Summer is in the air. As everyone knows flip flops are the perfect footwear for summer. What is better than spending carefree summer days wearing flip flops strolling around feeling the breeze on your feet?
You may be wondering where you can wear flip-flops without having your feet all sweaty by the end of the day. Turns out there are many places where wearing them is appropriate, and many are not.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss exactly where you can wear flip-flops along with why it’s more convenient than wearing other shoes.
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While flip flops may seem perfect for a flight, especially a long flight because of its comfort and lack of constriction, it is actually not a good idea to wear flip flops on a plane. Why? Because of a few reasons:
- Safety: If something happens and you need to evacuate the plane on a slide or to dash away from the plane on a rough terrain, wearing flip flops would leave your feet completely exposed and unprotected.
- Warmth: It can get pretty cold on a long flight. Wearing flip flops could leave your feet freezing.
- Sanitation: You do not want to be wearing flip flops when using the bathroom on a plane. That puddle on the floor? It isn’t water and you don’t want it to splash onto your feet.
First of all there is no law against that. But you really should not be wearing flip flops to the airport for these reasons:
- Speed: What if you get stuck in a traffic jam on your way to the airport? What if there is a delay and you are about to miss your connecting flight? You must run like hell in these situations. Flip flops will not exactly help you run fast. They will only slow you down and potentially cost you your flight.
- Health: You would still need to take off your flip flops at the airport security checkpoint. Typically you would wear flip flops with no socks on. That means once you take off your flip flops you would be standing barefoot on the floor. Think of all the bacteria and fungi that live on an airport floor. You don’t want to touch that with your bare skin. Trust me.
Tip: Wear a pair of comfy sneakers to the airport. Avoid flip flops or high heels. And wear socks.
For a lot of people, going to Six Flags is the quintessential summer activity. And so is wearing flip flops. The two seem to just go naturally together. So, can you wear flip flops to Six Flags?
Turns out Six Flags has issued a dress code as part of its code of conduct. According to the dress code visitors are required to wear “appropriate footwear.” However, Six Flags has not elaborated on what amounts to “appropriate footwear.” Many people do walk around Six Flags wearing flip flops and none of them has gone into any trouble with the management. So it seems it is OK to wear flip flops at Six Flags. On the other hand, there are some disadvantages to flip flops:
- Foot Fatigue: You will probably be walking all day long at Six Flags. While flip flops are indeed very comfy, they don’t exactly provide a lot of cushioning or support to your feet. You will likely get foot fatigue wearing flip flops.
- Safety: You do want to go on rides, right? Do you really want to be wearing a pair of flip flops while riding on a roller coaster twisting and turning upside down? What if your flip flops just fall off while you are 100 feet up in the air?
Given all that, we recommend you wear a nice pair of walking shoes with great cushioning and support that will keep your feet in good shape all day. You will not regret that.
Universal Studios has a dress code that asks guests not to wear anything with offensive language or content. So flip flops should be fine.
But Universal Studios is a theme park just like Six Flags, so the factors of foot fatigue and safety also apply here. So we have the same recommendation: a nice pair of walking shoes with great cushioning and support would be perfect.
Disneyland or Disney World
Disney’s dress code states that “proper attire, including shoes and shirts, must be worn at all times.” It also forbids “clothing with objectionable material, including obscene language or graphics,” and “clothing which, by nature, exposes excessive portions of the skin that may be viewed as inappropriate for a family environment.” So flip flops seem fine at Disney.
But once again foot fatigue and safety are important factors here. So to reiterate our recommendation: forget flip flops, you’re better off wearing walking shoes.
For a warm summer day, flip flops would certainly be a good choice for wearing to the zoo. Although there are some situations where something other than flip flops will be more appropriate:
- If it has just rained, the zoo will likely be covered in puddles. Wearing flip flops traipsing through puddles will get your feet soaked. Likewise if the weather forecast calls for rain you would not want to be wearing flip flops. For these situations you would be better off wearing a pair of waterproof shoes instead.
- If you plan on spending the whole day at the zoo you will be doing a whole lot of walking. Flip flops aren’t designed for that. They lack proper cushioning and support. Instead, opt for a pair of nice walking shoes or sneakers.
Related: Can You Wear Sneakers to Jury Duty?
While Driving a Commercial Vehicle
You might have thought for sure there are laws against that, right? Well it turns out that’s not the case. Not on the federal level. And not on the state level either – not a single state bans you from wearing flip flops while driving commercial vehicles.
