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Best hiking sandals 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]Last Updated January 1, 2020
Best hiking sandals of 2018
Here, I will review 3 of the best hiking sandals of 2018, and we will also discuss the things to consider when looking to purchase one. I hope you will make an informed decision after going through each of them. I want to find something that’s designed well (both for aesthetic purposes and efficiency). You must have heard that the best hiking sandals should allow you to save money, right? Sure, but that’s not the only reason you should consider getting one. Check them out and decide which one suits you the best to splurge upon.
Test Results and Ratings
|Ease of use||
Why did this hiking sandals win the first place?
I am very happy with the purchase. It is definitely worth its money. The product is top-notch! I really enjoy the design. It is compact, comfortable and reliable. And it looks amazing! I also liked the delivery service that was fast and quick to react. It was delivered on the third day. The product is very strong. Its material is stable and doesn’t crack.
Why did this hiking sandals come in second place?
The material is pretty strong and easy to wash if needed. I like this product. For such a low price, I didn’t even hope it to be any better. It’s decently made. Managers explained me all the details about the product range, price, and delivery. The design quality is top notch and the color is nice.
Why did this hiking sandals take third place?
It is inconvenient to use due to the size. I am going to get something different next time. We are very pleased with the purchase — the product is great! This price is appropriate since the product is very well built. It doesn’t squeaks nor bents. Looks great in my apartment.
hiking sandals Buyer’s Guide
Now that explanation should be pretty obvious, and the choice is one of personal preference. Personally, I like the open toe style as I enjoy the air around my feet.
The open one is probably a better bet if you will be walking close to water, like rivers and lakes. The closed one will always be a better choice for those who plan on doing heavier hiking, or walking a lot on stone type paths or heavy woodland. So the terrain over which you will be walking should always be the one factor to consider.
Open-Toe Design Sandals
As a general guideline, these are almost always lighter, breathable, and a good general purpose sandal for walks along the beach, even as pool shoes, or for camping. They are easy to pack, and I think make a great utility walking shoe that can be used on general terrain. They offer only the minimum amount of protection, and little to no support at all.
Closed-Toe Design Sandals
As the name would suggest, these protect the toes from things like briars, sticks, stones, and just about any other type of terrain that could otherwise damage your precious toes. They will be sturdier than the open style, and as such are usually heavier with slightly thicker soles.
This is a fancy medical term for the way that we walk.
Pronation is the term used for the way your foot rolls when you walk. Essentially, when buying any kind of walking shoe, you should know your pronation type first. Each shoe on the market is suitable for a particular type of pronation.
You can find out what your pronation type is by getting an expert gait analysis done for you, and many specialists running retail stores will offer this service. You can find out more about pronation in our easy-to-understand guide. It is where we take this complicated sounding term and just explain it all in plain English.
Often you will hear these referred to as flat feet, high arches or high insteps. You can read about the pronation types by clicking here.
Length of the Shoe
The good news with walking shoes is that the shoe size you wear everyday is also perfect for a walking shoe. If you were buying a running shoe, you would normally need a slightly longer shoe as the foot moves more under the impact. For walking shoes, boots or sandals your normal shoe size is perfect.
You may find with some of the brands that you may have to take a half size smaller or more often a half size larger than your normal shoes.
Width of the Shoe
The simple rule to remember is the lighter they are the better. Manufacturers understand the importance of having something light on your feet. You can be pretty sure they are not going to be putting heavy shoes on the market place. Certainly if you check our top list for wither men or women, then all of those are super light.
If you are overweight then you may need a shoe with a lot more support. Generally speaking, the more weight that is on your legs and ankles, then it is always a great idea to support them better with a nice supportive heel and padded foot pad.
BE A SOLE MAN
Sports sandals are best for wet environments. And they can be good for warm climates, too, but some offer more ventilation than others. The same goes for light hikers. Most are constructed with mesh (best for warmer climates) or leather uppers (cooler climates), while some are made with waterproof/breathable fabrics like Gore-Tex. Keep this in mind: Even though the shoe might be waterproof, if you step in a puddle or stream more than ankle-deep your foot will get wet all the same.
