Yep, There Are *Actually* Flip Flops Supportive Enough for Flat Feet—Here Are the Best Ones, According to a Podiatrist
Like peanut butter and jelly or cookies and milk, summer and flip flops go hand-in-hand. They protect your feet from the hot pavement whenever you get out of a pool, they’re easy to pack for the beach or on a tropical vacay, and they’re effortless to throw on if you need to run outside to walk your dog. But sometimes, regular flip flops aren’t the most comfortable choice for a shoe, especially if you have a foot condition like ples planus, aka, flat feet. When one or both of your feet have little to no arch, a cheap pair of flip flops might not provide the support you need.
How can you tell if you have flat feet in the first place? Brad Shaeffer, DPM, a board-certified foot surgeon at Sole Podiatry NYC, says a simple, “getting out of the pool” test can confirm or deny. “I like to ask people, when you get out of the pool and your feet are all wet, do you see an arch on the water spot? Or does it pancake?" Dr. Schaeffer says. "When people have flat feet, the fallen arch of the foot causes the whole foot to make contact with the surface the individual is standing on, and they'll see that in their footprints."
Another tell-tale sign is discomfort. He points out that if you are experiencing arch, heel, or ankle pain, it’s best to get checked out by a podiatrist to see if you have flat feet. And if you do have fallen arches, that doesn't mean you need to write off summer flip flops completely. “If you love a pair of flip flops then wear them on occasion," he says. "But, if you experience any foot pain, then you need to help yourself out the best way possible. Support and stability need to be your focus to get you out of pain. After your problem goes away, then you can get back to your [standard] flip flops."
Dr. Schaeffer also says that having flat feet is pretty common, and many people manage it by using inserts or finding shoes that offer the right kind of support—something to keep in mind when shopping for shoes. “Ultimately, the best flip flop would be something that has a little arch support, something that makes your foot feel comfortable,” he adds.
Ahead find 12 of the best flip flops for flat feet, from timeless Birkenstocks to chunky platform sandals.
Best flip flops for flat feet
Rainbow is one of Dr. Schaeffer’s go-to brands when it comes to flip flops for those with flat feet. This pair features closed-cell memory foam that allows the midsole to mold to the contour of your foot as you wear it over time. Rather than collapsing, it will just get more and more comfortable over time—which is a game-changer. It also comes in a variety of colors.
What reviews say: “I am flat footed and over-pronate and one of my legs is 1/4 inches longer than the other, thus throwing off my hips which causes pain if I don’t wear good shoes when walking for long periods…but these flip flops prevent me from ending up in pain! They have a well defined and strong arch support to keep the arch in my foot… I would highly recommend these shoes for anyone with finicky legs or feet like myself,” — Amazon customer.
The classic Birkenstock brand is another favorite of Dr. Schaeffer’s. If you’re spending a lot of time by the water, this waterproof pair—which has a contoured footbed for adequate support—is a great choice. It’s light and flexible, too, which is much more comfortable on fallen arches opposed to traditional, stiff midsoles.
What reviews say: “These flip flops are by far the cutest and most comfy I’ve ever tried. I normally don’t wear flip flops, except to get a pedicure, because I need some arch support. I was super excited when I tried these on because I love Birks and have distressed many over the years by wearing them in the rain or at the beach,” — Zappos customer.
Vionic has a podiatrist-approved goldmine of flip flops that those with flat feet won’t want to take off. The Casandra sandals are made with the brand’s proprietary arch-hugging technology that’s been found to soothe all sorts of ailments, including heel pain and arch stress. The rainbow of colors they come available in certainly don’t hurt either.
What reviews say: “This is my ninth pair of Vionic sandals and they didn’t disappoint. I love the little cutouts to liven up the plain Tides and the colors are great. I have plantar fasciitis and a heel spur and thought I would never be able to wear cute flip flops or sandals again. My doctor recommended Vionics and I’m back to loving summer again!” — Vionic customer.
