Best Walking Sandals Reviewed & Rated for Performance
Every step that you take has an impact on your feet but that impact goes further - through your ankles, knees, hips and lower back. If your shoes aren’t providing the necessary arch and heel support your feet will suffer and lose range of motion, impacting much more than just your feet, but the rest of your body as well. Walking in something as flimsy as a pair of cheap flip-flops can have a negative effect on your health and well-being over time.
When your feet aren’t able to function properly this causes other parts of your body to work harder to compensate. This can result in painful muscles and joints in the lower body. In summer temperatures, however, no-one really wants to be bound up in orthotic boots all day. When the warm months come, we want to wear sandals, runners, and other light shoes that both match our summery outfits and keep our feet healthy. No matter whether you’re pounding the pavement or hiking off trail, walking requires supportive and comfortable footwear.
It can be especially difficult to find sandals that offer the kind of support and functionality required for walking. Generally speaking, sandals are poorly designed and offer little in the ways of support and cushioning. However, this does not have to be the case. There are many manufacturers that provide great support, cushion and shock absorption for walking. This list of the top 10 Walking Sandals will help you to find the perfect fit to meet your walking needs.
- Chaco Z/2 Classic
- Teva Tirra Athletic
- Ecco Yucatan
- Birkenstock Arizona
- Teva Hurricane XLT2
- Vionic Tide ll
- KEEN Newport H2
- KEEN Whisper
- Skechers Go Walk Pizazz
- Reef Fanning
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top 10 Walking Sandals
1. Chaco Z/2 Classic
Polyester Jacquard Webbing Upper
ChacoGrip Rubber Outsole
Takes Time to Adjust
Although similar in appearance to the rest of the models featured on this list, the Chaco Z/2 Classic is actually a top rated sandal because it’s one of the most adjustable styles you can get. Featuring a knit jacquard upper, this model will mold to your foot, supporting it from the arch up, while still providing plenty of forefoot control through the added toe loop. Those who are concerned about making purchases that are environmentally conscious will be happy to hear that this Chaco sandal is 100% vegan.Read more
Designed to be anatomically correct, certified by podiatrists, the Luvseat footbed found in most Chaco products is a great option for anyone looking for that golden ratio of support and cushioning. Made with PU, it offers the perfect combination of soft and firm, allowing you to wear the Z/2 Classic for prolonged periods of time, whether you’re hiking or just working away.
The latest edition of the Z/2 Classic now uses a ChacoGrip outsole that features a brand new rubber compound developed specifically for improved wet traction. The 3.5 mm lugs will dig into any surface, giving you great grip in all types of conditions, but you’ll definitely be happy to hear that this shoe is non-marking, which means it won’t run your floors.
Cost and Value
Not exactly cheap, but not too expensive either, the price of the Chaco Z/2 Classic is about average when compared to styles with similar comfort and functionality features. You’ll definitely want to check out this model if you’re after something fully adjustable, but prefer to stay away from velcro, especially since the upper is made so as to fully support the foot.
2. Teva Tirra Athletic
Durable & Water-ready
Easy Hook-and-loop Closure
Contoured EVA Footbed
Cushioned Shoc Pad™ Heel
These sandals are the perfect mix of comfort and durability. The contoured EVA footbed provides perfect arch support, while a cushioned Shoc Pad™ absorbs impact at the heel. Designed with an easy hook-and-loop closure which comes on and off in a snap. Made of nylon shank that stabilizes and supports your foot while walking on uneven terrain.Read more
Built-in zinc-based antimicrobial technology which helps to naturally prevent odors from occurring.
Contoured EVA Footbed
EVA is a durable and eco-friendly foam which acts as an excellent shock absorber. EVA is lightweight, durable and eco-friendly.
Cost and Value
While these are slightly more expensive than others on this list, they’re well worth the cost. The lightweight design and superior contoured EVA footbed ensure total comfort while you walk. This sandal is extremely durable and offers great traction no matter what the weather condition.
