SHOES & BOOTS

Best Walking Sandals: Let Your Feet Breathe Happy in Nature

Daniel Carraway
Written by Daniel Carraway

Not all hikers put on thick socks and chunky boots. Emerging is a group of individuals that enjoy hiking and walking in comfortable, breathable sandals. Of course you don’t want to throw on a pair of flip flops and attempt to climb a mountain. But what is the best  walking sandals and how do you find them?

Before starting to shop, it’s good to plan ahead to where you will be walking. Will the terrain be rough or smooth, flat or uphill? Is there a chance you will be stepping through puddles, or getting knee deep in water?

Will you stay on the path, or venture out onto unsettled wilderness? Once you narrow down your main route, then you will be able to look for specific features that your sandals need to provide.

Features to Consider

Finding a pair of walking sandals that is comfortable is important, as you’re going to be wearing them for a while. Sandals aren’t known for providing a lot of support for feet, but with the quality pairs recommended in this article, you’ll soon learn that that’s not true.

Hiking sandals features

Here are some of the important features you should keep in mind when you’re looking for great sandals made by companies that care about your feet.

  • Comfort: Since you are purchasing sandals, it will be difficult to use inserts. If you are susceptible to foot pain, then looking for comfort is a top priority. Arch support and a thick cushion will make a huge difference the day after a long hike.
    Most companies will show 3D photos of the sandals and will describe what support it offers. Lean towards a thicker looking sandal, and stay away from ones that look thin. Look for keywords like Shock absorbing and impact absorbing to get an idea of how they will handle.
  • Tread Grip: Tread is referring to the bottom of the sandal. Think of the tires on your car: when they are bald you are susceptible to slipping on smooth and wet surfaces.
    The same can be applied to shoes that have flat bottoms. If you are walking on anything but concrete, this will be an issue. Some sandals will have specialized rubber tread that better grips slippery surfaces.
    If you will be walking near water this is something to consider. You can easily see the tread levels from photos, and can choose accordingly to your planned route of walking. Also have in mind that if the tread has wide ridges then you could be stopping to pluck out rogue pebbles and stones every few feet.
  • Fit and Security: Sandals for walking should have straps to keep your foot in place, but depending on your level of walking or hiking you may need extra support. It’s difficult to see just from photos, so you will have to rely on reviews of the product to see if anyone is having trouble with their foot not feeling secure and slipping around.
    Most sandals will come with an adjustable hook and loop strap. Multiple points of adjustment are good, giving you a more personalized fit.
    This will also apply to anyone who will be doing elevated walking and hiking. Keeping your foot secure helps to ensure you won’t slip out of your shoe and have an injury. A secure fit will also keep your foot from rubbing too much against the straps which makes for an unpleasant hike.
  • Weather Resistant: If there is a chance you will be walking through mud, puddles or in the rain then you will benefit from a sandal that is water resistant. This will keep them from fading, dulling and potentially becoming defective.
    Also weather resistant sandals will dry quicker if they become wet, and are easy to clean debris off.
  • Style: Hiking sandals are becoming increasingly popular, and with that comes new looks and styles. While some won’t care what the style is, others will base most of their decision on what the shoe looks like.
  • This isn’t a bad thing, as long as you do the research to make sure that you aren’t sacrificing most of your needs for something that is pleasing to the eye. At the end of the day, would you rather have a nice looking shoe that hurts your feet or a decent looking shoe that is comfortable and easy to walk in?
  • Level of Protection: As stated, walking sandals come in multiple styles, from open toed to a caged toe. This is important to consider when determining if you will walk or hike.
    An open-toed sandal is where your toes are not closed in by any material. A caged sandal is one that offers protection by covering most of your toes with material, but still allows open slits or a design so that air can flow through.
TypeProCon
OpenToes are free to moveOpen to debris and stubbing
CagedCovered for protectionRemoving shoe to take out pebbles

If you will be doing easy walks, through parks, on paved paths then an open toe is fine. If you will be walking on an unpaved path, through higher grasses or rough an uneven terrain then it would be wise to have a more caged sandal to protect your toes from any debris or potential stubbing that could harm them.

There are so many available styles that offer different levels of features. It is up to the consumer to narrow down what is important to their needs and then match that to a hiking sandal. Now that you have taken time to see some features that are potentially important, let’s take a look at some of the options that are available.

The Top Reviews for Men’s Walking Sandals

Now that you’re aware of the various features that make a great walking sandal, here are some of the top rated products on the market.

Keen Men’s Newport Sandal

Keen Men’s Newport Sandal

Weight: 15 Oz.

Dimensions: 13 x 9 x 6 inches.

Design Features: Leather; Pull-on sport sandal featuring double needle stitching; Quick-draw bungee lacing system; Patented toe guard; Non-marking rubber outsole AEGIS Microbe Shield treatment; Heel measures 1.25”; Platform measures 0.75”.

Best Use: Walking or hiking outdoors in all elements.

Description: Labeled as the “Essential Hybrid Sandal”, the Keen Newport Sandal is eye catching and has loads of great features. Made from washable and weatherproof Nubuck Leather, these sandals are easy to spray and wipe clean.

