After buying and testing more than 35 pairs of women's flip flops over the past 10 years, we have a lot to say on the subject. Here we present the 12 best options on the market. We know you have a ton of flip flops to choose from, so our dedicated testers wore these minimal sandals everywhere they 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, versatility, and style.Related: Best Sandals for Women of 2021
Best Flip Flops for Women of 2021
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|Pros||Attractive, supportive, comfortable, adjustable strap||Very comfortable, grippy footbed, stable||Soft footbed, supportive arch, lightweight, classic look, decent outsole traction||Removable ankle strap, water-resistant, durable, lightweight||Comfortable, no break-in period, affordable, waterproof|
|Cons||Stiff, breaking in takes time, expensive||Sporty look, runs a bit big||Slippery when wet, minimal footbed traction, not great for technical or loose terrain||Contouring by toes is oddly placed, ankle strap can slip||Material doesn't breathe, less durable|
|Bottom Line||A beautifully unique sandal that provides amazing support and personalized comfort by molding to your feet over time||A durable flip flop that feels amazing, offers good support, and handles water like a pro||A leather flip with a classic look, great arch support, and decent outsole traction for casual use||A fantastic choice for anyone that loves both flip flops and sandals and wants everything combined in one shoe||A lightweight and affordable version of the leather original, this flip is fun and functional|
|Rating Categories||Birkenstock Gizeh||OluKai Ohana - Women's||Chaco Classic Leather||Astral Rosa||Birkenstock Gizeh E...|
|Specs||Birkenstock Gizeh||OluKai Ohana - Women's||Chaco Classic Leather||Astral Rosa||Birkenstock Gizeh E...|
|Sole Material||EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate)||Non-marking rubber or gum rubber||ChacoGrip||Granite Grip rubber||EVA|
|Footbed Material||Cork lined with suede||Molded EVA with soft ICEVA drop-in footbed||LUVSEAT PU||Dual-density EVA||EVA|
|Strap Material||Birko-flor (PVC) lined with fleece||Water-resistant synthetic nubuck leather lined with quick-drying jersey knit||Leather||Cushioned synthetic leather with knit liner, ankle strap: polyester webbing||EVA|
|Weight (per pair)||13.5 oz (size 39)||13.7 oz (size 9)||7.6 oz (size 8)||12.7 oz (11.8 oz w/o ankle straps, size 9)||6.5 oz (size 40)|
|Length||10.625" (size 39)||10.75" (size 9)||10.25" (size 8)||10.5" (size 9)||11" (size 40)|
|Length of Toe Box (just above toe post)||1.50"||1.75"||1.75"||1.75"||1.375"|
|Unique Features||Adjustable strap, contoured footbed that molds to feet||ICEVA (soft EVA) drop-in footbed||LUVSEAT PU midsole, ChacoGrip outsole||Extra strap converts flip flop into a hikable sandal||Adjustable straps|
Best Overall Flip Flop for Women
The Birkenstock Gizeh isn't the sandal we expected to sweep up our top award, but we couldn't deny its top-notch performance after putting it through our rigorous testing process. It excels in every test we subject 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 are impressed by the traction while hiking around on all manner of terrain, and while the aesthetic isn't for everyone, most find it highly stylish.
The Gizeh is an investment, 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 who are patient will reap the rewards with the most durable, comfortable, and supportive summer shoe.
Read review: Birkenstock Gizeh
Best Bang for Your Buck
Birkenstock Gizeh Essentials EVA
The Birkenstock Gizeh Essentials EVA is a foam version of the classic leather and cork model. It's super lightweight, doesn't require weeks to break in, and retails for less than half the original price. 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 an unpleasant sound while walking if the footbed is wet or sweaty. A light foam shoe likely 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.
Read review: Birkenstock Gizeh Essentials EVA
Comfortable a Affordable Simplicity
Sanuk Yoga Mat
The Sanuk Yoga Mat is a fun twist on a simple flip. This shoe is made from yoga mat material and is soft, squishy, and forms to the foot like memory foam with every step. While it does not have much in the way of arch support or any footbed contouring, the general squishiness of the footbed provides comfort and some stability. The wide straps are made of synthetic leather lined with a silky feeling jersey material. They are soft and malleable, ensuring that you will be left without a blister in sight. The nicely stitched strap gives this flip a casual yet put-together look, making it a great accessory to any casual warm-weather outfit.
Because the Yoga Mat is flat and lacks any footbed contouring, there is zero arch support. The footbed traction is surprisingly good, but the outsole traction is subpar. The general support this shoe offers works just fine for flat, easy terrain, but as soon as things get technical, it's rendered less functional. The Yoga Mat is meant for casual use. If you are looking for something to throw in your gym bag, backpacking pack, or stroll down to the beach, then this is a great option at a killer price.
Read review: Sanuk Yoga Mat
Best for Sheer Comfort
OluKai Ohana - Women's
The OluKai Ohana is a very comfortable flip flop that takes zero time to break in, feeling amazing right out of the box. It's highly durable, the contoured footbed is stable, and it 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 performs admirably through all our tests.
