Best Hiking Sandals Reviewed & Rated
There are some benefits to packing a pair of sandals with the rest of your gear. They make a great alternative to the traditional boot, which might get sweaty and horrible especially in the hot summer weather. Fewer pressure points also mean that your feet are less likely to blister. Hiking sandals provide great ventilation, which when you’re pounding the well-worn trails will give your feet the opportunity to breathe. If you need to cross a stream or river on your backcountry trail, a good pair of sports sandals will dry quicker than most other types of footwear.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 12 hrs of research
Three-Point Hook & Loop Closure
- ECCO Yucatan
- Merrell All Out Blaze Sieve
- Teva Tirra
- Teva Hurricane XLT2
- KEEN Whisper
- KEEN Rose
- KEEN Venice II H2
- KEEN Newport H2
- Teva Verra
- Chaco ZX/3
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top 10 Hiking Sandals
1. ECCO Yucatan
Three-Point Hook & Loop Closure
ECCO is well known for their comfortable, supportive sneakers and boots, and they’ve brought that same quality to a sandal, ideal for outdoor activity. With its spunky coloring and unique closure webbing, you can have the best of ECCO’s supportive features in an airy rugged sandal. The Yucatan makes its debut on our top ten list for 2018 because of its technical features and styling.Read more
Comfort is found within the Yucatan’s PU midsole foam, and EVA footbed, giving cushioning that outlasts the morning into the evening. Stability and support are held in the RECEPTOR technology, made for dynamic movement during the gait cycle. Microfiber lines the webbing and footbed for an added plush feeling on your foot. A rubber sole provides traction for rougher outdoor terrain.
An over-the-toe strap combined with a heel and ankle closure help to keep you from slipping out of the sandal. The sandal is also lined in comfortable microfiber. The closures have several adjustment areas, designed for optimal fit and function, with an easy hook and loop closure. Nubuck uppers come in a variety of color combinations and hues so that you can step on the trail with a bit of personality.
2. Merrell All Out Blaze Sieve
Shock Absorbing Midsole
Requires Breaking In
Merrell makes the list with this sturdy, but breathable sandal. Its design may look more like a sneaker, but it’s built tough for outdoor terrain and weather and keeps the sandal vibe alive with side cut out ventilation. The All Out Blaze is a sandal for those looking for a little less bulk in their hiking footwear, but with all the protection more strenuous hikes require.Read more
The All Out Blaze is a crossover style hiker between sneaker and sandal but provides added protection when out on more rugged trails. A synthetic and textile upper gives lightweight structure and support against abrasions, but still wraps your foot in padded collar and heel to prevent any blistering. Cutouts alongside the shoe and atop the toes allow for ventilated airflow to help keep feet cool and give it that sandal feel.
The All Out Blaze has a unique lace-up elastic for speedy closure that helps pull the shoe to your foot. Vibram soles provide rugged traction across boulders and uneven terrain, and a slight toe cap curves upward for the occasional stubbing that occurs when hiking. The Unify midsole helps provide cushioned comfort, and the uppers promote some water resistance making them ideal for creek walking.
3. Teva Tirra
Hook & Loop Closure
Water Channeling Traction Lugs
Lacks Toe Protection
Looking for a sporty sandal that has firm, durable tread, but less bulk up top? The Teva Tirra was made for sports and the great outdoors in mind. Its rugged, durable sole and firmly cushioned support will keep you in action for the day, all while letting your feet enjoy the comfort of freedom. Water-resistant nylon straps help keep these placed firmly on your feet, and are easy to take on and off.Read more
Teva Tirra was made for all-terrain walking in a sandal. With a rubber sole that encompasses a nylon shank for stability, you can stride confidently on or off-road. And with its water-resistant design, it’s ideal for wading in streams or creeks and has special water-channeling lugs on the outsole for added traction. Go ahead and feel free to explore around that waterfall after a long hike!
Cushioning is found in the molded EVA midsole, providing compression spring with every step. The heel has a Shock Pad, which helps absorb impact. Synthetic and polyester webbing keep your foot firmly secured with a sporty look to them, and easy hook and loop closure.
