After buying and testing 30 pairs of women's flip flops over the past 9 years, we have a lot to say on the subject. Here we present the 14 best options on the market. We know you have a ton of flip flops to sort through, so our dedicated testers wore these minimal sandals everywhere we went for months. We biked through cities, hiked mucky backcountry trails, and braved our daily responsibilities, all while granting our toes the freedom to wriggle in the open air. Along the way, we took notes on each pair's comfort, traction, support, and style.Related: The Best Women's Sandals of 2020
The Best Women's Flip Flops of 2020
Best Overall Women's Flip Flop
The Birkenstock Gizeh isn't the sandal we expected to sweep up our top award, but we couldn't deny its awesomeness after putting it through our rigorous testing process. It excelled at everything we subjected it to. This supremely well-made shoe offers the most support and stability of all our tested models and it becomes more comfortable the longer you wear it. We were repeatedly impressed by the traction while hiking around on all manner of terrain, and while the aesthetic isn't for everyone, most will find it to be highly stylish. Even after updating our review and adding in new contenders the Gizeh continues to dominate.
This sandal is an investment though, and you need to be prepared for a longer break-in period while the footbed molds to your feet. The toe post is also quite stiff and requires getting used to, but it does soften with time. Those that are patient with this process will be rewarded with the best kind of durable, comfortable, and supportive foot friend.
Read review: Birkenstock Gizeh
Best Bang for the Buck
Birkenstock Gizeh Essentials EVA
The Birkenstock Gizeh Essentials EVA is a foam version of the leather and cork model outlined above. It's super lightweight, doesn't require weeks to break in, and retails for less than half the price of the original. If you've wanted the famous contoured Birkenstock footbed but can't stomach the usual price tag, this is a great alternative. The adjustable strap transforms what would otherwise be just another slippery foam sandal into something that can handle uneven terrain with relative ease. The material is also impervious to water, making this a solid choice for gardening, beach time, and more.
The drawback of this foam version is that it's less durable and breathable. There's also less oxygen flow because of the design — it really cups the foot and holds it snug. Although this snugness makes it highly supportive and comfortable, it also means it can create a farting sound while walking if the footbed is wet or sweaty. A light foam shoe isn't the one to pick if you want something to last for many years, but this is among the best we've tried for the price tag.
Read review: Birkenstock Gizeh Essentials EVA
The Most Comfort for The Price
OluKai Ohana - Women's
The OluKai Ohana is a wildly comfortable flip flop that takes zero time to break in, feeling amazing right out of the box. It's highly durable, stable from the contoured footbed, and offers decent traction both on the bottom sole and the cushy footbed. The design runs a bit big and wide, so it's an excellent choice for those with meatier feet or wider toe-boxes. Overall, we find very little to not love about this shoe — it checks all the boxes and performed admirably through all our tests.
Although it's on the pricier side for one of our Best Buy winners, the Ohana is still an affordable option for those that want a more durable long-term option. It takes a bit of time to dry after getting wet, but it feels fantastic to wear regardless. This is a well-constructed sandal that comes in a lot of fun colors and is sure to please for many years to come.
Read review: OluKai Ohana - Women's
Best Fashion-Forward Buy
Crocs Sexi Flip
If you want something cheap, stylish, and decently versatile, the Crocs Sexi Flip is one to consider. This Italian-inspired sandal has an ankle strap which is both good-looking and functional — the snug fit aids to the barely-there look while also creating more stability than this minimalist flip would otherwise be able to offer. Waterproof rubber means your feet will never be wet for long and there's no uncomfortable break-in period to worry about. On top of it all, these flips have surprisingly good traction on steep terrain — we were able to walk up and down steep trails covered in pine needles with almost total confidence.
On the flip (flop) side (haha), these puppies can be sketchy if they get wet from sweat or rain. The ankle strap is highly stretchy, and the footbed is narrow, so it's easy to twist a foot and have your heel slide entirely off the shoe. And while the ankle strap increases overall stability, it also means the shoe is harder to put on — not something you can slip into super fast. The Sexi Flip, however, supplies a whole lot of good for hardly any bucks at all, making it a great value pick for the budget-minded.
