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Best Hiking Sandals for Trail Comfort and Durability

Hoka Hopra 2 for hiking this summer

When you embark on a hiking adventure, choosing the right footwear is crucial for both your comfort and mobility.

Hiking sandals are an excellent option for those who seek breathability, ease of use, and a lightweight alternative to traditional hiking boots.

These sandals are designed with the outdoor enthusiast in mind, featuring durable construction, ample support, and versatile traction suitable for a variety of terrains.

Experience the unique Dash Sports approach with our tailored shoe fitting service.

Selecting the best hiking sandals for your journey should involve considering factors such as the fit, material, and tread pattern.

A well-fitting sandal will prevent blisters and discomfort, while robust materials ensure longevity and protection against the elements.

Tread patterns that offer good grip can make a significant difference on slippery or rough trails, helping you to maintain stability and prevent falls.

Essential Features of Hiking Sandals

When selecting hiking sandals, certain features are critical to ensure both safety and comfort during your outdoor adventures.

Material and Durability

Durability is a cornerstone of outdoor gear, and the materials of your hiking sandals directly influence their lifespan and performance.

Look for synthetic upper materials like nylon straps which are quick-drying and resistant to wear and tear.

Neoprene is advantageous for water resistance and comfort.

As for the hardware, stainless steel or alloy buckles can offer robustness without succumbing to rust.

Sole Traction and Grip

The soles of your sandals must provide reliable traction to keep you safe on various terrains.

Vibram or similar high-performance rubber soles are reputable for their superior grip.

Key features to lookout for include a multi-directional lug pattern which enhances grip, and a heel brake to prevent sliding during descents.

Arch Support and Comfort

As for support and overall comfort, the midsole should cushion and conform to your foot’s arch.

Look for EVA, a foam that combines lightness with support, or polyurethane, known for its durability.

Cushioning should be consistent throughout but particularly concentrated in the heel and ball of the foot to absorb shock and reduce fatigue.

Top Rated Hiking Sandals for Different Terrains

Selecting the right hiking sandal for your adventure can be crucial. Depending on the terrain, certain features can make a significant difference in comfort and durability. Our favorite is the HOK Hopara 2.

A true outdoor explorer, the HOKA Hopara easily navigates through any terrain — wet or dry. 🏔️
Designed through the HOKA lens, this shoe will blow other mountain sandals out of the water. The Hopara has a synthetic upper with strategic cutouts for drainage while still providing a secure lockdown. It includes a neoprene collar for flexibility and comfort plus a quick-lace system.

Fit and Sizing Tips for Hiking Sandals

Proper fit and adjustability are crucial for comfort and safety while hiking. Consideration for the break-in period of your sandals is also important.

Determining the Right Size

Start by measuring your foot length accurately. Place your foot on a piece of paper, mark the longest points of the front toe and back heel, then measure the distance between these two points. Consult the brand’s size chart as each may vary.

Here’s a basic guideline for sizing:

  • Men’s Standard: 9.4 inches (size 6) to 11.6 inches (size 15)
  • Women’s Standard: 8.5 inches (size 4) to 10.8 inches (size 12)

Different brands might not follow these exact measurements, so checking the specific brand’s sizing guide is essential.

Remember that your hiking sandals should fit snugly but not too tightly, with about a thumb’s width of space in front of your toes to prevent hitting the front of the sandal on downhill trails.

Adjustability Features

Look for sandals with multiple points of adjustment. This usually includes straps across the toes, instep, and heel.

Below is a checklist for adjustability features:

  • Toe Straps: Should be adjustable to avoid toes sticking over the edge.
  • Instep Straps: Helps to secure the midfoot without being too restrictive.
  • Heel Straps: Crucial for a secure fit to minimize slipping and blisters.

An ideal hiking sandal allows for adjustments to account for feet swelling, which can occur during long hikes or in warmer temperatures. Ensure each adjustable feature can be easily manipulated for a personalized fit.

Break-In Period Considerations

New hiking sandals often require a break-in period to mold to your feet and soften up.

Start by wearing your sandals for short periods of time during low-impact activities. Gradually increase the duration and intensity of activities.

If you experience discomfort beyond mild rubbing, consider the following:

  • Wear socks: Can help prevent blisters during the break-in phase.
  • Use moleskin or padding: Apply to any areas where straps may rub.

Maintenance and Care for Hiking Sandals

Proper maintenance extends the lifespan of your hiking sandals and ensures maximum comfort and performance on the trails.

Cleaning Best Practices

To keep your sandals in top condition, regular cleaning is essential.

Remove dirt and debris after each hike by rinsing them with fresh water.

