When it comes to hiking, shoes are the most important piece of equipment. During hiking, your feet do most of the work. And if you will be hiking in extremely hot or wet conditions, why not opt to go with hiking sandals?
Choosing your hiking sandals is not a simple thing to do though. Beginners should be very careful and look for advice. Comfortable footwear is the key to a joyful hike – remember that. However, choosing the wrong pair of hiking sandals can turn your first hike into a painful, blistery experience that you might not want to repeat.
If you are not sure about the best hiking sandals for you, ask yourself a question – what qualities are you looking for in hiking footwear?
The Quick Answer
All hiking sandals might appear to be similar but, in reality, they often have quite different characteristics. Again, it is up to you.
Are you looking for more cover for your feet or do you prefer to keep them cool during hot summer days? The material is also an important factor. Some materials are better for wet conditions while others are sturdier, giving more support.
All that said, here are our “quick answer” favorites (for men, women, and kids):
KEEN Newport H2 Sandal is probably the best choice for men. The best hiking sandals for women are KEEN Rose Sandals while toddlers and older kids will be more than comfortable to spend the day in Merrell Hydro Water sandals.Check Latest Price
Our Hiking Sandals Comparison
What follows is a quick comparison of all sandal models reviewed in this article:
Hiking Sandal Reviews
The above comparison brings you quick insight about the general characteristics of each model. However, before making a purchase, you may want to take a more in-depth look at the best hiking sandals for each category.
1. KEEN Men’s Newport Sandal (Best Men’s Hiking Sandals)
You can easily notice that the maker thought of versatility while designing the KEEN Men’s Newport Sandal. At first glance, it is hard to find any important feature of men’s hiking sandals that is missing here. The appearance is compact, and the polyester webbing is solid and washable.
The manufacturer states that the rubber soles are anatomically adjusted and that they provide powerful grip and traction. The really great feature is the toe protection. For those hikers who enjoy rough terrains, having the comfort of a sandal with the toe protection of a shoe is a dream come true.
On the other hand, some free-feet loving hikers might say that these are shoes rather than sandals. The design truly looks a bit tight and closed in.
- All-purpose wear
- Toe protection
- Washable webbing
- Shoe-like appearance
- Half a size larger than usual sandals
Who It’s For
These men’s hiking sandals are best for the all-round hikers who like to experiment with different terrains. If you are looking for hiking sandals you can wear on rocky mountain slopes as well as on the beach while still enjoying the same performance, quality, and comfort, this model is definitely a good choice for you.Check Latest Price
2. KEEN Women’s Rose Sandal (Best Women’s Hiking Sandals)
KEEN’s women’s hiking sandals are just beautiful. Moreover, they are light, practical and versatile. The cute, retro design with the hook and loop closure is also a nice touch. An open appearance together with toe protection strikes a nice balance between practicality and style.
Rubber soles are equipped with a toe bumper, which is another fine feature. The leather and textile webbing is also washable. The sandals are available in several color combinations.
Although they appear to be comfortable, the lack of support on the sides is a potential reason for concern.
- Toe bumpers
- Lack of support on the sides
- Limited ankle-strap adjustment
Who It’s For
For women who love spending their time outdoors in the sunny weather, these women’s hiking sandals are a great recommendation. The retro design is very much sought after lately, and it also brings back memories. What’s more, sandals like these will perform well in all circumstances. Rocky terrains, forest paths, beaches and shallow waters will be conquered with ease.Check Latest Price
3. Merrell Hydro Water Sandal (Best Kids’ Hiking Sandals)
For the first steps in the great outdoors, these kid’s hiking sandals will be just perfect. Young hikers are sensitive, and their first experiences should be as pleasant as possible. A comfortable hiking sandal can play a major role in making that happen.
The Merrell Hydro Water sandals are truly well-made to meet all the needs of young hikers and campers. The design provides support and protection from heel to toe. Rubber soles enable traction and the upper, leather and textile layer is well vented. The addition of the M-select Fresh lining helps keep the little feet odor free.
Although they are also marketed as water shoes by the manufacturer, the sturdy design doesn’t add weight to the claim.
- All-round protection
- Great versatility
Who It’s For
From toddlers to bigger kids, these hiking sandals are a great solution for all days spent outdoors. Their characteristics cover many different terrain types and the protection level they offer is highly satisfying. These stylish sandals are a great gift to give if you are trying to lure your kids out in the fresh air.Check Latest Price
4. KEEN UNEEK Sandal (Best Closed Toe)
The comfort of a sneaker in a hiking sandal is what these are all about. With the flashy, modern design and complete foot protection, these closed toe hiking sandals are the best in their category. Ankle-supporting straps and the anatomic foot bed add extra value to these amazing hiking sandals.
