Best Hiking Sandals: Most hikers veer towards hiking boots for their outdoor expeditions, and there is no doubt associated with the fact that they are comfortable, reliable, and most importantly, protective. However, if you have ever ventured outdoors during the high summers, you would know that boots can definitely feel highly restrictive. And the very protection they offer renders our feet sweaty and slippery. Speaking of monsoons, there are obvious discomfort factors associated on that front as well. This is why a great alternative for hiking boots can be provided by a pair of built-to-last hiking sandals.
The newbie hiker may be surprised upon hearing about going on an extended expedition in a pair of sandals, but as the more seasoned ones would know, there is a time and place for everything. And the same applies for the best hiking sandals that you can buy to accompany you on your next weekender.
Why Hiking Sandals?
As an extension of what we have already noted in the paragraph above, we will now take a look at why you need sandals before discussing further about best hiking sandals for women & Men. Now note that we are definitely not suggesting you chuck your boots out the window for the next time you head out on a trip. However, the right sandals can be a great accompaniment to carry along with your boots, if the situation demands it.
As you may have already guessed, hiking sandals are not the best bet to invest in for an alpine climb. But for anything lesser, they can be a marvelous and useful addition to your trekking collection. And we cannot recommend them enough for gentler, more forgiving trails around snaking brooks and ravines, then you will find that sandals are any day a better option than boots.
There are several reasons why we believe that sandals are more suitable footwear over boots, given the situation. First off, boots are bulky, and they weigh your feet down. Now they are necessary on certain trails, but on the less punishing ones, we can do without them depending on the terrain. Even lightweight boots can feel restrictive because of your feet constantly being crammed inside them. That is why choosing the best hiking sandals and keeping it as a additional option for certain situations is quite important for the hikers.
Hiking sandals, on the other hand, score above boots on all these fronts. Because of the comparatively lesser material that goes into manufacturing them, they are much more lightweight. Moreover, thanks to the open spaces, they are much airier and also breathable. This results in your feet not being left a mangle of sweaty mess. On top of that, less material also translates to fewer chances of chafing and a quicker process of “breaking in.” Many of us tend to get shoe bites when we wear new shoes, and a pair of boots just increases the number of areas where you can get them.
Another reason for donning these on your feet is if you are going on monsoon trails. Boots are notorious for being difficult to dry, be it from sweat or from water. And the end result is smelly, disgusting feet. Your sandals, on the other hand, dry super quick; and because of the fact that they are airy, there is no problem of sweat accumulating over prolonged use. The best part is that they are washable, so when they get dirty, just clean them.
Keep in mind that hiking sandals are not as protective as your boots, because of the open areas. So you can definitely give the sandals a miss on your jungle trek, or to any destination where you might encounter snakes or leeches. Ultimately, if you choose wisely, you are bound to have a more comfortable trek/ hike with a pair of the best hiking sandals fitting comfortably around your feet.
Who Should Be Using Hiking Sandals?
Most seasoned hikers will already own a pair of the best hiking sandals for their purposes. But if you are still unsure if you need these when you already own a pair of boots, it is best to consider the weather when you are traveling, and the kind of terrain you are going to traverse on your next trek. If you are expecting it to be stuffy and humid, and if you know that the terrains are not going to be too rough, then you may safely opt for sandals instead of boots. You will also have a better time donning a pair of suitable sandals on your feet during an outing when you are expecting rainfall of any degree.
A pair of good hiking sandals will provide moderate protection against bugs, but they are best avoided on jungle safaris and trails full of dangerous bugs or venomous reptiles. All in all, if you know what you are doing, you should be well prepared.
Things to Consider Before Buying the Best Hiking Sandals
As with all outdoor equipment, we need to keep certain factors in mind before investing in a pair of hiking sandals. You need to select a pair that is up to the task of not only surviving the conditions by itself, but also keep you safe and secure. The reason why we choose sandals is because they are far more convenient for certain situations, and once you have that in mind, you can be prepared for your buying spree by consulting the list of Best Hiking Sandals 2017 below.