4. Teva Hurricane XLT2
Abrasion Resistant Outsole
Three-Point Hook & Loop Closure
Noisy When Walking
Plastic Unions May Rub
Made for all types of outdoor activity, the Teva Hurricane XLT2 is the second edition in this series, and it brings some pretty welcome updates in terms of traction and comfort. With a standard polyester webbing upper that’s quick drying and adjustable in three points, this shoe is easy to put on and off, and can offer a great fit, even if you find your feet have swollen from a full day of walking.Read more
Depending on how often you go out in nature, you might find that your hiking gear takes a beating and has a lifespan that’s not exactly long. The Hurricane XLT2 is made partially out of recycled PET, making it a better choice in terms of eco-friendliness. A great plus is the fact that the outsole is made with abrasion resistant materials, giving it a longer lifespan, resulting in less footwear taking up space in landfills across the globe.
Though the straps are made with polyester and nylon, getting your feet wet makes the skin softer, thus more susceptible to blistering. Teva solves this problem with a soft heel-strap pad that doesn’t let the materials cut into the back of your foot, making these less likely to cause problems, even with longer use.
5. KEEN Whisper
Natural Odor Control
Multi-Directional Lug Pattern
Compression Molded EVA Cushioning
Quick Dry Upper
There’s a lot to like about the KEEN Whisper. It has a rubber sole that provides extra grip on the backcountry trails and bungee laces capture system that provides a secure fit for your foot. Not to mention that it is machine washable. This sandal will be a loyal companion on your hiking adventures. This is one of those standard choices that seems to work for a large number of people and provides excellent performance and great durability.Read more
A lot of thought has gone into the toe protection, where the rubber outsole wraps up and over the toes, protecting your pinkies from painful stubs and blows. KEEN is known for their protective toe cap, which can be found in several makes and models of their hiking shoes and boots.
In plain English, this means that the sandal is designed in a way that offers your foot excellent arch support. Cradling the natural contours, your feet experience comfort and support that translate to less fatigue and discomfort, even after hours of walking.
6. KEEN Rose
Leather & Textile Upper
Hook & Loop Closure
Combining style with functionality, the KEEN Rose is a great choice for those looking for a versatile summer shoe that'll do just as well for casual outings, park walks, as well as nature hikes and camping. Featuring an intricate upper design, this is the style that stands out the most in terms of look, and it comes in beautiful feminine colors that'll match great even with the more elegant outfit selections.Read more
The Rose may have an open sandal design which gives you the sense of walking barefoot, but its rugged sole and toe bumper help protect you during rougher hikes or terrain. The sole is marked with grooves for traction, and the uppers are made from leather and textile. Its sporty look may fool you to think it’s for the pool only, but take it out for a test hike to be pleasantly surprised.
Support and comfort are noted in the EVA footbed, designed to cradle the natural contours of the foot. AEGIS Microbe Shield lining helps to prevent any bacterial growth from prolonged periods of exposure to dampness. Its straps are easy hook-and-loop closure for an easy in and out fit, and the sandal is machine washable should you need to freshen them up.
7. KEEN Venice II H2
Adjustable Heel Strap
Protective Toe Bumper
Natural Odor Control
Short Velcro Straps
Perfect for both for nature treks and travel, the second edition of the KEEN Venice is a water sandal that is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a water-friendly design with all the brand’s best-loved features. Featuring a metatomical footbed design, like most of their similar styles, it is anatomically engineered to provide you with a good amount of arch support that translates to less pain and more hours spent walking and exploring.Read more
Made with a polyester webbing and mesh upper, the Venice II H2 is completely water friendly, breathable and quick to dry. You’ll be happy to hear that it’s even machine washable, which means you can easily keep this shoe fresh and clean, regardless of what you’ve put it through. Another welcome addition is the Cleansport NXT™ treatment that helps prevent odors without using harsh chemicals.
The outsole on the Venice II H2 is made out of grippy, non-marking rubber that’ll allow you to wear these wherever you wish. A protective toe bumper helps keep your toes safe, even when wading through creeks, while a fully adjustable heel strap ensures a snug and secure fit.
8. KEEN Newport H2
Multi Directional Lug Pattern
TPU Stability Shank
Protective Toe Bumper
Moisture WIcking Lining
Metatomical EVA Footbed
Requires Some Breaking In
One of the most popular products of this type, the KEEN Newport H2 is a shoe ready for adventure. Combining the breathability and lightness of a water sandal with the protective features of a hiking boot, this is one of the best choices for nature walks out there. The lacing system is similar to other KEEN styles, featuring a capture clip that allows for easy adjustment on the go.Read more
The outsole of the Newport H2 is made with rubber that features multi-directional traction lugs, giving you the best possible grip on any type of surface, both wet and dry. For added security, the rubber is razor-siped to further improve traction in wet conditions.
