Best Hiking Sandals

posted in: Sandals, Sports | 0

Hey there folks !

Today we present to you our deep review of the best hiking sandals out there.

These are sandals that can fit in rocky roads and in a more difficult terrain.

While examining the best shoes out there, we’ve stumbled upon some high quality

names like Teva’s, Keen’s and Merrell’s.

We hope you enjoy our review – so without any delay, let’s get to it 🙂

 

PictureNameRatingPrice
KEEN Women's Whisper Sandal4.6$33.99 - $157.45
KEEN Men's Newport H2 Sandal4.5$63.64 - $210.08
Teva Women's Zirra Sandal4.5$21.00 - $79.95
KEEN Men's Arroyo II Hiking Sandal4.4$51.52 - $129.99
Teva Men's Hurricane XLT Sandal4.5$30.46 - $120.00
Merrell Women's Terran Lattice Sandal4.2$30.65 - $99.99
KEEN Women's Newport H2 Sandal4.6$35.60 - $142.58

KEEN Women’s Whisper SandalKEEN Women's Whisper Sandal

Testimonial:

I’ve been a Keen lover/wearer for a long time and truly love this brand, but I think my Whispers may be my favorite pair yet. I bought this as an “upgrade” from my Newport H2s and these are SO much better. I love that the neoprene stretches in the bit around your ankle – this made them wearable right out of the box with no break-in period and ZERO blisters. They are ridiculously light weight – much lighter than my Newports – but really sturdy and durable. I wore them on a recent trip to Costa Rica and they were the perfect shoe for all of the wet/dry activities I did, like white-water river rafting, light hiking, swimming, rappelling, sailing, walking around town, etc. They dry quickly and don’t get stinky (but if they did you can throw them in the washing machine with your laundry).

I’ll also note that I have arthritis in my feet – specifically my big toe joint – and these were always comfy and supportive. I could keep going with no pain, which was awesome. If my feet swelled, it was easy to loosen up the lacing system. On top of all that, I got complements on them – they’re pretty cute. These are more narrow and girly than the Newports.

I love them so much I bought a second pair. I highly recommend these – they’re great for adventures and anytime you might get your feet wet – they’re also really comfortable and a great all-around sandal for warm weather. For me they run pretty true to size (I wear a 6 1/2 in other shoes and these), but I know that a lot of people like to get them a 1/2 size bigger.

 

KEEN Men’s Newport H2 SandalKEEN Men's Newport H2 Sandal

Testimonial:

By far the most comfortable sandal I have ever owned. I first saw these on some ultralight backpackers I met, they swore by them and I had to try them.
Now that summer is over, and it is late Fall, I find myself still wearing these even now that it is cooler because they feel good and I am used to them. They really are tough to give up. Any reservations I had that they look funky went away when I wore them a couple of days and got hooked on the feel and how they protected my toes.

SIZING ISSUES: If they do not feel right when you put them on, you may have the wrong size. Most people that buy Keens find that they need to buy a half size larger than they do with other shoes, so try that.

COMFORT: The sandals have a wide toebox so that your toes are not cramped together. The protective toe guard does the job, I never stub a toe or catch a toe on anything with these, plus I can hide my ugly toes. It also has a little rise on the rear heel that cups your heel, but also helps protect you against those people that step on the back of your foot in line. It feels very secure once it is on and does not slip. There are no straps to fool with or Velcro to adjust, it has an inner lining on all the straps that looks like the neoprene on a scuba suit, it stretches to fit and is comfortable against my skin. It has a no-lace closure and you adjust it once, from then on it slips on easy. The footbed cradles my foot really well. It has a little ridge on the inner sole that runs behind the toes and in between your big toe and other toes. The first time you feel it, it seems like a defect. But that ridge seemed to shape to my foot, giving me my own custom fit. I hate to gush about this, but the shape of this shoe allows my bad feet to stand longer and walk longer. I actually enjoy running in them, and for a sandal that is a definite first with me, as they usually slip and flop all over on my feet. You can even wear it into the water like a Teva. If it gets wet, for some reason you don’t feel it due to the material that wicks the water away.

