When you think of active footwear, you probably don't immediately think of flip-flops and sandals. Running sneakers, trail running shoes and hiking boots come to mind, but the minimalist summer wear that treads sandy beaches and muddy riverbanks often gets forgotten.
Though they might not seem like active shoes, rafting, summer camping and beach adventures wouldn't be the same without them. Flip-flops and sandals can be just as sporty and fashionable as your favorite pair of neon sneakers, with an added bonus of holding-up well under a few feet of water. When it comes to hot summer days and water sports, flip-flops and sandals are as essential as bathing suits and sunscreen.
Vionic is the only footwear brand recommended by both the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) and the famous integrative medicine doctor, Andrew Weil, MD. The difference in their shoes is in the foot bed design, which is said to help relieve leg, knee and back pain. The Tide II is one of the most popular models, featuring leather trim, an updated tread pattern and, of course, their famous foot bed. The firm but comfortable sole supports the arch and cups the heel, making this a great choice for those with flat feet and those looking for extra support. Photo Credit: Vionicshoes.com Click here to see the full List of The 12 Best Flip-Flops and Sandals of 2014
Outfitted with the same Orthaheel Technology, which is said to relieve leg, knee and back pain, the Wave is a great choice for men with flat feet or those looking for extra support and comfort. Jersey-lined straps, a nylon toe post and a patterned tread have helped this lightweight sandal score great reviews and a 4.9 out of five star overall rating. Photo Credit: Vionicshoes.com
Named for progress, The Holomua is the product of a yearlong research and development period with the Hawaiian Lifeguard Association. The flip-flop is new this year, featuring adjustable straps, grips on both the insole and outsole and a water resistant design. OluKai outfits the Hawaiian Lifeguard Association with 450 pairs of flip-flops each year and a portion of each Holomua purchase goes to the HLA Junior Program. Photo Credit: Olukai.com Click here to see the full List of The 12 Best Flip-Flops and Sandals of 2014
The Gallatin CNX sandals offer maximum protection without slowing you down. Weighing in at a mere 7.5 ounces, these sandals feature complete toe protection, rugged tire-tread outsoles and a no-slip bungee lacing system. Designed for watersports that are tough on your feet, they are the most comfortable and effective shoes we’ve tested. From paddling to camping, these sandals are ready for whatever your summer adventures may entail. Photo Credit: keenfootwear.com
These flip-flops, made with vegetable tanned leather, premiered in January 2014 and are expected to be among the most popular OluKai models this summer. The hand-knotted toe post secures the straps, which are set far back, offering maximum comfort and control. Two rubber sections provide traction on the bottom of the shoe and the hard leather outsole ensures lasting durability. Photo Credit: Olukai.com Click here to see the full List of The 12 Best Flip-Flops and Sandals of 2014
This vital footwear comes in all shapes and sizes -- the choices are seemingly endless. From cheap, flat rubber soles to high-end leather flip-flops, choosing the right pair for you depends largely on how you plan to use them. The flimsy rubber soles won't provide adequate support for a day on your feet and leather flip-flops might not be the best choice for your next rafting trip, but we've put together a list of the best flip-flops and sandals for whatever you have planned.
When it comes to flip-flops and sandals support is a common concern. Sandals lacking support can cause leg, knee and back pain and might alter your walking stride. The sandals and flip-flops on our list feature supportive arches, contoured heels and straps that take the pressure off your toes. Some of the footwear mentioned on our list is even said to alleviate existing pain. So, before you head to the beach or pack up for your first camping trip of the season, take a look at the best flip-flops and sandals of 2014.
-- Diana Gerstacker, The Active Times
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