Though the upper is made with polyester webbing that won’t hold on to moisture and water, the lining on the Newport H2 has great benefits. On the one hand, it serves to comfort the foot, with your skin being in contact only with the soft material of the lining. On the other hand, it helps moisture evaporate more quickly, not only making these shoes comfy in wet conditions but also helping wick sweat away from the foot so that odors don’t appear as quickly as with other shoes.
9. Teva Verra
Polyester Webbing Upper
Adjustable Hook & Loop Closure
Heel Cushion Pad
Contoured EVA Footbed
The Teva Verra is both practical and feminine, boasting a simple design that’s become a recognizable staple of the brand. It’s another water-ready sandal, made with materials that dry quickly and don’t deteriorate with water use, which makes it a great choice both for nature walks, as well as for visits to the beach or pool. Despite a minimalistic upper, the sole of the Verra features a stabilizing nylon shank that protects the foot even on uneven terrain.Read more
Featuring hook and loop closures on both sections of the upper, the Teva Verra allows the wearer to adjust the fit both in the metatarsal as well as the heel area. Not only does this allow for a better fit that can be tightened or loosened as needed, but is also a welcome feature for those with foot shapes that are slightly different than the norm.
Cushioned in all the right places, the Verra not only comforts the foot while walking but also cushions it to prevent any pain after a long day of walking. The shock absorbing mechanism in the heel dissipates shock that happens during the impact phase of walking and allows for a more enjoyable wearing experience.
10. Chaco ZX/3
Water Friendly Polyester Upper
Fully Adjustable Fit
3mm Lug Depth
Tight Around Toes
The latest edition of the Chaco ZX Classic line brings a completely new outsole that is one of the brand’s best performing outsoles to date. Originally released in 1989, this is a sandal that has become a favorite among those who like to combine comfort, performance, and style, and will do just as well for casual wear as it will for nature use. The jacquard webbing upper is made out of polyester for quick drying properties, with the straps being thin enough to allow for a perfect fit.Read more
Made specifically to support the female foot, this is a footbed that’s been designed for durable cushioning. Made out of PU, it’ll perform well near water, and won’t pack as fast as similar foam materials, while remaining lightweight so that you don’t get fatigued.
Specifically designed to improve traction in wet conditions, the new outsole on the ZX/3 features 3mm lugs for excellent grip on both dry and wet surfaces. This means that these sandals will be a great pair of footwear to wear on summer outings to the beach or lake, seeing that they’ll dry fast and keep your footing steady.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Pre-enlightenment, the flip-flop was king. Low-quality was almost a pre-requisite when it came to sandals. All that changed when designers held up their tools and said: “no more!”. Companies then started to get excited and decided to design footwear that bridged the gap between shoe and sandal. Although initially perceived as an ineffective model, now they’re accepted as a wonderfully creative concept. With the advance of technology, we can now enjoy high-quality sandals that can provide the stability and cutting-edge support of a full shoe.
How sandals fasten up is key to their stability, and it is down to preference as to which ones you buy. Many of the newer, better models tend to go for either a two-strap solution or bungee lace-up system. If the sandal has a loop on the back, this isn’t some design error or a handy way of hanging your favorite sandals up above your mantle piece for all to see. It’s there to help you pull the sandal on or off, which is more useful then you’d think when you’re tired.
Research what is going on in the footbed of a sandal as this can be invaluable; this is an area where your foot can take a lot of punishment. If the sandal has some sort of shock absorbance technology built in, then this is a good thing, and good for your precious feet too.
Another aspect you may want in your next pair is a stability shank that'll not only protect your foot from the trail but will also somewhat limit the torsion of your feet, keeping you safer on uneven terrain. This is crucial for avoiding sprains and twists that could make finishing your hike excruciatingly painful. Other important features include arch support, heel lock-in as well as a secure fit across the toe area.
Comfort is probably one of the most important considerations, especially if your summer activities are going to involve long hikes. With traditional hiking boots and trail shoes, you can pretty much guarantee a level of comfort. However, with so many different designs and styles out there, you might have to think a bit more carefully, as some sandals can fall short when it comes to comfort. Many of those on our list come with microfiber lining to help wick away moisture and have padded or supported footbeds for cushion and comfort levels. Thicker soles can always give a plushier step as well.
