The best hiking sandals 2023: breezy footwear for the trails and beach

A pair of the best hiking sandals is ideal for easier ambles while on vacation. While obviously not as protective as a hiking shoe, the finest hiking sandals still provide a good level of support and grip for straightforward summer trails. As well as this, they look great around the pool too.

One thing manufacturers of hiking footwear bang on about is breathability, the ability to allow moisture to escape from the shoe. Aside from going totally barefoot, sandals and 'shandals' (a cross between a shoe and a sandal) are the ultimate when it comes to breathability, there's virtually nothing standing in evaporation's way .

This makes sandals way more comfortable in hot conditions than hiking boots or hiking shoes, especially where amphibious adventures are concerned. The best hiking sandals are also fast drying, perfect for exploring rock pools.

We tested each pair on the trails so we could find the ones that will keep you cool without giving you blisters. For us, the best hiking sandal is the Keen Terradora II, which is great for hot weather thanks to its breathable footbed. If you're going into the water, we recommend the lightweight Columbia Sandal, which stays put and allows grit to flow right out.

The best hiking sandals

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Quick list

Best hiking sandals

Keen Terradora II Open-toe hiking sandal

This excellent sandal is based on Keen’s popular Terradora II boot (Image credit: Keen)

1. Keen Terradora II Open-Toe Sandal

The best open-toe sandals for particularly hot hikes


Materials: Water-resistant, recycled PET plastic tubular webbing, KEEN.ALL-TERRAIN rubber outsole, EVA midsole and insole, quick-dry lining
Colors: Gray-pink / gray / red
Best for: Hiking, camping and exploring

Reasons to buy

Hiking boot-worthy soles
Great strap design

Reasons to avoid

Rubber insoles can get sweaty

We always rate Keen’s sandals and shandals highly on test, and for us, the Terradora II is the best hiking sandal around right now. If you recognize the name, it’s because this sandal is based on Keen’s popular Terradora II boot, and the sandal uses the same grippy rubber outsole as its much bigger sibling. The result is excellent sticky grip worthy of a winter boot.

We also liked the Terradora II’s straps, which are well placed to offer support around the toes and ankles and are easily adjusted with Velcro for the perfect non-slip fit. We would have liked a little more cushioning on the ankle strap, but that's a minor quibble. The rubber footbed is cushioned and comfortable for long days on your feet too.

Overall, this is a great outdoor sandal for a decent price. It runs large, so we recommend going down half a size from what you'd usually choose.

Teva Terra Fi 5 Universal hiking sandal

This is the most aggressive and adventurous model in Teva’s walking-specific range (Image credit: Teva)

2. Teva Terra Fi 5 Universal

The best hiking sandal for mixed terrain


Materials: Textile and synthetic upper, EVA topsole, Polyurethane midsole, rubber outsole
Colors: Blue / black / canyon calliste green
Compatibility: Treks, backpacking, river crossings – pretty much anywhere you roam

Reasons to buy

Great, grippy soles
Snug straps
Lasts for years

Reasons to avoid

Not as light as many

Teva are best known for their nigh-on iconic Original sandal, which features three simple straps in a C shape. The original design is great for casual use, but for more challenging walking we recommend picking the Terra Fi 5 Universal, the most aggressive and adventurous model in Teva’s walking-specific range. The Terra has a big, rugged rubber sole that’s nicely moulded. On test, we found this offered good arch support and has deep lugs that grip very well even on slippery surfaces such as wet rock. 

The wide ankle and toe straps are all easily adjusted with Velcro, and once you’ve got a snug fit the Universal will stay put on your foot all day. The straps, made from polyester, are quick to dry, and the moulded footbed feels comfy when wet and doesn’t make feet sweat when dry. We’ve been wearing Terras for years for hot weather hiking, camping and even trekking in the Himalayas and they’re still going strong – we can give them nothing but top marks, although you might still prefer a closed-toe sandal if you’re really getting off the beaten track.

Jack Wolfskin Lakewood Ride hiking sandal

These lightweight sandals definitely won’t weigh you down during an outing (Image credit: Jack Wolfskin)

3. Jack Wolfskin Lakewood Ride

The best lightweight hiking sandals


Materials: Textile upper and lining, sure-grip rubber outsole, EVA footbed
Colors: Ocean wave / rose quartz
Best for: Casual trails on hot summer days

Reasons to buy

Lightweight compared to most
Quick-drying webbing and neoprene
Good price considering quality

Reasons to avoid

Straps are on the thin side
Limited colorways

The Lakewood Rides are just 210g/7.3oz, which definitely won’t weigh you down during an outing. If you like to feel as light and free as possible when you hike, or if you’re often on your feet all day, they’ll provide plenty of comfort without any added weight. On test, we found the webbing straps to be comfortable and quick to dry, but are definitely on the thin side and don’t seem particularly robust – that said, the straps are easily adjusted and still offer decent support. The two-tone soles are very bouncy and rugged despite the sandals featherlike weight, and good boot-like lugs can deal with going further off the beaten track.