Although it leans towards the pricier side, the Ohana is a flip for those that want a more durable long-term option and don't mind paying a few extra bucks for something that will last. It is also worth noting that the heavenly comfort this shoe provides is well worth the price tag. It takes a bit of time to dry after getting wet, but this flip feels fantastic to wear regardless. It is a well-constructed sandal that comes in many fun colors and is sure to please for years to come.
Read review: OluKai Ohana - Women's
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, or add the strap for more stability and security when the 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 that the ankle strap occasionally 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. 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
Why You Should Trust Us
This review is headed up by Penney Garrett and Hayley Thomas. Both are avid climbers, yogis, and hikers. Penney is a bit of a flip flop freak, preferring any excuse to remove her socks and get sun on her toes. Hayley travels around the US in her van with her partner and their two dogs. From hanging on the beach to hiking in the backcountry to city strolls, these flips got a chance to flop on all different kinds of terrain.
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 from the city to the mountains to the beach. Whether wading across rivers or walking up dusty trails to a climbing crag, we paid attention to comfort, support, traction, versatility, and style. All-in-all, this comprehensive review should leave you well equipped with the knowledge you might need to acquire the perfect 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 pairs we rigorously tested.
Buying flip flops can mean spending a few measly bucks, dropping as much as you would for a closed-toe 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 there does tend to be a correlation when it comes to shoes. 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 people will gladly pay a bit more for a stylish choice, others will prioritize attributes like comfort or traction. No matter what angle you're approaching this from, we realize that price tends to be a major determining factor.
Depending on your budget and preferences, several options in our lineup present an excellent balance of price and performance — the cornerstones of true value. The Sanuk Yoga Mat is cushy and easy to wear — no breaking in needed — and won't set you back hardly at all. If you want out-of-the-box comfort but need a little more footbed support, the Birkenstock Gizeh Essentials EVA is a bit more money but offers a more mindfully constructed shoe. And if a squishy foam footbed just won't cut it, the OluKai Ohana, while one more step up the price ladder, offers amazing comfort and far superior durability.
The requirements for keeping our feet 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 take note of how comfortable each pair of flips feels straight out of the box, how cozy they become after some breaking in, and how the materials feel in a variety of situations and terrain. Our favorites for comfort showcase some very diverse shoes, each with its own appeal depending on your foot shape and preferences.
None of the flip flops we tested are uncomfortable, but some are certainly more luxurious than others. Our favorite in this category is the OluKai Ohana. It certainly provides 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. Almost every single tester had a smile on their face and positive things to say the moment they slipped on this shoe.
A few close runner-ups are the Birkenstock Gizeh, Chaco Classic Leather Flip, Sanuk Yoga Mat, and OOFOS OOriginal Sport. Both the Gizeh and the Chaco Leather footbeds mold to their owner's feet over time. When the Gizeh is new, it can feel quite stiff and unfriendly, but you will be rewarded with some patience and perseverance. 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 of 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), the foam version of the same sandal, the Gizeh Essentials EVA, is also highly comfortable. The material doesn't feel quite as nice against the skin — especially when wet or sweaty — but the classic Birkenstock contouring is still A+.
Unlike traditional leather Birkenstocks, the Chaco Classic Leather Flip, Sanuk Yoga Mat, and OOFOS OOriginal are all comfortable right out of the box. The Chaco Classic flips have a thick strap and a soft footbed making the break-in painless. The Yoga Mat and OOriginal share the squish factor that makes you smile the second you slip them on. The Yoga Mat is made from actual yoga mat material, which, as you can imagine, feels like heaven, while the OOriginal is made of OOfoam Recovery Technology, a material specifically made to absorb more impact than your typical shoe.
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 good fit can mean happier feet and less potential for pain or injury over time. Just because sandals are minimal doesn't mean you need to sacrifice foot support completely. 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 push every pair to the limit, we test each flip on advanced hikes that ordinarily demand appropriate hiking shoes. We climb rocks, trudge through mud, and navigate some treacherously steep downhills. We also walk on a lot of hot hard pavement, ride bikes, and even wade around in rivers to test their versatility. We put these shoes through rigorous testing, learning a ton about their strengths and weaknesses in the process.
The Gizeh, with its strategically contoured footbed, is an understandable winner in this category. Even before its cork-lined suede molds to your anatomy, you will notice how well it hugs each foot and supports the arch. The upturned sides keep the foot cradled in the footbed, so there is never a worry that you will slip off the edge when the shoe is wet or you're on uneven terrain. And, as the Gizeh becomes 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 highly in this category, offering something none of the other contenders do: 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, the Rosa can be ready. Without the strap, the Rosa doesn't score as well, but with it, we are impressed.
Another model that offers excellent support and stability is the Vionic Tide II. This shoe has built-in orthotics that, when fitted correctly, hold the foot snugly and securely (this shoe does run quite big, so if you're in-between sizes, we recommend sizing down, as we did). Even on steep and unpredictable hikes, we felt confident with each step. The embedded orthotics create a very high arch support, though, 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.
