Best Supportive Sandals Reviewed & Rated
As summer draws near and the days grow longer, you’ll be happy to see the temperatures rising as well. Ahead is a time of fun, relaxation, basking in the sun and beach visits that all of us enjoy. Even more, the bulky clothing and heavy shoes that we’ve been lugging around all winter can finally be put away and substituted with something more lightweight, breathable and less restricting. If you’re someone who likes to wear footwear that’s open and free, if you love hikes in nature or need a good pair of shoes for the beach, then you’ve probably had to deal with the insufficient arch and heel support that comes with sliders, flip-flops, and flats. But, if you purchase a stellar pair of support sandals, you’ll find that you can enjoy both the sun and the sand while remaining as comfortable as ever.
The best thing about this type of footwear is that the only person who knows about what’s going on inside – in the arch, heel and toe area – is you. You’ll find that the additional straps provide a comfortable and snug fit, all while making it easier for you to go about your daily activities. And you can even use your sandals for sports activities such as hiking – they’ll allow your feet to dry quickly, to stay cool even when doing something hard, to go near or into water or just to have a sense of freedom that most athletic shoes do not allow for.
- Keen Newport H2
- Molded Footbed
- Perfect for Hiking
- ECCO Yucatan
- Multiple Adjustment Points
- Molded Arch Support
- Atika Maya
- Molded footbed
- Cushioned Insole
On the other end of the spectrum, you will find summer footwear that does not focus on physical activity, but intends to look chic and sleek, all while allowing you to feel comfortable and pain-free. Go with a pair of shoes with a hidden cushioned footbed or sturdy heel cup, and you’ll love wearing them everywhere.
The below list looks at the best possible summer footwear, from sandals to flip-flops that offer the proper support necessary to keep your feet happy and healthy. Chosen with several levels of support in mind, these products are the highest rated items of the sort you’ll find online, with thousands of satisfied customers. To get even more info about what to look for when making your next purchase, check out the Criteria for Evaluation and FAQ sections that are sure to answer any additional questions you may have.
10 Best Supportive Sandals
1. Keen Newport H2
The Newport H2 is designed for hikers and Keen is not shy about making that clear. The closed toe and webbed foot cage are intended to keep toes safe without sacrificing breathability or comfort for the wearer's foot. The lug pattern on the sole of the sandal allows it to dig more firmly into dirt and sand when hiking, offering additional stability for the more adventurous wearers.
Moulded and Cushioned Footbed
The footbed is molded for comfort and moderate to semi-intense arch support, given the contours visible on the sandal itself. Wearers will also find support and comfort in the cushioned footbed, which will allow their foot to rest more easily in the contours of the footbed and stabilize their gait.
Cost and Value
Even the low end of the price range is climbing into the higher price points, coming in at just over $50. Their higher prices are extremely high, but a pair for a moderate price would be well worth the investment.
Multidirectional Lug Traction Pattern
Safety Toe Cap
TPU Stability Shank
High Price Point
Unsuitable for High Arches
2. ECCO Yucatan
The key feature of the Yucatan is its contoured footbed, which can help reduce the slipping of the foot inside the shoe and increase overall stability when walking. ECCO takes this another level further by using a molded footbed that gives additional protection against slipping
Cushioned Midsole and Footbed
ECCO knows their market and understands that the people who buy their products will be wearing them for long stretches of time, whether at the beach or on the trail, through city streets or in the woods. Taking this into account, they incorporated two points of cushioning to provide additional comfort when wearing the Yucatan.
Cost and Value
The ECCO Yucatan is not a product you go to if you want a cheap buy. Nonetheless, with the high-quality make of these shoes, you’ll be wearing them for a long time, seeing that they are extremely durable and are made so as to perfectly hug your feet wherever you decide to take them.
Range of Color Options
Multiple Forms of Cushioning
Need Breaking In
3. Keen Whisper
Made to offer the best possible level of support, this is a pair of footwear that features an internal construction that will completely hug the contours of the foot, including the arch. This makes it a perfect choice for those suffering from issues such as flat feet, plantar fasciitis, and overpronation.
Natural Odor Control
One of the worst things about footwear made for active use is the fact that it will eventually start developing odors no matter what you do. The Whisper includes Cleanspot NXT technology to prevent this from happening.
Cost and Value
Ranking average on this list, the Keen Whisper is a great option for those who want a high-quality pair of footwear that is both supportive and comfortable but does not make a huge dent in their pocket. It’s also a great option for those athletically inclined, or those looking for a water-friendly design.
