6 Best Hiking Sandals in 2024

Paul Ronto
Paul Ronto 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 reviewed 20+ hiking sandals 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, colorful 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.

Pros

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

Cons

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

Hiking sandals with the best protection

KEEN Newport H2
90
Superb!

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.

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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.

Pros

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

Cons

  • 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 caliper 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.

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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
79
Good!

What makes it the best?

The Hoka Hopara is an excellent choice for hikers looking for a high-stack hiking sandal for all day on the trail. With its superbly cushioned midsole, plenty of space for wider feet, and the toothy lugs boasting fabulous grip, we dub the Hoka Hopara our number one hiking sandal with the best cushioning.

We have no fear of stepping on sharp rocks or edges in the Hopara. With more cushioning than the majority of running shoes in our lab, the extra-thick midsole provides ample support while hiking while still being comfortable and springy. Altogether this is an unbelievably comfortable hiking sandal and we didn’t want to take them off at the end of the day!

We don’t just feel protected from the ground - the closed toe prevents painful stubs and the rubber toe bumper protects the upper from scuffs and scrapes, prolonging the lifetime of the sandal. Yet despite the closed toe, we still have loads of wiggle-room up front, and we experienced no pinching or compression.

The 4 mm lugs of the Hopara are generous for hiking sandals, given that the average across our lab-tested specimens is 2-2.5 mm! We had no trouble with traction on loose ground, gravel, or smooth rock.

Weighing in at 12.6 oz (357g), we can’t call the Hopara a lightweight sandal – at least, not when our lab average is 9.4 oz (267g). Those looking for a lighter sandal for lighter days might want to look at other options.

Pros

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

Cons

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

Hiking sandals with the best comfort

Chaco Z/Cloud
87
Great!

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.

Pros

  • 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

Cons

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

Hiking sandals: Are they any good? 

If you’re someone from Arizona, Texas, or Florida, flip-flops, and sandals are a must especially in the scorching hot months of summer. They’re our go-to pair when strolling around town or when frolicking on the beach. But, are they any good for outdoor adventures that entail muddy trails, scrambling, and crossing rivers?

The short answer here is Yes and No. 

It all boils down to the terrain you are planning to conquer and your preference. Hiking sandals are generally built for hikes on well-maintained trails while carrying a light pack. If you’re after mobility and comfort, then hiking sandals are for you. Here are a few more reasons why hiking sandals are a must-consider footgear for your upcoming spring or summer outdoor escapade.

8 reasons to wear hiking sandals on your summer adventure.png

What makes up the best hiking sandals?

Hiking sandals, like flip-flops, are made lightweight and breathable. However, unlike your everyday slippers, these are engineered to be trail-worthy. Some are even designed with technologies that make it an eligible alternative for ultralight thru-hiking or backpacking trips.

To pick out the best type that’s capable of meeting the demands of your next quest, getting the lowdown of how each of its components work makes a whole lot of difference. See below the sandals’ main components, the usual things it’s made out of, its love-its, and not to mention its could-be-betters.

Hiking sandal anatomy.png

  Common Materials Used Key Benefits Could-be-betters
Upper
Leather - Durable (material can last for years)
- Stable and supportive
- Comfortable overtime (this material most often moulds to the shape of the foot over time giving hikers a customised fit)
- Hypoallergenic
-Takes a long time to break-in
-Heavier on the feet
-Stays wet longer
-Pricier
Synthetic -Breathable
-Dries quickly
-Weighs less
-A more affordable option
-Feels softer out of the box
-The preferred material of vegans
-Prone to wear and tear
-Provides limited support and stability
Midsole
EVA -Soft to mildly stiff cushioning underfoot
-Much more flexible
-Lightweight
-Less supportive
-Tends to compress over time
PU -Supportive (helps when carrying a heavy pack weighing over 30lbs)
-Durable
-Feels stiff out of the box
-Weighs more
Nice to know: Some sandals are made with shanks placed in between the midsole and outsole improving its stability. This equates to less foot-fatigue. It also prevents bruising underfoot caused by sharp rocks.
Outsole
Soft rubber -Stickier
-Flexible
-Lighter
-Best used when scrambling in rocky terrain
-Mediocre performance on muddy trails
-Breaks down faster
Hard Rubber -Durable
-Stable
-More protective
-Lacks flexibility
-Feels heavy underfoot
-Less traction on sleek surfaces like wet rocks
Nice to know: Deeper outsole lugs offer better grip on muddy terrain and shed debris with ease

Choosing the right type of outsole

Hiking sandals depend on the outsole for traction. Its sticky outsoles often provide great traction on wet rocks. Compared to boots though, the lugs found on sandals are less aggressive making them less ideal for backcountry hikes. 

Lugs come in a variety of shapes that determine the sandal’s traction upon ground contact. Here are the most common lug patterns and their benefits. 

Outsole and lug patterns.png

Other things to consider in hiking sandals

Apart from the materials, there are in fact other features worth looking at when looking for the best hiking sandal. Here are a few:

Water readiness

Breathable, water-ready sandals (like those made of waterproof or water-repellent materials) effectively drain water and dry quickly. While these won’t completely keep your feet dry, this type of sandals won’t get soaked too much.

