Flip flop help, please
April 8, 2013 3:51 PM   Subscribe

I currently wear Old Navy flip flops in the summer around the house and sometimes out. Where the straps connect with the sole, it hurts. They rub my feet and it's painful. Do not want. Please help link me to new flip flops that: a) don't hurt b) are all rubber and b) are not too spendy.

I don't want leather. I don't want Chacos/Tevas where there's cloth and rubber. Am I going to have to go with Crocs? I don't want that, but if I have to, I'll try it. THANKS!
posted by Stewriffic to Shopping (37 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Reef. I give you Reef. [Although I do like the Teva flipityflops quite a bit.] You can probably find Reefs much cheaper at a DSW or its ilk than the official Reef's store.
posted by atomicstone at 3:56 PM on April 8, 2013 [6 favorites]

Havaianas are the best all rubber flip flops IMO. I don't know if you'd consider them too spendy... they are expensive for flip flops but they're still only about $15 in the US I believe.
posted by keep it under cover at 3:58 PM on April 8, 2013 [16 favorites]

Response by poster: (I'm a gal, fwiw)
posted by Stewriffic at 3:59 PM on April 8, 2013

Seconding Havaianas, but I prefer the Havaianas "Slim" varieties--I think they're comfier, and they're more streamlined/less clunky. I have four pairs. You can get all of the colors on Amazon. Even thugh they do cost a bit more per pair, they last forever and the comfort and nicer looks are worth the slightly-higher price. Trust me, you will never look back or buy another pair of crappy flip flops again!
posted by anonnymoose at 4:02 PM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]

i had this same problem with old navy flipflops and i solved it by buying their men's flipflops - the colors aren't as cute, but i sacrificed teal flipflops for comfort. try a a couple of pairs on and see if that helps.
posted by kerning at 4:02 PM on April 8, 2013

Havaianas are really worth the extra money - I wear thongs/flip flops everywhere in summer and no other brand I've tried compares for comfort and durability. It takes a couple of days to build up my feet after winter every year but after that have no problems. My last pair endured about four years of constant wear.
posted by Wantok at 4:03 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

Oops, they actually start at $18 for the basic solid colored flip flops and go up from there. But anyway, they're comfy and excellent quality and I swear they were much cheaper when I got my fun printed pair in Hawaii. Link to women's styles.

Abusing edit feature to add that I can vouch for their bullet-proofness. I've accumulated a billion pairs because I keep wanting more colors and the old pairs refuse to die.
posted by keep it under cover at 4:04 PM on April 8, 2013

I swear by Okabashi; they're all rubber and come in a variety of colors. (I was lucky enough to have my local grocery store sell them for 10 dollars; they stood up to St. Louis summers and streets very nicely)
posted by lineofsight at 4:04 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]

nthing Havaianas. You can find them on sale fairly often. I wear them around the house too and they are super comfy and I've never had any problem with them rubbing, and my feet are the sort that can get a blister if you look at them funny. I also prefer the "slim" type to the regular ones.
posted by bedhead at 4:05 PM on April 8, 2013

I do love my Crocs flipflops. They're more structured so my feet don't hurt like they do with the flat ones.
posted by PussKillian at 4:22 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: OK, so here's the deal. These Croc flip flops seem to avoid the problems I have with the Old Navy flip flops. The Havaianas seem to have the same structure as the Old Navy ones. It's the part on the sides where the strap meets the sole that bothers my feet, which are rather wide. The Crocs seem to avoid that entirely.
posted by Stewriffic at 4:31 PM on April 8, 2013

I'm a gal; I wear men's Reefs. They're the cushiest ever, requiring no breaking-in.
posted by limeonaire at 4:40 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

There is no such thing as flip flops that don't hurt. You're not used to having something between your toes. When you add something between your toes, you get rubbed raw in a sensitive area. Thus, pain.

That said, there are things you can do to make it less of a thing. Better flip flops are one thing. I wear Havianas, other people swear by Reefs. There are plenty of other brands. But even a better shoe still has that central problem of rubbing you in a sensitive area where you're not used to having that pressure.

My solution to this problem is to gradually ease into wearing flip flops. They make especially good shoes for around the house, or if you're just ducking out to take out the trash, get something from the car, etc. Or start by wearing them only out to the pool or the beach or whatever, or to a barbecue, or in some other specific situation where you're not wearing them all day long, or for several days at a stretch. You're just wearing them between the car and the spot you're going to lay your towel.

