12 Best Hiking Sandals of 2021

Hiking sandals make great outdoor footwear, especially if you're an active traveler. Keep reading to learn more about the best hiking sandals on the market.
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Best Hiking Sandals

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If you’re traveling to a place with scorching hot temperatures, flip-flops and sandals are a must. For many, they are a go-to for walking around town or in the house. But are they ideal for outdoor adventures that involve uneven trails, scrambling across rocky paths, and crossing rivers?

The short answer is yes…if they’re dedicated hiking sandals! These are technical sandals with rugged soles, arch support, and everything else that makes up a trail-worthy shoe. They’ll provide you with many benefits similar to a hiking boot; however, they are lighter and much more breathable. 

While hiking sandals are a great alternative to hiking boots, finding the right pair can be challenging as there are many options available. Here, I’ve provided you with all the basic hiking sandal know-how, as well as a list of my top picks. 

For more on outdoor travel gear, check out this article on what to wear hiking or some of my favorite outdoor clothing brands.

Hiking Sandals vs. Hiking Boots & Hiking Shoes

Hiking sandals are essential if you’re planning on doing a lot of walking and hiking on your trip. You might even prefer them over hiking boots. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of hiking in sandals instead of boots, trail running shoes, and other closed shoes. 

Benefits of Hiking in Sandals

Here are some reasons why you might opt for hiking sandals over hiking boots:

  • Lightweight: Hiking sandals are far lighter than hiking boots. And generally speaking, when you’re hiking, the lighter your shoes, the better. A lighter shoe helps you conserve energy as you’ll have less weight to lug around.
  • Breathable: Sandals have openings that allow cool air to reach your feet. With hiking sandals, you will not need to worry about your feet overheating or getting overly sweaty (and stinky by default).
  • Adjustability: Hiking sandals are generally easy to adjust, allowing for a customized fit. It’s also easier to remove sticks, rocks, and bits of debris.
  • Fewer blisters: Excessive friction and sweaty feet are likely to lead to chafing and blisters. With sandals, this is less likely to happen to you as they mitigate sweating and there are fewer points of contact with your feet. They’re also easy to adjust should there be any unwanted friction.
  • Improved foot health: Excessive foot sweating can also lead to health complications like fungal infections and weakened toenails. Hiking sandals allow your feet to breathe, preventing the growth of bacteria while wicking away moisture. 

Cons of Hiking in Sandals

While hiking sandals have their advantages, they do lack in some areas. Here are a few reasons why hiking sandals might not be your best choice:

  • Poor ankle support: Sandals do not possess the same upper structure as a boot. While hiking sandals support the foot, they do not support the ankle. This increases the risk of misstepping and spraining an ankle.
  • Less protection: Sandals generally provide less protection to your foot than hiking boots. This includes protection from treacherous terrains, as well as the sun. It is easier for sharp objects to find your feet through a sandal than it is in a boot. The lack of coverage also increases the risk of sunburn and can leave funky tan lines.
  • Less traction: While hiking sandals are engineered to be trail-worthy, they generally do not provide as much traction as a good hiking boot would. For more demanding trails that involve rocky terrains or lots of climbing, a boot might be better. 

Best Hiking Sandals

While hiking sandals have their pros and cons, they’re a great alternative to closed options and are suitable for most hiking trails. Below are my picks for some of the best hiking sandals across various categories. 

Best Hiking Sandals Overall

1. Chaco Z/Cloud

Chaco Z Cloud Men's

Chaco is a world-renowned brand with one vision: to create the best footwear for outdoor adventures in and out of the water. One of the brand’s first products was the classic Z/Sandal, designed to be versatile, durable, and performance-ready. Fast forward 30 years, and we now have the Chaco Z/Cloud—a new and innovative take on the brand’s original design. 

The Chaco Z/Cloud series is a new range of outdoor sandals with a number of unique features to see you through each adventure. Personally, I really love their adjustable straps and the “Chacogrip” that ensures good traction on wet surfaces. This makes them ideal for treks that may involve crossing a river or two. 

