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Apparel Review

Flip-Flopping Perceptions with the Simms EbbTide Sandals (continued)

The EbbTide does feel more solid than many other sandals and the extra weight of the reinforced midsoles seemed like a worthy tradeoff for the extra comfort. The first time that I put the EbbTide sandals on I felt they were extremely comfortable and did a great isolating my foot in place when making fast movements on deck. While I personally found these flip slops very comfy that may not be the case for everyone as someone with a wider foot may feel that the molded insole is too narrow. Footwear is a very personal piece of kit so comfort really depends on your individual preferences, but suffice to say if the EbbTide fits they do provide more support than your average flip flop.

I was surprised how well the Sandals held up when navigating sharp lava rocks but remember sandals offer no ankle or toe protection so you need to tread carefully

There was little that the deck of my carpeted bass boat or our fiberglass Boston Whaler was going to do to the bottom of these sandals but rocky beaches and lava fields of Hawaii would pose a much greater challenge. Walking on these surfaces I was once again impressed by how much support these sandals provided compared to everyday flip flops, but make no mistake, unlike some other water shoes these sandals have limits and will do little to protect your ankle when navigating uneven terrain. I learned this the hard way when I stepped off a lava rock outcropping and the side of my foot scraped the razor sharp surface of an adjacent lava rock. Suffice to say I had to hobble back to the beach and apply two bandages and Neosporin.

The EbbTide soles didn't get torn up at all after constant contact with rocky surfaces

When it came to stability the EbbTide delivered a surprisingly good amount of grip on wet rocks and I could walk on anything that wasn’t covered in slimy vegetation with ease. For beach fishing I found the EbbTide easier to use than my Keen sandals which quickly filled up with small rocks or sand. Cleaning out the EbbTide was as quick and easy as kicking them off onto the beach.

These sandals were great fro fishing in warm water conditions

Durability: I was sure that after nine days on the Big Island the soles of the EbbTide would be absolutely destroyed by all the lava rock but I couldn’t have been more wrong. The side of the midsoles was chewed up a bit by contact and sheer abrasion but the rubber outsoles held up amazingly well. There were a few small marks but there were no cuts or breaks in the soles at all. The EbbTide took everything that the island could throw at it over the course of exploring the coastline, fishing and even hiking in Volcanoes National Park and was ready for another tour of duty.

Even on sandy beaches the soles pick up little to no debris

Price & Applications: Unlike other shoes the EbbTide also performs well in wet conditions and dries very quickly. They also performed better in rocky conditions than I expected, but as mentioned earlier there are limits and if you are hiking long distances or need extra stability on uneven surfaces a more robust shoe would be preferred, one that has additional straps for security and protection for your toes. The EbbTide packs flat and is a great second pair of shoes when travelling to fish. Retailing for $49.95 these sandals are definitely considered premium and should be compared to other sandals from Under Armor or even the EVAIR sandals from Shimano, which does offer more toe protection. The EbbTide sandals are basically refined versions of an original formula and if you enjoy fishing in sandals and are looking for a souped up version the EbbTide is worth the money. For those looking for a sandal with an even higher grade of materials the company recently introduced the Guide Flip which features a similar sole and midsole design but with waterproof full grain leather upper and footbed. The Guide Flip will retail for $79.95.

Ratings: (We've re-calibrated our ratings standard for 2008 and have included a key at the bottom of the following matrix as a guide)

Simms EbbTide Flip Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality This is not your average drugstore bought sandal, the EbbTide has an excellent construction that makes use of quality materials throughout. Though there is no leather here these sandals still have a premium look and feel 8.5
Performance The EbbTide delivered in all the key areas including providing traction over rough and wet surfaces as well as a surprising level of durability 8.5
Price At 49.95 the EbbTide is certainly more expensive than your run of the mill sandals and they should be compared to higher end offerings like those from Under Armor, Nike etc. Simms also has an even higher end leather version coming out but I think for most anglers the EbbTide is going to be the sweet spot 7
Features How many features can a pair of sandals really have? Turns out quite a few. The Simms EbbTide delivers a durable construction, ergonomic shaped upper layer and the EVA midsole provides a lot more structure than I expected. The fact that these sandals dry so quickly make them a great choice for fishing in warm yet wet conditions 8
Design (Ergonomics) I found these sandals very comfortable but that doesn't mean they will be comfortable for everyone. They do seem to fit those with narrower feet since the ergonomic layout brings the edges up on the sides. As long as they fit they will deliver a solid foundation for fishing on a boat or the shore 8
Application The EbbTide is great for anglers looking for a minimal approach and like other sandals this pair of flip-flops is best in warm conditions as they provide no protection from the cold. If you are doing anything more than light shore fishing, for example hiking from spot to spot over rough terrain a shoe that offers some ankle and toe protection is your best bet. If your fishing off the beach or on the deck of a boat the EbbTide is a great choice, just remember to put sunblock on 8

Total Score

Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
For More Details of the updated rating system visit our explanation here

Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

+ Solid construction and quality materials used throughout - Heavier than your everyday run of the mill sandals, but much more robust
+ Durable and the rubber insole can take plenty of abuse from various surfaces (including lava rock) - Doesn't provide any ankle or toe protection
+ As long as your foot fits the width the sandals provide plenty of comfort  
+ Stylish enough to wear even when your not fishing  
+ Reasonably priced for the quality design and construction  


Another quality product from Simms. I never knew there was so much to say about something as simple as a sandal but Simms has changed my perception of what a flip-flop can be


Conclusion: How much did I enjoy fishing in the EbbTide sandals over the last few months and on the Big Island? Even with all the sunblock I applied I’ve got pretty distinct tan lines where the Simms EbbTide strap covered my feet. I never thought I’d enjoy fishing in sandals so much but the combination of the right pair and the right application quickly changed my perception of just what a pair of sandals can, and should be. Like other Simms products the EbbTide is stylish and functional but the most important thing is whether or not they are comfortable? For me the answer was a resounding yes, but like all other shoes each person needs to find something that they personally feel comfortable in. I liked the sandals so much that I ordered another pair just to walk around in and the other guys are already sick of hearing the flip-flop sound of me walking around the lab with them, but you know the saying… if the shoe fits, wear it. 


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