After a few months of this, your feet might be ready to wear flip flops all the time.
posted by Sara C. at 4:48 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Yeah, the toes don't hurt. It's the sides. It makes me go OUCH when I step.
posted by Stewriffic at 4:50 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

So, I wore the discount chain Nike Celso Girl thong daily for about four years until my sister aggressively encouraged (in the way mugging is an aggressive panhandling) me to dispose of them and wear grownup shoes.

Important points:
1) The thong is some kind of soft man-made fabric/plastic mix that doesn't dig the way plastic thongs do.
2) There's no seam on the sole where the thong meets the sole, so there's nothing to irritate your footbed.
3) The Celso Girl product is available in a bunch of variations at different price points (ie, from a discount store, from a department store, direct from Nike). The kind I wore had a soft fabric-like sole and soft fabric thong with contrast stitching. DON'T get the kind with the plastic sole and footbed, or the ones with the thick two-toned thong; they are uncomfortable. The cheapest Celso Girl is best.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 4:56 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

I got some last trip to NC at one of those mountain / camping trip stores. I saw them at several stores there last week too. Can't remember the brand name, but they are made out of yoga mats and really comfy. I can send you the brand when I get home if you want, but they should be easy to find. They weren't expensive by memory, too.
posted by jonathanstrange at 4:58 PM on April 8, 2013

SANUK! this is them. More expensive than I remember but worth it. So comfortable.
posted by jonathanstrange at 5:00 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]

You want pretty much any wide strapped flip flop. Round 'ere I walk into the Walmart & buy these, but I live at the beach. Seriously, name brands and flip flops do not mix.
posted by Kronur at 5:09 PM on April 8, 2013

This will hopefully be a last resort answer, because a lot of these suggestions look promising. But, it's worth noting that Old Navy being Old Navy, each pair of their rubber flip-flops is cut sliiiiightly different. I have four pairs of them, and one I can wear for 8 hours straight in 95 degree heat and they don't hurt at all, one starts to hurt after a few hours, another hurts right away, etc. All the same size, bought at the same time. So if all else fails, you might actually find a pair that fits you perfectly.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 5:10 PM on April 8, 2013

The sides? Yeah, your problem is a crappy $5 flip flop. Upgrade to something like Havianas or Reefs and you'll be fine. It probably doesn't even need to be a name brand, just something a step above those nasty vinyl things with rough seams and sharp corners.

FWIW I tend to have pairs of Havianas for years. They're expensive, but I'd rather pay $10 a year for one pair of shoes that lasts three years and is (nominally) comfortable, instead of $5 a year for a pair of shoes that don't get to the point where they last or don't last, because they're too uncomfortable to actually wear.
posted by Sara C. at 5:13 PM on April 8, 2013

Buy men's. They're wider.
posted by fshgrl at 5:15 PM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]

Havianas straps are more pliable than those on cheaper flip flops - I know what you mean about blistering at the joint where the strap meets the sole on some flip flops, and I've never had that with mine. (They're the slims, I've never tried the regular style.)

I would never have bought $20 flip flops before, but I got these while walking around Paris, because the lovely sandals I was wearing were tearing up my feet and I was desperate. I've had them for 6 years now and they barely show any wear, which is awesome - I used to buy one or two cheap pairs from Target every summer, and the soles would be torn up after a couple months. Totally worth it, even in euros!
posted by ella wren at 5:18 PM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]

I bought these reefs from Amazon about 2 years ago and they are awesome. They don't show any sign of wear, even though they are my gym shower shoes and the only things I wear on my feet in the summer when I'm not at work.

Absolutely no break-in required, and never even the tiniest bit of pinching/chafing.
posted by jshort at 5:35 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

Target has a good assortment of thong sandals, a step up from molded rubber flip flops. Most of them are completely man-made. I am personally fond of water-buffalo thongs from India-- known as Jesus sandals or hippie sandals. They are more stable, with less side-to-side movement.
posted by ohshenandoah at 5:40 PM on April 8, 2013

Totally unimpressed with Havianas here -- sorry to their many fans; they feel like I bought them at the drugstore. A bad drugstore. The straps are not very soft and the soles are not very thick. Good advertising, nice colours, mediocre product.

They are a bit hard to find but made-in-Italy Sensi flip-flops are wonderful. $35 for the basic "Barcelona," which should last forever. I was never able to wear mine out despite over a decade (!) of pool concrete and beach parking lots. They go through the washing machine perfectly, too.

