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billabong sandals

The Billabong Kai Flip Flop complement any beach day nicely. Photo: Rebecca Parsons//The Inertia

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Wherever you are in the world, a good pair of sandals are a vital piece of equipment. Especially when the weather is warm, having something quick, light, and comfortable to slip your feet into makes a world of difference. Regardless of how you spend your time at the beach, you’re likely slipping on a pair of shoes or sandals every time you head to the coast. For long treks to the beach, strolls around town, campground hangs, and navigating toasty parking lot pavement, here are our favorite beach sandals for women. For more detailed info, be sure to check out our Comparison Table and Buyer’s Guide. For men’s sandals, here’s our guides to The Best Men’s Sandals and The Best Men’s Flip Flops.

The Best Beach Sandals for Women

Best Overall Women’s Beach Sandals: Birkenstock Arizona
Runner Up Women’s Beach Sandals: Rainbow Single Layer Leather Sandal
Most Stylish Women’s Beach Sandals: Billabong Kai Flip Flop
Best Budget Women’s Beach Sandals: Havaianas Brazil Flip Flops
Most Versatile Women’s Beach Sandals: Teva Midform Universal Sandal
Most Water-Friendly Women’s Beach Sandals: Sanuk Cosmic Shores Flip-Flop

Best Overall Women’s Beach Sandals

Birkenstock Arizona ($145)

Pros: Ultra durable and comfortable, adjustable
Cons: Expensive

For a long time, we were anti-Birkenstock because spending upwards of $100 on a pair of sandals seemed absurd. But then we tried them and now we’re believers in the Birk. The Arizona features a contoured cork-latex footbed for custom support, a synthetic leather upper, a suede footbed lining, and an EV sole that is flexible and lightweight.

Two adjustable straps allow for a custom fit and add a bit of style, resulting in a timeless, laid back aesthetic. Incredibly and durable and comfortable, the Birkenstock Arizona is a winner.

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Runner Up Women’s Beach Sandals

Rainbow Single Layer Leather Sandal ($70)

Pros: Incredibly comfortable, stylish
Cons: Must be broken in

Rainbows are a sandal that improve with time. They won’t be quite as comfortable when you first get them, but give them a week or two and they’ll become the most comfortable sandals you’ve ever worn as the layers of memory foam and leather mold to your feet.

And it just keeps on getting better from there. These sandals last forever, and are backed by Rainbow’s guarantee if they break before you wear through the sole. They’re the epitome of comfortable and durable, and the classic leather has some style points to boot. They finished runner up as Birkenstocks are slightly more comfortable and durable, but it was a close call.

The one-inch strap is certainly the most comfortable option, but for a more feminine-looking sandal check out the half-inch strap option here.


Most Stylish Women’s Beach Sandals

Billabong Kai Flip Flop ($35)

billabong kai sandals

Pros: Stylish, lightweight, and comfortable
Cons: Not great for long walks or technical terrain

Billabong has been a favorite surf brand for years and like most of their products, the Kai Flip Flop deliver style and comfort. While we’re all about utilitarian shoes, it’s nice for them to have a cute, feminine flair as well — these sandals nicely couple function and fashion.

Available in six different colors, the Kai Flip Flops feature a squishy EVA footbed and a vegan-friendly faux leather strap. In Hawaiian, “kai” translates to “sea,” so you know these ultra-lightweight and comfortable flip flops are meant to be at the beach. While these sandals aren’t the best option for long treks, they are comfortable for strolls to the beach and a fun addition to any outfit.


Most Affordable Women’s Beach Sandals

Havaianas Brazil Flip Flops ($26)

havainas sandals

Pros: Affordable, multiple color options
Cons: Not the most comfortable option

Nothing says “beach vibes” louder than Havaianas. These Brazilian-made sandals may not be the ones you’d reach for to hike the Na Pali Coast, but for lounging around the beach parking lot and lookin’ good, they pass with flying colors.

The good looks do sacrifice a bit of comfort, but at a fraction of the cost of other ‘flops on this list, and with plenty of fun colorways to choose from, Havaianas make us question whether or not comfort is the end-all-be-all we make it out to be.