Putting the ‘Ahhhhhh’ back into Water Shoes
At Viakix, we build our water shoes and sandals from the bottom up and always use high quality outsoles to ensure that you have enough support and comfort, without sacrificing the weight that you need for your water sports. Our amphibious shoes have high-quality rubber soles and extremely tough construction, making them excellent for hiking through rivers or for your next water aerobics class.
Mountaineering boots are designed for use in extreme conditions and alpine environments, and their construction reflects that: taller, stiffer (for use with crampons), impermeable shells, insulation, and removable liners. Unless you’re going to be ice climbing, crossing glaciers, or trekking in winter conditions, these are going to be far more boot than you need.
Approach shoes are hybrids of hiking shoes and climbing shoes and are traditionally used by climbers to get up and over rocky terrain and to the climbing site (hence the name). They often include climbing-style lacing (lacing that extends down towards the toe for better control), protective rands, and ‘sticky’ rubber on the soles for scrambling over rocks. This sticky rubber is softer and less durable, so extended hiking will tend to wear the outsoles down pretty quickly.
Many water shoes and performance sandals offer the support and protection you’d need for side hikes during rafting trips or ventures into slot canyons. Look for adequate toe protection, a snug fit, and drainage capabilities. The outsoles will often feature a combination of sticky rubber for traction on wet rocks and harder rubber for better durability.
Many local residents only wear these lightweight rubber thongs. They’re easy to slip on and off, they keep your tootsies cool and they can weather the wet, no problem. Those who spend their island days in nothing but these shoes are often seen flip flopping through the jungle in them, but for most, hiking in slippers is best reserved for the experts.
Pros: Lightweight, waterproof and easy on and off. Inexpensive. Provide the most basic covering for the bottom of your feet. The next best thing to barefoot.
Cons: No arch support, little protection from underbrush and sun. Soles usually fair poorly in slippery mud and on wet rocks. Prone to “blowouts”. Thorns can easily pierce bottom.
These island staples are meant to keep a grip while walking and fishing on wet rocks. Their felt bottoms and ninja-style thong toe help the foot to hold on slippery surfaces.
Pros: Great for river crossings, rock hopping and clinging to muddy and slippery trails. Meant to get wet. Sock covers ankles, offering protection from underbrush.
Cons: Once wet, these water socks need some strong sun to dry out completely. Long hikes in wet tabis lead to soft, soggy feet and blister farms. No arch support.
Next to slippers, Crocs seem to be the next most common shoe seen around the island. Their popularity over the past few years has spawned a following of users who appreciate their water resistance and no-skid soles.
Pros: Water and mold resistant construction shapes to the foot for cruising comfort. Some arch support and relative protection from sun and underbrush, depending on the style.
Cons: Material could tear under stress of rocky terrains or thick brush. Arch support may not be sufficient enough for long trails. This shoe is designed more for beach and pathways than Kaua`i back country. Thorns can easily pierce bottom.
These hiking sandals and other brands like them, are meant to offer the airflow of slippers with a greater support for the foot. Though its not at the level of a trail runner in its structure, it does provide a happy medium for those that want to hop through streams and truck over bumpy terrain.
Pros: Decent arch support with ability to get wet and dry quickly. Foot stays well-ventilated.
Cons: Some may find the arch support is not sufficient for long hikes. Not much protection from underbrush and sun (watch for criss cross tan lines). Break these in before long hikes to avoid blisters.
Specialized to handle diverse terrain, these glorified running shoes are like four-wheel drives for your feet. They’re built to travel through land and water while keeping your feet supported and protected. If you’re looking for a lighter version of hiking boot comfort, this shoe may be your best bet.
Pros: Great support and construction designed with the avid hiker in mind. Created to handle diverse terrain, including water.
Cons: Some potential for slipping on wet surfaces. For those used to a lot of airflow, shoe may still be too hot for tropical climate.
