The 16 Best Beach Sandals of 2023


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Nov 15, 2023

The 16 Best Beach Sandals of 2023

The experts have spoken: These are the sandals you need for your next beach vacation. Jump to a Section We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we

The experts have spoken: These are the sandals you need for your next beach vacation.

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We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more.

InStyle / Alli Waataja

As a native of Southern California, I came to understand a few things at a young age: Always lather yourself up in sunscreen (even on overcast days), make sure your swimsuit isn’t see-through before wearing it in public, and never, ever make beach sandals an afterthought. Anyone who has ever trudged across a beach in a pair of cheap, drugstore thongs, tennis shoes, or expensive suede sandals understands this all too well. Investing in a few styles of beach sandals can save you from blisters between the toes, burned soles, ruined shoes and of course, a broken thong.

The best sandals for the beach are those that meet the following criteria: They need to be comfortable, made out of beach-friendly materials (waterproof or water-resistant if you plan on getting them wet, breathable for hot, sweaty summer feet, and outfitted with a durable sole for walking on a variety of surfaces, from the sand to the boardwalk), functional for your beach activities of choice, and of course, stylish. Luckily, the beach sandal market has evolved since the days of rubber flip-flops. Here are the best beach sandals according to a top podiatrist, a few stylists, and an experienced beach bunny.


What We Love: Water-friendly and durable, these flip-flops feel more expensive than they actually are.

What We Don't Love: While we love the neutrals, we wish it came in more fun color options.

Beach sandals need to work on both the sand and the boardwalk, which is why we’re fans of this cushioned sandal from Reef that comes highly recommended by stylist Clare Pollard. Pollard calls it her “tried-and-true brand” because they’re a bit more elevated than a typical flip-flop. (“The scallop edge adds a chic vibe making these so much more than just a basic flip flop,” she says.) But we wear them for comfort and functionality. The arch support ensures your foot still feels braced as you walk on notoriously uneven surfaces — something rare for such minimal shoes — and the water-friendly, vegan leather won’t be ruined if you inch too close to the water. Actually, you could even wear them in the water, if you wanted, and never have to worry about the sandal taking eons to dry or needing to be thrown out almost immediately. We wish they came in more bright, summer-friendly colors, but Pollard points out that the neutrals, especially the tan, “go with everything,” so you can wear them with nearly everything.

Price at time of publish: $45

Size: 5–11 | Material: Vegan leather | Colors: 7


What We Love: These simple yet sturdy flip-flops are made with an anatomic footbed for premium support and comfort.

What We Don't Love: They run small.

Rubber flip-flops probably come instantly to mind when you think of beach sandals. Great on sand and typically at an affordable price, the sandals won’t break your heart if they need to be tossed after a summer (or even just one vacation) of continuous wear. However, this pair from Ipanema won’t be destined for the trash bin anytime soon. The signature style from the Brazilian brand comes in endless color and pattern options (the glitter is our favorite) and lots of comfortable features. Made with a no-slip rubber sole, these babies are designed to last for years, so they won’t fall apart in the middle of your beach day. Unlike other basic flip flops, The footbed on these is anatomically molded, offering more arch support than other similar designs.

Price at time of publish: $22

Size: 5–11 | Material: Rubber | Colors: 34


What We Love: Luxurious and timeless, these jelly sandals will take you from the beach to a night out on the town.

What We Don't Love: It’s best to size up because these run small.

If you plan on spending most of your time lounging on the beach instead of walking on it, Toronto-based stylist Kim Appelt suggests prioritizing style, like the Valentino Garavani Rockstud Jelly Sandal, an elevated beach shoe that is both fashionable and flexible.

The strappy gladiator design keeps feet secure, and the sole of the shoe features a pronounced tread to prevent you from slipping on wet surfaces. The addition of the studs also makes them a bit dressier, so you can easily wear them out for a nice lunch or an afternoon of shopping, too. “A good tip is to pick a sandal that is in a neutral color so it can go from the beach to dinner and will match many outfits,” Appelt says. Similar to the Ipanema flip-flops mentioned before, these shoes also aren’t offered in half sizes and run a bit small, so we recommend sizing up for the best fit possible.

