The Top 10 Hiking Sandals Reviewed
Picture yourself on a hilltop, surveying the spectacular scenery that’s your just reward for your sweat and toil on the seemingly never-ending upward trail…
You’ve been wise enough to choose lightweight, breathable clothing, so you’re pretty cool and dry in spite of your hard work but, oh, those feet!
Chances are they’re safely encased in cumbersome hiking boots and socks from toe to ankle but, even with the most effective, cleverly-designed, breathable lining, it’s likely to be pretty steamy in there!
We all know that moisture trapped inside footwear is likely to lead to blisters and yucky fungal infections (and I won’t even mention those odors – oops, looks like I just did). Our guess is that most of us accept that it’s the unpleasant price we pay for our hiking habit and we just put up with it.
But it doesn’t have to be that way! Shoe designers have taken the humble and much-maligned sandal and ramped it up to a whole new level of awesomeness. They’ve managed to bridge the gap effectively between shoe and sandal, giving you way more choice in hiking footwear.
Read on and you’ll find out how you might benefit from taking a second look at hiking sandals as an alternative to boots or shoes.
Most of us are invigorated by the fresh air and freedom of open countryside. Imagine how nice it would be to feel a bit of a breeze circulating around your hard-working feet, too…
Price Guide & Amazon Rating
Keen Women’s Whisper Hiking Sandals
Merrell Women’s All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoe
Teva Verra Women’s Sandal
Purple Orchid, Deep Teal
KEEN Rose Women’s Hiking Sandals
ECCO Women’s Yucatan Sandal
Teva Men’s Katavi Outdoor Sandal
Keen Men’s Newport H2 Sandal
Rockport Men’s Rocklake Flat Sandal
Teva Men’s Omnium Sandal
Venshine Men’s Sports Summer Hiking Sandal
Blue, Brown, Yellow
Features of the Best Hiking Sandals
It’s pretty much a no-brainer that your oh-so-precious and vulnerable toes need the best possible protection when hiking along backcountry trails. There are so many ways you can sustain painful and often long-lasting injuries, not least stubbing your toes on rocks and stones along the way.
The best hiking sandals are cleverly designed to incorporate a good level of toe protection. Although there are plenty of hiking sandals on the market which are completely open-toed (we’ve even reviewed some), these are better suited to an easy stroll rather than a full-on hiking expedition. Save them for the beach or for use around the campsite.
Only you know what conditions you’re likely to meet on the trails you’re tackling and it’s your call to make sure your feet get the best possible protection.
You don’t have to be Einstein to work out that the fundamental requirement of a hiking sandal is optimum grip to help you negotiate the varying inclines and descents on the trail safely, no matter what the ever-changeable weather throws at you.
The new generation of hiking sandals generally incorporate outsoles designed to offer the best possible traction in all kinds of challenging conditions. When you set out on a hike, you need to be confident that your footwear can cope with all types of terrain, whether wet or dry.
A hard-wearing rubber outsole with an aggressive tread pattern is what you need to look out for to ensure the best possible performance.
By their very nature, the design of sandals tends to be more ‘strappy’ than solid. This is one of their best features because these straps mean you can customize the fit to your unique foot shape. This can minimise the misery of blisters caused by incorrectly fitted shoes or boots, or maybe banish it altogether.
The wider the straps, the more comfortable they tend to be and the less chance of rubbing but narrower straps may give you a better chance to adjust the fit more minutely to the shape of your foot. This adjustability can mean the difference between misery and maximum enjoyment.
Another benefit of straps is that you can adjust the fit when your feet swell once you really get going and work up a head of steam (literally!). This is harder to do in traditional hiking shoes or boots and is one of the big benefits of choosing hiking sandals.
Arch support and cushioning
Good arch support is key to comfort when walking the highways and byways. Lack of support makes your feet tire more quickly as your feet, and indeed your limbs, have to try and compensate.
In turn, this seemingly small detail can lead to injury and even long-term mobility problems. If you have high arches, you need to be sure that the shoe you choose has the right level of support to match the contour of your foot.
Modern shoe designers have excelled in developing cushioning materials which give the optimal level of comfort for the sole of the foot. EVA footbeds give long-lasting cushioning which is less likely to compact down with use.
Some brands pride themselves on providing cushioning which makes you feel like you’re walking on air! Finding the right level of cushioning for your own preference is important when you’re selecting the best hiking sandals.
If your default mental image of a ‘sandal’ is a flip-flop, then stability isn’t the first word that would come to your mind as you picture feet flipping and flopping about!
How things have moved on with the various hiking sandals out there on the market – yes, they’re sandals but they still provide the snugness of fit which is a minimum requirement for any performance shoe, especially one which is going to carry you through all sorts of challenging terrain.
Different styles feature different fastening methods and these will be better suited to some foot shapes than others. You can choose between Velcro or bungee lace-up fastenings, both of which allow you to get the closest and most comfortable fit.
That will minimise movement within the shoe and allow the treads to do their job, no matter what conditions you encounter along the trail.