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Now that it’s warmer outside, it’s finally time to enjoy the great outdoors again. And whether you’re hitting a remote beach, hiking or camping, we’re here to help you find the right gear. The first item on your wilderness shopping list for spring? Hiking sandals.
Durable hiking sandals make a great alternative to hiking boots or running shoes during spring/summer because they keep your feet cool and comfortable while also allowing you to wade through water or mud. A good pair will provide support and stability while hiking or scrambling over rocks, and should have a durable build quality to last a few years. While the best sandals for men are often built more for comfort or style, the best hiking sandals and flip-flops will be able to support your feet even on long hikes.
Should You Wear Sandals When Hiking?
In short, it’s all up to personal preference as to what you wear when you hike, but hiking sandals can serve as a great alternative to hiking boots. Particularly if you find a pair that provides plenty of traction and grip, the best hiking sandals will perform just as nicely as hiking boots. It’s safe to wear hiking sandals instead of boots if the terrain is moderate to rocky, or even more flat or smooth — of course, the nature of wearing an open-toe shoe still leaves you more vulnerable on treacherous terrain, so the level of safety varies with hiking sandals versus boots.
Hiking sandals offer more space and a sportier feel, but exposing your skin and toes to the elements can prove tricky. However, hiking sandals also make it seamless to cross streams and rivers without needing to ditch your boots, strip down to your bare foot or even change into another pair of waterproof boots. Traction, support and overall protection are still crucial, though.
It’s safer at some points than others to wear hiking sandals versus hiking boots, but know the terrain — or at least, have a general idea in mind — before you go.
What to Look for in the Best Hiking Sandals
As with any great pair of boots, dependability in design and performance is crucial. The right hiking sandals, like the best hiking boots, provide traction and support on all manner of terrain and in all manner of situations. You also want to consider the design of the upper: is it a webbed, sporty, strappy sandal? Is it a closely woven knit design? Or is it a leather design best suited for much more casual park hikes than intensive camping and hiking trips?
The best hiking sandals breathe easy, like regular flip-flops, but are built on a springy, traction-filled, grippy outsole. They should also dry quickly — in times when water comes into play — and they should prove adaptable to repeat wear (this is when time-tested brands like Teva and Keen hit the mark nicely). You’re also going to want to consider your foot type and size because some hiking sandals are better suited for wider feet, some offer more arch support and some are adaptable to a variety of foot types.
Consider support, traction, toughness and perhaps even style when shopping for your new favorite hiking sandals, and your purchase won’t steer you wrong.
The Best Hiking Sandals
If you’re thinking of giving some outdoor sandals a shot, read on. We rounded up some of our favorite pairs from brands like Keen, Birkenstock and Merrell below. To make things easier, we’ve included separate sections for hiking sandals and outdoor flip-flops.
1. Teva Hurricane Verge Sandals
We’ll say it right away: This won’t be the last time you see Teva on our list of the best hiking sandals, and for good reason. They’ve designed a durable all-terrain sandal made with quick-drying webbing and a lightweight upper, all the better to take you through shallow streams and dusty trails. The breathable mesh lining also keeps your feet extremely comfortable on the go, and the adjustable ankle strap delivers an ideal fit every single time out.
2. Teva Hurricane XLT2 Sport Sandal
Teva makes some of our favorite men’s sandals, and the brand is back again with another sport sandal and this one is extra comfy. The Teva Hurricane sandals come in a wide range of stylish colorways, but these sports sandals are super practical, too. You’ll have the time of your life walking along the windswept streets of some vacation town while in your new Teva’s. With a sturdy rubber sole and quick-dry webbing made from recycled plastic, these are the most eco-friendly shoes on the market. A lightweight EVA foam midsole adds extra comfort while the nylon shank supports you on uneven terrain with an ankle strap. A great choice for any outdoor adventures happening this summer.
3. Keen Newport Sandals in Bison
Leather sandals are more commonly associated with casual style, say at a summer pool party, but Keen specializes in trail-ready options aplenty. The key here is the washable leather upper for easy maintenance, plus Keen’s classic focus on durability (thanks to a rubber toe cap) and traction (via the multi-directional lug pattern). These will prove grippy and utilitarian from sunrise to sunset. Better still is Keen’s commitment to inspiring new connections and promoting the outdoors through programs like its “Making Waves” partnership with Outdoor Afro. This is one hiking sandal purchase you can feel very, very good about making.
4. All-Weather Basecamp Sandals
BEST SLIDE SANDALS FOR HIKING
If you’ve tried a pair of the ready-for-anything All-Weather Boots from Huckberry, you know the difference is in the smallest details, and you can rest assured they’ve translated that same ethos into warm-weather sandals. These are supremely well-made and built to withstand all types of terrain — it all comes down to the Vibram XS Trek outsole. The Cordura webbing straps are also uniquely tough and can be adjusted for a snug fit and no slippage on the trail.
5. Teva Zymic Sandals
The idea of wearing sandals when hiking is already sort of a hybrid approach in and of itself, so it’s only natural that Teva took much the same approach when designing its impossibly sporty Zymic Sandals. They’ve blended the hard-wearing Teva upper you know and love with the extreme cushioning and rebound of an injection-molded EVA outsole (and a springy EVA midsole, for good measure). The design is also bright and eye-catching, a nice bit of retro fun to bring to the trail. You can also wear these en route to your next camping trip, as well as on the trail.
