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If you were anywhere between the ages of 12 to 35 at any time in the 1990s, there’s a decent chance you had a pair of sandals from Reef on your feet for much of the summer. And if you lived near a beach and were the least bit concerned with being cool and comfortable, I’ll upgrade that chance from “decent” to “near certain.” Reef has actually been around since the mid-80s, but the company hit its stride around the same time “Cotton Eye Joe” and “Gangsta’s Paradise” were lighting up the airwaves and Dumb and Dumber and Waterworld were killing it at the box office. (Well, not Waterworld, actually, if we factor in production costs.)
For the first decade that Reef was making footwear, they were all about comfortable, durable, and stylish enough sandals suitable for beach or town. The company first introduced a closed-toed shoe all the way back in 1996, but the style remained sandal-centric—and male-centric, by the way.
It was not until 1999 that Reef released any footwear for women. In 2005, Reef added a sandal with a bottle opener built into the bottom because, of course, that needed to be a thing.
In the later 2000s and early 2010s, Reef began incorporating much more eco-friendly and sustainable materials and practices into their products. The company was soon offering more kids’ footwear and was also partnering with all sorts of great organizations, like the Surfrider Better Beach Alliance and PFLAG, for example. In other words, Reef was getting all grown up. And now, here in 2023, they have more than arrived at that status. Because while you can still find a lot of superb sandals at Reef, today, thinking of this company as a sandal brand sells them way too short.
Today, Reef offers sandals, slippers, shoes, boots, and more. The sandals come in all different types, from classic leather thongs to slides to flipflops lined with fake turf grass (see below!). Its women’s line is fully developed, including shoes, clogs, casual flipflops, stylish sandals, and more.
The one thing that ties all the many types of Reef footwear offered today together? They’re all super comfortable, from shoes that look great under khakis or a casual suit to the most laidback thongs you can picture, they all feel great down there on your feet.