One advantage that hiking sandals have over shoes is ventilation. This is great because your feet are ultimately going to be cooler. It also means that if your sandals get wet, it’s not such a big deal as they’ll dry out much quicker than conventional shoes.
Check over the straps on the sandals. Adjustable straps can be your best friend when you’re hiking on a long trail in the middle of nowhere, and if your feet tend to swell up. It may sound low tech, but an adjustable strap system is a great way to customize the fit to your foot. Check to see how wide the straps are and their thickness. Based on your personal preference, select wider straps for less rubbing in general, or more narrow straps if you prefer multiple straps to secure you properly.
Also important is to check how the straps are designed on the sandal. Most will cross atop the foot in some pattern and will have a heel and ankle feature to keep you in the sandal. Some models may also include a toe loop for closure around the front of the sandal, which is a great feature for those who have wider or more narrow feet than normal.
Who wants to pay a lot of money for sandals that don’t last?
While it may seem like common sense to purchase a pair of durable shoes, how can you actually test them out? Short of putting together a YouTube video where you might film yourself dropping the sandals off the side of a skyscraper to test their hardiness, or walking across the desert for the sake of science, it’s quite difficult to work out how durable your hiking shoes actually are. The more established brands such as those on our list, are generally very good – they’ve been around a long time and have put a lot of money into their design and technology.
However, even if you go with a less known manufacturer, you can get a pretty good idea of the quality of the make by looking at the following features:
Toe Bumpers – add protection and durability to your sandal
Tough Outsole – not only adds traction but helps keep the shoe intact
Quality Uppers or Straps – many synthetics, leather, and nylons in hiking gear now come with water resistance to keep your shoes going for a longer lifespan
Cushion – EVA footbeds are made to help give you cushion, but also to last over time so that cushioning doesn’t fade.
Abrasion Resistant – Some sandals have uppers designed to help prevent abrasions from tearing at the material and slowly damaging the sandal over time. Those on our list have this quality to some degree.
Replaceable Parts – Many companies that design hiking gear know that parts can break simply due to the environment they’re used in. In that regard, they’ve begun to invest in making replaceable parts so you can simply fix your sandal instead of throwing them away.
If you want to hike then you’re going to need good traction. It’s a fact of participating in outdoor activities in general. If the sandals that you’re considering for your summer activities look like they don’t have good traction, it’s definitely time for a new pair.
Traction is so important for a number of reasons. You need your sandals to be able to handle everything a trail throws at them, from mossy strewn rocks to hiking up steep rocky paths. Any experienced hiker will tell you that the weather can change in a moment’s notice, and often does. Your sandals need to be able to handle a change in climate because if the trail suddenly becomes wet, you do not want to be slipping and sliding around. Get a pair that is going to stick to the path ahead, with a decent, aggressive tread pattern and a hardwearing rubber outsole.
Having a pair of sandals in your kit bag carries considerable benefits, like open styles and better ventilation than conventional footwear. Let’s face it, who doesn’t like to feel the wind between their toes? Selecting the right model is the tricky part, and this largely depends on what you intend to do for your summer activities.
Common trade-offs like buying a lighter pair meaning reduced support, or a heavier pair packed with tech that could result in a bit more sweat, is something to think about. Toe protection is great, but what about that cool breeze between your toes that we mentioned earlier. Would you rather have them be protected, or take a risk as you catch a breeze and the Goosebumps rise on your well-ventilated toes?
There’s not any right answers, just minimum standards, and all of the sandals reviewed in this top guide excel at those.
The price of any shoe can be a deal breaker. When it comes to a specialty shoe it's even more important to look at its value. That’s part of the reason why footwear manufacturers invest time and energy into creating cost-effective technologies to incorporate into their shoes to make them durable, long-lived, versatile, and inexpensive.
Durability & Longevity
Footwear, usually, lasts more than a few months, because shoes that are going to fall apart after a few months of use aren’t worth the investment of more than a few dollars. Leather and synthetic overlays can be used to make the shoes more durable without sacrificing flexibility. Firm leather or synthetic uppers provide durability and support.
