Best Reef Sandals Reviewed & Rated
Once the outside temperature creeps above a certain degree, everyone you know will be pulling their flip-flops and sandals out from winter hibernation. Our list of the top 10 Reef designs is a great place to start researching for your perfect summer shoe.
Reef products are known for their extreme comfort and superior styling. Having been manufactured by two brothers in Argentina before moving to San Diego, they immediately took flight with surfers. From there, they rode the wave of popularity into becoming one of the world's leading summer footwear brands. You will love the way that any pair of these feels on your feet, as they are very supportive and cushioning.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 7 hrs of research
- EVA Footbed
- Thick Comfort Strap
- Good Traction Outsole
- Water Friendly
1. Star Cushion Sassy
- EVA Footbed
- Thick Comfort Strap
- Good Traction Outsole
- Water Friendly
- Longer Break-In Time
The Star Cushion Sassy is a platform sandal that will make your feet happy. It has a strap that secures it to your feet to prevent the design from flopping all around. Additionally, the sole is a very cushioned and soft EVA footbed with an outsole with good traction. You will have no trouble keeping your balance when wearing these. Also, they make the perfect partner for beach days or casual outings with friends.
Many people do not mind thin straps across their feet. However, for some it is uncomfortable. The Cushion Sassy comes with a thick strap that is made from a soft material. It won't cause any chafing and your feet will feel comfortable throughout. The Star Cushion Sassy is water friendly, meaning you can get wet in the rain or while lounging by the pool without any problems. Also, the outsole has good traction on it so you don't have to worry about slipping if the flip flops happen to get wet.
The Star Cushion Sassy is of great value. Not only is it highly-rated, but you can also wear them around water without worry, making them a great everyday design.
- EVA Footbed
- Comfort Strap
- Water-Resistant Nubuck Leather
- Built-In Bottle Opener
- Great Arch Support
- Toe Piece Comes Out
Named for a three-time legendary world surfing champion, Rick Fanning, this design is more than meets the eye. The iconic feature of this option is the bottle opener implemented directly into the footbed. No need to hunt around for an opener when you just finished hitting the pool or beach. Also, the Fanning has the classic herringbone outsole which gives it a pop of attitude compared to some other designs. The footbed is extremely comfortable, being constructed with EVA foam.
For the ultimate comfort on the heel, this design has an air cushion enclosed in soft polyurethane. Your foot will feel padded and supported with each heel strike you make. No more stone bruises with the Fanning. Properly supporting the arches is vital to the safety and longevity of the bones in the foot. Many feet and leg pains can be helped with proper arch support, and the arch of this design melts to your foot pattern. Therefore, it will fit your specific contours perfectly.
If you compare the Fanning to other options in the same category, it is one of the highest rated for comfort and quality. It also receives high marks for longevity. Furthermore, it is good looking and can be worn with lots of outfits and for many different occasions. You will get plenty of use for this design.
- Soft Footbed
- Durable Outsole
- Anatomical Arch Support
- Contoured Design
- Water-Friendly Strap
- Slippery Footbed When Wet
The Sandy is one of the most popular designs from this brand. It is a customer favorite thanks to its full-width polyester strap and thick brushed EVA footbed. The strap will keep the top of your foot from chafing, and the EVA footbed will cushion your foot and cradle it to make you feel like you are walking on clouds. Lastly, the arch support is anatomically designed to support your foot and to prevent pain due to lack of support.
The foam footbed of the Sandy is a generous 3/4-inch thickness crafted with durability in mind. It will cushion your foot as you walk on a daily basis. Compared to some other designs on our list, the thick and soft polyester strap on the Sandy will feel soft against your skin. It can help prevent friction and possibly chafing if you are prone to outbreaks due to sensitive skin.
This highly-reviewed option can fit into almost any budget and will make you very satisfied with your purchase. With proper care, you should have plenty of life out of the Sandy, even if it is a daily wearing design.
- Ultra-Soft Footbed
- Great Traction
- Soft Thong Toe Piece
- EVA Outsole Construction
- Thin Straps
- Dye Stains Bottom Of Feet
The Ginger is a dainty and sophisticated design. It consists of a thinner strap and is perfect to take you from the beach to the mall and everywhere in between. It has a mid-range thickness sole that is typical EVA outsole construction. Your feet will feel cushioned and properly supported thanks to the technologically advanced anatomical arch support. Even after wearing these for the whole day, the gel-like footbed will have your feet feeling like you just put them on.