Read review: Crocs Sexi Flip
Best for Hiking and Scrambling
The hybrid Astral Rosa is a game changer. Say goodbye to the days of needing flip-flops AND sandals — now you can have it all in one. Wear the Rosa without the ankle strap for a simple sporty flip, add the strap for more stability and security when terrain gets more technical. From the campsite to the trail to the water, this well-tractioned and versatile shoe could become your go-to for every warm-weather activity.
Despite our love for the Rosa, a drawback is the fact that the ankle strap sometimes loosens while walking. We found this complaint voiced in several online customer reviews as well. The molded contour line between the ball of the foot and toes is also awkwardly placed for some people. But in most respects, the pros outweigh the cons, and a Top Pick is easily deserved. No other model in our review is quite as well-suited for those true adventurers that desire gear that can go the extra mile.
Read review: Astral Rosa
Best for Stylish Adventures
We talked to a lot of women throughout our testing process, and the Lala was a clear crowd favorite in the style department. Pretty as it is, that isn't all this shoe has to offer — it's also well-constructed, comfortable, and durable. The wide straps supply security while being soft and supple on the skin. Overall, the Lala performed excellently across all our metrics, feeling stable on steep terrain, feeling luxurious, drying quickly when wet, and looking gorgeous.
The footbed on this flip can be slippery when wet, but it also wicks away the water very quickly, returning you to confidence in no time. You just have to be mindful in the interim. It also runs small and narrow, so it's not for everyone. But for narrow-footed fashionistas that want to be ready for all the adventures of summer, this is a great shoe to consider.
Read review: OluKai Lala
Notable for Style
The OluKai Paniolo deserves mention here because it's just downright beautiful. The saddle-inspired stitching on the footbed elevates a simple flip to something elegant and classy — and also helps provide footbed traction! This sandal goes beyond aesthetics in other ways too: it's well made, surprisingly water-friendly, and provides decent support. Just like a horse's saddle, you can put this piece through the wringer and it just keeps on giving, while looking better and better with age and love.
While these maybe aren't the ones to choose for those that lead a really rugged lifestyle, they strike a great balance between fashion and function for the right person. The Paniolo is not cheap, and the leather straps will get looser as they break in, but overall, we find this flip-flop to be a winner that will appeal to a lot of women.
Read review: OluKai Paniolo
Notable for Comfort
Sanuk Yoga Mat 3 - Women's
If you are someone that likes your flip flops to feel like bedroom slippers, look no further than the Sanuk Yoga Mat 3. Our testers reached for these time and time again, especially after long runs or strenuous hikes when some comfort and recovery would be greatly appreciated. The anatomical footbeds are made out of real yoga mats, and with micro-fiber wrapped toe posts and soft-lined straps, you are really in for a treat with this flip. Good traction, durability, and support meet luxurious comfort in this well-priced gem.
The one area where the Yoga Mat falls short is water resistance. This series of flips flops is about as impervious to water as a sponge — just like your kitchen friend, it will soak up H2O and hold onto it. The footbed still feels comfortable enough to wear when wet, but after getting saturated in one of our tests, it was still holding moisture 24 hours later. This isn't the one to choose if you'll be wading in the surf or jumping in puddles, but for all other warm-weather adventures you'll be insanely cozy.
Read review: Sanuk Yoga Mat 3 - Women's
Why You Should Trust Us
The multi-talented Penney Garrett spearheads this review. From her base in Colorado, you can find her climbing, practicing yoga, and backpacking, to name just a few of her pursuits. She is also a certified nutritionist, paleo chef, and clinical herbalist. Testing the simple, versatile footwear known as the flip flop meshed well with Penney's lifestyle, whether that be around town, collecting wild plants, or approaching a climb.
