The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

The Best Women's Flip Flops of 2019

The optional ankle strap on the Rosa meant we were supported and stable no matter where we decided to walk.
By Penney Garrett ⋅ Senior Review Editor
Tuesday August 13, 2019
  • Share this article:

To help you in this daunting quest, we researched over 100 current options and purchased 14 of the most promising pairs for 2019. While some categories of outdoor gear for women may be underrepresented, flip flops aren't one of them — there are literally thousands of models to chose from! We then took them on months of adventures over miles of seriously varied terrain. From urban bike rides to muddy mountain trails, we flipped and flopped all over the place while scrutinizing everything from comfort and style to traction and water resistance. Read on to learn which pairs are the favorites and which ones fall a bit short.


Top 14 Product Ratings

Displaying 1 - 5 of 14
≪ Previous | Compare | Next ≫
 
Awards Editors' Choice Award  Top Pick Award Best Buy Award Top Pick Award 
Price $58.82 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$64.80 at Amazon$56.21 at Amazon$59.99 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$109.95 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
100
0
83
100
0
81
100
0
80
100
0
79
100
0
79
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Attractive, supportive, comfortable, adjustable strapExcellent traction, built in orthotics, very stableAnkle strap, water resistant, durable, lightweightVery comfortable, grippy footbed, stableComfortable, well-made, attractive
Cons Stiff, breaking in takes timeRuns big, arch support can hurt if you're not used to itContouring by toes is oddly placed, ankle strap can slipSporty look, runs a bit bigExpensive, narrow
Bottom Line A beautifully unique sandal that provides amazing support and some of the most personalized comfort a shoe can offer.A seriously impressive flip-flop with pronounced arch support and excellent traction.A fantastic choice for anyone that loves both flip-flops and sandals and wants everything combined in one shoe.If you're looking for a durable flip flop that feels amazing, this is an all-around great shoe to own.This is a beautiful and durable sandal that feels luxurious and is easy to break in.
Rating Categories Birkenstock Gizeh Vionic Tide II Astral Rosa OluKai Ohana - Women's OluKai Lala
Comfort (25%)
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
10
10
0
8
Support & Stability (20%)
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
7
Durability (15%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
Water Resistance (15%)
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
8
Traction (15%)
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
7
Style (10%)
10
0
9
10
0
5
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
10
Specs Birkenstock Gizeh Vionic Tide II Astral Rosa OluKai Ohana -... OluKai Lala
Sole material EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) TPR (thermoplastic rubber) Granite Grip rubber Non-marking rubber or gum rubber Non-marking molded rubber with traction pods
Footbed material Cork lined with suede EVA Dual-density EVA Molded EVA with soft ICEVA drop-in footbed Molded polyurethane wrapped in full-grain leather
Strap Material Birko-flor (PVC) lined with fleece Woven textile fabric and leather with foam lining Cushioned synthetic leather with knit liner, ankle strap: polyester webbing Water-resistant synthetic nubuck leather lined with quick-drying jersey knit Full-grain leather with microfiber lining
Width of Strap (inches) Varied: .75"-2" across top of foot, vertical strap starts at .75" and finishes at 1.5" over toe post 1" Main: .625"-1", add-on webbing strap: .5" 1" 1.5" at side of foot, 3.5" vertically from top of foot to toe post
Length of size 9 (inches) 10.625" (size 39) 10.25" (size 8) 10.5" 10.75" 10.375"
Length of toe box (just above toe post) (inches) 1.25" 2" (size 8) 1.75" 1.75" 1.75"
Weight (pair) (ounces) 13.5 oz 12.8 oz (size 8) 12.7 oz (11.8 oz w/o ankle straps) 13.7 oz 14.3 oz
Dry time after being fully submerged Damp but very wearable at 26 min, underside of strap over an hour to fully dry Footbed 4 min, straps only slightly damp after 30 min Footbed dry to touch at 7 min but damp with weight until 15 min, main straps dry in 22 min, webbing straps damp but good at 30 min Feels damp but good by 11 min, fully dry in 40 min Footbed 4 min, straps 25 min
Unique features Adjustable strap, contoured footbed that molds to feet Built-in orthotic Extra strap converts flip flop into a hikable sandal ICEVA (soft EVA) drop-in footbed Hand-sewn toe post for comfort
Animal products? Yes Yes No No Yes

