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Podiatrists share how to find the best flip-flops for your feet

No need to flip out over these supportive flats.

The freedom your toes feel in a pair of flip-flops can feel super relieving, whether you're strutting out of the salon with a fresh pedicure or hitting the sandy shores during a particular hot stretch. But the thong-like sandals can cause a series of issues that will make you run to your closed-toe shoes in a matter of seconds.

While this type of footwear cannot be replaced with more supportive walking shoes, you can get away with many brands that offer ample comfort. From recovery-style flip-flops to more cushioned footbeds, Shop TODAY talked to board-certified foot surgeon Dr. Brad Schaeffer to cull the best qualities and styles that won't send you straight to the emergency room.

Are flip-flops bad for your feet? | Can you get blisters from flip-flops? | When should you avoid flip-flops? | Benefits of flip-flops | Quality flip-flop brands to shop | Best flip-flops for women | Meet the expert

Are flip-flops bad for your feet?

According to Schaeffer, as long as your shoes have proper support, you can strut comfortably without pain.

"I tell my patients to avoid a shoe or flip-flop that is flat and hard as a board! This provides no structure or stabilization for our feet and there are many great alternatives to choose from," he mentions.

You can usually gauge when a flip-flop has become loose or has extended wear. If the sole feels too flat or the shoes easily bend in half, then it's time to buy a new pair.

Schaeffer suggests picking out flip-flops that have arch support and cushioning in the midsole. Ultimately, supportive flip-flops will offer "more stabilization and balance as you walk, and reduce the amount of impact on your feet."

"When shopping, it's important to look for a stable sandal with some deeper heel cups for stability," he stresses. "The reason for this is our 'gait cycle' (the way we walk), from heel-strike to toe-off, needs support in order to avoid aggravating or developing any foot pain."

Can you get blisters from flip-flops?

Like any other summer sandal, flip-flops can cause blisters. These usually appear between "the toes or on the outside of the foot where the straps rub against the skin. Flip-flops that fit well and that have arch support and cushioned footbeds and heel cups may cause less blistering," says Schaeffer.

But even with the right flip-flop, blisters are bound to occur. The best way to avoid this discomfort is to keep your feet clean and dry. Schaeffer also advises applying a foot cream before putting your flip-flops on since "open-backed shoes can lead to heels drying out, causing them to crack and potentially contribute to discoloration and other issues."

What are the benefits of wearing flip-flops?

While Schaffer is not a fan of flip-flops, he mentions that the style is "comfortable, easy to wear and lets your feet breathe in warm environments."

The most important thing is to find a flip-flop that offers good support. "You need one that has the right amount of cushioning and rigidity."

What are some quality flip-flop brands to shop?

If you're a fan of flip-flops, Schaeffer recommends Hoka and Vionic for their overall arch support technology and stability.

Best flip-flops for women, according to shoppers

Dream Pairs Women's Arch Support Soft Cushion Flip Flops

Head to the beach in these flexible and lightweight flip-flops. The pair has a durable outsole that is slip-resistant and ideal for slippery surfaces. These are great for walking outside in the heat thanks to the fabric weave. Also, with a slight arch and a profound heel cup, you'll find the much-needed comfort for outdoor experiences.

Teva Olowahu

Teva's all-day-wear styles are best known for the comfort they deliver. This pair in particular has a quick-drying material and Mush topsole cushion that forms to your foot. Customers rave about how lightweight these are and the extra support it provides, even when you walk for miles.

"I find them extremely comfortable and stylish enough to wear with sporty dresses or yoga pants. These shoes are-slip resistant and comfortable for lots of walking," shared one verified buyer.

Birkenstock Honolulu EVA Flip Flops

Birkenstocks, more specifically their EVA style of shoes, are becoming more popular due to their long-lasting, supportive qualities. If you're used to their cork-style sandals, don't be hesitant to also indulge in an EVA pair, which offers the same amount of benefits at a more affordable price.

Available in four colors, these flip flops are also washable, making them perfect for the summertime when they're more likely to get covered in sand and dirt.

Chaco Lowdown Flip-Flops

These flip-flops are designed to keep your feet close to the ground and feature LUVSEAT support that promotes a healthy alignment. It also has a thick rubber that provides minimal elevation and a thick strap to keep your feet in place.

Aerothotic Original Orthotic Comfort Thong Style Flip-Flops

With an orthopedic insole and a sweat-resistant footbed, these sandals make the perfect partner for warm weather travels. The pair offers comfy arch support and polyurethane gel insole to give you confidence on tough surfaces.These are intended to improve gait and lessen foot issues, according to the brand.

With more than 30,000 verified five-star ratings, customers confirm this is the pair to wear if you have flat feet, bone spurs and other heel issues. "The platform is sturdy and cupped to hold the foot comfortably and securely. I have flat arches and find that these provide just the right amount of support," said one shopper.

