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Which Chaco’s Are Best For Hiking?

Which Chaco’s Are Best For Hiking?

Hiking boots aren’t for everyone, sandals are a popular choice for short treks in hot climates and exploring the area around your base camp and Chaco’s are ideal for all that and more. If you are asking yourself which Chaco’s are best for hiking then you are probably already aware of the brand and what they are about. There are over 15 different styles of Chaco’s as well as multiple signature models and color combinations, so which are best for hiking?

Best Chacos For Hiking

What Are Chaco’s?

Started by a Colorado rafting guide in 1989, Chaco’s are most famously known for their outdoor sandals but also make other outdoor gear. The sandals are made up of just 8 simple components including a single strap running through the base that is totally adjustable to your feet. They have a rugged sole with excellent arch support which makes Chaco’s more suited to hiking than your everyday sandal.

Who Are Chaco’s Designed For?

Having being founded by watersports enthusiast, you better believe these are great for walking through water and getting wet. Designed to be rugged, comfortable, durable, and supportive, Chaco’s are perfect for active outdoor people who want open toe footwear. You can wear them on rock, sand, and dirt as well as in the sea and through rivers which make them suited to hiking in general. For backpacking trips where you need more than a pair of boots, Chaco’s are great as a back-up or alternative on casual day hikes without a pack.

What Are The Different Kinds Of Chaco Sandals?

There are two main styles of Chaco sandals as well as some cool variations of each. The first type of Chaco is the open toe style (Z1) which are easier to wear socks with and reduce the risk of getting blisters on your big toe. The second style (Z2) has a strap/loop for your big toe which increases dexterity and foot control on descents, and it can always be tucked out of the way by tightening the strap if you don’t want to use it. The other variations include the X series with dual straps, the cloud series with soft padding, and the Volv series with eco-friendly materials.

Customize Your Chaco’s

One of the coolest features of Chaco Sandals is that they can be totally customizable from the grip on the soles to the color of stitching and fabric. This allows you to get exactly what you need in terms of traction and sizing as well as giving you exactly what you are looking for in terms of style and personal taste. You can do all of this on their website or check out the links below for some inspiration.

Why Wear Sandals For Hiking?

Hiking in sandals has its time and place for most people, but for others, wearing them as much as possible seems to be somewhat of a mission. And I get it. Walking barefoot feels great and socks/boots/shoes can feel restrictive, but after walking over a few thorns and jagged rocks, you realize you need some kind of protection for your poor feet.

Sandals are the perfect solution for people who prefer not to wear shoes but are tired of standing on sharp things. They allow your feet to breathe when it’s hot and getting them wet isn’t a problem if you’re constantly walking through streams and crossing rivers. After some breaking in, sandals can be used for all kinds of hikes but are best suited to well-defined trails.

Problems With Hiking In Sandals?

While it can be nice to only look at the benefits of wearing hiking sandals, there are some issues that you have to be prepared for. Perhaps the first problem people think of when considering buying or wearing a pair of Chaco’s for hiking is the lack of protection from above. Personally, I have never found this to be an issue apart from the odd stinging nettle or branch. Instead, I find blisters and rubbing to be of more concern.

Getting used to wearing sandals can take some time, and like hiking boots, they take some breaking in. It is best to do this before you plan any kind of a hike to toughen up your feet and hopefully avoid blisters. Something else you will have to get used to is getting debris between your foot and the sandal, which has to be constantly shaken out as you go.

Walking Long Distance Trails In Chaco’s?

While Chaco’s, and indeed all sandals, are not particularly suited to hiking long distances with a heavy pack, some people find a way to make them work for them. The soles are certainly tough enough but the lack of ankle support and constant friction from the straps against your skin will increase your chances of blisters and injury. That being said, you can always wear a thick pair of wool socks underneath if you are determined to wear Chaco’s for distance hiking. I don’t recommend it though.

Sizing For Chaco’s

Which Are The Best Chaco Sandals For Hiking?

These are not in any particular order in terms of ranking but please read to the end for the conclusion.

Chaco Z1 Sandals

WOMENS: Yes

While the materials have gotten better, the Chaco Z1 Sandals design remains very much the same today as it did back in 1989 and are still some of the most popular hiking sandals to this day. The are simple and rugged yet comfortable and incredibly adjustable so as to be worn next to the skin. If you want a classic, no-nonsense sandal to wear outdoors then these are the right Chaco’s for you!

Chaco Z1 Classic Athletic: Comprised of just 8 components including Chacogrip sole, these are the streamlined version of the ever popular classic.

Chaco Z1 Unaweep: A BioCentric footbed and durable Vibram Unaweep outsole keep feet centered and gripped to slippery surfaces.

Chaco Z1 Pro: Super grippy Vibram rubber tread that excels on both wet and rocky terrain is perfect for navigating stepping stones.

Chaco Z1 Yampa: Lightweight and slip-resistant Vibram soles give good traction and weight less than the Classic.

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Chaco Z2 Sandals

WOMENS: Yes

The Chaco Z2 Sandals are very much the same as the Z1’s apart from having an extra loop for your big toe to slot into. This extra strap allows you to key the tips of your sandals closer to your feet and in theory, help prevent debris getting under your foot as well as providing better dexterity. Keeping the sandal close to the soles of your feet can help provide better feedback about the ground you are walking on and in turn allow you to have faster reactions to prevent injury. You can always pull the toe loop tight enough to sit flush against the insole if you find you don’t like using the toe loop all the time.

Chaco Z2 Classic Athletic: Comprised of just 8 components including Chacogrip sole – an original but updated/streamlined Classic

Chaco Z2 Yampa: Lightweight and slip-resistant Vibram soles give good traction and weight less than the Classic.

Chaco Z2 Unaweep: A BioCentric footbed and durable Vibram Unaweep outsole keep your feet centered and gripped to slippery rocks.

Chaco Z2 Pro: Super grippy Vibram rubber tread that excels on both wet and rocky terrain is perfect for navigating stepping stones.

Chaco Z2 Colorado: Limited edition, LUVSEAT insole and non-marking TC-1 Vibram outsole with 3 mm lugs for extra grip.

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Chaco ZX Sandals

WOMENS: Yes

The Chaco ZX1 Classic Athletic Sandals are almost identical to the Z1 apart from instead of having a single webbed band, it has a double strap system. This allows for an even better fit as both straps run parallel to each other but also work independently to find the best fit for your foot. They feature Chacogrip soles with 3.5 mm lugs and organic canvas webbing. If you worry that a single strap may be uncomfortable or dig into your skin then give the ZX series a go.

Chaco ZX1: Open toe double strap with Chacogrip

Chaco ZX2: Toe loop double strap with Chacogrip

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Chaco Z Cloud Sandals

WOMENS: Yes

The Chaco Z Cloud series features an additional layer of super soft PU for a slipper-like comfort and as the name suggests, it feels like you are walking on clouds. You can get the Cloud series in both the open and to loop versions as well as the X variation of having double straps. Not the lightest model but if comfort is your thing then treat your feet to a pair of these.

Chaco Z Cloud: Open toe with ultra-soft PU cushion layer and Chacogrip soles

Chaco Z Cloud 2: Toe loop with ultra-soft PU cushion layer and Chacogrip soles

Chaco Z Cloud X: Open toe double strap with ultra-soft PU cushion layer and Chacogrip soles

Chaco Z Cloud X2: Toe Loop double strap with ultra-soft PU cushion layer and Chacogrip soles

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Chaco Z Volv Sandals

WOMENS: Yes

The Chaco Z Volv sandals are made with vegan-friendly materials and Ecotread soles which use 25% recycled rubber compound. They are also 20% lighter underfoot than Classic Chaco’s which makes them even better for backpacking and hiking. The spongey soft PU mid layer is comfortable and forgiving but also makes sure they always float to the top if you loose them in water.

Chaco Z Volv: Open toe and vegan-friendly with Ecotread sole

Chaco Z Volv 2: Toe loop and vegan-friendly with Ecotread sole

Chaco Z Volv X: Open toe double strap and vegan-friendly with Ecotread sole

Chaco Z Volv X2: Toe Loop double strap and vegan-friendly with Ecotread sole

Conclusion

Deciding which Chaco’s are best for hiking is somewhat of a difficult task because they are all very similar, all work very well and everyone has different intended uses. You might prefer the open toe style whereas the next person might prefer having the toe loop as an option, even if they don’t use it all the time. For me though, being as lightweight as possible is as important as comfort so I would normally choose the Yampa outsole over the more rugged Terreno.

I prefer having the big toe loop found as opposed to open toe and because I don’t hike long distances I prefer the lighter models over the comfier cloud version. If you are determined to use your Chaco’s as a stand alone hiking shoes then I would be less worried about the weight and more focused on the comfort and having deep lugs in the outsole. Given the choice to pick any pair of Chaco sandals right now, I would probably choose the Chaco Z Volve 2‘s simply because they are eco-friendly and more lightweight than the classic.

One thing can be said with certainty though is that they all work well in water and for hiking short distances. They are great for traveling, crossing streams/rivers, and as a back up to your walking boots on long distance hikes. I wear mine on a daily basis in summer months and would recommend them to anyone looking for a top quality sandal for rugged outdoor use.

Hopefully, we have helped guide you to choose which Chaco’s are best for hiking, but stay tuned or subscribe for our upcoming reviews of the Keen and Teva sandals.