Price at time of publish: $490

Size: 5–11 | Material: PVC | Colors: 3


What We Love: The contoured footbed absorbs shock and provides optimal arch support for pain-free walking.

What We Don't Love: They can feel a bit sticky when your feet sweat.

Dr. Brad Schaeffer, a New York City-based board-certified podiatrist and foot surgeon at Central Park SOLE stresses the importance of selecting a comfortable beach sandal that offers ample heel and arch support. While he says the original hemp and leather Birks offer the “sturdiest soles, original attention to the footbed (designed to anatomically fit the foot), and quality of materials,” the waterproof PVC version offers the same support, but they’re better suited for a day at the beach.

You can walk long lengths in the pair, but we found they got a bit sticky if your feet sweat while wearing them. That doesn’t impact the comfort, though, because the cushioned footbed is contoured to keep feet supported and absorb shock, ultimately fending off pain while walking across all sorts of terrain, including uneven sand. The adjustable uppers also offer another layer of support, ensuring feet stay snug and don’t slip around. They’re available in extended sizing to accommodate wider feet, and overall, we think they run large, so we recommend sizing down for the best fit.

Price at time of publish: $50

Size: Regular/Wide, Medium/Narrow in whole sizes 4–12 | Material: PVC | Colors: 11


What We Love: These designer slides are constructed of thick rubber, making them more sturdy and long-lasting than other sandals on our list.

What We Don't Love: Because these slides are unisex, those with narrow feet might find them too wide.

If you are going to go designer, go all in with these durable rubber slides from Bottega Veneta, which generally wear better and last longer than flimsy sandals. Recommended by Pollard, the slides feature graphic embossed uppers, treaded soles, and a comfortable molded footbed. Pollard considers these “a feel-good splurge” because the dense rubber will hold up through multiple seasons with minimal wear and tear — even when worn on sand. While neutrals like white, beige and black are times, she suggests going for the green. “It’s neon which adds a fun pop to neutral colors in the summer.” The unisex sizing makes these a bit wider than other options, so they may not be the best for those with narrow feet.

Price at time of publish: $520

Size: 4–13 | Material: Rubber | Colors: 7

Saks Fifth Avenue

What We Love: These understated embroidered sandals offer quiet luxury for special occasions on the beach.

What We Don't Love: Constructed out leather, rubber, and raffia, they aren’t designed to get wet.

Whether you like to dress up for a day on the shoreline or have a summer beach wedding to attend, investing in a pair of elegant beach-friendly sandals should be on your list. Pollard recommends looking for metallics because they look more elevated than other colors and are neutral enough to go with everything. She is a huge fan of Ancient Greek Sandals, a brand she relies on for high-quality, handmade shoes.

This pair in particular features “metallic striped embroidery [that] makes them a perfect choice to compliment a dressy, fun, beach-friendly party ensemble,” she explains. “They also pair well day-to-day with denim shorts and a white tee.”

Price at time of publish: $375

Size: 5–11 | Material: Leather, rubber sole | Colors: 1

Tory Burch

What We Love: These nostalgia-inducing jelly shoes can withstand water and make a style splash.

What We Don't Love: They require a break-in period.

As an adult version of jelly sandals we used to wear as kids, the Tory Burch bubble slides envelop feet in a cushiony cloud, keeping them comfortable all day. They come in eight fun shades, like fluorescent yellow with a semi-opaque blue sole or neon pink, all of which look playful enough for a quintessential summer day at the beach. Even with such punchy colors, Brown imagines wearing them with a crisp pair of linen slacks or a feminine sundress. But like all good things worth waiting for, you need to be patient with this pair because they require a break-in period. The rubber pair, which has a heavier feeling sole than other beach shoes, can dig into the sides of your foot when worn for too long at first, but we promise they’ll loosen up.