Best Overall Women's Flip Flop


Birkenstock Gizeh


Birkenstock Gizeh
Editors' Choice Award

$58.82
(41% off)
at Amazon
See It

83
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort - 25% 9
  • Support & Stability - 20% 10
  • Durability - 15% 7
  • Water Resistance - 15% 7
  • Traction - 15% 7
  • Style - 10% 9
Footbed material: Suede-lined cork | Weight (pair): 13.5 ounces
Great support
Stylish
Contoured ergonomic footbed molds to your feet
Takes a long time to break in
Toe post is very stiff
Expensive

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 — even some things that surprised us. This supremely well-made shoe becomes more comfortable the longer you wear it and also offers the most support and stability of all our tested models. 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 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 more extended 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 comfortable, durable, and supportive foot friend.

Read review: Birkenstock Gizeh

Best Bang for the Buck


Birkenstock Gizeh Essentials EVA


Best Buy Award

$40 List
List Price
See It

78
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort - 25% 8
  • Support & Stability - 20% 8
  • Durability - 15% 6
  • Water Resistance - 15% 10
  • Traction - 15% 7
  • Style - 10% 7
Footbed material: EVA | Weight (pair): 6.5 ounces
Ultra lightweight
Waterproof
Comfortable
Not as durable as traditional Birkenstocks
Doesn't breathe
Footbed can be slippery when wet

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 of breaking in, and retails for less than half the price of the original. If you've wanted the famous Birkenstock contoured footbed but can't stomach the 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 beach time, gardening, and more.

The drawback of having a foam shoe 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. This is highly supportive and comfortable but also means you might get 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

Best Buy for Comfort


OluKai Ohana - Women's


OluKai 'Ohana
Best Buy Award

$59.99
(8% off)
at Amazon
See It

79
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort - 25% 10
  • Support & Stability - 20% 7
  • Durability - 15% 8
  • Water Resistance - 15% 7
  • Traction - 15% 7
  • Style - 10% 7
Footbed material: Molded EVA, ICEVA drop-in footbed | Weight (pair): 13.7 ounces
Exceptionally comfortable
Contouring offers more support
Great for wider feet
Takes longer to dry when wet than other models

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 internally on the cushy footbed. The design runs a bit big and wide, so it's an excellent choice for those with meatier feet and 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.

While 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 still feels fantastic to wear. 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


Best Buy Award

$21.95
(27% off)
at Amazon
See It

73
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort - 25% 7
  • Support & Stability - 20% 5
  • Durability - 15% 7
  • Water Resistance - 15% 10
  • Traction - 15% 8
  • Style - 10% 8
Footbed material: Croslite | Weight (pair): 7.1 ounces
Stylish and sleek
Ankle strap
Excellent traction when dry
Harder to put on
Stability issues
Slippery when wet

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 in the barely-there look and feel 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. However, the Sexi Flip offers 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

Top Pick for Hiking and Scrambling


Astral Rosa


Top Pick Award

$56.21
(25% off)
at Amazon
See It

80
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort - 25% 7
  • Support & Stability - 20% 9
  • Durability - 15% 9
  • Water Resistance - 15% 8
  • Traction - 15% 8
  • Style - 10% 7
Footbed material: Dual-density EVA | Weight (pair): 12.7 ounces (with ankle strap)
Extra strap offers versatility and support
Great for hiking and water sports
Durable
Molded ridge at toes is placed awkwardly
Straps can slip
Footbed traction could be better

The hybrid Astral Rosa is a game changer. Say goodbye to the days of needing both 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 is more technical. From your 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, an issue of irritation is the fact that the ankle strap sometimes loosens while walking. We saw 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 earned. No other model in our review is quite as well-suited for the true adventurer who wants gear that can go the extra mile.

