Teva Hurricane Drift Sandals
A hiking-friendly alternative to your favourite pair of flip-flops, the Teva Hurricane Drift Sandals combine a secure fit, with all-day comfort, and excellent airflow. This open-toe sandal features a 4-piece strap system that holds the shoe in place whilst walking. An EVA foam footbed provides support and flexibility throughout the length of the foot while a grippy rubber outer sole offers enough traction for wet and rocky terrain. For extra comfort and stability on uneven terrain, hook-and-loop closures let you fit the sandals to the shape of your foot. And, because each of the closures is adjustable, the Teva Hurricane Drift are a practical choice for hikers with wide feet or high arches.
We also like that these are super lightweight, 270g a pair , and buoyant enough to float on water. Plus, because the whole of the upper straps are constructed with EVA foam, these outdoor sandals dry in an instant making them ideal for water sports as well as summer hiking.
- No protection from trail debris
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Best Water Shoes For Hiking And River Fun In 2022
Splashing through puddles, creek crossing, and getting your toes wet are all part of the joy of hiking in varied terrain. But theres little worse than squelching along a trail with pools of water in your shoes. Athletes foot isnt so much fun either, and it wont do the lifespan of your hiking boots any favours.
Thats why, when it comes to water sports and wet hikes, we recommend treating your feet to a pair of lightweight and breathable water hiking shoes. Not only will the best hiking water shoes allow the water to return to the rivers where it belongs, they also provide the traction you need for negotiating tricky surfaces. Additionally, a secure fit prevents your foot from sliding around inside the shoe like a bar of soap. Whats more, a breathable hiking water shoe allows air flow and your feet to breath, reducing that horrible bad-cheese smell! Best of all, many water shoes look like regular sports sneakers or hiking sandals, making them just as suitable for adventures in the outdoors as they are for everyday use!
Types Of Hiking Sandals
What we mean by types of hiking sandals is how they perform for your general lifestyle, and specifically what kind of toe protection they have. We find this to be the defining factor in why a certain sandal works for some folks, and not for others. As you can see above, weve broken this down into four general categories.
From left to right: Closed Toe Hiking Sandals, Open Toe Hiking Sandals, and Closed Toe Casual sandals.
1. Open-Toe Hiking Sandals
This type of sandal is best for hot climates, sweaty feet, and those who want to get in and out of water frequently. Sand and dirt will not stay trapped in the footbed and the lack of a real upper makes drying times very quick . These sandals also convert to casual use easily because theyre often easy to slip on.
The main downside is toe and foot protection. With an open-toe hiking sandal you have to be wary of what sharp objects you may encounter, and your feet will get seriously dirty, especially on dusty trails. The upper is also usually just straps, rather than solid material, which means your feet are also subject to whatever natures throws at you.
The Chaco Z/1 Classic is perhaps the most recognizable open toe hiking sandal. Let your feet breathe, and let the dirt in.
2. Closed-Toe Hiking Sandals
3. Closed-Toe Casual Sandals
Often, wed wear this type of sandal around the house, town, and in a camping site. But not up to a peak.
4. Finger Sandals
5. Open-Toe Casual
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Waterproof Day Hiking Shoes
Similar to the waterproof hiking boots, the waterproof day hiking shoes also have a waterproof membrane to keep water out of the shoe.
However, in order to save on weight, compromises have been made in terms of ankle support and the water entry point of the shoe.
While I tend to favor the waterproof hiking boots for our waterfall hikes, my wife actually prefers waterproof day hiking shoes in this category.
She typically finds them to be more breathable and lighter, and they still give her piece of mind with foot protection in case she kicks a boulder or something stabs at her feet.
However, she does have to figure out ways to stay dry on creek crossings given the lower point of water inundation inside the shoe.
I should mention that a very specialized class of hiking shoes are canyoneering shoes.
The idea behind these shoes are that unlike hiking boots or shoes where you dont want water inside them, the canyoneering shoes are designed to quickly let water out yet retain the ruggedness of hiking shoes.
They have very good grip on slippery surfaces thanks to their rubbery sole, they have ankle protection, and theyre sturdy since theyre built for rugged use on technical canyon adventures.
However, theyre costly and we dont do canyoneering often enough to buy them.
Durable Water Shoes For Women
The problem with many water sandals is that when youre constantly in and out of the water, they may not last very long. Ive found salt water, especially, wreaks havoc on rubber.
Ive thus done my best to make sure all these shoes are made by reputable brands and are sturdy. No one wants their footwear coming to pieces while rock-hopping across a river!
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Best Kids Hiking Sandals
Weve summarised our top picks here, or read on below to find more details on each and why they might be a good hiking sandal for your child.
The suggestions below contain affiliate links to Amazon and other affiliate partners who we use and recommend. If a qualifying purchase is made we earn a commission.