Price at time of publish: $188

Size: 4–13 | Material: Plastic, TPU | Colors: 12


What We Love: These minimalist slides are the perfect intersection of low-key luxury and undercover comfort.

What We Don't Love: While beach friendly, their naturally tanned leather straps aren’t totally waterproof.

Up your slide game with Beek’s take on classic summer sandals. The soft, naturally tanned leather epitomizes low-key luxury — but don’t be fooled: Behind the minimalist design the shoe is equipped with a memory foam cushion and molded arch to cradle and comfort your feet. The rubber outsole — made out of 40 percent sustainable materials, FYI — makes them beach-friendly. However, you might not want to get them too wet to keep the buttery soft leather looking fresh.

Price at time of publish: $240

Size: 5–11 | Material: Leather, rubber outsole | Colors: 5


What We Love: These timeless flops are offered in 13 nude hues so you can find one that matches your skin tone.

What We Don't Love: If you wear them as much as we do, you will have to replace them every season.

Tkees’ Lily sandal is the string bikini version of a flip-flop: Minimalist, timeless, and oddly flattering on all foot types. Over a decade ago the brand’s husband-and-wife team designed the barely-there leather shoe in five nude shades, which Appelt says have become “versatile classics.” Since then, the style has become so popular that it’s now available in over 75 colors, textures, and prints — but we’re partial to the Nudes line, which offers 13 hues to look like a second skin.

Along with Jennifer Lopez and Eva Longoria, we wear these on repeat summer after summer, pairing them with swimsuits, sweats, and even slinky dresses. We continuously reach for these because the cushioned insole — which is handcrafted from soft Brazilian leather — makes them extremely comfortable. But because they are a go-to, they wear down pretty quickly. In fact, we find ourselves wearing them so often that we need to repurchase them at the beginning of every summer season.

Price at time of publish: $55

Sizes: 5–11 | Material: Leather, rubber | Colors: 13


What We Love: These sport sandals feature adjustable ankle and toe straps to keep your feet secure through endless rounds of beach volleyball.

What We Don't Love: Though practical, they’re not exactly the most stylish shoe.

If your average day at the beach involves beach volleyball or other sports, you should opt for a sandal that offers stability, good grip, and flexibility for quick movements and changing directions, says Appelt. “Look for styles with durable outsoles and secure straps to keep your feet protected and stable,” she says. And of course, that leads us to Tevas, which have been on the feet of outdoor enthusiasts for decades on end.

“I love how functional and comfortable Teva sandals are. Not the most flattering on the foot but it's super lightweight and easy to wear,” says New York-based stylist Beverly Osemwenkhae of ProjectBee Wardrobe Consulting. We’re willing to set aside the style perspective, though, because the quick-dry sandal comes in lots of fun color options, including white, multi-colored and animal print, which can add a bit more oomph to a rather plain shoe.

Price at time of publish: $42

Size: 5–14 | Material: EVA and recycled plastic | Colors: 46


What We Love: The comfortable soles and secure straps keep feet secure while walking on the beach.

What We Don't Love: They run on the wide side, so those with incredibly narrow feet might not like the fit.

For long walks on the beach, Osemwnkhae recommends sticking to sandals with straps along the foot and around the ankle. “For leisurely long walks you want to consider having a sandal that has a comfortable sole, nothing too hard or flat,” she says.

The Reef Water Vista is one of the brand’s most popular styles for several reasons — style, comfort, support, and traction included. Constructed out of all water-friendly, synthetic materials, the espadrille-inspired sandal cradles and cushions the foot with its compression-molded EVA footbed. And, with double straps and a velcro backstrap, you won’t have to worry about them slipping off your feet.

Price at time of publish: $55

Size: 5–11 | Material: EVA, TPU | Colors: 13


What We Love: This elevated leather flip-flop is surprisingly comfortable with lots of ergonomic features.

