Despite the fact that I’ve been writing about travel for the past decade and am on the road at least half the month, I struggle with packing for most trips. I overdo it with clothes, but with shoes. I go over every possible scenario and occasion — will there be a march? a sauna? Last minute beach party with the most stylish people in town? And I stare at my shoe collection, wondering how I’m going to fit it all in my carry-on. But there is one pair of shoes that I know will be in the front pocket of my suitcase for every trip: my Havaianas Slim Fresh Flip-Flop Sandals.
Growing up in South Florida, flip flops were just as important as sunscreen (my first job was even at PacSun, so I’m well aware of all things surf sandals). Now that I live in Paris and write travelogues for a living, I tested all the popular brands and splurged on the designer rubber sandals of the day, but I keep coming back to the same style of slim Havaianas. They’re great for the beach, spa, shower, and more—and they’re up to 58 percent off on Amazon right now in select colors.
To buy: amazon.com, $6 (originally $23)
The 100 percent rubber sandal is synonymous with Brazil – where it has been produced since the 1960s – and is known for its simple rice-patterned sole (a nod to the first design, inspired by thin Japanese zori rice straw sandals) that is super grippy on almost any surface. I found these sturdy waterproof sandals to be light enough to toss in any travel or beach bag (weighing only 5 ounces) and take up next to nothing in my overnight bag or carry-on.
Of course, they are my number one choice for the beach, but I was surprised to see how versatile these sandals are. When I spent 21 days on a cruise to Antarctica, I wore these around the ship every day. When I was on an island in Greece last summer, I wore these on the ferry and poolside at the resorts. They’ve taken me paddleboarding around Portugal’s Algarve region, on expeditions in Patagonia, to safari lodges in South Africa and hammams in Istanbul.
These flip-flops feature a super soft cushioned insole and non-slip tread, and the brand is also known for its vibrant poppy patterns. Amazon offers them in more than 50 colors from women’s sizes 4-12. I alternate between a neutral shade like black and a pastel rainforest print, which surprisingly goes with everything – patterned dresses, rompers, gym clothes, you name it.
To buy: amazon.com, $34
No wonder more than 15,000 Amazon reviewers have rated the sandals five stars. One buyer stated that they are “the gold standard for flip-flops.” Another customer added that “living in a year-round sunny climate, I hardly ever wear other shoes” and “these are the most supportive flip-flops I’ve found.”
Some flip-flops take a while to get comfortable, but Havaianas feel instantly molded to your feet. “Love wearing these,” wrote one reviewer. “I took the dog for a half hour walk and there were no blisters or discomfort,” concluding that they are “the best flip-flops ever.”
To buy: amazon.com, from $6 (originally $30)
The most common complaints about flip-flops are the straps causing blisters or breaking, but I’ve had the same pair for years and have seen almost no wear, even though I’ve used them as an alternative to sneakers while running around a new city or on a coastal hike in the south of France, where I divided my time. And Amazon customers agree. One reviewer said, “They haven’t caused me any blisters or irritation and are comfortable enough to run on the beach with. You definitely get what you pay for with them, in a good way.”
No matter how many pairs of sandals I’ve acquired over the years, whether it’s the Bottega Veneta slides that are in at the moment, or the Zeus+ Dione Greek cut-out leather beauties I found on sale one summer in Athens, they don’t compare to my trusty Havaianas. Although they are thin, I find they run true to size. One buyer even said that “skinny feels better.” Another reviewer, who has high arches and arthritic feet, reported that “they are the most comfortable yet.”
To buy: amazon.com, $17 (originally $34)
I’d like to pretend I’m one of those travelers who is pragmatic, never overpacks, and only carries items that serve a purpose. But, dear readers, I’m not one to admire them for their sleek suitcases with a pair of practical shoes that can be worn straight from jogging to dinner. I may only have carry-on luggage, but this suitcase has several shoe clips to keep any outfit looking together—even if said outfit is hiking gear. But my Havaianas are the only pair of shoes I know will make the final edit while I’m packing.
With a non-slip tread that ensures your feet are secure whether you’re in the rain, at the spa or hiking along a rocky coast (which happens more often than you’d think), they’re sure to become a staple part of your suitcase as they have become mine. If I’m not proof enough, just listen to the thousands of customers who give the classic Havaianas Slim Fresh Flip-Flop a five-star review. And add a pair (or two) to your cart before they sell out at this low price.
At the time of publication, the price starts at $6.
Do you love a lot? Sign up for our T+L Recommends newsletter and we’ll send you our favorite travel products every week.