Is there a flip flop for me?
May 15, 2013 9:50 AM   Subscribe

I am on the never-ending quest for comfortable flip flops that fit my narrow feet. I'd like them to be nice enough to wear with a summer dress or shorts for a casual look. I wear a women's size 9 on one foot, size 10 on the other. With open-toed shoes, I can often get away with a 9 1/2 or even a 9.

I got a pair of the adjustable Chacos last year and they cut into my feet. I tried them a few times hoping I would get used to them, but I never did. I just got a pair of size 9 Chaco flip flops.

They seemed to be narrow enough at the store, but after wearing them for just a couple days, my feet are flipping and flopping more than they should and they're making my feet and knees hurt. I have not entirely given up on them, I'm going to try for a few more days before taking them back, but would sure love to know if anyone with a narrow foot has found a comfortable pair of flip flops that fit. I have some old Nike flip flops with a slightly wider strap that holds my foot in. They're a size 10 - too long and too wide, so they look goofy, but they're somewhat comfortable. I have no idea where or when I got them - I think someone left them at our house. Even though I don't love the way they look, maybe a size 9 in these would work for just throwing on to go to the store.
posted by ms_rasclark to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (20 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Tevas are the only ones I've ever had that don't cut into my feet, don't annoy the space between my toes, and are ever so comfortable. Not sure how narrow your feet are, mine are not narrow, but Tevas are snug and huggy, not floppy at all.
posted by headnsouth at 10:00 AM on May 15, 2013

My feet are long but narrow as heck, and I find Havaianas to be perfectly comfortable.
posted by Salamander at 10:02 AM on May 15, 2013

I just got a pair of Hide Sandals. They're going to take some breaking in, but seen pretty fantastic so far.

Skip the etsy link--here's how to order:
posted by mollymayhem at 10:13 AM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Okay, these aren't flip flops, but fitting your standard of "for just throwing on to go to the store" -- have you ever considered espadrilles? Traditional espadrilles like these Soludos --they run very narrow, and they are made to be very snug at first, with the canvas stretching to accommodate your specific feet. I love them. (You can usually also get them with free shipping at, but they're out of stock right this second.)
posted by BlahLaLa at 10:17 AM on May 15, 2013

Roxy makes some nice sandals that fit my long narrow feet. The leather ones need breaking in of course, but I've found them all to be extremely comfortable and have been buying them as my summer footwear for years.
posted by tenaciousmoon at 10:19 AM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

My feet are longer than yours and not wide, and I've found my flipflops from LL Bean to be comfortable and durable.

My feet are narrow at the heel but wider at the... uh... knuckles? though, so no promises.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:54 AM on May 15, 2013

Flip flops are terrible for your feet. If you're having foot and knee pain, look for a sandal (like a Birkenstock) that has arch support and a strap around the ankle for stability.
posted by Asparagus at 11:03 AM on May 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

I have long narrow feet and I really like the Ginger Reef flip-flops. They aren't super fancy, but they don't look obviously "sporty" so I can usually get away with wearing them with a nice-ish skirt.
posted by olinerd at 11:15 AM on May 15, 2013

The Nordstrom website allows you to search by width - here are all their flat sandals in a narrow or extra-narrow width. If you go in person, they can often recommend shoes that "run narrow" even in the standard width.

If you are going for "nice enough to wear with a summer dress" I'd recommend something leather and decorative rather than a Chaco/Nike look.
posted by amaire at 11:16 AM on May 15, 2013

Nordstrom will also allegedly split up pairs and sell you one size 9 shoe and one size 10. Then you'd have your pick of any shoe that comes in a narrow width without having to hit that sweet spot where it just barely fits both your feet.
posted by payoto at 11:33 AM on May 15, 2013

My favorites are Havaianas Slim. I think the gold and silver ones look cute with everything. Also, they're incredible durable.

I haven't bought them yet but I'm also eyeing leather ones by Rainbow. They feel nice and snug in the store and I'm told that once they're broken in, I'm not gonna want to go back to my others.
posted by biscuits at 11:34 AM on May 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm surprised that no one has mentioned these Birkenstocks yet! They do come in narrow widths, despite the terrible website's lack of information, and that adjustable strap across the vamp has lots of holes.

