6 Best Hiking Sandals in 2024

Jovana Subic
Jovana Subic on
6 Best Hiking Sandals in 2024
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Finding the best hiking sandal can be a drag considering the many options available. But having the basic know-how of what hiking sandals are all about would make a whole lot of difference.

To help you narrow down the choice, we have tested hiking sandals out on the trails and in our lab and selected the best ones. Open or closed-toe, water-ready, minimalist - whatever your preferences are, we’ve got a top pick in different categories.

Also, see the guide section to learn a few expert tips on choosing the best hiking sandal for your purpose.

How we test hiking sandals

At RunRepeat, our review database is one of the largest, so makes it possible for sandal lovers to get what they want in a matter of minutes. And by review, we mean super extensive ones! Now, you can save lots of time picking the most suitable for you because:

  • We, ourselves, buy these hiking sandals for us to try on. FYI, we do not tolerate brand-biased opinions here, so we strictly acquire them using our own funds.
  • We get to inform you everything about the shoes, from feel, fit, weight, durability, and more, all from our individual experiences. We hike in them on different terrains, may it be muddy, rocky, dry, or whatever. We also cross water streams, trek on ascends and descends, and pass different obstacles with these sandals. 
  • We bring it to our lab to collect additional figures by performing tests on them. From waterproofness to measuring the sandals' lug size, we have a test for those. Furthermore, we cut the sandals in half, to bring light to each component and measurement.

Best hiking sandals overall

What makes it the best?

There is more to this classic, colourful sandal than meets the eye. Not only does it have excellent arch support, but the cushioning in this grippy sandal is a cut above the rest. There can only be one best overall hiking sandal, and it’s the Teva Hurricane XLT2.

The arch support in this sandal is a welcome change from the featureless footbeds of most other sandals. The contours and raised arch support our feet and keep our feet secure in the sandal, even while hiking on uneven paths and inclines. It gets a thumbs up from us, especially for hikers with flat feet or overpronators.

Whether we found ourselves hiking on wet or dry rock, loose gravel or shallow mud, the functional triangular pattern on the outsole prevented us from slipping. In the lab we measured the lugs, finding them to be an impressive 3.5 mm. Our lab-tested sandals have 2.5 mm lugs on average. The Teva Hurricane XLT2, on the other hand, is comparable to some hiking shoes. No wonder we felt footsure on our hikes!

This sandal has taken more inspiration from the hiking shoe in the form of cushioning. With a 30.9 mm heel stack height, it is 5.5 mm higher than the average sandal, and approaching the average stack height of 33.5 for hiking shoes. The 11.9 mm heel-to-toe drop almost convinced us that we were wearing hiking shoes, too! It makes for a very comfortable ride, and the sheer quantity of material underfoot kept our feet protected from rocks and other sharp objects.

With such a hiking-shoe-like feel to the Teva Hurricane XLT2, it is easy to forget about watching our step. The open toe leaves us vulnerable to stubbing our toes on rough terrain. Hikers looking for a closed-toe hiking sandal for maximum toe-protection should take a look at the KEEN Newport H2.


  • Highly versatile
  • Well-cushioned
  • Supportive footbed
  • Durable for the price
  • Grippy outsole
  • Customizable fit
  • Lightweight
  • Quick-drying
  • Affordable


  • No toe protection
  • Runs a little large
Full review of Teva Hurricane XLT2

Hiking sandals with the best protection

KEEN Newport H2

What makes it the best?

That distinct silhouette from KEEN is back, this time in the guise of a hiking sandal that is comfortable from day one. Perfect for hiking on established trails on hot summer days, we were astounded by the amount of protection, stability, and grip offered by the KEEN Newport H2, making it our most protective hiking sandal.

There’s nothing minimalist about the sole of this sandal. Our measurements showed the heel stack height comes in at 29.4 mm. That’s 6.7 mm thicker than the average hiking sandal, not to mention approaching the 33 mm average for hiking shoes! The amount of material underfoot keeps our soles protected from sharp objects on the trail, making the KEEN Newport H2 a great alternative to hiking shoes in the summer.

