Best Hiking Sandals for Women for Summer Adventures (2021)
By Kay Rodriguez
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Updated July 17, 2023
Having the proper footwear for any hike is necessary for staying safe and comfortable on the trails. In the summer, it can be a good idea to have a pair of hiking sandals to keep your feet cool on the trails or the beach. There are so many options and styles out there, but the best hiking sandals for women will ensure your feet have the stability they need on tough terrain with the openness of sandals. After testing, researching, and evaluating dozens of products, we created this list of the best women’s hiking sandals to help you choose the perfect pair for your outdoor adventures.
To narrow down our selection of the best hiking sandals for women, we went through a rigorous research and testing process. Our investigation started with a list of dozens of different products and brands. Using a mixture of professional review websites, customer reviews, product pages, and our own hiking experiences and standards, we used a very informed and practical approach to narrow down our list and create this guide. We hope it helps you find the best women’s hiking sandals for your budget and preferences!
The most important consideration when buying a pair of women’s hiking sandals is comfort. Finding sandals that fit snugly on your feet and provide enough support is essential before hitting the trails. We’ve taken the following criteria into consideration when evaluating each pair of hiking sandals, but the best way to determine comfort and fit is to simply try on a few pairs.
Solid design is a necessity for active sandals. The best women’s hiking sandals will have a sturdy, comfortable design that is adjustable to hold feet into the shoe without causing chafing or blisters. When you’re on the trails or in the water, you won’t want to wear shoes that can easily fall off or slip, so a snug fit and stable construction are essential.
Hiking sandals can come in a variety of designs within those parameters, including:
Flip-flop stype (between the toes)
Some of these designs will feel better on your feet than others, so it’s a good idea to try on a variety of styles before committing to one. Some additional design considerations that will play into a sandal’s comfort include:
Type of closures (Velcro, adjustable straps, buckles, etc.)
We’ve included a variety of sandals in our list that vary in adjustment styles, sole stiffness, closures, breathability, and more to provide plenty of options for you to consider.
If you’re an avid hiker like us, you won’t want your shoes to weigh you down. Hiking sandals can range in weight from ultra lightweight (less than 1 pound) to nearly 2 pounds per pair. Generally, we tend to move towards a philosophy of “the lighter, the better,” but only when it doesn’t sacrifice durability.
Environment & Usage
Will you be wearing your sandals on dry land? In water? While traveling? These are all important things to consider before buying a pair of hiking sandals. Some sandals are better for travel, while others work well on land and in the water. For water use specifically, you’ll want to make sure the materials in the shoe dry quickly or are completely waterproof.
It’s hard to know when you try on a pair of shoes whether it will be durable or not, but durability is an important factor to most of our readers. When you buy a pair of women’s hiking sandals, you’ll want them to last several years. That’s why, in addition to our own testing, we read a LOT of customer reviews to determine others’ experiences with durability. We also look at a manufacturer’s warranty policy and prefer brands that are covered for repairs/replacement for at least one year following a purchase.
While we don’t think price should be your only consideration, it’s important to purchase shoes that fall within your budget. Most hiking sandals cost between $50 and $150, with open-toed sandals being slightly less expensive than closed-toed options. We tried not to let price be the deciding factor in any of our evaluations, but did take it into account when discussing a shoe’s value for the money.
Design Features: Open toe, Z-style adjustable foot and ankle straps, Cloud sole with traction, optional toe loop, customizable colors
Why They’re Awesome: Sturdy sole construction, breathable, versatile, variety of color and design options
When you stack up all the options for the best hiking sandals for women, there are few contenders like the Chaco Z/Cloud (and Z/Cloud 2). These durable, sturdy open-toed sandals are a fantastic warm-weather companion for trails, rivers, beaches, and travel. Featuring Chaco’s extra comfy Cloud soles, rubber traction, and sturdy straps, these shoes are a comfortable upgrade from Chaco’s original Z/1 and Z/2 Classic designs (below). The cushier sole with the same classic design makes these some of the most comfortable and versatile women’s hiking sandals we’ve tried.
Built to provide extra arch support and foot stabilization on rocky terrain, these sandals come in two options – the classic Z/Cloud without a toe loop and the Z/Cloud 2, which has a toe loop. Whether or not to buy the toe loop version is a personal preference, as some people love it and others don’t. Personally, we like the extra support a toe loop provides on rocky or uneven terrain, but it can be harder to adjust and get in and out of, especially when wet.
While we love the stiffness of the Chaco soles, some may find it uncomfortable or difficult to maneuver. If you prefer more flexible, softer soles with a similarly airy design, we recommend the Teva Hurricane XLT2 (below). Additionally, the break-in period for Chacos can often cause blisters or foot pain, especially if you aren’t used to wearing active sandals.
