The 3 Best Flip-Flops for Walking, according to Podiatrists (Men’s & Women’s)

Updated: Mar. 07, 2024

A podiatrist shares his top recommendations for the best flip-flops that will keep your feet comfy, cool, and stylish, all without causing you pain on your beloved summer walks.

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Summer is officially here…so let those toes loose! Well, maybe not so fast.

While most of us love the freedom and ease of slipping into a pair of flip-flops, many podiatrists would caution that most flip-flop products don’t offer quite the kind of support the foot-health pros recommend. This may be especially true if you love to move—say an afternoon stroll is your usual breather from the workday, or you look forward to your evening walking date with your pup.

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To pick the best flip-flops for walking in 2022, we caught up with podiatrist Dr. Darren Woodruff, DPM, AACFAS. Dr. Woodruff shared the specifications he and other experts look for when it comes to picking the best slide-on sandals for women and men’s busy walking feet. Here’s your guide to the best flip-flops for walking outdoors!

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Fitflop Womens Iqushion Flip Flop Ecomm Via Amazon 001
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FitFlop Women’s iQushion Flip Flop

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Dr. Woodruff says he likes how lightweight the FitFlop iQushion flip flops are for women. “I like the arch contour and the heel contour to help cushion and support these areas of the feet.” He adds that he really likes to see the difference in height between the heel and the front of this sandal, as this helps to support the arch and the plantar fascia.

Verified purchaser knitting zeal said, “Great flip flops for my older flat feet! I loved these so much I purchased a second pair in a different color. I have loved other styles by FitFlop and wanted a decent flip flop sandal for the pool and beach. I can’t wear those cheap flat flip flops any more with my tendinitis and my flat feet. (Getting old sucks!) These are super cute while providing support. I wear them around my house as slippers in the warmer weather, since walking on bare feet hurts. The support is good and the foot bed provides adequate support. They don’t look like granny’s orthodics either!”

Customer piston added, “This brand was recommended after a back surgery. They are simply the best. You don’t feel the roughness of the ground and your spine will be grateful.”

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Vionic Women’s Tide Flip Flop

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Dr. Woodruff says Vionic clinically tests their shoes, and the women’s Tide flip-flops have shown to be particularly effective at alleviating heel pain. “They have biomechanical tri-planar motion control in the footbed and a deep heel cup, which helps to stabilize the feet and hold them in a more neutral position,” Dr. Woodruff says. He adds: “These sandals are lightweight and are made out of medium density EVA, which helps to absorb shock and reduces stress on the feet, ankles and knees. This is the same material used in the top cover of many orthotic devices.”

And it’s not just the expert who’s a fan of this product. Customer Chiaro wrote, “How is it possible that a fantastic orthopedic flip flop shoe can be this cute?? This shoe is amazing at solving all my foot issues, of which there are plenty. :) Super high arch in need of support and plantar fasciitis are completely eased while wearing these babies!! Seriously, I got three different pairs because I plan on living in them.”

Customer Mary T. Graffeo added that Vionic shoes seem to last years: “These Tide Sequins sandals are beautiful and VERY supportive! I bought them as replacements for my very first pair of Vionics—from about 15 years ago!—which have now seen better days. The foot bed of Vionics are just as good as my expensive podiatrist made insoles. I wear Vionics every day, whether their sneaker Walkers, their insoles (in every shoe), or their sandals. With plantar fasciitis, flat feet, really bad knees and back problems, Vionics are my pain relief prescriptions! It is wonderful to not have to ‘break in’ any pair of Vionic shoes—I just open the box, put them on, and go! And, so it is with the Tide Sequin sandals! Beautiful, comfortable, supportive—you can’t ask for more!”

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HOKA ONE Men’s Ora Recovery Flip Flops

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Dr. Woodruff says the men’s HOKA ONE Ora Recovery flip-flops are an example of HOKA’s many shoes designed with a lot of cushioning. “This sandal has some great features,” Dr. Woodruff says. “It has the same oversized midsole as a lot of the HOKA shoes. It also has the meta-rocker geometry, which helps to rock the foot forward and does not put so much stress on the metatarsal heads or ball of the foot. It is made in two layers, one that is very cushioned and the other for durability. The top layer is EVA, which is another material that is used by many podiatrists to help cushion orthotics. This product is recommended by the American Podiatric Medical Association and has their seal of approval.”

Customers say that the HOKA ONE men’s Ora sandal is ideal for people with heal pain, and some shoppers stated their shock at how comfortable they were. James, for one, said, “I never realized how flat, hard, and unsupportive the flip flops I previously wore were until I slipped these soft yet wonderfully supportive magical shoes onto my feet.”

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