So you are all clear then? Not so fast. While it is perfectly legal to wear flip flops while driving a commercial vehicle, if one of your flip flops gets caught on a pedal and causes an accident, you will potentially face a charge of reckless driving. Penalties for reckless driving vary from state to state. For example:
- New York: $300 fine for first-time offenders
- California: $1,000 fine plus 90 days in jail
- Virginia: $2,500 fine plus one year in jail
Our recommendation: Don’t risk it. Wear proper shoes while driving.
In a 70-degree weather
It really depends. For most people 70-degree weather is warm enough for flip flops. If you are not sure you can step outdoor for a few minutes wearing flip flops and see if you feel comfortable.
Tip: Even if the temperature is above 70 you might want to leave your flip flops at home if the weather forecast calls for heavy rain. Wear something like rain boots instead.
We have asked our expert panels and there seem to be two schools of thought regarding this.
- It is very important to wear flip flops in public saunas. All sorts of people walk on the sauna floor all the time and they bring with them all sorts of bacteria and fungi. The warm and moist environment of a sauna is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and fungi. So if you do not want to contract nasty foot infections like Athlete’s Foot you better not let your bare feet touch the sauna floor.
- It is totally against sauna etiquette to wear any shoes in a sauna. Not to mention it is unsanitary because your shoes are dirty and will bring all sorts of bacteria and fungi into a sauna.
Our take: Call in advance and talk to the people in charge of the sauna. Ask them about their shoe policy. If they allow shoes, wear flip flops. If they do not allow shoes, then you decide whether you want to take the risk of contracting any foot infections.
Short answer: No.
Long answer: No for a variety of reasons.
- Legal: Many courts still maintain a strict dress code. For example, the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico has this requirement in its dress code: “All laypersons should wear shoes in the courtroom. (Thongs are not acceptable).” The word “thongs” here refers to flip flops. So at least in this courtroom you are not allowed to wear flip flops.
- Strategic: What about in courtrooms that have less strict dress codes? While theoretically you could wear flip flops to court where it is not specifically forbidden by the dress code, the question is why would you want to do that? In court your audience is the Judge (and the jury in some cases.) Your future could be determined by those people. You would absolutely want to make a great first impression on them. So dress like you care. Because you should.
Bottom line: Do not wear flip flops to court. Wear proper dress shoes.
The answer is: it depends.
It depends on the grade, school district, and even specific school within a school district. For example:
- Arkansas’ Jacksonville North Pulaski School District forbids students in grades 6 through 12 from wearing open toe or open heel shoes like flip flops to school.
- Seymour High School in Connecticut bans backless shoes like flip flops for all students.
- Within Seattle public school district some schools allow flip flops while others forbid them. West Seattle High School, Eckstein Middle School, and Nathan Hale High School allow flip flops. On the other hand, Whitman Middle School on Crown Hill forbids flip flops.
Generally it is perfectly fine to wear flip flops in college. We are not aware of any college that forbids flip flops.
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Yes you can. Churches won’t judge you for what you wear. You can wear flip flops going to your local church or churches in other countries. Going to Europe with plans to visit the great churches and cathedrals in Rome, Paris, Florence, Cologne, etc?
You will be fine in flip flops. But our usual cautionary advice still stands: as a tourist, you will be doing a lot of walking. Flip flops won’t give you the cushioning and support you will need for that. So consider wearing walking shoes instead.
Dubai is hot. Scorching hot. What is better than walking under the sun in Dubai wearing a cool, breezy pair of flip flops? The question is, is it OK to wear flip flops there? While Dubai is an Islamic city that follows Sharia law, it turns out it is still acceptable for both men and women to wear flip flops there.
So by all means, wear your favorite flip flops in Dubai. On the other hand, some occasions might call for some other kind of footwear.
- Hotels: Some high-end hotels in Dubai may have a dress code and forbid flip flops in their lobbies. It would be a good idea to pack a nice pair of dress shoes with you for situations like this.
- Restaurants and bars: Likewise, high-end restaurants and bars could require proper dress shoes.
- Desert safaris: If you plan to go on a desert safari in Dubai, you should not be wearing flip flops because they are very easy to lose in the sand. Instead, wear a pair of sandals that have straps that can be fastened around your ankles.
Tip: Feel free to wear flip flops in Dubai. Pack dress shoes if you have plan to go to high-end locations. Pack sandals with fastening straps if you plan to go on a desert safari.