Plus, the way the cork sole forms around your foot means that after a week or so of solid wear you have a shoe that fits you perfectly (find a bunch of friends who wear birks and check out the vast difference in the inner sole).
posted by AmandaA at 11:47 AM on May 15, 2013 [3 favorites]

Seconding Rainbows. I love that they mold to your feet and once i broke them in they were super comfortable. I have a ~20min walk to school and am totally fine wearing them (and would be for longer distances too). You do have to break them in for a week or two first though, to get the part of your foot under where the strap separates used to the leather. But I've never had to repeat the process even when i got a new pair or haven't worn them in months.
posted by matildatakesovertheworld at 11:47 AM on May 15, 2013

FitFlops are mostly unattractive, and the claimed conditioning aspect is really bullshitty. But they were the first flipflops I've ever been able to wear without the problem of shifting from side to side/falling off. The ones I have ( a basic black model) have a somewhat built-up sole and some shaping to help keep your feet in place.
posted by BibiRose at 12:43 PM on May 15, 2013

I have narrow feet, one larger than the other and these Keen sandals took me all over Europe this summer. They aren't a flip-flop, per se, but they are super comfy, easy to slip on and are super comfortable. I wear them with skirts and dresses, with shorts and pants and I get compliments ALL THE DAMN TIME.

The reviews will tell you (honestly, I have to say) that the strap across the top of your foot will slip. I sewed a couple of pieces of Velcro on and they are perfect. You can even use the Velcro that is sticky if you don't sew. It will just require reapplication more often.

The ones with ankle straps are a little cut-into-your feet-ish.
posted by mrfuga0 at 1:07 PM on May 15, 2013

I was just coming in to recommend the Birkenstock Gizeh that AmandaA just linked to. So, seconding Birkenstock Gizeh (though if you want flip flops because you want something to wear at the pool or something, then these will obviously not be the best choice).
posted by rabbitrabbit at 1:24 PM on May 15, 2013

Response by poster: So many options. If I could only really truly believe they would be narrow enough for my feet. I was in Hawaii last year and must have tried on 50 different pairs. I'm finding if it doesn't explicitly have an N on the shoe, it doesn't fit.

I did buy a pair of Dansko wedge slip on sandals that fit because both over-the-foot straps have adjustable buckles. These aren't really suitable for beach vacation/pool which would be nice.

The Birkenstocks look like they're worth trying - I'll have to find myself a store and just put them on. I have split sizes at Nordstrom before. They complain for under 1 1/2 size difference but still do it. I haven't found sandals there that are Narrow unless they're really matronly. I do want something that will work for beach vacation/pool that provides some support but is pretty casual. And I have tender feet that are easily irritated by straps that, as mrfuga0 says, are a little cut-into-your-feet-ish.

I'm going to have to do some ordering from places with a generous return policy and see what happens. I sure appreciate all the great suggestions.
posted by ms_rasclark at 6:23 PM on May 15, 2013

The Hide sandals are made to order from a tracing of your foot. I failed to mention that above.
posted by mollymayhem at 9:04 PM on May 15, 2013

Response by poster: I'm intrigued by the Hide sandals. I'll have to contact them. It's not the bottom sizing that's the biggest problem, it's the top - or the amount of space between my foot and the straps. I'm also curious about how the bottom molds to the foot, if the straps stretch out, etc. And my feet get sweaty in the summer, so a footbed that doesn't get slippery is important. Mollymayhem, if you have more details about yours, please share.
posted by ms_rasclark at 9:45 PM on May 15, 2013

Seconding the Reef Ginger, at least that looks like the one I have tho mine are seven years old (I live in San Francisco and don't wear sandals all that often). I have a fairly narrow foot and like arch support. This, though it doesn't have a high arch, I find to be very comfortable, even for a lot of walking. I was easily able to remove the little Reef logo on the strap, leaving a very simple, thin-strapped flip flop that looks nice with dresses.

I don't personally recommend Birkenstocks for beach or pool wear, but they are otherwise great walking sandals if you like a very high arch support. I also find the Gizeh works pretty well for a narrower foot because of the thong and how high the straps come on the foot. They do come in narrows, and run about a size large, but it's best if you can have someone fit you at a store.
posted by sumiami at 12:50 AM on May 16, 2013

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