Thanks to flip flops cult following, there are so many great options for an awesome pair. We hate to admit it (because how could you have too many pairs?) but there are almost too many flip flops to choose from.
We went through the good, bad and so-so pairs to bring you the absolute best flip flops money can buy.
Cue – the return of the Flip Flop of the Year Awards!
Our annual search for the absolute best pair of flip flops is back in 2023! To kick things off, here’s what we’re looking for in our new champion.
The Anatomy of Flip Flops
Flip flops are great because they’re so simple. This is probably why they’ve been around for so long – and why they never go out of style.
The Flip Flop of the Year needs to have awesome design (which isn’t that easy with so little parts!). If you thought flip flops were all created the same… think again. The difference between meh and amazing breaks down into how well each of these works together:
The iconic T shaped thong design strap is what makes a flip flop what it is. This ingenious creation hugs your feet with so little material that its like nothing is there. A great strap can be made of anything – rubber, leather, suede, even recycled materials for the eco-conscious, but it must be comfy.
It should hug your foot in all the right places to provide support. This requires master engineering from flip flop designers to make sure that its a perfect fit and doesn’t pull or chafe skin.
A good strap can literally make or break a flip flop. It needs to be sturdy to keep the entire sandal together even with so little material.
Throughout all our flip flop reviews, the strap is what we critique the most. When done well, they’re a real marvel of science in our opinion!
What makes any shoe, including a flip flop, warm, squishy and molded to your foot? An insole. Yes, this is the thin inner layer of the sole that touches your foot. Hence the name ”insole.”
These are important because they are the part of the flip flop that supports your entire body‘s weight. In flip flops, they need to be soft enough to be comfy for hours yet also firm enough to survive the elements they’re exposed to.
Typically, these are also made of waterproof material which adds an additional challenge to flip flop manufacturers. A great insole allows for all day wear.
They might be thin, but flip flops have a midsole – that is the layer between the insole and the sole. These need to be made strong enough to provide cushioning and protect your foot from hard or sharp objects.
The midsole provides rebound (yes even in a flip flop!), and needs to be creatively crafted so it can still keep an ultra thin and light form factor.
A great midsole is what makes a flip flop strong enough to weather the elements and wear anywhere.
Finally, the sole is the part of the flip flop that makes direct contact with the ground. It’s the very bottom of the flip flop. This is what provides grip and plays a big part in how it feels to walk in your flip flops.
The ideal sole needs to be thin, durable, lightweight and non-slippery. This plays a huge role in making a flip flop awesome. A great sole takes a flip flop from just being comfortable house slippers to a staple in your everyday wardrobe.
We’ve run through the basics that all flip flops have… but what separates the greats and makes for Flip Flop of the Year material?
Here is Flip Flop Daily’s Criteria for an awesome flip flop.
Comfort is king for us flip flop dudes. If we can’t wear it all day without getting chafes or scratches, we’ll pass. Nobody likes painful feet after wearing flip flops or any shoes for that matter…
It doesn’t matter if your flip flop is made with state-of-the-art technology, the latest comfort techniques or the most expensive materials… if they’re ugly.
Looks matter. I don’t care what your mom tells you. Style counts when it comes to naming the Flip Flop of the Year.
Here comes the battle of the best soles. Is it non-slip? Is it easy to walk around on different kinds of terrain?
The Flip Flop of the Year is an all-around adventure buddy NOT a house slipper.
Sometimes a flip flop can have a great strap but a painful footbed or vice versa. How comfortable is the flip flop overall? How do your feet feel after all day wear?
Is it light enough to be easy to walk in? Or will you feel like you’re dragging them around?
These are the questions we’re asking and answering in the search for comfortable flip flops.
This one’s unique to Flip Flop Daily. Dudeness is something that can’t be defined. It needs to be experienced.
How does the flip flop feel overall? More than a sum of its parts what energy does it have? What thoughts and feelings does it inspire?
The Flip Flop of the Year will inspire you to Do Life Right whether that’s taking a break after a hard day’s work or grabbing your suitcasing and heading on a Pacific adventure.
6. Overall Performance
Finally, after thoroughly testing the flip flops (and we promise, we won’t go easy on them!) – how did they do overall?
Considering each of the criteria and anatomy of awesome flip flops – how did each pair fare?
Read on to find out as the hunt for the next Flip Flop of the Year begins…
If you can’t wait to find a great pair of flip flops, check out our previous winners for Flip Flop of the Year.