The Luvseat Footbed is also a big plus. It’s a durable base that properly supports your foot, and it’s comfortable even for all-day hikes.

The Chaco Z/Cloud is the overall best hiking sandal because of its ability to adapt not only to the shape of your foot but to varying terrains as well. Thanks to its unique features, it provides your feet with the comfort and security needed for a strenuous walk. Best of all, they kick-ass whether you’re walking along a gravel trail or venturing up a river.

This innovative hiking sandal is available for both men and women and is a solid option for most easy-to-moderate trails. And if you’re not a frequent hiker, these sandals work well as everyday shoes too.

Pros

  • Suitable for adventures both in and out of the water
  • Comfortable for longer hikes
  • Vegan-friendly

Cons

  • Footbed might be too narrow for some
  • Limited color options available

Chacos Z/Cloud Specs:

Best Use:Hiking, Multisport, Watersport
Materials:Polyester jacquard webbing (upper and lining), polyurethane (topsole), rubber compound (outsole)
Weight:1 lb. 14 oz.

Best Budget Hiking Sandal

2. Teva Hurricane XLT2

Teva Hurricane XLT2

The Teva Hurricane XLT2s are comfortable, vibrant-colored hiking sandals, ideal for day hikes. They have soft padding on the heel strap and an innovative new sole, designed for better traction. 

The sandals are also quick-drying and durable, and they support your feet nicely on uneven terrain. While this shoe may not be the most ideal for longer trails, it’s great for lighter hikes and everyday use. And best of all, it comes at a relatively low price, starting at around $70. 

While this is a more budget option, it’s still comparable in terms of quality and functionality to some of the more high-end hiking sandals on the market. And if you’re an eco-conscious hiker, you’ll be happy to know that this shoe is completely recyclable. Through the TevaForever recycling program, you can have your sandals recycled so they will never see a landfill.

The Teva Hurricane XLT2 is available to men and women, and comes in a variety of fun and exciting designs.

Pros

  • The upper is made from recycled plastic bottles
  • Durable, grippy soles 
  • Quick-drying, adjustable straps
  • Nicely cushioned without being heavy

Cons

  • Straps are stiff and a little uncomfortable
  • Not ideal for longer walks

Teva Hurricane XLT2 Specs:

Best Use:Hiking, Multisport, Watersport
Materials:REPREVE recycled polyester (upper), EVA foam (topsole and midsole), rubber (outsole)
Weight:15.6 oz.

Best Hiking Sandals for Women

3. Teva Tirra

Teva Tirra

As with many of Teva’s other footwear options, the Teva Tirra sandal is fairly versatile and can be worn at home, in water, or on the trail. 

The Teva Tirra is the best women’s hiking sandal as it is a comfortable and versatile shoe. The comfort of this sandal is thanks to the adjustable straps, nylon shank, and cushioned heel. But it’s a popular pick for the female contingent of the TravelFreak team sandal for more than just its functionality: it’s also stylish and comes in a range of colors. 

The Teva Tirra is also a good option if you’re aiming to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle. The shoe makes use of recycled materials and, through the TevaForever program, can be recycled again. 

While this sandal is a comfortable and stylish option, it does not have the best grip. As such, this shoe is best suited to lighter hikes as opposed to more rigorous trails.

Pros

  • Comfortable 
  • Stays odor free throughout your hikes
  • Available in a range of colors

Cons

  • Footbed might be narrow for some
  • Does not offer the best traction

Teva Tirra Specs:

Best Use:Hiking, Multisport, Watersport
Materials:REPREVE recycled polyester (upper), EVA (topsole and midsole), rubber (outsole)
Weight:1 lb. 2 oz.

Best Men’s Hiking Sandals

4. Teva Terra Fi 5

Teva Terra Fi 5

The Teva Terra Fi 5 is one of my favorite all-terrain hiking sandals—it’ll ensure that you are ready for pretty much anything a trail will throw at you. It has a rugged, lightweight construction, making it ideal for longer treks. 