Deep Traction Lug Pattern
Elastic Closure System
Unsuitable for Users With High Insteps
4. Teva Verra
In addition to having an EVA footbed, the Verra adds to its levels of comfort through shock absorbing features such as the Shoc Pad™ which is located in the heel area. As this is the part of the foot where most people land when walking and running, an addition like this can significantly lower leg fatigue as well as joint pain after a long day on your feet.
When navigating rough terrain, it is important that your footwear gives you the right stability and protective features to ensure that you remain injury free. The Verra features a nylon shank that will help protect and stabilize each of your steps.
Cost and Value
With a cost that is average on this list, the Verra is a great choice for those who know and love the feel of EVA foam underfoot. Additionally, if you want shock absorption from your next pair of adventure-oriented summer footwear, then you’ll love wearing these on your next hike.
Nylon Stability Shank
Lacks in Adjustability
5. Atika Maya
Atika knows what a sports sandal needs and provides it. The Maya has a cushioned insole and supportive contouring under the arches of the foot. These ensure that the wearer stays comfortable no matter how long they're on their feet.
Adjustable Velcro Straps
The comfort of the Maya doesn't stop at the cushioned insole and arch support. Atika's designers have incorporated multiple Velcro-fastened straps to give the wearer as much freedom to adjust the shoe as they need without sacrificing the security of the fit.
Cost and Value
If you’re looking for something affordable but with plenty of support and comfort features, then make sure to check out the Maya by Atika. You’ll happily wear these open shoes to all of your beach or hiking trips, and you’ll find that they’re even stylish enough to wear every day while running your errands.
Multiple Adjustable Straps
Lack in Protection from Sharp Rocks
6. NAOT Kayla
Made with a combination of cork and latex, the footbed on these NAOT shoes is made so as to be as supportive as possible, hugging the arch and cradling the heel. Being made from a natural material, these shoes will conform to the wearer’s feet, becoming more and more comfy with every wear.
The leather used for making these shoes is soft and supple, and will perfectly mold to hug the upper parts of your feet. The hook and loop closure ensures the right amount of adjustability, so you can even wear these after your feet have swollen from a lot of standing or walking.
Cost and Value
With a cost that is the highest out of all the items on this list, the Kayla may not be an option for everyone. However, if the price fits your budget, then it’s a shoe that’s highly recommended. You will definitely fall in love with it, not just because of its looks, but also because of how it will feel on your feet.
Natural Materials Used In Construction
Plenty of Arch Support
Hook and Loop Closure
Not Adjustable In The Forefoot
7. Chaco Z2 Classic
Review after review talked about the longevity and durability of these sandals. They've been in the water, in the mud, on the trail, on the streets, in trees, and in traffic. Many buyers point out that they take time to be broken in, but once they are, they are good to go for a very long time!
Adjust Straps for a Custom Fit
The Z2, like many similar shoes, features several adjustable straps across the top and side of the foot. These are to ensure that the sandal fits every wearer perfectly, every time.
Cost and Value
Ranking high on this list when it comes to price, the Chaco Z2 is not something that everyone can afford. Nonetheless, if you have moderate arches and neutral pronation, and want a pair of summer footwear that is going to give you the needed comfort, then the Z2 is one of the best investments you can make.
Large Range of Style Options
Moderate Arch Support
Require Breaking In
8. Skechers Louden
Something unique to the Louden is the use of a memory foam footbed. This footbed does not offer your foot with pre-molded contours that your feet need to adjust to, but instead, adjusts to your feet. Combined with a gripping rubber sole, these sandals have been touted by users as great options for hikes and trail walks.
Adjustable Hook and Loop Straps
Made with imitation leather, the straps close with a hook and loop adhesive system. This gripping material allows for the user to adjust and readjust the strap closures as needed until the perfect fit is achieved, This is especially useful due to the previously mentioned memory foam footbed, as the fit of the straps will likely change as the footbed adjusts to the wearer's foot.
Cost and Value
As any other pair of shoes made by Skechers, the Louden is an affordable option for those looking for a combination of quality and comfort. These sandals are an excellent choice if you like memory foam footbeds, or if you need that custom level of support.
Memory Foam Footbed
Hook and Loop Closure
Limited Style Options
May Get Squeaky
9. Fila Transition
The Fila Transition is lightweight so the wearer won't be weighed down by their footwear when heading up a mountain or wading through water. Their open design allows feet and sandals alike to dry more quickly, while the rubber sole allows for a strong grip. The sole is also generally non-marking, though it is not marketed as such.
