Sandals vs Flip Flop: Differences, Pros & Cons

Sandals vs Flip Flops

Sandals. Flip flops. Certainly, these two words do not in any way look or sound unfamiliar. Both have been defined as types of footwear that are worn casually to various places and events.

So, while sandals are an open type of footwear, with either flat or heeled soles, over which straps and thongs are attached, to firmly hold the sole along with ankle support that is worn formally and sometimes worn casually.

Flip flops are flat soles attached with a Y-shaped strap known as toe thong which passes through the first and second toes, and around both sides of the foot which are worn casually oftentimes.

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Since these two footwear seem to be quite similar to each other, what then can indicate the difference between them? Let’s find out.

The differences between sandals and flip flops

A countless number of times, people tend to find it difficult to tell the differences between sandals and flip flops since both are mostly worn casually. Nonetheless, here are a few features that will help you differentiate sandals from flip flops:

1. Appearance

The major feature that sets sandals apart from flip flops is the presence of ankle support on sandals which is absent in flip flops.

2. Shape

Modern flip flops are simply designed with two straps running in a ‘Y’ shape from the sides of the foot to the gap between the first toe and the second. Sandals have various shapes and designs but can be identified by the straps attached to the sole.

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3. Materials

Because flip flops are made with fewer materials (foam, rubber, plastic), they are lightweight and are more easily carried around.

On the other hand, sandals are made sturdier. Primarily because the soles consist of thicker materials like cork, rope, leather or even rubber.

4. Occasion

Most people are indecisive on “what to wear” to “where”. Have you got a dressy event to attend? You probably should not wear flip flops.

This is because flip flops are in the category of “casual” as they’re simple. They’re most suitable for trips to the park or perhaps, a shopping mall.

Meanwhile, when attending a wedding and shoes just will not do the magic, sandals are a better option. They give you a professional and classier look, and your feet wouldn’t have to be in excruciating pains accompanied by wearing shoes all day.

Similarities between sandals and flip flops?

  • Both sandals and flip flops offer a simple design of thin soles.
  • Just like flip flops, sandals may also have a single (or several) straps across your instep.
  • Both are worn casually.
  • Both are designed, such that when worn, the feet are exposed.
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Certainly, you can now note both the differences and the similarities between these two types of footwear without much ado.

Advantages of sandals

  • Sandals are lightweight
  • They are very easily adjustable
  • They allow for way dissipation of moisture
  • They air out easily

Disadvantages of sandals

  • High risk of possible exposure to fungal infection
  • Increased heel pain
  • Close to zero protection from harmful objects at ground level
  • Terrible choice for playing a sport

Advantages of flip flops

  • Flip flops are generally inexpensive
  • They are lightweight
  • They air out easily
  • They also allow moisture dissipation

Disadvantages of flip flops

  • Less ability to absorb shock
  • Thin soles can wear out quite easily and often, requiring regular replacement
  • The thong-style can sometimes cause irritation and blisters on your toes
  • Does not protect your feet from harm

Sandals vs Flip flops: Which is suitable?

This decision can only be made when certain factors have been considered. Factors such as cost, occasion, climate, etc, have to be duly put into consideration before one can tell which footwear suits them most.

For a budget-conscious shopper, looking for something without fuss, flip flops might just be a perfect choice.

As earlier mentioned, flip flops are very simple. This makes them suitable for trips to the shopping mall or swimming pool. Also, because of its simplicity, it is easier to move about with even when packed in a travel bag.

On the other hand, sandals can be worn virtually nearly everywhere closed-toed shoes can be worn. But like a shoe, they occupy more space when packed into a travel bag, unlike flip flops.

For the sole reason of feet exposure, most people tend to wear sandals in hotter weather (summer). It is because doing so enables proper air circulation around the feet.

This reason also allows moisture to dissipate easily, hence reducing the risk of the athlete’s foot. The risk of athlete’s foot is lower with sandals than with enclosed shoes and the wearing of sandals may be a part of the treatment regimen for such an infection.


Did you notice how it is easily possible to wear sandals almost anywhere, while the reverse is the case with flip flops?

I am sure you did. Where does that leave us? You might probably be thinking, “isn’t it better to go for a pair of sandals without going through the stress of having to choose between them both?”

A greater percentage of the people that will come across this article will think the same. But then, a situation could call for the need to flaunt a simple flip flop and you search through the rack where pairs of sandals with different shapes stare back at you.

Trust me, you do not want to rush to the grocery store in heeled sandals. Getting pairs of sandals and flip flops each sounds like a great idea. You should give it a try.

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