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Retezat National Park, Romania. A good pair of hiking sandals can take you all over the world. Photo: Toa Heftiba//Unsplash.


The Inertia

Anytime the sun is shining is the perfect time to get out, explore, and get your feet tan. While boots will get the job done, hiking sandals are often the way to go during the warmer months. They’re lightweight, breathable, and ideal for water crossings, making them our go-to for warm weather adventures.

Although we wouldn’t recommend hiking sandals for backpacking trips or lengthier hikes, they’re perfect for shorter treks near home. After testing some of the best sandals in the industry, we’ve rounded up eight of our favorite hiking sandals. Read on for our top picks, and for more information, check out our Comparison Table and Buyer’s Guide.

What Are the Best Hiking Sandals?

Best Overall: Chaco Z-1 Sandals
Runner Up:
Teva Hurricane XLT2
Most Comfortable:
HOKA Hopara Sandals
Most Stylish: Astral Webber Sandals
Most Versatile: KEEN Whisper Sandals
Most Affordable: Northside Santa Rosa Sport Sandal


Best Overall Hiking Sandal

Chaco Z-1 Classic Sandals ($100)chaco z1

Available In: Men’s, Women’s

Pros: Adjustable, durable
Cons: Straps are a little long for narrow feet. Takes time to break in

Weight: 1 lbs. 5.2 oz.
Outsole: Nonmarking ChacoGrip rubber compound
Upper: Polyester

Founded in 1989, Chaco has been in the hiking-sandals business for a long time so its designs are consistently one of the best in the game. Combining contemporary aesthetics with tried and true technology, Chacos’ Z1 Sandals feature pull-through adjustable straps and trademarked LUVSEAT footbeds. The polyester jacquard webbing upper wraps around the foot and through the midsole for a customized fit and the toe loop on many styles provides added security. The outsole is made from non-marking EcoTread, a 25-percent recycled rubber compound and offers three millimeter lug depth. The topographic textured grooves on the footbed provide plenty of traction for sunny and rainy adventures alike.

The Chaco design is getting rapidly more stylish, the base is durable and sturdy, and the adjustable straps allow you to customize the sandals for the best fit. As someone with a narrow foot, our tester’s only issue after tightening the strap was that it was on the long side and dragged a bit when walking—something she plans on rectifying with a sewing kit.

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Runner Up

Teva Hurricane XLT2 ($75)

hiking sandals teva

Available In: Men’s, Women’s

Pros: Made from eco-friendly materials. Great blend of support and comfort
Cons: Slightly less support than Chaco

Weight: 1 lb. 4 oz.
Outsole: Rubber
Upper: REPREVE recycled polyester

Our tester has been a die-hard Teva fan since day one and the Hurricane XLT2 validates her dedication. An upgraded model of the beloved Hurricane XLT, the XLT2 features soft heel-strap padding and a durable, rubber outsole for toughness and traction. Made with the environment in mind, these sandals are created using synthetic and plant-based materials, feature quick-dry webbing made from recycled plastic, and are fully recyclable.

Available in a wide range of colors and styles, the XLT2 have a robust EVA footbed and a nylon shank that stabilizes and supports your foot on uneven terrain. The Velcro straps are quick and easy to adjust and the thick footbed offers the support you need for long days on the trails. Teva offers slightly less support than Chaco, which is why they finished runner-up, but it all comes down to personal preference. Read the full review here.

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Most Comfortable

HOKA Hopara Sandals ($135)

Available In: Men’s, Women’s
Pros: Super breathable and comfortable, quick-lace system
Cons: Run a little big

Weight: 12 oz.
Outsole: Rubber
Upper: Synthetic, neoprene

Designed for wet and dry adventures alike, the Hopara sandals are a hybrid between a shoe and a sandal, providing maximum comfort and support. Available in three different color ways, the sandals feature synthetic and neoprene uppers for the utmost flexibility, comfort, and breathability. Other noteworthy features include a quick-lace system for ease of use, rubberized EVA midsole for added comfort, four-mm multidirectional lugs for grip on uneven surface, and an outsole with stick rubber for grip in wet and dry conditions.