Most Versatile Women’s Beach Sandals

Teva Midform Universal Sandal ($65)Teva Surf Sandals

Pros: Durable and versatile, EVA midsole provides solid cushioning
Cons: A little dorky, but making a comeback

As kids, we always thought of Tevas as “dorky hiking sandals” (thanks mom). But as adults, and with retro-styles making a comeback, we’re in love with them. They’re comfortable, durable, and in regards to style, we’ll be so bold to say that they’re even kind of cool.

Thoughtful features include a hook-and-loop closure for easy entry and exit, an EVA midsole that provides extra cushioning, and a rubber sole for traction on both wet and dry surfaces. Made with the planet in mind, these sandals include polyester webbing that is made from recycled bottles and the rest of the materials are synthetic and/or plant based. While they aren’t the most stylish sandals, Teva’s Midform Sandals are comfortable and durable enough to withstand any and every adventure. The midform version we reviewed here also give you a bit of extra height with a 1.25-inch platform sole. For a bit more height, the Teva Flatform Universal sandals offer 1.75 inches of platform, and for less height, the Teva Original Universal sandals don’t have a stated thickness, but are much slimmer than either option.


Most Water-Friendly Women’s Beach Sandals

Sanuk Cosmic Shores Flip-Flop ($40)

sanuk sandals

Pros: Water-friendly, sustainably made
Cons: Minimal arch support

The Sanuk Cosmic Shores Flip-Flops are ultra-durable and comfortable. The Cosmic Shoes are water-friendly and feature a quick drying synthetic upper strap and a neoprene-like paddling. The foam footbed is made from sustainable, water-friendly foam that is soft and comfortable underfoot. The footbed is textured and includes a toe bar which helps with grip, especially when it’s wet. The rubber outsoles are made from 50% natural rubber and provide reliable traction on both wet and dry surfaces.


Best of the Rest

Chaco Wayfarer Post Sandal ($68)

Pros: Comfortable, secure fit, soft and durable suede footbed
Cons: Pricey

Chaco’s Wayfarer Post Sandals are designed with adventure and comfort in mind. The leather upper allows for a secure fit, the suede footbed is soft and durable, the Luvseat midsole offers comfortable arch support, and the ChacoGrip rubber allows for secure footing on slippery surfaces.

The combination of support and comfort makes the Wayfarer Post Sandals well-suited for longer walks to the beach and the strappy design ensures they won’t fall off en-route. Although the price is a little steep, these sandals have everything you’d want in a pair of slides with style points to boot. If you’re looking for a more durable sandal, we also loved the Lowdown Slide Sandals as well as the Townes Sandals.


Sanuk Cosmic Calypso Sandal ($38)

Pros: Soft and cushy Cosmic Yoga Mat footbed, cute, strappy design
Cons: Pricey

Combining style and comfort, Sanuk’s Cosmic Calypso Sandal are a great option to slip into on a hot summer day. Available in two color options, these sandals sport a full grain leather lined molded Cosmic Yoga Mat footbed featuring 20% certified organic soybean polyol with heel cupping and arch support.

Additionally, the non-marking rubber outsole is made from 50% recycled rubber and offers great traction on slippery surfaces. These sandals feel soft and cushy and the strappy design offers fun style points.


OluKai ‘Aukai Sandals ($90)Olukai Surf Sandals

Pros: Stylish, PU footbed offers generous support
Cons: Must be broken in

You’d be hard pressed to find a better pair of sandals than OluKai’s ‘Aukai Sandals. Designed for all-around comfort, these sandals are made from full-grain leather uppers, breathable microfiber lining, and nylon toeposts.

The PU footbeds offer solid support for longer treks to the beach and a traction pad on the base offers additional footing for navigating slippery surfaces. The ‘Aukai sandals are well made, durable, and comfortable, but they do take a little while to break in.


Vans La Costa Slide-On Sandal ($59)Vans Surf Sandals

Pros: Lightweight and flexible, stylish
Cons: Foot slips around a bit

When it comes to regular shoes, Vans has been our pick for years. The La Costa Slide-On sandals deliver the Vans style you know and love, with all the benefits of a sandal. Featuring a soft, synthetic strap, stretch textile lining, and waffle outsoles, theses sandals are lightweight, flexible, comfortable, and hold up well in water.

