In summer walking becomes a lot more pleasurable and it’s time to start thinking about slimming down the walking gear choosing more lightweight apparel to get you through the best walking months of the year. As spring moves into summer and the temperatures start to spiral upwards, it’s good to get some much needed air to the feet. There are some excellent outdoor sandals on the market for replacing heavy winter walking shoes, which are perfect for the trail, walking the dog, shopping and relaxing in the summer sunshine.
All of the big names in performance footwear offer a great range of outdoor sandals which provide the same foot cushioning technology as their beefier boot cousins. They are sure to keep the feet comfortable and cool when it gets a little sweatier and your plates start to swell up from the heat. We take a closer look at some of the best models on the market to help you choose the best designs for your walking needs, which will give the right level of performance and are guaranteed to help you look great with shorts and a flimsier lightweight summer wardrobe.
Our Top 5 Outdoor Sandals
Merrell Chameleon II Kahuna
The classic bestselling sandal from outdoor footwear giants Merrell and as you would expect from a chameleon, they’re incredibly comfortable. Stylish, hard wearing and comfortable, they feature soft pigskin uppers with a neoprene/spandex lining for a comfort fit and a rear adjustable suspension strap to ensure no heel slippage. A DeepDish 3D contour footbed keeps the feet sunken in the sandal and curved sole gives additional protection to the toes. For grip you can depend on the Vibram rubber sole with 4.5mm lugs, and give added protection with a forefoot plate and air cushioned midsole. They pack in a lot of technology and it’s no surprise they are one of the top selling brands of outdoor sandals for both men and women.
Developed to provide the perfect crossover between a summer sandal and hardcore multisport shoe. Keen are the champions of toe protection with their patented rubber toe guard, and a synthetic hydrophobic upper makes these sandals perfect for more amphibious pursuits. These stylish brown sandals feature a drawstring quick lace system for a secure fit, and a chunky carbon sticky sole for maximum grip on dry land and underwater. For comfort, a compression moulded EVA footbed has been constructed from an anatomical last to mould perfectly to the foot. Sure to keep you on your feet in all conditions, they offer the maximum comfort and keep the feet healthy with an AEGIS Microbe Shield to keep foot odour at bay. In short, they are a terrific all-round beach and walking sandal with the highest foot protection.
North Face Hermano
For a featherweight design with heavyweight performance the Hermano offers a super light sandal at a shade over 250g per shoe. They can be worn as a sandal or a slide with a removable heel strap, and the synthetic Nubuck construction is both hardwearing and vegan friendly. A super sticky Hydrotrak razor cut sole gives excellent wet and dry grip over all terrain, and a super-soft SBR lining provides for perfect comfort. The shoes feature an innovative X-frame design to reduce torque and foot slippage over uneven surfaces, and a recessed hook and closure system offers a secure quick release fit. Fully water resistant and double stitched uppers give long lasting wear in all conditions, plus they can be easily fixed to the outside of a backpack for a quick change on long treks.
Merrell Chameleon Cargo
Technically it’s a sandal, however it behaves more like a rugged off-road walking shoe and gives the ultimate protection over all terrain. If you want to make the transition from walking shoes to sandals gently, then this is the model for you. They feature a removable heel strap to enable wear as a sandal or slip-on, with an anatomical Ortholite footbed, injection moulded arch shank, speed lace system and padded neoprene lining for super day-long comfort. High quality Vibram soles have 4mm lugs for excellent multi surface grip and a thick EVA underfoot frame gives excellent shock absorption. It’s an excellent sandal for picking up the pace and one of the best designs for toe protection and keeping the feet in cool summer comfort.
When it comes to brown leather sandals, Birkenstock are top of the list, providing some of the most stylish sandals on the market. Perfect for light walking in the summer, they are the number one sandal for holidays abroad. Whilst not providing the rugged high technology for serious off-road capability, when it comes to flat promenades, cool evening wear and long lasting comfort there are few better on the market. For extra comfort they offer an anatomically moulded cork latex footbed with excellent cross arch support. A toe gripper and deep heel cup allow the feet to sit low in the shoe and keep the sandals firmly on the feet. This two strap design is a classic and year round bestseller, and is constructed in leather, Nubuck or Birko-Flor vegan-friendly synthetic leather.
If you want to look good this summer whilst keeping the feet cool and comfortable, it’s time to put away the walking boots until winter and opt for some lightweight summer footwear. Not only will a good quality pair of outdoor sandals protect and cushion the feet on arduous hikes, they will be great for the beach, the garden or just pottering about round town. In terms of value for money, no matter what pair you choose you will get the maximum use throughout the warmer months and will probably not want to wear anything else all summer.
With styles to suit all walks of life you can be sure that no matter where you go, the last thing you need to worry about will be the comfort of your feet. So get out there, get walking and embrace the outdoors this summer. Walking for fitness couldn’t be better!