Before we slipped any feet into these flip flops, we went to considerable lengths researching the market to select the best models available from an initial product pool of more than 100. Once we decided which ones to test, we wore them on countless outings in the Rocky Mountains and beyond. Whether wading across rivers with fresh snowmelt or walking up dusty trails to scramble to a climbing crag, we paid attention to comfort, support, durability, water resistance, traction, and style. All-in-all, this comprehensive review you should leave you well equipped to get a great pair of flip flops.
Analysis and Test Results
For many of us, that time of year when the weather turns warm enough to ditch the socks and break out the flip flops is a joyous occasion. If you need a new pair, you could just grab something cheap and plastic that will last a season or two, but we think your feet deserve better! Admittedly, choosing the right sandal is less important than finding the right trail running shoe or the best fitting hiking boot, but opting for something with extra support, traction, and comfort can help keep your feet and joints healthy — especially if you spend a lot of time in open-toed footwear. Read on to learn about the pros and cons of the 14 pairs we rigorously tested for months in the Rocky Mountains and beyond.
Buying flip-flops can mean spending a few measly bucks, dropping as much as you would for a proper pair of shoes, or anything in between. Because of this, it's important to consider your priorities and lifestyle when making a purchase. Spending more money doesn't always mean a better product, though when it comes to shoes, there does tend to be a correlation. That being said, certain materials and features that are crucial for one person may not be a great fit (literally) for someone else. And while some women will gladly pay a bit more for a stylish choice, others will prioritize comfort and durability for the crag or campsite. No matter what angle you're approaching this from, we realize that price tends to be a major determining factor. Looking at pieces like our Best Buy winners or the top-scoring Editors' Choice is a great way to see what might offer the most value for the hard-earned dollars you will be dishing out.
Ah, feet. Unique, tough, strange, sometimes smelly. And without question worthy of our respect and admiration. The requirements for keeping these workhorses healthy and happy are different for each person, so assessing this metric is a multifaceted and involved process. Comfort is highly subjective and, as such, the scores we awarded in this category reflect factors observed over time. We took note of how comfortable each pair of flips felt straight out of the box, how cozy they became after some breaking in, and how the materials felt on foot in a variety of situations and terrain. Our top picks for comfort showcase some very diverse shoes, each with their own appeal depending on your foot shape and needs.
None of the flip flops we tested were uncomfortable, but some are certainly more luxurious than others. Our favorites in this category are the OluKai Ohana, our Best Buy for Comfort, and the Sanuk Yoga Mat 3. Both provide the "ooooh ahhh" factor more than all the others in our fleet. The Ohana has a super soft molded drop-in footbed inspired by the feeling of bare feet in wet sand and the Yoga Mat has a contoured footbed made from real yoga mats. Almost every single tester had a moment when first slipping on either one of these when some pleasurable noise was uttered.
A close runner-up is our Editors' Choice, the Gizeh, but for pretty different reasons. The Gizeh, as with all Birkenstocks, molds to its owner's feet over time. When the shoe is new, it can feel quite stiff and unfriendly, but with some patience and perseverance, you will be rewarded. The contoured footbed and upturned sides hug the feet snugly, and the brushed leather on the footbed and the underside of the straps is soft and supple. The hard rubber toe post is the one thing that might turn people off to this shoe because it can be quite painful at first. But, at least for us, after a few long days of wear, it ceased to be an issue. If you love the design and contouring of this shoe but would prefer an easier break-in period (or no animal products), check out the foam version of the same sandal, the Gizeh Essentials EVA, which is also highly comfortable.
Not far behind these frontrunners, we have several options that also offer satisfying and comfortable wearing experiences. Our Top Pick for Stylish Adventures, the Lala, with its wide, supple straps and smooth footbed, is a crowd favorite among those with narrow feet. The Vionic Tide II has built-in orthotics, giving it the best arch support of all the models we tested. Other favorites are the Hoka One One Ora Recovery Flip 2 with its oversized rocker-shaped footbed and the Rainbow Single Layer Premier, a simple design made from soft, supple leather that is super comfy and gets even more so with time.
