When you start preparing for your hiking adventure, you must think about your choice of footwear. It’s one of the central pieces actually, since you will be walking after all. Your feet must be protected and comfortable all the way through. In most cases, hiking sandals aren’t the first thing that comes to mind when we think about hiking equipment. However, in some situations they are an excellent choice and just the thing we need.
Hiking enthusiasts enjoy their favorite activity in all sorts of conditions, year-round. When the weather is hot, a fully-closed rugged boot might not be the best choice to hike in. You may wish to wear something that feels more comfortable, and allows ventilation so your feet can breathe. The best hiking sandals make this possible, while at the same time being rugged and strong to withstand even cross-country hikes.
Many different designs exist, allowing you to easily find a model and type which suits your hiking style. Furthermore, hiking sandals are very versatile so they work well as everyday footwear too. For this reason, our product selection has something for everybody. We also created a buying guide to tell you more about all the features available, and make your choice easier – so don’t miss out.
How To Choose The Best Hiking Sandals – Buying Guide
Our choice of footwear can really make a difference between an enjoyable hike and a very unpleasant experience. You should always have high standards when choosing your shoes – first and foremost in terms of comfort and proper support to your feet. Your new outdoor sandals should also be durable, to avoid having any mishaps when you’re on the trail and far away from replacement shoes. Several other factors also play a role in the selection process, so take a look.
Type of Hiking
While they are great, sandals are not universal hiking footwear, and even the best sandals for hiking come with some limitations. They are a fantastic choice for lighter hiking trips, but they aren’t the best pick for difficult and demanding terrain. If you’re going on a trail which is mostly flat and you expect weather to be warm and nice, than you should definitely go for a pair of sandals. On the other hand, if you expect a lot of climbs and uneven terrain, then sandals might not be the safest choice. They won’t give you top-notch support, especially if you’re under additional load (a heavy backpack). Some features are particularly useful for hiking, for example toe protection, as you’ll se later. We will discuss everything in more detail so you can be informed and choose the right product for your type of hiking.
Tread and Sole
A good grip of your sandals makes your step confident and safe. However, because of the difference in terrain, traction is not always the same. Manufacturers take this into consideration when designing the outsole and the tread on your walking sandals. The best hiking sandal is designed in such a way that it provides a good grip 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 on wet surfaces. Tread pattern improves stability and it’s best if it is multi-directional. Deeper grooves are also a plus.
The sole provides strength to your sandal, and because of this it should be made of tough, abrasion-resistant materials, as we’ll discuss later. However, it should not be too rigid, so it allows a normal and natural step. It’s responsible for the support you’re going to get, so pay attention to this when buying. It’s not a bad idea to go through other user experiences to get a better image of what you can expect.
Sandals come with two options when it comes to toes – open or closed toe outdoor sandals. Both of these have their upsides and downsides. Since you will be moving through nature, it’s perfectly normal to expect some obstacles on your way. You will encounter rocks, branches and uneven terrain. If you’re not very careful and protected, you may stumble upon something, hit your toes and injure yourself. Whether or not you have your hiking first aid kit with you, this can be very unpleasant. For this reason, some sandals come with strong toe protection. Toecaps are usually made of rubber, and cover the front area of your sandal so they can efficiently absorb the impact if you hit something.
On the other hand, closing the front part of the sandal in a way beats the purpose of having sandals in the first place. The ventilation and comfort are reduced compared to an open toe design. Open sandals feel fantastic, and allow you to move your toes as you like. They are great for camping or walking on flat surfaces where there isn’t a large chance you can hit something. As you can see, there are pros and cons for both, so it’s up to you to find a pair which suits you.
No matter which specific product you choose, you can be sure it will be lighter compared to hiking shoes or boots. However, weight differences between sandals exist, mostly because of their design. It makes sense that a pair with closed toes and a rugged sole will weigh more than an open toe version with a thin sole and a couple of straps. It’s certainly a big plus if your sandals are light, simply because heavy footwear can become really tiring after some time, and cause discomfort. As long as the sandals have all the other necessary qualities, you should always go for a lighter pair. This allows you to even put them in your hiking backpack as a backup option. All the products in our trekking sandals reviews are fairly lightweight, and shouldn’t cause you problems in any hiking arrangement.
Laces and straps hold your foot in place and greatly contribute to stability. Type used, as well as proper positioning secures your foot and keeps it from sliding or turning. It’s a big plus if they are adjustable, since you can then find the best fit for your sandals. This is useful when you get a new pair, but also in the middle of your hike because feet have a tendency to swell on long walks. Many products have Velcro closures which allow you to easily choose how tight you want your sandals to be. A few alternatives exist too, for example bungee laces which are very easy and practical to use. Whichever type you choose, make sure they are well-made and strong enough to endure the road ahead.
