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Summer Destination Cornerstone: The Sandal

I checked out the Guadalupe River State Park and found that a good pair of sandals can make all the difference in a good adventure. These by Hair Mari were awesome for the water but also on the trails because they have a treaded sole. The trails there are basically flat and clear so the made for a great shoe for light walks.

When we select a beach destination we might have in mind finding the right pair of sandals. But before you go investing in a cheap pair of flip flops just good enough to hold together along your travel, you might want to make a few considerations before skimping on the sandals.

Sandals are all about allowing our feet to breath and be comfortable while also providing easy access to removing. If you are planning on being poolside or on a beach, these are the ideal footwear selections by far, however if you planning on doing a lot of walking this is where finding the right pair comes in handy.

Almost any sandal can hold up for a brief time, but what happens when you really put it to the test??

This unfortunately is when you are able to most quickly discover the difference between a cheap pair and a more expensive pair. Cheap sandals are known using very basic materials, and while they can be durable in some of these cases, many times the first area we notice the inexpensive use of materials can be the toe. If you have ever picked up a cheap (Under $5) pair of flip flops, you might have noticed that the plastic is sometimes not a polished finish, meaning that your toes will begin to rub very quickly in these. This creates very uncomfortable blistering.

When you upgrade in your price point, typically the moulded plastics are of a higher grade or have more attention to smoothness in these sensitive areas. Others even will use braided materials such as leather or even fabric to create a more comfortable fit.

The next thing you will notice about less expensive sandals is the base of the shoe itself. On these the foam is not very thick and easily forms to your foot. Because of this, steps are less cushioned and can over time become painful. While not all sandals are going to have this issue as you start to move upward in price points they are looking or more durability in the wear. Many times this means they will place tread on soles or thicker foam to cushion the foot over an extended time.

Now while we are on the point of talking price points, don’t get me wrong there are some amazing long wear flip flops available at a much lower price point and you do not have to break the bank on finding the most expensive to have that perfect destination shoe.

When searching out your sandals you will want to consider a few things.

  • Is this strictly for the beach or pool?

  • Will I be walking a lot? If so will it be on concrete, gravel or sand?

  • Do I have issues with my feet or back?

  • Am I looking for something stylish?

Based on your responses to these criteria you will be able to address which sandals will best suit your style and need.

Keep in mind if you have issues with your feet or even your bag, sandals are not ideal unless you get a sandal offering orthopedic support. Sandals by nature offer little to no foot support which can result in more than a few aches and pains. Finding a pair which offers support can easily start to climb in the price point, however this is an investment well worth the price if you need this type of support.

If style is your main concern and not necessarily comfort, you can find a variety of styles in all price points. Many of the more stylish looking flats have minimal support and can range in comfort over time from very comfortable to not comfortable at all. But if you are ok with the quote “Beauty is Pain” don’t worry about that and just gut it out for style.

If you are beach or pool only you can usually get away with the less expensive foam sandals. These are ok for short term wear and will keep the heat from your feet which is the main concern typically.

Where you will be walking can greatly impact your shoe choice. If in a very hot climate even the touch of the asphalt on a shoe without proper sole can quickly become a disaster as a shoe can reach a gummy point quickly in these areas. On another note, if you are planning on being on gravel or stones you might want to consider something which also has a sole to protect the foot more so than you would if you were only going to be on sand or dirt.

Really it comes down to what type of adventure and adventurer you are seeking to be on your trip.

I personally have slides, inexpensive flip flops, more durable and thus more expensive flip flops and a variety of leather sandals. I must say that being able to use all of them in various positions of my adventures has been a bit of a learning curve.

I noticed that while I love the look of my leather sandals, they provide little support for walking and over a day in New Orleans my dogs were starting to bark early on in the day with all the pavement walking. While they provided a much more stylish appearance walking for many miles should have been more of a thought on comfort rather than fashion.

Likewise in other poor choices I have made I packed inexpensive sandals for Vegas only to discover that they couldn’t hold up to the heat of the ground and I was left pillaging through my car for another pair of shoes. I needed something with a sole in that case by far.

Not all experiences have been negative however, I have found that a good pair of sandals with a sole were great when I went to Guadalupe River State Park and went wading in the water on the stones. I also noticed the same pair of inexpensive flip flops I had worn that were such a negative in Vegas were a win in Miami where I went straight from parking along Ocean to the beach and was in the water within moments.

It really does become all about your own personal journey and what you want to make of it. We all learn along the way and as we do we find triumph and enjoyment.

Just Always Remember… Sandals are supposed to be about comfort, style and function. If you cannot get all three of these from your sandals then is the buy worth the lack of one of these factors?


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