Read review: Astral Rosa

Top Pick for Stylish Adventures


OluKai Lala


Olukai Lala
Top Pick Award

$109.95
at Amazon
See It

79
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort - 25% 8
  • Support & Stability - 20% 7
  • Durability - 15% 8
  • Water Resistance - 15% 8
  • Traction - 15% 7
  • Style - 10% 10
Footbed material: Molded PU, full-grain leather | Weight (pair): 14.3 ounces
Very stylish
Water resistant
Good traction
Runs small and narrow
Slippery footbed
Expensive

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, durable, and comfortable. The wide straps provide security and are also soft and supple on the skin. Overall, the Lala performed excellently across all our metrics, feeling stable on steep terrain, drying quickly when wet, looking gorgeous, and feeling luxurious.

The footbed on this flip is quite 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


Olukai Paniolo



$60.00
(29% off)
at Amazon
See It

72
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort - 25% 7
  • Support & Stability - 20% 6
  • Durability - 15% 8
  • Water Resistance - 15% 8
  • Traction - 15% 6
  • Style - 10% 9
Footbed material: Molded EVA, full-grain leather | Weight (pair): 12.9 ounces
Beautiful detailing
Well made
Excellent water resistance
Pricey
Looser fit

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 horses saddle, you can put this piece through the wringer and it just keeps on giving, looking better with age and love.

While these maybe aren't the ones to choose for those that lead a 100% rugged lifestyle, they strike a great balance between fashion and function for the right person. The Paniolo is not cheap, and the leather straps 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



$29.83
(34% off)
at REI
See It

71
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Comfort - 25% 10
  • Support & Stability - 20% 7
  • Durability - 15% 8
  • Water Resistance - 15% 2
  • Traction - 15% 7
  • Style - 10% 6
Footbed material: Yoga mat rubber | Weight (pair): 12.8 ounces
Supremely comfortable
Requires zero breaking-in
More durable than previous iterations
Absorbs water and holds it in

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 where some comfort and recovery was needed and wanted. 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 soaks up H2O and holds onto it. The footbed still feels comfortable enough to wear, but after being saturated in one of our tests, it was still pressing out water 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


Some of our contenders sitting out to dry after a thorough soaking in the creek.
Some of our contenders sitting out to dry after a thorough soaking in the creek.

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 that is the flip flop meshed well with Penney's lifestyle, whether around town, collecting wild plants, or approaching a climb.

Before any feet were slipped into these flip flops, we went to considerable length researching the market to select the best models available from an initial pool of over 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, you should be well equipped to get a great pair of flip flops with this comprehensive review at your disposal.

Related: How We Tested Flip-Flop Sandals for Women

We love the versatility of the Rosa - with the ankle strap or without  this is an almost perfect shoe to have along for adventures.
Comfortable? Yes. Supportive or stable? I mean... the footbed is made out of yoga mats  how substantial can it really be?

Analysis and Test Results


For many of us, the 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 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 (an area known for its variable weather and beautifully rugged landscapes) and beyond.

Related: Buying Advice for Flip-Flop Sandals for Women

From dry and dusty to wet and muddy  we put our flip flops through months of obstacles to help you find your perfect pair.
From dry and dusty to wet and muddy, we put our flip flops through months of obstacles to help you find your perfect pair.

Value


Purchasing 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 choice. 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 piece, others will want to prioritize comfort and durability for the crag or the 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 we feel offers the most value for the hard-earned dollars you will be dishing out.


Comfort


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 over time with 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 were 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 of these where some pleasurable noise was uttered.

The cushy feeling of the Yoga Mat 3 is the perfect remedy after a long day of hiking.
The cushy feeling of the Yoga Mat 3 is the perfect remedy after a long day of hiking.

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, as 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 (and no animal products), check out the Gizeh Essentials EVA, a foam version of this same shoe that is also highly comfortable.

Breaking in the original Gizeh takes a bit of work  but you will be rewarded with a cozy supportive sandal that you won't want to take off.
Breaking in the original Gizeh takes a bit of work, but you will be rewarded with a cozy supportive sandal that you won't want to take off.

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 for 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.

