Choosing the right footwear is one of the most important things when preparing for a hiking adventure. If the weather is warm, a good hiking sandal is the smartest option to wear on long walks. Not only does it protect your foot, but it also provides a level of comfort and breathability that standard hiking shoes simply can’t match.
With so many nice designs and options available, choosing the right hiking sandal might require some research. For example, you can choose whether you want an open or closed toe, a lace or a strap, and the type of support that the sole gives you. To help you decide, we’ve created a detailed buying guide and selected the best hiking sandals currently available, guaranteed to make your feet feel good wherever you go.
Hiking in sandals is tops for comfort, but those sandals won't protect your feet from sticks, rocks, thorns, insects and other hazards the same way boots or shoes would. Consider wearing closed-toe hiking sandals, sometimes also called water shoes. At least they'll protect you from stubbing your toes.
Hiking sandals should be sized the same way you'd choose any other hiking footwear, and that means doing a few basic tests. Walk around in them: If they rub or pinch your feet, or shift back and forth excessively, they're not the sandal for you. Walking uphill, downhill and on uneven surfaces are important tests of sandal fit/comfort, too.
Yes, you can wear sandals with socks! It might not be very stylish, but those socks can help keep your feet warm and offer some protection against grit and gravel that likes to creep in between your toes. Avoid cotton socks, which chafe easily when wet; in cold climates, aim for socks made of wool, quick-dry synthetics, or even neoprene.
How To Choose Hiking Sandals – Buying Guide
Tread and Sole
A reliable and secure grip of your sandal makes your step confident and safe. The best hiking sandals feature a strong outsole that has good traction on any type of surface, no matter if it’s dry, wet, flat, or bumpy. The lugs (welts) should be strong and wide, as they help prevent slipping. Furthermore, a good tread pattern improves stability, while deep grooves improve traction on softer terrain.
You have two options when it comes to toe design – open or closed-toe outdoor sandals. Both of these have their upsides and downsides. Open-toe sandals are much more comfortable and allow your toes to breathe, but don’t protect them from ground and river rocks, branches, or other objects. On the other hand, closed-toe sandals prevent injuries but might feel cramped or cause your feet to sweat.
No matter which specific product you choose, you can be sure it will be lighter compared to a traditional hiking shoe or hiking boot. However, weight differences between sandals exist, mostly because of their design. A pair with closed toes and a rugged sole will weigh more than an open toe version with a thin sole, so we advise that you pay attention to this when going through trekking sandals reviews.
Laces and straps hold your foot in place and greatly contribute to stability. They also impact the comfort and ease of use. Perhaps the most convenient option is bungee laces with a cinch cord because they allow you to easily adjust the fit. On the other hand, Velcro straps are number one when it comes to quickly get your foot in and out.
Fit and Comfort
Fit and comfort are among the most important things to look for when buying any type of footwear, sandals included. A good fit is one of the main things in blister prevention, so it shouldn’t be ignored. Since you won’t be able to try out your sandals when buying online, look for a pair with a high degree of adjustability.
As for comfort, good ventilation is probably the key. This is the main reason we pick sandals over traditional hiking shoes – they allow our feet to breathe instead of getting cramped and sweaty. Other things that improve comfort are the type of lining inside, how quickly the sandals dry off, insole softness, and whether it has an ergonomic footbed.
The terrain on your hikes will often be uneven, so you want a sandal that can neutralize that. Cushioning and shock absorption are usually determined by the shape and materials of the sole. In most scenarios, an arched footbed made from dense EVA foam will give you optimal support.
Type of Hiking
While they are great for many reasons, outdoor sandals are not universal hiking footwear and even the best hiking sandals come with some limitations. They are a fantastic choice for lighter hiking trips, but they aren’t the safest option for difficult and demanding terrain because they won’t give you enough foot protection and stability.
Since you’ll be using them on the trail, the strength and durability of hiker sandals need to be top-notch. We put a big accent on this when choosing our products, and top-rated sandals for hiking can take years of abuse before they start to fall apart. This being said, there are still differences in material and construction quality (uppers, footbeds, and outsoles), and paying a bit more initially is a good way of making sure you don’t have to replace the hiking sandals every year.
Q: Why Choose Hiking Sandals?
Outdoor sandals are the right choice because of their comfort, low weight per pair, and easy adjustability. They will prevent your feet from getting sweaty, smelly, and even blistered (unlike closed footwear). If you want something lighter and less restrictive, outdoor sandals are the way to go.
Q: When Should I Wear Hiking Sandals?
The perfect opportunity to wear trekking sandals is on a more laid-back trail during the warmer time of the year. It’s an excellent choice for summer hiking on a flatter terrain where you don’t expect much climbing. Furthermore, walking sandals are versatile and aren’t strictly limited to hiking – many people like using them as everyday footwear because of their comfort.
Q: How Should My Hiking Sandals Fit?
The sandals you get shouldn’t be too constrictive to cause discomfort, but shouldn’t be too loose either or your foot might slide around inside. You should also make sure the footbed is wide enough, especially if you have wider feet. Because of this, we advise that you get a model with highly-adjustable straps so you can find the ideal fit in all areas of the foot.
Q: Is It Safe To Hike In Sandals?
Hiking in sandals is perfectly safe, as long as you’re aware of their limitations. As we’ve discussed earlier, they will work wonders on flat land or camping grounds. However, they aren’t a good choice for demanding terrain with obstacles.
Q: Are Hiking Sandals Recommended For Long Hikes?
This mostly depends on the type of hike in, and it’s closely related to the previous question. If the conditions allow it, you can use sandals to walk long distances without trouble. However, if you plan to walk in the hills or expect it to be cold, hiking boots are a better choice.
Globo Surf Overview
From long walks to casual wearing, a pair of hiking sandals give your feet an incredible level of comfort. Because of this, no other type of shoe can replace them during the summer. We hope that our gear reviews and guide helped you find the best hiking sandals that will become your favorite footwear for all types of outdoor adventures.
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- Backpacking Sleeping Bag
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- Tactical Boots
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Have you tried a pair of hiking sandals that made it onto our list? Which type did you get? How did they perform? Are you satisfied with the build quality and durability? Please share your experience with us in the comment section below.