The sandals are incredibly comfortable and the lack of straps makes them easy to use and eliminates the possibility of chaffing or digging in. One thing to note: the sandals run a little big, so you may consider sizing down for a more secure fit.

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Most Stylish

Astral Webber Sandals ($110)

astral webber sandals

Available In: Women’s, Men’s
Pros: Stylish, super durable
Cons: Rub if wet for too long

Weight: N/A
Outsole: Flex Grip with G.ss rubber
Upper: Postconsumer recycled polyester

Inspired by river guides, the Astral Webber Sandals are designed for both the water and the trails. The webbing and adjustable straps on the sandals are made from Astral’s famous personal flotation devices (PFD’s), making for a durable, repurposed strap. The buckles are also PFD-grade, so they’re super strong.

If you leave the straps loose, you can easily slip in and out of the sandals, but they can also be synched down tight for when you need a secure fit. Our tester has now feet and found that these sandals did fit, but she had to work the buckles to get them extra tight.

These sandals feature a zero-drop footbed to encourage your foot’s natural alignment and promote a healthy stride. The outsoles are plenty grippy, making them perfect for trekking along the river, up mountains, and everything in between. Our tester wore the Webber Sandals on a 16-day river rafting trip down the Grand Canyon and found them to be an excellent outdoor sandal.

While they’re great for hiking, we’d recommend keeping it to shorter hikes as the sandals can rub a bit after prolonged wear or exposure to water. These sandals are super stylish and work well in the outdoors as well as to the bar post-adventure.

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Most Versatile

KEEN Whisper Sandals ($120)keen hiking sandals

Available In: Women’s, Men’s (Newport H2)
Pros: Elastic one-pull lacing provides easy on/off. Rubber toe guards prevent stubbed toes
Cons: A little dorky

Weight: 1 lb. 1 oz.
Outsole: Carbon rubber
Upper: Polyester webbing

KEEN’s Whisper Sandals are a lightweight, performance sandal that are perfect for wet and dry adventures alike. The sandals sport polyester webbing uppers that provide a secure fit and nylon mesh linings that enhance the comfort. The EVA midsoles provide much needed cushion and support and the carbon rubbers outsoles provide reliable traction, even when trails are slippery. The elastic one-pull lacing allow for easy on and off and the rubber toe guards help prevent stubbed toes.

As the sandals are designed for water and hiking, they feature a Cleansport NXT treatment, which helps prevent odor-causing bacteria from growing. Our tester lives in Hawaii, where trails are often wet, muddy, and include stream crossings, so she appreciated how seamlessly these transitioned between wet and dry surfaces. Although Keen doesn’t make the Whisper for men, the Newport H2 Sandals are similar and equally as worthy.

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Most Affordable

Northside Santa Rosa Sport Sandal ($26)northside santa rosa sandal

Available In: Women’s, Men’s (Burke II).
Pros: Quick-dry lining great for in/out of water. Elastic drawstring lacing system for easy on/off.
Cons: Not great for long hikes.

Weight: 10 oz.
Outsole: Rubber
Upper: Nylon, mesh

Northside’s Santa Rosa Sandal is a lightweight performance, closed-toe sandal that feels like a cross between a water shoe and a hiking sandal. The athletic trail sandal was constructed from water-resistant materials and includes a quick-dry lining, allowing them to easily transition from water to trail. Thoughtful features include a lightweight cushioned EVA insole, an elastic drawstring lacing system, synthetic rubber toe caps, and durable multi-directional synthetic rubber outsole thread.

The Santa Rosa sandals offer a snug fit and are ideal for treks in and out of the water. We’d probably save them for shorter hikes, as they don’t offer as much support as other options. The Santa Rosa only comes in women’s but the Burke II is a comparable option for men.

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Best of the Rest

Merrell Alpine Strap Sneaker ($85)merrell alpine strap sandal

Available In: Men’s, Women’s
Pros: Cushioned padding between straps. Sticky rubber outsoles provide durable traction
Cons: Not as durable as other options

Weight: 1 lb. 2 oz.
Outsole: Quantum Grip rubber
Upper: Textile/ LYCRA spandex neoprene

The Merrell Alpine Strap Sneakers sport a retro style and are available in bright colors and muted earth tones that are sure to please. The sandals feature a textile and Lycra neoprene upper coupled with a 100-percent, recycled-webbing upper. Additionally, the shoes include dual top and back strap hook and loop closure system that allows for quick and easy adjustments on the trail.

