What’s the Difference Between Sandals and Flip Flops?

"This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links."

What’s the Difference Between Sandals and Flip Flops?

"This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links."

Footwear was initially designed to protect the feet against the harsh outdoor environments where it was difficult to walk. Nowadays, the concept remains the same; however, different shoe styles have also become important as we have moved through the centuries.

There are types of shoes to suit every temperature and climate which makes it so much easier to choose the appropriate pair. The most common footwear for warmer temperatures is usually open-toed shoes such as summer sandals and flip flops. These are the best suited as they're lightweight, soft on the foot, and for the most part, are comfortable footwear. The ideal summer shoes.

The classic question when it comes to these open types of footwear, however, is often understanding what the difference between sandals vs flip flops is. If you're not a shoe connoisseur, then perhaps this may be more difficult to understand. With so many different types and styles available out there, we want to make it clear, so you'll know exactly what's what the next time you're hunting for a pair of warm-weather shoes.

In this article, we look at the two different shoe types and discuss their appropriateness in certain places. Sometimes this is also important to know so that you're not left feeling awkward.

What Are the Key Differences?

Practically, the main difference is that flip flops have a more limited variety of uses than regular sandals which can be used in many settings.

Physically, the big difference is the ankle strap which makes the conventional sandal more secure than the flip flop. The toe thong defines the flip flop which may sometimes have an ankle strap.

Beyond this, the differences are minimal. They are both forms of open footwear that allow air circulation around the entire foot and are both made from a wide variety of materials.

What Are Flip Flop Shoes?

Flip flops are the classic lightweight beach shoe, generally with a rubber sole, which has been designed for walking on the beach, around the poolside, and in and out of the shower. Technically, a flip flop is a type of sandal, but it has come to have its own identity and is spoken of as a separate form of footwear.  It has become one of the most popular casual shoes available.

They are also known as slipper sandals. It's an easy-to-wear shoe that's usually made out of rubber or hemp and features a Y-shaped strap that bridges between the big toe and the second toe. These shoes don’t secure the ankle as much and are simple slip-on shoes that usually aren’t very strong.

Being a shoe that leaves the foot exposed and open, they're mostly worn in countries with warmer and drier climates, and primarily throughout developing countries like India, the Philippines, Pakistan, and other Southeast Asian countries. This is also because flip flops cost near to nothing to make, making them super affordable for families with fewer means as well as those shopping on a limited budget.

The flip flop form has been around for more than 2,500 years and was first used in ancient Egypt. The version most people are used to today is based on the traditional Japanese zori sandals made of rice straw, which was a form of footwear brought back from Japan by American soldiers and other members of the Allied Forces at the end of World War II. In 1962 Havaianas, a Brazilian company launched their version of the flip-flop and became one of the major footwear brands.

The flip flop is very often customized by people who buy them. They already come in a wide variety of materials from fabric to foam and in an almost infinite array of colors, either single-colored or multi-colored. Decorating this type of footwear allows for a great deal of creativity and there are even websites and Pinterest boards dedicated to the art.

They can be adorned with rhinestones, plastic flowers, sisal, and much more. There are stores that will screen print on flip flops furthering the extent to which they can be customized.

The flip flop is the first shoe you'll think of when you think of going on vacation, as they're super comfortable shoes for walking on the beach. They prevent your feet from burning on hot sand, and this is why most people like to purchase them before they go away on holiday.

What Are Sandals? 

Sandal shoes are generally sturdier than a flip flop and consist of a sole which features durable straps that pass over the foot and are secured with a buckle or Velcro at the ankle. The soles are usually made of leather, rubber, wood, and rope. However, they can also include a variety of different materials. There are many different types and styles of sandals available, whether it features a flat sole or even a heel. These shoes are worn by people in all countries, by both men women, and children alike as they are so multifunctional.

Sandals are the oldest known form of footwear, dating back to ancient times, with the oldest known pair being made between 9 and 10,000 years ago. In comparison, the oldest leather shoes date back 5,500 years.

Similar to the flip flop, sandals can be worn during warm weather and are especially popular during the summertime and when going on vacation. People enjoy wearing sandals as they allow the foot to breathe better as opposed to being trapped inside closed-toe shoes, which in warm climates can sometimes be uncomfortable. Almost every closet will contain several pairs of sandals.