The footbed wicks away sweat reasonably well – this breathability combined with the lack of weight and the slim straps means you’ll hardly notice you’re wearing the sandals once you’ve adjusted them. The Lakewood Ride isn’t trying to be fancy – it’s just a well-made, comfortable lightweight hiking sandal, and for the very reasonable price tag, we reckon that’s enough.

Columbia hiking sandal

Columbia is so proud of this model, the company just named it the ‘sandal’ and left it at that (Image credit: Columbia)
The best hiking sandals for land and water


Materials: Hydrophobic webbing upper, EVA midsoles, Omni-Grip rubber outsole
Colors: Petrol blue and zing / great ice and red coral / Black and steel / shark and titanium
Best for: Hiking, scrambling and adventures by the water

Reasons to buy

Snug straps
Great grip even in the wet
Very breathable

Reasons to avoid

Narrow fit

Columbia is so proud of this model, the company just named it the ‘sandal’ and left it at that. So could this be your new quiver-of-one summer shoe? On test, we rated the innovative cross-over webbing straps and the wide, cushioned ankle support, which offers a comfy fit straight out of the box. There are no Velcro straps, but the whole sandal is adjustable from the back of the ankle with a bungee, which works well to create a snug, secure fit (you’ll end up with interesting lines on your feet if you wear them all day, mind).

The rubber soles offer great grip even on wet slippery rock – this is a brilliant shoe for summer scrambling – and this hiking sandal is just as happy in water as it is on dry land. During testing we also appreciated the open strap design, which means these sandals will never fill with sweat, dirt or sand. Columbia's sandals fit on the narrow side, so we wouldn’t recommend them for wide feet.

Read our full Columbia Sandal review

Teva Hurricane XLT 2 hiking sandal

The Hurricane is Teva’s all-rounder of a walking sandal and definitely one of our favourite models on test (Image credit: Teva)
The best hiking sandals for more casual walks


Materials: Polyester, nylon and recycled PET webbing; EVA foam midsole; Durabrasion rubber outsole
Colors: Black / gray / canyon / multi
Best for: Relaxed walks and hikes

Reasons to buy

Comfortable straps
Cushioned sole

Reasons to avoid

Not enough support for serious  trekking

More technical than a casual sandal but less aggressive than the Teva Terra Fi 5 Universal, the Hurricane is Teva’s all-rounder of a walking sandal and definitely one of our favourite models on test. Light webbing straps hug your feet and are easily adjustable with Velcro over the toes, ankle and heel. A tough but flexible and very comfortable rubber sole offers decent grip but doesn’t weigh you down, and the inner footbed wicks away sweat well, as well as offering good cushioning that makes even long walks on more established paths feel comfortable.

The Hurricanes are also a piece of cake to strap on and off quickly, which we love for camping and swimming. The no-frills black or gray colorways make these sandals versatile enough to wear for travelling and everyday use, although it’s a pity they don’t come in some of the fun psychedelic prints Teva is well known for.

Read our full Teva Hurricane XLT2 sandal review

Best hiking shandals

Merrell Choprock Sieve hiking sandal

The Choprock Sieves are ideal for tackling more challenging terrain without worrying about stubbing your toe (Image credit: Merrell)
The best hiking sandal for challenging trails


Materials: Synthetic mesh and webbing upper, TPU heel, EVA midsole, Vibram sole
Colors: Purple / gray
Best for: Challenging hiking and trekking trips

Reasons to buy

Tough Vibram soles
Robust built
Watersports capable

Reasons to avoid

Expensive compared to most
Heavier than some

The very definition of a ‘shandal’, these half-shoe-half-sandal hybrids offer a lot more protection than your average sandal. A trainer-like design with an enclosed rubber toe box and ankle make the Choprock Sieves ideal for tackling more challenging terrain without worrying about stubbing your toe – in good conditions, you could hike pretty much anywhere in these supportive shoes, which come complete with Vibram rubber soles. As the name attests, multiple vents give a sieve-like look to the Chopsock Sieve, and do allow sweat and heat to evaporate effectively, although we found that they’re not as breathable as an open-toed walking sandal.

Despite using more material than most, the Choprocks are very quick to dry – this factor combined with protective toe boxes make them ideal for swimming and for river crossings. A bungee cord makes it easy to adjust the Choprock for a great fit, and they pull on and off relatively easily. They’re definitely not as light or as packable as the other sandals we tested out, but if hiking is your main aim, they’re a good investment.