3. Ecco Yucatan
Direct-injected PU Midsole
Supportive Leather Material
Flexible and Durable Design
This outdoor lifestyle-inspired sandal offers ultimate foot comfort. The Yucatan has excellent traction on any surface and has superb flexibility. Made with stretch-fit lining material and supportive leather, this sandal is the perfect combination of style and performance.Read more
RECEPTOR ® Technology
RECEPTOR® technology enhances your walking experience by encouraging your feet to move precisely the way that they should. This alleviates strain and guarantees your feet will be continuously comfy.
Direct-injected PU midsole
This process is the strongest way of attaching the sole to the upper of the sandal. It makes a watertight seal without the need for glue or stitching, resulting in extreme flexibility.
Cost and Value
This sandal is a bit on the pricey side, but for an outdoor-adventure seeker, there’s nothing better. Made to last, these sandals offer superior comfort, flexibility, and multi-functionality. They are designed to enhance your walking experience and that is exactly what they will do!
4. Birkenstock Arizona
Deep Heel Cup
Birko-Flor or Genuine Leather Upper
Contoured Cork Footbed
Superior Arch Support
Unsuitable for Wear Near Water
This ever-trendy sandal is perfect for long summertime strolls. The contoured cork footbed conforms to the shape of your foot creating a fully customized fit and complete arch support. A raised toe bar design supports the natural grip of your feet to stimulate exercise and aid circulation. Classic suede lining and a minimalistic look make these a long-time favorite for any occasion.Read more
Contoured Cork Footbed
From the bottom up, this slider is made to promote the health of your feet, by providing you with some of the best arch support you will get in shoes. The EVA outsole is durable, with an added layer of cushioning, the cork is a natural material that comforts and holds your foot in the proper alignment, while the suede lining is soft to the touch and allows a good amount of breathability.
Durable upper material which is similar to leather in appearance but offers soft backing for added comfort and cushioning. If, however, you prefer to go with something natural, you can opt for a genuine leather upper as well, that is surely going to last for years to come.
Cost and Value
Birkenstock has been a trusted brand since 1774, making them a long-standing favorite. Comfortable and stylish, these sandals are perfect for every occasion. Don’t be fooled by the minimalistic look, these sandals were made for walking and that’s just what wearing them will make you want to do.
5. Teva Hurricane XLT2
Hook and Loop Closure
Nylon Stability Shank
Abrasion Resistant Outsole
Front Strap May Rub
The original XLT by Teva, one of the best options for those on the go, recently received an update in terms of comfort and traction, making it an even better choice for anyone who’s in need of a high quality summer shoe. It’s got an upper made with nylon webbing which makes it appropriate for wear near water, seeing that it won’t retain moisture and will dry fast, while the three point closure system allows it to be perfectly fitted without a trace of hassle.Read more
The best new feature about the Hurricane XLT2 is the added padding on the back of the heel which is a problematic area for a number of people. Cushioned, it will prevent the strap from rubbing or cutting into the foot, thus helping eliminate blisters and pain that may otherwise hinder your ability to walk that extra mile.
The outsole has also been improved in terms of traction, now giving you even better grip of all types of surfaces, including wet and highly polished ones. To help with uneven terrain, you’ll find that the nylon shank does a great job at stabilizing your steps, without weighing you down like a pair of hiking boots would.
Cost and Value
With an average price, the Teva Hurricane XLT2 is a great buy, thanks to it’s simple design and functional features. Our favorites include the three point adjustable closure, the cushioned sole that prevents fatigue and joint pain, as well as the fact that it’s a water friendly design with a great outsole for any type of surface.