What We Don't Love: This style only comes in three colors.

A refined leather flip-flop with ample arch support is a bit of a unicorn when it comes to beach sandals. However, OluKai crafted a sleek leather shoe that cradles your feet in all the right places, is deceivingly comfortable and offers ample traction for walking across uneven sand.

While definitely a minimalistic style, Pollard notes that some of the design details elevate its look. “The knotted leather [strap] makes an otherwise basic flip-flop unique and stylish,” she says. “I also appreciate the slim design, which won’t draw attention or take away from an outfit. They’re a bit more substantial than the Tkees sandals, which will help anyone who has continuous pain in their feet. But they don’t come in quite as many colors. Though it’s offered in three neutral shades, including two metallic options, we wish there were a few bright options available.

Price at time of publish: $120

Size: 5—11 | Material: Leather, rubber | Colors: 3


What We Love: Crocs designed a waterproof platform slip-on with serious Y2K vibes.

What We Don't Love: While the clunky style is definitely on-trend, it doesn’t appeal to everyone.

Those deep in the early-aught, Y2K trend will find the Crocs Crush sandal seriously satisfying. Transfer all your Jibbitz charms over to the more beach-friendly version of the OG Crocs clog. With a double strap design and two-inch platform, these fun-but-functional slip-ons offer the lightweight comfort and support the brand is famous for with a little added height.

However, like most of the Crocs styles out there, the clunkyish rubber shoe isn’t for everyone. For an even more fashion-forward alternative, check out the “ugly” but imposible-to-get-ahold-of Mega Crush. That is, if you can find them in your size.

Price at time of publish: $50

Size: 4-15 | Material: Thermoplastic | Colors: 11


What We Love: These laid-back espadrilles are timeless with a major strap twist.

What We Don't Love: Made out of jute and leather, they are better suited for the sand than surf.

J.Crew continues celebrating its 40th anniversary by throwing back to some of its most iconic designs, like the espadrille. The Made-in-Spain knotted espadrille offers a beachy twist to the traditional with durable and incredibly soft leather straps knotted in the middle. Whether you opt for white or gold, the laid-back slide will become a summer staple in your wardrobe, especially because it goes with pretty much everything. Just be sure not to get these shoes wet, as they are constructed out of leather and jute. We imagine them more for hot sand and boardwalks, rather than running straight into the sea.

Price at time of publish: $148

Size: 5–12 | Material: Leather, polyurethane, polyester, viscose jute, thermoplastic rubber sole | Colors: 2


What We Love: These recovery slides are fashion-forward and foot doctor-recommended, with orthotic support for high arches paired with a two-inch platform.

What We Don't Love: Those with narrow feet complain they run on the wider side.

Orthopedic shoes used to be, well, ugly. However, times have-a-changed. Dr. Schaeffer’s top pick for arch support? Vionic Recovery Sandals, which he calls “great to throw on after a long day of activity to offload tired feet.” These weirdly adorable slides are “easy on the feet and have great arch support,” he maintains.

Their molded EVA footbed and deep heel cup perfectly cradle feet with high arches, while a dual-density midsole and textured footbed keeps the foot balanced and massaged – all while offering a two-inch platform. They also come in a bunch of catchy color combinations, ranging from a perfectly neutral white to a purple and pink two-tone. While they are a great option for those with normal to wide feet, those who skew on the narrow side might slide around in them.

Price at time of publish: $80

Size: 5-14 | Material: EVA, rubber | Colors: 9


What We Love: Stylish and sustainable, these slides mold to your feet and come in every pattern and color under the sun.

What We Don't Love: The biggest con is that they aren’t adjustable, so your foot can slip.