Size/ Fit: Quite obviously, this happens to be top priority, and it is also the trickiest to figure out. Not all sizes work for all people, even if you have seemingly same sized feet. Some feet are narrow, while others can be significantly wider. The fact that this can be an issue does not even cross many minds, but it is crucial to get your shoes fitted just right before you hit the trails.
Besides the question of the size, another huge factor to consider is the fit of the sandals. Now the first thing to keep in mind is the fact that the fit and the size are certainly not the same things. The size is the core measurement of your feet, while the fit can be perfect or terrible for you depending on the size as well as the design of the sandals. Make sure to stick to the basics, and look for velcro closures alongside tie-up ones for the best possible fit. If you have different feet, do not overlook their requirements. Many companies make dedicated sandals for such feet and you will benefit from buying these in the long run.
Material: As we have said repeatedly in this post and elsewhere, a lot depends on the material of our outdoor wearables. In terms of the best hiking sandals, you need to keep in mind the purpose first, as your feet will be in them most of the day. The ideal pair should be made of a waterproof and washable material that lets them survive more than the occasional splash of water. Look for a pair that has the terms “Quick dry” or “Washable” on their description box or label. The material must also be built to last, as you would undoubtedly want to wear them on several occasions.
Coverage: As is the case with sandals, they are low on coverage. Even so, it is better for you to invest in a pair that has a sensible amount of coverage as that will protect you from creepy crawlies along the way. Our favorites are the ones that have more coverage on the front and lesser at the rear/ heel area. This will ensure that your feet are well protected while also being gentle on them.
Comfort: While being the most important factor to consider before buying a pair of solid hiking sandals, it is also the most subjective. The best way to find out if a pair will work out well for you, in the long run, is by trying them on and taking a few steps. They should not chafe your feet, and nor should they be too stiff. Look for a pair that is soft and bendable while at the same time being sturdy to endure the trails. This brings us to our next point of Flexibility.
Flexibility: Flexibility is another important aspect you should keep in mind while choosing the best hiking sandals for you. The best shoes are the ones that adapt well to the contours of your feet. When you’re out on open, less charted roads, your feet will land on unexpectedly uneven surfaces a lot, such as on rocks, twigs, and others. It makes sense to buy a pair that will be bendable enough to adapt to those anomalies and protect the bottom of your feet from feeling chafed and tired. You can find out if the pair you like has this feature simply by holding the edges and twisting to see if it is flexible enough.
Sole: This part forms the backbone of any good pair of shoes, and the same applies for functionality-oriented ones such as hiking sandals. The sole of your sandals should be adaptive, and yet tough. Thankfully, this combination is not too difficult to find in today’s date because of all the new technology that goes into making the sole. Also crucial is taking a thorough look at the bottom of the shoes. Most sandals will have grooves to ensure good traction and minimized slippage on the trickiest of terrains.
Price: While modern shoe-making has seen the rise of a lot of new features that make hiking sandals more and more suited to the purpose, it is incorrect to assume that buying the best pair will cost you an arm and a leg. As with all things, hiking sandals are also available in a number of price variations, so that it becomes easier for you to suit your budget. Before you go to buy, we suggest taking a look at the options we have provided below, as well as other hiking sandal reviews online, and then arrive at a budget. This will help direct your search in a more optimized way.
Now we move on to our list of the best outdoor hiking sandals 2017. Note that all of the products listed here are available online for more convenient and time-efficient buying.
List of Best Hiking Sandals 2017: A Buying Guide
We start off the list with what happens to be one of the best hiking sandals women’s in ways more than one. And we’ll come to the most obvious one a little later. First, a look at the features is in order. The Northside Women’s Burke II are completely handmade, thus sporting very high-quality build. We love how they look and fit like a superb cross between a pair of sneakers and sandals. They sport a high coverage value, and the platform raise ensures that your feet stay well protected against trail muck.
Hiking Sandals Women’s
It lacks the velcro closure that we recommend so much for the best support and fit, but the lace up closure of the Burke II is rather impressive. They do not tend to open up accidentally. The mesh lining is soft and keeps your feet to chafing. What we love especially is the fact that the Burke II can be a great fit for both wide and narrow feet, courtesy of its closing system. They can also be easily paired with socks because of the same reason. Coming to the price, the Burke II is a pair that is undoubtedly value for money, thus sealing its position at the top of our list.
