When you think about purchasing hiking footwear for your upcoming adventure your thoughts probably don’t gravitate toward sandals. But maybe they should. Hiking boots have ruled the outdoor roost for decades but in recent years advances in design and materials have produced hiking sandals of extraordinary durability, comfort, and versatility. It’s to the point now that hiking sandals, and not hiking boots, should probably be considered the default footwear for certain types of backcountry excursions. Below we’re going to take a close look at the 10 best hiking sandals for men on the market today.
The Best Hiking Sandals For Men
The Keen Men’s Newport H2 may change the way you approach hiking. It possesses the arch support of a first-rate hiking boot, the comfort of athletic shoes and the open air coolness of the sandal. On top of that, it’s well-constructed top to bottom, slips on in seconds, dries out quickly after being dunked and weighs only a fraction of what your standard hiking boots weigh. Oh yeah, it also looks great.
The H2 features a thermoplastic polyurethane stability shank, a multipurpose non-marking sole that holds fast to wet slippery surfaces and 3mm lugs that provide plenty of grab when things get gnarly underfoot. The H2 also provides some of the best toe protection you’ll get in a hiking sandal and the webbing is treated with Aegis Microbe Shield technology to keep odors at bay.
Odor fighting Aegis Microbe Shield.
3mm lugs on a non-marking rubber outsole.
Secure lacing system.
Thermoplastic polyurethane stability shank.
Made in the USA.
- Modelnewport h2-m-M
- Weight12 oz
Merrell All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoes walk a fine line between hiking shoes and sandals. 20% more coverage in the upper and they’d be completely enclosed and be ineligible for this list. But as they are they’re an outstanding example of how footwear has evolved to make the outdoor experience more comfortable and enjoyable.
These are remarkably comfortable hiking sandals that are going to feel like you’ve been wearing them for a month as soon as you lace them up for the first time. Traction is excellent on dry ground, mixed terrain, screen or on wet, slippery rocks when crossing streams. If you dunk your Sieve Water Shoes while crossing any of those streams they’ll dry out in minutes. Construction throughout is first rate and we have to believe it would take quite a bit of use and abuse before these shoes would lose their integrity.
Synthetic sole with 3mm lugs.
Water resistant upper sheds water in a hurry.
Lightweight yet supportive.
Secure lacing system.
Double stitching throughout.
- Weight12 oz
If you plan on hiking a variety of developed and undeveloped trails you’ll want to consider the Keen Men’s Arroyo II hiking sandal. While they boast the airy quality of a standard sandal their outsole is anything but standard. The lugs are deep and hungry, the design generous and intended to promote stability and the wrap-over toe protection allows you to tackle those more challenging trails with confidence.
The Arroyo II is another hiking sandal that is extremely comfortable right out of the box. Irritation is minimal during the first few wears, the bungee lacing system ensures you get a nice snug fit in a hurry every time and there’s plenty of arch support. If there’s a downside to the comfort it’s that it is achieved, at least to some degree, by the lining of the insole which – when it gets wet – tends to stay wet for some time.
Leather upper with genuine rubber sole.
Protective rubber toe cap.
Bungee-style quick lace system.
Dual-density EVA insole.
Reinforced heel cup for stability.
- ModelArroyo II-M
- Weight2.3 lbs
Whereas some of our previous entries flirt with being a hiking shoe the Teva Men’s Omnium Closed-Toe Sandal goes in the opposite direction and looks to see how much it can strip away while still remaining a top-flight hiking sandal.
We love the metatarsal/heel dual Velcro strap combo. It provides perhaps the firmest, most comfortable hold of any hiking sandal we tested, including some of those that had much bulkier bodies and more involved lacing systems. The synthetic leather is to be expected in such an affordable hiking sandal but doesn’t in any way detract from the look or impede performance.
Synthetic leather and mesh upper.
Dual Velcro closure straps.
ShocPad heel absorbs impacts.
Close toe protection.
- Weight13 oz
Occupying the extreme end of the minimalist hiking sandal spectrum is the Chaco Men’s Z/2 Unaweep Sandal. These are intended for those leisurely Sunday afternoon hikes in the State Park, long walks through the woods with man’s best friend and long strolls on the beach. If you intend to use your sandals for anything more intensive you’ll need to pick up more intensive sandals.
Still, for what they do these Chaco sandals do it well. They’re comfortable, cool, durable, very light and provide lots of support through the arch. The Vibram outsole actually makes promises the upper likely can’t keep. But it’s better to have a little too much sole than not enough. It’s debatable whether these would make good watersport sandals but there’s no doubt they’re spot on for light hiking.
Durable no-slip Vibram sole.
Synthetic upper straps.
Contoured footbed cradles your feet.
Robust arch support.
- ModelZ2 UNAWEEP-M-M
- Weight1.6 oz
Teva makes a lot of great footwear and these XLT hiking sandals are yet another example. So what separates these minimalist hiking sandals from being standard walking sandals? First of all, they provide beaucoup arch support. They also boast a high-quality genuine rubber sole that’s both grippy and light. The heel cup and Velcro closures hold your foot snug even when the terrain becomes less than ideal and they feature the company’s ShocPad impact absorption system.