The only reason I no longer have them is a pregnancy-caused increase in foot size; I bought L.L. Bean Maine Isle flip-flops. My kid is five now, and "Maine Isles" just went through the wash and came out new-ish looking for yet another season. The strap is not rubber, but maybe that would be a boon?
posted by kmennie at 6:49 PM on April 8, 2013

I am female, too. I have wide feet and other issues with my feet. Crocs flip flops are the most comfortable shoes I've ever worn. Ever.
posted by gentian at 7:02 PM on April 8, 2013

Another vote for buying men's flipflops here. There is a great deal less focus on style and more on comfort. Most of them come in basic styles of black and brown.
posted by royalsong at 7:22 PM on April 8, 2013

Listen guys. I'm going to ostensibly pretend to respect your opinions but Tevas clearly has the best flipflops in terms of both comfort and comfort. This is from a lifelong flipflop wearer. There really is no contest. I get mine for 15$ every decade or so and they last until either someone from my family steals them or I finally admit defeat and shell out for birkenstocks (never!! NEVER)

Sure, you look like a refugee from a failed biodome art experiment in Sante Fe, but they really can't be beat for foot health. Painful flipflops? I never in all my days...

Havianas? Seriously? Just looking at those caused my feet to bleed.

Crocs? What? I can smell the retained foot odor and collapsed arches already.
posted by hobo gitano de queretaro at 7:25 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

hah, i just wore my old navy flip flops the other day and had the exact same problem where it hurts where the strap meets the sole (not in between the toe). these were the regular width old navy ones, but i have another old navy pair that are slimmer that i didn't have this problem with. they came in black, not sure if other colors are available.

so, i don't think all flip flops made that way are a problem just certain brands/styles. i had bought another old navy pair with a print on the sole and it started wearing off after the second time i wore them! so...i think old navy is probably not great for flip flops in general.

i might try one of those havianas as they are so cute.
posted by wildflower at 7:30 PM on April 8, 2013

I went to Teva's website to go find my flipflop style to make a better recommendation.

I have no idea what happened since I last bought flip flops from these guys, but wow.


I feel your pain. I am so sorry.

The best part of Tevas used to be the ludicrous amounts of cushioning and arch support but they look like wedgy hunks of fiberglass now. The LL Bean flip flops linked above look like quality though.
posted by hobo gitano de queretaro at 7:31 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

Men's OluKai are awesome.
posted by barnone at 8:27 PM on April 8, 2013

I recently impulse bought a pair of crocs (of the now classic clog variety) because there was a table full of new ones in my size at the thrift store for $5 a pair and I was in the market for some house shoes. Can I just say how lovely a slipper they make? They are ugly, but I sort of enjoy the reactions of horror some people have to them. So I say at least give the crocs a chance since they seem to maybe be what you're looking for. And those flip flops are much more asthetically pleasing than the clogs.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 11:03 PM on April 8, 2013

I'm another girl with normal-sized feet who has blistered with Old Navys but is INSEPARABLE from Havaianas. On average my Havaianas last through 5 years of using them every day for about 6 months out of the year. I've asked myself the same question about why the Old Navy ones make me bleed and the Havaianas don't. In the end I just keep buying the ones that work. The extra $10 is definitely worth it for the Havaianas!

(I had the same problem with Teva's changing styles that hobo gitano... did)
posted by whatzit at 3:12 AM on April 9, 2013

Unless they've changed the formula of their plastic/rubber, all my Crocs' soles wore-out quite quickly; I'm talking about 6 months.
Worn-out, they can be quite hazardous on wet/slick surfaces.
Absolutely love them when they're new.
posted by JABof72 at 5:45 AM on April 9, 2013

Cord flip flops are super comfy and some of the designs do avoid the problem you are having. They are a bit pricey though, I live in them during summer and am on my third year with some pairs and the are still going strong and only just looking worn, they last and I am super tough on shoes.
posted by wwax at 6:49 AM on April 9, 2013

it's worth noting that Old Navy being Old Navy, each pair of their rubber flip-flops is cut sliiiiightly different. I have four pairs of them, and one I can wear for 8 hours straight in 95 degree heat and they don't hurt at all, one starts to hurt after a few hours, another hurts right away

I want to second this. I've had three pairs of Old Navy flip flops: one pair were the most comfortable flip flops I have ever worn, the second pair tore my feet to shreds, and the third pair were semi-comfortable.
posted by thegreatfleecircus at 11:50 AM on April 9, 2013

Response by poster: I ended up with these, and I LOVE them.
posted by Stewriffic at 7:08 AM on September 2, 2013

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