I think the title is enough for this blog ;), so let’s jump right in to the examples and the pictures! My first pick, and I had to give you two angles so you could really see what’s going on this the toes on these shoes, are the eco-friendly and ethical Dopie sandals by Terra Plana. The Dopie was designed with the idea of finding the most minimal footwear possible (the philosophy being that barefoot is best for the body but not always practical). You can actually even wear the shoes without the strap!! There are also TONS of colors, so don’t worry if green isn’t your thing.

In the second row is a pair of sporty flip-flops, the Waimea H2 by Keen. You might need to take a second look at these shoes, they have a sole that turns up and attaches to an extended strap of the upper! I’ve spotted similar soles on running shoes and other shoes but never on flip-flops. I’m sure this sole makes these shoes great for dusty trails and hiking on pebbly paths, heck, even dirty New York sidewalks – and of course, protection against the dreaded stubbed toe! They also have a cute, eco-friendly version with a colorful upper of woven rice paper!

Next, I found a pair of Swamisz, which also come in tons of color combinations. These shoes are finally now available in the US (previously just in Australia), and like so many AU brands that have come before them, Swamisz are sure to be a big hit! They claim that you do not even need to actively grip with your toes to keep these shoes on (often the main reason people don’t like thong sandals); the toe portion is made in such a way to naturally stay on your feet.  My pair is on its way, so I’ll give you way more info as soon as I try them out!

Terra Plana Dopie Green 2 Terra Plana Dopie Green
Keen Waimea H2 Swanusz blue black

I have problems with so many flip-flops because some designers just don’t think about comfort when they’re choosing the material that goes between your toes! I can’t even count how many times a leather seam was positioned wrong and caused me crazy pain. That’s part of the reason why I love the gold Steve Madden flip-flops below; just two pieces of soft, stretch material crossed over the big toe.

But I can tell you that I’ve never had a problem with Havaianas, which have been around forever. This new version with a strap around the ankle is just different enough to really wow people. And the adjustable buckle is rare (and genius!) on a rubber shoe. There’s a great review here about the Havaianas below from Tasha Nita Adams’ (L.A. style expert) experience. And last, I’ve found a wacky pair of daytime thong sandals with a fuzzy insole (oh Uggs, you’ll put shearling on anything). I’m not too sure about taking these to the beach or the pool, but for daily flip-flops, they should be pretty cozy. Next to the Uggs are a pair of foot-hugging monkey thongs that are just plain fun (and float as a bonus)! Sugar brand shoes are always creative.

Steve Madden Showoff Havaianas Fit 2
Ugg Fluffie flip flop Sugar Go Ape thongs

Last of all, even though they’re not flip-flops, I wanted to include the two shoes below because they are crazy – so we’re still half topical. 😉 The very noticeable Vibram FiveFingers shoes below are the only outdoor shoes I know of that don’t clump your toes together in one space with the rest of your foot. The sole of the shoe actually covers the bottom of where each toe sits individually. Vibram claims that separating your toes creates improves balance, overall foot health & posture. These toe-tastic shoes even come in 3 other varieties that work for you in different ways based on the activities you plan on doing in them – such as running, yoga, boating, martial arts, surfing, climbing, travel, etc. Don’t worry if you don’t do any of those activities though (it’s not stopping me anyway), do you only wear sneakers for sporty activities, even if that’s what they’re technically designed for? P.S. FiveFingers are vegan friendly too!

In the same train of thought, I found these split toe Air Rift shoes by totally mainstream brand Nike (shaped like traditional Japanese tabi socks). It’s a little hard to see below (since almost everyone is sold out – I suggest eBay if you want a pair), but if you click on the shoes below, you can get a nice multi-view from Zappos including the bottom of the sole. Nike says the design was “inspired by barefoot runners of Kenya.”

I guess the message is, whether in flip flops or whatever, Neglect your toes no longer!

Vibram FiveFingers Classic Nike Air Rift
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