Sandals built for trail adventures have seen some significant advancements over the years. There are those that now provide defenses against stink, and there are those that shed wetness and moisture unlike never before. That said, out of such ingenious footwear, arguably none comes close to the promise of closed-toe hiking sandals.
Hikers that fall under this category underscore forefoot security more so than their open-toe counterparts. It is not rocket science—their ability to prevent toe injuries, thanks to their hardy frontal enclosures, which are often made of rubber (sometimes made of the same material as the upper), really does inspire confidence.
The upsides and downsides of wearing closed-toe hiking sandals
Hiking in a pair of men’s or women’s closed-toe hiking sandals seems like a no-brainer; you can experience the wonders of the trail and the openness of the environment with a level of freedom without worrying too much about getting any one of your precious tootsies murdered. That said, it is always nice to know the positives and negatives about wearing one.
The positives of wearing closed-toe hiking sandals
- The most obvious reason why anyone would consider gearing up in a pair of closed-toe hikers is protection. Out in the wild, you can never be too careful, and the terrain will never bow down to your strides, so giving your toes proper protection is beyond convincing, especially on more perilous hikes.
- Since most closed-toe hiking sandals have a toe bumper that connects to the upper, they have enhanced structural integrity at the forefoot. This kind of construction translates to improved overall support for the user.
- Apart from protecting your tootsies from abrasive rocks and gnarly roots, closed-toe hiking sandals also prevent forefoot slippage. Yes, none of your toes will ever touch the trail again if you wear such a pair.
- Similar to most below-the-ankle trail shoes, hiking sandals with a closed-toe design are capable of walling off dust and terrain debris, at least those that usually find an entry in the front. Trails that often get muddy will also be less of a threat while sporting one.
- Closed-toe hiking sandals are quite ideal in arid environments as well. With their increased forefoot coverage, wearers need not dread the glare of the sun scorching their toes. The shade these toe-protective hikers provide also prevents unsightly tan lines from forming.
The negatives of wearing closed-toe hiking sandals
- Hiking sandals that are called closed-toe might not give those who prefer to go light the level of agility that they need. While not necessarily hulking in terms of weight, hikers of this type often come heavier than open-toe ones. If extra grams does not bother you, but sandals are really not your thing, you might want to consider wearing a pair of quality lightweight hiking shoes instead.
- Although more debris-preventive than its open-toe sibling, closed-toe hiking sandals can be pretty annoying when they do get infiltrated by sand and other granulated matter. In such an instance, it would be virtually impossible to get rid of the debris without taking the footgear off.
- Some might find footwear of this sort a little restrictive at the forefoot. If you have feet with bulkier toes than usual, the covered design of closed-toe hiking sandals might give you a level of discomfort, especially during the break-in phase.
Brands that offer some of the best closed-toe hiking sandals
Need a brand new pair of toe-protective sandals you can use on the trail? Then look no further than the footgear offerings by Keen. This company has some of the most extensive selection of closed-toe hiking sandals for men and women. Their agile hikers are engineered with Keen.Protect—a proprietary toe cap technology recognizable by that striking exclamation point logo.
The “closed-toe” trend has been gaining presence in Teva’s lineup of sandal-style hikers lately. Although their collection of closed-toe footwear can be counted with one hand (or perhaps two), what they offer are quality hikers that provide ample toe protection minus the overblown price tags.
Merrell is quite known across the globe as among the best footwear companies that produce top-of-the-line outdoor gear. Their lineup of trail-centric hikers is some of the most sought-after in the market. They are not alien to delivering excellent hiking sandals either, and although their closed-toe offerings pale in comparison with the competition, what they got puts their vision into the forefront and have enough Merrell personality to make hardcore fans of open-toe sandals closed-toe converts.
7 best closed toe hiking sandals
- Keen Clearwater CNX
- Keen Newport Hydro
- Keen Newport H2
- Keen Rialto II H2
- Teva Omnium 2
- Merrell Choprock Shandal
- Keen Arroyo III
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