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Fitflop Outlet Online - The 10 Best Hiking Sandals, According to Outdoor Experts

This time of year, hiking sandals are our go-to hiking footwear because they’re lightweight and breathable, yet offer the traction of a good pair of boots. After all, in the heat of the summer, it’s much more enjoyable to strap on some sandals instead of trapping your feet in a pair of sweaty hiking boots. And, on an even more practical level, when the trail takes you through a creek, they let you splash right in without worrying about your shoes and socks.

Although these sandals are generally marketed for hiking, they’re suitable for outdoor adventures ranging from day hiking to kayaking to rafting to simply long days spent outside. Some designs are specifically for trail use, while others focus on waterproof materials for water sports. In other words, the best hiking sandal for you will depend on how you plan to use it.

What Should You Look For in a Hiking Sandal?

Like any other technical shoe, not all hiking sandals are created equal. Here are a few considerations when you’re shopping for the best hiking sandals from retailers like Backcountry, REI, and Amazon:

Open vs. Closed Toe Design

First off, you’ll have to choose between two main types of sandals: open-toe sandals or closed-toe sandals.

Open-toe sandals, like Chacos and Tevas, are the more breathable option, but they expose your feet to the elements. They’re particularly suitable for experienced hikers who are used to hiking in rocky terrain as well as people looking for a versatile adventure sandal that they can wear on casual day hikes and around town.

Closed-toe shoes, like the Keen Newport H2, are a safer option for most hikers, as they can better protect your feet from rocks and debris. Just keep in mind that their design limits breathability, so they hold onto moisture for longer.

Outsole Tread Pattern

Rugged, capable soles are what set hiking sandals apart from standard sandals because great traction is a must-have—especially on harder hikes. If you plan to venture into steeper terrain or onto slippery rocks, look for a pair of sandals made with sticky rubber (Vibram soles are a high-quality feature, for example) and a deep lug pattern along the sole to enhance your traction in various trail conditions.

However, if you plan to use your sandals around town, on flat trails, or during water activities, you may not need to prioritize a durable, grippy outsole.

Strap Design

The strap system on your sandals will play a key role in helping you feel comfortable and agile on the trail. If you can’t achieve a secure fit, you’ll feel unsteady on uneven terrain and risk blisters due to your foot sliding around in the footbed. “I would never buy a hiking sandal without very adjustable straps,” says Mariah Arianna, an adventure elopement photographer based in Austria who frequently hikes difficult terrain with up to 20 pounds of gear on her back for work.

Beyond adjustability, you should consider what strap style will feel best on your foot. Some sandals come with criss-crossing straps, like Chacos, while others, like Bedrocks, have a flip-flop style. Most have minimally padded straps so they dry quickly, but some options, like the Adidas or ECCO sandals, have more padded horizontal straps to eliminate pressure points on the top and side of your foot.

Materials

Chances are you’ll be taking your hiking sandals into water, whether you head to the beach, use them for rafting, or need to cross a stream. So, it’s a good idea to look for quick-drying materials like a waterproof PU footbed and polyester straps. Arianna always looks for hiking sandals that “are waterproof and have completely rubber soles that are easy to scrub with soap and water when they need to be cleaned.”

She recommends you avoid buying hiking sandals with delicate materials like suede or leather: “They stain and collect dirt and sweat too easily.” Plus, they don’t dry as well.

Footbed

The footbed or insole is the interior part of the shoe where your foot rests—and its shape contributes to the overall comfort and support of the sandal. Gaby Pilson, an outdoor education and backpacking guide, explains that “most people find that they prefer a footbed that’s constructed to provide arch support as you walk, though some folks out there opt for more minimalist designs.” Shoes like the Chaco Z/1 and ECCO Yucatans are designed with arch support built into the footbed and midsole, while minimalist shoes like the Bedrock Cairn and XERO Genesis sacrifice arch support to offer a more barefoot feel. The preference between these styles varies from hiker to hiker, but if you aren’t sure what level of support you need, or if you have any foot issues, consult a podiatrist to find the right fit for you.

Now that you have a better idea of what to look for, check out our experts’ top picks for the best hiking sandals from brands like Chaco, Teva, and Bedrock.

