letting my fingers do the walking.
June 11, 2007 3:58 PM   Subscribe

I need sandals--but I'm picky. And poor.

My feet need to breathe. Therefore, I basically live in sandals April-October. I've just been cutting it with cheap Old Navy flip-flops in the past, and they've worked for sitting around and the occasional day trip.

Now I'm in college and working two jobs and walking constantly, and my feet are taking a pounding in my trusty foam-rubber flops. The problem is, they're cheap, and so am I. I know I should get something new, but I could use some advice. I have indeed browsed Zappos and the like with little success, and I can't tell what's good and what's not, anyway.

-cuteness factor: women's style (7, 7 wide if possible) and/or something nice that's unisex (Birkenstocks, for example). Brights or neutrals, doesn't really matter. Don't really like leather--suede or synthetics are fine. Strappy, thong, whatever.
-reusability factor: those leather sandals get stinky after a few months. I'd like to wear these for a while if I'm going to spend.
-cheapness factor: I'll pay for quality, but nothing ridiculous. $75 is about my limit.
-gettability factor: I'm willing to buy online, but I live in Chicago, so I've got options.
-comfort factor: I don't need orthopedics, but cushy with some support is what I am looking for.
posted by rhoticity to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (34 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
i like naot sandals (like birks) but they are probably a little outside your budget. i don't see the style i have on zappos--mine look a lot like the mephisto helen. mephistos are also good, but spendy.

teva's "mush" flip-flops rock.

keens are ridiculously comfortable but ugly as heck and very expensive.

crocs are even more comfortable, and possibly uglier.
posted by thinkingwoman at 4:13 PM on June 11, 2007

i have some birkenstock flip-flops that are rubber/plastic. they were cheap, but are extremely comfy and hold up well.
posted by gnutron at 4:18 PM on June 11, 2007

Aerosoles are the bomb - comfortable and inexpensive. Not as cute as some, but way more durable than many and a great value.
posted by TryTheTilapia at 4:19 PM on June 11, 2007

Best answer: simple has some pretty neat stuff.
posted by kooop at 4:23 PM on June 11, 2007 [1 favorite]

I LOVED my Rockport Graham sandals until I had a blowout in them on the cobblestone street.

Earlier this year I bought a pair of Cherokee flip flops at Target (sorry, can't find them online) and I wear them constantly. They're super comfortable and very cheap.
posted by suki at 4:29 PM on June 11, 2007

I got some awesome Naturalizer sandals at a local Burlington's for about $20. They're really comfortable and even a little stylish. $75 would guarantee something better, assuming you have a decent-sized Burlington's (or another shoe outlet).
posted by artifarce at 4:31 PM on June 11, 2007

Chacos are nice-looking, comfortable, and versatile.

Birkenstocks won't start to smell gross, and they will conform to your feet. This is completely unverified, but I heard from a friend that Sam's Club has them for under $50. Costco or Sam's Club might be places to check, if you know someone who has a membership.

I also know people who have had good luck at eBay, but I would only go that route if I had already tried on the same type of shoe in person.
posted by ramenopres at 4:33 PM on June 11, 2007

i have to second the reefs. i buy a pair every spring and live in them all summer. this is mostly because they were cheap-ish and i was surprised by how comfortable they were, how well they held up, and how long i could wear them without pain. i also liked the cloth toe part, as plastic ones rubbed me wrong.
i usually walk at least a couple of miles a day in them too, and my feet felt great in them.
posted by kendrak at 4:36 PM on June 11, 2007

Seconding Chacos. They never leave my feet in the warm months.
posted by Roach at 4:37 PM on June 11, 2007

J.Crew has a lot of discounted flip flops about halfway down this page.
posted by roomwithaview at 4:40 PM on June 11, 2007

Have you tried Crocs (or the LL Bean equivalent)?
I personally think they're ugly, but every single person I've talked to who owns some say they are the most comfortable shoe, ever.
posted by MtDewd at 4:48 PM on June 11, 2007

I've been wearing Trellos from Lands End. They're cuter and more supportive than Crocs, come in a lot of colors, and are about $25.
posted by candyland at 4:52 PM on June 11, 2007

Crocs are amazing. I've been rocking them the last three summers. Most comfortable shoes I've ever worn, very durable, and you can wash them in the dishwasher.

I just got a second pair, but only because I lost my first; they didn't wear out at all after 2 summers of everyday wear.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 5:17 PM on June 11, 2007

SENSI! They rinse off and wear like iron, but they're also super-comfy. The quality's as nice as a plastic shoe can get.

Crocs are hideous; even my father complained, and shoes that make a math prof complain are pretty ugly indeed. But I'm wearing a purple pair right now; the comfort is almost unbeatable.
posted by kmennie at 5:17 PM on June 11, 2007

Another vote for Chacos. Not cheap, but comfortable and durable. I wear them almost exclusively for 8 months of the year, and get two years out of a pair (I could get more if I sent them back to the Chaco people for resoling).
posted by adamrice at 5:17 PM on June 11, 2007

I bought a pair of Bass thong sandals five or six years ago for about $20 and they show no signs of giving out yet - not the slightest tear on them, and the heels are only just now beginning to wear down. Very comfortable, non-stinky, to be found in Bass outlets or online.
posted by frobozz at 5:22 PM on June 11, 2007

For the cheap idea I love my mush teva flip flops. I've lived in them through college and law school (and I walk around the city all day). For a little more cash I also highly recommend any sandals made by DANSKO. They might be a little out of your budget but OH SO worth it.
posted by irisell at 5:27 PM on June 11, 2007