Designed to allow you to glide over developed trails and well-maintained boot paths these allow your feet to stay cool even on the hottest day. The nylon webbing is more forgiving than it looks and the nylon shank helps buttress the already formidable arch support while also providing lateral stability. The ShocPad technology means you can bound down the trail with abandon and the XLT is so light it’s never going to be an anchor on your outdoor activities.
Genuine Durabrasion rubber outsole.
Ultra-durable nylon straps.
ShocPad impact absorption.
- Weight12 oz
Atika Men’s Sport Sandals are comfortable, versatile, stable and lightweight. They feature a simple and effective tug-and-secure bungee lacing system, an all-synthetic PU upper, a comfortable EVA midsole and buying a pair isn’t going to send you to the poor house. The triple layer toe protection is some of the best you’ll find, while the open strapping system permits optimal ventilation and water expulsion.
The rubber sole features a multi-directional lug pattern that, while not optimal for muddy surfaces or other terrains where you really need to bring the bite, will be more than satisfactory for developed trails, most boot paths and even some undeveloped trails that see lots of traffic. These mens hiking sandals provide a real sense of lateral stability, which is important if you’re to avoid turning an ankle in your sandals. The double stitching throughout is also welcome.
Quick release lacing system.
Triple layer toe protection.
Multidirectional lug pattern.
- Weight3.2 oz
If you’re looking for a pair of comfortable hiking sandals that will serve you well on day hikes where you’re carrying a minimal complement of gear and you don’t anticipate straying from the developed trails, these Fi 4 Sandals from Teva should be just what the doctor ordered. They’re light, airy, durable and provide generous support in the arch with excellent grip on both dry and wet terrain. They also feature Microban anti-odor technology that keeps them smelling good.
These are lightweight and sleek so if you need to switch to your regular hiking shoes they’ll slip away into your backpack with ease. The sole features the company’s durable, sticky Spider Rubber and the SoftShoc heel pad does a great job ensuring you’re not worn down by constant impacts with the trail. They’ll be quickly overwhelmed if you’re sporting a full, 80-pound backpack. But for vigorous day hikes with a light load, they’re hard to beat.
Durable nylon strapping.
Microban anti-odor technology.
SoftShoc impact-absorbing heel pad.
Anterior and posterior Velcro straps.
Open toe design.
- Weight3 lbs
The Yucatan from ECCO is as tough as it is attractive, as versatile as it is durable and as open as it is supportive. It’s no small trick to pull all that off but when you slip your foot into the Yucatan and fasten down the Velcro closures you’ll feel like you’ve just laced up a pair of expensive hiking boots. Except your feet won’t feel heavy and hot.
The Yucatan is a high-performance hiking sandal that doesn’t aspire to be anything other than what it is. It sports the traditional open toe design of the sandal, no lacing, no tongue, and shallow lugs. If you plan on spending a week at Yosemite or Yellowstone next summer they’ll be the perfect accompaniment on your day hikes. If the Yucatan has a weakness it’s the microfiber cover on the EVA footbed that tends to stay wet a bit too long once it gets wet. Other than that it’s all good.
Nubuck leather upper.
EVA contoured footbed.
PU midsole cushioning.
Genuine rubber outsole.
Double stitching throughout.
- Weight2 lbs
The Uneek Men’s Sandal from Keen looks like something designed by the late, great H.R. Giger. Fortunately, they’re far more user-friendly than they might at first appear. The woven cord and faux leather upper is fully integrated with the drawcord lacing system. The PU midsole provides lots of support and the anatomically designed footbed helps the sandal provide impressive lateral stability while defusing impact forces.
The corded nature of the Uneek is not going to appeal to everyone and those that it does appeal to will find that the cords stretch a bit over time and make it something of a challenge to slip your foot in without snagging your toes. So why is it on our list? Because once you do manage to break these puppies in they’re actually very comfortable hiking sandals, very airy, hold up well regardless of how much weight you’re carrying (within reason of course) and because they do a really good job on developed paths.
Woven cord and faux leather upper.
Quick release bungee drawcord.
Available in a range of colors.
- ModelUNEEK Mens-M
- Weight2 lbs
Best Hiking Sandals Buying Guide & FAQ
How We Chose Our Selection of Hiking Sandals
When testing hiking sandals we looked at a number of important factors: comfort, durability, water resistance, traction and weight among them. In some cases, a particular model of sandal may have been far more comfortable over the course of a day than other models but did very little, if anything else, well. Or it may have excelled in arch support but failed everywhere else. A sandal like that would not make our list. The bottom line is there are no one-trick-ponies here. All of the best hiking sandals profiled above demonstrate outstanding all-around quality and versatility. With our Best Choice ranking highest in the largest number of categories.