Design Features: Open toe, traditional Teva design, flexible sole with traction
Why They’re Awesome: Flexible, lightweight, sturdy for hiking, comes in lots of fun colors
Teva has been a leader in active sandals for a long time, and their classic designs are popular in all kinds of sports. Their more durable take on the classic Teva design is the Teva Hurricane XLT2, which are some of the best hiking sandals for women at a very reasonable price point. With more rugged soles and a construction that can withstand rough trails and water activities, the Teva Hurricane XLT2s are some of the most comfortable hiking sandals we’ve tried on.
At less than 1 pound per pair, these are much more lightweight than theChaco Z/Cloud sandals, and they typically sell for about $30 less. The adjustable straps are easy to tailor to your foot, and they come in a wide variety of patterns to choose from.
We love how comfortable and flexible the soles are compared to other models, but their flexibility does make hiking on rough terrain a little harder than some of the more rigid sandals on our list. They’re also slightly less durable than some of the other options on our list. However, if you’re looking for some of the best women’s hiking sandals at a fantastic value, the Teva Hurricane XLT2s are an excellent choice.
Design Features: Z-style adjustable straps, ultra lightweight rubber sole
Why They’re Awesome: Extremely lightweight, minimalist construction, roll or fold to pack in small spaces
For those who prefer minimalist footwear, we’d recommend the Xero Shoes Z-Trail sandals for hiking and exploring. These ultralight shoes are just 8.7 ounces per pair, much more lightweight than some of the more burly options out there, and come with Z-style straps to hold your feet in on rougher terrain. Don’t be fooled by the slim soles – they’re packed with 3 layers for protection, durability, and comfort. The outsoles are also made with Xero’s FeelTrue® rubber treads to give great traction on slippery or rocky surfaces.
Minimalist hikers will love these shoes because they’re extra thin and lightweight, with a construction so comfortable you might forget you’re wearing shoes at all. When you aren’t wearing the Xero Z-Trail sandals, they’re designed to roll up into a small space, perfect for packing into a bag for backcountry trips or travel.
While these sandals are excellent ultralight sandals, keep in mind that they are designed to be minimalist and flexible. This means that they won’t offer the rigidity or support of more traditional hiking sandals, like Chacos or Tevas. On more even terrain, this can be fine, but for scrambling or in rocky waterways, they may not be the best choice.
Design Features: Ergonomic design, adjustable bungee cord, toe guard, grippy soles with traction
Why They’re Awesome: Perfect for hiking, water use, and more, these sandals are a fantastic all-terrain companion during warm weather
Our pick for the best closed-toed sandals goes to the HOKA ONE ONE Hopara. HOKA ONE ONE is making a name for itself in the running and hiking community with extra comfortable, functional shoes that provide lots of support and cushion. Their Hopara multisport sandals are closed toed, rugged sandals designed for hiking and as paddling shoes, and they are some of the most comfortable and versatile options out there. While generally less common than brands like Keen or Merrell for hiking, the Hoparas are some of the best hiking sandals for women that we’ve tested.
HOKA ONE ONE designs with the details in mind, and little was overlooked when designing the Hopara sandals. Their soft, cushioned interiors provide plenty of comfort while minimizing blisters, while durable outers provide support, protection, and coverage for a variety of trails and conditions. Traction on the soles helps with slippage and provides additional grip on rocky, uneven surfaces.
While we love the HOKA ONE ONE Hoparas, they feel a little bulkier than the majority of sandals on our list (but are still fairly lightweight in terms of weight). They’re also a little pricier than most models we tested. However, if you want one of the best women’s hiking sandals to last for many years and miles of trails, you can’t go wrong with the HOKA ONE ONE Hoparas.
Design Features: Between the toe adjustable straps, Vibram soles, minimalist design
Why They’re Awesome: Lightweight construction and thoughtful strap design make this a durable, sturdy minimalist sandal for hiking
One of the most popular minimalist hiking sandals on the market is the Bedrock Cairn. Constructed with sturdy straps, supportive wings, and a grippy Vibram sole, these sandals are a fantastic option for hitting the trails without additional weight or bulk. Our favorite thing about the Bedrock Cairn sandals is their thoughtful strap adjustment system, which enables hikers to easily position and secure their feet within the shoe. It’s also clear that they’re designed for durability, with Vibram soles and heavy-duty strap materials.
What we don’t love about these shoes is the between-the-toe design. It may work for some people, but for others, it can be uncomfortable at best and blister-inducing at worst. Z-style straps like those on the Xero Shoes Z-Trail are generally a bit more comfortable for the average hiker.