Cushioned Footbed with Mild Support
Fila designed their sandals with a more neutral pronation in mind. The footbed is cushioned and has mild contouring, but it is not intended to offer intense support to the wearer, making it ideal for those seeking a more mild form of support during hot weather months.
Cost and Value
The Transition has one of the lowest price ranges on our list. It’s a great option for wearers who like to stay active, who need a good non-slip outsole, and who are likely to be near water.
Hook and Loop Closure
Limited Design Options
Synthetic Leather Upper
10. Birkenstock Arizona
If anything should happen to your pair of trusted Birks, you can easily send them to the nearest facility, and they will repair the damage. The Arizona can even be resolved if you’ve completely worn out the cork soles and want to have that familiar feeling underfoot.
EVA Foam Outsole
In addition to the suede lined cork footbed, these sandals feature an EVA foam outsole which adds an extra layer of protection for your joints and back. Absorbing some of the shocks from your landings, the foam will also perform well on a wide variety of terrains, including slippery surfaces.
Cost and Value
Ranking high on this list when it comes to price, the Birkenstock Arizona may be an off-putting option, however, considering the fact that it is a durable product, it will definitely be a good investment for anyone looking for good arch, heel and toe support. Plus, the leather straps are completely adjustable, ensuring a great fit for all foot types.
Vegan Options Available
EVA Foam Outsole
Kids Version Available
Not Water Friendly
Requires Adjustment Period
Whether the sandal in question is needed for a long day at a wedding on the beach, a hike up a mountainside trail, or simply trekking around town in the warmer months, there is a support sandal for every occasion. Support levels range from neutral to high, allowing buyers to find the right fit for them even in a footwear category that is not designed for custom insoles. Prices range even further, often depending on size and style. But rest assured, there is something on the market for everyone from the most athletic summer reveler to the casual barbecue attendee.
Criteria Used to Evaluate the Best Supportive Sandals
Types of Support Offered
High-quality footwear is crucial in providing you with everything you need from your shoes. Not only do you want them to look good, but they also need to fit you perfectly to ensure comfort and support throughout the day. Add breathability to your list of requirements, and you will easily come to the conclusion that you need a pair of sandals made with health benefits in mind.
Most summer footwear will have completely flat, rubber or foam soles which may cause you pain or discomfort. When shopping for footwear, you need to look for the features that will work for your feet. This depends heavily on the type of foot you have. Size is just one aspect, and it’s important that you also consider the width of your forefoot, the height of your arch, the stability of your ankles, as well as your gait cycle. Evenmore, it’s possible that you suffer from foot related issues such as bunions, plantar fasciitis, heel spurs or that your pronation is not neutral but rather sees you bearing your weight on the inside or outside of your feet. The right type of shoes will not only feel good while wearing them, but they will also prevent the further development of such issues.
When shopping for your next pair of sandals, there are several points where you need to look for supportive features:
- Arch Support – the most common problem area for the majority of people is the arch. This is the part at the bottom of your foot that’s in charge of absorbing the shock from each of your landings, and it can often be the part of your foot that causes pain – either because of overuse or because of natural anatomical construction. People who have a low arch will benefit from pronounced arch support in their footwear seeing that it will lift the area, allowing it to work as intended. Those with arches that are too high, however, will also need some type of support in the area in order to stop the arch of the foot from overworking itself. Most foot-related health issues can be traced back to shoes which do not offer the proper support, and these include plantar fasciitis, overpronation, bunions, heel spurs, misalignment and many more. When shopping for your summer footwear, it is important that it offers support in this area. More pronounced support will need some getting used to, but in the long run, it will definitely make your walking experience more enjoyable.
- Heel Support – when they walk, most people will land on their heel first. This means that this bone will take a lot of shock with every step, and if you do sports this amount of shock will increase considerably. If, by any chance your feet do not land in the most optimal position (if your feet tend to roll inwards or outwards), then the majority of this shock will travel up the leg to your knees, hips, and back. If you’ve ever experienced lower back pain after a few hours of walking, chances are that your shoes were not supportive enough in the heel. When shopping for sandals, look for a deep heel cup that will help align your body. Another thing you will need is cushioning that will absorb some of the excess shock, ensuring that your legs don’t get too sore or tired after a long day.
