Flip-flop sandals are footwear de rigueur for post-activity chill time in the outdoors. Our contributor opines on his favorite flop options after a decade wear-testing sandals from the campsite to the beach.
Letting your feet breathe after an epic day outside can be bliss. But choose the wrong post-feat footwear and your dogs will bark.
After years of wearing, walking, lounging, and losing dozens of pairs of sandals, the five picks in this review have surfaced as some favorites.
Outdoors ‘Flip-Flop’ Sandal Review
Rainbow Sandals – Starting At $34
Pick from the leather or hemp models, these floppers have been making college coeds happy for years. Personally, I am a fan of the “ready to wear out of the box” hemp model, but after a couple of wears, Rainbows‘ leather sandals will break-in to be just as comfy.
The hemp top-sole will retain sweat and, therefore, can start to smell like low tide. No worries, though, soap them up and hose them down. Wear them hard and wear them often, Rainbows last. An added bonus: The hemp grips the skin of your foot well, making these a good choice when scampering down wet trails to that obscure surf spot or hidden beach.
Chacos – Starting At $65
I am referring to Chaco flip-flops only, not the z-strap “river sandals.” Chaco’s foot thongs have a sleek, low-profile version of the brand’s acclaimed sole. They are grippy, tough, wash easy, and they will put your tootsies at ease.
Unlike their z-strap brethren, these flops will let everyone know you are outdoorsy in an understated way. I mean, you don’t wear your ski boots to a BBQ, do you?
Havaianas – Starting At $24
Remember those squishy, rainbow-colored foam squares at your preschool, the ones that fit into one another like puzzle pieces? I’m pretty sure Havaianas are made out of the same material.
This is the sandal version of pulling your Grandmother’s multi-colored afghan up to your neck as you lay on the couch. It’s like a hug for your feet. The only problem is that Urban Outfitters found these in Brazil and ballooned the price from $2 to $20+. Fortunately, they are now easier to obtain and $20 still doesn’t break the piggy bank.
Reef Sandals – Starting At $26
One step in a pair of Reefs and the classic “pop” will cause memories of diving board sessions from youthful summers to flood your mind. Mmmm, smell that? It’s Banana Boat sunscreen and memories.
Every time I slide into my Reef flippies I am surprised by their comfortable support. A sandal with a padded arch is a dream. But beware—Reef sandals will hold foot funk and smell like a state fair port-a-potty. Run them through the dishwasher to eradicate the yuck, sans dishes, of course.
Minnetonka Moccasins – Starting At $45
Yes, I know, moccasins are not flip-flops. But with Minnetonka Moccasins you get the soft leathery comfort of Ugg boots without looking like a sorority sister waiting in line to order a pumpkin spice skinny chai latte. Plus, have you ever kicked a prickly pear or rock while stumbling around in the dark looking for the groover?
Yeah, moccasins rock. The all-leather, simple construction molds to your feet. They slip on and off easily, just like their flip-flop cousins. But note, if you take these on a river trip and shove them into the bottom of your drybag while wet (and then forget about them for two weeks) they will grow mold and smell vicious. You will then have to say goodbye, and far too soon.