These are the shoes meant for cruising through jungles of the concrete variety. Made for pounding pavement more than puddles, at the very least expect your styley whities to get down and dirty.
Pros: Offer arch support and protection from sun and underbrush.
Cons: This footwear is typically unequipped for gripping uneven ground or wet surfaces (which you almost always encounter on Kaua`i trails). White shoes will not remain unmarred.
You’ll generally see those opting to hoof it a natural, having one of two kinds of experiences. The seasoned barefoot hiker may breeze past you with a huge smile, trotting through loose rocks whistling along in easy harmony with nature. The other, less experienced trekker, may be seen wincing through a slow hobble back to the car, their soft white feet cut and bruised. Hiking barefoot is recommended only for habituated soles.
Pros: You can feel that Kaua`i mud squish between your toes! Oneness with nature! You can really feel your feet wrap around surfaces.
Cons: You can really feel your feet wrap around surfaces. Hiking barefoot leaves no protection from rocks, roots, underbrush or sun. Your feet are your most valuable asset when hiking, if you injure them you can be in for a trail of pain.
Wrapping It Up
If you’ve never bought a pair of shoes or orthotic devices for your flat feet before, it can be a little overwhelming.The real problem behind this is that flat feet need a bit more support than their arched counterparts. How flat is my flat feet? What arch size do I need? And a lot more questions.
The arch of the foot actually helps posture and puts the weight of your movement on the balls and heels of your foot. This weight distribution puts the stress on the parts of your foot that are meant to support it.
With flat feet, although the weight that comes with your every step is still distributed throughout the whole foot, the stress on your hip joint is different and can lead to different symptoms after repeated “unusual” wear and tear.
Aching feet and over pronation are a few of the common problems that fellow flat footers face (say that times fast!).
As mentioned previously, the weight distribution across the entire foot is what would cause the aching foot and can often be relieved by wearing shoes that have the proper arch support and are fitted properly. If you can imagine for a second that flat feet have the entire foot touching the ground, whereas the arched counterparts actually only have a section of their foot on the ground.
It is for this reason arched shoes are a bit narrower, and if you’ve been walking in them, your feet may feel cramped or ache after long periods of use. You may need to wear shoes that are wider than normal to alleviate some of these aches.
Over pronation is a common problem while walking or running, where the foot tends to roll inwards upon every step and can put a lot of unnecessary stress on your knees and back. If you’ve faced problems with your knees or hips hurting after running, it may be because you over pronate your gait (the way you walk/run). In cases like this, choosing the best shoes for overpronation correction can drastically help. You may also benefit from using an orthotic that is specially fitted and made to your feet by a podiatrist.
When you first set out on your journey to select the perfect pair of shoes for your flat feet, there are three tests you can do while purchasing to make sure you’re getting the correct support you need.
If the shoe bends where the toes are, it’s supportive enough, but if it bends toward the middle, it is not going to have the support you need. Your middles need support, not this bendy sole. Try another pair.
How well are you able to twist and torque it? Pick a shoe that is difficult to move. These are the shoes that will give you the most support for your arches.
It all comes down to the basic premise – a stiffer shoe will be more supportive for your feet and will help prevent over pronation.
A study conducted by Hong Kong Polytech University found that motion-controlled shoes can help with overpronation by providing more stable base for your legs and feet.
You may be saying, ‘why would I want a stiff shoe? Isn’t it going to be really uncomfortable?’ Shoes today are made with a lot of padding and comfortable material so that your feet won’t actually feel like they are a prisoner in a plastic box. It is a common misconception that extra support means lack of comfort and for a flat footer, it will actually make you even more comfortable once you get the arch support your feet crave.
First and foremost, podiatrists recommend that people with flat feet should find an experienced shoe salesperson who will measure their feet and recommend several different styles. This works much better than pulling random shoes off a department store rack yourself. Do be wary of any sales talk about a single model or brand. It’s just not that easy when you have flat feet. Try on several different shoes from different brands.