While they’re beyond comfortable for short distances, they lost a few points on longer treks because we found our feet tended to slip out easily. When it comes to chilling, though, Vans’ Slip-Ons are our go-to for a good shoe/sandal hybrid option.


The North Face Base Camp Slide III Sandal ($39)

the north face sandals

Pros: Textured rubber soles, lightweight
Cons: Wide

The North Face Base Camp Slide III is a classic pair of slides that are easy to slip on and off. The material is water resistant, so you don’t have to worry about getting them wet post session. The TPU strap is lined with a recycled polyester that is comfortable against the foot and dries quickly.

These slides are super lightweight and have plenty of cushion underfoot. The Base Camp Slides are definitely on the wide side, which does allow narrower feet to slide around a bit, but they’re plenty big to wear with socks if that’s your thing. The textured rubber soles provide ample traction on wet surfaces, which is a huge plus in a beach sandal.


Astral Webber Sandals ($110)

astral webber sandals

Pros: Made form recycled materials, zero-drop design
Cons: Takes a little work to adjust

Typically, our go to beach sandal is something we can easily slip our feet in and out of. But sometimes, it’s nice to have a little extra support, especially for longer treks to the beach. The Astral Webber Sandals are one of the more durable and supportive sandals on our list. The webbing and adjustable straps are made from the same materials as Astral’s durable PFDs and the PFD-grade buckles are super strong.

The sandals sport a zero-drop design for a healthy stride and the outsoles offer great traction on trails and slippery surfaces. The footbed has little bumps on it which we weren’t sure about at first, but after getting the sandals wet we appreciated this feature for the added traction is provides. While these sandals are adjustable, they take a little more work to get fitted than a velcro-style sandal, but once you’ve got it figured out the fit is secure.


Merrel Hydro Moc Shoes ($60)

merrel sandals

Pros: Hold up well in water, lightweight
Cons: Not the most stylish

You won’t earn many style points with the Merrel Hydro Moc Shoes, but if comfort is what you’re after these shoes deliver. Made from EVA foam, these shoes are ultra lightweight and easy to slide on and off. The Hdryo Mocs were specifically designed with watersports in mind and the foam holds up well in water and the holes throughout provide excellent drainage.

While these shoes have a minimalistic design, the contoured arches provide some support (although we wouldn’t recommend them for long treks). $60 seems a little steep for these shoes, but they are well made, durable, and perform well in the water.


Hoka Ora 3 Recovery Slides ($60)

hoka recovery sandals

Pros: Lots of support, 19 color options
Cons: Not the coolest, kind of bulky

If you spent a lot of time on your feet, the Hoka Ora 3 Recovery Slides could be the sandals you’ve been looking for. These slides feature dual-layer construction with cushioned, oversize midsoles and soft EVA top layers, delivering an ultra comfortable sandal that feels good on the feet.

The Recovery Slides have EVA footbeds made mainly from sugarcane and injection-molded outsoles. Although these unisex sandals aren’t the coolest looks-wise, they provide lots of support and are comfortable and durable. Available in 19 different colors, there’s a style for everyone.


Reef Cushion Sol Sandals ($55)

reef sandalsPros: Super cushy footbed, vegan leather
Cons: Only one color option

Comfortable, stylish, and water-friendly, the Reef Cushion Sol Sandals are an excellent pair of beach sandals. The cushioned footbeds are squishy comfy and feel good walking around all day.

The vegan leather and strappy design is so cute and pair perfectly with a swimsuit or a pair of cutoffs. We wouldn’t go hiking in the Cushion Sol Sandals, but the non-marking outsoles have reliable grip for trekking through sand and along city streets. We only wish these sandals came in more colors!


Sanuk Yoga Mat ($33)

sanuk sandals

Pros: Cushy, grippy rubber soles
Cons: Soak up water

Yoga mats are great for, well, yoga, but who knew they came in sandal form? If you think lying on a yoga mat is comfortable, the Sanuk Yoga Mat sandals kick things up a notch. The thong-style sandals are super squishy underfoot.

That being said, they don’t have any firm support, and some may not enjoy the feel on long walks, but we found them comfy for beach trips. However, they do soak up water and wring out like a sponge when you get them wet. The Yoga Mat sandals come in lots of colors, and the rubber soles are nice and grippy.


Combat Floperator Flip Flops ($50)

combat flip flops

Pros: Incredibly durable, incredible traction
Cons: Not super stylish

The Combat Floperator Flip Flops are a heavy-duty pair of flip flops. Although the Floperators aren’t quite as stylish as some of the sandals on our list, they are by far the most sturdy.

These flip flops have military grade boot rubber outsoles that provide insane traction whether you’re strolling the beach, navigating tide pools, or on a short hike. They also have a lifetime warranty for manufacturing defects, so you can rest easy should they get damaged. The straps are also durable and comfortable and they provide moderate support.


Reef Water Vista Sandals ($60)

reef sandals

Pros: Adjustable straps, soft EVA footbeds
Cons: A little bulky

Style and comfort align in the Reef Water Vista Sandals. The Water Vista sandals sport two front straps and an adjustable backstrap for a secure fit. The outsoles are grippy and durable and we found that these sandals were a good pick for longer walks or times when we were traversing in and out of water.

The compression molded EVA footbeds feel soft against your foot and are comfortable for long days of walking around. The Water Vista Sandals also come in a high version if you want a little extra height, as well as a kid’s version.


Melissa Possession Jelly Sandal ($68)

melissa sandals

Pros: Retro style, sustainably made
Cons: Scent is too strong

In case you missed the memo, the 90s are back and so are jelly sandals. The Melissa Possession Jelly Sandals come in fifteen different vibrant color options, so you can easily match them to any outfit. The all-around plastic design means they fare well in water and the closed-toe design paired with an ankle strap allows for a secure fit.

Made from 100% recyclable and cruelty-free PVC MelFlex material, the Possession sandals feature a cushioned footbed and arch support. The sandals arrive bearing Melissa’s bubblegum scent, which we thought was a bit strong and didn’t love, but some might. The style of the Possessions sandals may be a little funky for some, but if you were a 90’s child, you’ll love them.


Olukai Honu Sandals ($100)

olukai honu sandals

Pros: Durable, stylish
Cons: Take a while to break in, pricey

In Hawaiian, “honu” means turtle, and that’s where the Olukai Honu Sandals get their name from. The sandals sport leather uppers and contoured footbeds, complete with a subtle turtle laser-etched onto the footbeds. The Honu Sandals cradle your foot and provide generous arch support, but they do take some time to break in.

The rubber outsoles are super grippy, making it easy to navigate slippery surfaces. The all-leather Honu sandals are incredibly durable and are sure to accompany you on beach trips for years to come.


Olukai Hila Sandals ($80)

olukai sandals

Pros: Puffy straps hug feet
Cons: Not as stylish as Olukai’s leather sandals

We’re longtime fans of Olukai thanks to their well-made durable and aesthetically pleasing sandals. However, many of the Olukai sandals we tested in the past weren’t comfortable out of the gates and took some time to break in. This was not the case with the Olukai Hila Sandals.

The Hila sandals features water-resistant synthetic strap that hug your feet and are squishy and comfortable. The midsoles are soft and cushy and provide plenty of support for walking around. Finally, the rubber outsoles provide deliver traction. The Hila Sandals may not be as durable their leather counterparts, but they make up for it in spades with their comfort.


OOFOS Ooriginal Sandals ($60)

OOFOS sandals

Pros: Great for recovery, machine washable
Cons: Bulky, not very stylish

We’ve been hearing a lot about OOFOS recently, so we decided to give them a try. The OOFOS OOriginal Sandals are bulky and not incredibly stylish, but boy are they comfortable. Designed to help you recover from strenuous activities, the soles and footbeds of the OOriginal sandals allow for the natural motion of your foot, which aides in recovery.

The special OOfoam also provides 37% more impact absorption than traditional EVA shoe foams, making each step feel nice and supported. The Ooriginal sandals are also machine washable, so they’re easy to clean between adventures.


