The Ultimate Guide to the Best Beach Flip Flops

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It’s summer time, which means one thing – it’s flip flop season! Flip flops are the ultimate summer footwear for the beach, poolside, or just casual warm weather wear. These convenient sandals can slip on and off in a second, and provide airy comfort for our feet during hot days. With so many styles and brands on the market, it can be tricky to choose the best beach flip flop for your needs.

In this in-depth guide, we will cover the top 5 most popular and high-quality beach flip flops to consider this summer. We’ll overview the pros and cons of each, and also provide tips on how to select the perfect pair based on your individual needs and preferences. Let’s get started!

Flip flops have been a popular casual footwear choice for decades, but they seem more ubiquitous than ever these days. Their simplicity and convenience make them ideal for the beach, poolside lounging, summer vacations, and everyday wear. Brands have expanded their flip flop offerings to provide a wide array of styles, colors, and designs to suit different needs.

In this article, we will specifically focus on the best flip flop choices for the beach. The beach environment, with its sand, water, and sunshine, can be hard on footwear. You want flip flops that are comfortable, durable, and provide traction on slippery wet surfaces. We’ll cover the top styles that fit the bill, ranging from basic inexpensive models to premium leather brands.

After our top 5 reviews, we’ll provide tips on how to select the best beach flip flops based on your own priorities and needs. We’ll compare popular brands, discuss key features like arch support, and answer frequently asked questions. Let’s start with reviews of our top picks!

Top 5 Beach Flip Flops

Old Navy Flip Flops

First up on our list are Old Navy’s classic flip flops. This budget-friendly brand offers simple rubber or foam flip flops in every color imaginable, for under $10 a pair. The flip flops have a basic thong design with a flat footbed and flexible rubber or foam sole.


  • Inexpensive price point, usually under $10
  • Huge selection of fun, bright colors and patterns
  • Lightweight and comfortable for casual wear
  • Easy to match with any summer outfit


  • Durability is not high; likely to wear out after one season
  • Thin foam footbed lacks arch support
  • Sizing can run small

Best for: Old Navy flip flops are ideal for teens, college students, or anyone wanting an inexpensive basic flip flop. They work great poolside, on short beach walks, or just for casual warm weather wear. The variety of colors and patterns make it easy to get creative with your summer outfits. However, the inexpensive materials mean you may be replacing them yearly.

Rainbow Sandals

On the higher end of the spectrum, Rainbow Sandals are the premium leather flip flops. The California company has been handcrafting high-quality leather sandals since 1974.

The styles feature leather straps with toe posts between the big toe and second toe. The straps are looped through the midsole and have a casual, relaxed look. But inside these flip flops are durable materials made to mold to your feet.


  • Premium leather ages well over time
  • Customized fit as it molds to your feet
  • Contoured rubber sole offers arch support
  • Durable and long-lasting with proper care
  • Large range of styles and colors


  • Expensive price tag around $50-$70
  • Break-in period as leather loosens up
  • Toe post can bother some wearers

Best for: The Rainbow brand is ideal for heavy flip flop wearers who want their pair to last for years. The customized fit and arch support provide superior comfort and foot health compared to a cheap flat foam pair. Beachgoers who walk long distances on the sand will appreciate the comfort and durability.

Reef Flip Flops

Moving into the casual surf style category, Reef makes popular flip flops for surfers and beachgoers. Known for their sandals and other watersports gear, Reef designs flip flops with casual beach style.

The bestselling Smoothy and Fanning styles have a soft cushioned footbed and sturdy rubber outer sole. There are drainage holes, an anatomical arch support, and heel cup for comfort. The textured sole provides traction for slippery wet surfaces.


  • Casual surf style, relaxed look
  • Cushioned and comfortable footbed
  • Textured rubber outer sole for traction
  • Waterproof and durable materials
  • Convenient bottle opener on straps!


  • Sizing and fit can be tricky
  • Thin footbed lacks support for some
  • Straps prone to breaking

Best for: Beachgoers who want a laidback surf style will love Reef flip flops. The waterproof materials and textured sole work great for adventures like boating, beaches, water parks, or all-day music festivals. However, those needing arch support may want to look elsewhere.


What list of flip flops is complete without mentioning Havaianas? The iconic brand from Brazil is known for their basic rubber design in a rainbow of colors and patterns.

