Step in Style With the 7 Best Hiking Sandals

When you’re ready to hit the trails in warmer weather, only the best hiking sandals will do.

I’ve worn my Keen hiking boots in national parks across the country. They supported me up mountains and through the woods, and slept under countless starry skies.

But my feet get hot. We’re talking sweaty, stinky, and just plain gross. This summer, I thought it might be time to look into hiking sandals to cool my feet, let me stomp through rivers, and keep me well-supported.

We compared the top brands out there to find the best hiking sandals to keep me hiking all summer. If you’re in the market for a new pair of hiking sandals, then look no further.

Comparison Table

How to Pick the Best Hiking Sandals for your Trek

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During the past decade, hiking sandals have seen a surge in popularity. As more Americans are hitting the trails each year, they are demanding quality footwear to keep their feet well-supported. The best hiking sandals stand up to any outdoor element you may face.

Though you may own half-dozen pairs of flip flops and sandals, hiking sandals resemble your favorite hiking boots, allowing you to hike in all terrains.

There are several qualities to look for when deciding the best hiking sandals for your free spirit. Here’s a quick guide to get you started.

Safety first

When choosing the best hiking sandals, keep in mind where and how you intend to use them. Will you be hiking cross country or scrambling up mountains? Are you heading out on the AT for six months or more of a weekend warrior?

Look for attributes that will protect your feet depending on your trek.

Arch support

For longer treks, arch support is crucial. Look for hiking sandals that contour to your foot.

Many people don’t realize that men and women have a significant difference in their feet. Manufacturers design their sandals for men; then they market sandals to women that have a wider forefoot and a narrower heel.

Buying sandals marketed to your gender means the arch will give you better support.

Open or closed-toe

You should consider whether you have to worry about bashing your toes, encountering snakes, or facing other potential hazards. We suggest open-toe hiking sandals only if you plan to stay away from hiking on trails with debris that might injure your toes.

Consider the sole

A sturdy sole is the foundation of all the best hiking sandals. Traditional sandals have a flimsy or weak sole. Hiking sandals should be designed to hold up in any element.

Durability

You want to be sure your hiking sandals have thick soles so that you don’t feel every stick and pebble on the trail.

From rock and tree roots to other debris, you expose even the best hiking sandals to extreme amounts of stress. Look for soles made with a durable material such as rubber, leather, or ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA).

Traction

Traction is key to keeping you steady on your feet. You may encounter slippery rocks, loose scree, or muddy hilltops. Look for hiking sandals that will retain their traction in wet or muddy conditions.

Shock resistance

If you plan to go on longer treks, look for sandals with excellent shock resistance. The best hiking sandals for shock resistance have a sole made of EVA or a foam midsole to cushion your steps on rough terrain.

It’s all in the straps

Having multiple adjustable straps on your sandals comes in handy when hiking. The best hiking sandals allow you to easily adjust the fit of the shoe, even while on the middle of the trail.

If your feet are feeling tired, swollen, or uncomfortable, you can take the pressure off any achy point to finish your trek comfortably and minimize blisters.

Plus, you can slip a pair of socks in under those straps if you hit an unexpected cold snap.

Water resistance

If you plan on stomping through rivers, hiking along the beach, or bringing along your kayak, then the best hiking sandals for you are water-resistant. You’ll want something that holds up longer in wet conditions and dries faster for your comfort.

Check the soles to make sure there are no places for water to get in and become moldy. Look for straps made with water-resistant or hydrophobic materials.

When Can I Wear Hiking Sandals?

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The answer is anytime. If you invest in the best hiking sandals, they can hold up to any element and last you a long time.

You should consider, however, where you will be wearing your sandals. Different environments call for different styles of sandals.

Mountains

Mountain trekking can be arduous and hard on your feet. Go for sandals that have a thick sole and more support. We recommend closed-toed shoes for the serious mountain trekker.