GRIP: It has an outer sole that is very grippy, it gives good traction on sand, boulders, mud, you name it. It has not been slippery on wet surfaces, including a boat. The sole does not leave any marks on my floors, and does not hold dirt in the grooves to track indoors.

ODOR: It has an anti-microbial treatment so I do not get odor issues nearly as much as with Crocs and other sandals.

DURABILITY: It has held up to daily wear and repeated wettings. When they get dirty, I throw them in the sink, under the hose, in the shower or even in the washer. I wore these almost daily for 4 months straight with no evidence of wear. This includes standing in line all day on vacation at theme parks and scrambling at the beach. Like other sandals, when they were new they left marks on my socks from the dye but I almost never wear a sock with them anyway.

SUMMARY: These come in a few colors and in Mens and Womens styles. I have tried 2 pairs of tennis shoes from this company, and the footbed is similar, although the one with a suede type finish (the Targhee) looked like crap in one month. It is still a great hiker, but I can’t wear it anywhere else but the great outdoors. The other pair is for urban use, it is called the Austin, and it is has a really nice finish. My other favorite sandals are Rieker Anti-Stress Jens 09176, and the Dunham Moose Fisherman(designed by New Balance). I used to wear Teva’s, and they make good sandals as well.

UPDATE March 2010: I do not know if they still make these to the same quality as the model I reviewed here in 2005, but it is now 2010 and my original pair of Newport H2 sandals are still in use so I can’t tell. The only issue is they look a little faded now in the straps and one of the stretchy tie strings lays a little crooked. But they still feel great and my sole has held up. I still feel they were a great deal for the price, about $100 back in 2005.

 

Teva Women’s Zirra SandalTeva Women's Zirra Sandal

Testimonial:

I bought these shoes as my first hiking sandals (I am a boot person typically) at the urging of my husband and after a very damp trip in the Olympics that showed me boots aren’t always the ideal shoe for backpacking (2 river crossings and even Gortex and water proofing begins to fail). I took them on a 20 mile overnighter to test them out, and I loved them.

We climbed nearly 4000 feet in about 6 miles, and these shoes stood up to it. The toe is long, however, I didn’t really notice the long toe while walking. When we came down the mountain the next day, I was grateful for it, otherwise my toes would have been hanging over the edges and hitting rocks all day. The straps did loosen, but boot laces also loosen up with that kind of elevation gain and loss, so it came as no real surprise. Plus, with the one strap system, it was much easier to tighten back up without having to stop as compared to hiking boots.

They do have fantastic arch support. I am flat footed and typically prefer to have little to no support for my own personal comfort, however, the location and type of arch on these shoes was comfortable even for me. We had a small creek crossing and I typically fear that sandals like this will tear from currents or slide too much after. These shoes had neither problem. They held fast while in the water and while I could feel how slick the shoe was, my foot still didn’t move around on the sole.

I did get one blister on the back of my left foot, although this is a common problem for me, even in shoes that I have broken in for years, so I can’t really blame this shoe for that problem. If you are purchasing these as hiking sandals, do not buy them half a size small like other reviewers have stated. They are built long in the toe for a reason, and the profile of the shoe is generally narrow, so going smaller may cause other problems, particularly as the feet swell from hiking. While I will go back to my boots once the weather cools back down and rain sets in, for summers, these will definitely be my new hiking shoes.

 

KEEN Men’s Arroyo II Hiking SandalKEEN Men's Arroyo II Hiking Sandal

Testimonial:

My Arroyo II’s just arrived today. I want a good pair of hiking sandals for my first Grand Canyon trip this August, yet something that can get wet for Havasu Falls. I heard so many good things about Keens that I decided to try them for myself.

