What would a company known for orthotic insoles do with a pair of flip-flops? Spenco took a shot at it and completely redesigned the experience. You won’t confuse these with beach flip-flops from Wal-mart, so Spenco won’t even use that term. These are “Polysorb Total Support Sandals.”
It’s not just semantics though. Your feet will feel a night and day difference as soon as you slide them into these Spenco sandals. You can easily be on your feet all day long in these and still feel good at the end of it.
Lots of people make space in their pack for a pair of flip-flops. (Julie Blakley even put them in her post on five things I always pack.) They don’t take up as much space as regular shoes or even sandals from Teva or Keen. Most cheap sandals and flip-flops are only meant for a shuffle to the beach or the shower, however. Or sitting around a beach cafe sipping cold ones—especially if you have some Reef Fanning ones with a built-in bottle opener. These Total Support ones are actually engineered to keep your feet supported and comfortable for far longer, with arch support and a deep heel cup to properly align the foot, plus “support for the lateral arch, metatarsal and medial arches to offload pressure from the ball of the foot and help relieve forefoot pain.”
I’m no podiatrist, but whatever they did it works. I’ve been wearing these around the house non-stop for a month, mostly on hardwood floors, and tested them out playing around on my asphalt driveway with a bunch of kids. These sandals are more comfortable than any shoe I wear around without custom orthotics. It’s almost like having custom orthotics actually: the grippy EVA foam top layer conforms over time to create a custom fit. They feel better, not worse, after you’ve had them a while.
There is a nice rubber outsole that absorbs impact and the strap on the top is about as comfortable as you can get with a post sticking through the space next to your big toe.
How much does all this technical innovation cost? The list price is $40, which is not bad. More than cheapo Chinese flip-flops for sure, but in line with lots of brands you find in a sporting goods store or surf shop. They come in several colors for men (like the one pictured at the top) and for women (like the one at the bottom). Follow those links for more specs and info at Spenco.com.
Tim Leffel is founder of the Practical Travel Gear blog, as well as the Cheapest Destinations blog and the narrative webzine Perceptive Travel. He is the author of The World's Cheapest Destinations (now in its 4th edition), Make Your Travel Dollars Worth a Fortune, and A Better Life for Half the Price.
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