Stiff Outer Sole
Stiff outer soles are a must in good shoes for flat feet. They reinforce the built-in shoe support and resist your foot’s tendency to roll inward. Strong outer soles in everyday footwear are also rugged enough to withstand many hours of daily wear and tear.
Keen Atlanta Cool Steel Toe
Skechers for Work
If you are standing on your feet all day, these shoes will keep you comfortable and support your flat feet so you aren’t rubbing them down for hours after work. Comfortable insoles with a sturdy bottom give you everything you could want out of a durable shoe. They can even double as a good pair of dress shoes for your flat feet.
ASICS GEL-Craze TR 2
These shoes feature a rear foot GEL cushioning system that keep your form and foot supported and protected with any number of sports that you do. There is a SpEVA midsole that gives your mid-foot a little bit of spring but keeps it arched to prevent the flat foot problems you may be accustomed to.
PUMA Tazon 5
These come with a TPU shank that offers increased stability (something that a flat footer must know by now is important). Arguably one of the best workout shoes for flat feet, they come in a variety of different colors, are made in the USA so the quality is top notch, and your feet will thank you for keeping them so well-supported for a range of workouts.
Go back to the basics with the sandal that started it all. The footbed conforms to your foot’s shape for personalized comfort, and the rubber toe offers protection for adventures in and out of the water.
All KEEN water sandals are machine washable. We’ve also taken great care to develop leather uppers that will not crack, shrink or stretch when washed. Even KEEN leather Newport sandals are machine washable! Use a small amount of detergent, wash on gentle cycle and air dry.
Not sure how to rate them
Not sure how to rate them. This type of sandals were the best shoes ever (had three pairs over the years) until I bought forth pair last couple of months ago. After about a week of using them they started to smell so badly I had to return them. Not sure what to do now. I suspect that this might be due to some new materials used as I never had this issue with the old versions. I might try another model in some time as I truly think that these are the best pair of sandals ever designed but please make them with the proper materials.
Four Footwear Rules
And don’t forget the thrifting option. Assuming you can find a pair of quality shoes that fit you from Allen Edmonds, Alden, or another manufacturer, you can send them back and take advantage of their re-crafting and re-soling service. A new pair of shoes for a fraction of the cost, rebuilt to serve you for 20 years.
Another fit issue is paying attention to shoe width. Men with extremely wide or narrow feet learn about this from an early age, but many men who would be better served by just a slightly wider or narrow shoe never discover their perfect size because the normal sizes do an OK job. I challenge you to take the time to find the right size…..you’d be surprised about what you’ve been missing, especially if you spend quite a bit of time on your feet. Look for variations in arch support and toe structure as well.
In addition, rotate through a few pairs to allow them to dry between wearing and ALWAYS use wood shoe trees that will quickly soak up perspiration. This is especially important for leather shoes, as the interior of a dress shoe has often not gone through the harsh chemical treatment of the upper and is more susceptible to rot.
Common Footwear Terminology
Sole – This is commonly referred to as the bottom part of the shoe or boot and can be further divided into the outer sole, mid-sole, and insole depending on the type and quality of the shoe being discussed.
Upper – A general term that refers to the part of the shoe above the sole.
Brogueing – a form of ornamentation in which tiny holes are carved into the shoe’s leather. An important point to remember is that the more decoration on a shoe the less formal it becomes.
Insole – As mentioned above, a subsection of the general term sole, the inner sole is the layer of the sole upon which the foot rests. A quality insole can mean the difference between a shoe that will last years and one that will last 25.
Heel – The back portion of the shoe that comes into direct contact with the ground and gives elevation to the foot when the shoe is worn. Heels are often built from to pieces of leather called lifts and reinforced with rubber or metal.
Laces – The choice is usually round or ribbon, with round having the advantage of being stronger and more formal thanks to their core while ribbon laces come in a variety of colors and are more elastic and are thus a good choice for athletic shoes or hiking boots.
The materials used to make vegan sandals are the biggest determining factor as to their ‘vegan-ism.’ Of course, the manufacturing process and the company’s ethics are important. The materials, however, can more decidedly tell you whether the product is vegan.