  • Chaco Z1 Classic Sandal

    Chaco is one of the O.G. brands for hiking sandals, and its shoes are still beloved by many experts for their excellent traction. The connected straps—which adjust through the sole of the sandal—provide a reliably snug fit, explains travel blogger Hanna Ashcraft. “During a 4-day rafting trip down the Rogue River, they were super secure during rapids, on hikes, while wet, and on uneven, slippery surfaces.” Arianna also recommends Chacos because the “sole and grip is unlike any other brand, and they’re extremely durable.”

    Pilson also uses Chacos because they “provide an unparalleled level of underfoot support thanks to their patented Luvseat footbed.” This footbed is one of the reasons they get a seal of approval from the American Podiatric Medical Association. Meanwhile, the outsole features the brand’s proprietary ChacoGrip material, which provides traction in a variety of conditions. If you’re looking for the latest colors, the brand’s new Earth Tones collection comes in beautiful, nature-inspired shades in two popular models: the Chaco Z/1 and Z/2 (which adds a toe strap for extra stability, but makes it less versatile and hard to wear with socks). Finally, in order to fully initiate yourself into the Chaco fan club, you just have to answer the most controversial question: toe loop or no?

    $100 $80 AT AMAZON
    $105 $84 AT MOOSEJAW
  • Black Bedrock Sandals Cairn 3D Adventure Sandal on white background
    REI
    2

    Bedrock Sandals Cairn 3D Adventure Sandals

    These minimalist sandals don’t necessarily look like they’d perform on rugged hiking trails, but looks can be deceiving. In the last few years, Bedrock sandals have gained a dedicated following among backpacking guides and other outdoor enthusiasts, especially avid desert hikers.

    Nick Johnson, an outdoor clothing designer and travel guide based in Salt Lake City, regularly uses the Cairn 3D line, explaining he’s “probably worn them 200 days out of the last year.” He likes that they’re lighter than Chacos and their thong style provides more “foot grip than most others,” which will prevent your feet from sliding around on the footbed. Since they’re so lightweight, they’re ideal for carrying on a backpacking trip. And, even in wet conditions, they have excellent traction on dirt and rock.

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    Teva Women's W Hurricane Xlt2 Sport Sandal

    Teva is another beloved sandal brand, and its Hurricane XLT2 model is our top pick for hiking. Compared to the classic Teva Original Universal, it offers greater functionality in its more rugged, rubber outsole and comfortable EVA footbed. The velcro straps are easier to adjust than Chacos, but they require a break-in period and need to be cleaned frequently because the sticky material attracts plant matter.

    They’re a great option for hikers looking for a versatile shoe that they can also wear around town. And, if you’re looking for style points, Tevas come in plenty of fun color combinations and have a simple, timeless design. We also love that the straps are made from 100% recycled materials, and Teva offers a recycling program, so you can repurpose your old sandals to avoid the landfill.

    $75 AT AMAZON
    $75 AT NORDSTROM
  • Black Hoka Hopara shoe with orange accents on white background
    Road Runner Sports
    4

    Hoka Hopara

    In most cases, hikers sacrifice comfort for versatility in their hiking sandals, but that’s not the case with Hoka Hoparas. These moderately cushioned sandals offer closed-toe protection with a rubber toe cap, so you don’t have to worry about stubbing or scraping your toes. The lace system is quick and easy to use—just pull the tab on the bungee to cinch them down for a more secure fit.

    By nature, their closed-toe design won’t be as breathable as other sandals on this list, but the Hoparas are a great option for hikers looking for a technical hiking shoe that will both shed water and offer protection on rugged hikes or during rocky water crossings.

    $135 AT ROAD RUNNER SPORTS
    $135 AT MOOSEJAW
  • Brown and green Merrell Bravada Cord Wrap Sport Sandal on white background
    Amazon
    5

    Merrell Bravada Cord Wrap Sport Sandal

    These cute hiking sandals come in trendy colors (my favorite is maroon) and offer premium arch support. At only six ounces, they’re incredibly lightweight—on par with ultralight minimalist shoes—but they still offer comfort-driven features like a supportive footbed. They’re perfect for day hikes or as a pair of camp shoes for backpacking trips.

