The best flip flops for walking will have a few special additions that help set them apart from your standard foam-and-plastic setup. Features such as a moulded or zoned footbed, a chunkier and grippier outsole, and soft straps will all aid comfort levels when walking. These simple, slip-on warm weather shoes provide boosted support when adventuring off-road (though we're talking more country lanes rather than mountain trails), along beaches or long days exploring a city.
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. Another key thing to look for is increased arch support – a lack of arch support is to blame for much of the pain you can feel when walking in unsupportive footwear, and over long can lead to painful foot conditions like plantar fasciitis.
Before we start, a quick PSA: while these flip flops are designed to deliver higher levels of comfort, there's only so much support and protection this style of shoe can muster. You should really swap to a pair of the best walking sandals, or even the best women's walking shoes, for more strenuous walks or trickier terrain. However, on those days where only the easiest, breeziest footwear will do, flip flops can be a great choice.
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The best flip flops for walking long distances
The best walking flip flops for most people are the Olukai Ulele flip flops. The brand's 'most technical sandal yet', the Ulele is built for versatile outdoor use, and that includes walking. The rubber outsole is designed to retain its grip on wet surfaces, with razor sniping (those thin cuts all along the rubber) to improve traction. A moulded footbed with cupped heel and shaped arch provides decent foot support and keeps your foot securely in place as you roam, while the EVA cushioning absorbs impact for comfort over longer periods. They float, too! Reviews are overwhelmingly enthusiastic, although a few found the fit a bit narrow and tight, so that's something to be aware of if you have wide feet.
We also highly rate the Columbia Kea II flip flops for walking. They may look understated, but these are a cut above your average flip flop. 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, and Columbia’s Techlite EVA midsoles ensure better shock absorption and energy return with each step. The enclosed, wrap-around toe post doesn't irritate or rub, either. Beware when you order that we found these sized up small. Head to our Columbia Kea II review to find out more.
Another good time to don some flip flops or slides is after a big race or hike, when your feet are feeling the strain. 'Recovery' shoes are designed to help you do just that, and our pick is the Ora Flip 2 from Hoka. These sport the same oversized sole that characterises this brand's other footwear (although it's more Hoka Mach 5 than Hoka One One TenNine Hike, thank goodness), as well as an Early Stage Meta-Rocker to deliver a smooth and effortless ride. The footbed is shaped to hug your foot, with a soft EVA upper layer for extra comfort. There's not masses by way of tread, which suggests these aren't going to deliver much grip, so one for flat strolls on established paths only.
There's plenty to love about Merrell's Terran Post II flip flops: they're supremely comfortable, with nubuck leather, neoprene and microfibre all doing their part to hug and cushion your feet in the most delightful way. They look fantastic too, although the soft nubuck sole tends to mark after a while, and they're not the most breathable flip flops you can get. The real issue, however, is the sizing. We've found them to be way too small, and while you could get away with ordering a size up you'd probably find them too wide. It's this oversight that's holding the Terran Post II off the top of this list; however if you have wide feet and don't mind going a size up then you should be perfectly happy with them (but try them on first if you can). Find out more in our Merrell Terran Post II review, and check out Merrell discount codes roundup to make sure you're not missing a saving.
Allbirds is known for combining eco-friendly construction with comfort, and its flip flop range is an excellent case in point. The soles use the 'world's first carbon-negative green EVA', made from sustainable sugarcane, while the straps are recycled polyester. They also come in a slider version (opens in new tab), which we've been testing out, and the foam is bouncy and cushioned but not so soft that you feel like you're sinking in. While the footbed is moulded to provide support, the fabric straps are relatively minimalist, so we wouldn't really recommend these for tricker terrain. They'll delivering plenty of comfort for fatigued feet, though, and they look super cool too – especially the orange version.
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 one of the very 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. A few reviewers found the arch too high, but in general the reviews are overwhelmingly positive.
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.
Like the Vionic Islander, the Olukai Ohana also come in women's and men’s versions. 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. Reviews are generally extremely positive, although a handful of customers found the straps a bit stiff.
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.
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 even take them out on a 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.
- Decided to go for shoes instead? Add a pair of the best walking socks