Toe protection

If toe-stubbing and forefoot injuries happen to you too often, a closed-toe sandal is worth looking at. With this type of sandal, you can keep your tootsies protected. 

Take note though that this won’t offer the same protection provided by your rugged hiking boots. You can also expect these to weigh slightly heavier than your open-toe sandals.

Odour control

Yes, sandals are naturally well-ventilated but this won’t stop the funk. If you have sweaty feet, it’s always a good idea to check out sandals equipped with antimicrobial linings or stink-resistant footbeds. 

Pick the RIGHT hiking sandal with these 6 expert tips

When out hunting for the best hiking sandal, there are other aspects that are worth looking into. Just take note of these 6 expert tips and there won’t be any second-guessing which one to pick.

1. Focus on your needs

The type of hiking sandals you are shopping for should be able to meet the demands of the areas you frequent. 

If you’re after versatility, then cushioned and lightweight sandals might just be what you need.  These types are great for travel and would also work well for rafting or when out camping. 

On the other hand, if your adventure involves thru-hiking on easy to moderately difficult terrain with slight inclines, then you’re better off choosing trail-worthy hiking sandals that offer stability and grip. Sandals that provide toe protection are also worth considering.

2. Consider recommendations from experts 

While mothers know best, your go-to guys (and gals) for footwear recommendations are the experts and the seasoned hikers in the realm of hiking. 

If you have friends who are quite experienced in outdoor adventuring, bring them along when out sandal shopping. Their insights would prove valuable especially when you are just starting out.

3. Know your foot type

Ever tried checking the sole of your shoes? Well, it’s actually a good idea. Unknown to many, the location of the most wear and tear on the soles tells a lot about your foot type and the type of sandal or shoe that would work best for you. Check out the image below to find out more. 

Arch types and recommended shoes.png

4. Choose a pair of hiking sandals that fit perfectly

Finding the best hiking shoe or outdoor boot that provides the perfect fit can be tricky, the same goes when fitting hiking sandals. But, it does not have to be thanks to these 6 pointers:

Purchase hiking sandals in the afternoon. The human foot slightly enlarges towards the end of the day due to swelling. Because of this, it is a good idea to try on sandals sometime in the afternoon or evening.

Bring your socks. If you’re the type who likes to wear socks with sandals (which is 100% alright), it is advisable to bring your favourite hiking socks. It’s best if your socks are made of wool or synthetic since this is moisture-wicking and provides warmth or insulation.

Get it in half size. Getting the perfect size can be tricky at times. Fortunately, most brands offer their hiking sandals in half sizes. Consider getting a half size smaller or larger if your preferred whole size keeps missing the mark.

Have an extra space for your toes. There must be at least a half-inch extra space in front of your big toe. This space ensures your toes do not touch the ground, especially during descents. The rest of your foot should also stay within the confines of the footbed—no heel or midfoot overlaps. If you prefer closed-toe sandals, look for a roomy toe box with enough wiggle room.

Go wide instead of going large. If after trying several sizes your feet still feel cramped and restricted, especially around the sides, ask for a wide version of that sandal. Some feet are extra bulky, so some footwear brands offer their products in wide width.

Test your soon-to-be sandal. After choosing the pair that fits you perfectly, walk up and down an inclined surface and make sure your toes do not slip beyond the front of the footbed or hit the end of the enclosure during descents. You should also get minimal heel lift or none at all. If it does, adjust the tightness of the straps or laces. Sizing up or down is also advised.

6-step guide to ensuring proper fit.png

5. Be adventurous and try several pairs before making a purchase 

It is quite alright to stay faithful to your preferred brand, however, it is also okay to try out other brands from time to time. 

When shopping for the right hiking sandal, it’s a good idea to gather several pairs of sandals from different brands before finally choosing the ideal pair. Also, if you are extra patient, try on previously fitted sandals the second time to make sure you are favouring the right ones.

6. Check its adjustability

Sandals often come with webbing upper or interconnected straps. Aside from giving wearers a secure and custom fit with their adjustable straps. 

The more straps a sandal has, the more secure of a lockdown you will get (which is especially handy if you have oddly-shaped feet). Apart from the number of straps, take into account how easy it is for you to adjust these. No one wants to deal with hard-to-adjust straps while in the middle of a hike. 

Bonus Topic: Must-know hiking sandal fails

While it’s always good to know the benefits you get from the best hiking sandal, knowing its flaws is equally important. 

Obviously, given its open-air construction, you’d already expect sandals to lack ankle support and protection. While you can’t really do anything about the absence of ankle support, some of its flaws can be remedied. Here’s how:

Sandal Fails Remedy
Exposure of tootsies to sun, cold, critters, and loose rocks -protect your feet from the heat of the sun by applying generous amounts of SPF Sunscreen on the top of your feet. Re-apply after a few hours or after crossing rivers and streams
-wear socks with your sandals to avoid cold feet or to protect them from critters
-step carefully to avoid stubbing your toes on loose rocks
Abrasive straps -use a towel to keep your feet and the straps of your sandals dry
-apply athletic tape or vaseline on areas that are prone to hotspots.
Fraying or worn out straps -inspect the status of the straps regularly
-keep a small sewing kit or a duct tape on your pack in case field repairs are needed
Author
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 analyses every detail of the shoes that you might buy.