They’re also super, super comfortable. The sandal has molded PU soles that cushion and support your foot, even when you’re sporting a heavy backpack. This way, the shoe will keep your feet pain-free for miles and miles. Note that these sandals are not the most durable, so you may find yourself having to replace them sooner than expected. 

Of course, in classic Teva fashion, the shoes are also both recycled and recyclable. This way, your shoe is not only supporting your foot but the environment as well.

Pros

  • Eco-friendly
  • Stable and comfortable sandal, good for lengthier hikes
  • Lightweight 
  • Great traction on various surfaces

Cons

  • Straps are not very durable
  • Minimal support in arch

Teva Terra Fi 5 Specs:

Best Use:Hiking
Materials:Recycled polyester (upper), EVA (topsole), Nylon shank (midsole), rubber (outsole)
Weight:14.25 oz.

Best Minimalist Sandals

5. Luna Mono Winged Edition

Mono Winged Edition

Sometimes you just want a nice, plain sandal. That’s exactly what Luna offers, but with some nice features to keep your feet pain-free and comfy. Luna is also also all about having healthy feet, which requires breathable shoes—this idea helped them to develop their range of unique, minimalist sandals, and among these, their best-selling Luna Mono Winged Edition. 

One unique feature of the Mono Winged Edition the “wing design.” The wings keep your Luna sandals securely in place without the use of a technical strap. The shoe is also designed to move ergonomically with your foot and to withstand harsh conditions. 

While I love this sandal, it’s worth pointing out that they make quite a bit of noise while you walk or run. This is not always ideal, especially when you’re out in nature and trying to keep the peace. 

The Mono Winged Edition sandals are exceptionally lightweight and good looking, too. This ensures a versatile, super-sandal that is suitable for a variety of different occasions. Whether you’re headed on an outdoor adventure or to your local store, these will ensure your feet are comfortable the entire way.

Pros

  • Minimalist design
  • Comfortable sandal, good for running and hiking 
  • Durable and flexible

Cons

  • Are loud to run in
  • Narrow design

Mono Winged Edition Specs:

Best Use:Hiking, Running, Everyday use
Materials:Rubber sole, continuous strap made from climbing grade, tubular webbing
Weight:5.9 oz.

Best Closed Toe Hiking Sandals

6. Chaco Odyssey 

Chaco Odyssey

The Chaco Odyssey is an innovative closed-toe sandal that combines the durability of a hiking shoe with the freedom of barefoot trainers. In my opinion, they’ve achieved this goal. The end result is a sandal that’s suitable for all terrains, wet or dry.

Like many of Chaco’s other outdoor footwear, the Odyssey has high standards and features both Chacogrip and Luvseat technologies, meaning the sandals come with high levels of traction, as well a comfortable fit. With these Chacos, you’ll be able to overcome both rivers and trails when exploring your new destination. 

One downside to this sandal: it’s not very adjustable. And if you get any sticks or stones caught in your shoe, they can be a hassle to get out because the sandal is partially closed.

While these sandals are partially closed, they’re still breathable and quick-drying. They’re great if you’ll be doing longer hikes and walks, or water sports. And best of all, the added structure allows for better overall foot and toe protection, which open-toe hiking sandals often lack. They’re available in men’s and women’s.

Pros

  • Good odor control
  • Vegan-friendly construction
  • Breathable

Cons

  • Limited adjustability
  • Not as breathable as other options on this list

Chaco Odyssey Specs:

Best Use:Hiking, Multisport, Watersport
Materials:Mesh and polyester (upper), polyurethane (midsole), rubber compound (outsole)
Weight:1 lb. 1,6 oz.

Best Backpacking Sandals

7. Bedrock Cairn Adventure Sandals

Bedrock Cairn Adventure

When backpacking, you’ll need a sandal that is light, durable, and comfortable—something that’s easy to pack and that’ll keep you blister-free. That’s where the award-winning Bedrock Cairn Adventure sandals come in. It’s a minimalist and ultralight shoe designed for backpacking, hiking, and casual use. 