Flat feet or not, you’re bound to live in these cloud-like flip flops from Oofos. They’re technically recovery shoes, designed to give you major shock absorption on even the hardest of surface areas. And the footbed is a dream on sore feet, especially arches that need a lil’ extra love.
What reviews say: “This is my second pair of Oofos. They are incredibly comfortable and give great support (and I have lots of foot issues!). Highly recommend,” — Oofos customer.
Dr. Schaeffer likes Adidas or Nike sandals for at-home footwear. “It’s very important to walk around the home in a comfortable shoe or slider sandal that offers support as well,” he says.
The Comfort Slide sandals by Adidas is soft all over, maximizing comfort without undermining any support. Slip ’em on while you’re padding around your house for a sweet treat on your feet and your wallet—they’re only $27.
What reviews say: “I love my Adidas flip flops! This is the second pair and the first pair I bought over 5 years ago are still comfy and have held up. I only purchased a new pair because the old ones were looking a bit rough. But after 5 years of almost daily wear they truly held up,” — Amazon customer.
If you’re looking for sandals that you can wear walking around without worrying about pain, this Hush Puppies pair might be your holy grail. These are made with everything you need for a stress-free jaunt, including a high energy return EVA foam midsole, anti-microbial linings, a memory foam footbed, and moisture-wicking material so your feet are not only comfortable, but sweat-free.
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Designer flip flops? Why not? These have a textured footbed that feels dreamy on even the flattest of feet. If you’re going to splurge, do it on these—they feature that recognizable double G logo, and come in black, white, or pink.
What reviews say: “These are super stylish dress up or down and super comfortable, I’m a true 9 and bought size 39 fits like a glove. Thinking of buying a second pair, my new favorite sandals!” — Nordstrom customer.
Back to Birkenstock. Another elevated option from a typical flip flop style, these gold buckle Birks feature a cork and foam padded footbed that custom-molds to your feet with a shock-absorbing EVA outsole that is crafted to distribute your body weight more evenly as you walk.
What reviews say: “I love everything about this item. The fit, size, and material. My feet are happy wearing them with arch support not like other sandals,” — Zappos customer.
This style from Clarks’ Cloudsteppers line is a solid choice for flat-footed folks. It has comfortable fabric, an EVA midsole, and an OrthoLite footbed with Cushion Soft technology, as well as a ton of color and pattern choices to fit every personality and style.
What reviews say: “This is the fourth pair of Arla Glison flip flops I have bought because they are by far the most comfortable shoes I have ever put on my feet. They have the perfect amount of arch support and keep my feet from over pronating,” — Amazon customer.
These chunky platform flops may remind you of the early 2000s, but they’re actually a 1970s-inspired style—and are surprisingly comfortable. While some sky-high platforms can make you feel uneven, they provide even support, so you can stride in confidence.
What reviews say: “Very comfortable despite how they look…love them,” — Macy’s customer
If you’d rather opt for a slide sandal than thong flip flops, these Hush Puppies are a must. They come in a ton of fun, bright colors, and are made with the brand’s signature Bounce insole, which returns energy as you walk while and distributing weight evenly.
What reviews customer: “These are such a fun pop of color! I’m a neutrals gal but went outside my comfort zone for the Orange and I do not regret it. They are so so squishy. If you are a half size, I would size up! They come a bit snug but warm up to your feet quickly,” — Hush Puppies customer
Like the idea of a platform flip flop but don’t want anything too high? This is a good compromise. The plush terry platform promises “cloud-like” comfort, and they’re chic enough to go with a variety of outfits, not just your poolside wardrobe.
What reviews say: “Fit a bit wider (I’m a size 5.5 but have flat feet, so the width is nice). The weight is off putting at first, but they’re super comfy and are a great version of a platform flip-flop to elevate simple summer outfits,” — Nordstrom customer.
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