Summer trips require the best sandals for walking. You need a brand that you can walk comfortably in, all day long.
That’s what trips are… long hours on your feet, walking on concrete, seeing the sites and enjoying life.
Can’t do that if your feet are killing you.
Flip flops are fine for lounging by the pool, and they’re easy to pack, but you also need comfortable footwear that’s designed for walking… sturdy sandals that won’t make your feet hot.
The best sandals for walking have sturdy soles and straps that stay closed.
They should also offer some degree of toe protection, so you don’t stub your entire trip. Keen is one brand that was built around toe protection.
Top 6 things to look for in a good walking sandal:
Walking Sandals – Criteria #1: Comfort
The quest for a comfortable walking sandal begins by matching the overall shape of the sandal with the shape of your foot.
Other brands, like Merrill and Ecco, are built for a more narrow foot. (Birkenstock also offers a good selection for narrow feet.)
Also make sure that the straps will secure your heel adequately. Sandal straps are often a source of discomfort. Generally speaking, wider straps tend to be more comfortable for walking.
Best Walking Sandals – Criteria #2: Stability
You don’t want to be slipping around in your sandals. So you want a sole the conforms to your foot and straps that hold securely, without pinching or causing any blisters.
Plus, if you’re walking in sandals on uneven surfaces, like the cobblestone streets of ancient Italy or the trails of Colorado, you want a substantial sole between your feet and whatever’s underneath.
Best Walking Sandals – Criteria #3: Traction
No one wants to slip and fall just because the cobblestone streets got a bit wet. The best sandals for walking and traveling have real tread, and soft, grippy soles that will stand fast, regardless of the terrain. Some Tevas, which are the original sport sandals, actually have climbing rubber on the soles for super tacky grip on any surface.
Best Walking Sandals – Criteria #4: Adjustability
It takes time to dial-in a good pair of walking sandals. Often you’ll have to adjust the straps a number of times before you get your whole foot situated comfortably for long walks. Make sure the straps have plenty of room for adjustments, and heavy duty velcro closures.
Best Walking Sandals – Criteria #5: Fashion
Most sport sandals aren’t known for their style, but what you lose in looks you gain in practicality. The fact is, very few fashion sandals are equipped to keep you comfortable if you’re walking very far.
Best Walking Sandals – Criteria #6: Quality Construction
One thing’s for sure… you get what you pay for in walking sandals. If you just go to Costco and buy a cheap pair, they won’t even last you through the summer.
Buying shoes online is the best way to find the perfect fit.
I have to admit, I was skeptical at first. But buying shoes from Amazon beats the heck out of driving from one store to another, only to to get skunked on sizes and styles.
There are only a few shops in my town that carry shoes designed specifically for walking. There are a lot of hiking boots, and tons of running shoes, but very few walking shoes. So even if I drove to every single store I was often left with only a few lousy choices.
With Amazon, there are hundreds of choices. We recommend that you order at least two different shoes, in two different sizes each. Then put them on and wear them around the house for at least a half an hour. Take your time. Walk around in them. Go up and down the stairs and make sure they don’t slip, pinch or grab. That’s the best way to decide.
Then just send back the pairs that aren’t your top choice. Returns are easy, especially if you have Amazon Prime. Get your free trial here: Amazon Prime.
Birkenstock– The quintessential hippy sandal.
Birkenstocks are tops in the comfort-sandal category, leading sales at indie stores, followed by Finn Comfort, Naot, Vionic, and Keen.
Birkies are not for everyone, but people who wear them swear they’re the most comfortable sandals you’ll ever own.
Birkenstock now has some models that are designed with more “mainstream” styling. So don’t write them off just because you don’t like the original design from the 60’s.
Born Sandals – Handcrafted quality.
For more than a decade, Børn has been redefining casual footwear, combining handcrafted styles, premium leathers and fine details for men and women. Using Opanka construction, a European technique of hand-stitching the entire shoe in a single process, this allows Børn shoe to be extremely flexible and comfortable. The Atiana is a stylish choice for women who want a comfortable summer sandal. Crafted with elastic and leather straps that allow you to comfortably stroll through a beach town while on vacation. Tan or Black.
- Full-grain leather or metallic leather
- Leather lining
- Rubber outsole
- Opanka hand-crafted construction
- Heel Height: 0.75 Inches
Chaco Classic Sandals for walking
Chaco’s Classic series is comprised of only 8 component parts, making for the simple, timeless sandal design that made our name. Every pair comes standard with adjustable straps that custom-fits to your foot, a toe-loop for additional forefoot control, plus podiatrist-certified LUVSEAT PU footbed for all-day comfort and support. Now featuring ChacoGrip rubber for the best performing Classic outsole to date.
If you haven’t worn Chacos before, we’d suggest that you buy several different sizes and styles in order to find the one that suits you best. You can easily return anything to Amazon.
