Merging the best aspects of modern technical hiking and walking footwear with a more contemporary take on the classic sandal design, the walking sandal has come a long way over the past few years. To achieve our selection of Best 5 Sandals for Walking this year in 2016 we have trekked and hiked across a range of terrain in a varied selection.
We always look at a number of factors in choosing any of our yearly Top 5 guides here at Walking.org and this one for Walking Sandals is no exception. Expected elements like how comfortable they are and whether or not it lasts throughout the day; and how much grip they give in multiple ground and weather conditions are assessed along with the individual technical components, overall fit and protection from environmental factors as well. Looking at all of these amongst other factors helps us to establish which Walking Sandals are ideal for walking through spring and summer trails even when the weather gets a little wet so if you decide on trying a pair of open footwear you can be more informed on which to choose.
Our Top 5 Walking Sandals in 2016
Keen Venice H2 Walking Sandals
These ladies-specific hydrophobic hikers are closer to a shoe design than a sandal as they feature a toe box area, though if you are planning on walking on more mixed terrain, the added protection will certainly be welcome. The Keen Venice H2 walking sandals are made with a polyester webbing backed with a water-resistant mesh lining so are durable, easy to clean and are comfy with a decent fit which is secured with a lace-capture system. The footbed and midsole work together to cushion and support as you walk while underfoot the sole has multi-direction lugs, razor siping and non-marking rubber so grip and traction are maintained. Throughout these Keen Venice sandals have the environmentally friendly Aegis microbe shield which prevents odour bacteria from establishing which is a welcome factor, especially after all day on a hike.
Merrell Kahuna III Walking Sandals
These classic Merrell Kahuna III walking sandals have made it to our previous Best 5 sandal reviews previously and once you have slipped into a pair there’s no wonder as to why. The comfortable pig suede upper has a hook & loop closure so they fit all foot shapes well and are easy to make adjustments while on the move, plus Lycra neoprene on the inner is padded so stays comfortable and prevents chafing. In each heel is a Merrell Air Cushion which are great at not only absorbing shock while helping with torsional stability but can be compressed a fair amount and still be effective, so if you have a backpack with you these are ideal. A Vibram designed multi-sport outsole means you can walk just about anywhere in these and they will give plenty of grip and control.
Teva Dozer 4 Walking Sandals
If you prefer a style closer to that of a shoe, or want more protection in case you venture to adventures unknown during wet, warmer weather the Teva Dozer 4 walking sandals are a great choice. The upper is fully synthetic and in addition to the easy to use hook and loop closure these Teva sandals also have a toggle that gives extra control over a secure fit. Teva use their own proprietary technologies in these men’s Dozer 4 sandals which includes the impact and weight absorbing Shoc Pad in each heel and DuraBrasion rubber soles which have achieved a balance between hard wear and grip that really does work on a range of terrain and activities.
Salomon RX Break Walking Sandals
The Salomon RX Break sandals are a flip-flop style, but packed with technical features that support and cushion really well. Designed as a trail running recovery shoe, the Salomon RX Breaks are ideal for wearing at home or around base camp after a long day on the trail to help your feet recover more effectively. The EVA-shaped footbed is well cushioned for a lot of comfort and with Bi-Density foam and 360 Degree Sensifit technologies supports really well at the same time. Non-marking Contagrip is used on the soles of these Salomon RX Break walking sandals as it grips to most ground conditions quite well and sheds any dirt and debris that would normally collect in the lugs, so while you may not want to go on a full hike in these they are great for walking around camp or at the park.
Merrell Terran Convertible II Walking Sandals
These ladies-specific sandals from Merrell are great if you want a versatile option of a more casual, everyday almost slip-on style but with the option of attaching the back strap (normally already on in box) for greater upper coverage and a more secure fit. The Merrell Terrain Convertible II sandals have very stylish leather and mesh lined uppers and an overall design that makes them fashionable enough to suit most occasions, but with technical elements like a microfibre footbed with a Merrell Air Cushion, arch shank and M-Select GRIP outsoles they have all the support, stability and traction needed to go for a walk or hike on almost any trail in warmer weather.
So if you want open footwear to help keep your feet cool during warm climates that is also be durable, comfy and performs well on a hike wet during wet weather then any of our 2016 Best 5 Walking Sandals are more than up to the task. We have also given out three further awards highlighting specific factors that usually plays a part in most people’s decision making, so you can make a more informed choice on your next pair of walking sandals.
Best Value – Merrell Kahuna III Sandals
The Merrell Kahuna III walking sandals are great value compared to how versatile they are in that they are suitable for every trail we hiked on, wear durably and are available in gender specific fits as well so is ideal for most people.
Best Performance – Teva Dozer 4 Sandals
These Teva Dozer 4 sandals give the same level of performance as a decent pair of walking shoes but with wrap-around sections with cut-outs that make them sandals so they are easily able to support and grip wherever you decide to trek.
Best Looks – Keen Venice Sandals
We quite liked the style of these Keen Venice walking sandals as they have a nice shaped shoe silhouette and a clean design that looks smart. They also bridge the gap well between sandals and shoes with enough of both to suit a wide range of tastes.