The slim rubber straps have a textured rice pattern on the thick base sole, providing traction. Havaianas come in traditional colors but also every print and pattern imaginable from flags to flowers to polka dots.


  • Iconic globally known brand
  • Available in endless colors and fun prints
  • Durable rubber sole and straps
  • Comfortable and easy to break in
  • Affordable price point around $20-$30


  • Thin flexible rubber sole
  • Basic design lacks arch support
  • Be aware of fake knockoff versions

Best for: Beach vacationers, international travelers, and fashionistas will love these fun flip flops. They also work well poolside, for short walks on the beach, or strolling around summer music festivals. Just don’t expect advanced comfort features or performance materials.

Teva Original Sandal

If you want a sporty flip flop that can handle adventures, check out Teva’s Original Sandal. Though technically a sport sandal, its open design works well for water and beach activities.

The straps are made from durable polyester webbing and fasten with a sturdy velcro closure on top. The contoured EVA foam midsole is cushy yet supportive, while the rubber outer sole has rugged durability and traction.


  • Sporty, outdoorsy aesthetic
  • Comfortable contoured midsole
  • Great traction from rubber sole
  • Fast-drying polyester webbing
  • Secure velcro closure strap


  • Heavier and clunkier than typical flip flops
  • Limited color and style options
  • Expensive at around $50 a pair

Best for: The Teva Original is perfect for adventures like river rafting, rocky beaches, and casual summer hiking. The materials are ready to get wet and dirty while providing comfort and support for active feet. While not the most fashionable, they are extremely practical for summer fun.

How to Choose the Best Beach Flip Flops

Now that we’ve covered reviews of the top beach flip flops, let’s discuss how you can choose the best pair for your specific needs. With the huge variety of brands and styles available, keep these factors in mind while shopping.

Casual vs Heavy-Duty Materials

Think about how much wear your new flip flops will get. If you just need a cheap pair for occasional pool or beach use, basic styles like Old Navy are fine. But for daily wear or walking long distances, pay more for premium materials from brands like Rainbow that will mold to your feet and last for years.

Materials like leather and rubber will be naturally more durable. But even some foam and fabric styles have dense cushioning that will maintain structural integrity. Test stiffness by bending flip flops in your hands before purchasing.

Budget vs Premium Brands

There’s no doubt premium flip flops from designers like Rainbow will be higher quality and more comfortable. But you can find basic pairs like the Old Navy or Havaianas styles for $10-$20 that are still cute and comfy.

Set your budget and look for the best materials and features available in that range. Leather straps and contoured footbeds will provide more comfort at higher prices. Only splurge on pricier brands if you plan to wear them heavily.

Unique Style vs Simple & Basic

Flip flop styles run the gamut from basic rubber thongs to intricately woven straps or leather sandals. Consider when and where you’ll wear your flip flops. For the beach or pool, you likely want simple styles that are easy to wash and won’t be hurt if ruined by water.

But going on a tropical vacation or needing an evening beach coverup? Opt for styles in unique colors or with embellished straps to make more of a fashion statement. Brands like Havaianas have endless colors and prints to perfectly suit your personal style.

Supportive Sole vs Flat & Flexible

Check the sole thickness and shape when trying on flip flops. Completely flat and thin soles like foam Old Navy styles won’t offer arch or heel support. Look for contoured, cradling footbeds like in Rainbow and Teva brands to promote good foot health.

If you’ll wear flip flops daily or have foot issues, cushioning and arch support should be a priority. Walking on flat uncushioned soles can cause pain over time. But don’t choose thick inflexible soles either, which also aren’t healthy long-term. Find the sweet spot combining comfort, support, and flexibility.

Sturdy vs Lightweight

On a relaxing beach vacation, you likely want lightweight flip flops that won’t weigh down your bag and can be slipped on quickly. Cheap foam and basic rubber styles are ideal. But for hiking rocky trails, water sports, or rugged beaches, sturdier styles from Teva or Reef work better.

Evaluate needs like traction, durability, and drying time. Lighter materials get wet and dry out faster, while sturdy soles provide stability and grip. And ensure straps are strongly secured to the sole without weak points to avoid breakage mid-adventure! Finding the right balance is key.