A Guide to Chacos for Hiking – All You Need to Know

Last Updated on March 5th, 2019 by Valeria Salamanca

The shoes that were founded in 1989 inside the home of a river raft guide as “geckos” have evolved into one of the leading brands of outdoor sandals and clothing today. For outdoor enthusiasts around the world this shoe has been the reason for many positive experiences and adventures without fail.

The Chaco brand seems to have it all figured out. They produce durable sandals which are compatible for most outdoor conditions with all different styles and colors to fit each individual. For those who enjoy to spend time in nature, they will surely enjoy the benefits that these versatile shoes have to offer. They benefit as a sandal that can be worn and appreciated in any situation. In the mountains, in the water, on the beach or even in the city. They have reliable tread and comfort for hiking in any terrain and the appearance of casual sandals for everyday wear. While wearing them out in urban and rural places alike they send the message, ‘My life is always an adventure’.

Of course nothing is perfect and just like any other product, there are some features to be aware of and consider before this purchase. It is also important to have an understanding of how to purchase to get the most bang for your buck. Nevertheless, this is a great option for outdoorsmen and women looking for a new shoe to keep up with all of your fast paced lifestyles.

There are many features that this shoe has to offer that benefits all of its users:

  • Comfort
  • Good Tread
  • Arch Support
  • Customizability
  • Strong Community
  • Warranties and Repairs
  • Versatility
  • Made in the U.S.A

Table of Contents

Comfort

There are stylish options for people of any gender, age and foot shape. With the choice between one and two straps that create a fitted Z across your feet, the feature of adjustability creates unlimited options for mobility. If you need to prepare for a strenuous canyoneering trip on uneven ground it is possible to tightly secure your entire foot into place, while if you are lounging around a campfire you can loosen them almost to a point where it feels more like you are wearing slippers than a heavy duty hiking/water shoe. The open-toe allows your feet to breathe on hot summer days and does not create a cramped or constrained feeling.

Reliable Tread

Many people know the jolting feeling of reaching slick ground or steep declines and losing grip beneath your feet. It is frustrating and can turn an amazing day around in a mere second. With Chacos this is not a problem. The brand was created to create stability for your feet in and outside of the water. The thick gripping bottoms will help you stay up while walking on practically any surface.

Arch Support

Every human being has a different shaped foot and the brand designers for Chaco understand that. Each single style is recognized by the American Pediatric Medical Association which creates more reassurance than just one person’s review. Because most customers purchase Chacos for more intense activity than the average day-to-day life, they are made to support people walking for long distances and on uneven ground.

Customizability

If the hundreds of color, fit and style options don’t suit you, there is always the option to create your custom shoes on the official Chaco website. This feature allows you to choose between one of five shoe styles. Afterwards, you can choose any color or pattern for each of the five individual straps. You are also able to customize the color of the soles and embroidery for your new shoes. There is a new line of patterns that include food like pizza and cookies! It is important to note that you are unable to customize children’s sizes.

Community

The community of faithful Chaco users is strong, resilient and united. People swear by this shoe and some people do not seem to take off their shoes for years. It is an international group and of course being seen in Chaco’s comes along with the stereotypes. The adventurers, the wild ones and of course the most fun! For more definite examples, check out #ChacoNation on any social media platform and see just how far these shoes and the people wearing them can surpass the limits.

Warranties and Repairs

Chaco understands that with more use comes more potential for wears and tears. This is not to say that they are not built to last, but for the occasional malfunction, the brand is open to taking responsibility. If there is a malfunction that does not have to do with fit or user misuse, there is a lifetime warranty. This means that the company will repair the shoe for free and cover all shipping costs.

Versatility

As mentioned above, the shoe is designed to be appropriate attire in most, if not all casual settings. They are designed to be used underwater, high in the mountains, deep in the desert, out to lunch, etc. Also, although advertised for warm weather, it is quite possible and easily doable to put on some wool socks underneath when it gets cold outside. These shoes really are a good fit for practically every situation imaginable.

Made in the United States

Of course people who choose to purchase Chacos probably enjoy spending time in the environment and want to protect it. The fact that the brand’s factory is located in the same country as most of its customers means that they are choosing to prevent thousands of tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. It also provides jobs for worthy Americans and creates a more wholesome community that is mentioned above.

For those of you who have been on edge about buying Chacos and have read all of the amazing benefits, it is also important to consider some of the possible downsides to the shoe:

  • Cost
  • Wear
  • Weight

Cost

Depending on your budget, other brands like Tevas or Keens may be more ideal. Chacos can cost anywhere between $50-$150 USD depending on where you are purchasing them from and the style you prefer. Because of the durability it could be considered an investment and be your shoe of choice for years.

Wear

Most Chaco users who wear their shoes on a daily basis, almost religiously, choose to buy a pair for each summer season. After about 18 months of daily use camping, hiking, rafting in three different continents, I notice the tread of my shoes starting to lose tread and slip more often. Of course I cannot expect the same pair of shoes to last forever, but again, it is a costly piece of equipment to replace.

Weight

When I first chose to buy Chacos I had spent previously summers barefoot or while on the river in Tevas. Compared, I felt like I was wearing bricks. It took about two weeks to get used to the clunky feel of the new shoes. Now though, it feels more like they are part of my body and it feels more odd without them than with them.

After reading through the pros and cons, and have decided that you would like to dive into the new Chaco lifestyle, it is important to understand about different fits, sizes and purchasing options. If you have chosen you would like to keep your options open, again, Tevas and Keens have other outdoor lifestyle sandals that may interest you more.

There are a few key features to decide between when deciding on a fit of shoe. First off, almost all shoes create a Z across the top of the foot, which naturally is called the Z strap. There are two choices for your Z strap, one has one thick strap that works its way across the foot. The other, Zx breaks this strap into two narrow straps that run parallel to each other. If the pattern is of importance I would recommend the single wider strap so it is more noticeable.

There is one other large difference between the two shoes. One style has a toe loop. This is great for keeping your feet secure to the sole of the shoe. If your feet are slightly larger, or you feel this may be uncomfortable, there is the option to simply have one strap that keeps your feet secure at the base of your toes. It is important to be aware that the Zx option without a toe loop is only available for women.

In addition to the classic look, there are also traditional flip flops available. It is not recommended for intense activity because there is no way to secure your heel to the shoe and does not provide adequate security and safety for your feet.

Men’s Women’s
Z/1 Sandal One Strap without Toe Loop One Strap without Toe Loop
Z/2 Sandal One Strap With Toe Loop One Strap With Toe Loop
Zx/1 Sandal Two Straps Without Toe Loop
Zx/2 Sandal Two Straps With Toe Loop Two Straps With Toe Loop
Flip Flop One Strap That Secures between Toes One Strap that Secures Between Toes

One tip for choosing the right shoe would be to go to a store to try out the different options and see which fits you best for your feet shape and lifestyle. After making the correct choice, it is time to decide the best buying options.

Of course, I would never recommend buying shoes online without trying them on first, but if money is something to take into consideration it is always an option to figure out the best fit in a store, but buy online. Websites like Amazon.com and Zappos.com regularly have the same exact shoes for up to half the price of what is sold at large retail stores or the official Chaco website.

If simplicity and time are of most importance, of course it is easiest to buy the shoes you like the most right at the store itself. This also makes making returns and exchanges more achievable.

Also, if you would like to customize your shoe based on color and pattern, the only way to do this is to go directly to chacos.com and click the button Custom at the top. There are also sales and discounts that are frequently updated.

Overall, whether or not you choose to go down the Chaco path, they are a crucial brand to consider when purchasing shoes for your next outdoor adventure. The man who first created them was a river guide in Colorado himself, so they understand better than anyone the importance of comfort, safety and looks.

I must admit, for the past eight months my Chacos have been my main companion and have been traveling with me through each adventure and have a special piece of my heart. This happens to thousands of people every year and so it is important to beware that if you choose to go down this path it is very likely you will fall in love with your shoes the same way other outdoor enthusiasts have! It always warms my heart to meet a fellow Chaco lover and while they are more rare outside of the United States, it makes it even more special to meet someone who has just as much access to comfortable adventure as I do. They have truly changed my life for the better and I was not kidding when I mentioned that they feel like another body part at this point.

Sam Hardy is an outdoor enthusiast with a penchant for survival skills. He writes about the great outdoors and his favorite equipment here.

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The 3 Best Sport Sandal Brands for Hiking and Traveling

When it comes to the best sandals for hiking, traveling and water sports, many turn to trusted brands like Chaco, Teva and Keen. Each brand offers a unique approach to what it takes to make a sport sandal that can do it all. While each brand has a very dedicated following, many shoppers have a hard time deciding between them.

Chaco, Teva and Keen all make stellar sandals, but which sport sandal brand is perfect for you? I’ll break down the features, performance and reviews of each brand so you can choose wisely.

