10 Best Hiking Sandals For Women in 2021
Most of the time, ending up with the right pair of outdoorsy sandals requires a drawn-out process. We at RunRepeat know this, which is why we have rounded up and tested over 50 hiking sandals for women to help you cut through the fat.
Our top picks in a variety of categories await you down below. So, whether you require women’s sandals that prove their worth in and around water or something of a jack of all trades, this listing is for you.
Overview of this guide
How we choose the best hiking sandals for women
We know empowered women of the trail value objectivity when it comes to footwear reviews. We are laser-focused on that, which is why we:
- Buy all sandals using our own money. This is to ensure that we stay unbiased with each and every review.
- Test every pair. Yes, we hike in the sandals we purchase to see the best of the best, primarily on the basis of comfort, performance, and longevity.
- Gather hundreds of opinions and findings from experts and trail-goers and reflect them in our own reviews.
We then assign a CoreScore to each reviewed hiking sandal. This rating contributes to our verdict, making this female-centric list of top picks possible.
The jury has decided. After coming across dozens of extraordinary hiking sandals for women, we give the Chaco Z/Cloud 2 the reigning crown and scepter to rule them all!
Don’t let its sandal status fool you. This enchanting must-have is the queen of the rugged trails. Indeed, we trampled on pointy rocks and gnarly roots, and we didn’t feel any poking sensation underfoot at all.
Now, the Chaco Z/Cloud 2 is a charmer on the comfort front. Our initial hike in it left us in awe for experiencing superlative plushness right from the off. So pampering was its footbed that we couldn’t stop talking about it as we went along!
But what stole the show for us about the Chaco Z/Cloud 2 was how it effortlessly supported our arches. Those rubbly tracks we negotiated didn’t faze our gait, keeping our strides as confidence-inspiring as could be.
The sandal also stole our hearts with its grippy outsole. Yes, the Chaco Z/Cloud 2 granted us slip-free steps, whether in perpetually wet bogs or on the grainy parts of the trail.
A total standout in every way, the Chaco Z/Cloud 2 is the one true sandal you’ve been looking for. Grab one now!
If versatility is your groove, the Universal Trail from Teva is what you need (especially if our top pick is nowhere to be found)!
Whether on trails or concrete pavements, the Teva Universal Trail can keep you going without a hitch. Of course, we’re talking about its adhesive performance, which afforded us heart-stealing slip resistance on both man-made walkways and varying backcountry terrain.
Equally mesmerizing is the Universal Trail’s lightness. At no more than 300 g per piece, this Teva sandal made us realize that a barely-there ride in the wild can be experienced in real life!
On the comfort front, the Universal Trail kept us going for longer with happy feet. While its straps look tough (and they are), their lining felt supremely plush. And although its footbed can be quite simplistic texture-wise, it felt oh-so dreamy to the touch!
Does it provide enough stability on rockier surfaces? Why, yes! The Teva Universal Trail’s firm-yet-responsive sole unit adapted to virtually everything it landed on, giving us a stable and secure hiking experience from beginning to end.
And because it dries quickly, it’s a doozy in mildly wet pursuits, too! Get the Universal Trail now!
Best for water hiking
Be prepared to have your minds blown because the Newport H2 is the most powerful water hiking sandal you’ll ever grace your elegant feet with!
It’s true—this gem of a sandal is the one to beat where water is involved. Case in point: Its combination of upper protection and wet-ready outsole kept us feeling mighty in the entirety of our testing.
Speaking of its outsole, the KEEN Newport H2 dominated all sorts of surfaces for us. We went creek-crossing and mindlessly (but joyfully) traversed not-so-murky streams and came out unscathed. Scrambling on moist grass and mulch was also a dream in this amphibious hiker.
We also rate the Newport H2 in the comfort department quite highly. From its rub-free upper to its slightly bordered footbed, the sandal mesmerized us with so much pampering. And the best part? We got all that cozy feeling in a matter of hours. Amazing, right!?