There are a number of reasons why the Bedrock Cairn Adventure as the best backpacking sandal. Firstly, the shoe has a minimalist footbed that conforms to your feet, providing a more barefoot feel. 

I also like the shoe’s flexible, lightweight design, which can easily be packed into your backpack. And while light and minimal, the sandal has a beefy, grippy sole that is built to last. 

The Bedrock Cairn Adventure has a range of stylish color options, making it just as suitable for town as for the trail. Made for your big adventures and easy afternoons, these sandals are a good option if you’re backpacking and need something versatile to wear all day long.

Pros

  • Secure fit
  • Minimalist design provides a barefoot feel
  • Comfortable and grippy sandal

Cons

  • Low-quality strap material
  • Uncomfortable toe thong

Bedrock Cairn Adventure Specs:

Best Use:Backpacking, Hiking, Multisport
Materials:Polyester and nylon (upper), rubber (outsole)
Weight:1 lb.

Best Open Toe Sandals

8. ECCO Yucatan

ECCO Yucatan

The ECCO Yucatan is a versatile leather hiking sandal that’s comfortable both on and off the trail. It has a classic open-toe design and is ideal if you’re looking for a good quality, multipurpose shoe. 

One of its biggest draws is that it’s built to last. The upper part of this sandal uses durable leather that’s not only comfortable, but also fares well across various terrains. 

The ECCO Yucatan performs well on most trails; however, you’ll find that it’s not ideal for chasing waterfalls. The moment these sandals get wet, they become heavy and a little uncomfortable, and can take some time to dry. 

This open-toe sandal is ideal for both men and women. It’s great for hiking as the shoe is able to protect the bottoms of your feet and keep them pain-free throughout the course of your journey. It’s also a good everyday shoe, especially if you tend to be on your feet a lot.

Pros

  • Lightweight 
  • Comfortable for longer hikes
  • Durable and grippy

Cons

  • Not very lightweight
  • Not the best hiking water sandals

ECCO Yucatan Specs:

Best Use:Hiking, Multisport
Materials:Nubuck leather (upper), polyester (topsole), polyurethane (midsole), rubber (outsole)
Weight:2 lbs. 6 oz.

Best River Sandals (Water Shoes)

9. KEEN Newport H2

Keen Newport H2

The KEEN Newport H2 is a classic, versatile water shoe. Its unique design provides the freedom of a comfortable sandal, as well as the support and protection of a closed shoe. It also features a toe bumper, which keeps your precious toes protected from accidental stubbings (yes, I just made that word up). 

It’s an ideal river sandal/water shoe as it works great in both wet and dry conditions. And, once you leave the water, you’ll be thankful for its quick-dry webbing which will help keep chafing at bay. The closed sandal also has grippy soles, allowing for added traction. Unfortunately, this sandal definitely isn’t the most durable on this list. 

The Newport H2 is a good outdoor hiking sandal suited to both men and women. Plus, it comes in both minimalist and vibrant designs for whatever style you prefer. It’s even the official sandal of the Japan Fuji Rock Festival, so Newport is definitely doing something right. They’re available for men and women.

Pros

  • Strong traction
  • Quick-drying
  • Keeps for foot safe and secure

Cons

  • Narrow fit
  • Not the most durable sandal

KEEN Newport H2 Specs:

Best Use:Hiking, Watersport
Materials:Polyester webbing/hydrophobic mesh (upper), EVA (midsole), carbon Rubber (outsole)
Weight:1 lb. 12 oz.

Best Outdoor Sandals for Everyday Use

10. Chaco Z/1 Classic

Chaco Z1 Classic

The Chaco Z/1 Classic is a fresh take on the brand’s original sandal, developed in 1989. As with most of Chaco’s innovative footwear, this dependable sandal is great for your outdoor adventures both in and out of the water. This ability to adapt and thrive in most environments is what led to the brand’s signature gecko logo. 

The Chaco Classic sandal is fairly minimalistic, resulting in a simple, timeless design that suits both hiking and everyday use. To help you in wetter conditions, it has sticky rubber outsoles, providing exceptional grip and traction. 