6. Bedrock Cairn 3-D Adventure Sandals
A great pair of hiking sandals should be able to handle the demands of the trail and stream with ease, and if it’s a multi-sport pair you need, then Bedrock has the proper pair to guide you through your next excursion. The poly-nylon webbing and lining make them quick-drying and ready for watersports, while the Vibram sole delivers exceptional grip and traction back on dry, dusty and rocky trails. You can wear these anywhere your camping trip takes you without misstepping, truly.
7. Xero Shoes Z-Trail EV Sandals
Compared to hiking boots, most sandals are quite lightweight to begin with, but Xero Shoes ups the ante even further with an incredibly low-key, streamlined pair. They’re made with 76 percent less weight and bulk than sport sandals, and even cooler still is the fact that they float — to call them water-ready would be an understatement. The FeelLite rubber outsole also helps you power your way down the trail with maximum traction in mind.
8. HOKA ONE ONE Hopara Sandals
BEST TECHNICAL DESIGN
The idea behind the best hiking sandals is simple enough, but what happens when a company like HOKA ONE ONE decides to put its full weight behind coming up with an even better take on the style? You get the remarkable Hopara Sandals, which blend a hard-wearing bungee lace closure with a rubberized toe cap and a quick-lace system. Plus, the design is closed-toe for added comfort, yet they’re still slip-on friendly. The color is visually striking in its own right, and the design blends the best of technical design with outdoor-ready functionality.
9. Chaco Odyssey Sandals
Chaco’s take on the hiking sandal looks, at first glance, more like a traditional sporting sneaker, but they’ve merged the best of both worlds for a hybrid pair that’s made to take on the toughest trails and hottest weather. The closed-toe look is a major improvement if it’s added protection you seek, but the breathable polyester jacquard webbing upper still offers the cool comfort of a sandal. For good measure, the deep design of the grippy rubber outsole provides the traction you seek, while they’re also treated with anti-microbial properties for even more durability (and long-lasting freshness).
10. Freewaters Cloud9 Sport Sandals
You’re going to be spending plenty of time in the great outdoors wearing the best hiking sandals, so you might as well ensure that the pair you’re rocking is as sustainable as can be, right? Freewater does an outstanding job at blending style and sustainability with performance, using 50 percent recycled polyester in the webbing straps and closures for an eco-minded touch. Beyond that, they’re 100 percent vegan and use Cloud9 footbeds for an extremely comfortable, smooth ride.
11. Timberland Garrison Trail 2-Strap Sandals
The idea of finding unexpected pieces that can work for you long-term is a pretty fun one to consider, right? Especially when it comes to the best hiking sandals, there are more than a few footwear giants making unique takes on sandals — including legendary bootmaker Timberland. The brand, best known for its durable 6-inch lace-up boots, lightens things up with a grippy sandal made from its ReBotl recycled materials for an added dash of sustainability.
12. Merrell Men’s J033215 Sandal
If you’ll be doing some serious hiking this summer, go for these Merrell sandals. They showcase a beefy, durable design that can handle everything from dusty trails to muddy creeks with ease. The straps are made from a stylish and long-lasting suede that will only look better with age.
13. Keen Newport H2 Sandal
BEST SPORTS SANDAL
These hiking sandals are made from 100% polyester, have a rubber sole and are a high-performance sports sandal, so you don’t have to worry about not making that summer basketball game because you don’t have your sneakers. The Keen Newport H2 Sandals are a worthy choice for any competitive outdoorsman, plus they come in a variety of color combinations. Make Keen your next summer sandal for a sporty time. These popular hiking sandals have earned more than 12,000 reviews from Amazon customers, and they offer a great alternative to open-toe sandals, which may not provide enough protection on rocky terrain.
14. Keen Uneek
MOST UNIQUE UPPER
Some people aren’t a fan of the classic sandal look or feel, which is why Keen made these modern Uneek sandals. They have a unique polyester braided cord upper that provides more coverage than normal sandals and offers a stylish look that some cool kids have even started wearing in cities.
Best Outdoor Flip Flops for Men
We’ve all been there: your beach flip-flops can’t get the job done when you’re hiking to that remote beach or walking across town. Of course, you could wear sneakers, but then you’d have nothing to relax in at the pool or the beach. Luckily, there are a handful of high-quality flip-flops that provide the best of both worlds: trail-ready construction and flip-flop comfort.
15. Eddie Bauer No Flop Flip Sandals
Eddie Bauer’s reputation for adventure gear precedes itself, and they’ve managed to turn that rugged outdoor heritage into a pair of seriously functional hiking flip-flops. Designed differently than a flip-flop pool slide, these feature lightweight nylon webbing straps and a cushioned EVA midsole and outsole for outstanding support. Consider bringing these on your next riverside camping trip, no doubt about it.
16. Columbia Tango Thong III
Columbia is renowned for its hiking and adventure gear, and these hiking flip-flops are no exception. They feature a design that provides real arch support and an outsole that will grip everything from concrete to dirt.
17. Keen Kona Flip
These hiking flip-flops come from the sandal experts at Keen, and also feature a supportive, durable construction. They also feature a treated mesh lining that won’t get stinky after months of hiking.
18. Teva Pajaro
BEST RUGGED SOLE
An oversized strap on these Teva flip-flops ensures that they won’t slip out from under your, no matter the terrain. This, combined with a supportive frame and a rugged sole, make these sandals trail-ready.
19. OluKai Ohana Sandal
We like these OluKai flip-flops because they’re slightly more sophisticated than other hiking-ready sandals. They’re made of a rich full-grain leather that gives them a premium island look you can wear on the trail or to the resort bar.