Support & Stability
It's easy to think that support and stability aren't particularly important with a simple summer shoe, but a well-constructed flip-flop with a better fit could mean happier feet and less potential for pain or injury over time. Just because sandals appear minimalist doesn't mean you need to completely sacrifice foot support. On top of that, many of us spend a good portion of the year in this kind of footwear, and with the nature of warm weather adventures, you never quite know where the day might take you or what kind of ground you might have to navigate. Better to be ready for anything than cursing your footwear with every step!
To properly test this metric, we went for some rigorous hikes that would ordinarily demand appropriate hiking shoes. We climbed rocks, trudged through mud, and navigated some treacherously steep downhills. We also walked on a lot of hot hard pavement, rode bikes, and even waded around in a river. All in all, we put these shoes through an intense testing process, learning a ton about their strengths and weaknesses in the process.
The Gizeh, with its strategically contoured footbed, is a surprising yet understandable winner in this category. Even before its cork-lined suede molded to our anatomy, we noticed how well it hugged each foot and supported the arch. The upturned sides keep your foot cradled in the footbed so there is never a worry that you will slip off the side when the shoe is wet or on varied terrain. As the Gizeh gets broken in and personalized, these qualities continue to improve. Whether on a hiking trail or strolling through town, this shoe does not disappoint.
The Astral Rosa also scores high in this category, offering something none of the other contenders does: a removable ankle strap that converts a basic flip into a full-on adventure-ready sandal. No matter what you have in store for the day, this Top Pick for Hiking and Scrambling will be ready. Without the strap, the Rosa wouldn't have scored so well, but with it? It becomes almost unbeatable.
Another model that offers some of the best support and stability is the Vionic Tide II. This shoe has built-in orthotics that, when fitted correctly, hold the foot snugly and securely (they do run quite big, so if you're in-between sizes be sure to size down like we did). Even on steep and unpredictable hikes, we felt completely confident with each step. The embedded orthotics do create a very high arch support, which is something important to keep in mind when considering this model — it's a feature that can feel amazing on some feet and quite painful on others.
As mentioned previously, it's entirely possible to spend less on a pair of flip-flops than you would on a fancy cocktail, but that footwear isn't likely to last you very long or make your feet feel particularly good. When you invest a bit more in your flips the hope is that they will be with you for years to come — depending on how hard you are on them, of course. Some manufacturers even offer resoling, strap replacement, and more, which is a great thing to investigate if you're someone prone to wearing through sandals quickly.
Although most of our flips were tested for several months, not years, we feel this is an important metric to include and be aware of. We can't be entirely confident how continued exposure to the elements or everyday wear and tear will affect these summer accessories, but some things were evident to us right from the get-go. We scored each pair by assessing the materials used in their creation and by noting small bits of damage that occurred in our short, but intense, testing period.
No surprise, the Chaco Flip EcoTread was among the most durable of all the flip-flops we tested. With a sturdy rubber sole and high-quality webbing straps, this flip can take some serious abuse before showing even the slightest wear. As with all webbing, over time it will soften and fray a bit, and rubber soles can eventually wear off the tread, but it's clear that the EcoTread is made for longevity and can handle all manner of obstacles. Chaco also offers strap replacement for many of their shoes.
The Tide II is another high scorer in this category, proving itself to be a shoe that can be worn for many years without hardly a dent. With robust soles and padded webbing straps, the construction of this shoe isn't that different from the Chaco Flip, though we find it to be a bit more sturdy. At the end of our rigorous testing period, this impressive sandal still didn't look a day past brand new. This is an excellent flip-flop to invest in for the long haul.
The Astral Rosa is also at the top of the pack. The footbed is made from tough EVA and rubber and the additional ankle strap from nylon webbing, a match made in adventure heaven. Dirt, mud, sand, water? This shoe can take it all in stride and then be washed clean, leaving it looking new and ready for the next round.
Our three OluKai contenders, the Ohana, Lala, and Paniolo are noteworthy in this category as well. OluKai has built a reputation for knowing how to make great sandals, and all of these models easily live up to the hype with bomber construction and high-quality materials.