Versatile make fits a number of different foot types
Tie up closure is very reliable
Sturdy and comfortable at the same time
Verdict: The Northside Women’s Burke II is the best women’s best hiking sandals for women. They do need proper consideration before you get the right fit, but the sizing can be great for all kinds of feet. Moreover, they are so comfortable that you can practically live in them throughout your trek.
Another great option among women’s hiking sandals are the Keen Arroyo II. These look formidable up close and ready to take on anything, and it is easy to feel reassured just by glancing at them. If the Northside pair looks like a comfortable hybrid between shoes and sandals, the Keen Arroyo Women’s Hiking Sandals look like they’re a pair of boots with a couple of vents in places.
They are somewhat similar to the Burke II too, both being man made and lacking a zipper fastening. However, like the Burke II, the Arroyo II also has a secure lace fastening system that is held tightly in place by a capture buckle. On the flexibility front, these may feel rather on the stiff side because they are meant for the long haul. If you want softer soles, take a look at our other recommendations. However, they are perfect in terms of the support provided. Rest assured that while on the road, your feet will be well protected while being able to breathe.
Long lasting; a pair will see you through many adventures
Secure lace fastening does not come loose
Size runs unpredictably; does not match other Keen shoes
Verdict: The Keen Arroyo II are a great blend of performance and stability. On the former front, it is one of the most durable sandals to wear repeatedly on moderate trails. Stability wise, they will take you through mossy surfaces to rocky climbs without a problem. A perfect all-rounder, in our books. They are also some of the best lightweight hiking sandals that you can get your hands on.
Not only do the Merrell Kahuna III open toe men’s hiking sandals look fantastic, they live up to the task they are set up to do as well. To begin with, these have enough stride in them to ensure the best possible performance in a number of different conditions. Among the good things, there is the fact that it is highly adaptive and can take you anywhere. It sports a suede upper that promises endurance, and n added bonus is the anti-microbial protection lining that has become an essential for hygienic reasons.
Men’s Best Hiking Sandals
The sandals close well with their adjustable hook and loop closure system, and they feel comfortable all day. But the most important part in any functionality related shoes is the sole, and the Kahuna III has got that spot on. The air cushioning support in the midsole is excellent and keeps you on your feet all day. Moreover, it works reasonably well across most terrains, making it count among the best for its versatility.
Well built and versatile
Not the best performance in marshes and swampy areas
Verdict: The Merrell Kahuna III are good for most terrains, making them an easy option. We suggest the Kahuna III for those who are getting started with their passion for the outdoors, or for those who prefer dry areas over wet ones. While these hold up against the accidental splash, your feet will move around in them a lot if they’re fully drenched.
Teva is renowned for making some of the best functionality oriented footwear in the world, and no list of the best hiking sandals will ever be complete without the Teva Omnium. Teva Hiking Sandals are available for both men and women, the Ominium is easily the best Teva hiking sandals in our opinion. The company has got everything from start to finish right on spot, making these the top hybrid one can find in the market.
There is ample hybridity in its functionality as well, as the Teva Omnium can take you between wet and dry conditions with elan. It sports a quick dry top that will dry out while being on your feet, and the Spider Rubber outsole means that you will be ready for practically any condition. The closure of these sandals is very impressive too, bringing together a buckle closure that releases just as quick as it fastens, and a bungee tightening system that adds more security. Trailblazing or rafting, whatever be your jam, you can get more out of the Teva Omnium hiking sandals men’s and women’s.
Great for protection
Low on comfort
Verdict: The Teva Omnium will be your best bet if you are wild at heart and need one fit for all your outdoor activities. It is great in the water and great in the sand, and the multi-directional tread makes sure that you never lose your footing, no matter what the situation. A fitting addition to all these is the fact that it is highly durable.
- Chaco Yampa z/2
Most would not give it a second glance for a high-energy outdoor activity, and they could not be more mistaken if they believe that these aren’t up to the task. The Chaco Yampa z/2 sandals are really tough, and the open toe design with a minimalistic upper makes it super comfortable to wear. But you’re really just getting started. The Chaco Yampa z/2 has the best support out of all on this list for feet that are prone to problems.
