By Mountain Outlaw Staff
You know the sound – the telltale slapping of leather or rubber hitting foot soles. Call them slippers, slappies or slides; thongs, step-ins or flip-flops. But call them comfortable.
After all, more than 6,000 years of flip-flop history can’t be wrong. Dating back to ancient Egyptians, the footwear has been mentioned in lyrics by Jay-Z, Kenny Chesney and Jimmy Buffett, and is the official summertime sandal. National Flip-Flop Day is June 20, fittingly, the day before the summer solstice this year.
We outfitted a team of Outlaws with flip-flops to review, digging through the options until we found what we believe to be the flops that rise to the top (in alphabetical order).
Durable, comfortable and solid as nails, the Reversiflips are Chaco in a nutshell. I’m not going to take them off until it snows again. The LUVSEAT footbed has the arch support I need, and there’s even a little creative flair: The nylon thongs are interchangeable and reversible. Each pair comes with two thongs, so four styles total.
$60 – Emily Wolfe
During his three tours of duty, former U.S. Army Ranger Matthew “Griff” Griffin saw a need for local entrepreneurship in war-torn Afghanistan, and upon returning home he started Combat Flip Flops in 2011 with the motto “business, not bullets.” The company’s flagship model, the AK-47, is as tough as its assault rifle counterpart. With combat-grade rubber, they’ll tread any terrain, while an EVA midsole gives a cushioning touch. Top it off with an all-leather deck and thong, poppy designs and cast bullet casings, and you’ve got a nod to Afghan heritage in a flip-flop that will last. $70 – Joseph T. O’Connor
After a strenuous workout or a long day on your feet, slip on the OOFOS flip-flops for a comfy recovery that makes you feel like you’re walking on air. The OOfoam technology and patented footbed offer 37 percent more impact absorption, as well as arch support for most foot types and significantly more cushioning than your standard flip-flop. Once you slide them on, you’ll forget you’re even wearing them. $39.95 – Maria Wyllie
At first glance, Patagonia’s Reflip looks like your standard no-frills flop. But once on, I found the footbed is surprisingly supportive and comfortable, and that the soles have good traction on wet rocks. The women’s version accommodates wider feet, which is great respite from ski boots, and the synthetic leather/nylon thong is a soft companion at camp, drying fast after days on the river. Oh, and one more thing: they’re vegan (even though I eat meat), and recyclable. $55 – Megan Paulson
My last pair of Rainbows lasted 10 years, and they weren’t used lightly. They were beat up, disrespected, abused and loved. Here’s how I see it: Rainbows are like the Cleveland Browns. No funny uniforms, they just show up ready to work, bring their lunch, and stay until the job’s done. The double-layer hemp tops have built-in arch support, which suits me just fine. You can try all the sandals out there, but until you break in a pair of rainbows you’re playing minor league ball. $40 – Joe Paulet
Finding balance on these sandals is easy. Feel lifted and grounded at the same time, with a two-inch wedge that reaches your head towards the sky, and a yoga mat insole that roots your feet to the earth. The fun metallic strap also adds lightness to your step and sparkle to your day. Wear them with wide leg pants, sundresses, or jeans to work, dinner or Thursday night concerts in the park. $40 – Katie Morrison
This story was first published in the summer 2014 issue of Mountain Outlaw magazine.