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Although it may feel like this year just began, summer is right around the corner—which means that it’s time to stock up on all your sandals and flip-flops. Even if you’re not planning on hitting the beach all season, it’s never a bad idea to pick up a pair of flip-flops ahead of the sunny weather since the versatile shoes can be worn not just by the water but on casual walks, date nights, and lots else.
“Flip-flops are as essential as a pair of sunglasses when it comes to hanging poolside or enjoying a day at the beach, but don’t limit your favorites to these occasions alone,” advises Ashley Sanchez, a stylist at Stitch Fix. “Flip-flops are also a comfortable option to slip into before throwing on your gym shoes for a workout. Headed on a night out on the town? Wear flip-flops until it’s time to ‘wow’ them with a killer pair of heels!”
Meet the Expert
Ashley Sanchez is the California Styling Team Lead at Stitch Fix, the online personal styling service.
Whatever look you’re going for, just “don’t forget your perfect pedicure to help put your best foot forward,” adds Sanchez.
Below, we’ve rounded up some of the best flip-flops on the market, with options for every budget, style preference, occasion, and more.
Best Overall: TKEES Leather Flip Flops
Classic, simple, and stylish, these flip-flops from TKEES are truly the best. The supple cowhide leather will keep your feet comfortable, and the streamlined, minimalist silhouette lets you wear them anywhere, from the beach to the pool or out to lunch with your friends. They're designed in over 25 shades and have vegan, glitter, and glossy versions, as well.
Construction: 100% leather upper and insole; rubber outsole | Color: Nude Beach, Seashell, Deep Glow, Heatwave, Coffee, Ash, Sable, Port +more | Size Range: 5-11
Best Budget: Old Navy Sugarcane-Blend Flip-Flops
At just $5 a pair, you can’t go cheaper than Old Navy when it comes to flip-flops. They’re somewhat eco-friendly, too, with the material partially coming from renewable sugarcane. Buy several pairs in different colorways, and you're all set for the summer. If you're less picky about which colors or prints you want, save money by getting a 3-pack for less than $13.
Construction: 100% synthetic materials, with sugarcane blend outsole | Colors: Taupe, Bright White, Blackjack, Dark Gray, Lilac Mist +more | Size Range: 5-11
Best Splurge: The Row Ginza Sandal
If you’re willing to splurge, these luxurious flip-flops from The Row deserve your attention. The Japanese-inspired sandal combines sleek leather with the gorgeous curvature of a platform sole. The perfect companion to any summer ensemble, these beauties make a versatile footwear choice for years to come.
Construction: Calfskin leather upper and insole; rubber outsole | Color: Black, Sand, White | Size Range: 4.5-11.5
Best Waterproof: Temi Lightweight Flip Flops
Have a trip to the ocean coming up? You’ll want these water-resistant flip-flops from Temi, as they’re designed to dry ultra quickly and be buoyant in the water. They also have strong arch support and durable, anti-slip outsoles, so you can wear them for hours without foot ache.
Construction: EVA resin | Colors: Black, Light Pink, Blue Purple, Light Gray | Size Range: 5-10
Best Colorful: Melissa Free Flip Flop
These thick, rounded flip-flops from Melissa come in vibrant colors, so they’re sure to jazz up any outfit and get everyone’s attention. The brand’s logo is subtly embossed at the top, giving the shoes another twist that sets them from other similar pairs.
Construction: PVC | Colors: Green, Blue, Lilac, Pink, Yellow, Black | Size Range: 5-12
Most Comfortable: Teva Mush II Flip-Flop
An update on the brand’s beloved classic flip-flops, the Mush II is so over-the-top comfortable that you can wear them all day long without issue. The lightweight, moisture-wicking material will keep you moving easily, and the cushions will form to your feet for an ultra-soft feel.
Construction: 100% recycled plastic upper | Colors: Intersections Red, Companera Blue, Fronds Black, Costas Honey Gold +more | Size Range: 5-12
Most Unique: Brother Vellies Tyla Sandal
If you want a pair of sandals guaranteed to steal the show, these stunning, original picks from Aurora James' label Brother Vellies are the ones for you. The sandals feature a printed calf hair insole with a green thong band and a mix of yellow and red ankle straps for a secure fit. No one else will have a pair of flip-flops like these!
Construction: Leather upper; calf hair insole | Color: Multicolored | Size Range: 5-11
Best Classic: Tory Burch Miller Square Toe Leather Sandal
At over $200, these statement flip-flops from Tory Burch are pricier than the average pair, but for a good reason. They have thousands of positive reviews from customers, with many shoppers pointing out the serious comfort and elegance of the leather material.
Construction: Vegetable-tanned Nappa leather upper | Colors: New Cream, Caramel Corn, Sweet Corn, Sunflower Seed, Meadow Mist +more | Size Range: 4-13
Most Versatile: Very Lovely Soles San Juan
For flip-flops that’ll take you from a day at the beach to a night on the town, check out this pair from Very Lovely Soles. The minimalist design is crafted from black Italian leather and features a hidden foam footbed—stylish enough for day-to-night activities but comfortable enough to keep you feeling good wherever life takes you.
Construction: Italian leather upper; rubber sole | Colors: Black | Size Range: 7-10
Best Puffy: FARM Rio Stripes Puffy Flip Flop
If you want a sandal that's as plush as it is stylish, look no further than the Puffy Flip Flop from Brazilian brand FARM Rio. Not only is it crafted from 100 percent vegan materials, but the brand will also plant one tree for every purchase made via One Tree Planted—meaning you can feel good about these sandals through and through.
