How to Find the Best Sandals
Whether frolicking in the surf or tackling a hiking trail, sandals offer a great alternative to clumsy shoes and keep your feet cool and comfy. But the best ones do more than that: smart design details like flexible straps that cradle your foot, cushioning that absorbs impact, and wedges that shift weight off tender areas prevent feet from getting tired. The right sandals can even prevent foot pain in the long run. The wrong ones, meanwhile, can lead to blisters and stubbed toes.
The best outdoor sandals run the gamut from minimalist designs with basic features to purpose-built options built for hiking and water sports. The latter may boast a specialized tread pattern or be geared for specific terrain, and their weight varies, too. In general, sandals designed for hiking and water sports tend to weigh more than those designed for everyday use.
Sandals also come in open-toe and closed-toe options, with the former leaving your toes vulnerable to stubbed or scraped feet. Closed-toe designs are more common in sandals designed for walking around water and include models like Keen’s Newport H2 and Solr and Hoka’s Hopara that feature rubber patches on the front to guard against direct impacts, which are a common occurrence when traversing rocky riverbeds or shorelines.
When shopping for the best sandals, Sutera recommends looking for a pair with an adjustable ankle strap and a heel clip to customize the fit. She also suggests testing the sandals by bending them to see if they’re pliable enough. “If they’re completely twisted, you won’t get the support and protection you need,” she says. “You should also try pushing down on the soles to see if they feel springy and cushioned.”
Another thing to look for in the best sandals is an upper that won’t rub or cause hot spots. And as with any shoe, it’s best to try on the footwear at the end of the day, when your feet are at their largest, to get a more accurate sense of fit. Then, you can make the best decision for your feet based on comfort, function, style, and price. best sandals