Flip flops are perfect for summertime, when you're heading to the beach or lake. But, they are known for being unsupportive to our feet, downright painful if you suffer from plantar fasciitis. Which brands and styles have the right arch support and cushion, so you can be water-ready without pain? Try these brands, if you searching for the best comfortable and supportive flip flops for plantar fasciitis.
Who wants to wear sneakers to the beach? Ugh.
Walking, lounging and playing near the water requires comfortable, cool, water-resistant and ideally stylish sandals. A tall order when you need them to also be supportive and cushioned.
Here are tried and true flip flops (and water-resistant sandal options) that plantar fasciitis sufferers swear by.
🩴 What to look for in a flip flop
Flip flops are the very pinnacle of minimalist shoes. A couple straps, a rubber base and boom! You have a flip flop.
So, the trick when looking for supportive flip flop sandals is to find the ones that have had a little more thought and engineering put into their design.
Three most important features in flip flops for plantar fasciitis
For plantar fasciitis sufferers, the top three features to look for are:
- Cushion in the heel
- Firm and substantial arch support
- Proper snug fit, so your feet don't slide around as you walk
Cushion in the heel is especially important if you have plantar fasciitis pain every day or are in the middle of a flare-up. Since plantar fasciitis causes intense heel pain, flip flops that have shock-absorbent, memory foam or a gel heel are especially comfortable.
Firm and substantial arch support is equally important in flip flop sandals for plantar fasciitis sufferers. Why? Wearing shoes without proper arch support is one of the causes of plantar fasciitis. Feet need arch support to function properly.
Also, wearing shoes with proper arch support regularly can improve or eliminate the symptoms of plantar fasciitis. So, for shoes you will be wearing all day long at the beach, lake or river, it is very important that they have firm (not too squishy/soft) and substantial (tall enough) arch support to support your feet while you walk, lounge and play. This will help them heal in the long run.
A proper SNUG fit is especially important in flip flops because typically their minimalist design causes your foot to shift and move quite a bit as you walk. This is not good because it can cause pain for people with plantar fasciitis.
A few other things to consider
Water resistance - Since flip flops are worn near water and sand oftentimes, you need to find out if the material they are made out of is waterproof or water-resistant.
The right size and width - Don't overlook the importance of buying flip flops that are the right size for your foot and are the proper width for your foot. Try them on first before purchasing, if you can. Or, buy a pair that you can easily return, if they don't fit.
Cost - Standard flip flops are some of the cheapest shoes you can buy. So, when you're shopping for a pair that is made with arch support, a snug fit, cushion and some style, expect to pay a little more. So, consider what your budget is for your new shoes. You may want to choose a pair that is neutral in color, so you can wear them with lots of outfits.
Online shoe shopping concerns - If you have to order online, how much is shipping? And, how soon will they arrive? Will they arrive before your planned trip or outing? Can I return them, if they hurt my feet when I wear them?
Now that we've covered what to look for in a good pair of supportive flip flops for people with plantar fasciitis, let's look at some brands you can explore!
Archie's Footwear is an Australian company that ships out of Utah, USA specializing in arch support flip flops and now arch support slides. Their flip flops are $40 and their slides are $60. They offer free shipping if you buy 2 or more pairs and have a 60-day comfort guarantee. Their sandals feature:
- Real arch support - 2.2cm of orthotic support to give your feet the support you need. You can see the arch support in the side view photo below.
- A tight strap - to prevent toe-clawing and help keep your sandals in place when you walk
- Molds to your feet - their specialized closed cell foam material is formulated to mold to your foot
- No plugs, no problem - an ultra-strong one-piece design that makes them very durable. I've had the same pair for years and they're still going strong.
These black pair of Archie's arch support flip flops are my go-to flip flops when I'm headed to the pool or beach. They look stylish and minimal. They have arch support and are cushioned in the heel. I highly recommend them!
Oofos recovery flip flop sandals were recommended to me by a foot doctor. The cushion and firm arch support in these athletic recovery sandals make you feel like you're walking on clouds.
They are a little too bulky for my taste, so I wear these Oofos Women's Ooriginal Black Sandals as house shoes. I was told that the material is not really made for walking around on concrete, although people do wear them outside.
Oofos offers recovery thick cushioned flip flops and slide sandals ranging in price from $59.95 to $99.95. Oofos offers free shipping and returns. They are very comfortable right away and require no breaking in. These would be great for anyone suffering from a plantar fasciitis flare-up or chronic heel pain.
Birkenstock makes a range of affordable, waterproof sandals made of the EVA material that is typical in these types of shoes. If you purchase these from the Birkenstock website, shipping is free. Returns are allowed within 30 days of purchase.
Birkenstock EVA waterproof sandals comes in the following styles, ranging in cost from $34.95 to $59.95 USD:
- Madrid (pictured) - a single strap adjustable sandal. Madrid waterproof sandals only come in narrow width, unfortunately.
- Honolulu - the most "flip-flop" style of any Birkenstock. These look like a standard flip flop, but with wider straps for more support.
- Gizeh - an adjustable single strap style with a wide strap on the top of the foot that resembles gladiator style.
- Arizona - two-strap sandal that is quintessentially Birkenstock. Both straps are adjustable.
- Barbados - a single strap slide sandal with the Birkenstock brand name printed on top of the slide
- Milano - three-strap Arizona-style sandals with a back strap. These only come in kids sizes.
- Boston - a classic clog-style closed-toe shoe with an adjustable top strap
All of these styles come with the classic, supportive, molded Birkenstock footbed.
When I was first diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, I bought a pair of Birkenstock EVA Madrid sandals in olive green. I wore them as my house shoes instead of going barefoot in the house. They were cheaper than buying a pair of standard birks.
They really helped my flare-up to calm down and helped ease the heel pain I was experiencing, since they are cushioned. Initially, these felt uncomfortable because I was not used to wearing shoes with arch support.
But, after just a few days, they were very comfortable for me to wear and were lifesavers. After a few months of wearing these, I transitioned to wearing standard Birkenstocks, which are more supportive than the EVA waterproof version.
My feet now prefer the firm, more substantial arch support of standard Birkenstocks. These EVA foam sandals don't have enough arch support for every day wear, for me at least. They were great when I had a flare-up and to help me transition to supportive shoes at the beginning.
Now, they serve as an option for me when I'm working in the garden or going to the pool or beach. I recommend them for those purposes, but not for every day wear, since they do not have enough support.
The Healing Sole
I do not personally own a pair of healing sole flip flops, but I have heard from others who suffer from plantar fasciitis that these help them.
Flip flops are usually completely flat, with no contour at all in the footbed. That means that although they are cushioned, they have no arch support at all. Because there is no support for your arch, they can cause or exacerbate plantar fasciitis. This is especially true if you wear flip flops a lot.
Flip flops are also called thongs or pluggers (in Australia), jandals (in New Zealand), slops or plakkies (in South Africa and Zimbabwe), chappals (in India) and tsinelas (in the Philippines).