Read our full Merrell Choprock Sieve shandal review

Mountain Warehouse Trek Shandal

The Trek Shandals are made with a neoprene lining, meaning they work brilliantly as aquatic sandals (Image credit: Mountain Warehouse)

7. Mountain Warehouse Trek Shandal

The best affordable closed-toe hiking sandal


Materials: Neoprene upper and lining, EVA midsole, rubber outsole
Colors: Pink / blue
Best for: Trail walking and wild swimming

Reasons to buy

Quick-drying neoprene
Unbeatable value
Good protection

Reasons to avoid

Wide fit

Get the extra protection of a shandal without sacrificing breathability with Mountain Warehouse’s Trek, which combines a sturdy closed rubber toe with an airy open heel. We like that the Treks have the sensible look and comfortable feel of traditional walking sandal but are made with a neoprene lining, meaning they also work brilliantly as aquatic sandals, and are comfortable to wear when wet and quick to dry when back on land – perfect for fans of swimming and water sports.

A foam cushioned midsole makes these walking sandals comfy and springy to wear, even on all-day walks. A Velcro heel strap and an adjustable bungee cord means it’s quick to adjust the Treks for a great fit, and to pull them on and off on the go. It’s a pity the only available colorways are baby pink and pastel blue. The fit of these sandals is on the generous side, which is great for those with wider feet but may not suit those who need a narrow shoe.

Keen Uneek hiking sandal

Take a walk on the wild side in Keen’s Uneek hiking sandal (Image credit: Keen)

8. Keen Uneek

The best hiking sandal for both walking and swimming


Materials: Polyester braided cord upper, lightweight PU midsole, rubber outsole
Colors: Tie-dye / silver drizzle / drab safari / gold birch / chestnut safari / back / whitecap and cornstalk / white / khaki / turquoise
Compatibility: Ideal for walking on paths and non-technical trails, and great for water sports

Reasons to buy

Great for swimming
Very comfortable

Reasons to avoid

Can lead to some interesting tan lines
Surprisingly heavy

Like your footwear to be a little bit different? Take a walk on the wild side in Keen’s Uneek hiking sandal, which has become a bit of a cult favourite. Just two bungee cords cinched tightly around the foot, plus a sole, make up this unusual walking sandal. We found that the adjustable fit and breathable design make them very comfortable on hot days but they still provide plenty of support and structure, thanks to a cushioned ankle strap and a more traditional moulded rubber sole, which offers good arch support.

We didn’t think the bottom of the sole had deep enough lugs to offer the best grip on test, and wouldn’t take these on wet trails. The Uneeks aren’t as light as they look, either, weighing 320g per sandal. These sandals come into their own when you’re swimming – they dry super-fast and stay put brilliantly in water, making them ideal for fast-paced water sports. Just don’t tug the adjustable bungee cords too tight, or you’ll end up with the ghosts of your stripy sandals imprinted on your feet. Oh, and expect people to stop you to ask you about your unusual footwear.

The best hiking sandals comparison table

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Keen Terradora II Open-Toe SandalSandalWater-resistant, recycled PET plastic tubular webbing, KEEN.ALL-TERRAIN rubber outsole, EVA midsole and insole, Quick-dry liningHiking, camping and exploring
Teva Terra Fi 5 UniversalSandalTextile and synthetic upper, EVA topsole, Polyurethane midsole, rubber outsoleTreks, backpacking, river crossings – pretty much anywhere you roam
Jack Wolfskin Lakewood RideSandalTextile upper and lining, sure-grip rubber outsole, EVA footbedCasual trails on hot summer days
Columbia SandalSandalHydrophobic webbing upper, EVA midsoles, Omni-Grip rubber outsoleHiking, scrambling and adventures by the water
Teva Hurricane XLT 2SandalPolyester, nylon and recycled PET webbing; EVA foam midsole; Durabrasion rubber outsoleRelaxed walks and hikes
Merrell Choprock SieveShandalSynthetic mesh and webbing upper, TPU heel, EVA midsole, Vibram soleChallenging hiking and trekking trips
Mountain Warehouse Trek ShandalShandalNeoprene upper and lining, EVA midsole, rubber outsoleTrail walking and wild swimming
Keen UneekShandalPolyester braided cord upper, lightweight PU midsole, rubber outsoleIdeal for walking on paths and non-technical trails, and great for water sports

How we test the best hiking sandals

Our reviewers test hiking sandals across varied settings and pursuits, such as hiking, wild swimming, rock pooling, coasteering and canyoning. Specific features (including comfort, grip, materials used and protection) are tested against claims made by the brand, and we assess factors such as durability, environmental impact and value for money.

