Classic flip flops needed
July 25, 2010 7:11 PM   Subscribe

My dad has spent the last 40 summers of his life wearing flip flops. I would like to find the classic kind he prefers.

When I was a kid, you would go to a shoe store and they would have a huge bin of flip flops with rainbow-colored fabric strap and a black sole. No fancy flip flop technology here but far more comfortable than those with plastic straps that seem so common today. I have searched online for a vendor but no dice. Anybody seen these for sale lately?
posted by Foam Pants to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (15 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
These I found at Zappos have a cloth strap, but the sole doesn't look as thick as the ones I remember (back in the day when we called them "thongs").
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:18 PM on July 25, 2010

apparently, flip flops are now "slides"
posted by Salvatorparadise at 7:20 PM on July 25, 2010

My gentleman caller also wears the classic flip-flop with a fabric strap and no fanciness to detract from the flippi-floppiness. He wears the Reef Smoothy exclusively and won't tolerate mention of any other. The strap is not rainbow, but they are the same in spirit.
posted by TrarNoir at 7:36 PM on July 25, 2010 [2 favorites]

Reefs have been de riguer in beach towns.

When I was a kid, we called them "go-aheads."
posted by Danf at 7:38 PM on July 25, 2010

I have these and they're comfy:
posted by k8t at 7:41 PM on July 25, 2010

and for men:
posted by k8t at 7:42 PM on July 25, 2010

A little while ago a seller on Etsy had a bunch of "new old stock" flip flops that were not exactly what you want, but same-y. You could just troll there and eBay until a pair shows up if you think real vintage flip-flops might be appreciated.
posted by kmennie at 7:55 PM on July 25, 2010

Perhaps Rainbow classics?
posted by ocherdraco at 8:00 PM on July 25, 2010 [2 favorites]

IMHO, Reefs are far and away the best flip flops available. I shall never wear another brand throughout the rest of my days.
posted by gnutron at 8:00 PM on July 25, 2010

Reef Smoothy or Contour Smoothy. Accept no substitutes.

I used buy one pair every year. This isn't necessarily a poor reflection on their quality, as I would wear them everywhere, year-round, even occasionally in the snow. I'd begrudgingly replace them once a year, because the rubber gradually thins out as you put more and more miles on them.
posted by schmod at 8:03 PM on July 25, 2010

Had reefs. Thought it was the be all and end all. Then found Kai-Kais. wow. Bit of a learning curve (thick, slightly heavy soles) but its like walking on a cloud. A cloud made of something that makes feet feel awesome.
posted by weaponsgradecarp at 10:36 PM on July 25, 2010

Response by poster: We called them thongs, too. I used to joke I was the only kid whose dad had a thing line, thankfully on his foot instead of his butt. Thanks for all the wonderful suggestions. I think dad will be getting a care package soon!
posted by Foam Pants at 10:47 PM on July 25, 2010

I just so happen to work for one of the largest sandal dealers in my area! For guys, the standard is Reefs, usually either the Leather Smoothy or the Fanning (although I don't know anyone who would use the churchkey in the bottom of the sole, but whatever). Sanuk is becoming bigger and bigger (it's a ladies shoe, but the Yoga mat sandal [dudes style is the Yogi] is the only flip I'll wear, it's heavenly if you are basing your purchase solely (heh) on comfort). If you want a colored strap, you might look at Sanuk's Fraid So. Pretty close to what you picture is the Reef Stuyak sandal (black sole, simple thong), or the Reef Magda or Phantom sandals.

I've recommended all I could (without a self-plug too, whoa). MeMail me and I'll see if I can't help you out.
posted by sephira at 9:13 AM on July 26, 2010

When I went to Tahiti about 15 years ago I found these flip flops at the local market called "Blue Star".

When I cam back to Los Angeles a friend of mine directed me to a little surf shop in Manhattan Beach that carried "Blue Stars", the owner brought them back himself from South Pacific.

That shop has closed and I have not seen a "Blue Star" sandal in many a year.

They were by far the most comfortable, reliable and inexpensive flip flop I have ever encountered.

posted by silsurf at 6:46 AM on July 27, 2010

Just wanted to say, I just went and bought some nice black Reefs at Macy's to replace my 4-year-old sandals on the basis of the comments in this thread. Soooo soft—I put 'em on as soon as I was out of the store—and nicely grippy. Love 'em so far!
posted by limeonaire at 12:22 PM on August 21, 2010

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