A 0.75-inch outsole that is constructed from EVA is the ultimate lifesaver for your feet. The EVA is an industry-wide phenomenon that reduces bulk and softens your steps. This design and its simple sophistication can take you anywhere with poise. It is classic and timeless. You can plan to wear these sandals with everything, from dresses to pants to shorts. Even for low-key "formal" events, you could pair these with a skirt and still look put-together.
The Ginger has a perfect price point and will quickly become your go-to design. It has high ratings for durability and will last for a long time if cared for properly.
- Quilted Footbed
- Rubber Sole
- Textured Grip
- Soft Satin Liner
- Runs Small
- Toe-Piece Rips Out Easily
If the texture of the footbed of the Dreams doesn't catch your eye, then hopefully the feeling of wearing it will. This option is incredibly soft and will make your feet feel like they are dreaming. The footbed is a mattress-inspired design with squishy pieces that cushion your foot. The toe piece is even more padded on these than on other designs. Finally, it has a rubber sponge outsole that absorbs the shock of each step.
The ultimate luxury is going to be this satin liner against your skin. It is so incredibly soft and luxurious you will forget you are walking in a flip-flop. Add to it the texture quilted design and you might think you are snuggled on the couch instead of up and walking. The flexibility of the outsole is great on the Dreams. The sole really moves like a sponge. It will stay with your foot through each step as well as when you engage in more rigorous activity.
The Dreams will quickly become your favorite option for wearing it every day. It is rated high for durability and comfort so you can definitely walk many miles in this design.
- Leather Upper
- Traction Sole
- Strong Arch Support
- Non-Marking Outsole
- Sole Separates From Upper
The Smoothy can become your go-to choice for casual and some dressy events. It has been a long-standing Reef staple. The Smoothy is made from a full-grain leather upper with a polyester lining for added comfort. This is all atop a patented triple-density EVA footbed sole. It is leading the way for comfort and durability due to its quality construction and material composition.
The soles of this option will move with your foot so that you have the highest degree of comfort possible. Being flexible and moving with your foot adds to durability since the design is not fighting against you. The leather straps on this sandal are comfortable and will provide you with a tailored type of comfort. They are going to withstand pretty much anything and will provide a very soft and pleasurable experience.
The Smoothy is top-rated for durability and dependability that buyers have come to trust and expect from this brand. It is made for relaxing times at the beach, or casual strolls around town, and it will definitely make you light and carefree on your feet.
- Rubber Outsole
- Soft Thong Toe Piece
- Synthetic Material
- Easy to Clean
Glitter Color Options
- Footbed Gets Slick When Wet
If you are searching for a little bit of sparkle in your choice of footwear, then look no further. The thong strap of the Stargazer will pop off of your foot when everyone catches the subtle sparkle these shoes have. Their footbed is smooth and feels very soft against the bottom of the foot. Finally, the rubber sole makes for an excellent choice to prevent slips and falls when walking on wet or adverse surfaces.
The Stargazer has an outsole that is flexible. It will move with your foot during each step as well as when bending or stretching. Your foot will not feel constricted no matter what you're doing. The straps of this design, even though they are skinny, still catch attention. The brand decided to put subtle glitter all over the strap to give the design a little pizzaz. You will look great wearing these to the pool or for a night on the town.
The Stargazer comes very high-rated for wonderful quality backed by a company that loves its consumers. It falls at one of the lowest price points in the category; which means it fits into almost any budget without breaking the bank.
8. Slap 3
- Molded EVA Footbed
- Soft Strap Material
- Cushioned Toe Thong
- Textured Footbed
- Good Gripping Outsole
- Runs Small
- Straps Need Breaking In
The Slap 3 will make your feet slap-happy. It is an excellent choice for the avid outdoor water seeker. You won't have to worry about the degradation of these when you get them wet either by accident or choice - they are 100 percent water friendly. Also, they have a textured footbed that will keep your foot feeling secure after it gets wet. Finally, they are always comfortable and have a supportive sole that leaves your legs and feet not feeling tired after walking all day.
To encourage proper gait and stance, the Slap 3 has an offset heel and toe. This will provide so many health benefits; everything from slouching, back-ache, hip problems and more can be alleviated with proper stance, stride, and footwear. Nubuck leather provides an ultra comfortable strap on the Slap 3 that rests easily against your skin. When you wear this option, you don't have to worry about the strap chafing against your skin or digging into it.
With the Slap 3, you will have a very versatile design. This is one of the only ones in the category that is 100 percent water friendly. That means you can wear it every day whether faced with rain or shine. It is also highly rated for durability so you will have a design that lasts a long time, with proper care.