Best Women’s Beach Sandals Comparison Table

Sandals Cost Adjustable? Sustainable Features?
Birkenstock Arizona  $145 Yes No
Rainbow Single Layer Leather Sandal $70 No No
Billabong Kai Flip Flop $30 No No
Havaianas Brazil Flip Flops $26 No No
Teva Midform Universal Sandal $42 Yes Yes
Sanuk Cosmic Shores Flip-Flops $40 No Yes
Chaco Wayfarer Post Sandal $95 No No
Sanuk Cosmic Calypso Sandal $73 No Yes
OluKai ‘Aukai Sandals $90 No No
Vans La Costa Slide-On $59 No No
The North Face Base Camp Slide III Sandal $30 No Yes
Astral Webber Sandals $110 Yes Yes
Merrel Hydro Moc Shoes $60 No No
Hoka Ora 3 Recovery Slides $60 No Yes
Reef Cushion Sol Sandals $55 No No
Sanuk Yoga Mat $33 No No
Combat Floperator Flip Flops $50 No No
Reef Water Vista Sandals $60 Yes No
Melissa Possession Jelly Sandals $68 Yes Yes
Olukai Honu Sandals $100 No No
Olukai Hila Sandals. $80 No No
OOFOS OOriginal Sandals $60 No No

women's beach sandals

A selection of some of our top picks. Photo: Rebecca Parsons//The Inertia

How We Tested The Best Women’s Beach Sandals

These sandals were made for walking, and that’s just what we did. In order to test the best beach sandals, we wore them to the beach, navigated in and out of water, and walked around town to see how they fared on a wide array of surfaces. Our tester resides on Oahu and lives in sandals or as they’re called in Hawaii, “slippers.” For the first edition of this article, she spent a few months wearing these sandals to her beach outings, running errands, get togethers with friends, and nights out. Since then, we’ve continued to test these sandals as well as the latest and greatest women’s beach sandals to hit the market.

Editor’s Note: We first ran this review in August of 2023. We updated it in May of 2024 and added in eight new pairs of sandals. We also added additional info to our Buyer’s Guide to help you be as well informed as possible on what makes a solid pair of sandals.

best beach sandals

Well-used equals well-tested. Photo: Rebecca Parsons//The Inertia

Women’s Beach Sandals Buyer’s Guide

Types of Sandals

There are lots of different types of sandals but the three most common types are flip flops, slides, and strappy sandals. Flip flops, also known as thongs, are sandals where the strap comes between your toes. These are the most common type of sandals and are wildly popular among beach goers. Flip flops are easy to slide on and off and provide moderate support, but aren’t the best pick if you’re looking to wear your sandals with socks.

Unlike flip flops, slides have a wide strap that goes over the top of your foot with nothing between your toes. Slides are easy to wear with socks but are typically not the most supportive sandal option. Finally, strappy sandals are any type of sandal that has adjustable straps. These are typically the most supportive and allow you to customize the fit, making them a good choice if you plan on doing lots of walking in your sandals.

women's sandals at the beach

The Sanuk Cosmic Shores Flip-Flops are classic flip flops. Photo: Rebecca Parsons//The Inertia

Parts of a Sandal

Sandals involve multiple parts. The three main components of a sandal are the outsole, midsole, and upper.


The outsole is the hard piece of material on the bottom of the sandal. Most sandals feature a rubber outsole that offers tread and traction.


The midsole is the part of the shoe that connects the upper to the outsole. It is the cushion of the shoe. Generally, sandals that have more cushion have a thicker midsole.


The upper is the part of the sandal that covers the top part of the foot. It’s all the parts of the sandal that are above the sole. Open sandals like flip flops don’t have an upper but for strappy sandals, the upper is the strap.

sandals sitting on a towel at the beach

Sandals are the perfect accessory for the beach. Photo: Rebecca Parsons//The Inertia

What Makes a Good Pair of Sandals?


The type of material your sandals are made from makes a difference when it comes to durability and intended use. Leather sandals tend to require a break-in period but they conform to your foot over time and are a durable option. However, leather doesn’t fare incredibly well in water.

