Summer's Best Flip-Flops Don't Forgo Style

From leather styles by The Row to jelly variations by Tory Burch, tastemakers are officially embracing the quintessential beach shoe designer makeover.

A collage of four images of women wearing flip flops on the street
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The odds are that some of your fondest childhood memories include running around in rubber flip-flops to save your feet from scorching hot sand. And yet, the hard-working, nostalgic summer shoe rarely gets the respect it deserves, relegated as a fashion faux pas for anywhere other than the surf (unless it's the nail salon's foam disposable slip-ons to save your pedicure).

But today’s best flip-flops are changing the status quo. These sandals command respect, and no one—not even the most judgmental footwear connoisseur—can deny their resurgence. Luxury designers are remixing the basic sandal style with elevated materials, like leather, and adding height and mass to the notoriously flimsy soles.

The Row's pin-thin thong sandals epitomize quiet luxury, while Toteme offers a '90s mule version. For a dose of nostalgia, head to J.Crew or Tory Burch, offering flip-flops in every style, from thick wedges to water-proof jelly sandals for the beach.

Whether you have a summer getaway coming up on the docket or feel moved to give the old flip-flop another shot, Marie Claire curated a guide to the best 48 women's flip-flops on the market.

Thin Thong Sandals

Jacqueline Zelwis is seen wearing cropped Arakii Blazer in black, Gina Tricot x Hanna MW Jeans Havaianas Flip Flops, Paris/64 bag, VIU sunglasses on May 22, 2022 in Berlin, Germany.

While your instincts might tell you to pair jeans and a blazer with loafers, thin and strappy flip-flops are an unexpected, and welcome choice.

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A minimal flip-flop with a barely-there strap won't ever lead you astray. It's a subtle shoe with a profound impact that calls on the effortlessness of '90s fashion. Team a neutral option with your best linen pants for a laid-back, easy-breezy pairing, or punch up a basic white sun dress with the cherry red pop of color.

Heeled Sandals

A woman walking black leather heeled flip-flops, denim skirt, and blazer

A low-to-the-ground kitten heeled flip-flop is always a practical option.

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In moments of wardrobe distress, a strappy-heeled sandal is the epitome of a hero shoe. A pair of heeled flip-flops will always do the trick. Toteme's T-strap sandals and Dolce Vita's kitten heels are two stand-out favorites in the Marie Claire office.

Comfort-First Flip-Flops

Lois Opoku seen wearing Lala Berlin beige long coat, Lala Berlin white linen pants and Lala Berlin black leather flip flops, on August 16, 2023 in Berlin, Germany.

A squishy footbed and flexible strap are the key elements of a comfortable sandal.

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As much as you need a pair of formal flip-flops, you should invest in a casual and comfy pair. Rothy's, a long-time favorite of Marie Claire editors, offers a sleek pair of walking flip-flops akin to the plushness of a cloud in shoe form. Another option to consider is Birkenstock's T-strap style—given how they mold to your foot, you'll likely forget you're even wearing them.

Beach Sandals

Livia Nunes Marques seen wearing Miu Miu navy blue polo shirt over a blue shirt, Miu Miu brown leather bag with colourful chains and charms, Rhode phone case, Miu Miu yellow underwear, blue shorts with green details and red flipflop shoes outside Miu Miu Show during the Womenswear Fall/Winter 2024/2025 as part of Paris Fashion Week on March 05, 2024 in Paris, France.

A sandal so good, it's worth arranging a beach day for.

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For those who plan to spend the season beach bumming, any of the below will suit your summer shoe needs. Miu Miu's knotted-rope sandals are a true favorite among fashion insider circles (no yacht club membership required). You can also try a pair made from water-proof PVC, like Tory Burch or Christoper Esber's.

Platform Flip-Flops

Carrole Sagba @linaose wears navy blue denim jean Levis boyfriend pants, khaki shiny leather platform sole Sinobio sandals, a long oversized GIVENCHY coat with black buttons, a shiny silver and gold nails paco Rabanne handbag, on May 02, 2021 in Paris, France.

To ensure your flatform flip-flop is as comfortable as can be, the same above rule applies: keep an eye out for a squishy footbed and foot strap.

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Whether you're hoping to hit new heights or just coast a few more centimeters off the ground, a platform flip-flop will give you the adrenaline hit you're searching for. A super-sized statement—namely, Dries Van Noten's clog-style thongs—make a big impact, while Gap's chunky-soled style is a bit more mellow.

Wide Flip-Flops

Amanda Derhy wears a brown shiny monogram print pattern in coated canvas shoulder bag from Louis Vuitton, black fringed wide legs pants, black shiny leather flip-flop / shoes, during a street style fashion photo session, on April 17, 2022 in Paris, France.

In addition to more of a statement impact, a wider strap also ensures your foot will stay squarely inside the shoe all day long.

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Unlike the previous thin silhouette styles, these wider-strapped sandals deliver a bolder impact. Take a walk on the wild side with J.Crew's animal-printed pair, or keep it neutral in either Prozena Schouler's ivory style or By Malene Birger's black sandal.

Embellished Flip-Flops

Natalia Verza wears brown suede with a silver embroidered chain flip flop from AGL, during a street style fashion photo session, on August 07, 2022 in Paris, France.

Consider these high-shine slip-ons like jewelry for your feet.

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Whether you have a casual party on the agenda or simply want to sprinkle more sparkle into your everyday style, an embellished flip-flop will tick both boxes. The options are endless, from pearlescent seashells and molten metallic hardware to a simple eye-catching logo motif.

Wedge Flip-Flops

Violet Grace wearing black coat, white oversized floral broach, black skinny sunglasses, Ferragamo pale blue clutch, orange and blue tie dyed skirt and blue heels Australian Fashion Week Presented By Pandora 2024 at Carriageworks on May 13, 2024 in Sydney, Australia.

Up the fashion ante with a wedge sandal in an eye-catching color—like these bright azure sandals.

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You might have sworn off the block-shaped wedge sandal back in the aughts. But given that it's one of summer 2024's top accessory trends, now is the opportune time to give it a second chance. Coach's soft-cushioned pair or St. Agni's leather thong are great places to start.

Emma Childs
Fashion Features Editor

Emma is the fashion features editor at Marie Claire, where she writes deep-dive trend reports, zeitgeisty fashion featurettes on what style tastemakers are wearing, long-form profiles on emerging designers and the names to know, and human interest vignette-style round-ups. Previously, she was Marie Claire's style editor, where she wrote shopping e-commerce guides and seasonal trend reports, assisted with the market for fashion photo shoots, and assigned and edited fashion celebrity news.

Emma also wrote for The Zoe Report, Editorialist, Elite Daily, Bustle, and Mission Magazine. She studied Fashion Studies and New Media at Fordham University Lincoln Center and launched her own magazine, Childs Play Magazine, in 2015 as a creative pastime. When she's not waxing poetic about niche fashion topics, you'll find her stalking eBay for designer vintage, reading literary fiction on her Kindle, and baking banana bread in her tiny NYC kitchen.