First, some things to consider. At first I was settled on the Keen Newport H2’s, but after speaking to an associate at REI I learned that the tread of the H2’s is not suited for hiking, and that the Arroyo II’s would serve me better for mostly hiking. This point was obvious after examining the tread of both models; the Arroyo II’s have a thicker tread for greater traction on dirt and rocks. They also seem more durable overall and are made of leather instead of nylon. The way he put it: The Newport H2’s are mostly for water activities and some outdoor activities, and the Arroyo II’s are mostly for hiking and some water activities. This is because the Arroyo II’s won’t dry as quickly as the Newport H2’s because of its cushioned insole for better support, which is nonexistent in the H2’s. Although both models of sandals seem great, you have to decide for yourself what you need them for before making a purchase. I figured I’d be hiking mostly, with some treks across rivers, streams, etc., so I went with the Arroyo II’s.

My first impression after trying them on is a good one! They fit well, are comfy, and have good arch support for walking. These shoes really feel tough enough to handle the rugged outdoors, with a thick toe and sturdy coverage on all sides. I’m questioning the ankle support these shoes will provide, although there is some support. Some people weren’t happy with the drawstring for tightening the sandal. I could maybe see it not holding well and coming loose after long hikes, so I will keep an eye on this. I love the colors (I went with Slate Black/Bronze Green, which is a nice medium-brown color with forest-green detailing — very camo-looking). I will update my review after my 5-day Grand Canyon trip and detail how well they held up while hiking and in water.

A word of caution about sizing. As I did, you should seriously consider trying these on at a local retailer (such as REI) before making your purchase. They definitely run very big. I’m usually size 9.5-10, but I had to buy these in an 8 for a good fit. For me, that’s at least a size-and-a-half smaller than the norm. If you can’t try them on first, order at least one full size smaller than you typically would.

***UPDATE 8/21/13***

Took my sandals on a test spin in PA’s “Grand Canyon” this past week. We hiked the Turkey Path down to the waterfall and Pine Creek, and back up. It was rocky with steep slopes, so it was a good practice run for the actual Grand Canyon.

The sandals had great traction on the rocky surfaces. The pinky toe on my right foot started hurting at the end of the hike to the point where I thought I was forming a blister, but it ended up being okay. Whenever we stopped to take a break I found myself tightening up the cords, so this could be an annoyance for some people. Although I had to tighten them, I never thought they were too loose; rather, tightening gave them a more secure fit.

I dipped my feet into Pine Creek when we got to the bottom to test out their water resistance. They definitely dried pretty quickly (about 20 minutes longer into our hike), and they weren’t heavy and squishy after getting them wet.

My only complaint so far is the discomfort I felt on my pinky toe towards the end of the 2-hour hike, which I expect is due to the initial wear-in period. We leave for the real Grand Canyon in the morning, so I’ll post another update when we return!

 

Teva Men’s Hurricane XLT SandalTeva Men's Hurricane XLT Sandal

Testimonial:

I’ve been wearing Teva’s since the early 90s when they were the standard issue of every whitewater rafter and kayaker. I have since discovered myriad other excellent applications for this simple, durable and versatile footwear and I wear them year-round (even in snow). I have a nice “Teva tan” to prove it!

The Teva sandal is fundamentally an ageless footwear design, possibly one of the earliest known to humankind, which has just been re-worked with modern high-tech materials and ergonomic engineering. I am practically a “barefooter” in my daily life, meaning I don’t prefer to have my feet confined in shoes, where they invariably get warm, sweaty, incubate fungus and bacteria and produce odours. And yet, being barefoot all of the time is not safe, practical, sanitary, or lawful in some places. So Teva sandals are the next best alternative! They allow air circulation and freedom from confinement, and protect the soles of your feet from direct contact with sharp objects, filth, contamination, and endless unknowns.

