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The 10 Best Sandals for Hiking in 2022

Thanks to durable materials and innovative constructions, sandals aren’t just for beaches and poolsides anymore.

cairn 3d pro ii adventure sandals
Bedrock Sandals

Our definitive guide to the best hiking sandals available provides information on the ten top hiking sandals and offers tips on what to consider before buying a pair. In it, we break down each sandal's key features, covering elements such as comfort, strap design, support, materials, weight and more.

A lot is implied by the word sandal. Upon hearing it, one might conjure up an image of footwear made of leather and cork loosely affixed to a pair of worn feet stemming from a guitar-toting, shower-averse long-haired hippy. That picture would stereotype both man and shoe, though.

Sandals have their place outside of cultural generalizations — in rafts, for one. Teva, one of the most highly-regarded makers of outdoor sandals, got its start in 1984 when Mark Thatcher, a river guide in the Grand Canyon, used two Velcro watch straps to modify a pair of flip-flops so they wouldn’t come off his feet.

The outdoor sandals available today are more robust than that — in fact, they’re about as beefy as can be without losing the light and open qualities that make them great in the first place. Sticky rubber soles with heavy lugs, platforms molded for arch support and anti-blister constructions are just some of the traits that make the best outdoor sandals suitable for use beyond boats and water. Hike in them, bike in them, climb in them — these sandals are built to go everywhere.

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BEST OVERALL
Chacos Z/2 Classic

  • Supportive footbed

  • A little on the heavy side for a sandal

Chaco’s most iconic sandal is also one of the most polarizing, largely due to the unique loop that helps secure the big toe. People either hate it or love it; we find that it provides the extra bit of leverage that’s useful when scrambling up trails and over rocks. The Z/2 is similar in that way, though Chaco shaved off 20 percent of its weight by using a different rubber compound. It's a welcome change given that the original can often feel clunky and especially because the super-supportive footbed is still in place.

If you already love Chacos, you'll like the Z/2 even better. If you're new to Chacos, note that the strap adjustment process is a bit tricky (again, some hate it), but plenty supportive. Another thing to note is that the strap is too long if you have small feet and need to crank it down, but you can always cut it back and burn the end if it's annoying. And if you hate the thought of that big toe loop, the Z/2 comes in a version without it.

Outsole: Non-marking ChacoGrip rubber compound3.5mm lug depth

BEST UPGRADE
Bedrock Cairn 3D PRO II

  • Lightweight yet insanely supportive

  • The flip-flop look isn't for everyone

Bedrock felt that even traditional sandals were too constraining, so it reworked the strap layout into a design that’s something of a hybrid between a flip-flop and Tevas. The paracord thong uses an aluminum insert for durability (this is usually the first thing to go on normal flip-flops), and an adjustable heel cuff provides rear foot stability. In this updated version, Bedrock added a hook adjustment to the heel for even greater support than the original, which helps this sandal feel a lot beefier than it is (it weighs 10.5 ounces per sandal).

The Cairn 3D features a contoured footbed for additional comfort and a Vibram outsole for the best possible grip. If it looks too minimal for long adventures, know that it isn’t — the company’s chief experience officer, Naresh Kumar, hiked New Zealand’s 3,000-kilometer Te Araroa trail in a pair.

Outsole: Virbram Megagrip

SMART SPEND
Teva Hurricane XLT2

  • Classic style works on and off-trail

  • Not as durable as competitors

Teva's classic Velcro sandal is still the gold standard adventure sandal when you don't want to spend a bundle. For a little extra cash though, you can get the Hurricane XLT2, which is just an all-terrain version of the simpler one you might've worn as a kid. It still has downsides — mainly its triangular plastic strap connectors, which can be uncomfortable —but the primary upgrades are a thicker, contoured sole and a grippy outsole that make walking on dirt, gravel, riverbeds, etc. a lot more manageable.

Outsole: Rubber

BEST FOR AQUATIC ACTIVITIES
Keen Newport H2

  • Excellent toe protection

  • Needs a little break-in time

Many of Keen’s sandals walk a fine line between sandal and shoe, and the Newport Hydro does it expertly. It’s open everywhere except the toe, which makes it perfect for wear during aquatic activities when underwater rocks can become especially hazardous to toes. Its washable webbing exterior is backed with a comfy PFC-free, quick-drying lining. The sole has tread enough for hiking on dry land, too, and is supported by a light shank for additional support.