Why People Love Chaco Sandals


Chaco sandals are a well-loved sport sandal option with a big following. People love Chaco sandals for their adjustability, traction and underfoot support. They’re a favorite choice for adventurous travelers and are often used to hike even the most rugged terrain.
The adjustable, pull-through straps and anatomical LUVSEAT footbed make Chaco sandals stand out from the crowd. They also feature grippy rubber outsoles that can handle pretty much any trail. The biggest downside of Chacos is that they are heavier than other sport sandals. However, Chaco now offers lighter sandals, like the Yampa, for those who don’t like the classic, heavier design.
Chaco has garnered a devoted following since their 1989 debut, and many “Chaconians” have more than one pair.
Tito, the all-around outdoorsman from Wisconsin, has this to say about the Chaco Z/2 Unaweep sandals for men:
They are a bit heavy for sandals, but for a good reason: they provide the support of a mid-weight hiking boot, excellent arch support, your feet are solidly anchored to the footbed, and the soles are super grippy and durable… If you have solid ankles and don’t need the support of a boot, use these to hike, or backpack in the summer. I’ve been comfortable for hours of hiking with a pack in excess of 40 pounds. Plus they’re super comfy and durable.

Why People Love Teva Sandals


Teva sandals were created by a river guide in the ’80s and have thrived in and around the water ever since. Teva sport sandals are loved for their lightweight support and grippy traction. They usually offer touch-fasten adjustable straps and an antimicrobial treatment that fights odor in the footbed. All of these features come in handy for explorers who love the water. Teva sandals are a great choice for active beach vacations and any other travel that involves water.
The only downside of Teva sandals is that they don’t offer the stiff, ultra-durable underfoot support many people desire for longer hikes. That’s why they tend to be a better choice for water-bound explorers. Looking through the nearly 50 reviews of the Teva Terra Fi Lite sport sandals, I saw many that mentioned the soles of their previous Tevas wearing out after about 10 years. That makes it pretty clear that Teva sport sandal fans love their sandals so much that they use them until they wear out, and then replace them with a similar pair.
Watergirl from Chattanooga has this to say about the Teva Terra Fi Lite sport sandals:
These sandals are light enough to hang on your backpack, yet have thick enough souls to hike in when me feet get tired of the boots. Water wear makes them even more useful. Ordered a 1/2 size larger so that I could wear socks if necessary and they fit perfectly.

Why People Love Keen Sandals


Adventurers who wear Keen sandals love them for their protection, comfort and support. All Keen sport sandals feature a metatomical EVA footbed, quickdraw adjustment and, of course, the beloved Keen bumper toe. The classic Keen toe bumper protects vulnerable toes on rugged trails, while the open-strap design makes for quick-drying, water-friendly performance. Keen sandals offer durable, grippy outsoles, toe protection and a supportive footbed — making them perfect for hiking rocky, gravely trails. Keen devotees also love that all Keen sandals are machine washable on the gentle cycle. Brilliant!
The only downside of Keen sandals is that they don’t offer the beefy underfoot support you might need for longer hikes.
Charlie G from Lenoir has this to say about the Keen Newport H2 sandals for women:
I have bought about 8 pairs of Keens for our household. My wife loves these shoes and is now obsessed with having one in every color. They are great all purpose shoes; running out to the stores, going out to the lake, going kayaking, playing at the park, whatever! And the prices here are always close to half off from the Keen website. Just remember to order a size up because they run small. Love them!!!

Are Chaco, Teva or Keen sandals right for you?


No one brand is better than the other, but one choice might be better for you. I admit that I have two pairs of Chacos — one for hiking and yard work, the other for everyday use and walks. But many people, especially those who spend a lot of time in and around the water, love Teva sandals the most. And many Keen wearers say they like their Keens more than anything else they’ve tried. Each brand of sport sandal offers great options for the active explorer, and now you’re well equipped to decide which one will make the best travel and adventure companion for you.
What is your sport sandal brand of choice?

1KEEN Women’s Whisper Sandal

Keen’s Whisper Sandals are without a doubt, the very best hiking sandals a woman can wear right now. These textile/synthetic sandals employ a bungee lace capture system that makes them easy to put on and a metatomical footbed design aimed at providing excellent arch support so as to cradle the natural contours of the wearer’s feet. Not only that but these sandals also enjoy a hydrophobic mesh lining with a non-marking rubber outsole to further their resistance when faced with a tough environment. Overall, they are perhaps the best hiking sandals money can buy.

Can’t Find What You’re Looking For? Check these suggestions:

Choosing A Pair Of Hiking Sandals?

Hiking sandals have to be tough, flexible, and comfortable at the same time. For this reason, finding a pair that balances all these attributes in a single, affordable package can be quite difficult. The amount of cushioning, toughness, or elasticity that these sandals offer should provide you with a good understanding of what quality you can expect. Having said that, here are the main attributes to look for when shopping for a pair of hiking sandals.

Support – The first thing to consider when buying a pair of hiking sandals is the support they offer. Whether we’re talking about actual support for the foot or the cushioning inside the sandal, the general idea remains the same – good sandals have to provide good support at all times. Similar to hiking boots, most hiking sandals also offer good protection from the harsh environment, which is why having a supportive cushioning is so important. Not to say that it’s the only thing to look for but definitely an important aspect of any pair of quality hiking sandals.

Materials – The materials used in their making should also tell you a lot about the overall quality a pair of hiking sandals will have. Although some, if not most people prefer synthetic materials for their water-resistant properties, there are also those who prefer leather and cotton-based fabrics. One thing to consider here is that you will most likely wear these sandals across harsh terrain types, so having something that tears easily is ill-advised. For the most part, high-end hiking sandals employ nylon or mesh straps, synthetic uppers, and rubber soles.

Straps – The strapping system is also important in a pair of sandals, especially when it comes to hiking sandals which are subjected to a lot more abuse than regular footwear. These straps are designed to easily fasten around the wearer’s feet as comfortable as possible. It is for this reason that you should always ensure that your preferred sandals do not rub against the top of your feet or cause you any discomfort whatsoever. Uncomfortable sandals can cause blisters and you don’t want that when you’re out in the wild.

Toe guards – Another thing to consider is whether not your desired sandals come equipped with toe guards. Although not a necessity, the quality of a toe guard feature can tell you a lot about the overall quality of a pair of sandals, not just hiking ones. With hiking sandals, it is common for the toe guards to be as tough and prominent as possible without overstepping the boundaries of comfort over practicality. Seen as a fashion accessory in casual sandals, toe guards are almost necessary when it comes to hiking sandals.

Traction – You should also pay attention to the adherence and grip a pair of hiking sandals offers. To do this effectively, take into account the materials used in the making of the soles, a construction that should always involve thick rubber. You want a pair of hiking sandals to employ thick rubber soles with deep grooves and patterns for maximum adherence. This will prevent you from slipping on wet ground while providing you with that extra bit of stability you desire when walking on uneven ground.

Arch support – Last but not least, consider the arch support a pair of sandals offers. This feature will protect your tendons from any sort of injury by aligning your feet properly, a feature that will also improve your overall stability. In this respect, let us point out that deep heel cups are quite common in hiking sandals as they prevent the wearer’s feet from going off center when picking up the pace.

Choosing Sandals Over Boots?

The first argument to be made in favor of sandals is the freedom they provide in terms of mobility. While thick, bulky hiking boots may indeed provide better protection most of the time, they can be quite uncomfortable when worn for long periods of time. Hiking sandals, on the other hand, offer great breathability and ventilation, especially when worn for hours on end in humid or warm environments.

Another argument for choosing sandals over boots is that they are a lot easier to carry, store, and maintain. Think about it, no matter what pair of boots you might buy, chances are that they’ll require their own bag, which makes for a very difficult baggage to have when going on the road. With sandals, you can force them into any bag and not have to worry about damaging them in any way. Not only that but they also dry quickly after getting wet, which makes it easier for you when it comes to washing them.

Women’s Sandals

Sandals for Women

Buy your new favorite pair of women’s sandals from Merrell and enjoy the elegant craftsmanship and expert construction you love with the comfort and durability you need, wherever your day takes you. We make all of our sandals for women with cushioned soles and stylish, comfortable designs so you can wear your pair all day, from your morning walk to casual work lunches to dinner out on the town. We also feature protective women’s hiking sandals with quick-drying, breathable uppers and high-traction outsoles to keep you stable and secure on trails, over streams and even during long, rainy days of errands. Our waterproof sandals for women come in bright sporty styles and sleek, stylish designs so you can find the best summer sandals to complement any outfit or activity, from rugged trails to relaxed afternoons roaming around town. Slip your feet into a pair of breathable, cushioned women’s sandals from Merrell to get the same advanced technologies you love on the trail in a stylishly-designed, casual exterior. The combination of comfort and craftsmanship makes our sandals for women an ideal warm weather companion. Whether you need a pair of women’s hiking sandals to stand a serious test of endurance or want a simple summer sandal that looks and feels great for any occasion, find the perfect fit from Merrell’s selection of women’s sandals today.

Any serious hiker knows the trepidation of removing hiking shoes/boots after a long day, out in the heat, traversing dusty trails. First, there’s the smell of sweat-soaked leather to deal with, and no matter how expensive or robust your wick-away Smartwool socks are, they cannot totally eliminate the funk. You know what I’m talking about.

Then there’s the grime that not only irrevocably worked its way into every last fiber of your twenty-dollar pair of socks, but somehow also turned your feet into a veritable mud puddle. Even when you scrub off the dirt, you still have to deal with the horror of inevitable redness, swelling, blisters, and toenails starting to lift from the bed.

