Best flip flops for walking 2021: Easy-breezy shoes for summer strolls

Reduce foot pain and boost your walking comfort with our pick of supportive flip flops from the likes of Vionic, Skechers and FitFlop

The best flip flops for walking

A quick glance at a pair of flip flops for walking will tell you that this type of summer shoe is different to regular fashion flip flops. The sole will be different, for example, and there will be noticeable arch support. 

In fact, the best flip flops for walking are purposefully designed to help reduce any leg and foot pain you experience, and therefore boost your walking comfort, in a way that 'regular' flip flops don't.

These simple-to-wear warm weather shoes provide boosted support when adventuring off-road (though we're talking more country lanes rather than mountain trails), along beaches and even when strolling around the park. 

That's why walking flip flops are the ideal half-way house between regular flip flops and walking sandals, which might feel a little too enclosed on hot weather days. 

That said, and as we cover in our top women’s walking shoes and men’s walking shoes buyer’s guides, flip flops aren’t nearly as supportive as proper walking shoes. That’s because shoes offer enhanced coverage of your entire foot. Hiking boots take that to a whole other level again.

Unsure what type of footwear suits the walking you'll be doing? Then check out our walking boots vs walking shoes guide to see the key differences.

When buying a pair of flip flops for walking, pay attention to what the uppers are made of. Synthetic materials are quicker to dry if you’re planning on dipping your feet in the ocean or a stream, but leather is better for durability and general wear and tear. 

Honestly, are flip flops good for walking?

As mentioned above, they’re a great compromise if you want to feel a cool breeze wrapping around your toes and are willing to sacrifice the more robust support of a walking shoe to get that level of freedom. 

The best flip flops for walking primarily focus on boosting arch support. Why is that important? Because proper arch support alleviates any pain you may feel when walking, and works to prevent your arches from collapsing – that can lead to painful foot conditions like plantar fasciitis.

The only downside is that they aren’t as stylish as fashion flip flops. So the choice you make depends on what you’re prioritising: greater foot comfort and support, or enhanced style. Of course, there is always that rare flip flop that encompasses both (to a degree) – check out the Olukai Ohana and Crocs Capri V Flip below.

The best flip flops for walking to buy now

Best flip flops for walking: Vionic Islander in green

(Image credit: Vionic)

1. Vionic Islander

The best flip flops for walking if you have plantar fasciitis

Sizes: 3-12
Outer material: nylon webbing, padded jersey
Midsole: EVA
Outsole: rubber
Reasons to buy
+Reduces foot fatigue and pain+Realigns your feet to their natural position+Soft-woven toe post won't rub skin

Vionic is the go-to brand for people dealing with painful foot conditions like plantar fasciitis and collapsed arches, and even lower back pain (keep reading). The brand was created by a podiatrist and has since developed various technologies to reduce foot pain and boost your walking comfort. 

No wonder, then, that the Vionic Islander is our top pick of the best flip flops for walking. The Islander is super-comfy straight out of the box and utilises Vionic’s FMT Technology to help you gain proper alignment. The aim of which is to reduce pain in the balls of your feet, in your heels, shins, knees and lower back – it all connects.

There’s a Tri-planar Motion Control footbed with deep heel cup to stabilise and support your feet as you wear the flips flops daily, helping to realign your feet back into their natural position. EVA midsoles are there to absorb shock and lessen the stress on your joints.

Some people avoid flips flops because they hate toe posts. Well, you won’t have to worry about that here as the Vionic Islander has a padded jersey upper, soft woven toe post and foam-lined strap to prevent any material from digging into your skin or rubbing it. 

Best flip flops for walking: Olukai Ohana

(Image credit: Olukai)

2. Olukai Ohana

These comfy flip flops deliver arch support with each step

Sizes: 3-12
Outer material: nylon webbing, soft-knit jersey
Midsole: EVA
Outsole: Rubber
Reasons to buy
+Superb arch support+Jersey knit-lined straps+Anatomically shaped footbed

Like the Vionic Islander, the Olukai Ohana also come in women's and men’s sizing. These are water-resistant, so perfectly happy on the beach, and feature a padded, smooth-touch footbed that’s ideal for day-long wear.

The footbed itself is made from molded EVA and dips smoothly towards the toes to deliver an anatomical fit. These flip flops will continuously boost your walking comfort, fitting closely to the natural shape of your feet.

The Olukai Ohana boast a soft nylon toe post, so you won’t experience any nasty rubbing or chaffing there, along with quick-drying jersey knit lined straps that are soft against the skin. They’re durable too, so they’ll last many a summer adventure.

Best flip flops for walking: FitFlop iQushion Ergonomic

(Image credit: FitFlop)

3. FitFlop iQushion Ergonomic Flip Flops

The ideal choice for wearing from beach to poolside bar

Sizes: 3-9
Outer material: nylon webbing, soft-knit jersey
Midsole: EVA
Outsole: Rubber
Reasons to buy
+Cushioned footbed+Easy to slip on/off+Squishy micro-bubble footbed

Granted they don’t look like much at first glance, but don’t underestimate the walking comfort dished out by these back-to-basics FitFlops. The iQushion Ergonomic Flip Flops rely use air-foam cushioning to ensure every step you take is comfortable and supported.

