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Reef Draftsmen Review

These are a stylish leather option for the beach and around town but lack the comfort we ultimately want in casual footwear
Reef Draftsmen
Photo: Reef
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Price:  $65 List | Check Price at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Stylish, casual, bottle opener on sole
Cons:  Not durable, shallow tread, bottle opener can get clogged with mud
Manufacturer:   Reef
By Brian Martin ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jul 9, 2021
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60
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#12 of 14
  • Comfort - 30% 6
  • Support - 20% 5
  • Traction - 20% 6
  • Versatility - 15% 5
  • Style - 15% 8

Our Verdict

With soft leather soles and straps, the Reef Draftsmen is a casual and stylish entry to the flip flop pool at a decent price. While they do look pretty fetching, they lack the supple and supportive feel we want in our post-workday footwear. We found them to be a bit narrow, and most frustrating, the attachment point for the thong has a bit of a bulge that imposes on the arch. Gripes aside, these are solid, well-made flip flops that have a nice party-piece bottle opener in the sole. After a few cold ones, you'll forget all about the mediocre comfort and get back to what really matters, partying.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Reef Draftsmen
This Product
Reef Draftsmen
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award 
Price Check Price at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
Check Price at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$74.95 at Amazon$55 List
Check Price at Amazon
$21.99 at Amazon
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Pros Stylish, casual, bottle opener on soleComfortable, durable, good in waterLightweight, great for hikingDurable, good arch support, comfortable straps, excellent traction, affordableBargain basement price, relatively comfortable, good in wet conditions
Cons Not durable, shallow tread, bottle opener can get clogged with mudHeavy, a bit priceyExtra straps can get in the way, priceyHeavy, not stylishLow arch, not suitable for hiking
Bottom Line These are a stylish leather option for the beach and around town but lack the comfort we ultimately want in casual footwearThese flip flops are made for the ocean but are capable in any environmentStrap these to your feet and forget about them, these have serious staying powerWhile these aren't the most stylish, they are durable, comfortable, and affordableThese offer decent comfort and overall usability that far exceeds typical bargain basement flip flops
Rating Categories Reef Draftsmen Olukai Hokua Astral Filipe Teva Katavi 2 Thong NeedBo NDB
Comfort (30%)
6.0
9.0
7.0
8.0
6.0
Support (20%)
5.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
Traction (20%)
6.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
6.0
Versatility (15%)
5.0
8.0
9.0
6.0
7.0
Style (15%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
5.0
5.0
Specs Reef Draftsmen Olukai Hokua Astral Filipe Teva Katavi 2 Thong NeedBo NDB
Sole Material Molded rubber Gum rubber Rubber Durabrasion Rubber Rubber
Footbed Material Leather ICEVA EVA EVA EVA
Strap Material Leather Leather Polyester webbing Suede EVA
Weight (per pair) 15.4 oz 19 oz 14 oz 20 oz 10.5 oz
Available Sizes 4-15 7 - 15 8-13 7 - 14 6.5-17
Animal Products? Yes Yes No Yes No

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Draftsmen scored at the bottom of our test pool despite high marks for style. They suffer in regards to durability and traction.

Performance Comparison


A well-put-together, stylish flip flop with a fun party-piece bottle...
A well-put-together, stylish flip flop with a fun party-piece bottle opener.
Photo: Brian Martin

Comfort


For hanging out by the water, chilling around the house, or working out back in the garden, the Draftsmen is a decently comfortable flop. Its leather footbed is quick to break in, while a firm yet low arch gives you a little support and houses a built-in bottle opener (a controversial feature among our testers) on the bottom of the flop. The strap is a single soft piece of leather, and none of our testers experienced any blisters or chaffing. If we had to sum the Draftsmen's comfort level up in one word it would be "adequate". None of our testers were extremely impressed or disappointed with this party piece flip flop.

They weren't extremely comfortable but after you crack open a few...
They weren't extremely comfortable but after you crack open a few ice-cold longnecks, you probably won't really care.
Photo: Brian Martin

Support


Our main tester found the Draftsmen to be a touch too narrow and a bit flat in the footbed. Yes, there was a short break-in period and the footbed did relent a bit. Out of the box, however, this was one of the flattest flip flops we have tested and the narrow profile made it feel rather tippy. For the positive attributes, the solid rubber sole is firm and helped shield us from pokey bits below.

Overall the Draftsmen were acceptably comfortable, but the imposing...
Overall the Draftsmen were acceptably comfortable, but the imposing strap attachment point and the relatively flat footbed wasn't anything to write home about.
Photo: Brian Martin

Traction


The solid rubber sole performed decently on slippery granite and treacherous river logs when we were out and about. Some of the aforementioned gripes also detract a bit from how usable that traction is. The flatish footbed and narrow profile let our foot slide about on the interior of the Draftsmen even though the sole was pretty grippy.

The Draftsmen's sole was on the grippier side of the spectrum but...
The Draftsmen's sole was on the grippier side of the spectrum but this was only a piece of the picture.
Photo: Brian Martin

Versatility


These flops don't have the serious tread that more capable flip flops boast. This restricts them to seaside docks, restaurants, sand dunes, and flip-flop-appropriate casual events. If you never plan on leaving the maritime environs (and why would you?), you'll be able to go almost anywhere you need to go in the Draftsmen. If you're more like our testers who wear flip flops every day except for two or three days in January, you'll likely want something with more arch support and overall stability.

For a leather flip flop, these had decent wet environment...
For a leather flip flop, these had decent wet environment performance. They seemed to dry quickly and didn't become slimy or slippery in the footbed.
Photo: Brian Martin

Style


The Draftsmen have the classic look of the casual leather flop made popular by Rainbow at a similar price. On the bottom is a built-in bottle opener and, with a little practice, it's easy to open a beer without even taking your shoe 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 and gimmicky. Sometimes the bottle opener would even become clogged with mud.

Classic, subtle styling that looks good but won't make you stand out...
Classic, subtle styling that looks good but won't make you stand out when you don't want to. We felt comfortable around town and didn't feel that we were being judged too harshly by non-flip flop lovers.
Photo: Brian Martin

Value


The Draftsmen is a decent flip flop with a fun party-piece bottle opener. However, the price is a bit steep for the overall performance and low level of comfort which is something we greatly value in casual footwear made for relaxing. Still, given the rugged feel and leather materials, the Draftsmen is a decent value.

Conclusion


The Reef Draftsmen is a good-looking flip flop that was outperformed by others in several categories. If someone was handing us a pair of these as a gift, we would be pretty happy with them. Would we recommend them to a friend? Probably, if that friend really valued having a quirky flip flop with a bottle opener that also retained some stylish looks.

If you yourself are a walking party piece, these flip flops might be...
If you yourself are a walking party piece, these flip flops might be perfect for you. You'll never be without a bottle opener, which is good because you can only open bottles with your teeth for so long before you chip those money makers.
Photo: Brian Martin

Brian Martin