Reef Draftsmen Review
Cons: Not durable, very shallow tread, bottle opener can get clogged with mud
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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.
For hanging out by the water, chilling around the house, or working out back in the garden, the Reef Draftsmen 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 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.
Support and Stability
If you're spending your days hanging out on the dock or in the back yard tilling the flower bed, the Draftsmen is perfectly adequate in the support and stability department. The leather footbed does break in and take on a more supportive shape after some time, but is ultimately lacking when compared to some of the ultra ergonomic flip flops we tested this go-around. Stability is much the same story. The Draftsmen just doesn't have the rugged sole and thicker leather footbed required to be ultra-stable on a rocky trail or for off camber hiking.
The molded rubber outsole on these flip flops is just okay, and we don't recommend 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.
These flops suffer from a serious tread deficiency compared to more robust models. This restricts them to seaside docks, restaurants, and sand dunes. If you never plan on leaving the maritime environs (and why would you?), you'll be able to go most 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.
These puppies aren't very durable. 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 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 models in our review all have thicker footbeds and will undoubtedly last you longer.
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 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 and gimmicky. Sometimes the bottle opener would even become clogged with mud.
These flops cost about the same as a pair of Rainbows but aren't as durable. They are nice looking, but for the money you can get something more comfortable and with better traction.
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 overall we don't think their lack of durability warrants the high price tag.
— Matt Bento