FitFlop has designed them with ‘impact pillows’ (pockets of cushioning) at high pressure points such as the balls of your feet, arches and underneath your toes. So it doesn’t matter if you’re heavy-footed, or you more towards the back or sides of your foot, these will support you. 

The FitFlop iQushion come in a range of colours and finishes (matt or pearlised, for example), making them the best flip flops for walking if you want a shoe you can colour-match them to your summer wardrobe. Considering they’re so budget-friendly, you could stock up on a couple of pairs.

Best flip flops for walking: Columbia Kea II

(Image credit: Columbia)

4. Columbia Women’s Kea II

The best flip flops for walking along country trails

Sizes: 3-10
Outer material: leather
Midsole: TechLite EVA
Outsole: Omni-Grip rubber
Reasons to buy
+Decent grip on varied terrain+Durable build+Cushioned footbed for comfort

Boosted shock absorption makes the Columbia Women’s Kea II your best option for any gentle off-road walks and countryside strolls. We’ve worn these high-performance flip flops on numerous walks already and rate how comfortable they feel. 

We were slightly worried about the enclosed, wrap-around toe post and whether it would irritate our skin, but it didn’t. Columbia’s Techlite EVA midsoles are also at play, ensuring better shock absorption and energy return with each step.

The main event with the Kea II is Columbia's Omni-Grip rubber sole, which dishes out enhanced traction when you’re heading off-road or traipsing over slippery surfaces. Again, if you’re planning on a proper summer hike, go for walking shoes or lightweight hiking boots.

Best flip flops for walking: Crocs Capri V Flip

(Image credit: Crocs)

5. Crocs Capri V Flip

A plain yet smart-looking option to fit in with your summer wardrobe

Sizes: 3-9
Outer material: microfibre
Midsole: EVA
Outsole: rubber
Reasons to buy
+Cushioned footbeds+Shock absorption

The Capri V Flip’s are more traditional-looking than most of the other shoes featured in our best flip flops for walking round-up, and less divisive than the design of original Crocs shoes. So they’ll slip in unnoticed to your summer outdoors wardrobe.

What you will notice is the enhanced levels of comfort when walking. That’s because Crocs has outfitted these lightweight summer shoes with Croslite molded EVA foam outsoles, plus Dual Crocs Comfort (deeply cushioned) footbeds. Together these improve bounce, energy return and deliver higher levels of cushioning for mega foot comfort.

The Crocs Capri V also have a deep heel cup that hugs and cradles the heels of your feet. Remember: more heel support = less foot and leg pain.

Best flip flops for walking: Skechers Go Walk Pizazz

(Image credit: Skechers)

6. Skechers Go Walk Pizazz

Best flip flops for walking long distances

Sizes: 3-8
Outer material: Synthetic
Inner material: Textile
Outsole: Gum rubber
Reasons to buy
+Lightweight+Sporty feel+Heightened levels of cushioning

Keep your feet cool and supported during summer with these classic Skechers. The Go Walk Pizazz are a sporty take on flip flops for walking, offering a deeper sole than most of the others featured here.

The footbed uses Skechers’ Goga Mat technology, designed to 'make you feel like you’re walking on a yoga mat'. Bizarre, but in a nutshell it means that these flip flops are all about higher levels of sponginess underfoot, so you hardly feel the surface you’re walking upon.

This makes them a great choice for racking up the miles, with a multi-direction traction sole offering better grip on varied terrain. Injection-molded midsoles are there to enhance shock absorption, lessen impact and reduce leg and foot fatigue.

Best flip flops for walking: Birkenstock Gizeh

(Image credit: Birkenstock)

7. Birkenstock Gizeh

A classic all-rounder but not for off-road

Sizes: 2.5-9
Outer material: Leather
Inner material: Synthetic
Outsole: PU/EVA
Reasons to buy
+Available in wide and narrow fit+Supportive contoured bed 

If you just want a simple, no-frills flip flop for walking short distances, and one that’s easy to slip on and kick-off, try the Birkenstock Gizeh. It has a somewhat stiffer feel underfoot, but these shoes are built to last and have buckled leather uppers to enhance their durability. 

Birkenstocks are also known for their wide and deep cork contoured footbeds, making them a good choice for anyone prone to their feet swelling while out walking. The Gizeh flip flops are comfortable to wear, and look good with jeans as well as outdoors gear. 

We wouldn’t wear them up mountains or take them out on day hikes, but they’re perfectly fine for everyday walking in summer thanks to a lightweight EVA midsole for added cushioning and better shock absorption.

Best flip flops for walking: Reef Fanning 2.0

8. Reef Fanning 2.0

These flip flops have a bottle opener in the sole (no joke)

Sizes: 5-13
Outer material: Synthetic
Outsole: moulded rubber
Reasons to buy
+Arch support+Water-friendly+Heel airbag

Pro surfer Mick Fanning lent his name to this classic Reef flip flop, which are designed for use in and out of the water. Amusingly, there's even a bottle opener in the sole, but that’s not the main attraction here…                                        

The footbed is contoured, though nowhere near as deeply as the Birkenstock above, and features a 360-degree heel airbag to lessen shock impact when you’re running or stomping around on the beach or in the park. There’s also arch support to reduce foot and leg pain when you’ve been on your feet all day.

If you want a no-frills flip flop for summer walking and fun in and near water, and ideally one that won’t break the bank, you’re quids in here.