The Ora Recovery Flip has the thickest footbed of all our tested models - an attribute that can feel heavenly on tired sore feet.
The Ora Recovery Flip has the thickest footbed of all our tested models - an attribute that can feel heavenly on tired sore feet.

Support & Stability


It's easy to think that support and stability aren't particularly important with a simple summery shoe, but a well-constructed flip-flop with a better fit means happier feet and less potential for pain and injury over time. Just because sandals are minimal doesn't mean you have to sacrifice all your 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 and what you might want to be able to navigate. Better to be ready for anything than cursing your feet with every step!

To properly test this metric, we went for some rigorous hiking shoe-appropriate hikes. 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 place so there is never a worry that you will slip off the edge when on varied terrain or when the shoe is wet. As the Gizeh gets broken in and personalized, these qualities only improve. Whether on a hiking trail or strolling through town, this shoe does not disappoint.

Dressed to impress with comfort  stability  and traction. Though the Gizeh looks like a dressy urban shoe  it definitely holds its own out on rough terrain.
Dressed to impress with comfort, stability, and traction. Though the Gizeh looks like a dressy urban shoe, it definitely holds its own out on rough terrain.

The Astral Rosa also scores high in this category, offering something none of our other contenders does: an optional and 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.

The Tide II is one of the more secure and supportive options in our test suite.
The Tide II is one of the more secure and supportive options in our test suite.

Another model that offers some of the best support and stability is the Vionic Tide II. This shoe has built-in orthotics and, when fitted correctly, holds the foot snugly and securely (it does run quite big, so if you're in-between sizes be sure to size down, as we did). Even on steep and unpredictable hikes, we felt completely confident in each step. The embedded orthotics do create a very high arch support, 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.

Durability


As mentioned previously, you can certainly get a pair of flip-flops for less than buying a cocktail, but they likely won't 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.

While most of our flips were tested for several months, not years, we feel this is an important metric to include and take note of. We can't be entirely confident how continued exposure to the elements and 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 softens and frays a bit, and rubber soles eventually wear off their tread, but it's clear that the EcoTread is made for longevity and can handle all manner of environmental elements. Chaco also offers strap replacement for many of their shoes.

You will have no problem wearing the Flip EcoTread for many years without fear of it falling apart or looking shabby. There's definitely a reason you see Chaco's so often in rugged places like Colorado!
You will have no problem wearing the Flip EcoTread for many years without fear of it falling apart or looking shabby. There's definitely a reason you see Chaco's so often in rugged places like Colorado!

The Tide II is another high scorer in this category, showing 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.

Both the Vionic Tide II and the Chaco Flip EcoTread are great sandals to choose for durability and longevity.
Both the Vionic Tide II and the Chaco Flip EcoTread are great sandals to choose for durability and longevity.

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 took it all in stride and then washed clean, leaving us looking new and ready for the next round.

In our time with the Rosa it wasn't phased by hardly anything. This is definitely a great option for those that live and play hard.
In our time with the Rosa it wasn't phased by hardly anything. This is definitely a great option for those that live and play hard.

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.

The Ohana and the Lala getting frisky during some fun outdoor excursions. Both sandals are well constructed and clearly able to take abuse without falling apart or looking ragged.
The Ohana and the Lala getting frisky during some fun outdoor excursions. Both sandals are well constructed and clearly able to take abuse without falling apart or looking ragged.

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.

They may not be the most stylish  but these burly-yet-cushy flips can take some abuse.
They may not be the most stylish, but these burly-yet-cushy flips can take some abuse.

Water Resistance


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, sprinklers, and beaches, 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 of how nonporous the materials are — nothing soaks in — but a few minutes out in the sun or a quick wipe with a towel will 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 everything dries at the same pace.

The simple-yet-stylish rubber Sexi Flip has no problem repelling water and drying quickly.
The simple-yet-stylish rubber Sexi Flip has no problem repelling water and drying quickly.

The the Rainbow Single Layer Premier also soared to the top of this metric. This 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 be 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. These two models didn't have that issue because the straps are so thin.