Here’s what one Amazon reviewer had to say:
“The most comfortable sandal I’ve owned. I do not like closed shoes so my primary form of shoe is sandals/flip-flops. I don’t buy inexpensive sandals because I know how important supportive shoes are to the foot. These sandals exceeded my expectations – knee pain – gone, foot pain -gone, walking all day then sitting down then getting up – no foot pain at all! Love these shoes!
Clarks – Sea Breeze Flip Flops for walking.
This is the only flip flop that we currently recommend for walking any distances.
Here’s what one Amazon reviewer had to say: I have had trouble finding a flip flop type sandal that was comfortable. The first time I put them on I felt this was too good to be true. The heel isn’t totally flat but does have some elevation. It is padded enough that it is comfortable. On the top there is an adjustable strap so that if it stretches some you can tighten them. I bought two pair. It is my favorite summer shoe
Ecco Yucatan Sandal – Up to any challenge.
These are rugged, long-lasting sandals with good arch support. Open toe style with Nubuck leather upper and a stretch fit textile lining.
Finn Comfort Sandals – True craftsmanship for your feet
Since 1945, Finn Comfort has handcrafted luxury European comfort footwear for women and men. Finn styles feature hand-stitched premium leathers, anatomically correct footbeds with arch and metatarsal support, and durable and shock-absorbing outsoles, ideal for extended wear. Great skill and expertise make Finn Comfort what it is today, a product of unsurpassed excellence meticulously handcrafted exclusively in Germany under the most stringent manufacturing and quality requirements.
Keen is the originator of toe protection. These rugged, well-built sandals will serve you well for any touristy trip or extreme adventure travel. The secure fit strap design adjusts for a comfortable fit. The rubber outsole features a multi-directional lug pattern and razor siping for the right traction over wet and dry surfaces. The metatomical footbed conforms to your foot’s shape for personalized comfort that’s way beyond ordinary.
From an Amazon review:
“These sandals are slightly molded and did a good job keeping my feet steady. The footbed wrap around the sides of my feet, and the straps fit snug enough that my feet didn’t slide around. I also liked that my toes were protected, especially since it is difficult to see the rocks when stirring up the mud while wading through water.”
Merrell Enoki sandals – function + fashion
If you’re looking for a sandal with just a little dressier look, try the Merrell Enoli. We would not recommend these for a full day of hard walking, but they’re great for evenings out. A toe ridge helps hold the foot in place, but it doesn’t work for everyone, so be sure to check the Amazon reviews before you order.
Naot Walking Sandals – Anatomically exceptional
This is an interesting brand that you might not be familiar with. The idea originated in northern Israel in the late 1980’s. “It’s fashionable to walk in comfort”, quickly conquered the world.
Naot manufactures a large variety of footwear with a unique anatomical footbed. The footbed is a “negative” print of the foot, just like the footprint we leave when walking in the sand. It is flexible, soft, shock absorbent, supports the heel and alleviates fatigue and pain. The footbeds are made of natural cork and latex and are covered in a pampering layer of suede. The uppers are made of high quality Italian leathers. Naot has gained a loyal customer following, which each year enjoys a new and exciting collection of comfortable shoes, clogs and sandals.
OOFOS Unisex Ooriginal Thong – Best Flip Flops for walking
As a general rule, we wouldn’t recommend flip flops for walking. However, if it’s summertime, and you’re suffering from Plantar Fasciitis or any other foot issues, these are worth checking out.
Oofos are biomechanically engineered to alleviate the foot stress and soreness caused by your daily grind.
Athletic shoe foams are designed to “rebound” and propel you forward. Revolutionary OOfoam does the opposite, absorbing 37% more shock with every step than traditional footwear foam. The soft, flexible OOfoam material enables your foot to articulate the way nature intended.
Unlike most flip-flops, the OOFOS patented footbed is designed with tremendous arch support to take the pressure off of ankles, knees and hips, as well as your lower back. OOFOS flex with both your foot and the ground.
OluKai Upena Sandal– Hawaiian inspired quality
Inspired by the feeling of bare feet in wet sand, OluKai builds their footwear with anatomically contoured footbeds to deliver the perfect balance of instant comfort and lasting support. Olukai’s thermoset rubber is a compound of natural and synthetic rubber that will not leave marks or ‘scuffs’ on surfaces of any type.
” I bought these sandals for a trip to Italy. I knew I would be walking much more than usual and that I wanted to still be fashionable – these were absolutely perfect! I already had a pair of ohana flip flops and loved them and honestly think these sandals are even more comfortable.” See more Amazon reviews:
Teva Omnium closed toe sandals – From the originators of the sport sandal category.
Teva was born in the Grand Canyon back in 1984, when a river guide rigged two Velcro watchbands to an old pair of flip flops and created the first sports sandal.
Teva’s Omnium hiking shoe brings the best of both worlds. This part-sandal, part-shoe hybrid has the light weight and breathability of a sandal, along with the added foot protection of a shoe. It also features three points of adjustability for enhanced fit and comfort.