Best flip flops for walking 2021: cushioned, grippy shoes for summer strolls

We round up the best flip flops for walking, to help you dodge aching ankles and blisters on your travels.

Included in this guide:

Four pairs of flip flops stuck into a sandy beach
(Image credit: Fit Flop)

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.

Depending on where you're reading this from, it might not exactly be flip flop weather right now, but any good bargain-hunter will know that the best time for a summer deal is as we move into winter. Our dedicated price tool will automatically pull in the lowest prices on all our top picks. 

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.

And to help make slipping your toes into a pair completely pain free, why not shop the best Black Friday deals and grab yourself a bargain that you can tuck away in your closet until the warmer weather reappears. Our live prices below always have the lowest prices available across the web, so it's never been easier to shop for a fabulous new pair of flip flops.

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Black Friday flip flop deals
November might not be the time you typically think of buying a new pair of flip flops, but you could be missing a trick. We'll be keeping an eye out for any price drops on the best walking flip flops come 26 November, and reporting on them on our best Black Friday deals page. 

The best flip flops for walking long distances

Columbia Kea II flip flop

(Image credit: Colombia)

The best walking flip flops for most people

Specifications
Sizes: UK3-10
Upper: leather
Midsole: TechLite EVA
Outsole: Omni-Grip rubber
Reasons to buy
+Great grip on varied terrain+Durable build+Very comfy, cushioned footbed
Reasons to avoid
-Sizes up small and narrow

Our favourite flip flops for walking right now are the Columbia Kea II. 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.

Merrell Terran Post II flip flop

(Image credit: Merrell)

Incredibly comfortable flip flops – if you can get the sizing right

Specifications
Sizes: UK3-9
Upper: Nubuck leather
Midsole: Microfibre/foam
Outsole: Moulded nylon
Reasons to buy
+Looks great+Top comfort
Reasons to avoid
-Sizing too small-Not very breathable

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.

Vionic Islander flip flop

(Image credit: Vionic)

3. Vionic Islander

The comfiest flip flops for walking if you have plantar fasciitis

Specifications
Sizes: UK3-12
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
Reasons to avoid
-High arch support won't suit everyone

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.

FitFlop iQushion Ergonomic flip flop

(Image credit: FitFlop)

4. FitFlop iQushion Ergonomic Flip Flops

The best cheap flip flops for walking

Specifications
Sizes: UK3-9
Upper: rubber
Midsole: EVA
Outsole: rubber
Reasons to buy
+Ergonomically cushioned +Easy to slip on/off+Squishy micro-bubble footbed
Reasons to avoid
-Thin rubber straps

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.

Olukai Ohana flip flop

(Image credit: Olukai)

5. Olukai Ohana

These comfy flip flops deliver arch support with each step

Specifications
Sizes: UK3-12
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 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.

Crocs Capri V Flip flip flop

(Image credit: Crocs)

6. Crocs Capri V Flip

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

Specifications
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.

Birkenstock Gizeh flip flop

(Image credit: Birkenstock)

7. Birkenstock Gizeh

A classic all-rounder but not for off-road

Specifications
Sizes: UK 2.5-9
Outer material: leather
Inner material: synthetic
Outsole: PU/EVA
Reasons to buy
+Available in wide and narrow fit+Supportive contoured bed 
Reasons to avoid
-Not good for people with long toes

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.