The 9 Best Women’s Hiking Sandals of 2021

Go the distance with the tried-and-true footwear on this list

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The Rundown

Best Overall: Chaco Women's Z/1 Classic Sandals at REI

"Every pair comes with fully adjustable straps that custom-fit to your foot, which means all-day comfort and supreme durability."

Best Waterproof: Cairn 3D PRO II Adventure Sandals at Bedrock Sandals

"These sandals will keep you from slipping and sliding around on the wet ground or in water."

Best Arch Support: Merrell Women’s Kahuna Web Sandals at Merrell

"These sandals are also durable enough to withstand virtually all weather and temperature conditions."

Best for Wide Feet: Chaco Women's Z/Cloud Wide Width Sandals at Zappos

"These have a fantastically rugged rubber outsole with a pillowy-soft top layer."

Best Style: ECCO Offroad 2.0 Sandals at Ecco

"We love the flexible, cushioned midsole and lightweight molded EVA footbed."

Best Closed Toe: Keen Women’s Newport H2 Sandals at Amazon

"The outsoles wrap up and over the toes for the ultimate protection from rocks and other trail debris."

Best Leather: Merrell Terran Lattice II Sandals at Amazon

"Particularly great if you’re planning a multi-day expedition and want a comfortable yet sturdy option."

Best Eco-Friendly: Teva Midform Universal Sandals at Zappos

"The quick-drying straps are made from 100 percent recycled plastic, along with other synthetic and plant-based materials."

Best for Durability: Sorel Women's Kinetic Sandals at Backcountry

"These sandals pair just as well with jeans or a skirt as they do with hiking gear."

Versatile, comfy, and suitable for long hikes, hiking sandals can be a great alternative to clunky boots. Plus, unlike with boots, you can fully submerge your sandals in water without them getting waterlogged and smelly. You’ll just want to make sure they have great grip and tread (along with proper arch support), so you can walk across all types of terrain with ease. 

Jeanne Rummel of Great Freedom Adventures advises thinking about the terrain on which you'll use the sandals when deciding on a pair. “If trail hiking among rocks, roots, and sticks, consider closed-toe sandals to avoid stubbed toes or stick stabs," Rummel advises. "If you’ll use them on the beach or on cleared trails with fine dirt, consider open-toe sandals so the sand and dirt can drain out. If you’ll be walking through or playing in the water, look at models that dry quickly. Above all, make sure they are comfortable for your foot and provide the degree of support you’ll require for your activities.”

If you want a little more airflow on your next trek, here are the best sandals to choose from. 

Best Overall: Chaco Women's Z/1 Classic Sandals

Chaco Z/1 Classic Sandals

Courtesy of Chaco

What We Like
  • Durable

  • Adjustable straps

  • Podiatrist-certified footbed

  • Comes in various widths

What We Don't Like
  • Straps hang past shoe when pulled tight

There’s simply no beating the Chaco Women's Z/1 Classic Sandals. Durable, grippy, and as heavy-duty as they come, Chaco sandals consistently outrank virtually all other hiking sandals. Every pair comes with fully adjustable straps that custom-fit to your foot, and this, coupled with the brand’s podiatrist-certified LUVSEAT PU footbed, equals all-day comfort and supreme durability. Not only will your feet grip onto slippery surfaces well, but they’ll also be protected from stabby sticks and rocks as you walk.

Best Waterproof: Cairn 3D PRO II Adventure Sandals

Cairn 3D PRO II Adventure Sandals

Courtesy of Bedrock Sandals

What We Like
  • Excellent traction

  • Comes in various colors

  • Adjustable straps

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't come in various widths

If you’ll be trekking along particularly wet, slippery terrain, strap on a pair of Cairn 3D PRO II Adventure Sandals. These sandals are outfitted with a hook-heel strap and an extra-sticky Vibram Megagrip outsole to keep you from slipping and sliding around on the wet ground, water parks, or in water. And, thanks to the molded 3D footbed and Pro II G-hook and loop strap system, you’ll enjoy a secure (but not too snug) fit.

Best Arch Support: Merrell Women’s Kahuna Web Sandals

Women’s Kahuna Web Sandals

Courtesy of Merrell

What We Like
  • Excellent arch support

  • Durable

  • Comes in various colors

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't come in various widths

With their thick, cushioned footbed, Merrell's Women’s Kahuna Web Sandals offer excellent arch support, which is a necessity on long-distance hikes. The brand’s Air Cushion in the heel absorbs shock and adds stability, while the EVA midsole-and-footbed combo ramps up the comfort factor. These sandals are also durable enough to withstand virtually all weather and temperature conditions, thanks to the Vibram outsole.  

Best for Wide Feet: Chaco Women's Z/Cloud Wide Width Sandals

 Chaco Z/Cloud (Wide Width) Sandals

Courtesy of Chaco

What We Like
  • Adjustable straps

  • Excellent cushioning

  • Comes in various colors

What We Don't Like
  • Straps hang past shoe when pulled tight

Women with wide feet will love the fit of Chaco’s Women's Z/Cloud Wide Width Sandals. Crucially, the polyester jacquard webbing upper wraps around the foot and through the midsole for a customized fit—without digging into your skin, as some sandals do. These also have a fantastically rugged rubber outsole and a top layer of pillowy-soft PU, so you get that nice cushion underfoot (which can be a godsend on long hikes).

Best Style: ECCO Offroad 2.0 Sandals

ECCO Offroad 2.0 Sandals

Courtesy of Ecco

What We Like
  • Comes in various colors

  • Excellent cushioning

  • Adjustable straps

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

Get the ECCO Offroad 2.0 Sandal in the hibiscus colorway, and you’ll be the belle of the trail. There’s just something special about these sandals, from their clean-lined design and chunky rubber outsole to that eye-popping red color. Also, we love the flexible, cushioned midsole and lightweight, molded EVA footbed, both of which give you a sense of dynamic support and comfort while you rack up the mileage. Basically, they’re the perfect mix of form and function.

Best Closed Toe: Keen Women’s Newport H2 Sandals

What We Like
  • Excellent arch support

  • Dries quickly

  • Comes in various colors

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't come in various widths

If you prefer a closed-toe design, the Keen Women’s Newport H2 Sandals are a resoundingly popular choice. The outsoles wrap up and over the toes for the ultimate protection from rocks and other trail debris (no more stubbed toes for you). These sandals are also remarkably comfortable, with a metatomical footbed mechanism that’s engineered to provide great arch support and conform to the contours of your feet. And, they’re quick to dry, with polyester webbing and a non-marking rubber outsole.  

Best Leather: Merrell Terran Lattice II Sandals

What We Like
  • Comes in various colors

  • Adjustable straps

  • Durable

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't come in various widths

With their breathable mesh lining, microfiber footbed, and Nubuck leather upper construction, the Merrell Terran Lattice II Sandals feel dreamy on your feet, no matter how many miles you log. We also love the range of colors that these sandals come in—from taupe to navy to fuchsia—and the fact that you only need to adjust the straps once to get the perfect, customized fit.

Best Eco-Friendly: Teva Midform Universal Sandals

Teva Midform Universal

Courtesy of Zappos

What We Like
  • Excellent traction

  • Durable

  • Made from recycled plastic and plant materials

  • Comes in various colors

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't come in various widths

The Teva Midform Universal Sandals are a classic choice for many reasons. They mold beautifully to your footprint, they don’t rub your feet, and they last for years (if not a lifetime). And for eco-conscious hikers, these vegan-friendly sandals will come as a welcome option—the quick-drying straps are made from 100 percent recycled plastic, along with other synthetic and plant-based materials. (Teva states that these sandals save at least four plastic bottles from ending up in landfills.)

Best for Durability: Sorel Women's Kinetic Sandals

Sorel Kinetic Sandal

Courtesy of Backcountry

What We Like
  • Durable

  • Excellent traction

  • Adjustable straps

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

The wear-anywhere Sorel Women's Kinetic Sandals are sporty, well-designed, and incredibly durable, with a leather and textile upper and a molded rubber sole, to help you conquer any type of terrain. We also adore the look of these sandals, with their ultra-cushioned footbed and thick straps. In fact, these sandals pair just as well with jeans or a skirt as they do with hiking gear. (And who wouldn’t love that?)  

Final Verdict

If you're looking for a durable and grippy pair of hiking sandals to invest in, you can't go wrong with the Chaco Women's Z/1 Classic Sandals (view at REI). With a podiatrist-certified footbed and adjustable straps, these sandals will mold perfectly to your feet and provide support and comfort all day long.

What to Look for When Shopping for Hiking Sandals


Materials

Hiking sandals should be able to withstand the elements. As such, sandals with rubber (or EVA) soles and synthetic uppers tend to be the most durable and weather-resistant.  

Supportive Soles 

The best hiking sandals should be able to grip onto any surface and still protect your feet, regardless of the type of terrain you’re hiking in, be it rocky, scrubby, or slick. A truly great hiking sandal should be super-grippy, with a thick sole and cushioned enough to absorb some shock—lightweight, flimsy soles are not your friend. “A Vibram outer sole helps keep any vibration at bay and good tread,” says travel and adventure photographer Rach Stewart.  

Customizable Straps 

Not all hiking sandals have straps, but if they do, make sure they’re customizable (this is especially important if you have wide feet). Ill-fitting straps that dig into your skin will cause discomfort and, eventually, hot spots.

Breathability

The more ventilation, the better, especially if you’ll be hiking long distances or through water. Look for sandals that incorporate drainage holes and proper ventilation. Also, keep in mind that synthetic and mesh fabrics will dry quicker than, say, leather.

Price

Like a nice bra or fancy sheets, hiking sandals are one of those things that you should spend more on, if at all possible. Investing in a quality pair of hiking sandals will ensure pleasant hiking for years.


FAQs


Are sandals suitable for long-distance hikes?

It depends on the quality of your shoe and the nature of your hike. For example, if you’re wearing a pair of well-fitted, broken-in Chaco sandals (which, crucially, offer exceptional grip and tread and have awesome arch support), you should be fine hiking long distances. In terms of the hike itself, if you’re doing a forest hike with frequent stream crossings, sandals can be great; for rocky, high-alpine hikes, not so much. If you’re at all prone to ankle twists, you should never wear sandals when doing long-distance hikes. More important than distance is weight consideration. The more weight you're carrying, the more ankle support you'll need. While you can backpack in hiking sandals, boots will better support the ankles.

How should I clean my sandals?

That depends on the sandal. For most hiking sandals, you can use a gentle, antimicrobial soap and warm water and hand-wash them (you should never machine-wash your sandals). To remove any pesky, caked-on dirt, try using a soft bristle brush to scrub it away. If your shoes have leather, you’ll likely need to use a leather-specific cleaner. No matter what, be sure to check the instructions for washing.

Do I need toe protection?

If you tend to bash your toes easily, it’s always nice (but not totally necessary) to have an extra layer of protection—just keep in mind that most hiking sandals with toe protection are a bit heavier than those without. 

How do I prevent and/or treat blisters while wearing sandals during hikes?

Aside from making sure your sandals fit perfectly, you should always break your footwear in before a hike. Change into a clean pair of socks when you’re done hiking, and always treat any hot spots as quickly as possible. And, if you feel a raw or sore spot start to crop up while hiking, apply blister tape or bandages immediately.

Why Trust TripSavvy

Justine Harrington is a freelance writer whose been researching all things travel for TripSavvy since 2018. She spoke with hiking experts and enthusiasts about what to look for in hiking sandals and which ones they can't live without on the trails. As someone who loves to travel herself, she prides herself on knowing how to make any travel experience comfortable and stress-free.

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