10 Best Hiking Sandals For Men in 2021

Paul Ronto
Paul Ronto on
10 Best Hiking Sandals For Men in 2021

Do not deny yourself the pleasure of experiencing the backcountry with as much intimacy with the wild as possible. To that end, the best hiking sandals for men are for you.

The selection you see below consists of top picks we have come up with after testing over 80 pairs of men’s hiking sandals. So, whether you prefer something with which to prance around the water or need a mighty protective pair, there is no better place than here.

How we test the best hiking sandals for men

Our ad-free site houses thousands of footwear reviews, all of which are written with objectivity in mind. For the curious, we live by this approach:

  • We buy men’s hiking sandals—be they dirt cheap or expensive—using our own funds. Our reviews remain unbiased this way.
  • We hike in every pair on different types of terrain for days, exposing each sandal to the elements along the way.
  • Our hiking sandal reviews reflect findings and reports from hundreds of gear experts and regular trail enthusiasts alike.

Together, these elements produce a CoreScore—a 0-to-100 rating system that helps us determine the best hiking sandals for men in a handful of categories.

Best overall

Ready your raging heart because there’s no better sandal for the gents than Chaco’s Z/Cloud 2! An apex predator on the trail, this piece dominates with cunning skill on all fronts.

The Z/Cloud 2 never demanded too much from us from a break-in period’s perspective. In fact, we hiked in it straight from the box and came away with highly pampered feet. Most pleasing about the sandal in this regard was how much cushioning underfoot we got out of it!

Equally benefiting about the Z/Cloud 2 is its support system. The sandal’s midfoot, in particular, granted us more than enough support around the arch for hours on end. We also give its rearfoot zone’s unmatched heel-centering capabilities extra props.

On the stability front, the Chaco Z/Cloud 2 never relented on bumpy terrain. Its plush sole unit, which includes the Luvseat footbed, adapted to the ruggedness of the trail without a hitch!

And before we forget: the Z/Cloud 2 has the grip to match its gait-correcting midsole. While the lugs on its outsole look unassuming, they helped us negotiate wet environments (think bogs and muddy hills) without slipping.

So, yeah, the Z/Cloud 2 is, from top to bottom, our greatest pick. Bag it at a discount on us!

See our full review and facts

What do you get when simplicity and power go into the same Teva mold? Why, The Universal Trail, that’s what!

This must-have of an alternative deserves a lot of praise in the comfort department. Its adjustable straps felt premium to the touch on day one, leaving our manly feet hotspot- and blister-free. Its cozy textured footbed felt tailor-made for us, too!

Speaking of straps, the ones on Teva the Universal Trail are some of the easiest to dial in, to our knowledge. They make slipping in and out of the sandal such a breeze, as well.

Now, the Universal Trail has the lightness to show for its high prestige. Where our overall top pick can be chalked up as an enduring all-rounder, this kick we deem as a sleek ninja, thanks to its amazing weight of 290 g per piece!

But is the Universal Trail a doozy where slippery surfaces are present? Absolutely! Its saw-like lugs (at the forefoot) afforded us tons of slip resistance on dry and wet surfaces alike. We went boulder-hopping along streams, and nothing fazed our careful (sometimes haphazard) steps!

And if abuse is inevitable, you’ll be happy to know that this bad boy lasts! So what are you waiting for? Add the Universal Trail to your shopping list now!

See our full review and facts

Best for water

They say that sometimes it’s better to go with the flow where wetness is all around to make the best out of your hike. In such a case, the Newport H2 can amp up your game exponentially!

Out of the 50+ pairs of men’s water hiking sandals we’ve put through the wringer, we wholeheartedly give the top spot to this amphibious bad boy. Never have we sported something this solid yet powerful (and graceful) in the water until the Newport H2 came along!

Slipping on perennially wet rocks and logs is not in the Newport H2 vocabulary. Indeed, its siped outsole reassured our every step with cat-like grip! This non-marking rubber outsole also afforded us superb traction on dusty tracks.

As for comfort, the KEEN Newport H2 gave our stout tootsies the break they deserved. While on the outside, the sandal may appear stiff, its interior tells a completely different story. Plushness everywhere was what we got within its supple confines, giving us a cozy ride all the way to the tail end of our trip!