Well, now that I’ve completely turned some of you off to marathon hiking, I’ll speak directly to those of us willing to suffer every foot-related indignity in order to enjoy the most remote reaches of wilderness on the planet. If you’re tired of suffering saunas on your feet, you’ll be happy to hear there’s an alternative: hiking sandals. Which hiking sandals offer the comfort and support you need, paired with the airflow you crave? Here are the 12 best hiking sandals to consider.

Teva Terra Fi 5 Sport Hiking Sandals

Teva is ostensibly the first name in outdoor sandals, with rugged and reliable footwear designed to work equally well on dry trails and slippery river rocks. This “aggressive” model is truly designed for the serious hiking crowd, thanks to a springy cushion underfoot consisting of EVA foam for the foot pad and a molded PU midsole for support, not to mention a real grippy sole. Let your toes breathe freely with water-friendly straps that hold your foot securely in place without the complete enclosure of a hiking boot.

Bedrock Sandals Cairn Adventure Sandals

These water-friendly sandals will take you over the river, through the woods, and pretty much anywhere you want to go, thanks to lightweight and long-lasting Vibram Regolith rubber soles that offer superior traction and grip, along with comfort that conforms to your feet with wear. Throw in patent-pending premium webbing for straps with three adjustment zones and you’ve got secure and stable footwear designed to tackle any overland trek. Plus, a portion of each sale goes to 1% for the Planet, an organization that directs funds to environmental nonprofits. Good for you, good for nature.

Xero Shoes Z-Trail Sandals

Looking at the thin soles and straps of this flexible, lightweight sandal, you might be understandably concerned about how it will hold up to harsh trail conditions. Okay, to be honest, they’re not likely to get you through a multi-day excursion over rough terrain, but the comfort and flexibility of these barely-there sandals are perfect for day hikes and water activities, thanks to FeelTrue rubber grip, a TrailFoam middle layer that absorbs shock, and a BareFoam footbed for ultimate comfort, wherever you walk. Tubular webbing means no hard strap edges irritating your feet.

Chaco Odyssey Sandals

You might wonder if there’s a hiking sandal that offers all the protection and security of hiking boots with a bit of a breezeway for added comfort. Wonder no more – Chaco has you covered. These hybrid sandal-shoes feature a breathable mesh covering over the foot, paired with straps for security and a slingback design to increase ventilation. ChacoGrip Plus rubber clings to terrain, while the dual density EVR midsole soaks up moisture with antimicrobial and odor control. Water-safe and designed to be durable, this could just be the best of both worlds.

Keen Newport Hydro Sandals

One of the biggest hurdles with hiking sandals is toe protection. All that open air comes at a cost. While the protective rubber toe and reinforced polyester webbing straps are a lot more confining than the average sandal, these are a great option for anyone seeking robust footwear paired with more ventilation than the average hiking boot offers. Straps aren’t adjustable, per se, but the stretchy, secure-fit lacing system allows you to tighten as desired for added stability. Compression-molded EVA midsole offers outstanding cushion and the quick-dry lining is ideal for active hikers.

Chaco Z/2 Classic Sandals

Another impressive offering from Chaco, this classic sandal has everything you need to keep tootsies comfortable during a long day of hiking. Let’s start with the podiatrist-certified LUVSEAT PU midsole designed to mold around your foot, paired with the ChacoGrip rubber sole for unreal gripping power. This utility is heightened by polyester jacquard webbing straps, including a toe loop to keep your foot from sliding out the front, as well as a secure injection-molded ladder lock buckle for tightening. Hike the Grand Canyon or ford a river – these sandals will get you there.

Oboz Men’s Campster Sandals

Another closed-toe sandal, this option isn’t quite as aggressive as Keen, but it definitely offers more toe protection than others on this list, if that’s what you want. Polyester webbing is pretty much a given, but you’ll also enjoy a textured, anti-microbial top layer for the sole, paired with a cushy, yet firm dual density EVA midsole and water capable traction. You’ll stay comfy in wet or dry conditions, enjoy excellent grip on rocks, and avoid the heaviness common to hiking boots with this lightweight sandal.

Columbia Men’s Wayfinder 2 Strap Sandals

TBH, these aren’t super attractive for a Columbia product, but the important thing is that they get the job done, and Columbia rarely fails when it comes to thoughtful utility. The two-strap design is a lot more open than the average hiking sandal, which means you’ll enjoy unparalleled breathability. Hook and loop closures are easy to tighten, even on the go. Omni-GRIP wet traction rubber offers awesome sticking power, and the 2-part midsole, complete with a plush TechLite footbed and firmer TechLite frame, offers comfort and support where you need it most.

KIIU Closed Toe Sport Hiking Sandals

Is closed toe the way to go? This sandal will make you question your heathen, open-toed ways, with attractive design and practical features for days. There’s the non-slip PU rubber outsole, the quick-dry, breathable mesh lining and lightweight webbing to keep you cool even with added coverage. The elastic band and adjustable heel strap make it easy to custom fit each sandal, and the rubbery toe cover prevents injuries to your most valuable hiking assets should you suffer a slip or trip. All this and four colors to choose from.

ECCO Yucatan Sandals

The main difference you’ll notice right away with these open-toed sandals is that much of the upper strap portion is fixed for added stability during wear. Still, you’ll have plenty of options for adjustment with hook and loop straps at the toes and the ankle. Nubuck leather is durable, but hardly waterproof, so you’ll want to weatherproof before wearing these sandals and maybe avoid full submersion. Still, you’ll enjoy moisture-wick linings, a cushy EVA footbed, high-traction rubber outsoles, and direct injection polyurethane midsoles with hard EVA shanks for optimal support on long hikes.

Merrell Choprock Shandal

It’s a shoe! It’s a sandal! It’s a shandal! Sooo, yeah, that’s a thing. Still, you really can’t talk about hiking shoes without Merrell getting at least a mention. If you’ve had a long love affair with their comfy (albeit heavy) hiking boots, you’ll love their lightweight, closed-toe sandals. The framework fully encloses your foot, but with breathable mesh and plenty of ventilation ports, they’ll still keep you cooler than boots. Totally water-friendly, these hikers offer a protective rubber toe cap, webbing loops to adjust the fit, a removable EVA insole, a compression molded EVA midsole, Vibram Megagrip outsole, and more. Great is an understatement.

Astral Filipe Outdoor Sandals

This sandal falls squarely in the stylish category, but that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in substance. Full disclosure: they’re listed as “light hiking” sandals, but they definitely offer plenty of comfort for daily walkabouts and short hiking excursions. The Flip Grip outsole offers maximum stick on smooth surfaces, which makes them a good bet for dusty rocks and slippery riverbeds alike. Even better, these sandals are convertible, thanks to the included ankle strap attachment that takes them from flipflop to hiking shoe with minimal effort.

Disclosure: Clicking on these links and making a purchase may earn us a small referral fee, at no extra cost to you. Learn more here.

As you hit the trail for a warm day of hiking, boots may not always be the best option. Your particular hike may incur several water crossings or expose you to the harsh sun, making the traditional boots and wool socks combo far too hot! That’s why we’ve gathered a list of the best hiking sandals, so you can make the most of your trek.

On hot days in the summer, do yourself a favor and let your feet breathe a little. A solid pair of hiking sandals will do wonders at keeping you cool on the trail and perform well under rugged conditions. Whether you’re scrambling up the side of a rocky slope, sloshing through river crossings, or trekking through slick conditions on a hot, wet summer day, the following list will have you covered no matter the challenge.

So sit back, free those toes from their winter socks, and get ready for the coolest foot tan lines. Pro Tip: The more intense the tan line, the more trail cred you have 😉

For more of our top hiking footwear recommendations, check out these popular articles:

Hiking Sandals for Women | Water Hiking Sandals

Quick Answer – The Best Hiking Sandals

  1. Chaco Z/2 Classic
  2. Xero Shoes Z-Trail
  3. KEEN Newport H2
  4. Bedrock Sandals 3D Cairn Pro
  5. Teva Hurricane XLT2 Alp
  6. Teva Terra Fi 5
  7. KEEN Arroyo III
  8. Teva Strata Universal
  9. ECCO Yucatan
  10. Malibu Sandals The Rancho

Comparison Table – Best Hiking Sandals

Want to learn more about a technical term? Check out our Features Explained section below. Need buying advice? Take a look at these Things to Consider.

Reviews – Best Sandals for Hiking

Chaco Z/2 Classic

Specs
  • Weight: 1 lb. 15 oz.
  • Toe Style: Toe Loop / Open Toe
  • Upper: Synthetic
  • Adjustment Mechanism: Buckle
  • Midsole: Polyurethane (PU)
Features
  • Anti-Microbial Application Prevents Foot Odor
  • Synthetic Materials Means These Sandals Are Vegan
  • Podiatrist Certified Footbeds Provide Superior Support
  • High-Performance Sole Is Great For Hiking And Water Crossings

BEST FOR: LONG LASTING DURABILITY

Chacos are one of the biggest names in the sandal business for good reason. Their attention to detail using high-quality materials means these are some of the longest lasting sandals money can buy: period.

When these bad boys do begin to show signs of heavy wear, just send them off to be re-soled. Broken straps from extreme use? Send ‘em off for repair! Your initial investment will pay you dividends down the road as the cost of repair is much less than buying a new pair.

The Polyurethane (PU) midsole is longer lasting, more durable, and more supportive than sandals with an Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA) midsole. The straps are also highly durable and adjustable, making them a great fit for any foot.

