Sandal Season Is Here: I Test-Drove 4 Anti-Trend Styles So You Don't Have To

Flip-flops have undergone a renaissance over the last several years. Once a functional, practical piece often relegated to casual trips to the beach instead of high-fashion settings, flip-flops are now a staple in the wardrobes of style insiders. Flip-flops regularly appear everywhere, from street-style looks to runways to stylish vacations, and there's no doubt they're a packing essential for summer trips.

Whether you're looking for trend-forward or streamlined designs, there is a style of flip-flops that will perfectly complete your summer looks. From easy flats to cool platforms to heeled versions, designers from Gia Borghini to The Row are debuting their own individual takes on flip-flops. Flip-flops are a key buy for the season, which is why I decided to test-drive a few standout styles and share my reviews.

Whether it's the classic pair of Havaianas that will never cease to be relevant or the pretty hardware-embellished ones from Tory Burch I can't stop staring at, consider this your ultimate guide to the anti-trend sandals for summer 2023 and beyond. Ahead, read my reviews for my four top picks, see how I'm styling each of them, and then add the best flip-flops to your cart armed with my shopping intel.

My Flat Flip-Flop Pick: Havaianas Slim Flip-Flops

You really can't go wrong with classic flip-flops, and the styles to prioritize right now are those with streamlined designs finished in everything from leather to faux croc. They offer the perfect counterpoint to a dressier look when paired with tailored trousers, a maxi dress, or dark-wash denim.

Of course, if we're talking classics, it's not a conversation without Havaianas. The Brazilian label continues to be the ultimate source for this affordable essential, with dozens of colors to choose from. For me, the Slim Flip-Flops in glossy black are the ultimate style staple.

How they fit: True to size. The minimal straps mean the fit doesn't need to be exact, but they feel just right.

How they feel: Havaianas' classic rubber flip-flops are a summer mainstay for a reason. They hold up, plain and simple. I opted for the style with slimmer straps than their original and have no complaints about comfort. 

More flat flip-flops:

The croc effect makes this simple pair look extrememly elevated.

Havaianas just released a square-toe version of its slim flip-flops, and they're really nice.

Easy, classic, affordable. These check all the boxes.

My Platform Flip-Flop Pick: Ancient Greek Sandals Charys Slides

Platforms are having a moment in the world of footwear, and that includes flip-flops. One of the biggest shoe trends for summer is platform flip-flops. It's a cool upgrade that makes simple slides feel fresh for the season. My pick is the Charys style from Ancient Greek Sandals. They feature a thick comfort sole that doubles as a stylish platform.

How they fit: These run small. I took my usual size, a European 39 (for reference, I wear a U.S. 8.5), and my heel was awkwardly hanging off the back. I highly recommend going up a size in these for the best fit.

How they feel: Unreal levels of comfort. The sole itself is cushy but firm, and the wide straps are generous in the way of support. I have a different pair from this brand with the same kind of sole, and I've worn them all over, from walking through the city to hiking over boulders, so I'd expect nothing less for these. In other words, they're the pair you'll want to prioritize on every vacation.

More platform flip-flops:

Every fashion person has this pair from The Row on their wish list.

St. Agni specializes in a refined '90s aesthetic, so their platform flip-flops are a natural fit.

I just know Gen Z will be all over this flatform pair.

My Heeled Flip-Flop Pick: Tamara Mellon Luster 40 Sandals

If you're looking for wearable heels that strike just the right balance of cool, heeled flip-flops are it. Endorsed by best-dressed A-listers like Kendall Jenner and Zoë Kravitz, this shoe style adds just the right amount of casual cool to your outfit. Call them controversial all you want, but heeled thong sandals seem to be sticking around longer than we thought they would, so it's about time we talked about the best ones.

Because they have minimal straps, they can quickly get uncomfortable, which is why I beelined to Tamara Mellon, a brand known for making sneakily comfortable heels.

How they fit: I'd say these are true to size. I wore a 40, although I typically wear a 39, and they fit well but were a tad roomy. I think they would have fit perfectly if I'd gone with my normal size.

How they feel: Next-level comfort. Like many of Tamara Mellon's heels, the Luster 40 sandals feature a memory foam-like support layer I can only describe as cloud-like. Normally, heeled thongs start to become annoying after an hour or so, but I could have run a marathon in these, despite their minimal straps.

More heeled flip-flops:

I'm in love with this sculptural heel shape.

My Hardware-Adorned Flip-Flop Pick: Tory Burch Patos Sandals

There will always be a place for basic styles in my closet, but the longer flip-flops trend, the more pretty versions begin to emerge. Enter hardware-adorned flip-flops, the latest iteration I'm absolutely swooning over. Styles that feature sculptural metal embellishments, like the Tory Burch Patos Sandals, offer a fresh and elevated feel to the simple sandals.

How they fit: I found these to be slightly large. I wore my regular size but found there was about half a size of extra room, although it wasn't enough to be a nuisance. Since Tory Burch offers half sizes, I'd recommend trying a half size down if you prefer a tighter fit.

How they feel: You expect quality from a classic American sportswear label like Tory Burch, and this pair certainly delivered in that department. The leather feels buttery soft, and although I only got to wear these twice while reviewing them, I'd wager the leather molds to your foot shape over time, making them even more heavenly to wear as they are to look at.

More embellished flip-flops: