Hiking in sandals are a great way to improve breathability and reduce weight when out on the trails. After researching and taking 7 pairs of sandals out on the trails, beaches, and daily outings we narrowed our selection down to what we believe are the best hiking sandals currently out on the market.
During our testing for the best hiking sandals, we focused on sandals that had adequate comfort, durability, weight, and support.
What are the Best Hiking Sandals?
Hiking sandals come in various styles, each offering unique features and benefits. Here are our top picks for the best hiking sandals of 2024:
Bedrock Cairn 3D Pro 2 Adventure
Best Overall Hiking Sandal
- Footbed: Cairn 3D Footbed
- Outsole: Vibram Megagrip
- Closure: Three-point buckle strap system
- Weight: 1 lb. 1.4 oz per pair
Bedrock Cairn 3D Pro 2 Adventure
Our Take: The Bedrock Cairn 3D Pro 2 Adventure secures the position as the best overall hiking sandal. We found the Bedrock Cairn 3D Pro 2 to be a fairly balanced sandal overall. It is fairly lightweight, durable, and offers a minimalist design without sacrificing performance. The strapping system felt nice on the feet and kept the toes secure with minimal to no sliding.
One downside is that the y type strap can feel a little uncomfortable to some. Another drawback is the cost, which might be steep for some. However, the superior quality and performance make it a worthwhile investment in our eyes.
Chaco Z Cloud 1
Best for Durability and Support
- Footbed: LUVSEAT Dual Density PU
- Outsole: ChacoGrip rubber
- Closure: Adjustable buckle straps
- Weight: 1 lb. 13 oz. (per pair)
Chaco Z Cloud 1
Our Take: The Chaco Z Cloud 1 is one of our favorite sandals for multi sports. We have used them from thinking trails, hot springs, to paddle boarding. The Chaco Z Cloud 1 really excels in its durability and support, making it an ideal choice for handling uneven terrains during hikes. In additions to having one of the best outsoles in this list of hiking sandals for wet and dry conditions.
However, the big downside we have found with the Chaco Z Cloud 1 and why we don’t use it for backpacking is how heavy they are. Due to the footbed and outsole of the sandal they are well heavier than any other hiking sandal we have worn. Also, they are not very packable compared to other hiking sandals on this list like the Xero Z- Trails Ev or Bedrock Cairn 3D Pro.
Teva Hurricane XLT 2
Best for Comfort
- Midsole: EVA foam
- Outsole: Rubber
- Closure: Velcro Hook-and-loop Straps
- Weight: 1 lb. 2 oz (per pair)
Teva Hurricane XLT 2
Our Take: The Teva Hurricane XLT 2 is really one of the most comfortable hiking sandals we have tried. The cushioned EVA foam midsole really works well and feels like walking on a soft cloud. The Velcro straps are easy to adjust and work well for quick readjustments out on the trail.
While we did find these hiking sandals super comfy, they may not provide the same level of support as some other options like the Chaco Z cloud 1. Also, we did find that on really wet conditions out on trail the sandal did feel a little slippery and the outsole did seem to slide a little more.
Xero Z-Trail EVs
Best Ultralight Minimalist Sandal
- Midsole: TrailFoam
- Outsole: FeelLite Rubber
- Closure: Adjustable straps
- Weight: 10.8 oz. (per pair)
Xero Z-Trails EVs
Our Take: The Xero Z-Trail EV is the most lightweight hiking sandal on our list and surprisingly we found them pretty comfortable for a minimalist sandal. Xero Z Trail Ev’s are super flexible and easy to pack into a hiking backpack. We also liked how eco-friendly they are, made with a construction of recycled plastic bottles
Though they have many pros the Xero Z-Trail Ev is not without its cons. We found their thin and flexible design to really be lacking in comfort and protective feel especially on more rugged terrain. The thin and flimsy outsole and straps leads us to have some durability concerns, in fact during our testing one of the straps did begin to fray a little.
Also, the traction did not perform as well as the other sandals on this list. However, despite these drawbacks, the Xero Z-Trail EVs are a fantastic option for those who prioritize lightweight and minimalist footwear.
Keen Newport H2
Best for Toe Protection
- Midsole: EVA foam
- Outsole: Rubber
- Closure: Bungee lacing system
- Weight: 1 lb. 12.3 oz. (per pair)
Keen Newport H2
Our Take: The Keen Newport H2 is the best hiking sandal especially when it comes to toe protection. Keen has a history of making innovative hybrid footwear like the Newport H2. Which really excels at offering the benefits of a sandal but providing more protection similar to those of a shoe. During our testing we really liked the closed-toe design which kept our toes safe from rocks and other obstacles while hiking.
The bungee lacing system worked well for fast adjustments out on trail and during water sport activities. The only real cons we noticed was how heavy the Keen Newport H2 was and that occasionally small pebbles would get stuck in the shoes and were a little more difficult to get out due to the fabricated cords of the sandal design.
Despite the cons we did find, the Keen Newport H2 was the most versatile sandal on the list. Also, when it came to toe protection this is by far the best.
How to Choose Hiking Sandals
Hiking sandals work well for those wanting a more minimalist, breathable, and lighter type of footwear out on trails or during water adventures. Navigating the diverse market options may seem daunting, but with our expertise, we can help you find the best hiking sandals for your needs or at least help steer you in the right direction.