This sandal really shines in the support arena. It has top-notch arch support and feels super stable when hiking along rough and rocky trails. We measured the width of the outsole in the lab and were amazed to find it measures a whopping 121.1 mm at the forefoot and 88.8 mm at the heel. For reference, the average hiking sandal measures 96 mm at the forefoot, and even hiking boots measure 113.5 mm. Best friend of wide-footed hikers, it also explains the stability we experienced on our hikes.

The toe cap keeps our foot protected from stubbing on stray roots, and the sandals grip well in both wet and dry conditions. Our lab measurements backed up our observations - the lugs measure 4.1 mm deep, almost the same as the average hiking shoe (4.3 mm)! For all this support and protection, this sandal tips the scales at 13.4 oz (381g) - 2.3 oz (314g) heavier than average.

For hikers who spend a lot of time adventuring over loose terrain, we recommend looking elsewhere. The enclosed design makes it hard to get dirt and debris out of the sandal without taking it off.


  • 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

Best lightweight hiking sandals

What makes it the best?

We tested numerous hiking sandals in the lab and on the trail, but only one is worthy of the title of best lightweight hiking sandal, and that is the Teva Original Universal. Not only is it exceptionally lightweight compared to the competition, but this simple, versatile sandal is also durable for its weight.

It was easy to forget we were wearing anything on our feet during our test hikes in the Teva Original Universal! In the lab, our scales declared this sandal weighs an impressive 6.3 oz (179g). Compared to the average sandal which weighs 10.2 oz (288g), this is an astoundingly lightweight option!

Its simple style makes it fit in anywhere, from city streets to easy hiking trails and everything in between. With a 15.9 mm stack height, it’s by no means a chunky hiking sandal, especially when compared to the average of 25.4 mm, and in fact rocks a more minimalist, barefoot feel. All that considered, we still felt our feet were supported and protected from stepping on sharp objects. Our lab investigations uncovered a firmer midsole of 35.1 HA (compared to the average of 28.4 HA), making it surprisingly protective.

There is more to this sandal than meets the eye, and we were impressed by its durability. The outsole is 29% thicker than average for hiking sandals: more material means it's slower to wear out. To top it off, we pressed a durometer to the outsole and measured 84.8 HC, which is around the same hardness as the average in hiking sandals. We expect to put in a lot of miles in these sandals before replacing them!

On the other hand, there are no lugs to speak of. The triangle pattern of the outsole doesn’t offer much grip on slippery surfaces or inclines. We don’t recommend this sandal for technical hiking.


  • Featherweight
  • Versatile in use
  • Comfortable strap system
  • Affordable
  • Cushioned for short hikes
  • Durable
  • Over 20 colorways and designs


  • Lacks traction
  • Texture is felt underfoot
  • Back strap is not adjustable
Full review of Teva Original Universal

Best floatable hiking sandals

What makes it the best?

Based on our lab tests and actual submerged adventures, Teva’s Hurricane Drift is the best floatable hiking sandal. It feels light and comfortable on foot as this sandal is made entirely of foam. Even as we venture through river banks and slippery rocks, we remain sure-footed thanks to its grip and stable platform.

Drift gives a barely-there feel. Our scales confirm it’s a light 7.2 oz (204g) vs. the average hiking sandal (9.4 oz/267g). We can swim without worries as this sandal floats right up. We don’t stay wet for long as the foamy straps repel water easily.

We feel at home in the soft cushion, which our calliper measured at 28.9/18.5 mm. Both figures are above average, especially in the heel where impact protection is needed most. The forefoot gives the needed ground feel to navigate tricky terrains better. Our durometer confirms Drift’s velvet touch, measuring 20.6% softer than average.

Grip is a 10/10 as Drift performs effortlessly on our wear tests on slippery and rocky surfaces. Maintaining our balance is a breeze since Drift gives enough width and stiffness to prevent awkward foot movements. The 94.8 mm heel and 105.6 mm toebox are extra wide for stable landings and natural toe splay.

Unfortunately, the forefoot strap is not adjustable. Those of us with narrow feet didn’t get the secure lockdown we wanted.


  • Well-cushioned sole
  • Floats on water
  • Very affordable
  • Among the lightest sandals
  • Wide and stable platform
  • Grippy outsole
  • Doesn't stay wet
  • Vivid colour options


  • Forefoot strap is not adjustable
  • Too loose for narrow feet
  • Not for serious hikes
Full review of Teva Hurricane Drift

Hiking sandals with the best cushioning

Hoka Hopara 2

What makes it the best?