Flip flops are perfectly fine in Japan. There are no laws in Japan against wearing flip flops. And it is not a faux pas to wear flip flops there. People will not be staring at you on the street for doing so. Having said that there are some other considerations you should also take into account:
- Comfort: As a tourist you will probably be walking a lot in Japan. Flip flops do not have great cushioning or support. Your feet will get tired easily walking in them. You are better off wearing a pair of high quality walking shoes that offer cushioning and arch support.
- High-end locations: High-end hotels, bars, and restaurants in Japan may have dress codes that require proper footwear. For those business establishments you should be wearing dress shoes just to comply with their dress codes.
Tip: Pack your flip flops for your trip to Japan, but also bring along a nice pair of walking shoes. Also pack dress shoes if you plan on going to high-end hotels or restaurants.
Many people may not know this, but the Vatican does actually have a dress code. According to the Vatican’s official statement, “entry to the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Gardens is permitted only to appropriately dressed visitors.”
So are those visitors wearing flip flops considered “appropriately dressed” by the Vatican? Unfortunately, the Vatican statement doesn’t touch upon footwear. So we can only use our good judgment.
Our take: Flip flops are probably too casual for the Vatican. If you want something airy and cooling, opt for sandals instead of flip flops. Otherwise wear a pair of nice walking shoes with good cushioning and support as you will be doing a lot of walking in the Vatican. Your feet will thank you.
Technically, Topgolf does not have a dress code. Topgolf actually encourages people to use fashion to “express themselves.” That means you can wear flip flops to Topgolf. But should you? Let’s look at the pros and cons:
- Flip flops are very comfy.
- Flip flops let your feet breathe freely.
- They are also very cooling. That’s especially nice on a steaming summer day.
- Flip flops don’t give you much of a grip on the ground at all. Your golf swings are likely to suffer as a result.
- Swinging at a golf ball while wearing flip flops put undue stress on your ankles. You are putting yourself at a much higher risk of sprained ankle.
So should you wear flip flops to Topgolf? Our verdict: Nah. You are better off wearing a pair of proper golf shoes.
Deep Sea Fishing
There is no regulation that says you cannot wear flip flops on a deep sea fishing trip. And if you do wear flip flops your boat captain likely won’t stop you from getting on the boat. However, it really is not a good idea to wear flip flops deep sea fishing for the following reasons:
- Protection: There will be misplaced fish hooks and fish fins on the deck of your fishing boat. Flip flops leave your feet unprotected against these sharp objects. Instead of flip flops wear something that covers your entire foot. Better yet, wear boots that protect both your feet and your calves.
- Traction: The deck of your fishing boat is going to be wet from salt water splashing up from the sea, fish slime, and fish blood. It is going to be very slippery. The rocking movement of the boat will only make it worse. What you need is footwear with a sole that can provide a good grip and good traction. Shoes with rubber outsoles would be perfect for this purpose.
- Waterproof ability: As mentioned above the deck of your fishing boat is going to be covered in fish blood, fish slime, and salt water. If you wear flip flops in such an environment your feet are going to be covered in fish blood, fish slime, and salt water as well. Don’t want that? Then you better wear something waterproof that cover up your feet.
Tip: Your best choice is a pair of deck boots that will keep your feet dry and protect you from slipping and sharp objects. At the very least wear sneakers or hiking boots that cover up your feet.
Flip flops may seem like a tempting choice of footwear for kayaking. For one thing they will not get soaked and soggy. For another they are very breathable and great at keeping your feet cool on a hot day. So what’s not to like? Well it turns out there are quite a few:
- Flip flops come off too easily: Imagine yourself walking on a rocky beach and one of your flip flops just slips off suddenly. Your foot is going to get cut and get hurt. Or what happens if your kayak capsizes and you find yourself falling into the water? In this situation your flip flops could easily slip off and sink to the bottom of the sea.
- Flip flops do not offer adequate protection: Flip flops leave most of your feet exposed to the elements and offer minimal protection against things like sharp rocks or seashells. Your feet could potentially suffer lacerations as a result.
- Flip flops do not offer insulation: For cold water kayaking, flip flops are not nearly warm enough. Your feet will get wet and cold from walking through water or the water splashing into your kayak. You would need footwear that protects your feet against the cold.
Tip: For kayaking wear a pair of paddling booties or water shoes. They are specifically designed for this purpose.
Related: What Shoes to Wear for Kayaking?