When we think of getting outdoors and hitting the trail, we usually think about pulling on a clunky pair of hiking boots, or maybe even some stiff-soled approach shoes. But an option that often flies a bit under the radar is the hiking sandal. They offer foot support, some measure of traction and protection, a degree of water-friendliness, and – most importantly in a tropical hiking environment – ventilation and breathability. But since jumping into the deep end of the market can be a bit overwhelming, especially with all the crazy listings on Amazon, we went ahead and pulled together a few of the highest- and most-reviewed pairs of hiking sandals and walking sandals for travel.
After all, if they’re an asset on a muddy, root-laden tropical trail, they’ll almost definitely be a huge help walking on cobblestones or finding your way through a new city!
*Note that there are affiliate links in this post. What this means: when you click on a link, you may be taken to a page where, if you purchase, we’ll get a small payment in return. This has no impact to you, but helps us keep the lights on 🙂 That said, all opinions are our own, and we received no services, items, or discounts in exchange for the reviews expressed here.
Best womens athletic sandals
KEEN Women’s Whisper Closed-Toe Sport Sandal
As we all know, Keen shoes aren’t cheap. My first pair of hiking boots were Keen, and I still have and use them all these years later. So when it comes to womens hiking sandals or womens athletic sandals, it should come as no surprise that Keen is still a leader of the pack. And on Amazon, this pair has a devoted following of over 20,000 reviews averaging out to 4.6/5 stars. Reviewers mention taking these along on trips to places like Costa Rica, Hawaii, and other tropical destinations rife with slippery, rocky trails and lots of water features.
While they don’t have the rabid reviews about their extreme daily comfort that you may find on other athletic sandals (like the Keen Rose Sandal or some of the selections below), most reviewers like the shoes’ performance attributes, like structure and support. The only downside is that they do appear to run a bit narrow, so keep that in mind as you assess sizing.
So click to add the KEEN Women’s Whisper Closed-Toe Sport Sandal to your suitcase!
Skechers Women’s On-The-go 600-Brilliancy Sport Sandal
One of the women in our group when we explored Tikal in Guatemala had a pair of womens athletic sandals very much like these, and she couldn’t stop raving about how comfortable they were. Looks like over 21,000 reviewers on Amazon feel similarly, as they’ve left reviews averaging 4.6 out of 5 stars. Frequently used phrases across these reviews? “Ordering another pair,” “best sandal I’ve ever owned,” and “super comfortable.” People cite the soft footbed, great arch support, adjustable straps, and versatile fit (for both wide and regular feet) as reasons to love these shoes.
But here’s the thing. These have almost the same number of reviews and average out to the same rating as the Keen sandals above. So, if you need some comfy, durable athletic sandals to get you around some Mayan ruins or through a new city, these may just be your best choice. Plus, the price can’t be beat!!
Click to pick up the Skechers Women’s On-The-go 600-Brilliancy Sport Sandal now!
Teva Women’s Tirra Sandal
Personally, I love Teva shoes. I have Teva snow boots that have kept my feet comfy through several winters – while traveling in Iceland and at home. And my Teva hiking sandals have been a great and comfy addition to my suitcase, as well. These womens hiking sandals are a great compromise between the extreme soft comfort of the Sketchers sandals and the performance focus of the Keen sandals on this list. Reviewers talk about taking them hiking “right out of the box” without requiring a break-in period, as well as their suitability for various foot widths. These same reviews also reference the supportive footbed and tactical performance of the shoes once you get them out on a trail. Both their price and their performance appear to put these womens athletic sandals as the perfect compromise between form and function.
Get the Teva Women’s Tirra Sandal at Amazon now!
Best hiking sandals (men)
KEEN Men’s Newport H2 Closed Toe Water Sandals
Finding lots of mens walking sandals for travel isn’t as easy as you might think. Which makes sense in our case, given that Luke will wear loafers LITERALLY anywhere, anytime. However, the man also likes a ventilated foot when we’re out and on the go. So for some of our more intense adventures, I’ve directed him towards shoes like these. A list of hiking sandals just isn’t complete without a pair or two of Keens.
Reviewers of the Keen Men’s Newport H2 (and there’s almost 20,000 of them!) rave about the sturdy toe protection and overall reliability of Keen as a brand. However, they do also advise other buyers to size up when purchasing, as the fit of newer Newports can be a bit snug in the upper.
Click to pick up KEEN Men’s Newport H2 Closed Toe Water Sandals!
TEVA Men’s Hurricane Xlt2 Sandals with EVA Foam Midsole and Rugged Durabrasion Rubber Outsole
While these shoes may have ~only~ about 6,000 reviews at the time of writing, most of them are verging on ecstatic. In fact, many of the reviews mention these being a new favorite sandals, or just the latest of many pairs of Teva Hurricane hiking sandals. And with 20 colors/styles, these are probably the most versatile shoes on the list – at least from a fashion perspective. They also have thick, well-cushioned soles and multiple adjustment points – unlike many other hiking sandals – making them more wearable for a larger variety of users.
While these don’t have the same level of toe protection that you might find in Keen’s more well-known designs, these also offer a more accessible price point and might be just as suitable, especially if you’re not planning on going super hard on the trail.
Check out the TEVA Men’s Hurricane Xlt2 Sandals now!
DREAM PAIRS Men’s 160912-M-NEW Adventurous Summer Outdoor Sandals
These outdoor walking sandals may not have the brand cache that some of the others do, but they may just be the best of both of the previous pairs on this list. They’re easily adjustable, pretty supportive in the soles, offer lots of foot and toe protection – in fact, several reviews mention customers purchasing them instead of Keen, since the latter brand has made some changes in the last several years. And with a couple hundred more reviews than the Tevas have, you’re looking at a pair that’s been tried and tested by a large number of people over time.
The best part? They’re a fraction of the cost of Keens, and would be a solid, good quality entry hiking sandal for men who may not have been in the market before.
So click to pick up the DREAM PAIRS Men’s Outdoor Sandals
Still not sold on these sandals as the best hiking shoes for Hawaii or a similar tropical environment?
Check out our Tropicfeel shoes review!
So, we’re not exactly Bear Grylls-level here, but we do often find ourselves on uneven terrain (just try using the sidewalks in the older parts of Richmond, VA!); on boats; walking through rain, puddles, and various other city liquids; and yes, exploring woods and/or jungles while we pick new places to travel. And we keep ordering these Tropicfeel shoes not because they’re super fancy hiking shoes, but because they accommodate every one of these conditions. They’re total jacks of all trades, which makes them the perfect shoes for travel. We each have a pair of Tropicfeel Sunset and Tropicfeel Jungle shoes, and have very much enjoyed them both.
The Tropicfeel Sunset has a collapsable heel area, so these sneakers can double as mules/slip-ons. They’re also sustainably-made, breathable, water-friendly, and grippy enough on the soles to make them great for a number of different applications. They do lack some of the specialized foot support that a hiking book or hiking sandals, but they’re a workhorse that’ll take you from hiking in Hawaii to walking to the coffee shop around the corner with no issue. The Tropicfeel Jungle, on the other hand, is described by the Tropicfeel website as the “ultimate adventurer’s high performance, low impact sneaker.” It has that additional foot support and cushioning, and is still water-friendly and sustainably made, just like all Tropicfeel products.