And dare we leave out the Newport H2’s mower of a toe bumper? Never! Trademarked by the brand as KEEN.Protect, this forefoot guard made us feel like we were in a pair of brawny boots for the incredible toe protection it granted us.
So, yes, the Newport H2 is a no-brainer of a choice if your tootsies like being in and around water. Get one and get those splashes going!
Coming in at close second is yet another KEEN doozy, and it’s none other than the Clearwater CNX!
If its name is any indication, the Clearwater CNX will do you good through shallow streams, rocky creeks, and trails where puddles are pretty much present all year long. Yes, this amphibious offering is a water-walker, and it solidifies that title by also being a quick-drying sandal.
We can’t be talking about the Clearwater CNX being a fantastic mover in the water without touching on its grip performance. Whether on sand, grass, or wet pebbles, this female-empowering kick energized our every step with phenomenal slip resistance.
Part of its supply of comfort can be linked heavily to its lightness and astonishing breathability. About the former, we’re looking at its 255-gram weight per shoe. The latter, on the other hand, made us believers in that, while the sandal is a closed-toe affair, stuffiness inside it was completely absent!
And have we mentioned the Clearwater CNX’s tank-like durability yet? Indeed, we pummeled through various hard-hitting obstacles with it, yet the sandal developed only minor dents and scratches, particularly around the toe bumper. We just wish it had more fight against sharper hazards underfoot, though.
Best with closed toe
No, your captivating eyes aren’t fooling you. The Clearwater CNX is indeed a double-entry on this incredible list for being such a juggernaut around the forefoot!
Stubbed toes and other similar injuries are things of the past in the KEEN Clearwater CNX. And there’s no sorcery involved here, just pure rubberized goodness that can cut through almost anything you throw at it!
Its tank-like durability actually comes largely from its rubber toe bumper. But besides that, the Clearwater CNX is also enduring thanks to its scratch-resistant shell, which managed to stay pristine even after days’ worth of knocks and bumps.
In the realm of comfort, the Clearwater CNX made us instant fans. We link this quality to the sandal’s doughy footbed. That said, its protectiveness over more rugged surfaces could be a tad better.
Now, making bigger strides and leaps in the KEEN Clearwater CNX was just amazing. Had we known its weight at the onset, which is at 255 g per shoe, we would’ve been so much more prepared for the lightness it gave us!
And in case you missed it: The Clearwater CNX is a fantastic water hiking shoe. Don’t worry too much about its closed-toe construction, because the sandal will NOT trap moisture in there!
Now, revel in this: The KEEN Uneek has the power to keep your adventures as freeing as possible, all while stunning your friends in something this, well, unique!
While not as tank-like around the forefoot as our top pick, the Uneek comes with a protective upper akin to hiking shoes. In our books, its ropey shell hits two birds with one stone by giving the sandal satisfying lightness and breathability at the same time.
Traction-wise, we find the water-friendly Uneek a cut above most kicks from KEEN. Although we probably won’t use it on technical terrain, the sandal in question astonished us on pebbly streams and bogs. It also made our traversal over mossy steps quite reassuring!
Its water performance impressed us, too. We tested the Uneek along sandy coastlines and ankle-deep streams, and we got through them with nimble steps. It’s not as light as the Clearwater CNX (for some unknown reason), but this bad boy still felt like we had nothing on our wet tootsies.
Now get this: Despite its cord-like construction, the KEEN Uneek never snapped anywhere in the entirety of our testing. Seriously, these knotted cords may very well be made of an otherworldly material!
Here it is. After strapping on and testing several dozens of minimalist hiking sandals for women, we give you the Xero Shoes Z-Trail as the cream of the crop!
Obviously, getting in touch with mother nature (we’re talking underfoot) is the name of the game in this barely-there hiker. Trading in support for flexibility, the Xero Shoes Z-Trail caught us by surprise with its ultra-responsive sole unit.