Beach

The beach is terrific for feeling the sand between your toes and walking through the water. However, you don’t want to experience the pain of scorching sand, sharp rocks, or an unexpected bit of debris underwater. Beach sandals are lightweight, durable, and water-resistant. They also have excellent traction for the trek down to the beach and back.

Water

Water sandals are relatively new. They are a versatile style, meant to be worn in water but also durable enough to handle the trail. Water sandals have a flexible rubber sole to help you keep your grip while walking in water. They also have a body made of quick-drying mesh to keep your feet from getting soggy.

How We Reviewed the Best Hiking Sandals

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We know how hard you work for your money. Investing in a pair of quality hiking sandals isn’t exactly a cheap purchase. You want to make sure you get the best hiking sandals out there for your hard-earned dollar.

I’ve been an avid hiker for two decades. I’ve gone through my fair share of hiking sandals. I know what features I look for in a quality pair of shoes. From Teva to Chaco, I’ve tried all the brands.

My husband and I might not agree on which brands we prefer, but we agree on what attributes are most important in the best hiking sandals: durability, support, traction, and value.

After reading countless blogs and reviewing lists this year, we choose the sandals that matched our criteria. Then we turned to customer reviews and ratings to see which models they chose as the best hiking sandals.

We narrowed the list down to the best hiking sandals for women, the best hiking sandals for men, and the best hiking sandals for kids and youth.

The Best Hiking Sandals for Women

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Of all the women’s hiking shoes available, we’ve narrowed our list of the best hiking shoes for women down to the top three.

KEEN, Chaco, and Teva are all quality brands, making excellent shoes for all things outdoors. If you’re brand-specific or open to options, you’re sure to find something for you.

KEEN Women's Whisper Sandal


These are perhaps the lightest sandals on the list, keeping your legs from feeling fatigued on the trail and perfect for well-maintained trails and shorter hikes. The Whisper features a durable sole that grips well on loose pavement and a rubber toe guard to protect you on the trail.

These sandals dry quickly, and your feet won’t slip around inside when they get wet. Instead of adjustable straps, these sandals have a drawstring system for quick adjustments.

An overall complaint with KEEN is their inconsistent sizing. Many blogs and customers’ reviews noted that they had to buy sandals half a size up to fit their feet.

In general, Amazon customers are satisfied with these lightweight sandals, giving them a 4.5 out of 5-star rating.

Quality

Usability

Support

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Chaco Women's Z/Cloud Sport Sandal


Chaco has been known for making quality footwear for outdoor enthusiasts since 1989. All Chaco sandals are made with their custom adjustable strap system and contoured arches. They even offer wide widths.

Chaco sandals have a patented ChacoGrip rubber outsole, which is non-marking and designed for optimized traction in even the worst conditions. They are also lightweight and dry quickly.

The Z/Cloud stands apart from the rest of the line because of an ultra-soft layer of PU added to the durable midsole, giving you a super comfortable footbed.

Thousands of Amazon customers have rated this product, giving it a 4.5 out of 5-star rating.

However, some have noted that the strap system can take a while to break in or be comfortable. So, unfortunately, some people are prone to blisters in the early days of ownership.

Quality

Usability

Support

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Teva Women's Verra Sandal


The Teva Verra is a lighter, slimmed-down cousin of the Teva Tirra. This model is appreciated for its simple design, comfort, and ease with which you can tuck in into your pack on the go.

Teva offers a durable sandal with quality arch support and quick-dry materials. They are designed to be comfortable for all-day wear.

Amazon customers were impressed with how easy the straps mold to your foot, providing instant security. They gave these sandals a 4.4 out of 5-star rating, noting that these sandals require less time to break in than others.

The downside to these sandals is that they aren’t built for rugged terrain. These sandals are more like a replacement for your tennis shoes, though they would also be useful to wear around the campsite after you’ve taken off your hiking boots for the day.

Quality

Usability

Support

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The Best Hiking Sandals for Men

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Once again, we’ve narrowed the list of the best hiking sandals for men down to the top three. Just like before, they're the top three names in the industry, leading the way.

From closed-toed to the comfort of a cloud, you’re sure to find the right sandals for wider feet.

