Support Us Button Widget
Sponsored Content

Flops, foam, sandals, or slides: Which shoes are best for your feet?

Welcome to Summer Footwear 101. Your professor: A local podiatrist.

Sponsored by
woman holding Birkenstock sandals on the beach

Choose a summer sandal that provides stability, protection, and support.

Photo via Unsplash

Table of Contents

Locals know that Charleston is a walker’s paradise — after all, the city scored 99 out of 100 on Walk Score’s “walkability meter.” And whether you’re walking down King Street or on the beach, summer calls for slip-on sandal convenience.

When it comes to footwear and fashion vs. function, go for the latter. According to Roper St. Francis Healthcare podiatrist Dr. Jeffrey Armstrong, improper shoe support can cause issues like tendonitis, back pain, and inflammation in the knees + hips.

Here’s what your summer sandal should provide:

  • Stability
  • Shock absorption
  • Arch + ankle support
  • Air flow

Now, the question is: Which sandals are going to best support your strolls?

We put four types of popular summer shoes toe-to-toe in a battle of strength, stability, and support — here’s how they performed:


Sorry to break it to you, but standard flip-flops are a flop when it comes to stability. Many styles are flimsy and not supportive enough, potentially causing strain that could result in inflammation + foot pain.

Waterproof clogs

Similar to flip-flops, waterproof clogs don’t offer adequate arch or ankle support. This lack of stability can cause stress on the tissue and lead to fasciitis or tendonitis.

Plus: Don’t forget to keep them clean. The nonporous material is a breeding ground for bacteria.

Sport sandals

Sport sandals provide better stability and shock absorption from a footbed that follows the foot’s natural curve, plus sculpted heel cups and straps. (Bonus: You can hike in them.)

The main con is the rubber sole that can attract bacteria, fungus, and odor — so be sure to wash them after heavy use.

Cork slides

The best sandal of the summer goes to… cork-bed sandals. The firm sole, contoured footbed + sturdy construction provides stability, protection, and support. And, the cork sole absorbs moisture and wicks away sweat.

Hey, “Birks” have been around for 250 years for a reason.


What’s your go-to summer sandal? Let us know.