4 Best Closed Toe Hiking Sandals in 2023

Paul Ronto
Paul Ronto on
4 Best Closed Toe Hiking Sandals in 2023
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For anyone who loves to spend their summer days on the beach or on the trails, a quality pair of closed-toe hiking sandals are definitely great to have. Footwear brands KEEN, Teva, and Hoka, to name a few, offer superb designs that prioritize comfort, support, and protection.

Whether you’re into trail adventures or water sports, wearing the right hiking-ready sandals is a great alternative to traditional hiking shoes, especially for particularly hot or wet climates. They are not only lightweight, breathable, and waterproof but can also do a lot more.

With plenty of amazing options available in the market, choosing the right pair can be confusing. To help you pick the perfect fit for your next summer escapades, we’ve rounded up and tested the best closed-toe hiking sandals out there. We even singled out the ones that truly shine on our conducted tests. Check out our recommendations.

Best closed-toe hiking sandals overall

KEEN Newport H2

What makes it the best?

In a combination of lab tests and hiking, the KEEN Newport H2 is a cut above the rest when it comes to the best closed-toe hiking sandal overall. We experienced first-rate stability and amazing traction, all while keeping our toes well-protected from sharp objects.

The Newport H2 takes protection seriously, and it’s not just about the rubber-coated toe cap. We measured the stack height at the heel at an incredible 29.4 mm. It’s 6.7 mm thicker than average, and we experienced unmatched protection from sharp rocks underfoot.

In our stability tests, the KEEN Newport H2 passed with flying colors. Its stability is, in part, due to the width of the platform. Our calipers registered 121.1 mm at the forefoot and 88.8 mm at the heel. This is as wide as some of our winter hiking boots and 4.2 mm and 3.6 mm wider than the average for hiking sandals! It’s no surprise then that we felt so supported underfoot.

We hiked confidently on wet rock and dry gravel, and this sandal tackled it all without problems. We measured the depth of the lugs, finding them to be 4.1 mm deep. That’s almost in line with hiking shoes which average 4.3 mm, and it explains why we could trust the sandal on any terrain.

This is not the most flexible sandal, as we discovered in our lab. We bent the sandal to 90° and our force gauge measured 36.2N. Since the average is 21.9 for hiking sandals, this is certainly a stiffer ride. We don’t recommend it to hikers who prefer a more natural flex to their footwear.


  • Versatile for various hikes
  • Exceptionally plush
  • Incredible grip level
  • Stable and supportive
  • Day-one comfort
  • Easy and fast to lace up
  • Quick-drying
  • Stink-proof


  • Heavier than average
  • Traps debris
Full review of KEEN Newport H2

Closed-toe hiking sandals with the best cushioning

Hoka Hopara

What makes it the best?

After investigating the competition thoroughly, we can confirm that the Hoka Hopara is the best closed toe hiking sandal with the best cushioning. Its thick midsole is second to none, and we felt the superior protection from both underfoot and protected from bumps and scrapes by the closed toe. The meaty lugs are the icing on the cake.

Hoka’s reputation for cushy shoes lives on in the Hopara. The high-stack midsole supports our feet, protecting them from sharp objects, and with just the right amount of plushness. Rarely have we tried such a comfortable midsole - so much so that we didn’t want to take it off at the end of the day!

So, protection from below, but what about above? The Hopara has us covered - literally! We don’t have to worry about stubbing our tootsies, thanks to the spacious closed-toe box. It’s even buffered with a rubber toe cap to prevent wear and tear on the synthetic upper. With all the protection of a hiking shoe, the airy Hoka Hopara is our go-to footwear for hot days on rocky trails.

Our lab measurements show that the average hiking sandal possesses 2.1 mm lugs, so the 4 mm lugs of the Hoka Hopara are way ahead of the game. We found them to be incredibly sticky on loose ground, gravel and smooth rock alike.

The layered neoprene upper isn’t fully adjustable, especially around the heel zone, and we found that it easily led to blisters before being broken in. Hikers looking for a blister-free closed-toe hiking sandal might want to look at the KEEN Newport H2 instead. 


  • Excellent water drainage
  • Odor-free interiors
  • Very well cushioned
  • Extra wide and stable platform
  • Secure foothold
  • Plenty of toebox space
  • Supreme wet-surface traction
  • Highly resistant to abrasion


  • Flimsy heel strap
  • Not a light sandal
Full review of Hoka Hopara

Best closed-toe hiking sandals for water activities

What makes it the best?

KEEN Clearwater CNX is the most outstanding hiking sandals in which our toes don’t stick out but the rest of our feet are in free contact with air. While the toe rubber of this sandal defended our toes against external hazards like twigs and stones, internally, they also don’t annoyingly collide with the bumper. We owe it to the sandal’s perfect fit.

Getting into the water is the fun part but walking back to the trail or shore afterward with soaking wet is a different story. Good thing that the upper of the KEEN Clearwater CNX dries in a snap so our suffering is significantly cut short with this sandal. Despite always being dunked in the water and subjected to everyday outdoor trips, we discovered that its quality is upheld. 

We noticed that thin soles characterize the KEEN Clearwater CNX. This shaved off weight from the sandals but at the expense of support. Due to this, we don’t advise bringing this sandal for technical terrains and intense trekking.


  • True to size
  • Lightweight
  • Durable, waterproof upper
  • Excellent fit
  • Good arch support
  • Grips well on wet rocks


  • Too thin for hiking
  • Expensive
Full review of KEEN Clearwater CNX

Closed-toe hiking sandals with the best style

KEEN Uneek

What makes it the best?

Its comfortable feel, versatility, and breathability were just some of the features that made the KEEN Uneek a likable sandal. A general-purpose hiking sandal, the Uneek works incredibly for short hikes, daily wear, and water sports. Not meant for technical terrain, the KEEN Uneek is still worth checking out as it seems able to tick all the basics, performance-wise.


  • Breathable
  • Excellent grip
  • Very supportive
  • Durable
  • Comfortable fit


  • Needs break-in
  • Not for long hikes or technical terrain
Full review of KEEN Uneek

Comparison of the 4 best closed toe hiking sandals

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How we test hiking sandals

To pick our top favorites, we subject each pair of closed-toe hiking kicks to our meticulous wear-testing process. We also bring all the models to our RunRepeat lab for closer inspection of the quality materials used in the sandals. Here’s how we approach our selection process

  • We purchase closed-toe hiking sandals from various brands. This allows us to be 100% objective and unbiased in our reviews.
  • We wear the sandals on actual hiking adventures covering substantial distances. We test the sandals’ traction, comfort, and overall performance on a variety of terrains. The goal is to get the best sense of their durability, comfort, water resistance, and many more.
  • After clocking up at least 20 miles or more, we go back to our lab and take note of the shoe's parameters assessed and measured using our tools and equipment. We also crack them open to basically leave no stone unturned. We then give our assessments about their overall value.
Paul Ronto
Paul Ronto
Over the past 20 years, Paul has climbed, hiked, and run all over the world. He has summited peaks throughout the Americas, trekked through Africa, and tested his endurance in 24-hour trail races as well as 6 marathons. On average, he runs 30-50 miles a week in the foothills of Northern Colorado. His research is regularly cited in The New York Times, Washington Post, National Geographic, etc. On top of this, Paul is leading the running shoe lab where he cuts shoes apart and analyzes every detail of the shoes that you might buy.