It has a secure fit lace capture system that you easily adjust to fit your foot to ensure a great no slip fit. The cushion inside is made to conform to your foot shape, giving this a one of a kind perfect fit.

The multi-directional lug pattern and razor siping allows you to easily hike from rough paths to slippery wet terrain with ease. They’re fitted with TPU stability which will help you keep your balance on uneven terrain.

These sandals offer an excellent level of protection for your foot during outdoor walking. The patented toe guard gives your toes an extra level of protection from debris and stubbing. This hiking sandal also comes in five different neutral colors. Making it easy to transition from hiking to daily wear.

Teva Men’s Toachi 2 Sandal

Teva Men’s Toachi 2 Sandal

Weight: 12 Oz.

Dimensions: 13 x 9 x 4 inches.

Design Features: Made from Synthetic leather; Abrasion-resistant; Rubber tread soles; non-slip spider rubber outsole; Universal strapping system; Shock-absorbing ShocPad heel; zinc-based odor-resistant treatment; Heel measures 1.5”.

Best Use: Great for everyday wear. Comfortable for indoor walking and some mild terrain outdoor hiking.

Description: At first glance, the Teva Men’s Toachi 2 Sandal looks like a dream to walk in. An open-toed design and contoured fitting ensure that you will feel optimum comfort during your walk. Made from synthetic abrasion-resistant leather, you can hike outdoors without worrying about damage and scuffs.

These sandals have a Drain Frame T-technology to allow water to drain out faster. This featured midsole encourages water to evaporate for quick drying while you are on the move.

The inside sole has a shock-absorbing ShocPad heel that comforts and fits to your foot, giving you all day comfort on any level terrain. The inner sole has been treated with a zinc-based odor-resistant treatment to keep your sandals smelling fresh.

The sandals have a medium tread and TPU stability, making it great for most indoor/outdoor surfaces. However, there is no clear statement about them having good traction on wet and slippery surfaces.

The Toachi 2 sandals have a narrow fit and come in three great neutral colors. They are easy to slip on or off with a quick release buckle and the three straps allow you to adjust for the best no slip fit.

Chaco Men’s Z/2 Unaweep Sandal

Chaco Men’s Z 2 Unaweep Sandal

Weight: 12.1 Oz.

Dimensions: 12 x 8 x 4

Design Features: Synthetic sole; Contoured footbed; Crisscross straps; Toe strap; Adjustable buckle; Heel measures 1.25”.

Best Use: Indoor and outdoor walking, also good for hiking.

Description: Engineered with comfort and control in mind, the Chaco Men’s Z/2 Unaweep Sandal sets the bar high. The adjustable toe strap gives wearers the extra feeling of security and control while walking or hiking.

A strap also goes across the front of the foot to keep it secure from slipping.

It is equipped with a Vibram Unaweep sole that is comparable to the tread protection of a hiking boot. It also allows your foot to move and roll through the stride so you can walk more comfortably.

The BioCentric cushion gives you all day support and keeps your feet happy. Engineered so that your foot rolls through the stride in a centered position. Earning these sandals the stamp of approval from the American Podiatric Medical Association. Available in 12 different colors, there is a style for everyone’s taste.

Hi-Tec Men’s Rio Adventure Sandal

Hi-Tec Men’s Rio Adventure Sandal

Weight: 8 Oz

Dimensions: 12 x 8 x 4

Design Features: Synthetic mesh; Vibram sole; Hybrid design; Ultralight; Anti-microbial & Anti-odor.

Best Use: Outdoor walking, hiking or treading through shallow water.

Description: At first glance the Hi-Tec Men’s Rio Adventure Sandal looks like a shoe, but upon further investigation it is a great featured sandal.

It is mostly inclosed to keep rocks and debris out, and is fitted with mesh openings to keep air circulating to your feet. They are fitted with two adjustable ankle and heel hook and loop closures to give you a snug and comfortable custom fit. It also features a removable OrthoLite cushion.

These sandals were made for water and slippery conditions. They offer great Vibram rubber outsole traction on wet surfaces and easy water draining to keep your feet from getting soggy. The anti-microbial treatment destroys and inhibits the growth of any microorganisms. This makes them ideal for treading through untreated water and puddles without worry.

With an impact absorbing sole, it provides all day comfort. This sandal is the perfect mix between a boat shoe, a water sandal, and a hiking shoe.

The North Face Hedgehog Sandals

The North Face Hedgehog Sandals

Weight: 18 Oz.

Dimensions: 13 x 9 x 6 inches.

Design Features: Exclusive HydroTrak; Styrene-Butadiene Rubber lining; Removable heel strap; Water friendly; 3 point hook and loop adjustment.

Best Use: Great for walking or hiking around areas where water will be encountered.

Description: Excellent for all things water, the North Face Hedgehog Sandals feature a HydroTrak outsole that has a sticky grip when treading on slick ground. It also helps to channel water away from your feet.

This sandal converts from inclosed heel strap to easy-to-slip-on sandals with a quick adjustment, allowing you to choose how you want to wear your sandals daily.

