If you’re someone who enjoys going on long walks or hiking, you probably already have a good pair of walking shoes, boots or sneakers. But what do you do in the summer months or when you’re away on vacation and you need a pair of cool, light shoes to wear when walking? This is where the best walking sandals can become very useful. Giving you the support you need while you hike but keeping the air flowing around your foot, walking sandals can provide almost everything a typical walking shoe can and are something you definitely want to invest in for warmer weather.
Below, we have compiled a buying guide and listed our top picks of walking sandals, so you can purchase the right pair of shoes for you.
Why Do I Need Walking Sandals?
There are a number of reasons you may need a pair of walking sandals. Whether you’re simply looking for a pair of supportive sandals to wear in the warmer weather, or you’re a seasoned hiker who needs specialized footwear for the activity during the summer, a pair of walking sandals are going to be a great addition to your wardrobe.
Walking sandals provide better support in the midsole than regular sandals. Regular summer sandals can be thin and designed for minimal walking and beachwear, so they do not offer the correct amount of cushioning underfoot. Without this cushioning and support, your feet and ankles will begin to hurt and will be more prone to injury.
Walking sandals often have a rubber outsole, which offers great traction for a number of different terrains. In comparison to regular sandals that may have a limited grip because they are only designed for roads, walking sandals allow you to grip both rocky and muddy surfaces without the worry of slipping.
Your walking sandals will be much more durable than your regular summer sandals. This is because they are designed to walk on multiple, sometimes tricky, terrains for long periods of time. The sole will be much thicker than a regular sandal, not just providing you comfort but also durability, and there will be straps on the shoes to keep your foot in place. Their extra cushioning will also prevent from blisters, so you can walk pain free. Don’t worry, just because they are durable, it doesn’t always mean your walking sandals are going to be a heavy shoe.
What Features To Look For In Walking Sandals
Determining which pair of walking sandals are going to be right for you depends on their features. There are certain things you will want to look for in your walking sandals to ensure they are going to be right for you.
Because you are going to be wearing your walking sandals in the warmer months, the material you pick is very important. You don’t want the material to be too thick that it is too hot against your foot, because you will end up sweating and the shoe will start to smell, as well as becoming a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi. However, you also want the material to be thick enough to protect your foot from any branches, thorns or stones that may be on the path. Some people want a waterproof shoe too, so you should take this into consideration. Normally, walking sandals are made from either leather or synthetics.
The outsole you choose in your sandal will be determined by what activity you are going to be doing in your sandal. If you are going to be walking on rocky or difficult terrain, you will need an outsole that not only grips the ground properly but also offers your foot support from the shock of hitting the bumpy ground so there are no injuries. If you are going to be walking in a wet area, you want an outsole with the correct traction so your foot does not slip and you don’t risk falling.
The outsole should protect you too, being thick enough so nothing can penetrate it, as well as being flexible so your foot can move easily over the ground. Often, the outsole is made of rubber as this is one of the most durable materials.
We mentioned above that walking sandals are a lot more supportive than your regular sandals. That being said, you still want to make sure that your walking sandals offer the right amount of support for you. Many of them will have EVA foam midsoles to add extra cushioning underneath your foot, and they may also have extra arch support to help with your pronation. The outsole should also be supportive, absorbing the shock your foot will feel when it hits the ground so it doesn’t travel through your foot to your ankle and knees so you don’t get any aches or pains.
The fit of the sandal is just as important as the support it offers you, and these two often go hand in hand. Of course, you need your walking sandals to fit you properly, otherwise they are going to be uncomfortable. If they are too big, your foot is going to be sliding around inside the shoe and you won’t be able to get a good grip on the ground. If they are too small, your foot may extend over the shoe and that won’t just be uncomfortable, but also potentially harmful. Many sandals have ankle straps to hold your foot in place too, ensuring you get the right fit and support so you can walk with ease.
Style And Protection
Sandals come in two different main designs — open and closed. An open design is lighter and more breathable, and is more like the regular sandal you would buy for your vacation. They are great for going in water in as they dry quickly too. The downside is that they don’t offer the same amount of support and protection as a closed sandal. Closed sandals are more popular with walkers and hikers because of the extra protection around the toe area with a toe bumper, which is the most vulnerable part of your foot.
With more material, they also offer more support to your foot. It will be up to you to decide which style is going to be better for you based on the activity you are going to be doing.
Take a look below at the men and women’s best sandals we recommend below, all available to you on Amazon.
The Best Walking Sandals
Best Walking Sandals For Women
The MEGNYA women’s walking sandals are both light and attractive, while offering you the support you need to walk in. The upper section is made from hand-woven nylon cord and the soles are made of quality synthetic material. You can easily adjust the straps so the shoes fit and stay comfortably on your feet. The midsole is cushioned with EVA foam, while the best quality rubber is used for the soles, including an arch support to ensure the shoes stay comfy and stable. They are also water resistant, so great for any water activities. They come in a range of different colors.
With a nubuck leather upper, the Merrell Women’s Terran Lattice II sandal offers you great durability and support in a walking sandal. A Remember Me™ foam footbed cradles the foot for lasting comfort while also supporting your arch, and a M® SELECT GRIP outsole delivers stability and traction over wet and dry terrain. There is also air cushioning in the heel that absorbs impacting shock, keeping both your feet and ankles stable as you walk.
A hook and loop closure on the upper ensures you can get the perfect fit, so the your foot does not slip inside the shoe and you feel stable while walking. These sandals come in a number of colors to choose from.