Whether it's a light sprinkling or full immersion  the Rainbow Premier handles water with ease  all the while feeling great on foot.
Whether it's a light sprinkling or full immersion, the Rainbow Premier handles water with ease, all the while feeling great on foot.

The Astral Rosa, Flip EcoTread, and Tide II 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 air flow. Laying out in full sun after walking in a river, the footbed on these flips took a handful of minutes to dry fully. If you continue to walk while a lot of water is present, the Flip and Tide II briefly feel a bit slippy and make some farting noises, but this doesn't last long. If you're wearing the ankle strap on the Rosa any slippage due to water is a non-issue. The straps on all of these models took considerably longer to dry, right around 30 minutes, but none of them felt unpleasant on the skin to wear while damp.

To assess how well our tested flips were able to handle some serious water  every pair got a chilly river bath on a hot day. Here we see some of the contenders with the Chaco Flip EcoTread - an easy top performer for this metric - on the far right.
To assess how well our tested flips were able to handle some serious water, every pair got a chilly river bath on a hot day. Here we see some of the contenders with the Chaco Flip EcoTread - an easy top performer for this metric - on the far right.

Being that OluKai is a Hawaiian-based company, it is no surprise that all of our contenders from that company handled water quite well. Though what did surprise us is that the fancy 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.

After walking around in the river it took the Paniolo just 2 minutes to wick away the water.
After walking around in the river it took the Paniolo just 2 minutes to wick away the water.


Traction


Often people fail to think about traction when purchasing footwear they don't equate with hiking, running, or climbing. But if you're anything like us here at OutdoorGearLab, you'll end up using your flip-flops for crag approaches, impromptu hikes, and various random scrambles. If that sounds like your lifestyle as well, 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 something like a flip flop is due to lack of footbed traction. 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 also 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 makes for 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, and 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 other models in our review.

The Rosa has excellent traction with or without its supplemental ankle strap - but especially with!
The Rosa has excellent traction with or without its supplemental ankle strap - but especially with!

Finishing just below the Rosa is both the Tide II and the Sexi Flip. The Tide has more of a 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 all kinds of loose gravel and uncertain terrain. The Sexi Flip was a surprise for us in this category: we misjudged its chic and minimal design, thinking it would fare poorly when faced with anything too serious. But lo and behold it did great (in no small part because of its ankle straps), allowing us to float down steep pine needle-covered trails in style.

The Tide II is an impressive flip flop with built-in orthotics and excellent traction that will allow you to happily navigate some very insecure terrain.
The Tide II is an impressive flip flop with built-in orthotics and excellent traction that will allow you to happily navigate some very insecure terrain.

Style


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 flips ended up lower on most 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 combined to deliver a truly lovely shoe that our testers appreciated.

The Lala (on the left) is a clear crowd favorite - it's a beautiful shoe that looks great with everything from jeans to evening wear. The Paniolo (right) isn't far behind.
The Lala (on the left) is a clear crowd favorite - it's a beautiful shoe that looks great with everything from jeans to evening wear. The Paniolo (right) isn't far behind.

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 for people 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, owning the Olowahu is practically a no-brainer. Fit-wise we found that on some shapes of feet the pinkie toe tends to pop out the side, so be aware that these straps, cute as they are, won't work for everybody.

Super cute and super comfy  the Olowahu is an easy flip to fall in love with  especially for the price.
Super cute and super comfy, the Olowahu is an easy flip to fall in love with, especially for the price.

It's probably no surprise at this point that the Gizeh also finishes very high in the style department. While 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.

Sleek and minimal  the Sexi Flip is a stylish choice indeed.
Sleek and minimal, the Sexi Flip is a stylish choice indeed.

Conclusion


Finding just any 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 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 environment, and your style. Maximize your spring and summer experience with some open-toed shoes that can handle every facet of a well-lived life!

Next time you lower down from a tough climb or finish a brutal workout  be sure you have a trusty and comfortable pair of flip flops waiting to embrace your tired feet. Or a bunch of them!
Next time you lower down from a tough climb or finish a brutal workout, be sure you have a trusty and comfortable pair of flip flops waiting to embrace your tired feet. Or a bunch of them!


Penney Garrett