It's important to consider where each of these shoe types is appropriate to wear, as some places may not accept them as being dress code compliant. The difference between sandal types is marked, far more marked than between types of flip flop. Sandals run the gamut from comfortable footwear for daily use to classy sandals that would not be out of place in any situation. Sandals like flip flops can have arches to provide better foot support.

The variety of sandals that exist is huge. They range from sandal boots to combats sandals to wedge sandals and the ever-popular sports sandal. From such a wide range, there is a sandal for every occasion making it an exceptionally versatile form of footwear. Ankle straps vary from thin straps to thicker ones providing more ankle support and vastly different looks,

Crocs are found everywhere, robust and varied, yet there are also exquisite Valentino Garavani, Prada, and Jimmy Choo designer sandals, from the chic high fashion boutique shops, that can grace any ankle at any event and make the wearer feel elegant,


When To Wear Sandals and Flip Flops

There are shoes to suit specific occasions, whether it be a wedding or a job interview, it's essential to know the correct footwear to wear. For most people, this is pretty well known, but for some, it may not be as clear what the best option is. This can be due to cultural differences, or just not knowing the right fashion at the time.

Flip flops, as can be imagined, are probably only sensible to wear in the summertime, whether on the beach, at the pool while on vacation, and in and out of the shower. They're not the best to wear when walking around a big city, such as Rome, for example, which is famous for its ‘black-footed tourists’. This relates to the flip-flop-wearing tourists, who trek around the ancient streets only to end up with ‘piedi neri,’ as the Italians call it.

Flip flops need to be worn for a limited time only as they can have a very bad effect on the feet. Because the soles are thin, they absorb impact poorly and that can damage feet. They can cause painful plantar fasciitis making the heel very tender. Doctors recommend that people wear flip flops that provide firm arch support. The toes constantly gripping the y strap can also cause blisters between the toes that clench on it.

Flip flops are certainly not appropriate for going to the bank, the bar, or even the shops because if you accidentally walk into something sharp or someone drops something which can land on your feet, then you're in trouble. Not only will it be dangerous, but it also looks too relaxed for any remotely serious occasion.

They are best worn when walking on soft surfaces such as sea sand and grass as this helps reduce the chances of injuries caused by repeated impact on the thin sole. Nothing says beach more than a pair of flip flops.

Similarly, sandals should also be worn in appropriate climates and events. No one wants to head out with their feet exposed only to be drenched in heavy rain, ending up with a cold. Therefore, it's important to know where and when they're appropriate. Like flip flops, sandals are perfect for summer wear and on vacation, where they look nice. A reliable pair of good-quality sandals could be worn around cities, as long as they don’t allow the foot to be too exposed to the dirt.

The health problems with flip flops extend to sandals too, to some extent, but the problems associated with the toes gripping the thong fall away. Nonetheless, caution is still necessary as the exposed foot is more susceptible to damage from things falling on the dorsum or top of your foot and also to injuries from knocking the side of the foot against something such as a jagged rock.

There are sandals for every occasion, but not all sandals are appropriate for all situations. A casual sandal is not a good idea for an interview and an elegant pair of calf-high sandals might not really work at a barbecue.  However, the casual sandal with shorts and a T-shirt at a picnic is perfect and natural, and the calf-high sandals together with a pencil skirt and jacket will be stunning in any board room or restaurant.

There are sandals that can suit formal events and sandals for everyday wear. They are that versatile.

Final Verdict

There's a clear difference between the two types of shoes. Flip flops are loose-fitting shoes that slip on easily and can be worn around the beach, the pool, or in and out of the shower or locker room. Sandals are more acceptable in urban areas as they tend to be more fashionable; they're also much sturdier than flip flops. Both are created with a wide variety of materials, some identical and some not. Most are commonly worn in warmer weather and dry climate locales. They do need to be washed regularly to ensure that the fungus that causes athlete’s foot doesn’t become excessive.

We hope that we have covered the differences well enough for them to be clear and that we have detailed the right time to wear what. Your take-home is that the right sandal can fit in anywhere and flip flops are the better choice for the perfect footwear for the casual occasion.

Last Updated on February 11, 2022 by admin_comfortabledressshoes