The Best Long Distance Sandals Buying Guide

The summer essentials cart is incomplete without sandals, especially if you like to sweat it out on long journeys.

But millions of sandals have flooded the market, and you don’t want to buy a shitty pair that will tear apart after a single walk.

We made this job a lot easier, and this post is for the top ten sandals. They went through a rigorous selection process, and each of them excels in a certain area.

We also have a detailed buying guide to help you understand the trivial details behind a sandal and list the reasons why sandals are becoming increasingly popular.

KEEN Newport H2 Sandal

Score

  • Comfort – 10/10
  • Support – 9/10
  • Traction – 9/10
  • Durability – 7/10

Teva Omnium Closed-Toe Sandal

Score

  • Comfort – 7/10
  • Support – 9/10
  • Traction – 9/10
  • Durability – 9/10

FILA Men’s Transition Athletic Sandal

Score

  • Comfort – 8/10
  • Support – 8/10
  • Traction – 9/10
  • Durability – 8/10

Dockers Men’s Newpage Gladiator Sandal

Score

  • Comfort – 9/10
  • Support – 8/10
  • Traction – 7/10
  • Durability – 9/10

Chaco Women’s Zx2 Athletic Sandal

Score

  • Comfort – 8/10
  • Support – 8/10
  • Traction – 8/10
  • Durability – 6/10

Birkenstock Arizona Unisex Soft Footbed Sandal

Score

  • Comfort – 9/10
  • Support – 7/10
  • Traction – 7/10
  • Durability – 8/10

Vionic Mens Neil Sport Sandal

Score

  • Comfort – 9/10
  • Support – 8/10
  • Traction – 9/10
  • Durability – 8/10

Birkenstock Unisex Arizona EVA Sandals

Score

  • Comfort – 7/10
  • Support – 7/10
  • Traction – 8/10
  • Durability – 6/10

Crocs Men’s Swiftwater Sandal

Score

  • Comfort – 7/10
  • Support – 7/10
  • Traction – 7/10
  • Durability – 7/10

Pali Hawaii Unisex Classic Jesus Sandals

Score

  • Comfort – 6/10
  • Support – 6/10
  • Traction – 6/10
  • Durability – 7/10

How to Choose Sandals – Buying Guide

Sandals are very popular. They imitate the barefoot running experience very well and have a breathable and lightweight design. Some sandals now come with sturdy soles, making them a preferred choice for hikers.

How do I choose my hiking sandal? What material should I look for? Which sandals are suitable for long distances?

We’ll answer all of that in this section, explaining the differences between hiking sandals and how you should choose your first hiking sandal.

Before we dive into the specific metrics to look for, let’s give you a quick rundown of the benefits you can get from a walking sandal.

Advantages of a Walking Sandal

  1. Breathable – One of the major reasons people opt for sandals is the greater ventilation offered by them. Your feet are left exposed, and the added circulation helps in drying up the sweat.
  2. Lightweight – Walking sandals have a much lighter construction when compared to shoes. The overall lighter constructions make them a preferred choice for campers.
  3. Comfort – Due to greater ventilation and cushiony soles, sandals are extremely comfortable especially while walking long distances.
  4. Easier to Maintain – When compared to shoes, sandals are easier to clean. If you go for synthetic sandals, you can easily wipe off the dirt. They also resist water, keeping your feet nice and dry.

That being said, some people prefer the design and the almost barefoot experience that comes with sandals. But if the above four reasons make sense, there will soon be a pair of hiking sandals in your shopping cart.

So you’ve decided on a pair, but how do you end up on the perfect pair? The next section will help you.

It’s in the Design

The very first thing to look for is the design. Hiking sandals can be roughly divided into two closed and open designs. Here’s more about them.

Closed Design

As the name suggests, such sandals have a closed design at the front. They offer better protection and can be used over short distances. They provide protection from small stones and protect your feet from blisters (and cuts).

On the back, the closed design has an impact on breathability. Closed-toe sandals are usually recommended for beginners looking for protection on hot summer hikes.

Open Design

Open sandals are more breathable and have fewer closures. This makes them light and easy to put in your backpack. This makes them an ideal choice for camping as they can be easily tucked into your backpack.

However, they don’t stop and are usually recommended for paved trails.

The Construction

Other than the closures, the next thing you need to look for is the footbed, midsole, and outsole.

As sandals are increasingly preferred by hikers, manufacturers are now opting for sturdy soles. They give you a better grip on muddy trails and offer better protection against rocks. However, if you want to run around the city, go for flatter outsoles.

You should also look for cushioned footbeds that give your feet extra support on uneven terrain. In combination with an EVA midsole, a padded footbed offers comfort all day. (EVA midsoles also help keep your foot stable.)

Finally, the Fabric

Since most of you would wear these sandals without socks, the fabric has a huge impact on comfort. Usually leather or synthetic fabrics are used by manufacturers, and each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Leather Walking Sandals

If you hate sweaty feet, we recommend leather sandals. Sandals with leather straps will absorb your sweat and keep your feet nice and dry. So if you’re going for a hike on a hot, sunny day, a pair of leather sandals is your best bet.

On the other hand, they don’t treat external water as well. Of course, leather takes a long time to dry, and overall we’d stay away from leather sandals on rainy days.
Some manufacturers now offer sandals that are treated with silicone. This will prevent bacteria from building up on your sandals if you come across a puddle of water.

Synthetic Walking Sandals

Synthetic sandals (made from materials like lycra and neoprene) excel on wetter trails. They dry out quickly, prevent bacteria from building up and keep your feet sweat-free.

Durability is the primary concern of a synthetic sandal and they usually don’t stand the test of time.

Using the three metrics above, we created our list of the best walking sandals. No magical couple fits every criterion. Every sandal is better than less on a certain metric.

Conclusion

In summary, sandals are recommended for long distances because they are comfortable, offer adequate support, but above all, provide your feet with adequate ventilation.

For a hike, you can choose a closed-toe sandal, but a slip-on sandal makes more sense for a stroll around town.