Lastly, it’s important to be aware of The Great Chaco Debate: Toe Strap or No Strap? People get passionate and fiery about which is better. Some prefer the toe strap/toe loop because it provides more stability and control. Others dislike it because it can be hard to adjust or causes a callus to form. The toe strap wins out in our book because if you do end up disliking it, you can simply tuck it away.

Xero Shoes Z-Trail

  • Weight: 11 oz.
  • Toe Style: Open Toe
  • Upper: Synthetic
  • Adjustment Mechanism: Adjustable Strap
  • Midsole: Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA)
  • Covered By Manufacturer’s 5,000 Mile Sole Warranty
  • Synthetic Materials Means These Sandals Are Vegan
  • Z-Style Webbing Holds Sandals Securely To Your Feet

BEST FOR: LIGHTWEIGHT MINIMALISM

When hiking long distances or making a trek swiftly with speed in mind, the last thing you want is to be bogged down by heavy sandals. Weighing in at a feathery 11 ounces, the Xero Shoes Z-Trail is the lightest hiking sandal ever made!

Make note, light doesn’t mean flimsy. The highly durable synthetic straps make for an ideal fit while the heel cup forms to your foot and keeps debris out. These sandals are also multisport compatible, making them a versatile shoe both on the trail and splashing through rivers.

The Z-Trail’s minimal and lightweight design allows them to float in water if you find yourself on the river, and make them easy to roll up and stash in your hiking pack or pocket.

KEEN Newport H2

  • EVA Midsole Is Extremely Comfortable
  • Heel Strap Helps Foot Glide Into Sandal
  • Designed To Circulate Airflow And Stay Breathable

BEST FOR: SLICK SURFACES

Leave the Slip’N’Slide for lawn parties. Whether you’re trekking through the woods after a downpour or just live in a wet climate, traction is what you need.

Fortunately for you, this is Keen’s specialty. The Newport H2’s rock a multidirectional sole that makes them extra “grippy” when tackling a trail in less than ideal conditions. The covered toe also keeps debris like sand and pebbles from slowing you down!

The H2’s also sport a highly supportive webbing that covers your foot better than other hiking sandals. This a great feature when trudging through brush that would otherwise scratch up your feet.

Bedrock Sandals 3D Cairn Pro

  • Weight: 1 lb. 2 oz.
  • Toe Style: Open Toe
  • Upper: Synthetic Webbing
  • Adjustment Mechanism: Strap
  • Midsole: Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA)
  • Comes In 2 Colors
  • 3 Adjustment “Zones” Create A True Fit
  • Vibram Outsole Is Extremely Durable And Can Be Re-Cobbled When Worn

BEST FOR: CREEK AND RIVER CROSSINGS

Some of the best and most fun hiking trails have you splish-splashing back and forth across creeks and wading waist deep into slow-moving rivers. These treks require a pretty specific sandal and there’s no better choice than the Bedrock 3D Cairn Pro.

Starting with Vibram’s ultra-sticky “Megagrip” sole, these sandals grip wet rocks and slick surfaces like an amphibian’s foot. The footbeds, or topsole, where your feet rest are made of highly-cushioned Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA), making long treks much more comfortable.

The pre-molded footbed also provides arch and toe support, giving you an ergonomic fit that will keep you supported as the miles wear on.

Teva Hurricane XLT2 Alp

  • Weight: 1 lb. 4.3 oz
  • Toe Style: Open Toe
  • Upper: Synthetic
  • Adjustment Mechanism: Buckle
  • Midsole: Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA)
  • Cool Throwback 90’s Design
  • Unique Ankle Support Webbing
  • Highly Breathable And Quick Drying

BEST FOR: VERSATILITY

Why be limited to hiking sandals that only perform well on the trail or in the water? Now, you don’t have to settle for the “either/or” but can hike confidently in the “both/and” category!

Teva’s Hurricane XLT2 Alps do just the trick when you traverse diverse terrain or prefer to be prepared when the unexpected arrives (Boyscout motto, anyone?). The synthetic upper webbings are water ready and quick-drying after making a splash while the rugged rubber soles are trail-ready at a moment’s notice.

Even better, the inside of the upper webbing is made from neoprene (wet-suit material) to eliminate rashes that can occur from wet straps. They also sport 3 adjustable points giving this hiking sandal a true to foot fit.

Teva Terra Fi 5

  • Weight: 1 lb. 10 oz.
  • Toe Style: Open Toe
  • Upper: Synthetic
  • Adjustment Mechanism: Velcro Strap
  • Midsole: Polyurethane (PU)
  • Comes In 2 Different Colors
  • Heel Cup Provides Maximum Comfort
  • Synthetic Webbed Uppers Are Very Durable

BEST FOR: RUGGED, LIGHTWEIGHT ADVENTURES

Teva Terra Fi 5 – say that 5 times fast!

While your brain and tongue are playing catch up, let me get you up to speed on these bad boys. The Terra Fi 5’s meet at the intersection of rugged and lightweight. Not possible you say? Check out the details.

Starting with a highly durable and long lasting polyurethane (PU) midsole, the Terra Fi 5’s offer supreme support when handling rocky terrain. It’s beefy and rugged soles are counterbalanced by lightweight straps that don’t make your feet feel smothered in the shoe.

It’s hook and loop closure also allows your tighten down these battle shoes, er hiking sandals, and keep you feeling supported all day long.

KEEN Arroyo III

  • Weight: 1 lb. 12 oz.
  • Toe Style: Closed Toe / Covered
  • Upper: Nubuck Leather
  • Adjustment Mechanism: Bungee Lace
  • Midsole: Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA)
  • Comes In 2 Colors
  • Multidirectional Rubber Lugs On The Bottom of The Sandals Increase Traction
  • Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA) Midsole Provides Superior Cushion And Comfort

BEST FOR: ROCKY TERRAIN / SCRAMBLING

When it comes to traversing rocky terrain or scrambling up scree-filled slopes, we’re pretty Keen on the Arroyo III’s. More of a hybrid than a true sandal, this pair will keep your feet protected while maintaining breathable, sock-less trekking.

The Arroyo III’s closed toe will keep your toes protected as you dig into cliffside holds and its mesh webbing has the rest of your foot covered while keeping out small rocks and pebbles.

The Nubuck leather uppers are also super durable, water resistant, and made from sustainably certified tannery. Lastly, the bungee lace adjustment system also supports a durable ankle strap, giving you peace of mind and keeping you sure-footed on the trail.

Teva Strata Universal

  • Weight: 1 lb. 6 oz.
  • Toe Style: Open Toe
  • Upper: Synthetic
  • Adjustment Mechanism: Velcro Strap
  • Midsole: Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA)
  • Anti-Microbial Application Prevents Foot Odor
  • Smart Design Reduces Weight Without Sacrificing Durability
  • Vibram Outsole Is Extremely Durable And Can Be Re-Cobbled When Worn

BEST FOR: WARM WEATHER HIKING

I know what you’re thinking, “Teva’s again??” Well, yes. They make an outstanding variety of hiking sandals and they do it well.

If casual warm weather hikes are your thing, then these are the pair you want. Comfy, rugged, and supportive all wrapped into one, the Strata Universal are a quality choice when it comes to moderate hikes.

The micro-traction lugs on the bottom of each sandal make for quality grip on the trail while the plush Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA) midsoles provides a cushiony stride as the miles wear on, leaving your feet happy at the end of the day.

ECCO Yucatan

  • Weight: 1 lb. 9 oz.
  • Toe Style: Open Toe
  • Upper: Nubuck Leather
  • Adjustment Mechanism: Velcro Strap
  • Midsole: Polyurethane (PU)
  • Anti-Microbial Application Prevents Foot Odor
  • Hard Rubber Outsoles Can Handle Wet And Dry Terrain
  • Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA) Topsole Makes A Cushy Ride

BEST FOR: EXTRA SUPPORT

If ankle and foot support are a concern for you when it comes to finding quality hiking sandals, let the ECCO Yucatan assuage those fears.

Built upon a highly durable Polyurethane (PU) midsole that creates superior stability and support, the Yucatan “carries the Seal of Acceptance from the American Podiatric Medical Association.” This means that your feet will be happy all hike long and you can set your mind at ease knowing these sandals will keep you feeling supported throughout.

The ECCO Yucatan also wick moisture from your feet as the day wears on and the 3-point hook-and-loop straps help you adjust your fit to exactly the best fit for your foot.

Malibu Sandals The Rancho

  • Weight: 13 oz.
  • Toe Style: Open Toe
  • Upper: Synthetic
  • Adjustment Mechanism: Slip-On
  • Midsole: Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA)
  • Comes In 2 Colors
  • Perfect For Casual Hikes
  • Synthetic Materials Means These Sandals Are Vegan

BEST FOR: CASUAL TREKS

If casual hikes at small parks are your thing, Malibu’s “The Rancho” Sandals are the perfect lightweight trekker for an easy day. Focusing on comfort and style, these sandals perform best when keeping it casual on moderately rugged terrain.

The lightweight strap system makes it easy to slip on and stay snug without feeling as if you’re choking your feet. They’re also super comfy, lending them a huge bonus in the cushion department.

These are also a great choice as an evening camp shoe when hanging out by the fire after a day hike.

THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING HIKING SANDALS

TERRAIN

Knowing what kind of terrain you’ll encounter on a hike is key to choosing the proper hiking sandal. If the terrain is rocky or full of brush, you’ll probably want a hiking sandal with a covered or closed toe. This will keep your feet protected and give you better footing on the trail. If you know that river crossings will occur, you’ll need a sandal that has the proper sole to effectively handle slick surfaces and wet rocks.

UPPER

Simply put, the “upper” or upper part of a hiking sandal is the strap system that holds the sandal onto your foot. Uppers for hiking sandals are typically made of either suede/nubuck or synthetic materials and each have their advantages.

Suede/Nubuck

Suede/Nubuck is a type of leather that is thinner and softer than full-grain leather and typically lasts longer than synthetic materials. However, they do not dry as quickly when wet.

Synthetic

Synthetic materials can be made of polyester, nylon, or microfiber and tend to be lighter and dry quicker. However, they do not last as long as leather. For vegans who are animal conscious about their clothing, synthetic is the way to go.

MIDSOLE

The midsole of a shoe is the middle layer between the topsole (what your foot rests on) and the outsole (what makes contact with the earth, commonly referred to as the “sole”). What makes this so important is how it impacts cushioning and durability.

When it comes to choosing the right midsole for you, we’ve broken down the most common materials used – Polyurethane (PU) and Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA).

Polyurethane (PU)

PROS

  • Longer lasting
  • Very supportive
  • Extremely durable

CONS

  • Longer “break-in” period
  • Heavier than EVA
  • More expensive

Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA)

PROS

  • Extremely soft from day 1
  • Lightweight
  • High amount of cushion

CONS

  • Breaks down faster than PU
  • Doesn’t support heavy loads well
  • Typically lasts 3 – 6 months

LONGEVITY

It’s important to note the durability and expected lifespan of quality hiking sandals. Those made with an Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA) midsole have the same longevity as atypical running shoe and thus have the same replacement requirements: every 3 – 6 months. This is because EVA, while highly shock absorbent and extremely cushiony, tends to retain the shape of the foot and molds to it. This causes it to lose its effectiveness over time.

Hiking sandals with a Polyurethane (PU) midsole last much longer than the 6-month maximum of EVA due to it’s highly resilient and extremely durable design. If properly maintained, a pair of these hiking sandals can last a year or more.

FIT

Not all brands of hiking sandals are sized equally. Make sure you take a look at each brand’s sizing chart or scout the Q&A section to see if a particular sandal runs small or big. Some hiking sandals may also be narrower than you’d expect, something that’s common for guys. Double check the width and see if that particular model is offered in wide sizes. If not, sizing up may be your next best bet. You’ll just have to ratchet down those straps to achieve a snug fit.

FEATURES EXPLAINED

OUTSOLE

Also simply known as the “sole”, it’s the outer portion of a hiking sandal that makes contact with the ground and has traction.

A layer between the outsole and insole that provide cushioning and support.

INSOLE

The inside of the hiking sandal where your foot rests.

LUGS

The deep indented pattern that appears on the bottom of the shoe and provides traction.

EVA

Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate: a synthetic material made of thousands of tiny bubbles that provides cushioning and shock absorption. Has a “memory” that will contour to your foot.

PU

Polyurethane: a synthetic material that is extremely durable and ideal for arch support. It has no “memory” and thus will last much longer than EVA.

The Best Sandals for Hiking in 2019

This story is part of our Summer Gear Guide issue, covering everything from cold brew to grill hacks to the perfect outdoor projector. For the full list of stories, click here.

A lot is implied by the word “sandal.” Upon hearing it, one might conjure up an image of footwear made of leather and cork loosely affixed to a pair of worn feet stemming from a guitar-toting, shower-averse long-haired hippy. That picture would stereotype both man and shoe, though.

Sandals have their place outside of cultural generalizations — in rafts, for one. Teva, one of the most highly-regarded makers of outdoor sandals, got its start in 1984 when Mark Thatcher, a river guide in the Grand Canyon, used two Velcro watch straps to modify a pair of flip-flops so they wouldn’t come off his feet.

The outdoor sandals available today are more robust than that — in fact, they’re about as beefy as can be without losing the light and open qualities that make them great in the first place. Sticky rubber soles with heavy lugs, platforms molded for arch support and anti-blister constructions are just some of the traits that make the best outdoor sandals suitable for use beyond boats and water. Hike in them, bike in them, climb in them — these sandals are built to go everywhere.

Teva Terra Fi 5 Sport

Tevas are the classic outdoor sandals, and the Terra Fi 5 Sport model is akin to the original many of us remember from childhood, but with a few crucial upgrades that make it great for all-around outdoor use. For one, it features a molded PU midsole that provides support on uneven ground, as well as a sticky rubber outsole. The Terra Fi 5 Sport also has additional padding at points of high abrasion where the straps meet the sole, and those straps zig-zag across the top of the foot to hold it in place while it flexes.

Bedrock Cairn 3D Adventure Sandals

Bedrock felt even traditional sandals were too constraining, so it reworked the strap layout into a design that’s something of a hybrid between a flip-flop and Tevas. The paracord thong uses an aluminum insert instead of the easily breakable plug found on normal flip-flops, and an adjustable heel cuff provides rear foot stability. The Cairn 3D features a contoured footbed for additional comfort and a Vibram outsole for the best possible grip. If it looks too minimal for long adventures, know that it isn’t — the company’s chief experience officer, Naresh Kumar, hiked New Zealand’s 3,000-kilometer Te Araroa trail in a pair.

Keen Newport Hydro

Many of Keen’s sandals walk a fine line between sandal and shoe, and the Newport Hydro does it expertly. It’s open everywhere except the toe, which makes it perfect for wear during aquatic activities when underwater rocks can become especially hazardous to toes. Its washable webbing exterior is backed with a comfy PFC-free, quick-drying lining. The sole has tread enough for hiking on dry land, too, and is supported by a light shank for additional support.

Chaco Z2 Classic

Chaco’s most iconic sandal is also one of the most polarizing, largely due to the unique loop that helps secure the big toe. People either hate it or love it; we find that it provides the extra bit of leverage that’s useful when scrambling up trails and over rocks. (If you really don’t like it, there’s a toe-less version too.) The sandal is simple in build — it’s composed of only eight parts — but is podiatrist-approved for its super-supportive sole. That sole may be a bit chunky, but it’s also qualified for use on even long-haul treks.

Freewaters Trifecta

Flip-flops are great for casual wear but, for all their wonderful qualities, are not great adventure sandals; they’re too minimal and often quite breakable. But leaving the heel free to breath is nice (and prevents abrasion to one of the foot’s most blister-prone areas). Freewaters approached the zero-sum situation by axing the heel piece and leaving a Velcro strap over the top of the foot. It also included a soft foam platform and a supportive arch, both of which help this flip-flop mutant roam much farther than the sidewalk or the beach.

Astral Filipe

Astral’s take on the flip-flop uses a smart hybrid design that allows wearers to choose whether they want additional support. At the base of the main straps are two notches that allow for the insertion of a supplementary piece of webbing that runs across the heel and over the top of the foot. This makes the Felipe more secure for its intended in-water use — think rafting, canoeing, kayaking and swimming — but also makes it a safe bet for light-hiking adventures.

Chaco Odyssey Sandal

One of Chaco’s more recent releases, the Odyssey is part sandal, part hiking shoe, part Nike Flyknit. It quickly calls to mind a water shoe ideal for rafting and wading, but its rugged sole can handle hiking trails, too. Plus, the extra coverage provided by the mesh upper and toe overlays adds protection without sacrificing one of the best things about wearing sandals: breathability.

The Best Hiking Boots Available

Unlike concrete sidewalks and gravel paths, the trail calls for hardened and supportive footwear to combat dirt, mud, jagged rocks and streams. The answer is hiking boots and hiking shoes, and these are the best available. Read the Story

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.
Tanner Bowden

Tanner Bowden is a staff writer at Gear Patrol covering all things outdoors and fitness. He is a graduate of the National Outdoor Leadership School and a former wilderness educator. He lives in Brooklyn but will always identify as a Vermonter.

More by Tanner Bowden | Follow on Instagram · Contact via Email

Definitive Guide: 15 Best Hiking Sandals of 2020

This article may contain affiliate / compensated links. For full information, please see our disclaimer here.

There’s no better feeling than releasing your feet from sweaty boots after a long hike. But what if you could have this feeling throughout your entire day on trail? Hiking sandals give you the support you need for a day of hiking without squeezing your feet into completely enclosed shoes.

The best hiking sandals give you similar support and protection as hiking shoes while being comfortable, convenient, and awesome for summer days. They’re a practical pair of hiking shoes as you’ll be able to tromp through mud and cross streams without having to worry about finishing your day in soggy boots.

If you’re looking to one-up your summer hiking game, take a look at our picks for the best hiking sandals! You’ll be surprised at what you can accomplish with the right ones.