The Hoka Hopara 2 excels for hikers craving all-day comfort and trail protection. With a plush midsole, stable grip, and durable build, it boosted our confidence in outdoor excursions, earning it our top cushioned pick among lab-tested hiking sandals.

Despite its bulky appearance, the midsole isn't excessively tall, measuring 26.2 mm in the heel and 23.0 mm in the forefoot. However, it provides remarkable plushness, effortlessly eliminating any sensation of rocks or debris underfoot. Our dissected shoe uncovers a soft 24.0 HA cushion atop a firmer 33.5 HA foam, offering some bounce and lasting comfort for extended wear.

Hopara 2’s midsole looks bigger than it actually is because of the tall sidewalls that cradle our feet, adding to its stability. Further contributing to our surefootedness are the 3-mm lugs that bite various surfaces steadily. So far, Hopara 2 is also the widest platform we’ve tested in the lab at 121.9/98.4 mm.

Hopara 2 is our shield with its robust 82.9 HC outsole and strong Cordura mesh panels in the upper, the latter offering excellent water drainage as well. On top of this, the oversized toe cap softens the impact of any roots and rocks we accidentally hit. However, the upper tends to trap sand inside so we recommend using another sandal for beach trips.


  • Unmatched toe protection
  • Highly durable construction
  • Light for a closed-toe sandal
  • Excellent water drainage
  • Comfortable cushioning
  • Feels stable and grounded
  • Fantastic grip on slippery surfaces
  • Plenty of toe room
  • Sustainable materials


  • Traps sand easily
  • Not for narrow feet
  • Colour discrepancy
Full review of Hoka Hopara 2

Hiking sandals with the best comfort

Chaco Z/Cloud

What makes it the best?

A hiking sandal doesn’t have to be flimsy or minimalist. We decided on the Chaco Z/Cloud as the most comfortable hiking sandal because of the plush comfort it delivers in the midsole and footbed. Boasting excellent grip on loose ground, there is more to the Chaco Z/Cloud than meets the eye.

Chaco’s trademarked Luvseat midsole is made of dual-density polyurethane. On our hikes, we were astounded by the feeling of cushioning balanced with the support that the midsole delivers. Our feet felt stable and supported on rough trails, whilst the squishy material underfoot acted as a shock absorber. The podiatrist-approved Luvseat footbed is blissfully comfortable too, providing superb comfort and support. We experienced all-day comfort in the Z/Cloud – we love the Luvseat!

The ChacoGrip outsole works wonders on loose, soft ground. The 3 mm lugs are designed with multidirectional slipping in mind, and our feet gripped well on cambered trails as well as inclines.

Hikers with narrow feet might find it difficult to get a good fit in the Chaco Z/Cloud. In our experience, it suits average to wide-footed hikers best.


  • Fantastic comfort level
  • Very well-cushioned
  • Brilliant surface traction
  • Super-tough build quality
  • Remarkable versatility
  • Amazing arch support
  • Simple and sleek design
  • Keeps stink at bay


  • On the heavy side
  • Quite wide
  • Dries slowly
Full review of Chaco Z/Cloud

Here, we talk about hiking sandals. Flip-flops and slides are NOT sandals. For footwear to be categorised as sandals, they should have straps around the heel so that the heel is always attached to the base and the footwear is not flopping around. 

Wear testing closed toe hiking sandals
Caution: hiking in flip-flops and slides is dangerous as they are not considered proper hiking footwear. In some countries, if you need mountain rescue services, you can get fined when you don’t have the appropriate hiking equipment (hiking footwear included). 

Why you SHOULD be hiking in sandals

If you’re on the fence about buying hiking sandals, these might convince you: 

  1. Many hiking sandals can have their fit customised thanks to the adjustable straps. They are easy to put on and off.
  2. Hiking sandals tend to be very breathable, or at least more breathable than other types of hiking footwear. This depends on the amount of the material they have and the type of the material, but usually, there’s a lot of open space for your feet to breathe. 
  3. They also tend to be very quick-drying
  4. They are lightweight! Especially when we’re talking about those made for light hikes and well-maintained trails. 
  5. Hiking sandals are easy to maintain, wash, and sometimes even repair! 
  6. They are cheaper than hiking shoes or trail running shoes. 