Pricing guidance: $ = under $30USD $$ = $30-$50USD $$$ = over $50USD
Final Thoughts / Conclusion
Indeed, hiking to waterfalls depends a lot on our comfort and safety, especially on our feet.
So it makes total sense why we would want to make sure that we dont skimp on finding the right footwear for the job of ensuring we have a successful waterfall hike.
Speaking of finding the right footwear, this is something we dont want to rush, especially when it comes to buying them.
Therefore, we generally go to our local REI Co-op store to try on the hiking boots or shoes before buying them.
If youre not in the West Coast of the USA, there may be other local outfitters that can provide similar services and benefits in addition to the products they sell.
Anyways, while trying on shoes or boots, we also take advantage of a simulated boulder or rock that REI usually provides to at least try out how well the new boots or shoes perform on inclines.
We also feel comfortable going to REI because they usually have helpful staff who know the outdoors.
So they tend to be pretty good at answering our questions or providing sound advice.
In fact, some employees even run classes or short training sessions on various outdoor topics or skills worth having in the field.
If youd rather do more research, REI employees have written up guides to help you with various other aspects of hiking boots to consider.
The same is true if we wanted to buy online from another retailer like Backcountry.com.
As a result, the cheaper price often comes with some risk.
The 10 Best Hiking Sandals That Wont Break While Youre Backpacking
It’s time to ditch the flip-flops and buy a pair of sandals that can survive surf, sand, mud, and more.
A solid pair of hiking boots is necessary for all serious hikers, but sandals are the way to go when temperatures climb and your feet start to sweat in the summer months. Plus, on hot days theres nothing better than a dip in a cold creek, and a pair of quick-drying sandals offer protection and traction on slippery rocks.
The real trick with sandals is finding a pair that are well-made and durable enough to hold up against hikes and watersports. In the past, Ive gone through six pairs of flip-flops in a summer this is not the way. A few years ago I invested in a pair of proper dad sandals and Ive been a believer ever since. The sandals Ive rounded up on this list are tough enough to handle a hike and give you the support you need while carrying a fully-loaded backcountry pack.
Even around camp, it is nice to have a pair of sandals you can throw on in a hurry. Think about how annoying it is to lace up your hiking boots in the middle of the night when nature’s calling. With a pair of sandals, you can just strap, go, and head right back to your cozy sleeping bag.
When Should I Wear Hiking Sandals Instead Of Boots
Hiking sandals can offer relief in hot, humid conditions. And as Jeremy Scott Foster from TravelFreak notes, “sweat plus friction equals blisters.” Having freer feet can also avoid some of the abuse toes take from slamming against the front of hiking boots.
Sandals have the edge when it comes to water sports, too. Making a misstep while crossing a stream in hiking boots means wet feet for the rest of the trek. Meanwhile, waterproof or even water-resistant sandals can dry out quickly to prevent discomfort and fungal infections.
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Best Closed Toe Water Sandal:
Weight: 1 lb 7 oz
Open or closed toe? Closed
Sole material: Vibram Megagrip
Ease of adjustment: Easy
You didnt read that wrong: Merrell Choprock Shandalisnt a typo. The Shandal is an amphibious athletic shoe that turns everything I ever wanted out of a sandal into a water-friendly hiking shoe. This model just could be next summers go-to for warm days when water might be in the forecastor on the menu.
This sandal is built to take on anything that the trail might throw at it, and its fast-drying to boot
Featuring a synthetic mesh upper, the Choprocks quick-drying neoprene upper and twelve vents give the Shandal a glove-like fit best suited for slender feet. These vents also allow water out of the footbeda feature that reviewers love, including the Original Shoe Dogs at Ciapetta Shoes.
Whether submersed for seconds or minutes or repeatedly doused over an afternoon, the Merrell Choprock performs like no other closed-toe sandal does. Outside Magazines, Jeremy Rellosa notes: After a dozen submersions in varied depthslike waist-high streams to puddles that barely touched my anklesmy feet shook off most of the water after about five minutes of walking on a dry path.
Aside from the streamlined upper, the Merrell Choprock also features an integrated rubber toe bumper similar to its top competitor, the Keen H2 Newport. I noticed, though, that I caught my toes less often on roots in the Choprocks than in the bulkier Keens.
Open or closed toe? Closed
Sole material: Rubber
They Should Have A Good Grip And Be Able To Handle Wet And Dry Conditions
When choosing a pair of sandals, it is important to consider the grip and how well they will handle both wet and dry conditions. For water activities, sandals with a good grip and good drainage are essential to prevent slipping.
For hiking, sandals with a good grip and good support are important to prevent foot fatigue.
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How To Buy Hiking Sandals
Hiking sandals are not incredibly complex to buy, unlike hiking boots, which take some serious understanding. In general, if the footbed fits your feet, your toes arent hanging off the edge or totally engulfed, and the type of midsole feels good, you should be good to go. Take the features above into consideration, and really think about your activity what do you want to use this sandal for?
