This is a gear review about the best hiking sandals for backpacking and hiking 2022.
Some hikers love to use Hiking Sandals for backpacking, as a replacement for lightweight hiking boots or lightweight hiking shoes. Just add a pair of hiking socks and off you go. Backpacking with hiking sandals places less of a burden on your feet compared with heavy boots.
When at camp, using a pair of ultralight hiking sandals for camp shoes gives the feet a chance to rest and recover after a long day of hiking. They also make a great pair of footwear for river crossings.
Which one should you buy? Having looked at what is important in a hiking sandals, I prepared a list of the best hiking sandals for your consideration.
Table of Contents
- Best Hiking Sandals 2022
- Best Hiking Sandal 2022
- Best Ultralight Hiking Sandal 2022
- Best of the Rest – Lightweight Hiking Sandals
- Most Durable Hiking Sandal 2022
- Buyers Guide
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Hiking Sandals 2022
The Best Hiking Sandals in 2022 are:
- Keen Newport H2
- Bedrock Sandles Cairn 3D Adventure
- Xero Z-Trail
- Chaco Z/2 Classic
- Chaco Z/2 Cloud 2
- Teva Universal
- Teva Hurricane XLT2
- Merrell Choprock Sandal
- Teva Terra Fi5 Universal
- Keen Clearwater CNX
The first thing we need to talk about is the grip. For any hiking shoe, traction is a necessity, and in the Newport H2 they have it in spades. These are my current favorite hiking sandals and the ones I use on day hikes at the moment.
The soles on these sandals have traction in all but muddy trails. It is also using non-marking rubber which means that no marks will be left should you go inside.
It has a soft insole and the soft polyester webbing mean that your feet stay comfortable all day, no matter the length of your journey.
The fit is super comfortable thanks to a wide toebox. And there is lots of protection for the toes thanks to the enclosed rubber toe guard.
The Keen Newport Sandal uses a hydrophobic mesh lining to prevent the sandal becoming heavy when wet. It is a solid sandal that shouldn’t break, crack, or absorb water, meaning you don’t have to worry about losing a shoe on a trek, and they are even machine washable. The one thing about these sandals, they are heavy.
Overall, these are the best sandals for backpacking.
With a more minimalist design than competitors, you would think the Bedrock Cairn 3D Adventure would lose some edge. However, anything lost on top has been put into the grip of the shoe, allowing it to hold traction in muddy terrain.
Comfort is at a premium, as less material means less rubbing on your feet, so blisters and sensitive skin are kept to a minimum.
While you would think this would mean that the sandal would be loose on your foot, the 3 adjustable straps on top keep it in place tightly and securely.
The minimal nature of the design can lead to wearing on the sole a little, but it takes an extremely long time for the sandal to reach that point. Even if the sole wears away, it is easily replaced.
Overall, these are the best ultralight hiking sandals and the best lightweight camp sandals.
The Z-trail offers a hardened rubber outer sole that will cling to rocks or trails with ease, while also remaining remarkably flexible, able to bend to the shape of your foot and object underneath.
The sole of the sandal is made up of three layers with the top one being foam, which adds a level of comfort. Not only that, but the straps cross your foot, meaning less pressure and therefore less likelihood of sore skin or blisters.
The flexibility and contouring of the shoe, mean that no matter the situation the Z-trail will still be strong and sturdy, showing no hints of cracks or tears that other sandals may get.
This level of durability is even more impressive when you realize the shoes are 100% vegan.
Overall, these are a very well made pair of lightweight hiking sandals.
Their flagship products always include adjustable outdoor sandals and have always focussed on practicality above all things.
Having a hard-plastic outsole, the Z/2 utilizes Siping to increase traction on the sandal, while having a wide base with secure straps means that this sandal is incredibly stable under foot.
Unfortunately, it is the comfort on the Z/2 that lets it down, as the sole is hard and offers little comfort to new feet. Over time, the comfort level increases, but it is not something you want to worry about when paddling down a river or using as camp shoes only.
What the Z/2 loses in comfort, it more than makes up for in durability, with the hard shell of the shoe incredibly resistant to any form of damage, which is very useful when you are miles away from any kind of help.
Overall, these a strong hiking sandal best suited as a camp sandal or for use on shorter hiking trails.
Moving onto the second entrant from Chaco now, with the Z/2 Cloud 2. Designed to be as sturdy as the Z/2 Classic, but with added comfort for ease of wearing and for more casual hikers.
As with before, the grip on the Cloud 2 is fantastic, the wide base providing ample support to the hard plastic sole and, even with adjustments made to the shoe, it still has great traction.
Now we come to comfort and although a lot of improvement has been made to the Cloud 2, it still suffers from having to wear them in overtime that other sandals do not. However, with the added cushion on top, this time is dramatically reduced.
Once again, Chaco shows outstanding dedication to durable footwear, with the cloud 2 losing very little in the way of durability, despite the added comfort.
Overall, these are the best Chaco Hiking Sandals for day hiking or for use as a camp sandal.
Teva are a very hard candidate to ignore when looking at any kind of hiking sandals and with the Teva Universal available everywhere, it became very hard to ignore them for this list.
Being one of the first of Teva’s sandals made, it has very quickly gone from outback to high street with part of the reason being the strong rubber base providing great support and not slipping easily on any surface.
I wore a pair of these sandals for 10 years. That is how durable they are, they just work and last a long time.