On top view of hiking sandals

Caution: Must know BEFORE buying hiking sandals

  1. Generally speaking, hiking sandals are not meant for demanding hiking, especially not for backpacking. There are only a few models that can be used for backpacking, but even then, you have to prepare for that adventure. It is best if you have strong feet and strong ankles and if the terrain is not extreme. 
  2. You’ll get weird tan lines
  3. Exposed feet mean risk of injuries. Sandals offer much less protection than hiking shoes and hiking boots. 
  4. Debris, rocks, sticks, scree, they are all your enemy. They can easily get stuck between the sandal material and your feet. You can’t use gaiters with sandals. 
  5. You might get very cold when the weather changes suddenly and the temperature drops. 
  6. Get used to dirty feet. Dirty toes, dirt under the nails. Even if you wear socks with hiking sandals, your feet will still get dirty; there’s no way around it. 

8 things to pay attention to in hiking sandals

There are 8 things to consider when buying hiking sandals:

  1. Closure type: closed or open-toe
  2. Upper type: straps, braids, or regular
  3. Purpose: do you need sandals for regular hiking, casual use and light hiking, water hiking, or backpacking? Many things depend on this. 
  4. Depth of lugs (grip): from no lugs to very deep lugs. The shallower the lugs, the less we recommend hiking in the sandals (especially when sandals don’t even have the lugs). 
  5. Midsole softness: comfort is directly related to this. Hikers usually relate softness with comfort, but firmer midsoles offer more stability and are better for heavier options (both hikers and backpacks)
  6. Outsole hardness: softer outsoles are usually stickier, but harder outsoles are more protective and durable
  7. Flexibility: stiff sandals are great for terrain covered with debris, but more flexible sandals allow for more natural foot movement 
  8. Weight: usually, lighter sandals are meant for lighter hikes and maybe even casual use, while havier sandals which have hard outsoles, firmer midsoles, and a lot of protection, can be used on moderate hikes.

Wear testing hoka hopara at RunRepeat

We dig deep into all of these features below. 

Which is better: Closed-toe or open-toe hiking sandals

There are 2 types: closed-toe or open-toe

Open toe vs close toe hiking sandal construction
Open-toe (left) and close-toe (right) hiking sandals

And, if the toes are open, you can choose between a toe post, a finger loop, or a simple open toe

Closed-toe hiking sandals are recommended for hikes where you need protection at your toes. They have a toe bumper, just like hiking shoes, hiking boots, and even some trail running shoes. Open-toe sandals offer more freedom of movement for your toes but are also less supportive and protective. 

Straps, braided upper, or regular upper?

Straps are great because they are customizable; they can be loosened up or tightened. Sometimes, even in more than 1 place (around the heel, over the instep, and/or above the toes). This works especially well for hikers with narrower or wider feet. 

Different adjustments of straps in hiking sandals
Adjusting the straps with a ladder lock buckle (up) and velcro (down)

Braided uppers work wonderfully with a single lace pull (quick lace) but don’t allow for that much customization. They offer more protection that the strappy sandals but less than those with regular uppers. 

braided upper on hiking shoes
Braided upper present on a hiking shoe we've tested 

The regular upper is not customizable, but it is also the most protective and very durable as it’s often made of leather or very thick synthetic materials. 

Single lace pull closure on hiking sandals
Regular upper with a single lace pull (elastic, no-tie lace)

What you plan to do: water hiking, backpacking, day hiking?

Sandals are often used for water hiking, day hikes, and light hiking. Knowing what you plan to do basically dictates what to focus on when buying a new pair of hiking sandals. 

Water hiking sandals: what to look for

If you plan to hike near water, across some streams, maybe use the sandals when kayaking, water hiking sandals are a great idea. Here are a few features to consider: 

  • Materials should be quick-drying. If not, they can start smelling badly, plus they will keep wet for longer periods of time, which might result in your feet getting cold. Synthetic materials dry faster than leather. Anti-microbial materials are a bonus because of all the moisture!
Polyester material under the microscope in hiking sandals
Quick-drying polyester material under the microscope 
  • Quick drainage! Look for sandals with a lot of areas where the water could escape. If there are drainage holes present on the upper, it is best if they are lower to the midsole so that even low levels of water can drain out. 
  • Best not to slip or slide! Because of this, choose the sandals that keep your feet locked down to the maximum. Which design you will choose (straps, closed toe, etc.) depends on the shape of your feet. If you actually plan to hike through the water, where a lot of rocks can hit your legs, go for the close-toe design so that the toe box keeps your toes safe. 
  • Grip! Some outsoles are better for wet surfaces, others for dry surfaces. Look for the former. 