Before looking into anything else first, consider what your intended use will be of the sandal. This first question can help you answer a lot of your questions when looking into which sandals you will want to consider. Although this list was built on the focus on hiking sandals all of these sandals are very versatile and been tested out on the trails, kayaking trips, paddling, and even on the beach.
Factors to Consider
To evaluate the best hiking sandals, I focused on several factors such as: comfort, durability, weight, versatility, and closure type.
In our testing we put these hiking sandals to the test on the trails, beaches, and daily outings in various conditions. The hands-on testing was supplemented with research and tested in controlled settings as well.
Of the factors I believe comfort is the most crucial. When assessing the comfort of the hiking sandals it ideally should feel secure with minimal to no slippage. Hiking sandals should feel lightweight and not restrictive. The straps on the closure system should not cause irritation or discomfort to the feet and the sandals should stay put in wet and hot conditions.
I have found that durability tends to be very important especially if you are planning to do longer hikes in your sandals. I personally prefer to use hiking or trail runners during my longer hikes due to too many toe stubs on trail. But if you are more careful it could be a great option for you.
Pay attention to the materials used and the build of the shoe. I will say of the hiking sandals on this list the Chacos Z Cloud 1 are by far the most durable on the list but also one of the heaviest. And if you are afraid of toe stubs like me the Keen Newport H2 may be a good bet for you.
In regard to weight wearing heavy footwear can really add up especially if you are going longer distances out on trail. When it comes to weight my favorites on this list are the Bedrock Cairn 3D Pro 2 and the Xero Z Trail EVs.
Now although these sandals are lighter you will notice that they are also more minimal in design with less support and material. Which means they are not as supportive and durable as the Chacos Z Cloud 1 or cushioned like the Teva Hurricane XLT 2.
Support can be important, particularly for those tackling uneven terrains or setting off on longer hiking trips. Look for hiking sandals with cushioning, arch support, and a secure heel cup to provide the necessary stability and support in more challenging terrain.
Alternatively, for more challenging terrains I actually prefer a pair of hiking shoes or trail runners just because of durability and toe coverage. Although the Keen Newport H2 could also be a good option for rocky terrain.
Finally, another factor I recommend considering is the type of closure system the hiking sandals have. Common options on the market are:
- Adjustable buckle straps
- Velcro straps
- Bungee lace systems
The right closure system will depend on your personal preferences and the specific activities you plan to engage in while wearing your hiking sandals.
Types of Hiking Sandals
There are several types of hiking sandals available, each having its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
Closed – toe Sandals
Closed-toe hiking sandals offer greater toe protection and typically have a more secure upper to keep your foot safe during outdoor activities. These sandals are perfect for hikers who prioritize safety and protection over breathability and style. However, they may be heavier and less fashionable compared to other options.
Open – toe Sandals
Open-toe and casual sandals may not offer the same level of protection as closed-toe sandals, but they are often more comfortable and stylish. These sandals are ideal for hikers who prefer a more breathable and fashionable option while still maintaining some level of protection and support.
Understanding the differences between these types of hiking sandals can help you choose the right pair for your specific needs and preferences. Whether you prioritize toe protection, breathability, or style, there is a hiking sandal out there that will work for you.
Fit and Sizing Hiking Sandals
Selecting the appropriate hiking sandals can be simplified by adhering to a few straightforward tips. First, always try on the sandals before purchasing them, as sizing can vary significantly between different brands and models. Ensure that you can achieve a snug fit around your foot without any movement when walking but avoid going too tight.
The type of terrain you’ll be hiking on is another important consideration. If you plan to traverse uneven terrain or rocky paths, look for features such as adjustable straps, arch support, and odor control to ensure your hiking sandals offer the necessary protection and comfort.
Lastly, keep in mind that not all hiking sandals are designed to be worn with socks. If you prefer to wear socks for added warmth and comfort during cold weather or after a long day out on the water, look for models that work well with socks, or consider investing in a pair of hiking shoes, boots, or trail runners.
By taking these tips into account, you’ll be one step closer to identifying the ideal pair of hiking sandals or backpacking sandals for your next trip.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Tevas OK to hike in?
Teva hiking sandals are a great sandal for hiking on the trails. We recommend the Teva Hurricane XLT as it is one of the comfiest hiking sandals we have used.
Are Keens sandals good for hiking?
Oh, absolutely we really like the Keen Newport H2 for hiking. It is one of our favorite hiking sandals that offers the best toe protection.
Can I wear socks with hiking sandals?
Yes, you can wear socks with some hiking sandals for added warmth and comfort. However, make sure to choose a pair that is suitable for wearing with socks.
How important is the closure system on hiking sandals?
The closure system on hiking sandals is essential, as it determines how secure and adjustable the fit will be. Choices range from pull-through straps to drawstring lacing systems.
What are the main differences between closed-toe and open-toe hiking sandals?
Closed-toe hiking sandals offer greater toe protection and a secure upper, while open-toe and casual sandals are more comfortable and stylish. Therefore, those who prioritize safety and protection should opt for closed-toe, whereas those who prefer a breathable and fashionable choice should opt for open-toe sandals.
The best hiking sandals of 2024 offer a range of features and benefits to cater to every hiker’s needs and preferences. Whether you’re looking for a lightweight and minimalist option, a sandal with exceptional durability and support, or one that provides optimal toe protection.
Our top picks have you covered. By considering essential factors such as comfort, durability, support, and closure systems, and understanding the different types of hiking sandals available, you can confidently choose the perfect pair for your next outdoor adventure.