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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 the hottest stretches of summer. 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 ultimate 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?
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 said.
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 suggested picking out flip-flops with arch support and those with cushioning in the midsole.
"When shopping, it's important to look for a stable sandal with some deeper heel cups for stability. 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."
These supportive flip-flops offer "more stabilization and balance as you walk, and reduce the amount of impact on your feet," he added.
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," said 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 advised 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 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. Unlike other recovery footwear options, flip-flops can still offer a sturdy feel.
Best flip-flops for women, according to shoppers
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.
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.
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.
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. It's meant to support arches and reduce exertion in the ankles, especially for runners. With more than 13,200 reviews, 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."
For a classier look, slide into these Vionic flip-flops. The contoured footbed provides the 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 Mortons Neuroma on my left toes. These help me walk longer than usual without pain," shared one shopper.
With an orthopedic insole and a sweat-resistant footbed, these sandals make the perfect partner for summer travels. The pair offers comfy arch support and polyurethane gel insole to give you confidence on tough surfaces. Also, these are meant to improve gait and lessen foot issues.
With more than 24,300 five-starred reviews, 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.
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.
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.
If your beach-bum personality needs something more casual for all-day comfort choose this pair. The Reef slip-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.
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.
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.
If you have heel pain, Morton's neuroma, bunions, arch pain, plantar fasciitis or other foot issues, 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.
Merrell is best known for its hiking shoes, but their flip-flops are equally comfortable and adaptable for hot days outside. These have a contoured EVA foam that adds stability and comfort with a Vibram Megagrip that will give you balance on wet surfaces.
One customer rated these five stars and said the flip-flops are "comfy, and not just good-looking: sleek inverted Y-shaped strap yet rugged sole."
The mix of sustainability and comfort makes this flip-flop a must-have accessory for long-day wear. The cork material will mold to your feet and improve posture while you walk on uneven terrain. Also, these maximize natural heel cushioning and reduces plantar fascia strain - a must-have in your travel backpack.
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