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12 Summer Sandals That Won’t Ruin Your Feet

Treat your feet to support long after the run is over.

best summer sandals

We obsess over which running shoes are best for our feet, yet most of us throw on generic $10 flip-flops without a second thought. Slip-ons may be a summer staple, but podiatrists say your basic thong sandal can do serious damage to the body part runner’s prize most.

“Your basic flip-flop provides minimal stability and orthopedic support of the arch, heel, and forefoot,” says Rock G. Positano, D.P.M., podiatrist and director of the Non-Surgical Foot and Ankle Service at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. Because of this, plodding around in an unsupportive pair can actually create problems bad enough to sideline you. “The feet are the body’s major shock-absorbing system, so without supportive shoes, this can exacerbate knee, hip, and low-back pain,” he adds.

And if you have a high or flat arch, wearing unsupportive sandals can create overuse injuries in areas like the Achilles, heel, or forefoot.

The other issue: Because of the way thong sandals are designed, they cause the toes to grab down, which bumps up your chances of hammertoe deformities—which are super painful to run with—and makes the plantar fascia tighter, increasing chances of developing (or exacerbating) plantar fasciitis, says Daniel Geller, D.P.M., foot and ankle surgeon and sports podiatrist in California.

How We Selected These Sandals

We looked for sandals with a durable footbed to absorb shock, arch support to prevent pain, and coverage at the front of the foot to keep those toes locked down. While style is also important when choosing footwear, for the sake of your feet (and comfort), function must be considered first. Check out these 12 pairs that are way better for your feet than basic flip-flops.

―For Hoka Fans―

Hoka One One Ora Recovery Slide

Ora Recovery Slide

These recovery slides are excellent for around-the-house wear—at a time when most of us are doing little else. Hoka fans will love the familiar cushy midsole and Meta-Rocker design, which makes each step feel easy and comfortable, no matter how many miles you’ve covered throughout the day. Some wearers have found that the support and well-placed cushion eases plantar fasciitis pain.

―Supportive and Stylish―

Vionic Keomi

Vionic Keomi

How often do you find an orthopedic shoe that looks like it wouldn’t feel out of place at a beach wedding? Designed by a podiatrist, these soft leather sandals are not only stylish but also beloved for their stellar arch support and built-in orthotics. Vionic says its “Orthoheel” technology will align you from the ground up, contributing to better balance and a reduction in overall body pain.

―Rugged Enough for Rough Terrain―

Teva Katavi 2

Katavi 2

Great for outdoor adventures or just indoor postrun relaxing, these suede sandals are as rugged as they are comfortable. The contoured EVA footbed supports your arch, while the burly rubber outsole gives you traction on rough terrain.

―Machine Washable―

Keen Whisper

Whisper Sandal

This sandal has a deeply cushioned footbed designed to cradle your foot’s natural contours. The shoe is close-fitting, easy-to-adjust, and comfortable, whether you’re wearing it for land or water adventures. As a bonus, the shoe is machine-washable so it won’t hang onto odors.

―Best for Epic Adventures―

Ecco Offroad Hiking Sandal

Ecco Men's Offroad Sandal

Hiking in boots or trail running shoes is great until you reach your first river crossing—and then the comfort advantages of quick-drying hiking sandals come to light. These strappy, leather shoes have a molded EVA footbed and well-cushioned midsole with good arch support. A sturdy rubber outsole gives you confident traction when scampering across wet rocks.

―Anatomically Molded―

OluKai Ohana Sandal


Walk along the sand and your bare feet make a perfect imprint of where they need support most—that’s the idea after which OluKai’s anatomically molded footbeds are crafted. These sandals have the look of traditional flip-flops in far more supportive, water-resistant form with enhanced traction.

―Reduces Stress on Feet and Joints―

Oofos OoLala Lux

Oolala Luxe

The lightweight Oofos footbed is designed to hug your arches and reduce stress on your feet and joints as you walk. We just know that it feels great underfoot after a long run, when putting on “real” shoes is the last thing your tired feet want you to do. These are machine-washable so they’re easy to keep clean and odor-free.


Chaco Women’s Z1 Classic Sport Sandal

Z1 Classic Sport

Chaco’s design has stood the test of time for a reason. These durable sandals have podiatrist-approved footbeds, a grippy rubber outsole with 3mm lugs, and adjustable straps, so you can get the most comfortable fit. These will make your feet happy whether you’re using them for recovery, as water shoes, or for all non-running wear.

―Classic Look―

Birkenstock Arizona Soft Footbed

Arizona Soft Footbed

These classic German-made sandals give your foot a soft landing with every step, thanks to an integrated latex foam cushion. The anatomically shaped cork-latex footbed all but conforms to your foot; two oiled nubuck leather straps provide a secure but comfortable fit.

―Adjustable Fit―

Clarks Wave Coast

Wave Coast

These lightweight sandals have a curved rocker sole—a shoe profile that’s been shown to help relieve some types of foot pain, like joint pain and pain associated with plantar fasciitis. An EVA footbed provides extra cushioning. The adjustable strap makes it easy to get a comfortable fit that won’t slide off your foot.

―Rocker Sole for Recovery―

Oofos Ooahh Sport Slide

Oofos OOahh Sport Slide Sandal

Oofos claims the foam in these slides absorbs 37-percent more impact than the foam in traditional shoes, so your feet get maximum recovery benefits—and your joints get a little rest from stress. While they’re not firm-soled enough to be the best option for active wear, they’re so soft and supportive you’ll want to slide into a pair immediately after every race.

―Easiest to Clean―

Birkenstock Gizeh EVA Flip Flops

Birkenstock Gizeh EVA Flip Flops

If you like the anatomical footbed and arch-cradling feel of Birkenstock’s classic Arizona but want something a little more water-friendly, check out the brand’s Gizeh EVA flip flops. Made from all EVA foam material, they’re lightweight, flexible, and cushioned enough for post-run casual wear—and easy to machine-wash between beach trips.

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