6. Vionic Tide ll
Alleviates Plantar Fasciitis
Padded Toe Post
The Vionic Tide 2 is made from woven synthetic and leather and features a cushioned EVA midsole and TPR outsole. These flip-flops are proven to alleviate heel pain thanks to their Orthaheel Technology which is biomechanically designed to hug the arch and support the foot comfortably. The Tide 2 is perfect for those suffering from plantar fasciitis, or anyone whose feet tire easily. Their neoprene lined leather upper is perfect for outdoor walking or water activities and their lightweight minimal design makes them fashionable and stylish.Read more
The Tide 2 features built-in Orthaheel technology that is biochemically made to hug the arches and support the heel. These flip-flops will effectively treat heel pain and foot fatigue while looking stylish and trendy.
These Vionics feature an EVA cushioned midsole, Othaheel technology, neoprene padded uppers, and foam-lined straps making them a truly comfortable flip-flop that you can wear for hours on end.
Cost & Value
The Vionic Tide 2 is very reasonably priced and is considerably less expensive than other options on the list. Another great aspect of this walking sandal is the flip-flop design which is loved by many. These are as comfortable as they are stylish and you're sure to enjoy their lower-price just as much as you'll enjoy wearing them.
7. KEEN Newport H2
PFC Free Materials
Secure Fit Lace Capture
The KEEN Newport H2 combines the airy comfort of a sandal, with the protection of a shoe, as the toes are covered. The razor-siped sole guarantees superior traction making these the perfect sandal for outdoor adventures. Machine washable and made with PFC free materials.Read more
PFC Free Material
Often used in outdoor clothing, PFC is a chemical pollutant which does not break down once it is released into the environment. KEEN’s Newport H2 sandals are made from environmentally friendly, PFC free materials.
Razor-siped soles are designed with lateral slicing that flexes open while walking to firmly grip any surface, providing superior traction on both wet and dry surfaces.
Cost and Value
The Newport H2 is a high-end sandal with a medium price tag. A fan favorite, these sandals offer superior grip, an airy design, and are multi-functional. Perfect for walking on wet or dry surfaces, the Newport H2 will not disappoint.
8. KEEN Whisper
Made in the USA
Internal Support System
Built-in Odor Control
This lightweight performance sandal is perfect for pounding the pavement all day long. Elastic cording ensures a secure fit, while the cushioned footbed provides lasting comfort. Cleansport NXT™ technology offers natural odor control and the machine washable upper makes cleaning a breeze.Read more
Metatomical Footbed Design
Designed with an internal support system which provides top of the line support for your arches, while cradling your foot's contours to maximize comfort levels.
Beneficial and naturally occurring live microorganisms are bonded to the surface of the fabric to provide natural, non-toxic odor control. This means less likelihood of sweaty feet, as well as a lower chance of Athlete's foot and similar conditions occurring.
Cost and Value
Made in the USA and designed with comfort in mind, these sandals are guaranteed to please. Convenience will never be a worry thanks to the Whisper’s machine washable material and built-in Cleansport NXT™ technology, which eliminates the need for costly store-bought deodorizers.
9. Skechers Go Walk Pizazz
Lacking in Features
Tends to Stretch
These sporty flip-flops offer a textured footbed and printed straps, making them a casual and stylish choice for a walking sandal. Lightweight and secure fitting, these are perfect for casual strolls and other outdoor activities. Available in a wide-range of colors to suit individual preference.Read more
Great for outdoor sporting activities the rubber sole offers good traction in both wet and dry conditions. Solid designs provide supportive protection while you walk.
Express yourself with these colored sole walking sandals. Available in a wide variety of colors to suit individual taste.
Cost and Value
These sandals are a family favorite thanks to their budget-friendly price tag. A good value for the money these sandals won’t disappoint.
10. Reef Fanning
Synthetic Nubuck Upper
Church-Key Bottle Opener
The Reef Fanning Sandal is an athletic sandal inspired by pro surfing champion Mick Fanning. It's water-friendly and is complete with a molded EVA footbed and superior arch support. A full 360-degree airbag is enclosed in the soft poly and they feature a rubber sole and nubuck uppers. A cool feature these sandals offer is a built-in church key bottle opener built right in the footbed, a handy feature for opening drinks at the beach after a long walk in sun.Read more
The Reef includes a 36-degree airbag which consists of pressurized air inside of a flexible and tough bag. It provides shock-absorption and reduces the pressure from impacting.