Classic Flip-Flop Design
Vegan Leather Straps
Cushy EVA Footbed
Straps May Break Quickly
Not Too Stylish
If you’re looking for something simple and easy, a classic flip flop silhouette, then you have come to the right place. The Bliss is a handcrafted sandal with endless versatility - with it you can go from breakfast on the balcony to a beach wedding without changing your footwear! It is water-friendly and quite durable, and it requires zero break-in period to feel good.
The Bliss has straps made of vegan leather to keep you comfortable. These straps won’t stretch or lose their shape if you find yourself in wet conditions. The footbed is made from EVA, for shock absorption and comfort wherever you go. This easy sandal comes in several bright, summery color combinations, and we absolutely love the neon mint one in our picture.
While having a stylish, fancy option is great, sometimes we all just need a little simplicity in our lives. The Bliss is here to complete our summer collection; it is easy to wear, easy to pack and amazingly beach-friendly! What more could we possibly want out of a design like this?
10. Rover Catch
- Contoured Swellular Footbed
- Molded Swellular Foam Midsole
- Soft Jersey Liner
- Great Traction
- Triple Density Construction
- Toe Piece Pulls Out Easily
If you are in the market for a simple, yet stylish sandal, then look no further than the Rover Catch. Rest assured, however, that the design also makes a perfect choice for casual outfits too. The strap is a bit thinner but gives a dainty and polished look. You will be walking with extreme comfort as the Rover Catch has the expected cushioned footbed.
This design can take you from day to night and from work to an evening with friends. Also, it can easily be worn to summer weddings or any other social events. EVA ensures flexibility and comfort all without adding any extra bulk; therefore it reduces the weight of a shoe. The EVA in the Rover Catch helps it to bend and move with your foot. EVA has also been shown to add to the durability of a design.
You can easily purchase the Rover Catch knowing you will have a design that can be worn for many different occasions. It can become an everyday option as it is more than suitable for social settings. The Reef brand is synonymous with durability so these should last you for a long time, with proper care and precautions.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
The footbed and the sole are one and the same in a sandal. This is a type of shoe that only has one portion which your foot rests on. There are many different materials from which the footbed/sole can be made.
Cork: Cork is a versatile and durable material. When using it in the footbed and the sole, it can be very malleable and providing an anatomically correct base for the foot. Furthermore, cork, once it becomes warm from body heat, molds to your foot. It is widely accepted as a material that alleviates numerous painful ailments since it is anatomically adjusted to match your specific foot shape.
Rubber: Rubber is lightweight, easy to clean, durable and comfortable. It is one of the most common materials used in footwear soles; it is especially prominent as part of the inner makings. Rubber is a natural material, contrary to popular belief, that it is similar to plastic, which is man-made. Rubber is, for all intents and purposes, indestructible. The only way to actually destroy rubber is to oxide it. That is why it is great for footwear soles.
Foam: Foam is very comfortable and widely available, therefore making it a less costly product to use in footbeds and soles. It comes in a couple of different composites: open cell foam and closed cell foam. Open cell foam is porous, which allows air to freely pass through. Closed cell is sealed, which prevents anything from escaping or entering. Closed cell foam is also known as EVA foam.
Synthetics: Synthetic materials used in footwear soles are man-made mixtures. One advantage of using synthetics is that they are widely available and very cost-effective. However, a major disadvantage to using them is that they crease and wear easily, so sometimes they are not so durable.
Another important thing to consider when looking at the material of a sole is the heat retention it will cause. Some people suffer relentlessly from hot feet or feeling as if they are walking on pins and needles. They require footwear that does not add any more heat to their feet.
Some materials are going to be better at releasing heat than others. Cork definitely offers the best breathability of these choices. Foam and some synthetic blends have the unfortunate tendency to trap heat.
The straps of a sandal are where designers really get creative. They can be a continuation of the sole material or something completely different. Footwear designers try to make the straps as comfortable as possible, in order to achieve consumer happiness, and here we will outline some of the strap materials often used and their pros and cons.
Leather: Leather is very durable and can handle all of the adjustings and stretch that is required of a strap. It is is also very soft against the skin, as it changes shape over time and gradually takes on the shape of the foot for maximum comfort.
Rubber: Rubber is a good choice to use for the straps because of its versatility, flexibility, as well as water resistance.
Nylon: Using nylon in the straps is often done because nylon is very durable. It is also soft against the skin and has the tendency to dry fast and repel dirt and mud.
Cotton: Cotton has an unmistakable comfort that nothing else quite mimics. Straps that are made of cotton will not keep your feet hot, nor will they agitate the skin because they rubbed it raw.