They are unbelievably comfortable, thanks to the contours of the footbed that has been designed to adjust to the shape of any feet and keep them comfortable. This fact alone is why so many people swear by these. The more you use them, the better they get, making them all that much better. It is true that the Chaco Yampa z/2 does not come across as the most ideal choice for hiking. But if you have problem feet, but want to explore the outdoors on your feet, then these will perhaps be your best bet, thanks to the great arch support and stable handling.
Best in support
High on endurance, despite having less material on top
Weight isn’t ideal
Verdict: While not traditional outdoor hiking sandals, the grip and stability of the Chaco Yampa z/2 make them well suited to the task when the need arises. If you tend to suffer from pain discomfort from being on your feet for long periods and yet don’t want to compromise with your enthusiasm for the outdoors, make sure you go for these. Undoubtedly one of the most comfortable hiking sandals you can buy.
- ECCO Yucatan Sandal
The fact that these are so underrated is a crime. The Ecco Yucatan sandals pack in the punch of a pair of the best boots you have come across, all thanks to the unique tread pattern. They are super stable, offering the right amount of resistance so that your steps feel sure. Needless to say, they make a really neat option to take on a hike or a dry climb. What we love the most is how they feel on the feet, however.
The straps that hold the feet in place are nice and stretchable, and they feel like a dream from the inside. What takes the cake is just how amazingly comfortable these are. The Ecco Yucatan sandals feel right at home on your feet, and do not weight them down. Besides being a great option for hiking and outdoor activities, the Yucatan sandals are great for anyone who face persistent problems with their feet. Got knee problems, or do your flat feet hold you back from pursuing the things you want to do? Go for these with your eyes closed.
The most comfortable pair on the list
Versatile and good for problem feet
Good for all terrains
Less upper coverage
Verdict: The Ecco Yucatan Sandals are the best women’s hiking sandals with arch support for anyone who puts comfort first. And if you believe that comfort and functionality are difficult to be coexisting in a pair of sandals, you need to try the Yucatan. They will treat your feet with the kind of comfort that you have never felt before, while ensuring you can climb anywhere or cross any creek without any durability issues.
- Ahnu Kovar Sport
By now, you can probably tell that we love our hybrids. Not only do they provide great comfort and stability alongside the ankle support of a pair of boots, but the fact that they can be sported in rain or shine is what makes them so good. While many feel that hybridized hiking sandals can be a little stiff and uncomfortable (in fact, the Ahnu Del Ray is a case in point), the Ahnu Kovar Sport is truly amazing.
In what can arguably be called the most comfortable among all hybrids, the traction and versatility of the Kovar Sport are only two of its top notch features. The others would be the extremely comfortable insole and the fact that they can be worn just about anywhere. People have even worn it in the water and still have nothing to complain about. The point to remember is that these may feel tight on wider feet, but that makes them among the best hiking sandals for narrow feet. This is because while the closure may feel tight, the sizes run as expected. They use a trusty clip buckle for closing and quick release, and the security is aided further by the unbeatable grip these have on just about any surface.
Good option for those with narrower feet
Very comfortable, which is often a problem with hybrids
Great support and traction
Clip buckle is prone to breakage
Verdict: As we have already pointed out, the Ahnu Kovar Sport stands out from all the other popular sandals because of its amazing strength and comfort. It is versatile enough to be taken anywhere, from sandy beaches to steep mountain trails, and keep your ankles well protected even in the most taxing terrains. We do feel they could do better with the closure, or at least have another option along with the clip buckle.
- Keen Newport H2
There is a reason why Keen happens to be one of the most popular hiking sandals brands in the world, and what serves as the simplest basis of that is that they make some really good shoes using some of the most advanced technology. Moreover, the Keen Newport H2 sandals will figure on the list of many a hiker’s top preferences be cause of their anatomically designed footbed (which adds greatly to the comfort factor), and high security features, The Newport H2 sandals are one of the best to be walking in for long hours of the day.