KEEN Men's Newport H2 Sandal


The KEEN Newport H2 is perhaps the most robust, earning them a spot on the list of the best hiking sandals for men. These sandals have a generous rubber toe cap that completely covers the front of your foot for full protection.

The sole is durable with a comfortable footbed, meaning it offers traction in any environment while keeping you comfortable even on long hikes.

The bungee system allows you to quickly and easily adjust the sandals to fit your foot, with or without socks. Plus, the breathable mesh lining means that these sandals allow your feet to breathe and dry quickly.

Most Amazon customers loved these sandals, giving them a 4.3 out of 5-star rating.

However, quite a few complaints say the stitching fell apart much more quickly than anticipated. People also said that the sizing isn’t accurate, so you have to buy a half to a full size different from your normal shoe size.

Quality

Usability

Support

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Chaco Men's Z/Cloud 2 Sport Sandal


For many of the same reasons we loved the Z/Cloud for women, we place the Z/Cloud for men on the list of the best hiking sandals.

These sandals have a thick, durable sole with Chaco’s patented tread, so you get the support you need on even the roughest of terrains. The adjustable strap system allows you to adjust the straps across your foot for a one-of-a-kind fit.

The cloud-cushioning in the midsole provides shock resistance on the trail, taking the pressure off your ankles and knees. These are great sandals for people with wide feet.

Amazon customers gave the Z/Cloud for men a 4.3 out of 5-star rating. Again, the biggest concern is about the straps. They don’t break-in quickly, often causing blisters in the process.

Quality

Usability

Support

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Teva Men's Katavi Outdoor Sandal


Hiking sandals aren’t known for being particularly stylish; however, Teva Katavi Outdoor sandals for men are smart, well-made, and durable.

These sandals are lightweight and comfortable when walking long distances. They provide excellent arch support and a sturdy sole. These also guarantee traction on the trails. The well-cushioned adjustable straps mean you get all-around comfort.

Amazon customers gave these sandals a 4.2 out of 5-star rating. These sandals are not meant for people with wide feet. They are too narrow at the arch, causing a lot of uncomfortable rubbing. Others have noted that the straps are prone to tearing off too quickly.

Quality

Usability

Support

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The Best Hiking Sandals for Kids

We don’t want to forget the little ones. So many long-lasting family memories form on the trails or around the campfire. Here’s our choice for the best hiking sandals for kids to get them off the couch and into the great outdoors.

Teva Y Tirra Sport Sandal


These are by far the best hiking sandals for kids! Kids grow quickly, and you often have to buy new shoes before the old ones wear out. Teva offers this model for little kids and bigger kids. The adjustable straps on these sandals let them grow with your kids, giving them the right fit as they grow.

You get all the quality you expect from a name like Teva, but jam-packed into a smaller size. The hook-and-loop closure lets kids practice independence, taking their shoes off and on quickly. The rubber outsole provides plenty of traction for all surfaces.

Amazon customers agreed that these are the best kids sandals out there, giving them a 4.6 out of 5-star rating. Parents liked the style of the shoe, which can be dressed up or down, limiting the number of fights to get your child to put their shoes on. They also liked the durability of the sandal, claiming they stand up to even the roughest of rough-housing.

Quality

Usability

Support

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Get Out There and Hike!

​​​​Choosing the best hiking sandals comes down to how you engage with the great outdoors. Find the qualities you're looking for in a sandal, then make your choice.

Personally, I love my Chaco Zcloud sandals. I have had many different sandals over the past two decades, but these are the ones I keep coming back to. I bought them with my Peace Corps discount when I enlisted eight years ago, and they’re still holding up.

My husband, on the other hand, swears by his Tevas. He says they are the best hiking sandals he’s ever owned and won’t try anything else.

Whichever sandals you choose, we hope you enjoy reconnecting with nature and creating memories with your family.

What do you think are the best hiking sandals? Did we leave something off our list? Let us know in the comments below which sandals you like to hit the trail with.

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