Backpacking hiking sandals: tread lightly 

As mentioned above, hiking sandals are usually not recommended for backpacking. This is because backpacking involves multi-day hikes, long daily mileages, and heavy backpacks.

All of that asks for as much support and stability as you can get, and hiking sandals tend not to deliver, especially not when compared to hiking shoes and boots. However, some sandals can be used for light backpacking.

Tearing a hiking sandal into pieces for further lab testing

In case you want to go backpacking in sandals, we recommend looking for: 

  • Secure lockdown. Make sure your feet don’t slip or slide
  • Cushioning. Look for a lot of support, which means firmer midsoles. Carrying a heavy backpack means the 2 of you weigh more, so it is best to have more materials below your feet to respond to your weight and pressure. We don’t recommend minimalist (very flat and low to the ground) sandals. 
  • Stiffer outsoles. In the long run, they provide more support and stability. This comes in handy when the terrain gets rougher. 
  • Best if they can be easily adjusted in case your feet need a bit more room due to swelling after a full-day hike.
  • Some sandals have a shank placed in the midsole or between the midsole and the outsole. Shanks offer more stiffness, which means such sandals are more supportive and comfortable in the long run. 
  • Consider looking for anti-microbial materials, as you might sweat a lot during long hikes, especially if backpacking in summer. 

If you want to get into backpacking, consider the safer option: getting backpacking shoes or backpacking boots

Day hiking and light hiking in sandals 

When it comes to day hiking, we recommend versatile sandals. This means they must have some grip (at least ~2 mm deep lugs) and they should fit perfectly. The rest depends on the terrain and weather.

Go for leather sandals if you want durability and protection, but choose synthetic upper (straps) if you prefer something that is quick-drying and lightweight. 


Light hiking is the lightest hiking, which means you’re basically getting hiking sandals for very short and easy hikes on hard-packed trails, even terrain, and maybe even popular maintained trails. In this case, you can choose shallow lugs and no need to worry about more expensive features like the type of material (leather or waterproof), whether your sandals have a shank in the midsole to make them more supportive, etc. 

Lug thickness: lab measurements and our recommendations

The grip depends on the outsole: how sticky it is, whether there are any lugs, how deep they are, and what’s the orientation of the lugs. Because hiking sandals are more oriented towards lighter hiking, we will discuss only the hardness of the outsole and lug depth here. 

Different lug depths in hiking sandals
Different hiking-sandal lug depths we've measured in our lab

Depending on where you plan to hike, we recommend: 

  • Deep lugs (3mm and deeper) if your hikes involve soft ground, maybe even a bit of mud
  • Shallow lugs (less than 3mm) if you plan to hike on well-maintained trails that have no extreme details 
  • No lugs if you don’t plan to actually hike in the sandals. 

In the lab, we measure the thickness of the lugs with a calliper. 

Measuring thickness of lugs in hiking sandals
Using a digital calliper to measure the depth of lugs on a hiking sandal

We also measure the hardness of the outsole with a durometer. The harder the rubber, the higher the number on the durometer. 

Outsole hardness measured in hiking sandals
Measuring the hardness of the outsole on a hiking sandal using an HC durometer 

It’s also important to note here that the harder rubber is usually more durable and protective. It’s dense, so the chances of sharp rocks cutting through a hard outsole are smaller than when you hike in softer outsoles. On the other hand, softer outsoles tend to be more flexible, pliable, and stickier

How durable are hiking sandals?

While the durability of hiking sandals is often worse than that of hiking shoes and boots, it still isn’t something that should be forgotten. Not all sandals have a toe box or heel padding, so we can’t measure the durability of those areas on all of them, but we can measure the durability of the outsole. And this is an excellent indicator of what type of terrain the sandals can be used on. 

