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When Ventolation sent us a pair of flip-flops to review, I have to say I approached them with a bit of skepticism. Their slogan is, “Soles with Holes.” We wanted to put them to the test over a long break-in period, the way any shoe ought to be tested.

Let’s be honest, it’s hard to be innovative with flip-flops. For one, they date nearly as far back as the pyramids and the ancient Egyptians to roughly 1,500 BC. According to Wikipedia, the modern flip-flop is a version of the Japanese zori which was popularized in the West on the heels of World War II.

I wore a pair of Ventolation’s Bali sandals for a few weeks after they arrived on my doorstep. The sandals are constructed of an EVA/rubber compound that I found both comfortable and durable, and from the word “go” my feet have been blister- and pain-free. They are simple in design, casual, but versatile enough to sneak into a decent restaurant without getting in trouble.

The “innovation” comes in the form of a perforated foot bed and sole that allows the bottom of your foot to breathe and water and sand to pass out of the footbed. Personally, I haven’t ever found sweaty feet, sand, or water to be an issue in a shoe that has a completely open sole like flip-flops, but when you do, these sandals are easy enough to purge of foreign particles.

After I spent some time walking around town, in the water, and on the beach with these, I did notice how well they shed water and sand. They also dried out faster after walking through the water, which was nice, and maybe the most noticeable difference between these shoes and a traditionally soled flip-flop.

Would I recommend them? Yes, but with a caveat: I fully endorse keeping a pair or two of flip-flops on your boat, but I can’t recommend them, or any flip-flop for that matter, as boat shoes, per se.

However, once you are tied up at the dock and you want to go for a stroll, either into town or along the sand, these are a great go-to sandal. They are supportive and the molded compound make them feel simple yet durable. They come in multiple styles for men, women, and children. I highly recommend them to have on board for kick-around-town shoes.