A few other runner-ups in this category are the Chaco Classic Leather Flip, OluKai Ohana, and the Birkenstock Gizeh Essentials EVA. All three of these have one thing in common — their curves. Each one has a unique and supportive contoured footbed. The soft leather of the Chaco Classic forms to your foot over time but comes out of the box with thick straps and a very supportive arch. The Gizeh EVA offers the same contoured foot-hugging shape that Birkenstock is known for, just in a lighter, squishier package. The Ohana is superbly made with a drop-in footbed and a nice wide base.
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, you'll end up using your flip flops for impromptu hikes, crag approaches, or random scrambles. If that sounds like your lifestyle, 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 perform decently, but a handful of them rise to the top and impress us with their extra stickiness.
Traction performance is not limited to the bottom sole, also known as the outsole. It includes the top sole or the footbed as well. This is an important, albeit often forgotten about, attribute crucial to the overall stickiness of your shoe. Footbed traction is often compromised by the presence of moisture or steep inclines, so we take note of each flips' performance during muddy hikes, river walks, and steep hikes.
The Astral Rosa is great for hiking and scrambling mainly because its optional ankle strap adds excellent security and footbed traction. A sandal with a backstrap will always feel stickier than a regular flip flop, and, when assessing this flip without the ankle strap, we find it to be considerably less impressive than several other models in our review. That said, the outsole traction is decent enough, and the full package is divine.
The Vionic Tide II is also worth mentioning. It has a more traditional flip flop design with no fancy features, but when fit correctly (it runs big, so size down if you're unsure), it has impressive traction that will help you feel confident on loose gravel or uncertain terrain.
There is nothing wrong with wanting one tool for every job, but if you are an outdoorsy person, you understand that rarely can you control the elements. Sometimes when you're out for, what was supposed to be a dry, flat walk, your adventure takes a turn and has you crossing rushing rivers or hiking through loose, steep terrain. While it can be nice to plan for these events and dress accordingly, it's even nicer when you just so happen to be wearing something that works on a variety of terrains.
In order to test versatility, we make sure to walk through water in shoes that were clearly not meant for moisture and hike up scree in flips designed for more casual use. We also utilize each shoe for its intended use, but that is less exciting.
Our clear winner in this category is the Astral Rosa. The Rosa won by a landslide, and it's all due to that removable heel strap we keep mentioning. This strap makes scrambling around uneven, steep terrain or through water a breeze. On top of that, it's removable if you decide you want a simple, strapless flip, though threading it in and out of the main straps can be a pain. We find the simplest way to wear it in "flip flop mode" is to push the ankle strap forward and slide the foot in underneath.
Next up, we have the Gizeh EVA. The waterproofness plus the comfort gives it a leg up, making it a great option for lake hangs, and city strolls alike. The Sanuk Yoga Mat is one flip that took us by surprise in the versatility department. It does not have particularly great outsole traction, but we found that this was the shoe we reached for most often in our months of hands-on testing. It is higher quality than your average plastic flip flop but casual and comfortable enough to wear with almost anything. On top of that, it is light enough to throw in your pack if you think you might need a second pair of shoes for your daily endeavors. It would have scored higher if it could truly handle more demanding terrain, but it is designed to provide cozy plushness and more than delivers in that department.
The flip flops in this review represent a wide array of styles, from rugged and athletic to delicate and feminine. We poll a sizable group of women during our testing to generate our style scores as objectively as possible. The data we gather reveals a broad spectrum of opinions, but not surprisingly, the more athletic-looking flips end up lower on almost everyone's list.
It's probably no surprise at this point that the Gizeh also finishes very high in the style department. Although the look of Birkenstocks 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 at first because the longer you wear them, the more comfortable they will become. If you want the look of the Gizeh without all the hassle, consider the Gizeh Essentials EVA for a foam version.
Equally as stylish to the Gizeh, but in a more traditional flip flop fashion is the Chaco Classic Leather. Like the Gizeh, it is leather and comes in a few neutral colors. While it is still a flip flop and you are not going to wear it with an evening gown, our testers all agree that this pair looks great with any casual outfit.
The OluKai 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 loved. We've seen this shoe after many years of use and, like any quality leather item, it gets more beautiful — and much softer — the longer it's worn.
The Sanuk Yoga Mat is notable here too. It is a somewhat plain flip flop but the synthetic leather, neat stitching, and checkered detail set it apart from your average plastic one.
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, the Olowahu 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 find that the pinkie toe tends to pop out the side on some foot shapes, so be aware that these straps, cute as they are, won't work for everybody.
Finding just an ordinary pair of flip flops for warm weather is by no means difficult, but finding the right pair, complete with superior support, traction, and comfort, is a different story. Our expert team of testers put our contenders through many thousands of steps on all kinds of terrain to gain a deep and comprehensive understanding of each pair. And we do 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!
— Hayley Thomas and Penney Garrett
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