If the hiking sandal has a system to secure it to your foot, make sure thats comfortable, easy to use, and feels good. On some models, or in some brands, a pressure point may be uncomfortable due to your foot shape or size, and the straps will rub in the wrong way. Look out for this, but otherwise its pretty easy to quickly tell if a sandal feels good or not.
Best Overall Hiking Sandal:
Weight: 15.6 oz per pair
Open or closed toe? Open
Sole material: Vibram Regolith
Ease of adjustment: Easy
Ready to rule the day, no matter what your foot looks like? The Bedrock Cairn 3D Adventure was my unexpected winner, if only because Id become accustomed to heavier sandals with form-fitting adjustable straps.
The sturdy Vibram Megagrip sole on the Bedrock Cairn 3D Adventure grips well on both wet and dry rock surfaces, as seen here, in Wyoming’s Wind River range.
After hiking more than 16 miles over 2,700 vertical feet with a 70-pound pack, I knew these sandals were in it for the long haul. They are rugged, quick-drying, comfortable, and have traction galore. With a single slide buckle adjustment, they are easy to slip on and off, and work equally well as a camp shoe or water shoe.
Even though the Y-strap stylewhich attaches the webbing to the sole through fabric that goes between your big toe and long toedoes take some getting used to, I quickly forgot about my initial annoyance when I noticed the subtle underfoot traction of the anatomically contoured rubberized footbed. The Vibram® XS Trek Regolith outsole was my next point of interest: I didnt stumble or slidenot even oncewith this ultra-grippy traction beneath my feet.
The outer ankle pull clasp is the author’s favorite part about the Bedrock Cairn 3D Adventure. Easy on and off makes it a breeze to get ready for whatever comes next.
Ease of adjustment: Moderate
A close look at the Xero Z-Trail.
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How We Made Our Picks
As someone who spent much of her life wandering around outside, Ive been lucky enough to let my legs carry me over various terrains. From desert-scapes, rainforests, mountains, and everything in between, I always take a pair of sandals .
It was hard not to be completely biased toward my favorite pair of sandals and rank them first. So, to keep the competition fair, I chose the best hiking sandals using the following criteria:
- Durability/Lifespan: The durability and lifespan of sandals or any shoes, in general, is one of the most important considerations in terms of a quality investment but also in regards to sustainability. Almost all shoe materials are synthetic, so the longer they last on your feet, the better they are for the planet.
- Comfort: The best hiking sandals are the most comfortable for your feet. Not everyones feet are the same, so choosing brands that have comprehensive and easy-to-understand sizing guides is a must. Other important comfort aspects include the closure straps and where the material is situated on your feet.
- Functionality: Hiking sandals are made specifically for outdoor use, so the best hiking sandals will hold up well in natural environments. They are comfortable even on unmaintained trails and a variety of terrain. Hiking sandals also should be wearable in wet conditions.
- Customer Experience: How the company handles customer complaints, and its overall transparency of production practices is essential to make into our top picks.
How Should Hiking Sandals Fit
There’s room for preference with fit, but there are some universal considerations. Your foot should not protrude over the sandal’s sole, nor should there be a full finger’s width separating the toes or heel from the edge of the sole. Securing the straps or bungee cord to maintain a snugger fit is helpful for stability and support during active use. Choosing an adjustable pair of sandals can help fine-tune the fit as needed.
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What Makes A Great Adventure Sandal
Through all these days outside, I realized that whether hiking, backpacking, approaching a rock climb, or paddling a river, adventure sandals need to be as comfortable as they are technical. After all: one minute I could be huffing up a trail at altitude, and the next I might be kicking it back at camp.
While all the hiking sandals we tested are comfortable, not all sandals are created equal: I’ve separated winners in specific areas below to denote how their sole, durability, grip , breathability, and environmental footprint helps them excel in different ways.
Price, sandal weight, volume, drying time, and general performance also factor into the insights shared below.
Keen Kids Seacamp Ii Cnx Sandals
The ever popular KEEN Kids Seacamp II CNX Sandals are one of the best water shoes for kids who like to do it all! Boasting grippy rubber soles and the signature Keen bumper, you can rest assured that tender toes will be well protected. But they also provide excellent support and security around the ankles and arches without making your tots and tiddlers feel like theyre wearing restrictive shoes.
Parents and carers will love the combo of quick-secure toggle laces and a velcro strap to make getting them on and off super easy. The result? More time for jumping in that deep muddy puddle!
Theres also a toddlers version for those wanting to encourage multi-adventure exploration as early as possible.
- Velcro straps can be troublesome in sand!
Whether youre after some river walking shoes for serious aqueous exploration, water shoes for river crossings or simply some comfortable and supportive water shoes for hiking, boating and general outdoor wear, our list of the best water shoes should have your precious feet covered.
Happy splashing around, happy explorers!
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