They’re fitted with a Styrene-Butadiene rubber lining that keeps you comfortable in both wet and dry conditions as you walk. A molded EVA midsole with X-2 gives the footbed sturdy cushioning for an enhanced foot support.

They are treated with anti-microbial technology to repel odor. The inner sole is made from ergonomically designed northotic footbeds, which promote being comfy all day long.

These sandals are fitted with a three-point hook-and-loop adjustment, allowing you to have the perfect fit for your foot. The straps are made from synthetic nubuck leather and the bottom is a rubber sole.

TerraFi 4 Sandal

TerraFi 4 Sandal

Weight: 15 Oz.

Dimensions: 14 x 8 x 4 inches

Design Features: Spider Original Rubber grip; Nylon Shank; Open toe construction; multiple points of adjustment; Mircoban zinc-based treatment; Heel measures 1.5”

Best Use: Walking indoor or outdoor. Great for rafting trips.

Description: Made with Spider Original Rubber, the TerraFi 4 Sandal is made to grip all-weather terrain. Spider rubber is a non-marking rubber that is known for its durability and high friction on slippery paths or wet rocks.

The open toe design allows your feet to breath while feeling secure in the three-point adjust and secure closures. Multiple hook and loop closures allow you to get a personalized fit.

Designed for being around and in the water. These sandals are crafted to keep water from pooling in your shoes.

Treated with a zinc-based Microban, it will keep odors away. The heel has a Shoc Pad for optimum comfort. Also it has a molded midsole to contour to your foot, giving extra support. Also, the nylon shank will give you added support throughout the day.

Keen Men’s UNEEK Sandal

Keen Men’s UNEEK Sandal

Weight: 11.2 Oz.

Dimensions: 6 x 8 x 15 Inches

Design Features: Cleansport natural odor control; nylon cord; lightweight PU midsole; razor siping traction; microfiber footbed cover.

Best Use: Indoor, outdoor and excellent for the beach.

Description: Made from dual interweaving nylon cord, the Keen Men’s UNEEK Sandal is the perfect mix between a covered shoe and open sandal. The cord is weaved strategically from the toe all the way up to the ankle, with a heel strap on the back.

The unique two-cord design is to optimize a perfect fit. The cord stretches to accommodate your foot in the top while the lightweight PU midsole and anatomical microfiber footbed give comfort and support on the bottom.

The sandals are treated with Cleansport natural odor control, which is pro-biotic technology. It works by applying live micro-organisms to fibers, so the risk of Athelet’s foot and foot odour is eliminated.

These are fitted with a high traction rubber sole and wide tread to keep you surefooted on any terrain, and are great for walking on cement, dirt paths and even on the beach sand.

This sandal comes in various shades to fit all personalities and style, from neutral colors to bright and vivid neons. The fit runs small and the manufacturer suggests ordering a 1/2 size up.

Which Sandal is for You?

Now that there is a growing demand for good fitting walking sandals, the need has been fulfilled with various types and styles. There is a great mix from open-toed to caged that each have great features to keep you comfortable and surefooted.

Walking Sandals

The differences really lie in the details. Whether you are looking for something great for outdoor hiking and water sports or a comfortable and casual walking sandal, it all comes down to what you are expecting from your sandals and what kind of terrain you want it to be made for.

Is there anything you’d like to share with us? Please do so in the comments section below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Daniel Carraway
Daniel Carraway

Daniel Carraway joined our team last year. He is a gear freak when it comes to hiking, climbing and camping. He went to REI Outdoor School to meet new people and learn best practices. Don’t even try to argue with him about the latest backpack or ice axe, he tried most of them. Daniel’s dream is to climb Mount Everest.

  • Alexander Bianco

    I very rarely wear any kind of sandal. I have feet that seem to sweat profusely, which sometimes causes them to slip around in a loose style sandal, but also make all sorts of ridiculous noises whenever I am walking. Do you have any suggestions on sandals that might do a good job of eliminating or wicking away moisture when it is present (aside from being waterproof)?

  • Daniel Carraway

    The North Face Hedgehog Sandals is your best bet. As I’ve said in the review, these are very water-friendly and those HydroTrak outsole keeps water away from you. Try it out and see for yourself!

  • Julie Stuart

    I live in the desert. Would you really recommend wearing sandals? I’m scared of rattlesnakes but it also gets very hot so sandals would be more comfortable. I’m conflicted.

  • Mark Watson

    Ah, Alexander that is something I did not think of. I was thinking about getting a good pair of sandals because I have sweaty feet but I never thought about the slippage issue. I would like a sandal that sticks close to my feet, as well. I hate having them flop around. I’m always afraid I’m going to trip if they are too loose.

  • Daniel Carraway

    Hi Julie! If you’re just staying within the confines of your house/garden, near your place or not venturing out deeper where those rattlers are, I can’t see why you shouldn’t be comfortable with walking sandals. When trekking or going through trails, it’s prudent to wear protective gear at all times.

  • Daniel Carraway

    Strapped sandals will be great for you Mark. It ensures a snug feet that eliminates your feet from slipping out. These have adjustable straps and hooks, as well as numerous adjustment points for a more customized fit.

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