In terms of lightness, the Z-Trail is hard to beat. Indeed, at no more than 150 g(!) per sandal, this barefoot kick pushes itself high on that featherweight bar, which none outside the Xero Shoes brand can reach anytime soon!
But what about its grip performance? Well, let’s just say that nothing made us lose our footing where wet and slick surfaces were involved. Also, over soft soil and low-angled slopes, its low-profile lugs afforded us excellent traction.
Now, the Xero Shoes Z-Trail is a work of wonder in terms of adjustability. Getting in and out of its strappy upper was also among the sandal’s many strengths!
And if you’re wondering whether something this awesome is expensive, stop! The Xero Shoes Z-Trail has an MSRP of $80, and it’s begging you to snag one ASAP!
Giving Xero Shoes a winning streak in this race of minimalist sandals is the heel-supportive Z-Trek!
Heavier than the Z-Trail by roughly 30 g per kick, the Xero Shoes Z-Trek is still as barely-there as they come. Engineered with a walled-off rearfoot, this female-centric minimalist sandal delivers more than enough heel support for its kind!
Now, the Z-Trek’s sole unit lacks a midsole. This absence translated to absolutely high sensitivity underfoot. Seriously, there was not a time when we found ourselves not looking at the trail ahead in anticipation of the kinds of sensations our feet would feel!
That said, with high responsiveness comes less protectiveness. To avoid the “pokes” and the “bumps,” we suggest you use the Z-Trek on flatter terrain.
But enough with the doom and gloom, because despite that trade-off, the Z-Trek accommodates a “wider” audience. We mean that quite literally in that its fit is roomy enough, even for those with broad feet!
And if you’ve never bought a piece of hiking footwear at $60 before, this is your chance! And, yes, that’s the Xero Shoes Z-Trek’s MSRP. How much lower can you get this sandal with our price-smashing deal!? Are you mind-blown yet?
Best budget sandal
Break free from overspending on sandals that might not give you what you deserve. Instead, complete your colorful shopping list by writing the Teva Original Universal on there!
For its maniacally low asking price, the Original Universal can do a lot. We used it on manicured trails and marched in it on city streets, and it stunned us, no doubt. Indeed, every step felt secure, despite its low-profile lugs.
While it comes at an oh-so budget-friendly MSRP, the Original Universal doesn’t skimp on comfort. Right from the get-go, its Teva-style textured footbed exceeded our expectations with plushness galore! Were we walking on cloud nine on it? No, more like cloud TEN!
Now, many hiking sandals offer breathability as advertised. That said, none comes close to the Original Universal on this front with its sweat-free insole. We don’t know how Teva shoemakers did it, but they definitely should work the same magic on future shoes!
Weight-wise, the Teva Original Universal knocked it out of the park for us, as well. Yes, this bad boy weighs no more than 400 g per pair!
We highly recommend the Original Universal for you thrifty ladies out there. We’re absolutely positive you’re going to love it!
If you’ve never believed in the supernatural before, the Teva Hurricane Drift just might change your mind!
With its MSRP of $40, it’s not that hard to see why the Hurricane Drift is highly sought by many, especially by the amphibious hikers out there. While its price tag is practically a holiday giveaway, the sandal’s capabilities are not.
As a water hiker, the Teva Hurricane Drift is a monster (a contrast to its teeny-weeny price, we know)! We jumped right into this one moderately deep stream, and we came out of it in full force. The sandal also wasn’t held back by semi-muddy puddles (although we’d test it somewhere cleaner next time)!
Its water-shedding capabilities are as impressive as its performance on slippery surfaces. It’s true—we navigated many obstacles in it, including mossy rocks and wet logs, without ever slipping.
Speaking of rocks, the Teva Hurricane Drift did outstandingly on them! Its sole unit didn’t falter on the ruggedness of the trail, resulting in a stable ride all the way to the tail end of our destination.
One smudge we can throw at its stellar resume, however, is its static or non-adjustable toe trap. Nonetheless, its value for money screams “phenomenal!”