price. On the bottom of the flop is a built-in bottle opener. With a little practice, it's easy to open a beer without taking the flop off. One tester thought this feature was really cool, but the majority of our testers and our friends agreed that opening a beer with your foot is gross. Sometimes the bottle opener would even become clogged with mud.

The bottle opener works great! Unfortunately  some trace of whatever you've been walking through all day will end up on your beer  so watch out! Sometimes the opener gets clogged with mud.
The bottle opener works great! Unfortunately, some trace of whatever you've been walking through all day will end up on your beer, so watch out! Sometimes the opener gets clogged with mud.

Traction


The molded rubber outsole on these flip flops is slightly better than the nearly threadless Hari Mari Scouts and the Rainbows, but not by much, and we don't recommend these flops for pushing the envelope on long hikes or mountain approaches unless you are an advanced flip-flopper with strong, tough feet and a good sense of balance. If you're looking to get out of the boat and on the trail, the Astral Filipe is our top choice for hiking, with its optional heel strap to keep your feet locked in while sticky rubber grips the rock.

Best Application


The beach is where these stylish flops belong. As long as you're not trying to walk long distances or hop up talus fields, you should be comfortable in this flop. They look great for a night out, but our favorite dress up flop is still the versatile OluKai Hiapo with its beefier tread and more comfortable and supportive footbed.

Value


At $60, these flops cost about the same as a pair of Rainbows and only a little less than the more durable Hari Mari Scouts and the tank-like Chaco Flip Eco, our current Best Buy winner. Chacos have lasted our testers for years, making them a great value.

Conclusion


If you're all about that leather style and comfort, keep an eye out for these flip-flops on sale. They'll serve you much better than a pair of cheap throwaway flops, but we don't think their lack of durability warrants the high price tag.


Matt Bento