    According to reviewers, they run pretty narrow. This is great for hikers who find Chacos and Tevas too wide, but they’re not the best option for hikers with wide feet.

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    Adidas Unisex-Adult Terrex Cyprex Ultra DLX Sandals

    The Adidas Terrex sandals are lightweight and functional, with a classically sporty design that you’d expect from this brand. They have thick, cushy straps that minimize pressure points and significant arch support that provides a more comfortable fit than many hiking sandals.

    The front strap adjusts with velcro, and the back strap buckles so you can easily take them on and off. We love that they also come in a cool colorway of white with lime green accents—but if you plan on hiking in mud or dust, you may want to stick with the black. Note that they run large, so size down.

    $70 $60 AT AMAZON
  • Black Xero Shoes Women's Genesis Sandal on white background
    Zappos
    7

    Xero Shoes Genesis Sandal

    First things first: These shoes have a minimalist style with no cushioning, so they will take some getting used to. But if you’re ready to dive into the world of barefoot-style shoes (popularized by the running shoe world), Xero is one of the best budget-friendly brands to try, with lots of fans in the hiking community. Mountaineer Chuck Garcia switched to these sandals after struggling for years with foot, knee, and IT band injuries. Although it took a while for his body to adapt to the flat sole and lack of padding, he never looked back. “The feeling of hiking up trails and rocks was exhilarating. I felt free and unshackled. My feet thank me each time I complete a hike,” Garcia says.

    The Xero Genesis has 5mm rubber outsoles, so you’re close to the ground but protected from rocks, and the pre-laced paracord makes it easy to slide your foot in and go. Although they resemble flip-flops, the heel strap is crucial for providing the support you need while hiking. Because the materials are lightweight, they do not have the durability of thick-soled sandals.

    $48 AT AMAZON
    $43 $34 AT ZAPPOS
  • Beige and orange Keen Newport H2 Sandal on white background
    Backcountry
    8

    Keen Newport H2 Sandal

    Travel photographer Kathryn Cooper loves Keen’s hiking sandals and often wears them during her shoots. “They’re easy to slip on and off, have the ability to go in and out of water, and are versatile“ she tells SELF. “I wear them both to the supermarket and on six-mile day hikes.” Perhaps what she loves the most is the closed-toe design, because they protect her from injury. During river crossings, the toe coverage will give you confidence knowing you won’t smash your toes on underwater rocks.

    Unlike most closed-toe designs, the Keen Newport H2 are made for water activities. The polyester webbing straps dry quickly and the materials have natural odor control, but in case you need to freshen them up, they’re also machine washable. However, they’re not adjustable, so they’re not the best option if you need to prioritize a tight fit for agile hikes.

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    ECCO Yucatan Sport Sandal

    They may not be the most stylish option, but what these sandals lack in looks, they make up for in comfort. In fact, they may be the comfiest, most supportive sandals on this list, and many reviewers have been buying these sandals for years. The soft, cushy footbed and neoprene-lined straps elevate the shoe so you can wear them all day, whether you’re walking around the city or trekking in the mountains.

    While they’re great for dry hikes, their leather upper, microfiber-covered footbed, and plush foam midsole don’t dry as quickly as rubber sandals, so you’ll need a separate pair of water shoes.

    $135 AT AMAZON
    $135 AT ECCO
  • Black Crocs UnisexAdult Classic All Terrain Clog on white background
    Amazon
    10

    Crocs Unisex-Adult Classic All Terrain Clog

    Hate ’em or love ’em, you probably have an opinion about Crocs. And this “all-terrain” model from the culty brand takes the famous (or infamous) design and supercharges it for your outdoor adventures. The back strap is adjustable, so you can tighten them down around your Achilles when you need to navigate tricky terrain, and the outsoles are designed with deep lugs and sticky rubber for trail-worthy traction.

    Just like classic Crocs, they’re super comfy and made entirely of rubber with holes for ventilation, so they’ll serve you well in wet conditions. Reviewers state that they run big, so size down!