Design Features: Open toe, Z-style adjustable foot and ankle straps, classic Chaco sole with traction, optional toe loop, customizable colors
Why They’re Awesome: Sturdy sole construction, breathable, versatile, variety of color and design options
The Chaco Z/1 Classicis the sister shoe to our Best Overall, the Chaco Z/Cloud, with a few key differences. With the same Z-style straps and Chaco’s typical in-sole adjustment system, as well as an optional toe loop version (the Chaco Z/2) the look of these shoes is nearly identical to the Z/Clouds. What differentiates them is the sole – the Z/1 Classics has a more rigid sole that’s stiffer and performs better on rough terrain but lacks the cushion of the Cloud soles.
We love how sturdy and supportive Chacos are, but they can be harder to adjust and more difficult to pack. Some may find these stiff soles more uncomfortable than more flexible ones, like those on the Teva Hurricane XLT2 (above). Additionally, the break-in period for Chacos can often cause blisters or foot pain, especially if you aren’t used to wearing active sandals.
Design Features: Closed-toe with toe guards, rugged sole with grip traction, elastic cord for fit adjustment
Why They’re Awesome: Great for trails or in the water, these shoes offer toe protection and support without too much added weight
Keen is known for its rugged hiking boots, but they also make super practical and protective hiking sandals as well. As far as closed-toed sandals go, the KEEN Whispershoes are some of the best hiking sandals for women for more rugged, rocky terrain. Sometimes, hikes require more foot protection than the average open-toed sandal can provide, and the Keen Whispers, with their toe guards and over the foot coverage, provide that protection without sacrificing too much breathability.
Designed for hiking trails as well as water use, this amphibious shoe is a super versatile hiking companion for most trails and waterways. They’re great as paddling shoes as well. With an adjustable elastic drawcord and EVA midsoles, the design offers plenty of comfort for a wide variety of conditions. Customers love them for water activities, dry hiking, or every day warm weather use.
While these are one of our top picks for closed-toed sandals, the design may not be for everyone. As with any closed-toed shoe, it’s significantly less breathable than the open-toed options on our list. And while the weight is fairly light for a burlier shoe, they do feel more bulky on our feet compared to some of the more lightweight options on our list.
Design Features: Velcro adjustable straps, extra strap cushion, rigid and supportive sole design
Why They’re Awesome: The tougher version of the Hurricane XLT2s above, these are built with more support and cushion for hiking
As one of the most comfortable sandals we tried on, the Teva Terra Fi 5 Universal sandals are a fantastic choice for those needing a little more cushion or support on the trails. These are a more luxurious option than Hurricane XLT2s above, but the added cushion did feel really nice on our feet. If you’re someone who likes to do longer or more difficult hikes in sandals, the upgrade to the Terra Fi from the Hurricane is well worth it.
The downsides? They’re heavier and bulkier than the Hurricane XLT2s, and considerably pricier. While we typically recommend a higher price tag for more comfort, both models are durable and suitable for hiking. We’d recommend trying on both and deciding for yourself whether the extra weight and cushion is worth the price.
Design Features: Sturdy shell and straps with velcro, rugged, supportive soles
Why They’re Awesome: These open-toed sandals are extremely sturdy and provide comfort all around
The ECCO Yucatan sandals are some of the best hiking sandals for women because of their rugged construction, added comfort features, and super supportive soles. We’d consider these shoes as true “workhorse” shoes, built for those who plan to spend a lot of time on their feet and on rougher terrain. With velcro straps and thick soles, they’re designed to provide lots of support and cushion for a variety of conditions and uses.
What you get in support and sturdiness with the ECCO Yucatan, you sacrifice in weight. These are some of the bulkier sandals we tried on, with a weight comparable to actual hiking boots. They’re also the most expensive sandals on our list. With that said, if you’re looking for heavy-duty open toed women’s hiking sandals, the ECCO Yucatans are built to last.
Design Features: Lattice strap design, buckle closure, soles with traction
Why They’re Awesome: Lightweight, fun design makes this shoe versatile and travel-friendly
Merrell is well-known for its sturdy women’s hiking boots, and the Merrell Women’s Terran Lattice sandals are no exception to that. Designed with active hikers in mind, these lightweight sandals boast several thin straps and a buckle closure, making them easier to put on and take off than others on our list. Many women love how stylish these are compared to other hiking-focused sandals, and the leather cushioning in the sole provides extra comfort and durability for long days of walking.
These are a great lightweight option for hikers, but we aren’t convinced they’ll hold up on more strenuous trails or uneven terrain. However, if you’re a Merrell aficionado or just want sandals with smaller straps, the Terran Lattice sandals are a wonderful option.
CHECK REVIEWS & PRICES FOR MERRELL TERRAN LATTICE:
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