Other sandals are made from synthetic materials and can be plusher and more comfortable out of the gates. Synthetic materials hold up well in water and dry out quickly. Some sandals use a combination of leather and synthetic materials for a hybrid option.

a pair of sandals on the beach

Synthetic sandals fare well in water. Photo: Rebecca Parsons//The Inertia

If you’re anything like us, you spend a lot of time in your sandals: strolling through town, trekking to surf breaks, or just walking the dog around the block. We want our shoes to be comfortable, so they’re able to keep up with all of our adventures. Above all else, comfort is our top priority when purchasing a new pair of beach sandals.


Everyone’s after something different when they’re in the market for a pair of sandals. If you simply plan to wear your sandals from the car to the sand, arch support may not be a big deal, but if you intend to do a fair amount of walking in your sandals, then having some good arch support can be a game changer.

Some key things to look for if you’re after a pair of sandals with support are contoured footbeds, deep heel cups, shock absorbing midsoles, and even weight distribution. It can also be helpful to opt for sandals with adjustable straps, as they can help ensure a secure fit.

vans sandals

The Vans La Costa Slide-On are equal parts stylish and comfortable. Photo: Rebecca Parsons//The Inertia

Our thought when buying a new pair of slides is to spend a little extra in hopes that our shoes will last for years to come. We want sandals that can withstand long and frequent walks, getting wet, and lots and lots of sand. We don’t want sandals where the strap rips off after a couple of wears or the bottoms wear down quickly.

Although cheap Old Navy sandals will get the job done, we want a pair of sandals that look good. We plan on wearing my sandals to the beach as well as to taco Tuesdays and beachside dinners so yeah, we want them to be cool.

Best Overall Women's Sandals
Best Overall Women's Sandals

The Birkenstock Arizona is the ultimate sandal. Durable, lightweight, comfortable, and stylish, it’s the only pair of sandals you’ll need.

Price: $145

Check Price on REI

Ideally, sandals are fashionable and functional. When we’re in the market for a new pair of slides, we look for something that is equal parts cute and comfortable. Additionally, we want our sandals to have a decent amount of grip for the times when we ask for a little more out of my footwear. Finally, we want shoes that fair well in water, because with our lifestyles, it’s only a matter of time until they get wet.


When it comes to beach sandals, traction isn’t as important as say hiking sandals, but it’s still something to consider. If you wear your sandals to the beach, they’ll likely get wet, so you’ll want something that performs well on wet and slippery surfaces. Additionally, if you’re someone who regularly treks to their surf spot and must navigate some trails in order to get there, then you’ll want some traction to help you get there. If you simply park in the parking lot at your local surf spot and paddle straight out, then traction may not be as high on your priority list when purchasing a new pair of slides.

astral sandals

The adjustable straps on the Astral Webber Sandals allow you to customize a secure fit. Photo: Rebecca Parsons//The Inertia


Some sandals are fixed, where others have straps that allow you to adjust them and customize your fit. If we’re doing easy and short walks, we typically prefer fixed sandals, as they’re easier to slip in an out of. But, if you plan on navigating some trickier or slippery terrain, adjustable sandals can come and handy as you can really get them fitted to your foot and don’t have to worry about them slipping off.

Sustainable Features

Like most gear, we give major bonus points to anything that is sustainably made. Recycled and repurposed materials are awesome as they cut down on waste that would otherwise wind up in a landfill. It’s also worth noting that a more durable shoe is more sustainable as it will require less new shoes if they can withstand the test of time.

You know the adage: you get what you pay for. A good pair of sandals doesn’t come cheap. That being said, a good pair of sandals shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg. We want sandals that are well-made, but come at a reasonable price.

Return to Comparison Table | Return to Top Picks

Editor’s Note: Need a place to plant your tush while at the beach? Head to The Best Beach Towels of 2024 or The Best Beach Chairs of 2023. Want to take a look at some men’s options? Check out The Best Men’s Sandals of 2024. Looking for sandals for longer walks or hikes? We’ve got you covered with The Best Hiking Sandals of 2024. For more gear reviews and features on The Inertia, click here.

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