Sanuk, footwear makers who put a smile on our faces, rocked our offices with some of their Highline Primo flips this spring. Emblazoned with little smileys that can’t help but make you do the same, the Highlines proved to be early favorites for the crown of best flip for summer ’12.

The first thing you notice with the Highlines is the ultra soft, high rebound compression of the footbed. It’s like walking on a cushion everywhere you go. And while some company’s cushioned footbeds stick to your foot or feel like they’re soaking up sweat and nastiness, the Highlines never seem to get sticky/grabby, slick, or ever put a foot wrong.

The molded EVA “Footprint” footbed looks like your foot does, with cute cutouts for toes ad whatnot. But it’s the raised smiley blocks you walk on that set the Highline apart for me—they let some air in while not making it feel like you’re walking on a rubbery pin-cushion, unlike some adidas slides I had years ago.

The flips’ bottom looks much like the top, and the tread is a new premium “Footprint Tread” molded rubber outsole that I never noticed getting slick underfoot when wet. Top all this smiling, foot-shaped goodness with a premium leather strap and soft jersey liner and you have some great flip-flops.

Now for the not-so-smiling part: the Highline Primos command a primo price, too, at $65. Take the premium leather out of the strap and you’re down to a still considerable $54, which puts them smack in the middle of “premium” flip-flop competition. However, for the smiles-per-mile the Highlines generated, I would put these Sanuks at the top of your premium flip-flop wish list this summer.