Construction: Cotton upper; rubber sole | Colors: Multi | Size Range: 5-11
Best Wedge: Olivia Miller Mary Anne Wedge Flip Flop
These cute flip-flops have a cozy 2.25-inch foam wedge, as well as a strap embellished with colorful rhinestones. They’ll add some fun sparkle to your look at the beach and can dress up even the most casual outfits.
Construction: 100% synthetic | Color: Light Pink | Size Range: 6-10
Best Kitten Heel: Chelsea Paris Slash Snake-Print Thong Mule Sandals
Who says flip-flops can’t have real heels? This chic pair by Chelsea Paris features a structural bubble kitten heel and is accented with a textured snake print upper. Wear them with dresses or skirts or more casual options like jeans if you’re trying to dress up your look.
Construction: Leather outsole | Colors: Black | Size Range: IT 36-42
Best Platform: The Attico Selene Platform Thong Sandal
These showstopping flip-flops by Italian label The Attico are your '90s party shoe dream come true. Featuring a 2-inch platform and a contoured footbed, they're bound to be comfortable enough for all-day wear. Plus, all three of the colors are vibrant and eye-catching, so you really can’t go wrong no matter which one you decide on.
Construction: Leather upper, lining and insole; rubber outsole | Color: Silver, Denim, Pastel Pink | Size Range: 5-11
Most Durable: Havaianas Women's Slim Flip Flop Sandal
There’s a reason Havaianas has remained one of the most popular flip-flop brands for over a decade—the company’s products can withstand years of use without losing their comfort level or flexibility. And the sandals’ minimalist design makes them a perfect match for any outfit and occasion, from beach to party.
Construction: Rubber | Colors: Rose gold, navy blue/blue, black, light golden, steel gray, +more | Size Range: 6-11/12
Best Eco-Friendly: Reef Bliss Night Sandals
If sustainability is your focus, check out these simple flip-flops from Reef, which are made with vegan leather, eco-friendly rubber, and no PCVs. They’re versatile and supportive, with plenty of traction to take walks on the beach problem-free.
Construction: Vegan leather upper; rubber sole | Colors: Black, Black Patent/Tan, Brown/White, Copper, Tan/Champagne, Black/Lemonade | Size Range: 5-12
Best Y2K-Inspired: Frankies Bikinis Puffer Padded Flip Flop
How fun are these sandals from Frankies Bikinis? Dubbed by the brand as its "most comfortable product ever," they feature a molded footbed and terrycloth upper for comfy-cozy vibes that are peak '00s energy. The protective coating helps keep them clean during your trip to the beach, pool, or even—dare we say—the mall.
Construction: Terrycloth wrapped EVA upper and outsole; leather accent | Color: Baby Blue, Baby Pink, Black | Size Range: 5-9
Best for Outdoors: Birkenstock Gizeh Birko-Flor
Birkenstock shoes are always solid choices for outdoor activities, and the Gizeh, which comes in several neutral colors, is no exception. The flip-flops are supportive, thick, and durable, making them great for hiking or other adventures.
Construction: Birko-Flor upper; leather insole; cork footbed; EVA outsole | Colors: Ice Pearl Onyx, White, Black, Golden Brown | Size Range: 4-12.5
Best Arch Support: Vionic Kenji Platform Sandal
For those that need support, you can’t get any better than these flip-flops from Vionic. The contoured footbed and rubber traction sole provide plenty of support, and they even come in several colors (including some bold options for summer).
Construction: Synthetic upper; EVA footbed; rubber sole | Colors: Terracotta, Cream, Marigold, Lake Blue, Poppy, Black +more | Size Range: 5-11
What to Look for When Shopping for Flip-Flops
“While plastic or rubber flip-flops have a beachy vibe, leather straps or statement details, like rhinestones or beading, can help add a little pep to your step,” says Sanchez. “Try styling these more fashion-forward options during the spring and summer months with jean shorts and your favorite tee for any casual occasion.”
Although most flip-flops have a low to non-existent heel, recent years have seen “heeled and platform flip-flops make a huge comeback,” says Sanchez. “These popular styles are easy to dress up with slip dresses or wide-leg pants and add a fun element of surprise to your outfit.”
What are flip-flops?
Although all flip-flops are sandals, not all sandals are flip-flops. What designates a shoe as a flip-flop is if it has a T-shaped or thong-style strap, says Sanchez. “This strap will typically run between your big toe and second toe to offer support and help to keep the shoe on your foot,” she explains. Additionally, other types of sandals generally feature buckles or lace-up ties for extra ankle support, while flip-flops tend to keep it simple.
How should flip-flops fit?
To maximize your flip-flops’ comfort and avoid rubbing or blistering, “ensure the strap fits snug (but not too tight) to keep them from flip-flopping right off your foot,” advises Sanchez. Also, check the heel of your foot, as it should fit snugly inside your shoe’s sole. “Don’t be afraid to go up half a size to create the best fit,” she notes.
Why Trust Byrdie
Byrdie writer Rachel Simon has covered shopping and style extensively for publications including Glamour, InStyle, Brides, and more. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times and Vice, among other outlets, and she teaches writing with Gotham Writers Workshop and Redbud Writers Project. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Writing, Literature, and Publishing from Emerson College.
This roundup was updated by Erika Reals, Byrdie's Fashion Commerce Editor. While she doesn't recommend wearing flip-flops on the hot NYC streets, she has garnered quite a collection specifically for her summer trips to Montauk and Kansas. The Farm Rio Stripes Puffy Flip Flop is her next purchase.