The robust insole with its slightly spring texture is designed to be worn all day every day in any kind of environment. Hiking, kayaking down the river or as camp shoes, these sandals have you covered. These sandals are perfect for the modern outdoors.
Thanks to the good design and rubber outsole, these sandals are designed to last and have endured blistering sidewalk heat and muddy trails without issue.
Overall, these are the most durable hiking sandals on the market and designed to last a very long time.
Having a second sandal appear on this list shows the hallmarks of a quality brand in Teva. The Teva Hurricane XLT2 is the Universal with added benefits, designed more for sporting events than casual camping.
In the Hurricane, Teva increased the depth of the outsole with further rubber attachments. While this allows for greater traction on slippery surfaces, it maintains a good amount of flexibility keeping you stable on uneven surfaces.
Not only does the Hurricane have a cushioned insole for comfort, but it also has a cushioned heel. Taking pressure away from the heel on long or difficult journeys, increases comfort exponentially and lets you enjoy yourself more.
Overall, the Teva Hurricane XLT2 is a solid pair of hiking sandals.
The Choprock is designed for days on the trail and with that in mind it has been given a compression insole that increases stability and support by moving with your foot.
Along with grip support on the bottom, this provides plenty of traction on the trail.
For comfort, the insole is removable to allow for any water or grime to be removed easily, and it is contoured to the shoe itself, for easy refitting without losing grip.
Completed with a toe guard and water-resistant material, your feet are kept comfortable throughout your excursion.
Designed to be washed, cleaned, and generally interact with water, these sandals are built to last no matter the environment or how often they are used.
Overall, these are one of the best hybrid shoe and sandal which is often called a shandal, that is comfortable for use on the trail.
With the last of 3 whole entries on this list, Teva comes to us with what has been described as the ultimate all-terrain sandal, the Teva Terra Fi5 Universal seems an upgrade to the universal and considering how good that sandal is this should pique your interest.
Increasing on the strong foundation the Universal sandal gave us, the Fi5 increases the size of the outsole for more aggressive sporting or trekking activities.
This is done to improve traction and give you the support you need without worrying about breakages or cracks.
As before, these sandals have the same springy insole, allowing for all-day comfort. They also capitalize on the material used, with molded insole cushions for added comfort.
Made with water-friendly polymer and added rubber outsole, these sandals are resistant to water damage and slippery or uneven terrain, making them less likely to break under stress.
Going full circle now back to the first company on our list with Keen, this time though they have a new and lighter sandal. The CNX sacrifices some material with the intent to make a more streamlined sandal.
With the sacrificed material you would worry that the CNX would lose some grip, since most of the material taken away was from the straps and the toe area, the outsole is still very robust and gives a good grip.
There is a little problem with comfort in that these sandals appear slightly tighter and narrower than the Newport Sandals.
With the streamlined design, these sandals are durable and should last as long as the Newport.
Overall, these are a lighter version of the Keen Newport and one of the best lightweight hiking sandals.
When it comes to buying hiking sandals, the key thing to think about is are they going to be as robust and useful as boots without the negatives.
With boots, we know what we are looking for, and we should use this line of thought for sandals, as they are going to be put through the same paces.
As such, I settled on three things that every hiker needs from a good boot, while applying them to sandals.
Traction is incredibly important. If you are hiking in the rain, on a muddy trail, or over unstable ground, you want your sandals to grip the surface well. All the sandals in this gear review do that.
If you are wandering the trails all day, miles from home in the middle of nowhere, or out on the river or ocean, the very last thing you want is a blister, soreness, or cramp in your foot.
Discomfort from your backpacking sandals sours your enjoyment and leaves you in pain throughout, with a worst-case scenario leaving you unable to continue and potentially stranded. This makes comfort essential for hiking sandals.
This is perhaps the most important factor in deciding hiking footwear. Loss of traction makes you slower and more careful, lack of comfort can slow you down and sometimes stops you, the loss of your footwear through breakage can leave you stranded. If you are climbing or walking through thick undergrowth in the forest, a broken shoe is the worst possible outcome. Any continuation would mean injuring yourself and leaving you vulnerable, it also might mean you can’t turn around depending on how far you have come.
This list has provided some of the best hiking sandals on sale. We looked at the traction they have, the comfort they provide, and the durability they need for you to progress.
Without appropriate footwear, it would be impossible for many adventures to even start, making them some of the most important equipment available to the experience and the beginner alike.
Should you be deciding on a new trek or having already started one, be sure to keep ahead of the curve by purchasing the appropriate hiking sandal for you.
The overall best hiking sandal is the Keen Newport H2.
The overall best ultralight hiking sandal is the Bedrock Sandles Cairn 3D Adventure.
The overall best lightweight hiking sandal is the Keen Clearwater CNX.
The overall most durable hiking sandal is the Teva Universal.
Frequently Asked Questions
This question is dependent on your circumstances. If you are hiking through boggy terrain with a high chance of objects injuring unprotected feet, then a boot is the obvious choice.
However, if you are hiking through coastal areas with open ground, then sandals are probably a better choice. It is about weighing up your options and choosing appropriately.
No, you can use them however you wish! The comfort and ease at which they are put on means many people use them in lieu of regular shoes, especially at hotter times of year.
In fact, many people have them as a kind of outdoor slipper, allowing the indoor pair to remain intact. The durability of the sandal as well means they can last no matter what you are using them for.
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