Whether you’re hitting the trail, hitting the beach, or hitting the gym, a quality pair of cheap hiking sandals can go a long way. Hiking sandals are lightweight, which makes it easy to take them with you on your adventures, whether you’re backpacking through the mountains or exploring a new city. But, don’t be fooled by a lightweight pair! They need to be properly supported and cushioned, which will protect your feet and reduce fatigue, so you can enjoy the great outdoors for as long as your body can handle them.
With hundreds of sandals available, it can be hard to pick the right one for you. Our experts in the Lab have tested dozens of hiking sandals, researching each one’s construction, materials, and performance to help narrow down our pick of the best. Here are the best hiking sandals to buy, according to testing and reviews by consumer sites.
The best cheap hiking sandals
Comfort: We test each sandal on rocky terrain, across streams, and in the desert sand.
Durability: Each sandal gets dunked in a bucket of water and stomped on by mud-slamming mules.
Sizing: We test each model in different sizes, and we look for sandals that are easy to put on and take off.
Style: We want our picks to look sharp, so we read customer reviews and inspect the fit of each model.
Teva original universal
We were pleasantly surprised to find Teva’s original Universal sandal to be comfortable right out of the box. They felt soft, flexible, and supportive. After a day of walking, hiking, and scrambling, our feet had practically no soreness, even when hiking longer routes. The hook-and-loop closures and adjustable tabs made it easy for us to get a secure, comfortable fit, and the soft EVA midsoles provided responsive cushioning on longer treks. Despite the soft footbeds, the sandals stayed comfortable for many hours. The outsoles are sturdy, and the tread on the soles provided good traction on rocky paths and on smooth cement. Our only complaint was with the strap buckles. They were easily over-tightened, and we needed to tighten them slightly each day to prevent them from digging into our heels. So while Teva’s original sandal is comfortable and well-designed, it’s best suited for shorter, easier hikes and outings, especially in areas where the terrain is relatively flat and firm.
Compact; Fits in purse
Great water protection
No arch support
Limited toe strap
ATIKA Sport Sandals Maya Trail Outdoor
These sandals are lightweight, comfortable, and perfect for casual wear. They provide great arch support, with a footbed lined with soft padding. They are lightweight and fold compact for easy storage. I really like that ATIKA designed their straps to be adjustable, so I can wear them for extended amounts of time without getting blisters or hot spots. They are great for walking, hiking, lounging around, or traveling.
– Comfortable fit
– Easy lacing system
– Breathable mesh
– Water resistant
– Non-slip sole
– Not suitable for hiking/walking
Lancholy hiking sandals [Women only]
The Lancholy hiking sandals are probably not for everybody, but they could be a fantastic option for many women. These summer sandals feel like any other high-quality hiking shoe. They fit comfortably and are easy to walk in. In fact, the heel strap is designed to prevent slippage, something that’s especially impressive when hiking or walking in wet conditions. These sandals aren’t waterproof, but they do have water-resistant soles, which made them a good choice for exploring a beach or wading in a stream, but not a good choice for swimming. Like most sandals, these don’t offer ankle support, but women who aren’t in constant need of ankle support probably don’t need it. Overall, they’re comfortable, easy to walk around in and dry quickly.
– Breathable mesh upper
– Elastic lacing system
– Breathable mesh lining
– Breathable mesh footbed
– Lightweight EVA outsole
– Available in 2 colors
– Suitable for all terrains
– Color is bright
– Rigid sole
Viakix Hiking Sandals [Women only]
We struggled to find a quality, well-made sandals for around $60, so we were thrilled to see the Viakix sandals delivered on all of our expectations. They’re unlined, too. The straps adjust four times and are fairly wide, so they’re a comfortable fit. They’re a bit bulky at first, but they’ll break in quite nicely. These sandals are cute with casual wear, too, and should match most outfits. However, if you plan to wear them with a skirt or dress, they may be a bit big. These sandals are lightweight and made of poly fabric, and the sole does a decent job at keeping your feet protected. They’re also waterproof, so you won’t mind getting wet if you decide to take a quick hike. Though they don’t come with a separate footbed, the synthetic soles are cushioned, so they’re comfortable enough to wear. These sandals are surprisingly durable and warrant our recommendation.
– Comfortable and lightweight
– Breathable leather
– Rubber sole
– Waterproof upper
– No arch support
– No toe loop to prevent slipping
– No insole
– Only available in one size
Chacos Z1 Classic
Chacos Z1 Classic: If you want a sandal you can wear for any kind of activity – running, hiking, you name it – the Chacos Z1 Classics are a great choice. They’re incredibly comfortable, especially if you are a forefoot striker, and they meet Chaco’s reputation as the “go-to” sandal for hikers. And while these sandals are geared toward hiking, they’re great for other occasions, too. For casual outings or walking around town, they hold up well. Also, the color choices (steel, silver, and black) are great and go with anything. Also, these sandals are good value for money – they’re comfortable, colorful, and durable, and they last. The only caveat is that they’re not easy to break in.
– Large toe box
– Easy to adjust
– Highly versatile
– Perfect for walking/hiking/beach or biking/hiking
– Not ideal for rough terrain
– Not durable
Merrell All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoe
These water shoes are built to be rugged and tough, with Merrell’s patented air cushion under the heel for shock absorption. They’re also surprisingly light, without sacrificing any cushioning, making them a good choice for running or casual wear. The mesh upper is breathable and the molded heel cup provides support with plenty of toe room, although some testers found the footbed a little narrow. The Merrell All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoe is also waterproof and lightweight. The Merrell All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoe can also be worn in the city.
– Locking heel strap
– Quick-drying mesh upper
– EVA footbed
– Non-marking rubber outsole
– Ideal for trails, roads, rocky terrain, sand, and snow
– Light weight
– Short size range
What’s important in a hiking sandal?
The most important thing in a hiking sandal is the fit. It must be snug but not too tight. The heel has to fit well, and the top part (the arch support) has to closely hug the arch. In addition to giving the best fit, the arch support must be contoured in such a way that it doesnât cut into your ankle or rub against the Achillesâ tendon. Lastly, the sandal should fit the foot well, and it should fit around your foot rather than squeeze it or hold it.
Additional items you need when hiking in sandals
Here are some additional items you need when hiking in sandals.
Sunblock – You should always apply sunblock to your feet before going out into the sun.
Socks – If you are wearing socks, make sure they don’t have holes or sags.
Jump rope – You may want to bring along a lightweight jump rope to workout out while hiking.
Water – It’s important to stay hydrated while hiking, so always bring water with you.
Can I hike in regular sandals?
Regular sandals can work fine for short hikes, but for long-distance hikes, go with the sturdier ones that give you a better grip on the soles. Lightweight hiking sandals are a good compromise. Look for ones with a sturdy sole and tread, a pair that also has an ankle strap.