Things to Consider When Buying Hiking Sandals
- Type of hiking - If you are planning day hikes in the foothills of the Alps during the summer months hiking sandals could be an ideal choice. Likewise, if you’re heading down into the Grand Canyon or doing any of the spectacular day hikes around Zion or Yosemite. On the other hand, if the temperature is going to be anywhere near freezing or you think you’re going to encounter snow or ice leave the hiking sandals behind. If you are planning a hike that is going to involve lots of steep ascents you’ll also want to leave the hiking sandals at home. Either that or in your pack to wear around the campsite at the end of the day.
- Open design vs. Closed design - There are some things you want to try and avoid at all cost when hiking including soggy feet, cold feet, insufficient traction, twisted ankles and injuries from falling objects. So if you’ll be hiking on a trail that is known to have mixed terrain with boulder fields, or lots of steep ascents with a mixture of dirt and lose rocks, it’s important that your hiking sandals have closed toes. There are few things as painful as having a rock loosened by someone above you on the trail come crashing down on your exposed toes. On the other hand, if your plan is to hike something like the Crawford Path along the Presidential Range during June or July with its gentle inclines, cool mossy evergreen forests and well-tamped surfaces above the tree line, then open toe mens hiking sandals should be just what the doctor ordered.
- Sole - The sole of the sandal is where the rubber hits the road, or rather the trail. It’s where the power you generate is transferred to the ground. Your ability to do so effectively will make your hike much easier and more enjoyable. Whereas if you are constantly wasting energy by slipping and sliding you’ll be in for a long, exhausting day and may open yourself up to avoidable injuries as well. The soles of your hiking sandals should have a nice grippy quality to them that will hold onto the rocks even in light rain or when you’re crossing a stream. Ideally, there should be a variety of lugs that will provide traction on a variety of surfaces from loose dirt to flat rock to mixed terrain.
- Waterproofness - Waterproof sandals seem like something of a misnomer. After all, sandals are open by nature and so keeping your feet dry in the rain or while crossing a stream in sandals would be impossible. So obviously when it comes to waterproofing we’re not talking about keeping your feet dry. We’re talking about how well the sandals themselves react to getting wet. It’s important that your footwear, regardless of what it is, doesn’t become a sloppy, greasy sponge lashed to your foot. You want a hiking sandal that will take you through that puddle or stream or muddy stretch and dry out quickly with no adverse effects afterward.
- Traction - If you are sticking mostly to developed trails and boot paths that are well-maintained and free of loose debris or other hazards you won’t need serious lugs on the sole of your hiking sandals. Then again, if you are heading into the backcountry where you plan to tackle less well-maintained scramble paths and primitive trails you can be sure you’re going to need deeper lugs to maintain a secure hold with what’s underfoot. In short, the amount of traction in your hiking sandal will increase with the difficulty of the trail. Another consideration is water. If the trails you plan to hike are known to be sloppy or you have reason to expect rain during your adventure you’ll want to be sure your soles have plenty of traction.
Hiking Sandals FAQ
Q: Is it Safe to Hike in Sandals?
A: That depends entirely on what kind of hiking you plan to do. If you plan to stick to the developed trails that see lots of maintenance hiking sandals should be fine. Likewise, if you’re hiking on boot paths that may not see so much maintenance but may get lots of traffic anyway. In both instances, hiking sandals should be perfectly safe to hike in. They might even enhance the hiking experience by allowing you to shed some of the weight of traditional hiking shoes.
On the other hand, if you are planning to hike unmaintained or abandoned trails you’re probably going to encounter lots of mixed terrain, loose rocks, tree roots and the like. All these things significantly increase the likelihood of you twisting, spraining or even dislocating your ankle if you don’t have enough ankle support. So in a case like that, you’d have to say it may not be safe to hike in sandals.
Q: When Can I Wear Hiking Sandals?
A: There are several occasions when hiking sandals may be a better choice than hiking boots. For instance, during the summertime hiking sandals should be your default choice unless the particulars of the trail you plan to hike call for something more substantial. Even then you may want to stow a pair of hiking sandals in your backpack to wear once you’ve established a campsite.
Hiking sandals are also a smart choice if the weather is warm and you know that it’s either going to be raining while you’re on the trail or that the trail itself crosses a lot of rivers and streams. Hiking boots can take forever to dry out and if you get them wet several times a day you’ll likely be hiking all day in sloppy blister factories. Good, water-resistant men's hiking sandals, on the other hand, should dry out in short order.
Keep in mind too that on those scorching hot summer days when you’re trekking through Arches National Park in hiking sandals your feet are going to require plenty of sunscreens or you’ll have a big problem on your hands at the end of the day.
Q: Do Hiking Sandals Provide Support?
A: One of the things that separate the best hiking sandals from standard walking sandals is that hiking sandals typically provide a great deal of arch support. This enables you to pound the trail for hours at a time and get more out of your efforts. What hiking sandals don’t provide is ankle support. So if you are planning to go off the developed trails, into the backcountry and/or up steep, poorly delineated paths that are not maintained you’d be smart to wear standard hiking boots.