I love flip-flops. If the weather in Denver would fully cooperate, I would wear them year-round. The flip-flop, is, in my opinion, the perfect shoe. And the absolute perfect shoe for moms. It's comfortable,walkable, playground and pool friendly, it's easy to slip on and off, and when chosen correctly, it looks just as good with a pair of workout pants as it does with a dress. Seriously. The Holy Grail of shoe, if ever one did exist.
Ain't No Mom Jeans produced the Hopscotch Hustle, a mom and baby fashion show, last Sunday (pics and more info coming). Since we were attempting to create gorgeous, yet mom-friendly outfits, we told our mom models to bring a "cute pair of flip-flops" to their fittings. We ended up seeing roughly 30 pairs of...very interesting flip-flops. So I did a bit of research...and it turns out that there are only a few pairs of cute flip-flops on the market. There are tons of gorgeous, uncomfortable sandals attempting to market themselves as flip-flops and there are tons of tacky-yet-sooooo-comfortable flip-flop choices, but only a few pairs that manage to blend the cute and comfort factor correctly.
So when we at Ain't No Mom Jeans say to "throw this little number on with a pair of flip-flops"...exactly what kind of flip-flops are we talking about? Let's discuss:
Beware the Sport-Flop
Teva makes a really cute Olowahoo sport flip-flop (pictured at left). I like it, I do. However, this is not the "throw on with anything" flip-flop that we've been talking about. This kind of flip-flop should be saved for....well, something sporty. I don't love these with dresses. I object less to the Olowahoo in a solid color, and the Olowahoo style of sport-flop is waaaay better than these:
The fairly horrifying pair on the right is Teva's Ultimate Flip-Flop. I really can't come up with any reason or activity where the Ultimate would be warranted. No matter the price, no matter the rationalization (Mom - I'm talking to you....these are not even ok as "lake shoes")....we can do so much better. If for some reason you are waaay into a sport that requires a super-comfortable shoe with no foot protection that will fall off your foot at moderate speeds...even then, stick with the Olowahoos.
Chances are, if your flip-flop has a pattern, even a small one, it will end up looking more casual or sporty than a solid color. To really find a flip-flop that can be worn for all occasions, a solid color is the way to go.
Furthermore, if your pattern is something that one could claim is ironic, like J.Crew's ridiculous lobster flop.....chances are that most of us missed the irony. I rarely hate...but I do hate these flip-flops. I put them in the same category as the old lady sweaters with kittens on them. <shudder>
Beware the Wide Band
Both Reef flip-flops above are cute. The Sandy flop with the wider band however, comes off looking a bit young and sporty, while the Ginger flop with the thinner band looks much more sophisticated. Go with the thin band every time.
While these leather flip-flops from J.Crew are gorgeous, taking even two steps while wearing makes me want to scream in pain. The whole point of finding a cute flip-flop is the comfort factor. So many leather flip-flop or thong options have a hard, stiff footbed, and the leather rubs against the skin of your foot. Totally not worth it.
In addition, many companies are coming out with strange leather / flip-flop hybrids, like the one pictured at right. I don't love these shoes. I think the point was to make an "upscale" flip-flop that can be worn with dresses, etc....but if you choose the right flip-flop you can do this just as easily without going into this strange leather sandal territory. These shoes strike me as a bit old.
Beware the Super-Thick Sole
Super - thick soles just end up looking clunky. And if J. Crew's Grosgain Wedge Flip-Flops are any measure, the thick sole hardly equates to comfort. These flip-flops are some of the hardest I've tried.
It's amazing to me that a brand capable of making such gorgeous clothes can bomb so totally on the flip-flop front. Especially when so many of their clothes (including bridesmaid dresses!!) are made to be worn with flip-flops. Can't win 'em all, I guess.
And Finally....The Best Flip-Flops
So where does that leave us? Ideally, you want a flip-flop that meets the following criteria:
- Insanely comfortable
- Solid color
- Has a thin band
Here are my favorite flip-flops picks for moms:
Above left are Haviaina's Slim Flip-Flops in Light Golden, $24.00. Haviainas are the gold standard by which to compare all other flip-flops. The colors are all gorgeous, the footbed is comfortable, and if you don't mind a plastic upper, these flip-flops are perfect.
Another great option are Old Navy's Flip-Flops. They have a staggering amount of colors and are seriously selling these things for $5 for TWO pair. 2 for $5. Seriously.
Unfortunately, I have insanely sensitive skin, and can't wear flip-flops with a plastic upper. If you also prefer a fabric flip-flop, here are my favorites:
Above left is Reef's Ginger Flip-Flop, $21.95. The color selection isn't great (they do too many patterns), but they do have solid black, brown and white. I buy a pair of brown and a pair of black ones every summer.
Pictured above, middle, are Rainbow's Narrow Strap Sandal in gray, $44.95. These sandals feel a bit hard at first, but your foot is supposed to get worn into special memory foam, which will end up cradling your foot. These shoes come in black, gray, brown, and tan.
Lastly, are Mella's Velvet Flip-Flops, $29.95. Mella used to make a ton of these flip-flops in terrycloth, as well as the velvet, in a ton of different colors...but there is just a small smattering left. Is Mella closing up shop? Their website is down. Sigh. We're running out of cute and comfy flip-flop options!
Finally, for those of you curious about color...I think the most versatile solid colors are either metallics or neutrals: black, brown, navy, gray, white, tan, silver, gold, etc.
That's it! Did I miss any of your favorites? There are so few pairs that made the final cut, I'm hoping that I missed some. Please leave me a comment if you find another pair that meets all of the criteria, especially if it has a fabric upper!