For a deeper clean, use a soft-bristled brush and a mild soap solution to gently scrub the straps and footbed.

Avoid harsh chemicals, as they can break down the materials.

Always air dry them away from direct sunlight to prevent warping.

  • Light Cleaning: Rinse with water; pat dry.
  • Deep Cleaning: Soft-bristled brush, mild soap; air dry.

Storage and Preservation Tips

Store your hiking sandals in a cool, dry place away from UV light which can degrade the materials over time.

If they’re wet after cleaning or a hike, make sure they are completely dry before storing to prevent mildew and odors.

Do not expose them to extreme temperatures, like a hot car, as this can cause the materials to deteriorate.

  • Dry Storage: Avoid damp areas; protect from UV light.
  • Temperature Control: Keep away from heat sources.

Repair and When to Replace

Inspect your sandals regularly for signs of wear, such as frayed straps, loose stitching, or a compromised outsole grip.

Simple repairs can often be done at home or by a professional.

However, if the midsole shows significant compression or the structural integrity is compromised, it’s time to replace them for your safety and comfort on the trails.

  • Minor Repairs: DIY or professional for small fixes.
  • Replacement: When structural integrity or support is lost.

Innovations in Hiking Sandal Technology

Recent advancements have led to more eco-friendly materials, state-of-the-art soles, and secure fastening mechanisms in hiking sandals.

Sustainable Materials

Manufacturers are increasingly using recycled plastics and organic materials to reduce environmental impact. For instance:

  • Recycled rubber and PET plastics are popular for straps and soles.
  • Some brands have introduced cork footbeds for better sustainability and comfort.

Advances in Sole Technology

New sole designs offer enhanced grip and durability. Key developments include:

  • Vibram® EcoTread: a compound created with 30% recycled materials providing excellent traction.
  • Contoured footbeds: these align with your foot’s natural shape, improving stability and support.

Improved Fastening Systems

Your hiking sandals need to stay secure in diverse terrain. Innovations include:

  • Magnetic closures: offering quick, reliable fastening.
  • Hook and loop straps that are now designed for a customizable fit and increased lifespan.

Accessories and Complementary Gear for Hiking Sandals

Enhancing your hiking experience with the right accessories can make your adventures in sandals both comfortable and safer.

Protective Toe Guards

When hiking in sandals, your toes are more exposed to injury. Protective toe guards can shield your feet from rocks, roots, and debris on the trail. Consider toe guards that are:

  • Lightweight: They shouldn’t add significant weight to your feet.
  • Durable: Look for materials that withstand rough terrain.
  • Compatible: Ensure they fit well with your specific sandals.

Price and Value Considerations for Buyers

When selecting hiking sandals, your investment should align with your hiking habits and the features most important to you, such as durability, comfort, and support.

Budget-Friendly Picks

It’s possible to find quality hiking sandals without overspending. Look for options under $50 that offer basic functionality. Here are some specifics to consider:

  • Durability: May have less durable soles and straps compared to higher-priced sandals.
  • Comfort: Basic cushioning and limited arch support are common features.
  • Materials: Typically made from less expensive materials, which might not last as long.

Mid-Range Options

Mid-range hiking sandals, usually priced between $50 to $100, provide a balance between cost and features. Things to note include:

  • Durability: Expect improved longevity and better materials like robust rubber soles.
  • Comfort: Look for enhanced footbeds with better arch support and breathability.
  • Materials: Usually a mix of quality synthetics and textiles, offering both comfort and durability.

Premium Hiking Sandals

High-end hiking sandals, generally above $100, come with top-tier features. Key aspects to consider are:

  • Durability: High-quality construction with materials meant to withstand rigorous trails.
  • Comfort: Superior cushioning, arch support, and adjustable straps for a custom fit.
  • Materials: Often use premium materials such as leather or advanced synthetics for optimal performance and longevity.

Safety Tips for Hiking with Sandals

When hiking with sandals, your safety hinges on understanding the terrain, weather conditions, and being prepared for emergencies.

Navigating Rough Terrain

To safely navigate rough terrain in sandals, choose a pair with a contoured footbed and ample tread.

Look for durable, adjustable straps that provide a secure fit and prevent your foot from sliding.

  • Footwear Traction:
    • Make certain soles have deep grooves for grip.
    • Test the sandal’s grip on similar surfaces before your hike.
  • Secure Fit:
    • Straps should be snug, not tight, to prevent blisters.
    • Avoid sandals that allow significant foot movement.

Weather Implications

Your choice of sandals should adapt to various weather conditions.

