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7 Best Hiking Sandals In 2024

Exploring the great outdoors through hiking offers an incredible opportunity to connect with nature, immerse yourself in breathtaking scenery, and test your physical and mental limits. Yet, the rigors of hiking can lead to a hot, sweaty, and often uncomfortable experience, particularly for your feet. This is where the importance of having the right footwear tailored specifically for hiking becomes evident. Surprisingly, sometimes the ideal hiking footwear isn’t a conventional pair of shoes; it might be hiking sandals. In the following sections, we will delve into the world of hiking sandals, shedding light on what they are, their significance, guidance on selecting the perfect pair, and an insight into the top 7 best hiking sandals for the year 2024.

What are hiking sandals and why do you need them?

Hiking sandals are sandals that are specifically made for hiking. They have some features that make them different from regular sandals, such as:

The difference between hiking sandals and regular sandals

Hiking sandals are distinguished by their enhanced traction and grip capabilities. This translates to an increased presence of rubber or synthetic material on the sole of the sandal, delivering superior friction and stability across various surfaces. In contrast, conventional sandals typically offer less traction and grip, posing the risk of slipping or sliding on uneven or slippery terrains.

Moreover, hiking sandals provide greater protection and coverage. They feature an abundance of straps or webbing on the upper part of the sandal, effectively shielding your toes and foot from potential hazards like rocks, sticks, or bothersome insects. Standard sandals, on the other hand, often lack this protective coverage, leaving your foot vulnerable to injury or irritation.

What further sets hiking sandals apart is their adjustability and personalized fit. They come equipped with multiple buckles, Velcro straps, or laces, allowing you to fine-tune the fit and tightness of the sandal to match the unique shape and size of your foot. In contrast, regular sandals typically offer less versatility in terms of adjustability and fit, potentially causing your foot to shift uncomfortably or rub against the sandal.

The benefits of wearing hiking sandals

Opting for hiking sandals offers a range of advantages, including:

  1. Temperature Control and Dryness: Hiking sandals provide improved ventilation and airflow around your feet, effectively preventing overheating and excessive sweating, especially in hot weather. Additionally, they offer the benefit of quick drying, ensuring your feet stay dry even in wet conditions, which is often a challenge with traditional shoes.
  2. Lighter Load: Hiking sandals are designed with less material and weight, resulting in a reduction in the overall load on your feet. This translates to energy savings and less bulk, making your hiking experience more efficient. Furthermore, the compact design of hiking sandals allows for lighter packing, freeing up space in your backpack or luggage, which can be particularly convenient.
  3. Enhanced Mobility and Enjoyment: Hiking sandals grant greater flexibility and mobility, enabling a more natural and comfortable movement on the trail. This increased freedom enhances your connection with the environment, allowing you to savor sensations like feeling the water, sand, or grass beneath your feet. This, in turn, adds to the overall enjoyment and sense of adventure during your hikes.

How to choose the best hiking sandals for your adventure?

With an understanding of what hiking sandals are and their importance, the next step is to determine how to select the most suitable pair for your outdoor adventure. When in the market for hiking sandals, several critical factors should guide your decision-making process, including:

Your foot type and size

One of the initial steps in selecting the right hiking sandals is to accurately measure your foot length and width while also identifying your foot type. There are three primary foot types to consider: neutral, pronated, and supinated.

Neutral Foot Type: A neutral foot type indicates that your foot possesses a normal arch and proper alignment. For individuals with neutral foot types, the choice of hiking sandals is versatile, allowing you to opt for any model that fits well and feels comfortable.

Pronated Foot Type: If you have a pronated foot type, it means your foot exhibits a low arch or flat feet, and it tends to roll inward during walking or running. To address this tendency and prevent overpronation-related injuries, you should seek hiking sandals that offer enhanced stability and support on the inner side of the sandal.

Supinated Foot Type: A supinated foot type is characterized by a high arch and a tendency for the foot to roll outward during walking or running. To mitigate the risk of underpronation-related injuries, you should choose hiking sandals that provide extra cushioning and flexibility on the outer side of the sandal.