Finally, the predominantly rubber Ora Recovery Flip and Yoga Mat 3 are great options if durability is key. The Yoga Mat isn't the best with water though, so keep that in mind when making your choice.
How a warm weather shoe deals with getting wet is a pretty important aspect to consider when assessing its overall performance because it's bound to come up. From spring puddles to summer rainstorms, with sprinklers and beaches in between, the sandal you choose should be able to handle moisture without making your feet feel gross or unsafe. We put our tested flips through some serious tests for this metric, everything from light waterings while walking to full immersion and saturation in a river. While almost all the shoes handled small amounts of water well, fully soaking them revealed more variability and divisions in performance than in any other category.
Two of our Best Buy winners, the Gizeh Essentials EVA and the Sexi Flip, take top scores here. Waterproof EVA and rubber make these contenders impervious to water and able to dry fast. The footbeds can feel a little slick when wet because the materials are completely nonporous — nothing soaks in — but a few minutes out in the sun or a quick wipe with a towel can have you back to normal in a flash. The main thing that sets these models apart is the fact that the straps are made from the same material as the rest of the shoe, meaning that everything will dry at the same pace.
The the Rainbow Single Layer Premier also soared to the top of this metric. These minimal flips, despite being made out of leather, are meant to be able to handle wet conditions. After being thoroughly submerged in water, the Rainbow took a mere 20 minutes in full sun to completely dry. The footbeds also quickly absorb and wick away water, making them effortless to walk in when wet because nothing stays pooled on the surface. The primary division we saw between this model and the rest of our contenders is the time it takes the straps to dry — while some flips dried on the footbed quickly, the straps held on to water for much longer. This model doesn't have that issue because the straps are so thin.
The Astral Rosa, Tide II, and Flip EcoTread easily came out near the top in this category as well. All of them have a nonporous footbed that dries exceedingly quickly, especially if there's some airflow. Laying them out in full sun after walking in a river, the footbed on these flips took only a handful of minutes to dry fully. If you continue to walk before they've dried, the Flip and Tide II can briefly feel a bit slippy and make some farting noises, but it doesn't last long. If you're using the optional ankle strap on the Rosa, slippage due to water shouldn't be an issue. The straps on all of these models, however, took considerably longer to dry (right around 30 minutes), but none of them felt unpleasant on the skin to wear while damp.
Since OluKai is a Hawaiian-based company, it is no surprise that all of the contenders from that company handled water quite well. Although we were surprised that the fancier Lala and Paniolo outperformed their more rugged counterpart, the Ohana, by a fair margin. The footbed on both the Lala and Paniolo wicks water away from the surface incredibly fast, and while the leather straps stay damp for longer, they feel cool, soft, and pleasant on the skin. The Ohana takes longer all around to dry, but the main thing we noticed with all of these sandals is that the materials, even when very wet, feel comfortable and pleasing to wear.
Often people fail to think about traction when purchasing footwear they don't associate with hiking, running, or climbing. But if you're anything like us here at OutdoorGearLab, you'll end up using your flip-flops for impromptu hikes, crag approaches, or random scrambles. If that sounds like your lifestyle too, then it's to your benefit to have a shoe that won't leave you slip-sliding all over the place and fearing for your ankles. All our tested sandals did decently, but a handful rose to the top and impressed us with their extra stickiness.
There's a second piece to this as well: it's easy to think about traction as only a bottom-of-the-sole thing, which, to be sure, is how most people think of it. But in actuality, a leading cause of slipping and sliding when wearing sandals is a lack of traction on the footbed. This is something we took note of during muddy hikes and river walks, as well as when we walked around town looking for a bite to eat.