Gone For a Run PR Soles Active Recovery Sandal

If you're an athlete looking for a recovery sandal, this one aims to alleviate pain and increase blood flow. The design features a pointed footbed that gently massages your feet when you take a step. With a lightweight construction and no-slip footbed, this sandal is a great choice to wear post-workout.

"The first night I got them, I wore them sitting down and my aching feet loved them. They’re a specialized shoe and too much massage on any body part can hurt after too long, so I don’t recommend these for all-day wear," said one Amazon shopper.

Reef Cushion Breeze

If your beach bum personality needs something more casual for all-day comfort, choose this pair. The Reef flip-flops are made with a pillowy footbed that will cushion your feet at every step. These are durable, resistant and fit for every summer trip.

Merrell Women's Hut Ultra Flip

Merrell is best known for their hiking shoes, but the brand's flip-flops are equally comfortable and adaptable for hot days outside. These are built with a FloatMax technology that adds stability and a smooth underfoot experience. The flip-flop is treated with Cleansport NXT that allows odor control, while the breathable upper will protect your skin even if you accidentally wet your sandals.

Aetrex Fiji Orthotic Flips

If you have heel pain, Morton's neuroma, bunions, arch pain, plantar fasciitis or another foot issue, these flip-flops were made for you. The pair relieves lingering foot pain and features arch support, a pressure relief footbed, dual density outsole, metatarsal pad and soft toe post for extra comfort. Also, the water-friendly construction is made for all water-related activities.

Clarks Breeze Sea Burnt Yellow

Elevate your summer ensemble with this colorful — and comfortable — flip-flop from Clarks. This lightweight pair offers feminine details with intricate detailing on the strap and cushioned footbed that feels like stepping on the clouds.

Reef Cushion Cloud

Reef is known for their cult-favorite beach sandals, but this pair in particular features a design that gently molds to the foot. The flip-flop has foam padding for comfort and molded EVA with an anatomical arch for easy adjustment. This one has a tropical design on the footbed and captures the laidback vibes of the brand.

Hoka Ora Recovery Flip

After the run comes the recovery, and these Hoka flip-flops provide that. The design features a soft EVA layer to step forward comfortably and without restriction. Some customers with plantar fasciitis also love this product for its cushioned feel and wider style.

Flirty Braidy Rainbow Sandal

Assistant partnerships editor Lauren Witonsky has owned a pair of Rainbow sandals since she was in high school, proving their durability after all these years thanks to their leather material. With single layer arch support and crafted with premium leather, they're bound to provide comfort and longevity.

Witonsky notes that they're "so comfy," and while they're nearing the point of no return, she's "wearing them until a strap breaks."

Oofos OOlala Women's Sandal

What makes this top-rated flip-flop a favorite among Amazon shoppers is the OOfoam technology, which absorbs 37 percent more impact than traditional footwear, according to the brand. It's meant to support arches and reduce exertion in the ankles, especially for runners. With more than 12,000 ratings, it makes sense these shoes are durable and reliable for outdoor adventures.

One Amazon shopper called these the best post-long run footwear. "The Oofos are a part of my long run 'packing list'. I look forward to putting them on as soon as I finish to allow my feet to breathe while walking around in comfort."

OluKai ‘Ohana

If you're spending the day by the water, choose this water-resistant flip-flop with a smooth drop-in footbed. The pair offers a high arch and wider footbed for an ultra-comfy fit. What makes it super efficient is the compression-molded EVA midsole and a rubber outsole with razor-siped edges for better grip.

One Shop TODAY writer can attest to the longevity of her 'Ohanas — for starters, her pair has lasted her 5+ years. "I once wore them at high tide in Australia and was surprised to find that they even hold up well in salt water. When I visited Israel's Dead Sea and was warned the salty bottom would hurt my bare feet, I just packed these sandals."

Vionic Davina Flip Flop

The contoured footbed of these Vionic flip-flops provide ultimate comfort and support during warm days. Also, this style looks more elegant than recovery sandals thanks to the faux leather upper. You won't have to worry to flop forward thanks to the supportive rubber sole.

"I have plantar fasciitis and Morton's neuroma on my left toes. These help me walk longer than usual without pain," shared one shopper.

Ecco Simpil Women's Sandal Thong

Pair your warm weather wardrobe with these sporty yet chic thong sandals. The pair features a velvety neoprene underlining and innovative FLUIDFORM system that adds comfort to your day. Also, the additional coverage with the neoprene band will support your feet for all-day walking.

Tread Labs Women's Covelo Sandals

If you're a fan of Chacos, you'll love this brand offering recovery sandals for men and women. This style offers arch support and features knit uppers to make your stride comfortable and pain-free. Tread Labs focuses on delivering a durable shoe that won't snap when you fall. The upper is directly attached to the shoe construction and the microfiber suede footbed will help your feet stay cool. Also, this sandal is made with an anti-microbial treatment to keep your feet fresh and clean.

"I was not expecting such a comfortable hold on my foot with the Covelo. The straps were well positioned to cradle my foot and the footbed supported me in just the right places," said one buyer.

Meet the expert