- Midfoot Support – the way to ensure the health of your feet is not just about the soles of your shoes. One of the biggest downsides of sandals and flip flops is that they often don’t properly fit on the upper, making you work overtime just in order to keep them on. The best summer sandals will have an upper that will have several points of contact with your foot – both in the forefoot as well as in the rearfoot area. Look for straps that can be adjusted so as to give you a snug fit that you can comfortably walk around in. This is especially important if you plan on wearing your sandals for hiking trips.
Considering the fact that there are no two feet that are the same, it’s only natural that someone else’s perfect pair of shoes won’t do a thing for you. While running shoes, athletic sneakers, and most other footwear will boast laces, sandals with this type of closure are extremely hard to find. You might be tempted to just buy a universal pair of flip flops or sliders, but these are likely to make your problems worse.
Luckily, a good fit is easy to achieve if you decide to purchase the right pair of sandals. Most items on this list have straps that are completely adjustable. Whether this is through buckles, elastic closure systems or hook and loop closures, the more points of adjustability, the better.
For example, people who suffer from bunion pain will need to look for footwear that not only has a roomy toe box and wide forefoot area, but the adjustable strap that hugs their metatarsal area will be the dealbreaker. Similarly, those with weak ankles will need shoes that will be absolutely secure in this area, which will help prevent any sprains or twists that could take weeks or even months to heal completely.
When purchasing your next pair of summer footwear, think about what it is you need from the perfect model of shoes. If you intend to wear your sandals for hiking trips or the beach, you will need footwear that is completely secure and won’t break or fall off in the middle of your trip. If you only need sandals for running everyday errands, you will still want as high a level of adjustability as possible, seeing that your feet might swell, especially during the hot summer months.
Versatility and Durability
Finally, a good pair of footwear will have all the characteristics needed to ensure you can wear it to a great variety of places and events. This list includes different supportive sandals, made with different types of activities in mind, ranging from athletic to dress to casual. If you work in a casual environment, you might even be able to wear some of these at your place of employment.
When making our choice for the best ten items currently available for purchase, we made sure to pick models which would work in multiple environments. Thus, you will find that the majority of sandals on this list work in athletic environments, or can be worn to the beach. Nonetheless, if you prefer to wear them during hot city summer days, you will find that they work just as well as they would in nature. No matter the terrain or weather, the products listed in this article will serve you well and for plenty of time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: If my sandal is loose, should I return it?
A: If the sandal arrives with a looser fit than the buyer is comfortable with, try adjusting the straps before returning. The majority of the sandals listed above have been designed with adjustable straps at several key points so that wearers can get a custom fit every time. They may arrive loose to allow people with different foot widths and sizes to comfortably get into the sandal before adjusting the straps.
Q: Are sandals waterproof?
A: For the most part, yes. The majority of the sandals listed above are designed to function in wet environments as well as dry without causing any damage to the shoe or loss of functionality due to slipping or size changes. They may need to be washed and left to dry once they are out of the wet conditions, but none of the materials should react poorly to water.
Q: Do these sandals need to be broken in?
A: Most of the sandals above are not noted for having a breaking in period, though there are exceptions to that rule and they are noted in the reviews of those specific sandals. That being said, every shoe has at least some breaking in period during which the footbed softens at key points to allow for the most comfortable fit possible for the specific foot paired with the sandal.
Q: Should I order them sized with or without socks?
A: Many people prefer to wear these without socks as they are not full shoes. While it would be possible to order the same size and simply adjust the straps to account for the added bulk of socks, anything worn inside the sandal will reduce its ability to keep feet cool and to dry quickly after submersion in water.
Q: What if a strap breaks?
A: Many of the companies listed above are known for their excellent customer service. If a strap breaks it is recommended that the buyer return the sandal, as a broken strap on a support sandal can greatly increase the chances of damage to the wearer’s feet and ankles as well as an effect on their gait which can negatively impact hips and knees. This is a general rule for any shoe but is especially true for shoes that rely on straps to maintain a snug, secure fit.
Q: Can I add custom inserts?
A: Unfortunately most summer footwear is not designed with removable insoles as the footbed and outsole are all one molded piece. A custom insert could, in theory, be layered on top of the existing footbed but there would be no way to ensure it would not slip thus putting the wearer in danger of injury.
Q: Can the sandals be washed?
A: Much like water submersion while being worn, the sandals listed above are by and large machine washable or hand washable. Depending on the activity they are intended for, there are even some users who suggest washing regularly to prevent mud and other buildups from affecting the grip of the sole or the comfort of the sandal’s interior.