I love summer for being able to kick off my heavy winter boots and free my toes. While flip-flops are great, sometimes we do need to cover our tootsies while amongst festival crowds or when tromping off the beaten path. Here are a few open- and closed-toe options to get you through:
Harrison Rejuve – Propét
This has been my favorite flip-flop this season because of the way it cradles my foot and cups my heel to always land in just the right spot and alignment every step of the way. When these get wet my feet don’t slip around over the top like on other flip-flops and the rubber outsole provides a good grip on wet and slippery surfaces.
The heel cup also makes a huge difference when stepping on uneven terrain where my foot may otherwise slip off the flip-flop entirely. The Harrison is not obnoxiously heavy for its size thanks to the EVA midsole yet the toe strap is very secure and the top strap is very comfortable leaving plenty of room for my high volume foot. The footbed has good arch support for my high arches. propetusa.com
Fontas – Chaco
My Fontas Flips are going on their second season of extended use (I often end up wearing flips well into the fall and winter as I’m slow to transition seasons).
While it doesn’t look like Chaco carries this particular model any more, they do have nine other flip-flop models on their website as of this posting and they are just as durable and long lasting as we’ve come to expect from Chaco.
The closest model to the Fontas looks like the Kellen with full grain leather on the top strap, toe post and footbed, the Chaco LuvSeat curve for great arch support and secure footing and their non-marking Eco Tread containing 25% recycled rubber with a 2mm diamond pattern lug depth for all-round traction. chacos.com
Pick Pocket – Sanuk
With a smaller opening and floppier hemp/canvas build the Pick Pocket is better suited for slightly lower volume feet than mine. But the stash pocket in the tongue is brilliant. Forget bringing your wallet or trying to find a place to stash some cash or ID. The Pick Pocket fits all of those things with ease. My only gripe is I wish there was some sort of snap or Velcro to secure the pocket shut. It works fine while it’s on your foot which keeps pressure on the pocket and your kit to prevent it from falling out. But once you lay out your blanket and feel like freeing your toes, the pocket goes slack and your stuff can sip out.
Another great feature of the Pick Pocket, and for that matter many of the Sanuk line, is the super soft and squishy footbed/insole. Sanuk describes it as their “High rebound instaplay footbed”. The “Happy U” rubber outsole is nothing spectacular in the ways of traction on wet surfaces, but the integrated “U” shape makes it comfortable to walk on and grips plenty well on most terrain where you’ll be wearing these. You’ll even be OK in the occasional steep dirt bank or brushy crossing as we are often finding ourselves in when trying to skirt the crowds. sanuk.com
Bristlecone – Patagonia
For traipsing around more urban environments in the transition season when you come across the occasional flow of snowmelt runoff or a patch of muddy trail, the stiff and durable leather and canvas upper of the Bristlecone has made it a favorite.
This slip-on lives up to that category where I can simply slip my feet into them after I’ve already filled my arms with whatever gear I’m taking along as I head out the door. The air-mesh lining wicks moisture nicely and the EVA midsole is removable to allow the Bristlecone to pack down for travel. The rubber honeycomb outsole provides better than average traction for slip-ons and the curved nature of the outsole rolled nicely across each step. The foot opening accommodated my high volume foot nicely (hence the easy slip-on feature) and I really appreciate the use of a strong stitch to attach the outsole to minimize the use of chemical solvent glues in the making of the shoe. patagonia.com