The Chaco Classic is a great option for both men and women. While these are winners on the trail, they’re also stylish and suited to most casual settings, whether it’s a park visit or grabbing coffee at a cafe. They also come in men’s and women’s.

It took a little time for me to break in these hiking sandals. They’re also durable and will last for many years, so you won’t have to scramble to find a new pair after one or two seasons.

Pros

  • Good odor control – shoes and feet won’t smell
  • Vegan-friendly 
  • Durable and grippy

Cons

  • Uncomfortable at first
  • Limited adjustability of the straps when compared to previous designs

Chacos Z/1 Classic Specs:

Best Use:Hiking, Multisport, Watersport
Materials:Mesh and polyester (upper), polyurethane (midsole), rubber compound (outsole)
Weight:1 lb. 5,2 oz.

Best Sport Sandals

11. Xero Shoes Z-Trail

Xero Z-Trail

First finding fame on ABC’s Shark Tank, the Xero Z-Trail is an innovative, multipurpose shoe. It offers the protection you’d expect from a sports sandal but without the bulk. With this shoe, you’ll enjoy trail runs (or hiking) as it provides top-notch protection and lightweight flexibility. 

These sandals have a flat, zero-drop sole, which gives your feet a more natural position and provides you with better stability. They are also comfortable, water-resistant, and grippy, making them an ideal option for various outdoor sports and activities. 

With this subtle shoe you can enjoy hiking, kayaking, and other sports that require a more technical design. Note that while these sandals fair well on the trail, they are not ideal for road running. They are, however, a good option to wear to your yoga classes. If you’re seeking a sandal that provides a more “barefoot” feel while you’re being active, these Zero Shoes are for you. They’re available for both men and women.

Pros

  • Can roll up to fit into your backpack
  • Lightweight 
  • Vegan-friendly

Cons

  • Short lifespan
  • Not the best hiking sandal

Xero Sport Sandals Specs:

Best Use:Multisport, Watersport
Materials:Polyester webbing (upper), barefoam (topsole), trailfoam (midsole), rubber (outsole)
Weight:11,2 oz.

Best Hiking Sandals for Kids

12. Chaco ZX/1 EcoTread

Chaco ZX 1 Ecotread

Whether it’s for a family trail walk or a day out in the sun, it’s good to put your kids in a more dependable shoe. Kids need shoes that provide comfort, breathability, and flexibility to allow for proper foot development. It also helps to have a pair of shoes that is easy to take off and put back on. 

The Chaco ZX/1 is a great option for kids, as it offers all Chaco’s usual benefits. This sandal ensures your kids feet are safe and secure. It also has a soft footbed, providing a comfortable fit and conforming to the curves of mini feet. 

The rubber outsoles contain recycled rubber and offer impressive traction. This way, you don’t need to worry as much about your child slipping when they’re playing outside. Best of all, the Chaco ZX/1s come in a variety of fun colors that are sure to have your kids excited to enjoy the outdoors.

Pros

  • Vegan-friendly 
  • Provides good arch support
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Can be challenging to put on

Chaco ZX/1 Ecotread Specs:

Best Use:Hiking, Casual Wear
Materials:Polyester webbing (upper), polyurethane (topsole and midsole), rubber (outsole)
Weight:N/A

What to Look for in a Hiking Sandal: Buyers’ Guide

Unlike your regular, everyday sandals and flip-flops, hiking sandals are designed to be trail-worthy. Many include technologies that make them suitable for lengthier hikes and backpacking trips. Here’s what you should look for.

Components of a Hiking Sandal

When trying to pick out the best hiking sandal for your next adventure, it’s important to understand how each component works. The anatomy of a hiking sandal comprises the upper, midsole, and outsole. The materials used, shape, and construction of these components play a big role in the overall quality of your sandal. Keep reading to learn more about how each of these parts contributes to a good, trail-worthy hiking shoe. 

Upper

The upper, as the name suggests, is the upper layer of the sandal that keeps your foot secure. There are a number of materials that manufacturers use for the upper, as well as different designs. Most often, the sandal has adjustable straps to allow for a customized fit. 

