Travel sandals are a must-pack item. Over the years, I’ve used different models across multiple countries, continents and environments. Whether it’s been white water rafting, chilling on the beach or pounding city streets, travel sandals have been a faithful companion.
The most important thing I’ve learnt is that versatility is king when it comes to choosing the best travel sandals. The fewer pairs of shoes you have to carry, the smaller your backpack can be!
To save you digging through countless shops on your hunt for the ideal travel sandal, we’ve compiled this list of the best all-rounders. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got flat feet, high arches or just want a cute pair of kicks, we’ve got you covered!
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The Best Travel Sandals: Quick Answers!
Best All-Round Sandals
|ECCO Yucatan||Check Price on Amazon|
Most Supportive Flip-Flops
|Vionic Tide||Check Price on Amazon|
Excellent Sandals for Beaches or Cities
|Skechers Reggae Slim - Simply Stretch||Check Price on Amazon|
Best Lightweight Hiking Sandals
|Bedrock Cairn Adventure Sandal||Check Price On REI|
Best Closed Toe Sandals
|Keen Newport H2||Check Price on REICheck Price On Amazon|
Most Supportive Sandals
|Chaco Z/Cloud||Check Price on REICheck Price On Amazon|
Excellent All-Round Sandals
|Teva Universal Sandal||Check Price On REICheck Price on Amazon|
Best Barefoot Sandals
|Xero Shoes Z-Trail EV||Check Price on REICheck Price On Amazon|
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The Best Sandals for Travel and Hiking!
Ecco Yucatan/Off Road Sandals – Best All-Round Sandals
- Excellent outsole
- Not quick drying
- Footbed absorbs bad odours
- Ecco Yucatan vs Ecco Off Road — First off, let’s clear up some confusion! The Ecco Yucatan and Ecco Off Road are the same walking sandal. Generally, you’ll find it sold under the ‘Off Road’ name in Europe and ‘Yucatan’ in the USA.
- Secure — The Ecco Yucatan features a reliable three-strap system. This offers a butt load of adjustability, allowing you to fit the sandal perfectly to your feet. The straps are neoprene lined to reduce rubbing and padded for extra comfort. They hold your feet well against the plush footbed!
- Microfibre Footbed — The Yucatan’s EVA footbed is contoured and delivers excellent support. It has a microfibre lining for increased comfort and traction in the wet. Even if your feet are completely soaked, you won’t slide around inside the sandal. However, the footbed can trap odours, so you’ll need to wash them fairly regularly.
- Grip — The Yucatan’s outsole has a rockered shape which helps guide your feet through each step. This produces a more efficient movement, allowing you to walk further! It also features a deep tread pattern which bites into dirt and provides excellent grip across a range of conditions.
- All Rounders — The Yucatan sandals are an excellent all-round choice. They’re rugged, suited to almost any environment and aside from being a little heavy at over 300 grams per shoe, have no real performance drawbacks. It’s worth mentioning that some people don’t like the look because they’re a little chunky and ‘dorky’ looking.
- Price Range: $$$
- Best Feature: Supportive, all-round sandals
- Feature To Improve: The insole can harbour bad smells
Vionic Tide – Most Supportive Flip-Flops
- Built-in orthotics
- Good traction
- Supportive — As with all Vionic shoes, the Tide sandals are ultra-supportive. They feature a biomechanical footbed with a ton of arch support and deep heel cups. This ensures maximum support, prevents movement and reduces pronation, in turn reducing ankle, knee and back pain. The level of support offered by these sandals means they’re an excellent choice for those suffering from plantar fasciitis or foot pain. They can take some getting used to though. We recommend wearing them for just a few hours at a time initially.
- Flip Flops — The Vionic Tide sandals are essentially lightweight supportive flip-flops. This makes them perfect for days on the beach or short walks around towns. They weigh less than 200g per shoe, so are barely noticeable inside your bag! You can slide the sandals on and off easily but they don’t offer much stability on anything other than flat ground. Unless you’re pretty adept when it comes to flip-flops, I wouldn’t choose these sandals for anything more than short walks over easy terrain.