The purpose of the KEEN UNEEK is extremely diverse. They can easily handle city streets, parks, beaches, mountain paths, and forests. This fashionable foot wear will keep you feeling comfortable anywhere you take it.
KEEN’s UNEEK sandals will also make you stand out. The peculiar design is available in many different color combinations.
Due to the woven fabric upper layer, they do take quite some time to dry. So, think ahead before you get these sandals wet.
- Outstanding design
- Complete foot protection
- Modern materials
- Difficult to dry
- Lack of ventilation
- More of a city shoe than a hiker would wish for
Who They’re For:
These closed toe hiking sandals are a good recommendation for beginners and those who wish to state their hiking lifestyle. Their modern style looks attractive, but it feels a bit like a compromise between looks and functionality. The choice of materials is up for debate too. But, taking chances and experimenting is what’s pushing us forward.Check Latest Price
(You can check out our complete review of the Keen Uneek Sandals here)
5. Teva Men’s Hurricane XLT Sandals (Best for Water Hiking)
By all standards, the Teva Men’s Hurricane XLT Sandals are a classic. Purchasing a sandal like this will get you on the trail fast, without reaching too deep into your pocket. In other words, this is a reliable shoe at a decent price.
Protection is another thing though. There is no room for too much of it on this very basic water hiking sandal. Forget about toe bumpers then and watch your step – it’s more fun that way.
A big truth about these sandals is that they are certainly very comfortable, and that’s exactly what sandals should be. You can hike all day without ever feeling the weight of your footwear pulling you down. In water you will feel like barefoot but without risking stepping on something funny.
- Lightweight footwear
- Simple design
- Low price
- Reliable materials
Lack of protection
Who It’s For
More experienced hikers will certainly enjoy the benefits of this water hiking sandal. The old-school design requires more attention and knowledge for a more secure use in all circumstances. With careful handling, this sandal becomes a very versatile tool for conquering different types of terrain. Regardless of the somewhat lower price, beginners and hikers with less experience should probably look for a different footwear design.Check Latest Price
Buying Guide: What to Look for In Your Hiking Sandals
With medical science coming up with new connections between inactivity and a bunch of different illnesses, it’s becoming more and more obvious that we have to move. Inactivity is the plague of the modern lifestyle and siting is its worst form. Still, we sit a lot. We sit while we drive, travel, work, eat and we even sit while we are having fun.
Drastic changes, like regular running, are hardly going to suit everyone. But a good hike in the fresh air is something anyone can try, and it’s more than enough to get those muscles moving. Hiking is a rewarding activity because it can be done on a level suitable to just about everyone.
Choosing the time, terrain and level of intensity is up to you, but don’t forget to choose the right equipment too. Here are a few of the most important considerations to keep in mind with your hiking sandals:
Make Sure That Your Hiking Sandals Fit
Comfort is the number one concern whenever hiking footwear is discussed. All kinds of long walks put a lot of stress on the feet and there is no better assistance than comfortable shoes.
When you are choosing hiking sandals, make sure that you do not buy shoes that don’t fit. A size too small is a pretty obvious problem, but a size too big could be the same or worse. The last thing you want is to have your foot “floating” inside a sandal too big.
Trying on the shoes before buying them is an ideal thing to do, but in the world of online shopping you can only try your best to get it right. However, even if you buy online you can return and replace your shoes if needed.
Protection Is Prevention
Needless to say, hiking is an outdoor activity that implies leaving the safety of the pavement. Most hikers use forest and mountain paths for their usual activities, but leaving the path is not unusual. Beautiful, inaccessible terrains can often draw hiker’s attention but getting to them can prove to be a quest.
Walking through long and thick vegetation, stepping on rocks and crossing shallow streams are amazing experiences. However, all these adventures can contain hidden dangers for your feet.
A foot injury is the worst for a hiker. For this reason, choose your hiking sandals wisely and keep in mind that prevention is cheaper than the cure.
Hiking Sandals FAQ
Are hiking sandals comfortable without socks?
Yes, and this is the best and most comfortable way to wear them. Hiking sandals are designed to be worn without socks. Most hiking sandals are vented for cooling purposes. Also, they are intended for use in water as well. Would you like to walk around in wet socks?
Can hiking sandals be worn in the ocean or the swimming pool?
Again, yes. Most hiking shoes are designed to be used in and around water. Of course, you should take care to dry your hiking sandals thoroughly after crossing a river or swimming in a lake. The materials used in the manufacturing process are usually durable in wet conditions. Hiking sandals are also washable.
Can you run in hiking shoes?
Hiking shoes will not stop you from running (especially if you see a bear), but you should know that running is not what they are designed for. Other shoe designs are probably more suitable.
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