When looking at footwear of this type, it is also very important to consider the purpose of it. Our list is comprised of designs that are versatile and can be used for many different occasions. While Reef options are ubiquitously known for being surfer shoes or comfortable flip flops, if paired with the right outfit, you could easily wear these for almost anything.
The brand definitely tries to add some sparkle and finesse into some of their designs. For instance, some of their options have glitter or woven patterns that raise the posh factor a bit more. For the most part, these products can be rocked at the beach, a low key wedding, and with casual clothes, amongst other things.
The goal of this brand is to bring cool to the casual look. When shopping for this type of footwear, you may want to look for something that has versatility to it, that can transition from day to night, beach to a dinner date with ease.
Traction is the ability of the sole of the shoe to grip on the terrain you are walking on. In most cases, footwear is designed with lugs or tread patterns to help maintain your balance, so that you don't accidentally slip or skid. This is especially important if you find yourself in wet conditions and on sleek surfaces, such as in a public shower or near a swimming pool.
Flip-flops and summer footwear, in general, have a very small tread pattern. They are made to look flat on the ground. However, Reef does a decent job in providing traction when you need it the most. Look for herringbone patterns or even concentric circles, which provide you with traction in multiple directions and help you stay on your feet.
Depending on how often you wear the designs, and how well you take care of them, the tread on most flip-flops wears faster than on other types of footwear. Over the course of wear, you should watch the sole of your footwear for a decrease in tread. You definitely do not want to risk a fall because of slick footwear and uncooperative terrain.
Comfort has an impact on how you feel wearing a certain pair of shoes. Do you enjoy them? If a design isn't well fitted or comfortable, it will significantly affect how good you feel in your footwear. In fact, some of the most heinous comfort offenders end up relegated to the back of our closets. This is why comfort is so important; nine times out of ten, it can make or break a purchase.
So, how do you know that you're getting a comfortable design? Well, the most definite way is to actually try it on your feet. Walk around a little in it, see how it feels. However, this can be difficult when it comes to online shopping, which brings us to the second best way to determine comfort.
Quite simply, look at the features and materials of the design, as well as the overall fit. Some options will feature a memory foam footbed or a closure system with an adjustable fit.
You should also check the size offerings, and how they run. Some footwear will run small or large, others will run wide or narrow. You need to find something that works well with your unique foot shape and comfort needs.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Reef sandals embody the spirit of surfers and beach lovers with their footwear. Laid back, comfortable, and even with some fun elements thrown into a few models, like bottle openers at the base of the sole.
Reef sandals was originally founded by two Argentinian brothers, who moved to the US west coast in 1984 to establish the brand as we know it today.
Other Factors to Consider
To make our list for this guide, we searched through dozens of designs. In order to narrow those down, we evaluated them on many characteristics which make up our Criteria section. We used different categories and then ranked the items that fit our standards when it comes to all of those criteria.
Overall, Reef products are a great choice of footwear. They have proven their brand quality through the decades and are one of the most highly reviewed summer footwear companies around. With so many popular choices, they definitely have a sandal for everyone, and we hope that you will have fun picking out your favorite!
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Which design should I get?
There are so many great choices in our guide that you really can’t go wrong with any of them. They are all highly-rated and comfortable. What you do need to consider during your search, however, are the characteristics that are important to you. From there, use our suggestions to find your perfect pair!
q: Are these waterproof?
To some degree, all Reef designs are water-friendly. What that means is they are safe to wear in the water but not for prolonged periods of time. Some of their designs are going to be less water resistant than others. We recommend that you check the specifications of the footwear you are considering. As always, proceed with caution. Taking the best care of your footwear will ensure a longer lifespan and keep them looking their best for as long as possible.
q: Is it true that these are good for your feet?
Yes, Reef designs are a good choice for your feet. As a matter of fact, they have high-density footbeds that mold to your foot shape the longer you wear the shoes. As a result of this, you can expect to have great arch support. Many problems with the legs and feet can be alleviated with proper arch support. These designs are also very cushioned, which helps prevent fatigue and injury to the joints. They truly feel like walking on a cloud.
q: Do these run true to size?
As with any shoe, you should check the sizing guide before purchasing it. It is best to measure your foot against the brand's chart for finding your perfect size. Typically, what is one size in one company could be slightly off from the same size in another company. Furthermore, your foot can grow up to 5% during the day so depending on what time you tried your footwear on, they may or may not fit the next morning or later in the day as your foot size fluctuates.
q: How should I keep my footwear clean?
We absolutely do not recommend tossing your Reef sandals in the washer. For best cleaning, you should spot wash with a soapy rag and cool water. Using a washing machine can tear up the sandals and cause irreparable damage to it.