Common materials used for the upper include polyester, synthetic, and leather. Which material is best will come down to personal preference and what kind of hiking you’ll be doing with this sandal. 

Leather is the most durable and tends to mold to your feet, becoming more comfortable over time. But leather sandals are generally pricier and heavier on your feet, plus they get ruined when wet. Synthetic materials, on the other hand, are more breathable, weigh less, and dry quicker. These are softer out of the box; however, they tend to be more prone to wear and tear. 

Midsole

The midsole is the layer between the upper and outsole and provides cushion and shock absorption. 

Commonly used materials include ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) and polyurethane (PU). EVA is a softer rubber-like material and is more flexible and light. This material tends to compress over time and is less supportive. PU is more supportive and often more durable. This material, however, is not as light and feels stiffer out of the box. 

Some sandals also feature shanks. These are an internal part of the supportive structure found between the insole and outsole which provides rigidness and stability to the shoe. Shanks are worth looking out for when seeking a comfortable hiking sandal, as they generally equate to less foot fatigue and added protection. 

Outsole

Perhaps the most important layer is the outsole. This is the bottom layer and is the part of the sandal that touches the ground. For this reason, it is important that this component is highly durable and made from quality materials. 

Outsoles are generally made using a soft or hard rubber. Softer rubbers are lighter and more flexible. But most importantly, they are stickier and do well when scrambling on rock terrains. While they provide good traction, they are not ideal for muddy trails. 

Hard rubbers, however, are more durable and stable and tend to provide better protection. This material is generally heavier and does not provide the most traction on wet surfaces. 

Another factor that contributes to the performance of an outsole is the lug patterns. This refers to the deep indentations or grooves on the bottom of the sandal. Common lug patterns include circular, elliptical, and multi-angular. 

Circular or elliptical patterns are best suited to muddy and wet terrains as they disperse water and prevent hydroplaning. Multi-angular lug patterns have diamond or V shapes and offer multi-directional traction. This fare best on more uneven terrains. 

Other Things to Look for in a Hiking Sandal

In addition to the materials used in the sandal, there are several other important features worth checking out. Below are a few things you’ll want to consider when trying to find the best hiking sandal. 

Water Readiness

If you plan on attempting a trail that involves crossing a river or chasing waterfalls, you’ll need a sandal that is water-ready. Keep an eye out for quick-dry, water-resistant, and waterproof hiking sandals. While these features won’t keep your feet dry, they will stop the sandal from getting too soaked. 

The last thing you want when walking for a long time is slippery and soggy shoes. 

Foot Protection

Another thing you may want to look out for is how much foot protection the shoe provides. 

As previously discussed, the materials used to make a shoe influence how well it will be able to protect your feet. A thicker outsole and more durable materials will provide better protection. However, this generally means a heavier, more bulky shoe. Some closed sandals also provide added toe protection to prevent any stubbed toes along your journey. 

Odor Control

While sandals are usually well-ventilated, they can still pick up a smelly odor. If you have sweaty feet, it’s a good idea to opt for sandals with antimicrobial protection. This way, you will not have to endure any funky smells throughout your trek. And if you need to take them off, they will not stink up your backpack either (or your hostel room). 

Finding the Best Hiking Sandals 

There are many advantages to wearing hiking sandals over traditional hiking shoes and boots. They’re light, breathable, and oftentimes more comfortable as they provide a more natural feel. 

Hopefully, after reading this article, you’ve found the best sandals for hiking for you. Taking into account everything discussed in the buyers’ guide, I hope you found the perfect pair to see you through all your outdoor adventures. 

Happy trails!


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Jeremy Scott Foster
Jeremy Scott Foster
Jeremy Scott Foster is an adventure-junkie, gear expert and travel photographer based in Southern California. Previously nomadic, he’s been to ~50 countries and loves spending time outdoors. You can usually find him on the trail, on the road, jumping from bridges or hustling on his laptop working to produce the best travel and outdoors content today. You can read more about Jeremy at his bio.

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