Flip Flops vs Sandals: What Are the Differences?

Maybe you call them flip flops, or maybe you’re a “thongs” person. Some people call them clam diggers, shower shoes, or even zories. Whatever you call them, don’t call them sandals! 

Footwear aficionados already know the major differences when it comes to flip flops vs sandals. While these two forms of footwear have a lot in common, you don’t want to get them mixed up while shopping. They have different strengths and weaknesses, and one summery shoe style might be far superior when it comes to your needs. 

At Flojos, our biggest concern is having the perfect footwear for hanging out, but we also want our awesome customers to know what they’re getting when they shop our brand. We created this flip flops guide (not to be confused with a sandals guide!) to help you learn the major differences! Read until the end for some flip flops buying tips – and sure, okay, sandals buying tips – that can help you pick out your next favorite pair of Flojos! 

What Are Flip Flops?

Flip flops are simple by design, and those familiar elements will help you pick them out. They have a consistent “thong” design. The most consistent characteristic of a flip flop is the Y-shaped strap that sits between your big toe and your second toe. 

Some people may be reticent to call them thongs for obvious reasons, so the name flip flops has come into popularity. That’s because you can hear flip flops coming before you even see them!

This naming convention is known as onomatopoeia. In essence, that’s anything that gets its name from the sound that it makes. When you’re walking along a tile floor beside a pool on a summer day, you’ll hear that flip flop, flip flop, flip flop and know exactly what kind of footwear you’re dealing with!

Flip flops tend to be lightweight and easy to transport. This makes them easy to toss into a beach bag, shove into a dorm room shower caddy, or pack for a relaxing beach vacation. 

While flip flops are perfectly portable, they lack ankle support. They’re also firmly in the category of “casual footwear.” While you’ll look great wearing a pair of flip flops with a summery dress or a button-down and cargo shorts, you probably wouldn’t wear them to work or a wedding. 

What Are Sandals?

Sandals date back to ancient times when folks living in hot civilizations without air conditioning needed something to protect their feet that wouldn’t cause them to overheat. If poor Achilles hadn’t been wearing sandals during the Trojan war, he might not have gone through all that trouble with his heel!

Sandals were still a better choice for our hero than flip flops, however. In contrast, sandals provide a lot more support. In particular, they tend to support the ankle and make it possible to work and play without getting hurt. 

As a result, sandals tend to be sturdier than flip flops. They tend to have curved soles designed for longer wear. Shoe designers consider ergonomics when designing a sandal, which isn’t a concern when designing a simple flip flop. They also may choose somewhat more substantial materials, like leather. 

Unlike flip flops, sandals do not share one standard shape or design. Most footwear that exposes the foot to the elements and secures in at least one location falls under the umbrella of “sandal.” 

It’s also possible to dress your sandals up for work or even formal events. They are a far more professional-looking option, even if you’re dressing for warm weather or exotic settings. If you’re stuck between sandals vs flip flops, err on the side of sandals if the event requires an RSVP! 

Flip Flop and Sandal Buying Tips

Alas, not all flip flops are created equal, which is why so many customers trust Flojos over other brands. Flip flops may be less sturdy than sandals, but you deserve quality no matter what you wear. Our flip flops are always well made with the best materials out there, so you don’t need to worry about canceling your beach day because your flip flops fell apart! 

So, here’s where things might get confusing. On our online store, we offer three categories: sandals, slippers, and wedges. You’ll notice there is no category for flip flops, so you’ll find ours under – you guessed it – sandals!

Here are our best suggestions for picking your perfect pair. 

Tip #1: Pick the Right Size

Flip flops and sandals are summer footwear, so you’ll probably be wearing them in the heat. This means that your feet might swell while you’re wearing them. If your flip flops or sandals are too big or too small, you’ll have problems that can lead to injuries. 

Tip #2: Know What Your Arch Needs

Flip flops aren’t known for their arch support, but some styles are better than others. If you have a history of back or ankle pain, make that support the priority. Luckily, we design all our shoes with comfort in mind, so you shouldn’t have trouble finding a great pair!

Tip #3: Mix It Up

Wearing one pair of shoes all of the time isn’t great for your body. You’ll want to alternate between less supportive flip flops, more supportive sandals, and highly supportive sneakers or other shoes. That sounds like a great excuse to buy a couple of pairs of Flojos to keep in rotation!

Flip Flops vs Sandals – Not a Trick Question!

So, who will win the great flip flops vs sandals debate? Ultimately, it’s up to you! You know how much support and structure you need to hang out and relax, and that’s really what’s important!

Whatever your style, there is an awesome pair waiting in the Flojos online store! Check out our sweet selection of sandals today – which, yes, includes plenty of flip flops, too! Whatever you call them, you’re going to look awesome in your Flojos!