After buying and testing 30 pairs of women's flip flops over the past 10 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 choose from, 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, versatility, and style.Related: Best Sandals for Women
Best Flip Flops for Women of 2021
|Price||$21.99 at Amazon||Check Price at Backcountry|
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|Check Price at Backcountry|
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|$59.95 at REI|
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|$69.95 at Amazon|
|Pros||Super comfy, simple, true to size, lightweight, made from yoga mat material||Durable, great outsole traction, good arch support||Beautiful colors, ages well, easy to dress up or down, great water resistance||Pillow-like comfort, versatile fit, water resistant, decent support and traction||Excellent traction, built in orthotics, very stable|
|Cons||No footbed contouring, minimal outsole traction and support||Slippery footbed when wet, runs slightly small, not great for steep hikes||Straps stretch out, toe post takes breaking in, pricey||Not stylish, not very versatile||Runs big, arch support can hurt if you're not used to it|
|Bottom Line||This simple flip flop is impossibly comfortable with wide, supportive straps and a squishy, pillow-like footbed made out of real yoga mat material||This durable, water resistant flip flop has a sharp and textured outsole making it a great option for loose terrain||This is a beautifully designed flip flop that handles water amazingly well and will always keep you looking stylish||What this flip flop lacks in style it makes up for with pillow-like comfort, good support, and surprisingly decent traction||An impressive flip flop with pronounced arch support from built-in orthotics and good traction|
|Rating Categories||Sanuk Yoga Mat||Chaco Lowdown Flip||Olukai Paniolo||OOriginal Sport||Vionic Tide II|
|Specs||Sanuk Yoga Mat||Chaco Lowdown Flip||Olukai Paniolo||OOriginal Sport||Vionic Tide II|
|Sole Material||Rubber||Non-marking rubber||Gum rubber infused with burlap||Synthetic||TPR (thermoplastic rubber)|
|Footbed Material||EVA||LUVSEAT Care+ EVA midsole||Compression molded EVA, full-grain leather||OOfoam Recovery Technology||EVA|
|Strap Material||95% synthetic/5% polyester||Polyester jacquard webbing||Full-grain leather||Synthetic||Woven textile fabric and leather with foam lining|
|Weight (per pair)||5 oz (size 8)||14 oz (size 8)||12.9 oz (size 9)||5 oz (size 8)||12.8 oz (size 8)|
|Length||10.25" (size 8)||10" (size 8)||10.75" (size 9)||10.5" (size 8)||10.25" (size 8)|
|Length of Toe Box (just above toe post)||1.50"||1.75"||1.75"||1.50"||2" (size 8)|
|Unique Features||Made from real yoga mats||Luvseat ergonomic footbed and unique strap pattern||Saddle-inspired stitching on footbed||Foam footbeds||Built-in orthotic|
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 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 find it highly stylish.
The Gizeh 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 summer shoe.
Read review: Birkenstock Gizeh
Best Comfort for the Price
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 performed admirably through all our tests.
Although it leans towards the pricier side, the Ohana is still an affordable flip for those that want a more durable long-term option. And the heavenly comfort this shoe provides is well worth the fair price tag. It takes a bit of time to dry after getting wet, but this flip 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 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 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 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
Support and Style
Merrell Juno Wrap
If you are looking for a stylish flip for long days that won't ruin your cute summer outfits then look no further than Merrell Juno Wrap. With its hard rubber sawtooth outsole for traction, EVA foam midsole for comfort, and contoured footbed for support, this shoe will have you ready for most any obstacle the day throws at you. The toe strap, while tight at first, loosens up quickly and offers additional stability. The footbed is comfortable right out of the box but forms to the foot after just a few wears, further increasing its comfort.
Walking around your office, the park, or running around doing errands all day is a breeze in the Juno Wrap, but these shoes are not meant for hiking or water. The footbed gets slippery in the presence of moisture and hiking around on steep terrain is a bit difficult. It is also worth noting that the teeth on the outsole angle from the front to the back, which makes them great for walking uphill, but provides less traction when going downhill. These stylish flips may not carry you up a mountain but they don't sacrifice too much function for the sake of fashion.
Read review: Merrell Juno Wrap
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 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
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
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 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 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 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 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 were uncomfortable, but some were certainly more luxurious than others. Our favorite in this category is the OluKai Ohana. It certainly provided 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, Sanuk Yoga Mat, and OOFOS OOriginal Sport. 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 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 Sanuk Yoga Mat and the OOFOS OOriginal are both comfortable right out of the box. They 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 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 an understandable winner in this category. Even before its cork-lined suede molded to our anatomy, we noticed 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 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 Merrell Juno Wrap is another surprisingly supportive option. It can be difficult to find support in such a stylish shoe, but Merrell blew this one out of the water. With its contoured footbed, EVA midsole, and secure toe strap, this fashionable flip flop will have you feeling secure in more than just your outfit choice.
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, the Rosa can be ready. Without the strap, the Rosa wouldn't have scored so well, but with it we were 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 OluKai Ohana, Birkenstock Gizeh Essentials EVA, and the Chaco Lowdown Flip. All three of these have one thing in common — their curves. Each one has a unique and supportive contoured footbed. 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. And the Lowdown has a classic Chaco footbed shape but is a bit thicker than their more basic flips. It is worth noting, however, that the Lowdown does not have any stretch, so size up if you are on the fence.
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 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, also known as the outsole, but in actuality, a leading cause of slipping and sliding when wearing a flip flop or sandal is a lack of traction on the interior 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.
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 found it 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 Chaco Lowdown is another high scorer in this category. The hard outsole rubber has sharp edges and deep grooves which help get a grip on loose or slippery terrain. The straps are tight and the contoured and textured footbed also helps keep the foot from slipping out. The Crocs Kadee II had us very surprised. It is a minimalist shoe but the outsole traction is impressive. The bottom is littered with small cleat-like pegs made from the same soft material as the rest of the shoe. Somehow these flips provided optimal traction in mud, water, and on loose terrain. It is worth noting, however, that the footbed traction on these puppies is less impressive.
The Juno Wrap and Tide II are also worth mentioning. The Juno is equipped with a sawtooth outsole which is great for walking uphill on loose terrain, however, walking downhill is a different story and ultimately the reason it didn't score higher. The Tide 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 made 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 utilized each shoe for its intended use, but that was 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 talking about. 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 found the simplest way to wear it in "flip flop mode" was to just push the ankle strap forward and slide the foot in underneath.
A few runner-ups are the Gizeh Essentials EVA and the Chaco Lowdown. The waterproofness plus the comfort of the Gizeh EVA gives it a leg up, making it a great option for lake hangs and city strolls alike. The Lowdown offers a little better traction and therefore is a better option for outdoor shenanigans.
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 in our months of hands-on testing, this was the shoe we reached for most often. 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 we felt it could truly handle more demanding terrain, but it's meant for cozy plushness and in that department it more than delivers.
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.
The clear winner in this category is Juno Wrap. It is equal parts elegant and edgy. The slight platform, spiked sawtooth outsole, and contrast midsole give this shoe a unique look that says I am ready for anything and I'm going to look good while doing it. We found this shoe to easily complete any outfit.
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 in the beginning, 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.
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 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.
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 our contenders through many thousands of 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!
— Hayley Thomas & Penney Garrett