You can also use a simple wet test to help identify your foot type. This involves wetting your foot and stepping on a piece of paper to create a footprint. You can then compare the shape of your wet footprint to reference images that correspond to the neutral, pronated, and supinated foot types. This test can serve as a quick and effective way to determine your foot type and inform your choice of hiking sandals.

The terrain and climate

The second crucial factor to consider when choosing the right hiking sandals is the type of terrain and climate conditions you anticipate encountering during your hike. Different terrains and climates present specific challenges, so it’s essential to ensure your hiking sandals possess the features needed to meet those challenges. Here are some common terrain and climate scenarios to consider:

Rocky Terrain: This terrain is characterized by rough, uneven, and sharp surfaces such as gravel, boulders, or scree. To tackle such conditions, it’s advisable to opt for hiking sandals that offer increased protection and coverage to shield your feet from potential cuts, bruises, or punctures. Enhanced traction and grip are also crucial for stability on rocky surfaces, preventing slips and slides.

Sandy Terrain: Sandy terrain features soft, loose, and fine materials like sand, dirt, or dust. For such conditions, prioritize hiking sandals with excellent ventilation and airflow to keep your feet cool and dry in the heat. Adjustable straps and a secure fit are vital to prevent your feet from shifting or rubbing against the sand.

Wet Terrain: Wet terrain encompasses moist, slippery, or submerged environments, including mud, streams, or puddles. Opt for hiking sandals with strong water resistance and quick-drying capabilities to keep your feet dry and comfortable. Additionally, superior traction and grip are essential to prevent slips and falls on wet surfaces.

Hot Climate: Hot climates, characterized by warmth, sunshine, and humidity, such as in summer or tropical regions, require hiking sandals with excellent breathability and comfort to combat sweat and heat. Sun protection and UV resistance features help shield your feet from sunburns and blisters.

Cold Climate: In cooler, cloudy, or windy environments like winter or mountain regions, it’s essential to choose hiking sandals with effective insulation to keep your feet warm and cozy. Additionally, prioritize water resistance and quick-drying properties to prevent your feet from getting wet or freezing in the presence of snow or ice.

By considering these factors, you can select hiking sandals that are tailored to the specific challenges posed by your chosen terrain and climate, ensuring a more comfortable and safe outdoor adventure.

The durability and comfort

The third critical consideration in choosing the right hiking sandals revolves around their durability and comfort, as these factors significantly influence the overall longevity and satisfaction of your hiking experience.

Durability: Durability pertains to how well a hiking sandal can endure the rigors of hiking across various terrains and climates. It is imperative to select hiking sandals that feature robust and long-lasting materials, such as rubber, leather, or nylon, both in the sole and upper parts of the sandal. Additionally, look for hiking sandals that incorporate reinforced stitching, rivets, or high-quality adhesive in areas susceptible to damage, ensuring a longer lifespan and reliability.

Comfort: Comfort is a crucial element, as it directly impacts how well your hiking sandals fit and feel during your outdoor excursions. Opt for hiking sandals that offer ample cushioning and padding, which can include materials like EVA foam, gel, or cork, strategically placed on the footbed and straps of the sandal. These features enhance the overall comfort by minimizing pressure points and maximizing shock absorption. Furthermore, hiking sandals with built-in arch support and a well-defined heel cup provide improved foot alignment and balance, contributing to a more comfortable hiking experience.

By prioritizing both durability and comfort when selecting your hiking sandals, you can ensure that your choice will stand up to the challenges of the trail while providing the support and satisfaction necessary for a rewarding hiking adventure.

The style and design

The fourth consideration when selecting hiking sandals is your personal style and design preferences, which are highly subjective and should align with your individual taste and personality.

Style: Style encompasses how the hiking sandal looks, including factors like color, shape, and brand. Your choices in terms of color are varied, ranging from classic neutrals like brown or black to vibrant options like red or blue. Additionally, you can select from different shapes, such as open-toe, closed-toe, slingback, or ankle strap designs. There’s also the choice of brand, with popular options like Chaco or Keen, or more niche selections like Bedrock or Xero, to suit your specific style preferences.