Our Picks for Best Hiking Sandals 2020

  • Teva Terra Fi4 Sandal
  • Teva Katavi Outdoor Sandal
  • Teva Hurricane XLT2 Sport Sandal
  • Teva Omnium Sandal
  • CAMEL Athletic Sandals
  • Chaco Z2 Classic Athletic Sandal
  • Chaco Odyssey Sandal
  • KEEN Arroyo III
  • KEEN Newport Hydro
  • KEEN UNEEK Sandal
  • DREAM PAIRS Outdoor Sandals
  • Astral Filipe
  • Viakix Walking Sandals
  • Ecco Yucatan Sandal
  • Merrell All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoe

Hiking Sandals: Comparison Table

Sandal
Image
Price
Weight
Toe Style
View on Amazon
Teva Terra Fi4 Sandal $$$ 1 lb 13 oz Open
Teva Katavi Outdoor Sandal $$ 12 oz Open
Teva Hurricane XLT2 Sport Sandal $$ 10 oz Open
Teva Omnium Sandal $$ 12 oz Closed
CAMEL Athletic Sandals $ 1 lb Open
Chaco Z2 Classic Athletic Sandal $$ 12 oz Open
Chaco Odyssey Sandal $$$ 10 oz Closed
KEEN Arroyo III $$$ 12 oz Closed
KEEN Newport Hydro $$ 12 oz Closed
KEEN UNEEK Sandal $$$ 12 oz Closed
DREAM PAIRS Outdoor Sandals $ 1 lb Closed
Astral Filipe $$ 6.2 oz Open
Viakix Walking Sandals $$ 1 lb Open
Ecco Yucatan Sandal $$$ 10 oz Open
Merrell All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoe $$ 10.9 oz Closed

Do You Need Hiking Sandals?

If you’re an avid warm weather hiker and are getting tired of having your feet cramped in sweaty shoes all day, it’s definitely worth giving hiking sandals a go.

Hiking sandals are awesome for warmer hikes and easier days on the trail as they let your feet breathe and keep you feeling comfortable. They also weigh less than hiking boots or shoes, which means feeling light as you bounce along a trail.

I love to wear hiking sandals when I’m traversing through trails in places like New Hampshire or Maine because there are tons of stream and shallow river crossings. Gone are the days where I have to strip off my shoes or complete my hike in soggy boots.

Hiking sandals are the ultimate solution because they dry quickly or are completely waterproof to begin with!

While they don’t completely replace hiking shoes or boots, hiking sandals are an awesome gear addition because they give you more versatility without weighing down your pack. It’s nice to have options and being able to throw a pair of hiking sandals into your daypack when you’re hitting the trail is a great place to start.

That said, if you’re carrying a heavy pack or load or doing a more technical hike, you’re going to want to stick with a pair of boots or sturdy shoes. Hiking sandals are great, but they just don’t give you the support needed for carrying serious weight or scaling mountains.

What to Look for in Good Hiking Sandals

Hiking sandals are different from your typical flip-flops or everyday sandals.

There are certain features that you should look for when purchasing a pair. Here’s all that you need to consider when choosing a pair of these special shoes.

Arch support is one of the main things that sets hiking sandals apart from typical summer shoes. It is also one of the most important features to look at when choosing a pair for you.

Having good arch support is essential for keeping your feet comfortable, happy, and safe on the trail. The arch support you’ll find in hiking sandals is similar to that in hiking shoes and gives your feet that extra bit of cushion for the trail.

Sole and Treads

In addition to arch support, you’re going to want to pick sandals that have a sturdy sole to stand up to trail conditions.

Since these aren’t normal walking shoes, you need something that is durable, rugged, and made from a reputable material. You don’t want to be left with holes in the bottom of your shoe after a day of exploring.

You should also look for sandals that have serious treads on the sole. A deep tread pattern is essential because it gives you traction and grip when you’re making your way through different terrains.

Make sure that your hiking sandals have large lugs, which will keep you steady when navigating in slippery conditions or deep mud.

Secure on Your Feet

How secure your hiking sandals are is also an extremely important consideration. There’s a reason typical flip-flops don’t make good hiking sandals, and it’s mainly because they’ll slide right off your foot!

Look for sandals that will stay securely on your foot, whether it’s with velcro, buckles, or laces. This is ensures that you don’t have to worry about losing a shoe along the way.

Toe Protection

Another thing to think about is having toe protection.

While not present in all hiking sandals, some are constructed with a toe cap to keep your toes safe and sound. Whether it’s from stray rocks or little critters, thinking about having some toe protection is a good idea.

Fit

The fit of your hiking sandals is imperative for them to be a good walking companion. You want to make sure they’re comfortable and don’t rub in the wrong places — the last thing you need is exposed blisters!

Some hiking sandals will mold to your feet the more you wear them, which is an awesome feature to get a custom fit.

You should also take into account that feet swell in heat and when under stress, so you should have enough leeway for enlarged feet without the sandals turning uncomfortable.

Sandals with an adjustable fit are best because you’ll be able to switch it up if the fit becomes too tight.

Waterproof / Quick Drying

Finally, you absolutely want to pick a pair of waterproof or at least quick drying sandals to keep you comfortable if you encounter wet conditions along the trail.

Sandals that stay wet for a long time are useless because they’ll start to rub you the wrong way and become stinky.

Main Use

A last thing to consider when choosing hiking sandals is considering the type of hiking you’ll be doing.

If you’re sticking to flat and easy trails, open-toed sandals should be just fine, but if you’re getting into some rougher terrains, you’ll want something with a little more protection.

As I mentioned earlier, hiking sandals aren’t really suitable for hiking up mountains or carrying a heavy load. You’ll want to stick with your trust hiking boots or shoes for that.

Best Hiking Sandals 2020

We’re coming to you with our selection of 15 of the best hiking sandals available in 2020. Each pair was thoughtfully chosen for its features, durability, and versatility.

Hopefully these suggestions will lead you to your new trail companion!

Teva Terra Fi5 Sandal

Toe Style: Open

Weight: 1lb 13oz

What We Love: Multiple points for adjustment | Quick drying | Long-lasting

As a little kid, you almost definitely had a pair of Tevas. At least I did, along with every other child in my neighborhood, at my summer camp, and in my elementary school class.

Teva is a well-known, dependable brand that is pretty much king of the outdoor sandal game.

The Terra Fi5 Sandals are a great shoe for warm weather trekking, as they can be put on easily, mold to your foot, and adjust to fit just right. The material is versatile and quick drying, which makes them awesome for taking on the road with you. These Teva sandals are extremely reliable and long-lasting, with velcro straps for easy securing and adjustment in three different places.

I love this model because the heel absorbs shock, making them perfect for rugged trail wear, and the outsole is made to give you the best traction possible. Plus, their design even allows you to slip on a pair of socks while wearing them for a little bit of added comfort.

While they’re pretty expensive, users rave about how durable and well-made they are so these Tevas are a worthwhile investment.

Teva Katavi Outdoor Sandal

Toe Style: Open

Weight: 12oz

What We Love: Multiple points for adjustment | Great arch support | Good traction

Another awesome hiking sandal from Teva, the Katavi has all the qualities of a great hiking shoe but in sandal form.

These sandals have a contoured EVA footbed which is cushy when you slip the shoe on but supportive when you get going. They offer great arch support, and adjust in three places like other Teva sandals.

What makes these so special is that the Katavi has a nylon shank that stabilizes and supports your foot when you’re traveling over uneven terrain. Shanks are an essential part of hiking boots, and it’s awesome that Teva was able to incorporate this into a sandal.

The nooks of this sandal where the straps should separate are outfitted with mesh to keep little rocks or dirt from breaking in while still allowing your foot to breathe properly. Not to mention the sole also offers superior traction to keep you upright.

The Ketavi are a huge win in the hiking department.

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Teva Hurricane XLT2 Sport Sandal

Toe Style: Open

Weight: 10oz

What We Love: Multiple points for adjustment | Waterproof sole | Great traction

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Still hunting for the perfect Tevas to take along on your adventures? The Hurricane XLT2 Sport Sandals are another option for all you hiking sandal lovers.

These shoes are great for water as they have a completely waterproof sole with quick drying fabric to support.

Like typical Tevas, they adjust in 3 places. For more comfort, the sandals have a contoured footbed with a textured pattern which makes them extra comfortable for walking in.

The midsole is made of EVA foam which gives wearers cushioning without adding to the shoe’s weight. The nylon shank keeps you upright while trekking along. The outsoles on these sandals are really special because they’re made from Rugged Durabrasion Rubber which is ultra durable and offers the best traction around.

Choose from 11 different colors to find ones that suit your style, and be on your way!

Teva Omnium Sandal

Toe Style: Closed

Weight: 12oz

What We Love: Toe protection | Great for rougher terrain | Stretchy fit

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If you’re looking for a little more coverage but are hooked on the Teva brand, not to fear! The Omnium is a perfect mix of exposure and protection to keep your feet safe on rougher trails.

These sandals are more similar to a hiking shoe because they have a thicker sole with a raised heel for extra support and comfort, as well as a closed toe with a cap in case you kick a boulder or log while on your trek. The Omniums are more of a slip-on, but still adjust with a buckle over the arch and on the back of your foot. There are no laces for ultimate comfort but the main part of the shoe is stretchy so it will expand with your foot as needed.

Besides all that’s been mentioned, these sandals have a nylon shank for stabilization and they’re quick drying for the times you get caught in some water.

The Omnium is an awesome hybrid if you’re looking for a lightweight mix of a sandal and a hiking shoe.

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CAMEL Athletic Sandals

Toe Style: Open

Weight: 1lb

What We Love: Adjustable fit | Shockproof sole | Waterproof

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If you’re not totally sold on Tevas but like the look and what they have to offer, an alternative to look at is the CAMEL Athletic Sandals.