A standout feature is the cushioned padding beneath the straps, preventing rubbing and adding comfort. The sticky rubber outsoles provide durable traction, allowing you to rock scramble with ease or trek through a flowing creek. Our tester was a big fan of the aesthetic of these sandals and felt they’d pair well with cutoffs for errands around town.

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Teva Original Universal Sandals ($55)

Teva Universal Sandal

Available In: Men’s, Women’s
Pros:
Classic Tevas are making a comeback in the style department. Retro is back, baby
Cons: 
Not a ton of support for longer adventures, basic strap system

Weight: 13 oz.
Outsole: Rubber
Upper: REPREVE recycled polyester

The classic Tevas have been around for a minute, 1984 to be exact when a guide in the Grand Canyon added extra straps to a pair of flip flops so they wouldn’t float away. They’ve always been popular with the hiking and camping crowd for their unpretentious ease of use, light weight, and lasting durability, but it wasn’t until recently that they gained wider appeal with the fashion crowd, and Teva has risen to the occasion with styles like their Midform Sandals for women. That said, the classic Original Universal Tevas pack functionality as well as style, making a great lightweight option for less-demanding hikes, while still having enough cachet to grab drinks or dinner on the way home.

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Merrell Speed Fusion Strap Sandals ($80)

merrell hiking sandals

Available In: Women’s, Men’s
Pros: Made from recycled materials, comfortable
Cons: Not the most stylish

Weight: 12 oz.
Outsole: Vibram EcoStep
Upper: Mesh/full-grain leather

Where some sandals claim to be hiking sandals but are really more of a walking sandal, the Merrell Speed Fusion Strap Sandals deliver what they promise. The Vibram EcoStep outsoles are made from 30% recycled materials and provide generous support and some serious grip. Our tester took these sandals up steep hills, over dry dirt, and through creek crossings and found the Fusion sandals performed well on a wide range of terrain.

One of the common issues with hiking sandals is that they rub on your feet and they’re hard to find a secure fit. With the Fusion sandals, neither of these is a problem. Out of the gates, the sandals were comfortable and there was zero chaffing and/or rubbing. The combination of velcro straps along with the adjustable heel toggle allowed for a secure, custom fit. These sandals feel incredibly supportive and comfortable and although our tester only took them out on mid-length hikes, she’s confident they would hold up well on longer treks as well.

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Comparison Table

Hiking Sandal Price Weight Outsole Upper Sustainable? Closure Type
Chaco Z-1 Sandals $100 1 lbs. 5.2 oz. Nonmarking ChacoGrip rubber compound Polyester Yes Pull through, adjustable straps
Teva Hurricane XLT2 $75 1 lb. 4 oz. Rubber REPREVE recycled polyester Yes Velcro straps
HOKA Hopara Sandals $135 12 oz. Rubber Synthetic, neoprene No Quick lace system
Merrell Alpine Strap Sneaker $85 1 lb. 2 oz. Quantum Grip rubber Textile/ LYCRA spandex neoprene No Hook & loop closure system
KEEN Whisper Sandals $120 1 lb. 1 oz. Carbon rubber Polyester webbing No Elastic, one-pull lacing
Teva Original Universal Sandals $55 13 oz. Rubber REPREVE recycled polyester Yes Velcro straps
Northside Santa Rosa Sport Sandal $26 10 oz. Rubber Nylon, mesh No Drawstring lacing system
Astral Webber Sandals $110 N/A Flex Grip with G.ss rubber Postconsumer recycled polyester Yes Adjustable straps
Merrell Speed Fusion Strap Sandals $80 12 oz. Vibram EcoStep Mesh/full-grain leather Yes Adjustable velcro straps and heel toggle

How We Tested

In order to test these sandals, you guessed it, we went hiking. Our lead tester is an avid hiker and split her time testing on Oahu, Hawaii and in Orange County, California. She took the sandals out in dry conditions and wet conditions, on flat terrain and hills, and everything in between. She noted how the shoes fit and felt, the type of straps or closure each had, if they had a break in period, how supportive each felt, and more.