Design: The design of hiking sandals pertains to their functionality and the innovative features they offer. You can tailor your choice based on various design features, such as buckle or Velcro closures for ease of use, waterproof or breathable uppers depending on the climate and conditions you expect, or footbeds with antimicrobial or odor-resistant properties for enhanced hygiene. Additionally, there are various technologies to consider, like cushioning systems such as Z/Cloud or Clearwater CNX, as well as traction systems like Terra Fi 5 or Z-Trail EV. You can even explore unique innovations present in different models, like the Yucatan or Newport H2.

Ultimately, your style and design preferences should align with your personality and how you want to express yourself on the trail. The choices you make in this regard can add a personal touch to your hiking experience, making it more enjoyable and reflective of your individuality.

The 7 Best Hiking Sandals in 2024

Now that you have a clear understanding of how to select the ideal hiking sandals for your adventure, you might be curious about some of the top options available in 2024. Here are our top 7 Best Hiking Sandals picks for both men’s and women’s hiking sandals, chosen based on their exceptional quality, performance, and favorable reviews:

Chaco Z/Cloud

The Chaco Z/Cloud stands out as one of the most sought-after and Best Hiking Sandals, catering to both men and women. It’s expertly designed to deliver all-day comfort and support, making it an excellent choice for traversing diverse terrains and weather conditions. Here’s what you can expect from the Chaco Z/Cloud:

 

  • Durable and Adjustable: The sandal boasts a robust polyester jacquard webbing upper, providing not only durability but also the flexibility to adjust the fit according to your preference.
  • Secure Fit: With a ladder lock buckle, this sandal ensures your foot is securely fastened, delivering a snug and reliable fit that’s essential for a comfortable and safe hiking experience.
  • Cushioning and Arch Support: The Chaco Z/Cloud features a LUVSEAT PU footbed, which not only cushions your feet but also offers excellent arch support. This ensures your feet remain comfortable and well-supported throughout your adventures.
  • Impressive Traction: The ChacoGrip rubber outsole is designed for superior traction and grip on a wide range of surfaces, enhancing your stability and confidence while navigating various terrains.

Available in a variety of colors and sizes, the Chaco Z/Cloud is priced at approximately $110. You can purchase it through the official Chaco website or from other reputable online retailers, ensuring you have access to a dependable and comfortable hiking sandal for your outdoor escapades.

Bedrock Cairn 3D Pro II

The Bedrock Cairn 3D Pro II is an exceptional choice for both men and women seeking a minimalist, flexible, and responsive sandal designed to conquer diverse terrains and climates. Here’s what makes this hiking sandal stand out:

 

  • Breathable and Durable: Featuring a nylon webbing upper, this sandal offers both breathability and durability, ensuring your feet remain comfortable while enduring the rigors of outdoor adventures.
  • Secure Fit: The hook-and-loop closure, complemented by a sturdy metal buckle, guarantees a snug and secure fit, preventing any discomfort or slippage during your hikes.
  • Anatomical Support: The 3D contoured footbed not only delivers cushioning but also provides anatomical support, catering to the unique needs of your feet as you navigate various terrains.
  • Impressive Traction: Equipped with a Vibram Megagrip outsole, the Bedrock Cairn 3D Pro II offers unparalleled traction and grip on a wide array of surfaces, ensuring you maintain excellent stability in challenging conditions.

Furthermore, it’s worth noting that the Bedrock Cairn 3D Pro II is one of the lightest hiking sandals available, weighing a mere 8 ounces for men’s size 9 and 6 ounces for women’s size 7. With a range of color and size options, it’s competitively priced at around $120, making it accessible for outdoor enthusiasts. You can purchase it from the official Bedrock website or through other reputable online retailers.

Keen Clearwater CNX

The Keen Clearwater CNX is an outstanding option for both men and women who seek a comfortable, protective, and versatile sandal capable of smoothly transitioning from hiking to water activities. Here’s what sets the Keen Clearwater CNX apart:

 

  • Breathable and Durable: With a polyester webbing upper, this sandal offers both breathability and durability, ensuring your feet stay comfortable and protected during outdoor pursuits.
  • Secure and Adjustable Fit: The bungee lace system, complete with a toggle, secures your foot snugly, providing a customized and secure fit for optimal comfort and support.
  • Cushioning and Arch Support: Featuring a metatomical EVA footbed, this sandal provides cushioning and arch support, ensuring your feet remain comfortable and well-aligned as you navigate various terrains.
  • Impressive Traction: The rubber outsole of the Keen Clearwater CNX incorporates razor siping, granting exceptional traction and grip on both wet and dry surfaces, enhancing your stability and confidence.

