Sandals and flip flops are summertime footwear staples. Both flatter the feet, cool you off, and give your toes an opportunity to feel the breeze after being cooped up in closed-toed shoes all winter. But what’s the difference between the two, and is one better than the other? If so, which is the superior option?

As total foot health enthusiasts, dedicated towards making comfortable walking sandals and beach sandals, we have a lot to say about both summer shoe styles. Keep reading for a breakdown of the difference between sandals and flip flops and what to look for when shopping for each.


What’s the Difference Between Sandals and Flip Flops?

At this point, you know flip flops and sandals are open-toed shoe styles. You may even have a pair of each already sitting in your closet. But if you’re like a lot of people, you might get the two confused. So, how are they different, and which is better? Here’s what you should know about sandals and flip-flops.



Unlike sneakers, boots, slippers, flats, loafers, boat shoes, and other types of closed-toe shoes, sandals expose your toes, heels, and some other portions of your feet. The straps of sandals are what make them stay on your feet as you walk. Sandal straps come in a wide range of configurations, often wrapping around the ankle, across the toes, and over different parts of the foot. Also, straps are usually secured and adjusted with buckles or velcro.

There are a broad range of types of sandals, including:

  • Slides
  • Ankle-strap sandals
  • Heel-strap sandals
  • Hook-and-loop sandals
  • Wedges
  • Platform sandals
  • High-heeled sandals
  • Gladiator sandals
  • Espadrilles
  • Toe-post sandals

From rubber and cork to suede and leather, sandals come in many different materials, and there are tons of benefits to wearing them. Sandals keep your feet cool in the summer while preventing overly sweaty feet. Plus, they allow your feet to get some sun, and they’re the perfect complement to virtually any warm-weather ensemble.

How to Find Supportive Sandals

One thing to keep in mind is that this type of open-toe shoe doesn’t always offer the same level of support and protection as closed-toe footwear. When shopping for a pair of sandals, look for adjustable straps, arch support, and adequate cushioning. And if you’re wondering “how should sandals fit?”, you’ll need to find footbeds that are long and wide enough that no portion of your foot hangs over the edge—including your toes.

Another essential component of comfortable sandals is durable, shock-absorbent soles with plenty of traction. When you walk around on the sand, grass, concrete, or bumpy hiking trails, the bottoms of your feet should be completely protected and able to grip the terrain. Vionic sandals cover all the bases. Check out our men’s and women’s comfortable sandals to see our fashionable orthotic styles.


Flip Flops

Are flip flops sandals? As a matter of fact, they are! Flip flops, which are often called thong sandals, have Y-shaped straps that meet between the big toe and second toe. They’re typically made with rubber soles and straps. However, you can find cork, foam, and leather flip flops, too.

Flip flops are generally more lightweight than other sandal styles. This makes them super portable, as you can stash a pair in your beach tote or gym bag and throw them on when you need to. Flip flops are also usually more affordable than other sandals.

Men’s flip flops tend to have relatively thick straps. Conversely, women’s flip flops come in a variety of styles, including athletic designs with thicker straps and more feminine designs with thinner straps. You can also find flip flops with embellishments, bows, metal accents, and other fun decorative features.

Flip flops are flattering summertime shoes that look great with:

  • Shorts
  • Skirts
  • Jeans
  • Sundresses
  • Maxi dresses
  • Jumpsuits
  • Rompers
  • Swimwear
  • Sarongs
  • Caftans
  • Athleisure wear

Flip flops are go-to sandals for hitting the beach, lounging by the pool, hanging out at barbeque, or spending time at a resort. They often have a bad rap in terms of support and comfort, leading people to wonder are flip flops bad for your feet?. However, Vionic’s flip flop styles are another story.

Flip Flops with Arch Support

Our surf-loving founder, podiatrist Phillip Vasyli, recognized the need to create a better flip-flop. He conceptualized a cutting-edge, supportive design infused with the natural feeling of sand underfoot. Instead of flopping around and slipping off your feet like other flip flops, ours align with your arches and stay in place as you move around.

Not only are Vionic flip flops comfortable and beneficial for your feet, but they also come in the classic silhouette you’ve always worn. They truly are the best pair of flip flops on the market. If you love wearing flip flops, you’ll love them even more when you try a pair from Vionic.


Sandal or Flip Flops—What’s Better?

So, which are better to wear, flip flops or sandals? Historically, regular sandals have been the more comfortable and supportive option, but with Vionic, that’s not the case. For this reason, the answer really depends on what you’re looking for in a pair of sandals.

Benefits of Flip Flops

Flip flops tend to be a more casual, laid-back shoe. As we mentioned, they’re also lightweight, portable, and budget-friendly. Plus, you can get them wet and easily clean them off. Although flip flops go with many outfits, they might not fly in some professional and formal settings.

Benefits of Sandals

On the other hand, regular sandals come in numerous styles, each with its own list of benefits.

If you’re looking for a slightly dressier warm-weather shoe, strappy sandals, block-heel sandals, platform sandals, or wedges are your best options. Additionally, platforms and wedge heels will give you a little extra height.

The sandals vs. flip flops debate may never end. But when it comes down to it, most people could use a pair of each, so why choose?


Comfortable Sandals for Women and Men from Vionic

At Vionic, we’re dedicated to helping people get the most health benefits out of their shoes. There are certainly differences between sandals and flip flops, but when you know you can count on either for comfort, it’s really a matter of preference. Whether you prefer sandals or flip flops—or both!—we have the perfect pair of shoes for you to rock this season.


Vio-Motion Support

All shoes from Vionic are made with our exclusive Vio-Motion Support technology. This means every pair has a three-zone comfort design with ultimate arch support and cushioning. Our sturdy, orthotic sandals and durable flip flops were developed to relieve symptoms of plantar fasciitis and other chronic foot conditions.


Proven Heel Pain Relief

But that’s not all—Vionic sandals are actually proven to provide pain relief. In a peer-reviewed study that tracked people with existing heel pain, our contoured sandals offered just as much pain relief as our best-selling arch support inserts. Vionic sandals were also proven to be more effective at alleviating pain than standard flat flip flops.

If you tend to experience heel pain during the spring and summer, there’s a good chance your sandals are lacking in the support department. The foot experts at Vionic strongly recommend opting for a pair of supportive sandals. While many people think they have to choose between comfort and fashion, this couldn’t be further from the truth with Vionic. Our orthotic shoes are just as stylish as any other designs you see at department stores, but much more comfy and good for your feet.



Vionic sandals weren’t just developed by a podiatrist. We have many styles that carry a Seal of Acceptance from the APMA (American Podiatric Medical Association), which certifies that these podiatrist recommended shoes promote foot health and provide proper arch support. Vionic is proud to be one of the only footwear brands with APMA approval.

Vionic is your source for orthotic footwear for all occasions. We carry a wide variety of women’s and men’s sandals you can sport throughout the summer and beyond. This includes slides, ankle-strap sandals, wedges, platform sandals, toe-post sandals, and supportive flip flops with durable rubber outsoles that offer a barefoot feel.

Are you ready to take your footwear experience to a whole new level? Browse comfortable walking sandals for women and men from Vionic today.


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