Materials that you want to avoid include leather, wool, silk, snakeskin, feathers, fur, and suede. All of these materials are obtained, one way or another, through an abusive and cruel manufacturing process.
Fortunately, the tags on most footwear can tell you whether or not the materials are vegan. They might not always list “vegan” next to “polyester,” but with a bit of education, you’ll know which materials can be considered vegan or not.
Assume that shoes and sandals are not vegan unless otherwise specified.
Most boots, shoes, and sandals are made from leather, suede, or other animal-based fabrics.
You’re not in the clear yet. The glue used to hold shoes and sandals together can be non-vegan, even if the materials are advertised as being 100% synthetic.
However, determining the make of the glue can be pretty tricky. Chances are, if you’re in a shoe store, about to buy a pair of sandals, you’re not going to want to do an hour’s worth of background checks on your smartphone just to figure out if the company used vegan adhesives.
Unfortunately, this is a bit of a moral dilemma. There simply aren’t as many companies making sandals that can be sold as “100% vegan.” This means that most vegans, except for the most dutiful and obligated, will have to take a dice-roll when buying synthetic sandals. Chances are, if the footwear is made by an eco-friendly company that advertises their love for the environment, the glue will be vegan.
Many shoe companies use animal-based dyes to color their products. This can ring true even when products are advertised as non-leather and completely synthetic.
Fortunately, animal-based dye is much less common than animal-based adhesives. It’s most likely that companies advertising 100% synthetic materials will also use synthetic dyes.
Sanuk Yoga Sling Flip Flop
Does it get any more vegan than sandals made from yoga mats? The Sling Sandals feature a comfortable rubbery mat sole with fabric straps. These sandals come in 30 bold colors, and are good replacement for your cheap flip-flops. You can wear these to the pool, or out on the town with your favorite shorts or sundress.
KEEN Men’s UNEEK Sandal
Sitting somewhere between a sandal and a sneaker, these shoes are…well, unique! The huarache-inspired design features a woven cord upper, which has drawcord lacing and non-marking rubber outsole. It also has an anatomical footbed, which provides support for comfortable, all-day wear and long periods of walking. This is ideal for active wearers, as the cushioned strap supports the ankle and the midsole provides the support of a sneaker.
Chaco Men’s ZClassic Athletic Sandal
Chaco athletic sandals are comfortable, practical, and simple. Each classic sandal is made of only eight parts, making for a durable shoe. The sandals use podiatrist-certified LUVSEAT footbeds for all-day comfort and support, and each pair has adjustable straps so you can tailor them to your feet. Planning to do a lot of walking? These sandals feature antimicrobial protectant for odor control.
Sanuk Men’s Yogi Flip Flop
The men’s version of the popular yoga mat flip-flop, the Yogi from Sanuk features a slim footbed shape and rubber sole for maximum comfort. It also has a heavy canvas strap material for a clean look and a nylon webbing toe post. These flip flops are perfect for the pool or the beach, or for running quick errands without fear of blisters or chafing.
But it wasn’t always like that.
I remember my first hike up around Tupper Lake, back in the 80’s. Attempted hike, I should say. I didn’t make it more than a handful of miles from the house.
Four grueling, miserable, painful miles followed by bandaids, salves, ice packs, and a whole lot of “I told you so” from my uncle.
Try on hiking boots at the end of the day when your feet are at their worst, and bring your hiking socks and any inserts or orthotics you plan on wearing.
Leather: Natural leathers (full-grain or nubuck) will offer durability and natural water resistance.
Manmade materials: These will be breathable but have virtually no water resistance. To make up for this, the manufacturer will generally incorporate a membrane for water resistance, seriously impacting the breathability.
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your hiking sandals wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of hiking sandals
- №1 — Viakix Sandals For Women Comfortable Athletic Stylish Shoes For Hiking
- №2 — Xero Shoes Barefoot-Inspired Sport Sandals – Z-Trek – Women
- №3 — KEEN Men’s Newport H2 Sandal