Great footwear can be used for more than one activity. Walking and running shoes, for example, can be used in some casual sports. Stylish athletic footwear could be used in informal work environments. Sandals can be used in casual and semi-formal settings. The more situations you can use the shoe in, the more value it offers for the price.
Good footwear is easy to maintain and clean. They don’t require a lot of expensive shoe treatments or time-consuming upkeep. Shoes that need a lot of effort, time and money to maintain, don’t sell as well as shoes which are easier and cost less to keep.
A hefty price tag can be a deal-breaker for people on a budget. That’s why many can be found in the low-to-middle price range. They’re affordable, and if they are priced a little higher than others, then they offer many features to make the footwear worth the extra investment.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Although many an avid hiker prefers a solid hiking boot for rugged trails and scrambles to the summit, hiking sandals are growing in popularity for their durability and open air feel for easier trails, stream wading, and beach activities.
For your next low key outdoor adventure, give hiking sandals consideration for kayaking, creek walks, gravel trails and easier well groomed trails.
While many hiking sandals use a variety of different materials, cleaning them still helps maintain their integrity for longevity. Canvas and textiles can usually be cleaned with water and either soap or baking soda, while leather is cared for with vinegar and water. Don't toss these into the washing machine as you could end up damaging straps or cords needed to hold them together.
Other Factors to Consider
Choosing the right pair of hiking sandals can be difficult. Especially when you plan on doing a lot of activities over the summer and you want to invest in a pair that will do the required business and won't let you down.
For longer walks, aim to buy a pair which invests in stability, motion control, and cushioning. Some designs have closed toe protection, which is perfect if you think your trail might involve a loose gravel or rocky terrain. The last thing you want to do is turn around and hop back to your campsite having stubbed your foot! That’s not to say that an open toe design doesn’t have its benefits. They’re lighter for a start and unsurpassed when it comes to a well-ventilated experience, keeping your feet cool and comfortable.
While flip-flops are a less-recommended choice, they are perfect for the beach, pool activities, and less strenuous activities.
One thing all hiking sandals should have in common is outsole traction. Check before you buy that the outsole is suitable for the type of activity you want to participate in. Waterproofing is something you might also want to pay attention to. However, because of their open design, sandals will generally dry out quicker then most shoes anyway.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What to wear with sandals?
In all honesty, there is no hard and fast rule. It depends on what you’re using them for. They seem to go well in most environments, paired with shorts downtown, or your swimsuit on the beach. Hiking sandals are starting to gain popularity as a fashion accessory; a quick Google search will reveal it’s not uncommon to see sandals on the catwalk.
q: Who makes the best model for hiking?
This is a difficult question to answer because it all depends on what you want to do with your sandals.
– If simplicity is your thing, you may prefer minimalist coverage or less protection.
– If you like your sandals loud and proud with all the functionality of a trail shoe, then go with a KEEN or Merrell sandal. They’ll do pretty much anything a hiking shoe can do but with far better ventilation.
– If you like getting wet, then select a sandal that has nylon straps, or is water repellant to some degree. Most on our list have this feature.
q: How should my sandals fit?
The noble sandal is one of the oldest styles of footwear, worn by the highest of royalty to the lowliest of peasants throughout the ages. Thousands of years later, we still struggle with how a sandal should fit. This is because unlike a shoe that covers the whole foot, sandals have an openness about their design. With hiking sandals, it’s especially important that you get the fit right.
When you’re picking out your sandal, make sure that the sole is a little bit bigger than your foot. You want a sandal that has the room for your foot to conform to it properly. Some sandals are too narrow in this respect, so you need to do your research for what’s best for your foot. The sandal that you buy needs to be comfortable and protect your feet as well.
If you like hiking sandals with a strap system, then you can customize these to fit the shape of your foot. You don’t want your feet sliding around on the trail, so do them up firmly. Also, be aware that throughout the day your feet may swell, which may mean a readjustment to avoid discomfort.
q: What are the best models for wide feet?
This is where brands like Merrell and Keen have dominated the market over the years in terms of wide toe boxes. However, note that most sandals will have open toe cages, so it may simply depend on which strap structure best suits your unique foot width.
KEEN and Merrell offer wide width sandals that feature cutting-edge technology, comfort, and quality across their whole range. What’s nice about these sandals on our list, is that they’re trail shoes, designed across lighter to heavy hiking activity, with the exception that they have a unique open design to keep your feet from sweating.
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