To be fair, this obstacle rendered all of our flips (except the ankle-strapped Rosa) more than a bit unstable — and it caused other hikers in high-top boots to look at us as though we'd lost a few marbles. The Astral Rosa is our Top Pick for Hiking and Scrambling mainly because its optional ankle strap adds excellent security and footbed traction. This is almost unfair because a sandal with a backstrap will always feel stickier than a regular flip-flop. But hey, it's a great shoe that can act as both a flip and a sandal, so we gotta give credit where credit's due. That being said, when assessing this flip without the ankle strap, it isn't nearly as impressive as several other models in our review.
Finishing just below the Rosa is both the Tide II and the Sexi Flip. The Tide has a more traditional flip-flop design with narrower straps and no fancy features, but when fit correctly (it runs big, so size down if you're unsure) it has impressive traction that will make you feel confident on any kind of loose gravel or uncertain terrain. The Sexi Flip was a surprise for us in this category: we misjudged its chic and minimal styling, thinking it would fare poorly when faced with anything too serious. But lo and behold it did great, allowing us to float down steep pine needle-covered trails in style (and in no small part because of its ankle straps).
The flip flops in this review represent a wide array of styles, from rugged and athletic to delicate and feminine. We polled a sizable group of women to generate our style scores as objectively as possible. The data we gathered revealed a broad spectrum of opinions, but not surprisingly, the more athletic-looking flips ended up lower on almost everyone's list.
This type of footwear typically only comes in whole sizes, and since our chief tester is a half size, we have some helpful information about whether to size up or down. Fit is an extremely personal and critical aspect of finding the perfect shoe, and you don't want straps in weird places or toes falling off edges. We assessed length, width, strap volume, and toe box features so that you can make an informed decision based on the shape of your unique feet.
The clear winner out of our 14 contenders is the OluKai Lala. The Lala isn't just a pretty thing to look at though, it impressed us across all our rating metrics, which is why we awarded it a Top Pick for Stylish Adventures. With wide attractive straps, a unique hand-wrapped toe-post, and an overall sleek design, it's no wonder people love this shoe. Throw in the fact that it also has decent traction, handles water well, and is quite comfortable, and you have a winning combination. The Lala does run quite narrow and small though, so definitely plan to size up if you're a half size, and possibly even if you're not. If you have wide feet, this may not be the best choice for you, so consider trying it on in-person before purchasing.
The Paniolo is another high scorer in the style category. The beautiful stitching on the footbed, hand-wrapped toe post, high-quality materials, and vibrant colors combine to deliver a truly lovely shoe that our testers appreciated.
The Teva Olowahu also finishes right up near the top for this category. With cute interlaced straps and a cushy foam footbed, this is an easy sandal to love. Whether you're sporting shorts, jeans, or a cute dress for the evening, this shoe can easily be dressed up or down. And when you consider the modest price tag, picking up a pair is practically a no-brainer. Fit-wise we found that on some foot shapes the pinkie toe tends to pop out the side, so be aware that these straps, cute as they are, won't work for everybody.
It's probably no surprise at this point that the Gizeh also finishes very high in the style department. Although the look of Birkenstocks, and especially the Gizeh, doesn't appeal to everyone, many find it to be a classy shoe that looks beautiful with a lot of different outfits. Be aware that a quality leather shoe like this one will take some breaking in. Don't get frustrated if they hurt in the beginning, the longer you wear them, the more dreamy they will become. If you want the look of the Gizeh without all the hassle, consider the Gizeh Essentials EVA foam version.
Last but not least is the Sexi Flip. This Italian-inspired sandal also scores quite high when it comes to style and has the ability to turn some heads. The design can make the foot look bigger than it is from certain angles, but overall, our testers loved this shoe and were pleased to find it perform well in other more technical categories as well.
Finding just an ordinary pair of flip-flops for warm weather is by no means difficult, but finding a pair with superior support, traction, and comfort is a different story. Our expert team of testers put 14 contenders through several thousand steps on all kinds of terrain to gain a deep and comprehensive understanding of each pair. And we did it all to ensure that you can make the best choice possible for your feet, your style, and your pocketbook. Maximize your spring and summer experience with some open-toed shoes that can handle every facet of a well-lived life!
— Penney Garrett