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


The Inertia

Summer is the perfect time to get out, explore, and get your feet tan. The sun is shining, the air is warm, and the days are long. While boots will get the job done, hiking sandals are often the way to go during the summer months. They’re lightweight, breathable, and ideal for water crossings, making them my go-to for warm weather adventures. And furthermore, they are incredible for surfing adventures. Surfers love their flip-flops, but for longer hikes to remote surf spots, knobby rock-hopping, and plenty of other situations, they just don’t work. But with so much water and sand, a pair of boots won’t either. Enter your hiking sandals.

What Are the Best Hiking Sandals for Surfing?

Chaco Z-Strap Sandals ($74-99)
TEVA Hurricane XLT2 ($69.95)
Merrell Alpine Strap Sandal ($79.95)
HOKA One One Hopara Sandals ($119.95)
Northside Santa Rosa Sport Sandal ($36)

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 I’m in the market for a new pair of hiking sandals, I look for durability, support, comfort, and style.

Comfort
Comfort is at the top of my list for footwear and clothing. If it’s something I’m going to be wearing every day, I 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.

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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. I want a pair I 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.

Style
I’ll be the first one to admit it: hiking sandals aren’t the most stylish footwear. But since purchasing my first pair in 2009, they have definitely grown on me and I find myself eyeing some of the newer models. Whether you’re into colorful prints, simple solids, or muted earth tones, there’s something for every taste.

chaco z strap sandals

Chaco Z-Strap Sandals ($74-99)

Comfort: 4
Durability: 5
Support: 5
Style: 4
Total: 4.5

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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’ Z-Strap 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, my only issue after tightening the strap was that it was on the long side and dragged a bit when walking — something I plan on rectifying with a sewing kit.

Check Price for my favorites, the Zvolv X2, on Amazon, and REI. For more Chaco styles (men’s as well as women’s), check out the collections on Backcountry and Evo.

 

teva hurricane xlt2

TEVA Hurricane XLT2 ($69.95)

Comfort: 5
Durability: 5
Support: 4
Style: 4
Total: 4.5

I’ve been a die-hard TEVA fan since day one and the Hurricane XLT2 validates my 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. These sandals are a winner in my book.

Check Price on Backcountry, REI, Evo, and Amazon, and for more styles, click here.

hoka one one hopara

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HOKA One One Hopara Sandals ($119.95)

Comfort: 5
Durability: 5
Support: 5
Style: 3
Total: 4.5

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.

Check Price on Backcountry and REI.

merrell alpine strap sandal

Merrell Alpine Strap Sandal ($79.95)

Comfort: 4
Durability: 4
Support: 4
Style: 5
Total: 4.25

The Merrell Alpine Strap sandals 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. I was a big fan of the aesthetic of these sandals and felt they’d pair well with cutoffs for errands around town.

Check Price on Backcountry, and Amazon (Men’s and Women’s).

northside santa rosa sandal

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Northside Santa Rosa Sport Sandal ($36)

Comfort: 3
Durability: 4
Support: 4
Style: 3
Total: 3.5

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. I’d probably save them for shorter hikes, as they don’t offer as much support as other options.

Check Price on Amazon.

 

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

Disclosure: The Inertia may receive a small commission if you make a purchase from the affiliate links included in this feature at no additional cost to you. Our goal is always to entertain, educate, and inspire, and we hope you find this feature useful.

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