Outsole: Higher-traction rubber

BEST QUICK-DRY OPTION
Teva Terra Fi 5 Universal

  • More rugged than the OG model

  • Limited colorways

If you like Tevas but want a more rugged model than our budget pick, check out the Terra Fi 5 Universal, which sports a few crucial upgrades that make it great for heavier all-around outdoor use. For one, it features a thick, molded PU midsole that provides support on uneven ground and protection from jagged terrain as well as a sticky rubber outsole with lugs for traction. The Terra Fi 5 Universal also has additional padding at points of high abrasion where the straps meet the sole and where plastic parts are, which helps avoid blisters.

Outsole: Rugged Spider Rubber outsole

CUSHIEST RIDE
Ecco Sport Yucatan Sandal

  • Neoprene lining eliminates chafing

  • Pricey

ECCO packed so much support and comfort into the Yucatan, it wears more like a shoe with oversized vents than a sandal. The entire strap structure is lined with neoprene to make this sandal super comfortable and eliminate chafing in places you'd expect to find it on other models. The midsole is thick and supportive, and has a lining that makes it a lot softer than other sandals in the category too (again, it's kind of like a shoe in this way). Made with leather, the Yucatan is a chunkier sandal and doesn't have that traditional outdoorsy look, and it's also more expensive than our other picks.

Outsole: Rubber

BEST SHORT HIKE OPTION
Xero Z-Trail EV

  • Lightest sandal on the list

  • Less comfortable than more padded options

Weighing in at a scant 5.4 ounces, the Z-Trail EV is as light as a hiking sandal gets. It eschews thick straps, extra padding and oversized buckles but it drops most of its weight by using a super-thin 10-millimeter sole. Nevertheless, the sole still comes with the hallmarks of a hiking sandal, including a foam footbed and lugged outsole. Keep in mind that there's little between your foot and the ground though, so expect to feel rocks even if they can't pierce through these layers. The Z-Trail EV is best for shorter hikes and water activities, or people who want a protected barefoot walking feel.

Outsole: Triple-layer FeelLite sole

BEST CASUAL ADVENTURE SANDAL
Freewaters Trifecta

  • No heel strap = less blisters

  • Not durable

Flip-flops are great for casual wear but, for all their wonderful qualities, are not great adventure sandals; they’re too minimal and often quite breakable. But leaving the heel free to breath is nice (and prevents abrasion to one of the foot’s most blister-prone areas). Freewaters approached the zero-sum situation by axing the heel piece and leaving a Velcro strap over the top of the foot. It also included a soft foam platform and a supportive arch. We've found that it's not as ideal for hiking as others on this list, but is perfect for short-range adventures and everyday use that you'd typically choose a flip-flop for.

Outsole: Rubber

BEST POST-ADVENTURE SANDAL
Birkenstock Arizona

  • Classic look works anywhere

  • No heel support

Birkenstocks have been keeping feet comfortable and supported since 1774, and that long history has more than justified its popularity. No longer relegated to hippies and granola types, the Arizona is classic, cool and the ideal sandal to slip on after a gnarly hike.

Made with Birkibuc – a durable, synthetic upper material with a nubuck leather-like texture and a soft backing — and a contoured cork footbed with EVA sole, you can wear these babies for miles without so much as a hint of discomfort. Although they're not the go-to hiker for most folks, we've seen Birks on some pretty technical trails.

Outsole: Proprietary Birkenstock footbed

MOST CAPABLE SANDAL
Hoka Hopara

  • Super-grippy luggs

  • Pricey

It's argued that Hoka makes the most comfortable running shoes out there, and its Hopara sandal is cut from the same cloth. Featuring a synthetic upper with drainage cutouts, a flexible neoprene collar and rubberized EVA midsole, this sandal is made to move, wet or dry.

What caught our eye over every other feature are the lugs — at 4mm, they're the deepest on this list, and provide serious multidirectional traction when you need it most. Although they're on the pricier side, the Hoparas are well worth the investment.

Outsole: Rubber

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