If you spend a lot of time outdoors or at the beach, sandals are a smart summer footwear choice. They’re breathable and lightweight, so your feet will feel comfortable even on long walks or hikes. But not all sandals are created equal. The best ones offer both comfort and stability, and they won’t rub or chafe. They’ll also hold up when you take a detour into a creek or have to trek across wet, sandy terrain. And, ideally, they’ll look good as well.
To help you find the perfect pair, we’ve compiled this guide to the best sandals. We’ve included our top picks as well as reader favorites for every occasion, from walking to hiking to lounging at the beach or pool. We’ve also included some options that are better suited for specific outdoor activities, like water sports or day trips.
Getting a great fit is key for any sandals, especially if you have wide feet. Some brands run a bit small, so we suggest trying on multiple pairs before you buy. Also, some styles have adjustable straps, so you can tighten or loosen them to suit your preference. Finally, you should consider whether the sandals are odor-resistant and if they can be easily cleaned (a must in hot weather).
Most of the models we’ve rounded up have grippy rubber soles, making them suitable for trekking over rough or slippery terrain. We’ve also included several options that are made of waterproof materials or quick-drying synthetics, which is important if you’re going to wear them in wet conditions.
If you’re looking for something a little fancier than your standard flip flops, we recommend checking out sandals with molded footbeds and adjustable straps. For example, a Strategist editor describes these Birkenstock sandals as “extremely sexy.” She also loves that they have a closed-toe design and are sweatproof.
Sandals designed for water sports tend to have flatter soles that are better suited to wet surfaces, while still offering ample gripping power on rocks and other debris. Keen’s Newport H2 and Solr sandals, for example, have drainage ports on the upper that let you dump water out if you get soaked by a stream or lake.
If you want to go a step further than your average flip flop, check out this option from Teva. The brand’s original Universal sandal has a cork footbed that provides natural arch support, and it has a two-buckle leather upper for front-to-back freedom. It’s a solid choice for casual day-to-day walking, but we suggest upgrading to a more supportive sandal for longer excursions. For example, Teva’s Zymic model has a thicker midsole than the Original, Hurricane XLT2, and Terra Fi 5 sandals, so it’s a better choice for backcountry adventures or extended hiking trips. best sandals