The sandal in question made us KEEN believers in the areas of stability and support, as well. Not once did we lose our balance on uneven surfaces, and we also skipped the achy arches entirely.

See our full review and facts

What!? Another KEEN entry? Yes, the Clearwater CNX is yet another gem for watery pursuits from the same praiseworthy brand!

As a closed-toe offering (just like our top pick), the Clearwater CNX made it clear to us that it’s a juggernaut of a sandal around the forefoot. Indeed, we purposely kicked on almost every low-lying boulder we came across, and we didn’t hurt or stubbed our toes! We just wish its sole unit was as firm and protective as the Newport H2’s.

But does it really thrive in the water, as people claim? Yes! In fact, we couldn’t tell the difference between this and the Newport H2 in terms of water performance, so if that’s anything to go by, the Clearwater CNX is also a beast!

While at first glance, the Clearwater CNX looks identical to our water-centric top pick, don’t be fooled. This must-buy is a lightweight wonder, weighing no more than 550 g a pair!

And have we mentioned its stellar status in the area of comfort yet? Its suppleness is pretty much akin to a full-fledged hiking shoe. But, the Clearwater CNX has a big advantage: its strappy upper is mighty breathable. And that’s despite its toe-capped construction and cratered footbed.

See our full review and facts

Best with closed toe

If you’ve been desperately searching for something truly out of this world, then you’d better lock your sights on the appropriately named Uneek from KEEN!

With its cordy shell, the Uneek will take you places in shoe-like protection. It’s still a sandal, though, so expect to catch the wind as you go, keeping your brawny feet fresh in the process.

In our books, one of the most unbelievable things about the KEEN Uneek is its ability to deal with small rocks and sand, especially underwater. Its footbed, we believe, was designed to flush out all manners of debris with every step. And those pesky buggers that stayed underfoot despite our best efforts were gone in a matter of seconds, all because the sandal was easy to put on and off!

Now, the KEEN Uneek is also a success story comfort-wise. Indeed, everything within its corded confines felt amazing from the off. And in shallow waters, the sandal’s footbed didn’t rub. It’s true—we didn’t sustain blisters anywhere underfoot on it.

The protectiveness and incredible water performance of the Uneek are matched by its high surface traction. While its proprietary outsole has none of the aggressive lugs seen on most of our picks here, it worked beyond our expectations on grassy hills and in wet, wooded areas.

See our full review and facts

Almost shoe-like in overall design, the Arroyo III from KEEN (this brand again?) flexed its muscles on us when the going got tough!

Armed with a tank-like toe cap, this hiking sandal transformed our light hikes into more serious adventures. Seriously, the burliness of its front tip instilled in us fiery hearts and made us the bravest lads in the face of bulging roots and jagged rocks!

Equally emboldening was its firm-yet-plush sole. On the same rubbly and root-filled terrain, the KEEN Arroyo III impressed us highly with its supportive arch zone. We also didn’t lose balance where sharp rocks started to rear their annoying heads!

The Arroyo III is one of those sandals that come with removable footbeds. Its insole is extra spongy, which helped us hike the extra mile without feeling any pain underfoot.

Matching the suppleness of the Arroyo III’s footbed is the coziness of its lined leather upper. It felt broken-in the moment we slipped into it, saving us completely from chafing, which would’ve led to blisters and painful gashes!

And last but not least, the Arroyo III’s outsole rocks! It worked like a boss on dry and wet surfaces alike. It also prefers eating descents for breakfast!

See our full review and facts

Best minimalist

Make way, make way. The king of minimalist sandals is here, and it’s none other than the Z-Trail from Xero Shoes!

There’s neither gimmick nor sorcery involved in the Z-Trail’s weightlessness. Yes, your eyes aren’t bewitched or anything—this men’s sandal is unapologetically light at 150-ish grams per kick!

As a barely-there hiker for the gents, the Z-Trail made us soar from boulder to boulder with superb flexibility. Everything we encountered underfoot we felt to the finest detail. Yes, we were one with nature in this barefoot kick minus the pain (we trampled on poking pebbles and rocks, after all).