Editor’s Note: We first ran this review in May of 2023. This article was updated in October of 2023. We updated the formatting, added in a couple of additional hiking sandals, and included notes after more time hiking in some of the original sandals. 

hiking sandals

Hiking the trails of Orange County in the Merrell Speed Fusion Strap Sandals. Photo: Beth Parsons

Ratings Table

Hiking Sandal Overall Comfort Durability Support
Chaco Z-1 Sandals 9.7 9 10 10
Teva Hurricane XLT2 9.3 10 10 8
HOKA Hopara Sandals 8.3 10 8 7
Merrell Alpine Strap Sneaker 7.7 8 8 7
KEEN Whisper Sandals 7.7 7 8 8
Teva Original Universal Sandals 7.3 8 8 6
Northside Santa Rosa Sport Sandal 7.3 6 8 8
Astral Webber Sandals 9 8 10 9
Merrell Speed Fusion Strap Sandals 9.7 10 9 10

What Makes a Good Hiking Sandal?

If you’ve ever hiked in flip-flops or sandals that weren’t designed for the trails, you’re likely not a believer in the hiking sandal. But if you try trekking in a pair of sandals specifically designed for hiking, you’ll soon be a convert. When we’re in the market for a new pair of hiking sandals, we look for a combination of durability, support, and comfort.

Comfort
Comfort is at the top of our list for footwear and clothing. If it’s something we’re going to be wearing every day, we need it to be comfy. With hiking sandals, that means that all the straps fit securely and they don’t rub when covering long distances.

hiking sandals

Chaco offers our top pick for hiking sandals with the Z-1 Sandals. Photo: Rebecca Parsons

Durability
If you’re an avid hiker, you’re probably going to put sandals through the wringer, meaning they need to be well made in order to keep up with you and your adventures. We want a pair we can rely on for years to come for traveling, trekking, and everything in between.

Support
While support is a plus in any footwear, it’s essential in hiking sandals as you’ll likely be doing a lot of walking. If they don’t offer solid support or you can feel sharp rocks, twigs, and other rough patches in the trail poking through the bottom, they won’t work.

Best Overall Hiking Sandal
Best Overall Hiking Sandal

Chaco’s Z-1 Sandals are the ultimate hiking sandals. Durable and sturdy, they have adjustable straps that allow you to customize the fit.

Price: $100

Women's Men's

What Else Should I Look For in a Good Pair of Hiking Sandals?

Style

We’ll be the first ones to admit it: hiking sandals aren’t the most stylish footwear. But since our tester purchased her first pair in 2009, they have definitely grown on her and she regularly finds herself eyeing some of the newer models. Whether you’re into colorful prints, simple solids, or muted earth tones, there’s something for every taste.

hiking sandals

Our tester spent 16 days on the Colorado River in the Astral Webber Sandals. Photo: Rebecca Parsons

Waterproof/Water Resistant

If you’re anything like us, a lot of your hikes involve water. As such, we want a hiking sandal that transitions well between wet and dry. We consider whether they allow water to easily filter through, if they dry quickly, and if they offer good traction on slippery surfaces.

Break In Period

Some sandals are comfortable out of the gates and others get better with time. Sometimes breaking in hiking sandals requires a week of uncomfortable feet with the idea that they’ll get broken in and be comfortable for the long haul. If you’re someone that isn’t a fan of the break in period, you may want to go to a store so you can try on the sandals for yourself to see if they meet your comfort standards from the get go.

hiking sandals

The Merrell Speed Fusion Strap Sandals require zero to no break in time. Photo: Beth Parsons

Closure Type

There are surprisingly a number of different closure systems for hiking sandals. On our list alone we had pull through, adjustable straps, velcro straps, a quick lace system, hook and loop closure system, a drawstring lacing system, and a heel toggle. The best type of closure system really comes down to personal preference, but if it’s something that’s important to you, it’s worth noting before your purchase.

Return to Top Picks | Return to Comparison Table

Editor’s Note: For more gear reviews and features on The Inertia, click here.

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