Meet the testers

best water shoes: Sian wild swim
Sian Lewis

An award-winning travel and outdoors journalist, presenter and blogger, Sian regularly writes for The IndependentEvening StandardBBC CountryfileCoastOutdoor Enthusiast and Sunday Times Travel. Life as a hiking, camping, wild-swimming adventure-writer has taken her around the world, exploring Bolivian jungles, kayaking in Greenland, diving with turtles in Australia, climbing mountains in Africa and, in Thailand, learning the hard way that peeing on a jellyfish sting doesn’t help. Her blog, The Girl Outdoors, champions accessible adventures.

How to choose hiking sandals

There’s an excellent selection of sandals out there these days, with supportive uppers and robust outer soles – very capable of taking you along most trails in the warmer months, with the breeze keeping feet and toes nice and cool. To make sure you buy the best hiking sandals for your feet, we present the most frequently asked questions for those looking to purchase a pair, as well as some of the key considerations.

Is it better to hike in sandals or shoes?

This depends entirely on the character of the hike you are planning to do. Sandals are great for straightforward trails in warm conditions. Think, pleasant ambles along the coast or easy hills ascents on vacation. For these kinds of outings, sandals have the edge over hiking shoes, which may see your feet overheating. Plus, when you get back to the beach, it's nice not to have to change your footwear.

Also, sandals are usually much faster drying, making them well suited to amphibious adventures, such as rock pooling or coasteering. Another option to consider here is a quality pair of water shoes, which marry the quick drying qualities of a sandal with the greater protection of a hiking shoe.

Of course, once your hikes become more technical, a sandal just isn't going to cut it. The open nature of a sandal means that your feet don't get much protection from the trail and the weather. Sharp rock, prickly vegetation, muddy terrain and the cold are all enemies of the hiking sandal. As well as this, they tend to be more flexible than a hiking shoe or boot, which makes them less stable on scrambling terrain.

Should hiking sandals be a size bigger than my usual size?

It's actually a good idea to size up when buying hiking sandals, this is because your feet expand during warm days, particularly if you're on your feet. Having a little breathing space is a good idea. Of course, sandals tend to have an adjustable fit, so you can tailor them to whatever suits you best.

Whatever pair of hiking sandals you go for, make sure they have wide, supportive straps around the ankle and the front of the foot. Check there’s no tightness or pinching anywhere when the straps are done up, and that they stay put as you walk. Your heels shouldn’t hang over the back of the sole, or your foot spill over the sides, and the soles should feel bouncy, not stiff, under your feet as you move. Some sandals have adjustable Velcro straps – we prefer these as they make it easy to get the perfect fit without any slipping.


Hiking sandals come in leather, fabric, rubber – and even neoprene. Before you buy a new pair, have a think about where you’ll wear them. Leather straps tend to be long-lasting, good-looking and mould nicely to your feet, but they are slower to dry, and will need some care to avoid cracking or splitting over time. Fabric straps are light, breathable and reasonably rugged – great for hiking and camping. If you’d like to go rock pooling or even swim in your sandals, look for a quick-drying aquatic pair designed using webbing or neoprene materials. While chunky granny sandals may be having a bit of a fashion moment, it’s still worth picking a pair of the best hiking sandals are smart enough to wear off the trails as well as on, in order to get a good amount of wear out of your purchase all year long. If you want a versatile, wear-anywhere sandal, look for leather finishes and neutral hues that’ll work in the city as well as in the country.


Did you know that the weight you carry on your feet takes up around 5 times as much energy as the weight you carry in your hiking backpack. With this in mind, if you're after breezy summer hikes, a lightweight pair of sandals might be just the ticket. However, heavier pairs often give you more structure and support, so try a few pairs to find what works best for you.

Sandal or shandal?

A shandal, as the name suggests, is a hybrid of a sandal and a walking shoe – they have enclosed toes and heels for extra protection but plenty of vents in the sides to keep your feet cool. If you’re hiking on more challenging paths or over loose rock, you should definitely pick a shandal to keep your toes protected. They’re also great for wild swimming. For more casual walking you can usually get away with a cooler (both in the temperature and the style sense of the word) open-toed walking sandal – these tend to be easier to slip on and off, lighter and easier to pack for your travels.


We reckon good soles are what sets the best women’s walking sandals apart from more casual flip-flop-style models that are only suitable for the beach. Look for the same features you would in a hiking boot – bouncy but rugged rubber soles with deep ‘lugs’ (the indentations on the bottom of your boot’s soles) to give your sandals good grip. Even if the rest of your walking sandal construction feels light and unencumbered you still need tough, grippy soles that are happy to hike over long distances.