And those low-level boulders we flew over? We surmounted their wiles with the sticking prowess of the Z-Trail’s rubberized outsole! So grippy was the sandal that we couldn’t stop going back and forth those wet slabs just to see if we would land on our behinds. Good news: we didn’t!

In the area of comfort, the Xero Shoes Z-Trail is an oxymoron of sorts. While it lavishes in its minimalism, its comfort level is mighty generous. Naturally, most of its supply of pampering comes from its dreamy footbed. That said, we wouldn’t write off its simplistic straps, as they were soft to the touch and never rubbed on our precious feet.

See our full review and facts

Trailing not too far behind from our top pick is the Xero Shoes Z-Trek—a minimalist must-have that can make you feel whatever’s underfoot as if you’re on a leaf!

It’s true: the kind of barefoot experience you’ll get from the Z-Trek is one for the books. You can probably even play a guessing game on it with a blindfold on (but instead of using your hands, you’ll be better off using your feet)!

At 180 g per sandal (it’s heavier than our top pick by 30 g!), the Xero Shoes Z-Trek delivers lightweight comfort as if it had nothing better to do. Just like the Z-Trail, this minimalist hiker felt oh-so premium, especially underfoot. Props to its raised heel border for being dependable support-wise without giving us blisters!

On the adaptability front, there’s no beating the Z-Trek anytime soon. Flexing and bending are quite natural to this hiker; you can even roll it like a cinnamon bun and pack it in your luggage and still have enough room for ten more!

Believe it or not, the semi-sad part about the Z-Trek is its heel cup. While it kept our heels in place effortlessly, it also trapped in debris every chance it got. Nevertheless, the Z-Trek is a doozy, especially for folks with stouter feet.

See our full review and facts

Best budget sandal

After having the privilege to test several dozen pairs of men’s hiking sandals, we’re here to confirm that the Original Universal from Teva is the king of value!

In case you’re wondering, the Original Universal sells for a measly $80 a pop. Having said that, we’re quite positive that that price can even go lower through our smashing deals!

Where does the value part come in concerning this sandal, you might ask? Well, the Original Universal has the versatility for one. Whether on casual walks or water hikes, the Teva sandal in question performed like a champ.

Underfoot, the Original Universal also latched on to a variety of surfaces, including mossy wooden steps and sandy banks. But perhaps what convinced us the most about its outsole was the way it kept us going slip-free on wet fist-sized pebbles and mini boulders!

Comfort-wise, all we want to say is that the Teva Original Universal felt like a worn-in slipper right from the start. Yes, its chafe-free straps and non-slip footbed surrounded our burly feet with enduring comfort.

And with its barely-there weight, it can easily pass as a minimalist sandal. Do yourself a big favor and get the Original Universal ASAP!

See our full review and facts

Got $50 on hand? Quit having second thoughts, and own the Hurricane Drift (which has an MSRP of $40) right now!

An almost seamless construction, the Teva Hurricane Drift is a force to be reckoned with in wet pursuits. Its light-yet-solid build made stream-crossings easier and more exciting for us, as water simply gushed around it with every step.

Now, you’d think that since the sandal is such a steal, it doesn’t have a lot of grip going for it. That’s a welcome assumption, yes, but not true by any means. You see, we trampled on mulch and dewy grass in the Hurricane Drift, and we got through all of them slip-free. We also tested its low-rise heel brake on slopes, and the sandal got us down safe and sound. Amazing!

“Surprising” is how we’d describe the Hurricane Drift’s level of comfort. We didn’t really expect a lot from it given the price, but the moment we strapped it on and hurried to that nearby stream, we were proven wrong. Its slipper-like plushness made our day, for sure!

And just like our top pick for affordability, the Teva Hurricane Drift is also a lightweight wonder (it weighs nothing more than 190 g per kick)! That said, we would’ve loved the sandal more had its forefoot strap been adjustable, too!

See our full review and facts
Author
Paul Ronto
Paul Ronto

Over the past 20 years, Paul has climbed, hiked, and ran 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 analyses every detail of the shoes that you might buy.