We measure the durability by pressing our Dremel against different parts of the sandals (toebox, heel counter, outsole). 


Testing the durability of the toebox

When we test the durability of the toebox or the heel padding, we rate it on a 1-5 scale based on the amount of damage our Dremel has made. 

Damage on the heel padding inside a hiking sandal
Heel padding durability test result: visible damage made by our Dremel

However, when we test the durability of the outsole, we don’t have to assess the damage; we can measure it precisely using a tyre tread gauge. The higher the number on it, the bigger the damage. Or, the bigger the dent we’ve made, the less durable the outsole. 

Outsole damage on hiking sandals tested in runrepeat lab
Outsole durability test results (depth of the dent): left: 6.6mm, centre: 1.4mm, right: 0.5mm

Flexible or stiff: which is better?

When hiking sandals are flexible, they actually allow us to move more freely. They bend in sync with our feet with less disturbance. Stiffer footwear, on the other hand, while it doesn’t support that natural-movement feel, it does offer more support and stability. 

So, it’s up to a hiker to decide what they will prioritise: 

  • More flexible sandals, which allow more freedom of movement and support the natural bending of feet 
  • Stiffer sandals, which are better for terrain covered with debris as they offer more protection and stability, which results in less foot fatigue (at least) on such terrain

We test the flexibility of hiking sandals by clamping their toebox to the ramp and bending the heel to 90 degrees using a digital force gauge. We read how much force we used to bend the sandal: the more force we used, the stiffer it was. 

Testing the flexibility of hiking sandals in RunRepeat lab

Softer or firmer sandals? Lab results and recommendations

There are 2 common materials used for midsoles in hiking sandals: 

  • EVA: usually soft, flexible, lightweight. It is not supportive enough for more serious hikes as it compresses over time. Short for ethylene vinyl acetate. 
  • PU: very supportive, usually found in backpacking sandals and hiking shoes and boots. It is more durable but also heavier, and it might require some break-in time. Short for polyurethane.
EVA vs PU midsoles in hiking sandals
Hiking sandals with EVA and PU midsoles 

In our lab, we test the softness using a durometer. The lower the number on the durometer, the softer the midsole. 

Midsole softness measurements in hiking sandals
Using a shore A durometer to measure the midsole softness in a hiking sandal

We recommend softer hiking sandals for shorter, easy hikes. Firmer midsoles offer more support and are better when you carry a backpack. In them, you won't sink in and use extra energy to bounce back. 

Lightweight vs. heavy hiking sandals

Lightweight sandals are great because you barely feel them on the feet and they inspire that feeling of freedom and travelling light and naturally. However, with light weight usually comes less protection, less stability, and the ability to hike over moderate trails (not to mention the demanding ones). 

Weighing a hiking sandal in RunRepeat lab
Hiking sandal on a scale in RunRepeat lab

We measure the weight of every sandal in our lab.

weight of hiking shoes sandals and boots

Here are a few numbers from our current database to create context around the weight of hiking sandals: 

  • Average weight of hiking sandals: 317.0g
  • Average weight of lightweight hiking sandals: 236.6g
  • Average weight of heavy hiking sandals: 371.3g
  • Average weight of hiking shoes: 377.8g
  • Average weight of hiking boots: 549.9g
light vs heavy hiking sandals comparison
Lightweight (up) vs. heavy (down) hiking sandal

Prices of hiking sandals: a comparison

The price of hiking sandals depends on the upper materials used (leather is usually more expensive than synthetic) and their purpose (more durable and grippier sandals are heavier and include more expensive materials). 

For context, here are a few data points from our database: 

  • Average price of hiking sandals: £90.8 (for synthetic sandals: £90.2)
  • Average price of hiking shoes: £130.9
  • Average price of hiking boots: £200.6

average prices of hiking shoes sandals and boots

If you’re on a discount hunt, check out our page dedicated to deals on hiking sandals

Jovana Subic
Jovana Subic
Whether it's a vertical kilometre or an ultra, climbing in the Alps or exploring local mountains, Jovana uses every opportunity to trade walls and concrete for forests and trails. She logs at least 10h/week on trails, with no off-season, and 4x more on research on running and running shoes. With a background in physics and engineering management, she prefers her running spiced with data.