Sandals are not the first choice of footwear that probably comes to mind when you think about hiking, but sandals that are built specifically for hiking, have their benefits and are a great addition to your gear closet. Use them during warm weather on gentle well-worn trails and especially in tropical climates. Additionally, if you’re planning a multi-day backpacking trip, a pair of hiking sandals are great alternative to heavy boots on easy days or when your feet just need to breathe. So, what are the best hiking sandals for you?
One of our big goals here at The Adventure Junkies is to make your life easier when it comes to gearing up for hiking. In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to choose hiking sandals and show you our selection of some of the best models of the year.
THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FIND THE BEST HIKING SANDALS
HIKING SANDALS 101
5 THINGS TO CONSIDER TO FIND THE BEST HIKING SANDALS
1. ARCH SUPPORT AND CUSHIONING
Unlike cheap flip-flops or fancy dress sandals, hiking sandals are designed with great arch support similar to what you might find in your hiking boots. Arch support will provide the comfort and protection you need on the trails.
It’s important to know that hiking sandals aren’t for tough technical mountain climbs. You’ll want a hiking boot with good ankle support and tread for that.
2. TOE PROTECTION
If you plan to hike in sandals you’ll probably want a pair with some sort of toe protection depending on the type of trails you will be hiking. Many trails have sticks, rocks, roots, and other objects on the trail that can injury your foot and toes if they’re exposed to the elements.
Most serious hiking sandals are designed with toe protection. However, if you’re just hiking around on the beach or paved bicycle trails in the woods, you can get away with open-toed designs.
Just like hiking boots, you will want a pair of hiking sandals with a sturdy tread. Most hiking boots and sandals are constructed with a Vibram sole, which provides excellent grip even in wet conditions.
Fit is one of the most important factors when purchasing any footwear. You want a comfortable pair of sandals. Often times while hiking your feet tend to swell so adjustable straps can be a lifesaver. Adjustable straps can also provide more room as the temperatures start to drop because you can wear a pair of socks under your sandals.
5. TYPE OF HIKING
Hiking sandals come in various design elements so These sandals aren’t made to be worn with a heavy backpack as it can place unnecessary pressure on your joints and could damage your feet. They are great for mild or tropical climates on easy trails, with a small day backpack or around the campsite.
Photo by istockphoto.com/portfolio/richardmclarke
HIKING SANDAL REVIEWS
1. BEST ALL AROUND HIKING SANDALS
KEEN ARROYO 2
WOMEN’S VERSION: Keen Women’s Arroyo II
TOE: Patented rubber toe cap
FEATURES: One-pill drawcord laces, nylon mesh linings, removable dual-density EVA footbed, nonmarking carbon outsoles with deep lugs
PROS: Grippy tread – great for hiking
CONS: Laces wear out quickly
WOMEN’S VERSION: Teva Women’s Omnium
TOE: Closed toe
FEATURES: Rubber sole, bungee lacing system with quick-release buckle, integrated toe protection, encapsulated shock-absorbing ShocPad heel
PROS: Adjustable ankle strap and comfortable
CONS: Doesn’t have good arch support
2. BEST AFFORDABLE HIKING SANDALS
KEEN NEWPORT H2
WOMEN’S VERSION: KEEN Women’s Newport H2
TOE: Closed-toe guard
FEATURES: Single-pull lace nylon webbing/neoprene upper, EBA midsole with antimicrobial footbed, non-marking carbon-rubber outsoles
PROS: Great arch support and comfort
CONS: Stitching on some of the models wear quickly
AHNU KOVAR SPORT
WOMEN’S VERSION: Ahnu Women’s Tilden V Sport (https://www.amazon.com/Ahnu-Womens-Tilden-Sandal-Regatta/dp/B00ZUY98MW/)
TOE: Closed toe
FEATURES: Mesh upper with webbed straps, EVA foam midsole, Numentum Traverse Opened Toe Technology
PROS: Adjustable buckle strap system for a more custom fit
CONS: Heavier than other models
3. BEST OPEN TOE HIKING SANDALS
CHACO Z/2 UNAWEEP
WOMEN’S VERSION: Chaco Women’s ZX2 Vibram Yampa Unaweep
FEATURES: Infinitely adjustable polyester strapping system, lightweight polyurethane midsole, BioCentric footbed, Vibram outsoles
PROS: Excellent arch support and pronation control
CONS: Open toes leave toes exposed
TEVA TERRA FI 4
WOMEN’S VERSION: Teva Women’s Terra Fi Lite Sandal
FEATURES: Three-point adjustment straps, Spider Original rubber sole, Molded polyurethane midsole with Microban zinc-based antimicrobial treatment, Shoc Pads heels
PROS: Adjustable fit and long lasting
CONS: Open toes leave toes exposed and not the best fit for big feet
4. BEST HIKING SANDALS FOR WOMEN
TOE: Closed toe
FEATURES: Bungee lace capture system, Hydrophobic mesh lining, Metatomical footbed design
PROS: Lightweight and comfortable
CONS: Arch support is limited
MERRELL ALL OUT BLAZE SIEVE WATER SHOE
FEATURES: Vibram outsole with 3 mm lug depth, Unifly Midsole, Lycra neoprene stretch collar
PROS: Great for light hiking in wet climates
CONS: Designed more of a shoe than a sandal