Fit and Comfort
As we mentioned earlier, fit and comfort are among the most important things to look for when buying new footwear. A good fit is one of the main things in blister prevention, and shouldn’t be ignored. Since you won’t be able to try out your sandals before buying them, look for those which have a high degree of adjustability.
In terms of comfort, good ventilation is probably the key. This is one of the main reasons we pick sandals over shoes – we want our feet to breathe instead of getting cramped and sweaty. Other things that improve comfort are type of lining inside, how quickly the sandals dry off, whether the insole is soft and whether it has an ergonomic shape to follow the curve of your sole.
The terrain you come across on your hikes is often uneven, and your sandals must neutralize that in a way. They should prevent strains to your ankles and calves as much as possible, by keeping your foot in a natural position and preventing any slipping or turning. This is usually determined by the shape of the sole as well as the quality of materials used. The arch support (ergonomic shape we mentioned) is important because it makes it possible to walk for much longer before your feet start to hurt. In addition, the sandals should absorb as much shock as possible. To improve support and stability, some products have shanks included in the design.
All this said, you shouldn’t wear sandals when carrying a heavier load. Your feet carry additional weight and in these situations sandals won’t give you proper support and can even carry an increased risk of injury. You should also avoid sandals for more demanding climbs because they won’t give you the support required.
Let’s be honest, nobody wants to buy a product which is going to fall apart after a couple of uses, especially if it costs a lot of money. Many manufacturers we featured take pride in the durability of their products – some hiking sandals can take years of abuse before they start to fall apart. So, a well-known manufacturer may be one of the indicators of product quality. However, it isn’t the only one, since less-known companies can make excellent products too. If you’re uncertain, you should look for some clues, for example which materials were used and whether the sandals come with any reinforcements. Some products even have replaceable parts, so you can repair them easily instead of having to buy a new pair.
Q: Why Choose Hiking Sandals?
Outdoor sandals are the right choice when you desire more comfortable footwear. You don’t want your feet getting sweaty, smelly and even blistered from the long hours wearing closed footwear. Instead, you wish for something more lightweight and not as restrictive. That’s why you should get a good pair of outdoor sandals, especially if you are planning a more casual hike or outdoor adventure.
Q: When Should I Wear Hiking Sandals?
As we mentioned, 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. If the weather gets a bit colder, you can easily combine them with a nice pair of hiking socks. Furthermore, walking sandals are versatile and aren’t strictly limited to hiking – many people like them very much and gladly choose them as their everyday footwear because of their comfort.
Q: How Should My Hiking Sandals Fit?
No matter which pair of sandals you get, they shouldn’t be too constrictive. This causes discomfort and your feet start to hurt much sooner than they normally would. A common problem people encounter is that the sandals are too narrow, despite buying their usual size. If you have this type of trouble, look for a pair with high adjustability. This is an upside of sandals because they are much easier to adjust compared to other shoe types. On the other hand, sandals shouldn’t be too large or loose either, since this can cause instability when walking – your feet will slide and move inside and it can even compromise your safety. You know what you like and what your feet can tolerate, so pay close attention when choosing.
Q: Is It Safe To Hike In Sandals?
It’s perfectly safe to hike in sandals, as long as you’re aware of their limitations, and you get a reliable product. As we discussed earlier, they will work wonders on flat land or camping grounds. However, they aren’t a good choice for demanding terrains full of obstacles, because they won’t perform well.
Q: Are Hiking Sandals Recommended For Long Hikes?
This mostly depends on the type of hike you take part 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. In addition, the sandals themselves should be well-made and give proper support and comfort to your feet. However, if you plan to go to a hilly area or expect it to be cold, then you should really go for a good pair of hiking boots and even consider getting a set of crampons.
Globo Surf Overview
A pair of hiking sandals is an excellent choice as a more casual alternative to shoes. They feel great during the summer, and can really improve your experience outdoors. The best trekking sandals are so good that many people prefer wearing them over regular footwear and use every opportunity to put them on. It’s a fantastic option to have and use when the circumstances allow it. Just follow the tips we listed and be free to choose any of these products – we’re sure you’ll be more than happy with your selection!
More Backpacking/Hiking Reviews:
- Hiking Pants
- Hiking Socks
- Shoe Glue
- Backpacking Sleeping Bag
- G Shock Watch
- Trekking Poles
- Tactical Boots
- Backpacking Stove
- Backpacking Sleeping Pad
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.