Breathable sandals with quick-drying material are best for wet conditions.

For hotter climates, sandals that offer UV protection and have ventilation are preferable. Considerations:

  • Wet Conditions:
    • Ensure sandals will not become slippery when wet.
    • Choose materials that dry quickly and prevent foot maceration.
  • Hot Conditions:
    • Sandals with a moisture-wicking lining keep feet dry.
    • Select sandals with UV-resistant materials to protect against sun damage.

Emergency Preparedness

Having a contingency plan is crucial when hiking with sandals.

Carry a basic repair kit for sandal mishaps and know basic first-aid for foot injuries. Essentials:

  • Sandals Repair Kit:
    • Mini roll of duct tape.
    • Additional buckles or straps.
  • First-Aid:
    • Antiseptic wipes and plasters for small abrasions.
    • Compression bandages for sprains or more significant injuries.


When selecting hiking sandals, prioritize fit, comfort, and durability.

Your choice will make a significant difference in your hiking experience. Remember to consider the terrain and climate of your hiking destination.

Key Features to Look For:

  • Adjustable straps: Ensure a snug fit to prevent blisters.
  • Quality material: Look for robust materials that withstand rough trails.
  • Traction: Select sandals with good grip for slippery surfaces.
  • Arch support: Protects your feet during long walks.

Always try on multiple pairs to find the best fit for your feet.

If possible, test them on an inclined surface.

After purchase, break them in before embarking on a long hike to minimize discomfort.

Maintenance Tips:

  • Clean sandals after each hike to remove dirt and bacteria.
  • Inspect straps and soles regularly for wear and tear.
  • Store sandals in a cool, dry place to prevent material degradation.
Vicky McMahan
Vicky McMahan
I stopped into Dash Sports while on vacation, after hearing about this store and reading reviews that they can help with foot issues and in particular, plantar fasciitis. I have been having foot pain for a year and even after a visit to a podiatrist and getting an insert, i didn't leave with any useful information except i'm getting old supposedly. Kimberly at Dash Sports gave me all of the information I was looking for a year ago. She worked with me one on one, analyzed my walk and how it was lending itself to my foot pain, and set me up with proper fitting, supportive shoes, socks, and a night sock. Faith restored that I'm finally on a healing path. I highly recommend this store.
Adam Cooney
Adam Cooney
Nik and Annette helped my wife and I find shoes for 2 completely different issues. They spent the time and listened to our issues to give us a wide selection of shoes for us to try. 10/10 will be going back and will always recommend.
Luis A Torres
Luis A Torres
My wife recommended Dash sports and Beth was the one that took care of my needs. She was very helpful and patient. I recommend this shoe store if your looking for comfortable shoes for everyday use.
Melody Sinopoli
Melody Sinopoli
Beth was so helpful! This is my new place to buy running shoes!
William Tschida
William Tschida
Kimberly was very knowledgeable, and helped my wife find the best shoes to help her with her foot issue. Very nice location and store.
Bill Sullivan
Bill Sullivan
Dash Sports is the only place to go when you need personalized service and sales people who know their products. You can certainly go somewhere else and get less expensive shoes, but you will not get the level of service that Dash provides. I have shopped with Dash for over five years and would not go anywhere else. Today I worked with Kimberly and she is FANTASTIC. She spent a lot of time with me, brought out several pairs of shoes and shared her professional observations on how I was walking in each pair and at the end we picked the shoe that felt good and provided the support that I needed. You will not get this level of service at any other store in this area. I highly recommend Dash Sports.
Maria Evans
Maria Evans
I love their expertise in fitting running shoes. Have been coming here since I moved to Clermont a few years ago. Just got a new pair last week and relied on their fitting expertise.
Beverlene Shaw
Beverlene Shaw
Annette, was very helpful from the start, I mentioned my back pain, and she took it from there. We tried on a few pairs of shoes until we had the right pair, she made sure I was comfortable walking in them. Thank you so much.
Macquer Oney
Macquer Oney
I live in Austin TX and I. Have. NEVER. Experienced a shoe store as friendly and informative as the Clermont location. Annette really took time to show me different options and reasons for her recommendations. I feel confident the shoes I bought will be worth it! Thank you Annette, Dash.
Abraham C
Abraham C
I needed a pair of shoes for work. Nik was super patient and extremely knowledgeable. You can tell he’s passionate about running and helping people find the right shoe. I tried on close to a dozen shoes, even hopped on the treadmill, and with all of that he answered my questions with enthusiasm. Once I settled on a pair he then helped my wife who was looking to replace her current running shoes. All around exceptional customer service experience. Thank you Nik!
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