Molded EVA Footbed
EVA is a man-man foam material that is ultra-lightweight and provides excellent underfoot cushion. One of it's advantages is that it will allow the shoe to mold to your feet, supporting you where you need it the most.
Cost & Value
The Reef Fanning is a low-cost and budget-friendly sandal that offers a minimal design mixed with maximum comfort. Featuring a cool, built-in church key bottle opener and synthetic nubuck uppers, these sandals are not a comfortable walking sandal, but also a trendy and cool option of walking sandal.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
When the warmer months come upon us it doesn’t mean that we have to sacrifice the health and well-being of our feet in a bid to stay cooler while walking or engaging in other outdoor activities. Walking sandals are meant to provide all the airy coolness of a sandal with the underfoot protection and tread of a walking shoe or boot.
Depending on the type of terrain you plan to walk on there will be different options for walking sandals to best meet your needs. For example, if you are heading out for a hike on the trails you will benefit from a sandal with proper underfoot protection, support, and cushion. Whereas if you are planning on walking along wet surfaces a sandal which offers good grip on slippery terrain will be the best option.
So, what should you look for if you’re walking on trails?
What about wet surfaces?
And for walking on pavement?
The sole of a shoe is what comes between your foot and the ground beneath it. There are many different types of shoe soles available which can make choosing the right one a difficult task. Below you will find information on the options available to help you in selecting the most appropriate sole for you.
When selecting the type of sole your walking sandals should have, keep in mind that this is the part of the sandal which is going to protect your feet from hazards like, stones, dirt, sticks, and sharp objects, this is why the sole of your sandals is so important. The right kind of outsole will keep your feet safe, happy, and comfortable for many miles of walking and will make your overall walking experience a pleasant one.
When the weather gets warmer it gets harder to prevent foot odors from occurring. When feet get warm and start to sweat this makes for the perfect bacteria breeding ground and with bacteria, come odors. There are different options for odor control, including items sold separately from your sandals like sprays, deodorizers, and gels, but these can be costly and ineffective. A better option is to purchase a walking sandal that was designed with built-in odor-controlling technologies.
There are several technologies available which are included in the manufacturing of a sandal, but two stand out above the rest;
Cleansport NXT™: Uses probiotic technology as a natural method of odor control. The process involves the use of beneficial microbes that are bonded to the surface of the shoe fabric that results in natural, non-toxic odor control.
Microban®: Footwear that has been treated with Microban technologies offers the wearer many benefits, including; sweat prevention, odor and mildew prevention, and the elimination of odor while you wear your shoes and in between washings.
Microban stops odor through the use of antimicrobials that use odor control technology to capture and prevent bacteria from multiplying and creating odors. These treated- materials are subjected to customized experiments to simulate the actual intended use, including; wearability tests, repeated laundering tests, and shower simulators, to ensure totally product efficiency.
The footbed is the part of the sandal which makes direct contact with your foot. It provides added cushioning and ensures a comfortable fit which is why wearing a pair of sandals with a well-designed footbed is so important to the overall health of our feet.
Another important consideration is the kind of support a walking sandal has to offer. If you are planning on a long walk a sandal with a supportive outsole and footbed is important to prevent fatigue and muscle pain. Below, you will find information on various types of footbed designs and supportive features to look for in a walking sandal.
Walking sandals come with various types of closures and straps that offer a secure and comfortable wear. Some of the most common types of closure and straps for sandals are;
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Summertime has us generally more active, craving summer sun and warm weather to spend time with friends and family outdoors. Your new sandals are perfect for this increased activity, as many are rated based on their comfort and support for being physically active.
There's no time like summer to get out and explore your area! Take a light hike around parks, visit the city for a day, or find a secluded picnic spot. All of which, can be done in a light, breathable and cool walking sandal!