What’s high tech about it? High strength NYLON WEBBING (which could bear your body weight before breaking), VELCRO FASTENERS (and in some models, Fastex buckles), the comfortable SHAPED FOOTBED with arch support made of special ANTI-MICROBIAL RUBBER, and the nice SPLIT SOLE design with TREAD pattern. Bargain variants of river sandals (Teva clones) may use cheap webbing that will fray or break under load, bad fasteners that make it inconvenient to just slip on and off quickly, a bad footbed can make your feet ache, and without the micro-ban zinc the porous rubber will swell with colonies of bacteria from your feet making the sandals stink egregiously. Even having decent tread makes a difference on slippery surfaces, and the split sole allows not only a more natural foot flex but also allows for things like biking/riding, and foot accessories should you wish to attach them (impromptu crampons or snow shoes).

The biggest value added innovation to the Teva line in recent years is the anti-microbial footbed. Teva sandals dry very quickly and they naturally float.

Besides the original intended use as a fully amphibious sandal (which means you can immerse them, swim in them, or be around wet surfaces without damage), they are very comfortable to wear around camp, or around areas of uncertain hygiene when walking around in the middle of the night (i.e. outhouse). For me, these are essentially my back-up footwear and slippers when I travel. They conveniently pack flat and fairly clean (placing them sole to sole with their own Velcro straps) in a small stuff sack. Excellent for the beach, casual shopping, public showers, wandering around inside a hotel or hostel, and even light hiking/touring.

Some UNintended uses for Teva’s. Like, thermal/fleece socks with sandals turns Tevas into warm boots. One can make instant improvised “shoes” or mocassins with Tevas by wrapping your feet in cloth, fur, plastic, insulation and then strapping on the Teva’s for the sole. As alluded to before, one can use the basic sandal layout as a base for both improvised crampons and snowshoes, or as a template for… improvised Tevas! (using rubber from tires and some cord). You can also wear it as a hazmat overshoe when you need extra sole protection/when entering very bad, hot or corrosive environments. I have used a single Teva as a protective pad on my foot when it was splinted and bandaged. You can throw your Teva’s into a fire for emergency signaling as the rubber will burn briefly (2-3 minutes) with thick black smoke. Similarly, you can improvise small vertical signaling flags THROUGH the soles of the Tevas that will float on the surface constantly without extra work if you find yourself stranded on open water. I find Tevas a decent choice for either herding or applying traumatic compression to arthropods that wander into my living area.

Finally, I shall mention the common failure points of Tevas, since I have owned about 6 pair (and about 10 of other brands) through my 20+ years of use and field testing. Most common failure will be, the Velcro (hairy side). They will start to get less efficient and eventually become virtually useless after about a year. Luckily, they are easy to replace (sew on or glue on). The second most common failure point for me is the center front of the sole and the tread on the sole in general. I know that I probably wear my Tevas more than most people, but I literally wear the tread down to smooth flatness in a couple of years and the center front area usually first develops an erosion hole. I don’t consider this a failure of the product as I put many miles of rough use on them and I don’t expect them to last forever. If you get this model, or any recent model Teva, it should not be a problem, but please recall that bacterial foot stink problem on the older or knock-off versions of Tevas that I mentioned. Though they are reasonably comfortable sandals after an initial break-in period, I would NOT recommend them for any distance hiking or hiking on loose dirt or sand. This is because dirt, sand or grit will eventually get under the straps where it contacts the skin and will cause blisters and abrasion injuries. I learned this the hard way taking a 10km walk along a seashore turning my feet into bleeding hamburger.

Good luck and may your Tevas take you to many new wonders!

 

Merrell Women’s Terran Lattice SandalMerrell Women's Terran Lattice Sandal

Testimonial:

At first I was going to rate these four stars cause there were so many straps and buckles to deal with. But once I dialed in the fit of the velcro adjustments I was fine. I can now take them on and off without the buckle as I have the velcros just loose enough. I’m lazy and don’t like to have to tie or buckle shoes unless I’m going to be hiking for hours in them. I don’t know that it’s necessary but I guess if you wanted a tighter fit for walking on uneven terrain, you could set the velcro tighter and then use the buckles. These are very cool, and cuter and strappier than the usual sport sandal. And they’re lighter, more outdoorsy and probably better around water than leather sandals. I have more substantial water sandals and shoes with toe guards for biking, beach and hiking. I’m wearing these for kicking around in warm weather, tooling around town, mellow camping. They’re more secure than flip flops and seem pretty well-made. Time will tell I guess, and I hope they don’t get grungy looking; I guess that’s the downside of a lighter color footbed. They are comfier than expected, are cushy and molding to my feet! A little support but not too much, which is what I like. I love sport sandals that aren’t black inside or on the bottom. The black ones get SO hot if you leave them in the sun! I got these mainly because I fell in love with the purple parahchute color, like no other shoe I own. They are a great shade and the shape is very flattering on my feet. My feet are pretty average size 8 and they fit as expected. Seems spot-on as far as footbed size and front (non-adjustable) straps. I have neither a wide nor narrow foot, neither high arch nor flat foot, so I can’t complain.

 

KEEN Women’s Newport H2 SandalKEEN Women's Newport H2 Sandal

Testimonial:

By far one of the most comfortable, if not the most comfortable shoe or sandal I have ever owned. Now that summer is over, and it is late Fall, I find myself still wearing these even now that it is colder because they feel so good. I bought mine in May, and it is November now. They really are tough to give up. Any reservations I had that they look funky evaporated when I wore them. If they do not feel right when you put them on, you probably have the wrong size. Most people that buy Keens find that they need to buy a half size larger than they do with other shoes.

They have a wide toebox so that your toes are not cramped together, and they are the first to come out with the protective toe guard. While other companies are starting to put toe guards on their shoes, they are not designed to be both protective and completely comfortable like Keens. I never stub a toe or catch a toe on anything with these, plus I can hide my ugly toes. It also has a little rise on the rear heel that cups your heel comfortably, but also helps protect you against those people that step on the back of your foot. It feels very secure once it is on and does not slip. There are no straps to fool with or Velcro to adjust, it has an inner lining that looks like the neoprene on a scuba suit, it stretches to fit. It has a no lace closure and you set it once, from then on it slips on easy. The metatomic footbed cradles my foot like no shoe I have ever seen. A feature I had not experienced before in any shoe is the little ridge on the inner sole that runs behind the toes and in between your big toe and other toes. The first time you feel it is a surprise, but it turns out to add to the comfort of the shoe immensely. That ridge forms in a short time to your foot, giving you your own custom fit. Keens shoes are invented by a doctor, who studied the anatomy of the foot very closely, and it shows. I hate to gush about this, but the shape of this shoe inside and out gives me a sensation that the shoe is part of me, and I can stand longer and walk longer… it makes me feel like running. I first saw these on some ultralight backpackers I met, they swore by them.

It has an anatomical outer sole that is very grippy, with a nice athletic shape, it gives good traction on sand, dirt, boulders, mud, you name it. It is not slippery on the boat or dock, and the sole does not leave any marks. It is made in such a way that it does not hold dirt in any grooves to track ion on my carpet either. It is great for water, and you can wear it into the stream, pool, or sea. If it gets wet, for some reason you don’t feel it due to the material that wicks the water away. It has an anti-microbial treatment that takes away any germs.

The first Newport that came out has leather trim, but it is officially waterproof. The newer Newport H2 is made of completely synthetic materials, and it holds up better in the long run as far as repeated wettings and mud. When my H2’s get dirty, I throw them in the sink, under the hose, or even in the washer and they come out like new. I wore these almost daily for 4 months straight with no evidence of wear. This includes standing in line all day at theme parks and scrambling at the beach and lava rocks on Maui. These come in many colors. Keens makes other great shoes like the Providence boots, clogs, and tennis shoes. My other favorite sandals are for dressier occasions, they are the black Rieker Anti-Stress Jens 09176, and the Dunham Moose Fisherman (actually designed by New Balance).

 

Just one last thing…

We really hope that you’ve enjoyed our article, and that it’d helped you in choosing the best

fitting pair.

If you’ve bought one of the mentioned pairs and would like to share a word – please do so

in the comment section below.

You’re feedback means much to us – and it will help us build a better community.

Until next time !

 

TheShoesForMe Team

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