Plus points: they’re way less expensive, and wearers claim they’re even more comfortable!

Besides the adjustable straps, these hiking sandals have a shockproof sole, thanks to an air cushion placed inside which reduces foot fatigue and keeps you going for longer. You get optimum arch support because there’s a massage ball placed on the footbed — talk about comfort!

Did we mention that there’s padding under the straps, too?

These are great for water use as they’re completely waterproof and have anti-skid properties to keep you stable. The high quality materials guarantee they’ll be lon- lasting and all the added benefits make them the perfect summer adventure companion.

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Chaco Z2 Classic Athletic Sandal

Toe Style: Open

Weight: 12oz

What We Love: Contoured arch support | Great traction | Adjustable fit

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Chacos are my personal favorite sandal brand because I find them to be equally stylish and functional.

The Z2 Classic Athletic Sandals are a great choice for adventure wear with a textured “LUVSEAT” footbed. This essentially means it has contoured arch support for the best fit possible. The midsole is made from PU which is much more durable than the foam alternative because it doesn’t break down or compress with wear.

Finally, the outsole has an awesome performance tread for the ultimate traction on the trail. You’ll also be able to use the adjustable straps to get the perfect fit.

The one thing about these Chacos is that they have a toe loop which people either love or hate. That said, it gives you extra assurance that these sandals will stay on your foot no matter where you’re off to.

Toe Style: Closed

Weight: 10oz

What We Love: Adjustable fit | Odor-blocking technology | Maximum protection

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Another awesome hybrid hiking sandal is the Chaco Odyssey.

This sandal looks like a running sneaker but actually falls into the hiking sandal category because of the open back, side panels and adjustable straps.

In true Chaco fashion, this sandal also has a LUVSEAT dual density midsole, complete with odor-blocking technology and extra durable materials. The entire top of the sandal is covered with mesh to keep your foot protected, while still drying quickly if it gets splashed with water. The top of the sandal also features an adjustable buckle so you can get the perfect fit every time.

This sandal is ideal if you are looking for something that’s lightweight yet offers maximum protection. It has a toe cap, rugged treads, and deep lugs to keep you on your feet for the duration of your adventure.

Toe Style: Closed

Weight: 12oz

What We Love: Lightweight | Great arch support | Superb traction

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KEEN is another brand that’s well regarded for their thoughtfully-structured and durable hiking gear.

The Arroyo III combines everything that users love about Keen’s hiking shoes and boots but puts it into a lightweight, comfortable sandal to wear trekking.

These sandals have a lace-up design and a strong toe cap to keep your foot protected. Under the lacing is a mesh insert that will keep air flowing to your foot while keeping out bad elements of the trail. The footbed has strong arch support with a removable insole. The midsole has dual density EVA, making it one of the most comfortable ones yet. You’ll never have to worry about traction because of the thoughtfully-constructed treads.

Plus, the sole is made of high quality rubber that’s guaranteed to last for years to come.

The one downside of this sandal is it’s made from fabric and nubuck, which is extremely durable but takes quite a while to dry.

The Arroyo also runs small and is best for narrow feet. So if you’re a hiker with wider feet, you’ll probably benefit from a different hiking sandal.

KEEN Newport Hydro

Toe Style: Closed

Weight: 120z

What We Love: Great support | Waterproof | Maximum protection

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Another strong option from KEEN is the Newport Hydro which is a breathable hiking sandal constructed like a hiking shoe.

Let’s start with the bottom part of this sandal: the sole of the Hydro is super thick and keeps you slightly elevated which increases support and protects you from anything that may be poking up from uneven ground. It also greatly enhances the waterproof aspect of this sandal because there’s so much rubber!

There’s also a thick strip that wraps around where the sole meets the sandal which reaches up to the front of the shoe to create a generous toe cap.

The entire sandal itself is waterproof as it’s made from synthetic materials. This sandal is perfect for tromping through muddy grounds or crossing streams and rivers. You can even wear them in the ocean!

Tighten or loosen them with the convenient bungy cord, and enjoy all the air your feet will get while wearing these bad boys!

Just be sure to size up when purchasing because these sandals run small.

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KEEN UNEEK Sandal

Toe Style: Closed

Weight: 120z

What We Love: Stylish design | Durable | Slim look

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If you’re looking for a hiking sandal with an extremely funky design, check out the UNEEKs by KEEN.

Keen describes these as “Huarache-inspired” as they feature a uniquely woven chord design across the top of the sandal, with a drawchord lacing mechanism.

The back of the sandal is made of microfiber to keep your foot from sliding out, while the footbed and lightweight PU midsole are designed to increase the lifespan of these durable shoes.

These sandals are super durable and quite flexible, making them perfect for trail walking, crossing streams and traveling down steep inclines. They fit a wide variety of foot shapes, making them suitable for those who need a wider sandal, and come in 15 colors!

The only downside is they don’t have as much arch support as other hiking sandals.

Despite the slight drawback, you’re sure to turn heads and reap in the compliments both on and off the trail with these nicely constructed hiking sandals.

DREAM PAIRS Outdoor Sandals

Toe Style: Closed

Weight: 1lb

What We Love: Toe protection | Quick dry | Adjustable fit

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Here are a super flexible, open-sided but durable pair of hiking sandals that you’ll be able to use for any kind of outdoor activity.

A much less expensive option than other sandals of this type, DREAM PAIRS really perfected this sandal with breathable mesh, quick dry materials and a strong toe cap.

Slip them on and pull the bungy chord to find the perfect fit. Need more customization? The velcro strap on the back will allow you to get these sandals as tight around your heel as you’d like. The footbed is made from lightweight EVA which is flexible and provides a good amount of cushioning to keep you comfortable on your adventures. Owners of this sandal have reported it’s like walking on a cloud when wearing them!

These are definitely a good choice if you’re looking for the most comfortable budget option.

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Toe Style: Open

Weight: 6.2oz

What We Love: Super lightweight | Waterproof | Good traction

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Are you a flip-flop lover? Here’s a pair of sturdy action flip-flops that are suitable for active days full of hiking or trail walking.

Astral’s Filipe sandals look like a typical flip-flop but have two extra straps that go across the middle of your foot and lock your heel in so that you don’t lose them on the go. These extra straps are removable, but you’ll be so in love with your feet staying in place, I doubt you’ll ever want to take them off!

The sandals are designed with a flexible outsole that’s extra sticky and grabs onto the surface below you, making them perfect for uneven trails and the bottom of streams.

At only 6 ounces, these flip-flops are perfect for throwing in your bag and pulling them out when needed. Or wear them right out and feel like you’re walking barefoot (but with extra protection of course)!

They’re super waterproof and won’t absorb any moisture, making them perfect for water use or for cleaning off after a day out and about.

There’s no need to break these sandals in, so grab them and go! The outdoors are calling.

Viakix Walking Sandals

Toe Style: Open

Weight: 1lb

What We Love: Stylish design | Great arch support | Quick dry

Probably the best-looking sandals on this list, these shoes from Viakix are perfect for ladies looking for some support while on the trail without sacrificing style.

The best part about these sandals is that they offer amazing arch support, along with a super dependable grip and comfortable footbed. They’re designed for rugged outdoor use and are long-lasting. They won’t lose their support or breakdown after many wears!

The straps on the front aren’t adjustable but they’re quite stretchy, giving your foot comfort as they expand to fit you just right. The Viakix walking sandals will absorb impact and dry quickly when wet.

Seriously, what’s not to love about these?

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Ecco Yucatan Sandal

Toe Style: Open

Weight: 10oz

What We Love: Multiple points for adjustment | Good traction | 38 color options

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These sandals by Ecco are essentially open hiking shoes and are constructed as such.

They’re adjustable in three places, and constructed from high quality nubuck which is durable and comfortable as well. The Yucatan sandal is lined with neoprene which makes it suitable for water use without having to worry about the insides staying soggy.

The footbed is made from EVA and designed to mold to your foot, giving you ideal cushioning, comfort and support. Not to mention stability! The bottom of the sandal is made for gripping uneven terrain so you’ll always be confident, no matter what trail you’re blazing.

Finally, you’ve really got your pick of colors with these sandals as they come in 38 different options!

Merrell All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoe

Toe Style: Closed

Weight: 10.9oz

What We Love: Adjustable fit | Vibram sole | Excellent traction

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Wrapping up these reviews is the All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoe from Merrell. Because what would a hiking gear article be without a mention of this well-known brand?

Crafted from waterproof leather and neoprene, these sandals are ready for anything, whether it’s on land or in water. You can adjust these super quickly with a pull of the bungy chord as well.

You’ll always feel comfortable in these thanks to the Vibram sole, cut-outs throughout, and a super sturdy toe cap. The lugs are deep and you’ll experience excellent traction as you make your way through any kind of trail.

Choose between 10 colors and enjoy real comfort while hiking in these sandals!

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Need more gear for your outdoor adventures? Check out these guides

  • Best Women’s Hiking Boots 2019: The Ultimate List
  • Best Men’s Hiking Boots 2019: Boots for Any Outdoor Adventure
  • Best Travel Backpacks 2019
  • Ultimate Guide: Best Backpacking Tents to Buy in 2019

Best womens hiking sandal

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