Beach sandals should be comfortable, functional, and, well, fun. The cruelty-free and 100 percent vegan sandals from Freedom Moses, which come in dozens of fun colors and patterns, check all the boxes. New York-based stylist Samantha Brown likes them because of how “lightweight and so comfortable” they are. But they’re also surprisingly well-made and durable: I’ve been wearing the same pair for a few summers and they still look brand new. An added bonus? Every pair is infused with aromatic oils to smell like milk and honey. The biggest complaint that people have is that their buckle is more decorative than anything else and they aren’t actually adjustable.

Price at time of publish: $50

Size: 4/5—11/12 | Material: Flexible PVC | Colors: 140

According to Dr. Schaeffer, the best materials for the summer should be flexible and breathable because “our feet sweat and swell,” he says. So look for natural fibers, cotton blends, woven materials that allow for airflow yet aren’t too restrictive. “Quick dry materials are great for long walks, the beach, and even hiking.” Osemwenkhae adds that sandals made of plastic or raffia like the Freedom Moses, Birkenstock and even the J.Crew espadrille are great because “if they get a little sand on them because it just slides right off.”

Brown adds that a rubber base “or at least rubber sole” (like the one found on the Ancient Greek Kentima Slides) will be the most practical for the beach. “Canvas will show wear and tear and leather doesn’t hold up as well when wet, so any sort of rubber or plastic is going to be optimal,” she adds.

And, beware of adornments, warns Osemwenkhae. “When buying beach sandals, you always want to look for sandals with minimal or no hardware for comfort when exposed to the sun,” she notes because metal buckles might heat up and burn you (yes, seriously) when you put them on again. Also, if a gem falls off in the sand, too, you likely will never find it again, so keep the footwear minimal.

“Beach sandals have come a long way, especially over the past few years,” explains Dr. Schaeffer. “It is easy to find stylish and fun summer and beach sandals, of all types now, that won’t exacerbate existing conditions or damage our feet."

As with any shoe, it is important to look for an appropriate level of support and comfort to stabilize your feet, whether a flip-flop, dress sandal, or even walking/hiking sandals, says Dr. Schaeffer. “The most important thing to consider when looking for sandals is support, for both the arch and heel.” The Vionic and Birkenstock meet both the criteria.

Brown points out that if you will be “kicking off your shoes when you hit the sand,” support isn’t as crucial. However, make sure they fit well. “Comfort is always important, and keep in mind that your feet swell in the heat so anything that starts off tight will feel even tighter by the end of the day,” she adds.

You should also consider the type of activity you plan on wearing your sandals for. For example, for vigorous walking on rougher terrain, you should opt for sandals with heavier-duty treads, says Dr. Schaeffer. The Teva sandal is a great option for anyone who plans on being incredibly active on the beach, since they offer the most supportive straps and ample treads.

“For hiking and beach sports, you’ll want sandals that hold your foot as stable as possible – not flip-flops,” he points out. “Adjustable straps are great because as feet get wet, they will slide around, and this is what will cause blisters, cuts, and overall discomfort.”

Finally, consider your own personal style, says Appelt. For example, if you aren’t a fan clunkier sandals, you should probably stay away from Birkenstocks or Crocs. Also, you should try and choose a style and color that will work with the rest of your wardrobe.

Bottom line: While there is no perfect one-style-fits-all sandal, the best sandal for the beach depends entirely on your personal needs and wants. However, make sure to look for a sandal that is “waterproof or water-resistant and lightweight,” says Appelt, offers the “appropriate level of support and comfort to stabilize your feet,” adds Dr. Schaeffer, and has a sole comfortable enough for “leisure walks on the beach,” notes Osemwenkhae.“At the end of the day, whether you opt for a slide, flip-flop or strappy sandal, the best beach shoe is the one that makes you and your feet happy all day long,” Pollard points out.

Leah Groth is a commerce writer and former style and beauty editor. As a native of Southern California, she has spent years personally testing sandals on the beach, but she also consulted a few stylists (Clare Pollard, Samantha Brown, Kim Appelt and Beverly Osemwenkhae) and a podiatrist (Dr. Brad Schaeffer) for their expert picks.

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