They hold up really well in water, and the grip holds fast even in the current. This reduces the chances of you losing your balance while crossing a particularly forceful stream anti-current. Coming to the individual features, the Newport H2 sports a quality leather upper that is also completely washable and resistant to water damage, and the company’s trademark metatomical insole is removable to make space for your orthotics if you have such a requirement. The footbed is designed according to the natural shape of the foot to hold it in place in utmost comfort. The razor-sipped sole and the multi-directional lug pattern make for great traction. They come with a secure lace fastening feature.
Anatomically designed footbed
Designed for problem feet
Excellent tractions and waterproofing
Durability is an issue
Verdict: Keen has made better sandals than the Newport H2 is today’s date, but these still remain one of the top picks among hikers because of the stability and comfort they offer. They also have the trademark traction excellency that is a feature of almost any Keen footwear, and therefore make a great choice for anyone wanting to test the waters (no pun intended) but suffer from certain feet related ailments.
- Merrell All Out Blaze Sieve Convertible Water Sandal
If you are looking for the best sandals for hiking and water, or a pair of airy sandals particularly for use around the water, look no further than the Merrell All Out Blaze Sieve Convertible Water Shoes, and not simply because of the very self-explanatory nature of the name. Be it a day of idle fishing near the water or an extreme water sports adventure such as white water rafting, the All Out Blaze will take you anywhere and hold up well too. If you are worried about all the hiking sandals reviews that say that these come apart real soon, it is important to note that your shoes should not be kept wet on your feet for a long time.
When you wear them for a long time while they are wet and on the way to drying, the materials get stretched and thus, damage happens. Take them off after a stint in the water, and you will be amazed how heavy duty these sandals are. The All Out Blaze sandals come with a waterproof leather upper that is also quick drying, and the lightweight Vibram outsole ensures that you find solid footing in the waters without losing your balance. They truly are built for the water, as you may find out for yourself if you do buy them. They run true to size, so take your pick as usual. One thing to note is that they fit wider feet much better.
Water activity oriented functionality
Vibram outsole provides good traction even in the water
Not a great option for narrow feet
Not enough arch support
Verdict: Whenever you are taking your shoes near the water, even waterproof ones, you need to know how to take care of them. Get that right, and the Merrell All Out Blaze Sieve Convertible Water Shoes will last you for a long time. Besides the fact that they are great for water activities, the Blaze also look good and are very comfortable, if you are willing to discount the lack of a proper arch support. All in all, these are one of the best waterproof hiking sandals.
- Teva Terra Fi 4 Sandal
Our last pick is another of the best Teva hiking sandals you can find, especially if you have narrow feet. The Teva Terra Fi 4 Sandals are an excellent pick for athletic folks with a love for both land and water. If you have used the Fi 3 sandals, you would immediately notice how big of an improvement these bring to the table. The fact that they do not look bulky and heavy like the other open toe hiking sandals goes to show that you do not need an excess of add-ons to make your athletic pursuits comfortable. We also love the three point adjustment feature, which also results in a secure fastening as well as better looking feet.
The sole comes with an anti-microbial layer, which keeps chances of odor at bay even if your feet tend to get sweaty in every condition. The Teva Terra Fi 4 Sandals are amazing to live in for the larger part of the day, and the sole ensures that you can take them anywhere you want- be it for a dip in the water or for a challenging terrain. The sole may be thick and somewhat dense, but they feel softer than you would imagine. Sizes are good too, but the fit makes them a better choice for those with skinnier feet.
Good for narrow feet
Secure and stable support system
Great sole unit provides comfort throughout
Tends to give blisters when wet
Verdict: The Teva Terra Fi 4 offer excellent support for the kind of coverage they provide, and the lack of excess bulk makes them very comfortable to wear as well. With these sandals, durability is an issue that you do not have to think about. One pair will last you for many treks and trips. We love them for women more because of the way they look and fit around more narrowly structured feet without compromising on the size factor.
Now that we have reached the conclusion of our top ten choices for the best hiking sandals that money can buy, we are certain that you will find a pick for your next trip outdoors from here. All of these have landed on our compilation for beating their competition in terms of strength, stability, and durability. However, if you feel like we have not mentioned a favorite pair of yours that deserve a trial, do let us know what they are and why you love them. Also, do browse around our site for more of our best traveling gear compilations.