Written by Aaron Chan, Canadian Certified Pedorthist
If you’re looking for the perfect summer slide to protect your feet and ensure maximum performance, read on to see my slide reviews based on aesthetics, fit, cushion, comfort and support.
Aesthetically, they are Nike through and through. With many different colourways and the classic Nike swoosh, everyone can find something they like.
The Benassis fit wider in the midfoot, offering good contact for those with flat feet. The forefoot band also comes with ample cushioning that compresses, allowing the band to accommodate all foot types. I knocked off one point for the relatively shorter band, and the thickness of the cushioning in the band, that makes the slides hard to wear with socks if you wanted to wear them as slippers in the house.
Though the Benassi is cushioned, it is more like a firm trampoline, rather than a soft pillow. Some people may prefer this style of cushioning, most will find the softness of the OOFOS slide and the Adidas Cloudfoam more to their liking.
I find myself putting these on when I want something a little more firm than the average slide. This can be nice on harder surfaces, like concrete, where the super soft foams tend to give way after a time. They are comfortable, but sometimes the padding inside the band makes my feet a little sweaty.
Like many slides and flip flops, the Benassi has little in the way of support, but even amongst its own, it is lacking. With barely a heel cup and no midfoot contouring, the only saving grace is the stiffness of the foam from the outer midsole. This gives the slide more structure than some of the other slides out there.
Final Score 41/50
The foam is textured on the footbed, front of the band adding some subtle detailing. The three stripe band keeps the design simple, but I had to dock a point for offering less colourful options.
The sandal tends to fit big for a standard size. The band is a bit longer than the Nike Benassi with better coverage but lacks cushioning on the inside which may not feel as great on your toes. The texturing on the footbed helps prevent your foot from sliding around. It is very easy to slide on and is sock compatible ;0)
I cannot stress enough how soft these slides truly are. The cushion is extremely plush and soft, to the point that it makes the ground feel too hard. The cushioning does not pack out quickly which I guess is not a surprise from the company that brought us Boost foam.
The cushioning makes this sandal very comfortable. They have a lightly contoured the foot, and with soft foam, the heel sinks in, giving more contact to the contour of the foot. Good cushion and contact give this slide a leg up on the Benassi.
It has little to none torsional stability whatsoever even though it does have some arch support. The contouring itself is limited, but as the heel gets squished down, the midsole of the sandal comes up higher into the arch. The lack of an out sole also makes it more flexible throughout the midfoot.
Final Score 43/50
There is no getting around the fact that these slides are not good looking. They are large and chunky with a wide band. The base of the sandal is narrower than the footbed in an attempt to slim the silhouette. Ultimately, these slides were built with function over fashion in mind.
They tend to fit a bit big for the size, which does leave room for socks though! The length of the band offers good coverage on the foot but those with a high instep might find it a bit constraining. It also doesn't give much, so breaking it in will not give you more room which is good news who fit the slide well straight out of the gate.
I can say without a doubt that these slides are indeed soft. They are similar to the Cloudfoam in the plush, cushioned feel that tends to squish down when you walk on it. The OOfoam is very resilient and its plush nature does not pack out, even on my clients weighing over 200lbs.
This is truly a slide for weary feet. Though I found the arch profile a bit thick and long, the proprietary footbed offers a snug fit to a variety of arch shapes due to the compression of the OOfoam. It felt like the slide was hugging my foot, protecting it from the harsh impact of the ground.
Though I found the contact from the proprietary footbed comfortable, I did not find it all that supportive. Since it is made for cushion, the foam is completely soft and lacks torsional stability.
Final Score 42/50
HOKA ORA Recovery
These are on par with the OOahh for acquired visual taste. Clearly designed for function over fashion, they do get a bonus point for offering a variety of fun colourways.
The cradle footbed of the ORAs hug the foot well, providing good contact up and around the foot. With a nice wide midsole, pronators will find good contact through the midfoot as well as support. The forefoot band is a comfortable length, with a bit more of an upward angle at the proximal end for high insteps.
HOKA is well known for its maximalist cushioning, and the ORA slide is no exception. I haven't measured, but I would expect the heel to offer about 80% of the cushioning and 90% at the forefoot compared to their running shoes, such as the Bondi or the Stinson. Their website describes their cushioning as "marshmallow softness" for high impact absorption.
The cupped and cushioned fit of the ORA makes for a comfortable slide. Big cushion and a rocker profile help to ease the stress on the lower limbs. The only strange thing about it, is the textured footbed which in the end you can barely feel.
Here the cupped footbed comes into play again, offering good support and stability. The thickness of the midsole also provides more support than any of the other slides we have seen so far.
Final Score 43/50
Birkenstock Arizona EVA
In recent years, Birkenstocks have become trendy and have shed their old person persona to become a shoe for those who seek fashion and comfort. The visual is a classic design and they get a bonus point for the vast colour selection available.
The adjustable straps are a key feature of the Arizona. This is the only slide of the bunch with any adjustability in the forefoot band making it a good choice for all foot types. They are also available in a narrow fit for those with slimmer, harder to fit feet.
The foam is not a super soft, ultra cushion foam like the others, but it is not meant to be a recovery sandal like the others either. The firmness of the Birkenstock foam is meant to allow you to walk in it. The higher density foam will improve the longevity of the slide as well as provide a firmer platform to push off of.
The much-loved Birkenstock footbed may have changed materials, but not the shape. For those who love the support of the Birk, you will still find it here. For those who have found the cork footbed too high or hard, this may be a more comfortable option. Although soft, some may still find the arch support too high.
There are no better sandals when it comes to support. Even though some may find the arch too high, I would guess that around 90% of people that try on a Birkenstock will find the support to be comfortable, whether they are low or high arches.
Final Score 46/50
Hope this helps you find a comfortable slip-on sandal that you will actually want to wear!
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*not all retailers carry the sandals mentioned above