What makes this sandal unique is its toe bumper, offering added protection for your toes against potential hazards like rocks, sticks, or shells. Furthermore, it’s water-friendly, designed to quickly drain water and resist odor, making it an ideal choice for water-based activities.

Teva Terra Fi 5 Universal

The Teva Terra Fi 5 Universal is a timeless choice for both men and women who prioritize durability, stability, and versatility in their hiking sandals. Here’s what makes the Teva Terra Fi 5 Universal a standout option:

 

  • Durable and Sustainable: The sandal features a recycled polyester webbing upper, combining durability with sustainability, making it an excellent choice for those environmentally conscious hikers.
  • Adjustable and Secure Fit: With a hook-and-loop closure offering multiple points of adjustment, this sandal ensures a snug and secure fit, catering to your unique comfort and support needs.
  • Cushioning and Shock Absorption: Equipped with a molded PU midsole, the Terra Fi 5 Universal provides cushioning and shock absorption, minimizing discomfort and fatigue during long hikes.
  • Impressive Traction: The rubber outsole incorporates a spider rubber compound, delivering exceptional traction and grip on a wide range of surfaces, enhancing your stability and confidence on the trail.

What sets this sandal apart is its rich history and over 30 years of innovative design, establishing it as one of the most popular hiking sandals available. Additionally, the Terra Fi 5 Universal is vegan-friendly, as it does not contain any animal products or byproducts, aligning with ethical and environmental considerations.

Xero Shoes Z-Trail EV

The Xero Shoes Z-Trail EV is a groundbreaking choice for both men and women who seek a minimalist, flexible, and lightweight hiking sandal that mimics the natural movement of the foot. Here’s what makes the Xero Shoes Z-Trail EV a unique and innovative option:

 

  • Vegan-Friendly and Comfortable: The sandal features a vegan-friendly upper that combines breathability and comfort, ensuring a pleasant and ethical hiking experience.
  • Secure and Adjustable Fit: With a Z-patterned strap system, complemented by a reliable buckle, this sandal offers a snug and secure fit, allowing for customization to your specific needs.
  • Cushioning and Responsiveness: The FeelTrue rubber midsole delivers cushioning and responsiveness, enhancing comfort and shock absorption for a more enjoyable hike.
  • Impressive Traction: The FeelTrue rubber outsole, equipped with chevron treads, provides exceptional traction and grip on a variety of surfaces, boosting your confidence and stability on the trail.

What sets the Xero Shoes Z-Trail EV apart is its remarkably thin profile, with only 10 mm of material between your foot and the ground. This minimalist design allows it to be one of the most flexible hiking sandals available, with the added benefit of being easily packable – it can roll up to fit in your pocket or pack.

Ecco Yucatan

The Ecco Yucatan is a timeless choice for both men and women who prioritize comfort, durability, and adjustability in their hiking sandals. Here’s what sets the Ecco Yucatan apart:

 

  • Durable and Water-Resistant: Crafted with a nubuck leather upper, this sandal provides both durability and water resistance, making it well-suited for a range of terrains and weather conditions.
  • Secure and Adjustable Fit: The hook-and-loop closure with three points of adjustment ensures a snug and secure fit, allowing for personalized comfort and support.
  • Cushioning and Odor Control: Featuring a molded EVA footbed with a microfiber cover, the Ecco Yucatan offers cushioning and odor control, enhancing overall comfort during long hikes.
  • Impressive Traction: The rubber outsole incorporates Receptor technology, delivering remarkable traction and stability on various surfaces, bolstering your confidence and security while exploring the outdoors.

What distinguishes the Ecco Yucatan is its exceptional comfort, offering a soft and smooth feel on your feet. Additionally, this sandal is renowned for its durability, thanks to the high-quality leather material that can withstand the test of time, making it an investment for years of adventures.