Okay, really weird suggestion here, from a girl who is a 6.5-7 Wide, if you want to save cash: go to a department store and try on boys' sandals, in the larger children's sizes. The boys' are automatically wide and they are cheaper than women's shoes. Once you figure out whether or not they fit, you can buy even better ones, still damn cheap, from quality vendors.
posted by cobaltnine at 5:42 PM on June 11, 2007

Chacos are great sandals with a very good repair service that will do new straps and soles. If they notice a flaw in the shoe they will replace for free and yes, they come in wide sizes. You can definitely get a pair for under $75 if you hit REI clearances. However, the textured footbed can be a bit wearing and you may need to be sure to use foot creams if you walk, like I do, for miles in a given day. YMMV.
posted by jadepearl at 5:51 PM on June 11, 2007

Rainbows are big here at UC San Diego, where I assume we know from sandals. They take a bit of time to break in, though. I grew up in Reefs and love them too, but I think Rainbows look a little classier (you can tell I am a programmer because I bought flipflops with an eye toward looking nice for work). OTOH, I think Reefs are better for wider feet than Rainbows. And I suppose there are some classy-looking Reefs.

2nding Naots, try them on at a store to figure out your size and then find them on eBay. I have a pair of Naot maryjanes and they're so, so wonderful.
posted by crinklebat at 5:54 PM on June 11, 2007

Birks don't go stinky. Ebay is good, and within budget. Try on the pair you want live, and then go ebay. Pay attention for ebay about the difference between Regular (outlined footprint icon) and Narrow (filled in footprint icon).
posted by kch at 5:55 PM on June 11, 2007

Crocs now has normalish looking flip-flop type sandals. I tried on some Athens and they were a little too loose in the wideness department, but I might not have been trying out the right size. Felt pretty cushy and comfortable though.
posted by nakedsushi at 6:03 PM on June 11, 2007

Resale. All brands named above are available new or very gently used at good resale shops in all major cities. I never pay more than $10 for any pair of shoes. Best finds: a brand-new pair of Joan and David cowboy boots, Ellen Tracy pumps, many many excellent name brand, $200+ sneakers, and yes, sandals. If you are in Chicago, go to Village or Unique, or to Crowded Closet in Evanston.
posted by nax at 6:18 PM on June 11, 2007

I have to disagree with all the non-stink praise for Birkenstocks. I've had several pairs, and they all reeked. I don't have particularly bad foot odor or anything, and most of my friends Birks stink up a storm as well.

Maybe if you're the kind of person who will never ever get her sandals wet, you won't encounter an odor problem, but after that first spritzing, they're gonna develop a smelly layer of gritty slime.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 6:45 PM on June 11, 2007

I have to disagree with all the non-stink praise for Birkenstocks. I've had several pairs, and they all reeked. I don't have particularly bad foot odor or anything, and most of my friends' Birks stink up a storm as well.

Maybe if you're the kind of person who will never ever get her sandals wet, you won't encounter an odor problem, but after that first spritzing, they're gonna develop a smelly layer of gritty slime.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 6:46 PM on June 11, 2007

Crocs don't stink :)
posted by Joseph Gurl at 6:57 PM on June 11, 2007

I have to chime in with support for Crocs as well. I'm really the last perspon you'd expect to be wearing them, but I absolutely love the things. I have always had a problem with sandals and (unfortunately gross) sweaty feet. Once you get used to how loose they are, Crocs feel like they aren't even there. If you've ever been a fan of going barefoot, they are the next best thing.
posted by nightchrome at 7:23 PM on June 11, 2007

I really really like Reef flip-flops, they're the only sandals I'll wear. High quality, comfortable, and last for ages.
posted by dantekgeek at 1:17 AM on June 12, 2007

I'm blown away by the notion that $75 for "flip flops" could ever be considered cheap. I can't imagine paying over 25 bucks for them, let alone the over $50 I am seeing on the Simple site. I wouldn't recommend flip flops, anyway, as they are bad for your posture. You want sandals that have a slight lift to the heel and don't put all the pressure between those first two toes.

I wear sandals nearly every day of the year here (South) if I'm not in heels, and I'd have to say that Earth sandals rock. Comfort from the moment you slide them on. I actually would pay more for them. Naturalizer comes in a close second for both comfort and non-stinkiness. Both brands are actually good for your feet, too.
posted by misha at 1:31 AM on June 12, 2007

I've worn Merrell sport sandals for years. They hold up really, really well and are really, really comfortable on my feet. I wore one pair year-round in the workshop (meaning constant tramping back and forth) every day for a couple of years before a strap finally gave way. They can be pricey but especially if you can find a pair on sale it'd probably be a good deal.

Here in Sweden they actually sell them in the stores that sell special work clothes--overalls, steel-tipped boots, etc.

I would like to try Crocs, though.
posted by bluebird at 2:17 AM on June 12, 2007

my sister has serious arch problems and she swears by crocs to the point if she has to take a long walk she wears them instead of tennis shoes.

she likes the athens not the slides.
posted by domino at 7:11 AM on June 12, 2007

I got these at TJ maxx for $40. Super Comfy!
posted by delladlux at 9:55 AM on June 12, 2007

Seconding Merrell sandals, they are the most comfortable sandals I've ever worn and I wish I'd bought two pairs since the style I have seems to have been discontinued. I got mine at DSW and they were definitely in your price range (< $60).
posted by biscotti at 10:11 AM on June 12, 2007

Response by poster: I ended up getting a pair of Teva Sayulitos from Sierra Trading Post (on sale for $25!) and basically haven't taken them off except to sleep.

Thanks all :)
posted by rhoticity at 1:47 AM on June 24, 2007

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