Sandals come in a number of shapes and sizes, ranging from some that are more protective with closed toe caps, to wide open thong style flip flops.
Depending on your foot's shape, as well as your toes, some strappy sandals can have your toes poking through when you least expect it. Keep in mind what you plan to be using your next pair of walking sandals for, where you intend to wear them, and select something appropriate for your unique foot shape to maximize your comfort!
Other Factors to Consider
Wearing a sandal designed specifically for walking doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice looking stylish and trendy. There are plenty of chic, fashion-friendly walking sandals available that will have you looking on-point with any outfit.
One of the more style-friendly choices of walking sandal is the Birkenstock. They offer an adaptive and trendy look which is both classic and modern at the same time. Soft pastel colors and a sleek minimalist design, topped with materials like suede and cork make the Birkenstock brand a fashion-forward consumer favorite.
There are also many of today’s most well-known brands who offer excellent walking sandal choices, brands like; Nike, Adidas, Vans, and New Balance.
When shopping for any type of footwear, you will surely consider the cost, and how much the product is actually worth. The one trend that appears to be true with sandals is that they're either very cheap, with little to no features, lacking support, traction and durability, while the models that do offer more in terms of comfortability and protection seem to be much more expensive than you'd expect.
Whether you should go with the first or second category really depends on what you will be using your shoes for. If you only need something to wear casually, not too often, you'll definitely be OK with a cheaper model that's pretty, fits, and is comfortable enough. But, if you're heading for a hiking trip, want to walk on a daily basis, or have foot health issues that require certain elements, then a higher price should not turn you away.
The list above features plenty of styles, and some are so well made that they'll last you several years during which you'd probably go through ten regular sandals. Keep this in mind - there's a significant difference between price and value, and sometimes a higher initial investment may actually turn out to be cheaper in the long run.
It's likely that you'll want to use your newly purchased footwear in a variety of settings, so going with something more versatile may be better than a specialized pair of hiking or water shoes.
If you're likely to wear your shoes near water, make sure to purchase a style that won't deteriorate from moisture. Go with a more stylish upper if you want to wear the sandals to work, and with a non-marking outsole if you'll be wearing them indoors.
If, however, you only want to use these shoes for a specific purpose, hiking for example, then by all means, go with a style that's functional and practical for that use, seeing that you won't have to wear them for anything else.
Last but not least, you will want to consider the amount of protection a pair of sandals offers, especially if you're planning on doing some hiking.
The best features to have in terms of safety are a toe bumper that'll prevent sharp objects and rocks hurting the front of your foot, but an abrasion resistant outsole may also be a good idea.
You also should consider the amount of cushioning and support, as these prevent foot health issues you may experience from lots of walking and standing, and that may cause a lot of pain.
Frequently Asked Questions
The best way to care for your new waterproof walking sandals is to hand wash them in cool water with a mild soap and then simply let them air dry. To remove built-up debris or dirt, gently scrub them with a stiff brush. Do not apply heat to shoes while they’re drying.
Traditionally flip-flops are not recommended for people who have flat arches as they do not offer enough support. Although we have included several options on the list that are flip-flop style but have built-in features to provide the necessary support and comfort for those with flat arches.
There are three specific types of arches a person can have; flat, high, or medium. Flat arches are very low and are prone to over-pronate, while medium arches are considered ‘normal’ and have the least amount of complications. High arches are raised above the normal level and are more susceptible to problems like plantar fasciitis, and heel pain.
Most people will find the sandals on this list to be comfortable right out of the box. However, if you are experiencing any discomfort with your new sandals it is recommended to only wear them for a few hours a day for the first couple of days. Everyone’s feet are different and some people find that they take longer to adjust to new things which is why it is impossible to predict the way a person’s feet will react to a new pair of sandals. This is why we have taken the time to carefully research the best walking sandals so that you can choose a pair that sounds the best for your specific needs.
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