Keen Newport H2

The Keen Newport H2 is a versatile choice for both men and women who seek a protective, supportive, and water-friendly sandal capable of seamlessly transitioning from hiking to water-based activities. Here’s what makes the Keen Newport H2 a standout option:

 

  • Durable and Quick-Drying: With a polyester webbing upper, this sandal is not only durable but also quick-drying, ensuring your feet remain comfortable in wet conditions.
  • Secure and Adjustable Fit: The lace capture system, featuring a convenient toggle, secures your foot snugly, delivering a customized and secure fit for your outdoor adventures.
  • Cushioning and Odor Resistance: The metatomical EVA footbed, complemented by an anti-microbial treatment, offers both cushioning and odor resistance, guaranteeing a comfortable and fresh experience during extended use.
  • Impressive Traction: The rubber outsole of the Keen Newport H2 incorporates a multi-directional lug pattern, providing exceptional traction and grip on wet and dry surfaces, boosting your stability and confidence.

The Keen Newport H2 stands out with its toe bumper, offering extra protection for your toes against potential hazards like rocks, sticks, or shells. Furthermore, it’s designed to be water-friendly, quickly draining water and resisting odor, making it an ideal choice for water-based activities.

Conclusion

Hiking sandals are specially designed for hiking, featuring distinct characteristics that set them apart from regular sandals. These features include enhanced traction, protection, adjustability, and fit. Wearing hiking sandals provides several advantages, such as keeping your feet cool and dry, reducing weight and bulk, and enhancing your sense of freedom and enjoyment on the trail.

Selecting the ideal hiking sandals for your adventure involves considering various factors. These include assessing your foot type and size, gauging the terrain and climate you’ll encounter, evaluating the durability and comfort of the sandals, and aligning with your preferred style and design. In addition, you can explore some of the best hiking sandals available in 2023, including options like the Chaco Z/Cloud, Bedrock Cairn 3D Pro II, Keen Clearwater CNX, Teva Terra Fi 5 Universal, Xero Shoes Z-Trail EV, Ecco Yucatan, and Keen Newport H2.

We hope this article has provided valuable insights to assist you in discovering the perfect pair of hiking sandals for your upcoming adventure. Happy hiking!

FAQs

Certainly, here are some frequently asked questions about hiking sandals along with their answers:

Q: How often should I replace my hiking sandals?

A: The frequency of replacement depends on factors like hiking intensity and care. Generally, consider replacing your hiking sandals every two years or after roughly 500 miles of use. Keep an eye out for signs of wear, such as frayed straps, cracked soles, or loose buckles, which may indicate it’s time for a change.

Q: How should I clean my hiking sandals?

A: To maintain your hiking sandals, follow these cleaning steps:

  1. Remove dirt and debris with a brush or cloth.
  2. Create a solution of mild detergent and warm water.
  3. Gently scrub your sandals with a sponge or cloth soaked in the solution.
  4. Rinse your sandals with clean water and allow them to air dry. Avoid using harsh chemicals or bleach, and refrain from machine washing or drying, as these methods can damage the materials.

Q: How should I store my hiking sandals?

A: Proper storage ensures the longevity of your hiking sandals:

  1. Keep them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight or heat sources.
  2. Use shoe trees or crumpled paper to maintain their shape.
  3. Employ shoe bags or boxes to protect them from dust and moisture.
  4. Avoid storing your sandals near items with strong odors, as these odors can transfer to your sandals.

Q: How can I make my hiking sandals more comfortable?

A: To enhance the comfort of your hiking sandals, consider these tips:

  1. Ensure you’ve selected the right size and width for your foot, adjusting the straps or buckles for a secure fit.
  2. Gradually break in your sandals by wearing them for short periods before embarking on longer hikes.
  3. Opt for socks made of breathable, moisture-wicking materials that fit well with your sandals.
  4. Use insoles or inserts tailored to your foot type, offering extra cushioning or support.
  5. Regularly replace insoles or inserts, as they can wear out or lose their effectiveness over time.

Q: What are some of the best brands for hiking sandals?

A: There are several reputable brands known for high-quality hiking sandals. Some popular options include Chaco, Bedrock, Keen, Teva, Xero Shoes, Ecco, and more. Your choice may depend on your preferences, budget, and the reviews from other customers. Professional hikers’ endorsements can also provide insights into the performance and durability of different brands.

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