The Rockport Cobb Hill Women’s Ramona-CH sandal has a polyurethane upper and a rubber sole. The upper can be adjusted to ensure you get the perfect, secure fit while keeping the shoe light and flexible on your foot. There is a plush microfiber lining and a molded anatomic EVA midsole that contours to the shape of your foot, providing you extra support and cushioning where you need it most. The sole is very durable and has great traction on the bottom, making this the perfect walking shoe. It comes in a few different colors and a range of widths.
Teva’s women’s Tirra sandal is specifically designed to offer maximum comfort and support both in water and on land. The durable sole of this shoe not only absorbs any shock so your feet and ankles don’t feel it, but it also provides excellent traction against a number of surfaces. The deep lug pattern gives particularly good traction in water. All the straps are adjustable so you can make sure the shoe fits you snugly, too.
The footbed provides you with excellent arch support and cushioning with each step, while the Shoc Pad in the heel also absorbs impact where you need it most. These shoes come in a number of different colors.
The Skechers USA Reggae-Slim Vacay walking sandals are a lightweight and flexible shoe, perfect for taking on vacation with you. With a smooth faux-leather and webbed upper, this open-toed sandal is comfortable and breathable. There is an adjustable quick-access buckle at the ankle for easily getting on and off while also ensuring the sandal fits properly, and there is a removable heel strap too. The footbed is both contoured and cushioned to provide excellent arch support for all walking and the midsole has shock absorbing properties too. The flexible rubber sole also provides excellent traction. There are four different colors available.
Available in a huge amount of colors, the ECCO Women’s Yucatan has a nubuck leather upper with a neoprene lining for a soft and comfortable fit. With three adjustable straps so you can ensure the shoe fits you perfectly, there is also a lightweight molded EVA footbed with a soft microfiber cover for supreme cushioning and superior stability. The midsole foam is injected with PU to give further cushioning and great arch support for a number of different activities. The outsole is made from durable rubber that provides you with great traction for a number of different terrains, ensuring you get a great grip on the ground for extra support.
Best Walking Sandals For Men
The KEEN Men’s Rialto 3 Point sandal is rugged and resilient with a just-right fit, featuring 3 adjustable straps that let you lock down your foot for a customized feel. The upper is made from leather and is water-resistant, and there is also a hydrophobic mesh lining for further protection. This walking sandal features a direct-attach PU midsole and a removable, molded PU foam footbed with a metatarsal ridge for natural underfoot support, making it the perfect shoe for walking on uneven terrain. Even better, it has been treated with probiotic technology to provide a natural method of odor control. This sandal is available in two colors.
The Dockers Men’s Newpage sandals add a stylish touch to your walking wardrobe with the distressed upper design. Available in four different colors, the upper is synthetic and very comfortable and comes with velcro closures to offer a relaxed and more personalized fit. The whole shoe is flexible, making it great for walking, and the sole is made from rubber so you can be sure that it is durable. The sole also provides you with good traction on a number of different surfaces.
There are also memory foam insoles that shape to your foot for instant comfort, including a built in arch support, and a Fusion Footbed adds an extra layer of cushion too.
Very similar to the women’s ECCO Yucatan sandal we mention above, the men’s ECCO Yucatan has a sturdy nubuck upper, making it great for nearly any activity. This sandal is lightweight yet has a durable rubber sole that helps you to tackle a range of different terrains in comfort, all while keeping your stability. There are multiple straps for you to adjust the shoe to fit properly, as well as a neoprene lining to ensures you get a snug fit. There is a lightweight EVA molded footbed for support and RECEPTOR technology for excellent stability from ground impact to-toe-off.
The direct-injected PU midsole foam provides long-lasting cushioning, too. Again, this shoe comes in a number of different colors.
The KEEN Men’s Clearwater CNX sandal is a closed toe walking sandal that offers you slightly more support and protection than some of the other sandals on our list. This sandal features a webbing upper with a bungee lace to ensure the perfect fit, and there is a patented toe guard to protect the most vulnerable part of your foot from injury when walking on uneven terrain. The rubber sole has multi-directional flex grooves to ensure excellent traction too. There is a contoured arch for added midfoot support and a PU midsole that helps with shock-absorption.
Even better, there is a hydrophobic mesh lining that has been treated with a microbe shield to stop the shoe from smelling when it gets hot. Available in a range of colors, this shoe is perfect for those who love to explore the outdoors.
The Birkenstock Arizona sandals have long been a popular sandal for a range of different activities. While they may not provide as much protection and support for walking as some of the other sandals on our list here, the leather upper and the suede covered footbed with a special arched design give excellent comfort and support. There is a cork latex midsole and an EVA outsole that both work together to give shock absorbing properties and the twin buckle design means that you can adjust the sandal to fit your foot correctly too.
The outsole provides good traction against the ground, although this is not something you would want to wear on very uneven terrain. These sandals come in a huge range of different colors, so you can get a pair for all the family.
This OOFOS sport sandal is 100% waterproof and is perfect for a number of sports. With a foam sole, the OOfoam Recovery Technology absorbs 37% more impact than traditional footwear foam, giving your feet the support they need. The patented footbed cradles your arches to reduce stress on your sore feet, ankles, knees and lower back and gives a soft, spongy base for your foot to rest on. In a flip flop design, these comfortable sandals are designed to allow natural motion and flexibility so you are not restricted in any way too. Because these shoes are waterproof they are also machine washable, making them easy to care for. They come in five different colors.
If you love walking or hiking and are looking for a shoe to do the activity in in the summer without your foot getting too hot, walking sandals are for you. Walking sandals allow you to a walk over many different terrains, keeping the shoe breathable but without compromising the comfort or support offered. Remember to take into consideration the ground you will be walking on and the amount of protection you’ll need before buying, so you get the perfect shoe for your needs. We know you’ll find a pair of sandals you love in the list above.