Comparing Popular Brands

To summarize some of the key brands we reviewed:

  • Old Navy: Inexpensive, wide selection of basic styles
  • Rainbow: Premium leather construction and customized fit
  • Reef: Casual surf-inspired designs, waterproof
  • Havaianas: Iconic brand with huge variety and colors
  • Teva: Sporty outdoors styles, comfort and support

Think about when and how often you’ll wear flip flops to determine which brand best fits your needs. An inexpensive drugstore variety might be fine for pool days while hardcore beach walkers will want the lasting comfort from Rainbow.

Special Features

Beyond the basics, consider special features needed for your circumstances:

  • Arch support helps avoid foot pain from flat soles.
  • Traction sole provides stability on slippery wet surfaces.
  • Waterproof materials are a must for water activities.
  • Fashionable prints make a statement on vacation.
  • Stylish designers opt for luxury status brands.

Make your decision based on both style and functionality by prioritizing features that are most important to you.

Frequently Asked Questions About Beach Flip Flops

Q: Are expensive designer flip flops really worth it?

A: Paying $50+ for a basic pair of flip flops may seem excessive. But premium materials like leather combined with customized comfort and support features help expensive brands live up to their reputation. If you’ll wear flip flops daily or for intense activities, paying more for quality that lasts is worthwhile. But for poolside lounging a few times a summer, cheap styles are just fine. Consider your individual needs when deciding if expensive flip flops are worth the splurge.

Q: How can I make my flip flops last longer?

A: Avoid wearing the same pair of flip flops day in and day out. Alternate between a few pairs to allow foam and leather materials to rest and air out between wears. Letting flip flops fully dry between uses will prolong their lifespan as well. Consider replacing foam flip flops yearly, while quality leather styles can last 3-5 years or longer with proper care. Treating leather straps with conditioning oils will help prevent cracking. And pick rubber over foam soles for longevity. With a little TLC your favorite flip flops can stick around for many summers.

Q: Are flip flops bad for your feet?

A: This depends on a few variables. Wearing flat flip flops lacking arch support all day long can certainly cause foot pain and problems over time. Ample cushioning and contoured footbeds are musts for healthy extended wear. Look for styles with securely fastened straps and thick soles to get the most support possible from flip flops. Gel inserts or orthotics can also help. But in general, limit wearing flip flops to a few hours a day. For all-day use, athletic sneakers with better stability are a safer choice for your feet.

Q: Can I really hike in flip flops?

A: Technically yes – but hiking boots or athletic sandals are a far better choice for more rugged terrain. Flip flops work fine for short, smooth trails and provide nice airy comfort. But navigating rocks, steep inclines, and potential mud or water, makes secure athletic footwear a better idea for serious hiking. Sport sandals like Teva and Chaco have better traction and adjustable straps to accommodate swelling feet and prevent blisters. Flip flops can certainly work for easy nature walks but aren’t cut out for intense miles on rough ground.

Q: Are there designer high-end flip flops worth buying?

A: Yes, many high fashion designers now sell luxury flip flops! Brands like Prada, Valentino, Tory Burch, and Louis Vuitton command top dollar for embellished, sophisticated flip flops. These use premium materials like patent leather and add decorative jewels or leather flowers. While the fancy designs justify higher prices for status symbol footwear, the base comfort and support features are comparable to a basic rubber pair. But for fashionistas buying flip flops to match a designer beach coverup, the splurge on luxe styles may be perfect for summer vacation.


We hope this guide helps you dive into the world of flip flops and select your perfect pair this summer. The right beach flip flops can have you looking stylish and feeling comfortable on all your warm weather adventures.

Keep design, features, and materials in mind while shopping. Make your choice based on the longevity, comfort, and support needed for how much wear you plan on getting out of your new flip flops. And don’t forget factors like traction and waterproofness for beach vacationers.

Of the top brands we reviewed, inexpensive Old Navy works great for casual poolside wear or those on a tight budget. Rainbow Sandals deliver customized leather comfort ideal for heavy flip flop enthusiasts. Reef has cool surf styles ready to get wet. Havaianas come in endless colors to make a fashion statement. And sporty Teva sandals provide rugged support for summer activities.

Happy flip flop hunting! Let us know which pair you end up going with for summer fun and relaxation. We’ll be sticking with our trusty Havaianas – the bright colors and patterns perfectly capture the laidback vibe we aim for on beach vacations. Whatever you choose, a good pair of flip flops always promises season after season of memorable summer moments ahead.