Over the past few years we’ve seen walking sandals becoming increasingly popular as a much more comfortable and supportive alternative to traditional fashion sandals and cheap, nasty flip flops.
Perhaps people like the stripped down trainer designs, some may like the rugged style and no doubt everyone will appreciate walking sandals for being hard wearing.
But if you’re going to be enjoying the great outdoors, then what should you be looking for in a good walking sandal?
Cushioning, fit and durability are all top priorities, because unless you’re the kind of person who wears white socks with Birkenstocks (heaven forbid!) your feet won’t have thick socks to keep them safe. A poor quality walking sandal can rub blisters, fail to provide enough cushioning for walking on hard surfaces and generally fall apart during more active parts of your adventures.
Then we have the essential outdoor features, like grip, support and drying time. Is it okay to get these sandals wet? Do they provide good traction or do they slip off rocks and the like? Do they support the arches of your feet for a full day of walking?
Whether you’re choosing walking sandals for general use or outdoor activities, these are all important things to consider. And of course, if they’re mens walking sandals, odour eating anti-bacterial treatments are every bit as important as well.
Top 5 Walking Sandals Guide
All of the walking sandals in our top 5 have been chosen based on personal experience. We’ve got through a lot of footwear over the years! But we’ve chosen to stay within a £70 budget, because we doubt that anyone but the most dedicated outdoor enthusiast would spend more than that on a pair of sandals. We’ve also selected sandals from a variety of brands, styles and price points to offer a good range to choose from. It also ensures that there’s something for everyone.
So let us talk you through our top 5 and explain what’s so good about them.
Merrell Chameleon Kahuna III
The big kahuna of walking sandals is back with a detailed new design for extra breathability. Otherwise it’s exactly like the best selling Merrell Kahuna II and offers all the comfort, support and cushioning that makes Merrell footwear so popular. Made with suede finished nubuck leather, this sandal is a lot tougher than it looks or feels, making it ideal for use in and around water. Meanwhile the Vibram outsole offers multi-directional, non-slip grip for all surfaces.
The straps are easily adjustable to quickly achieve the perfect fit, the footbed is very comfortable and there’s plenty of cushioning for a whole day on your feet. They’re also antimicrobial, so they won’t develop a stale smell, even after getting them wet. All in all, Merrell Kahuna sandals are some of the best walking sandals you can buy.
Teva Terra Fi 3
When it comes to water sports, Teva is the brand that outdoor enthusiasts turn to. Their sandals have a reputation for grip on slippery surfaces while being comfortable, stylish and antimicrobial. The Terra Fi 3 champions all of these and fits exceptionally well thank to the fully adjustable Teva universal strapping system.
This is a fully supportive, high performance sandal with a secure, yet minimalist fit, which makes it popular with serious water sports enthusiasts and those seeking a sandal for any outdoor pursuit that’s tough enough to be used over and over again.
No doubt you’ve already spotted the similarities between the Karrimor Aruba and Teva Terra Fi. The fully adjustable strapping system is there, however the difference between the two is in the quality of materials and technologies. So the Karrimor Aruba is a more affordable option which offers the same comfortable fitting and style with a similar footbed. However the water sport features are lacking. But that still makes this a great sandal for walkers seeking cushioning, underfoot support and great grip for fields, trails and paths. And at half the price it’s a bargain.
For a more enclosed walking sandal, the Hi-Tec Owaka provides a more secure and comfortable fit to prevent rubbing while the excellent grip and underfoot cushioning takes the impact out of long walks. The nubuck material is particularly hard wearing while the soft, moisture wicking lining ensures that you feet stay cool and dry. They’re ideal if you’re looking for a sandal that doesn’t expose too much of your foot. However, we wouldn’t recommend getting them wet.
Merrell Women’s Siena
Beautifully styled and lightweight with comfortable instep and great grip, these are ideal womens walking sandals for casual summer strolls and every day wear. The suede finished nubuck leather is exceptionally hard wearing while an antimicrobial treatment keeps them fresh after extended wear. Meanwhile, the sticky rubber sole offers excellent grip on all surfaces, including wet ones. So while this isn’t designed to be an active sports sandal like the others, it’s perfectly suited to walking thought fields, trails and paths while being elegantly styled for casual every day comfort.
Whether you’re looking for something comfortable and hard wearing, highly supportive for walking or fully featured for all our outdoor adventures, then each of our five favourite walking sandals will have something for you.
You already know what you need some walking sandals for and how you’re going to use them, so to make choosing a little easier, we’ve created three awards to prioritise what’s important to you in a walking sandal.
Best Value: Karrimor Aruba
Half the price of the Teva and with all the similar comfort and fit enhancing features, the Karrimor Aruba is the obvious choice if you’d like a minimalist sandal with all the essentials. All the boxes for comfort, fit, grip and style can be ticked off and even the price is great too.
Best Performance: Teva Terra Fi 3
If high performance is what you’re seeking in your outdoor footwear, then Teva’s Terra Fi 3 sandal is definitely for you. Minimalist, yet secure fitting, incredibly comfortable and supportive with plenty of cushioning and a terrific grip while being built for the wettest, wildest outdoor adventures. It’s the walking sandal that can do absolutely everything, do anywhere and still come back smelling fresh.
Best Looks: Merrell Chameleon Kahuna III
Merrell has always made exceedingly good looking outdoor footwear and these Chameleon Kahuna III walking sandals are testament to that. But let’s not forget just how irresistably comfortable they are to wear, how much support they offer and how good the grip is. The Kahuna II was our top choice last time and this year the Merrell Kahuna III is our must have walking sandal.
Thanks for reading. We hope our walking experiences can help you to find the perfect outdoor sandals for your summer adventures.