- Comfortable — If you’re already used to orthotics and supportive shoes, you’ll feel right at home in Vionic Tide sandals. The footbed is super comfortable and the EVA foam midsole absorbs impacts, reducing strain on the rest of your body. The leather strap is lined with foam to ensure it doesn’t rub and cause blisters. However, the toe post can cause some discomfort until it softens up with use.
- Looks — The Vionic Tide sandals are pretty basic with a classy flip-flop look. This means they’re nowhere near formal enough for posh bars or restaurants but the plus is that they won’t stand out in any other setting. Both the men’s and women’s models are available in a few different colour options.
- Price Range: $$$$
- Best Feature: Supportive
- Feature To Improve: Not stable over rough terrain
Skechers Reggae Slim – Simply Stretch – Excellent Sandals for Beaches or Cities
- Quick drying
- Elasticated straps
- Memory foam footbed
- Not the best traction
- Straps can be loose on those with slim feet
- Limited stability
- Fit — The Skechers Reggae Slim – Simply Stretch sandals are only available for women. At first glance, they appear to lack the adjustability of other sandals because there are no buckles or adjustment points. Instead, the soft, stretchy straps allow you to slip the sandals on and off. They grip your feet well but don’t offer enough stability for rocky or uneven terrain. The back strap isn’t as soft as the rest and can cause some rubbing until the sandals are broken in.
- Comfort — The memory foam footbed is contoured for support but if you have particularly high arches, this isn’t quite enough. The EVA midsole absorbs impacts, protecting your feet from heavy footfalls. Elasticated straps make these sandals an excellent choice for users with issues like bunions or swollen feet. They don’t exert too much pressure but stay secure and can help cover problem areas if you’re self-conscious.
- Outsole — The Simply Stretch sandals feature a protective outsole which still allows your feet to flex. It’s thick enough to protect from dangerous objects and provides reasonable traction in most conditions. However, the pretty tread pattern won’t hold up too well in particularly wet or muddy terrain.
- Price Range: $$$
- Best Feature: Excellent for wearers with bunions or swollen feet
- Feature To Improve: Traction is limited in wet or muddy conditions
Bedrock Cairn Adventure Sandals – Best Lightweight Hiking Sandals
- Built for hikers
- Minimalist and supportive models available
- Excellent proprietary straps
- Look a bit weird
- There's a learning curve with the straps
- Hiking — The Bedrock Cairn Adventure Sandals are built for hikers, by hikers. They have an aggressive Vibram outsole which delivers excellent grip on slippery trails. It’s thin enough to allow a high level of sensory feedback but thick enough to protect your feet from rocks and sharp objects.
- All Rounders — The Cairn Adventure Sandals aren’t just for use on the trail though. They’re excellent all-round travel sandals which can be used by anyone in any environment. They’re lightweight too. At less than 250 grams per shoe, you’ll easily get these in your backpack!
- Footbed — The minimalist footbed is completely flat, allowing your feet to move naturally rather than forcing them into a certain shape. It has shallow diamond-shaped siping (thin slits which make up tread patterns) which helps prevent your feet sliding around inside the sandal – even when they’re wet!
- Straps — All Bedrock’s sandals feature a proprietary strap design which offers a huge amount of adjustment and support. It can take a little while to get the shoes properly adjusted to your feet but once you’ve nailed it, you can create a close, custom fit in seconds.
- Other Models — As well as the Cairn Adventure Sandals, Bedrock manufacture other models. The Cairn Pro range offers increased grip in wet conditions and a more secure adjustable strap system for white water enthusiasts. The 3D models have a contoured footbed and the Classic is their most minimalist offering. It delivers a more barefoot feel with the same excellent strap system.
- Price Range: $$$$
- Best Feature: Comfort and versatility
- Feature To Improve: The price
Teva Universal Sandal – Excellent All-Round Sandals
- Great value for money
- Limited stability
- Footbed gets slippery when wet
- Straps can rub
- Value — The Teva Universal Sandal is great value for money. In fact, it’s one of the cheapest models in Teva’s vast range! Available for men and women, the Universal Sandal has withstood the test of time thanks to its classic looks and overall comfort. Plus, the sandals are lightweight (less than 200g per shoe), so are easy to cram into your backpack!
- Comfort — Teva’s Universal Sandal is comfy enough to wear all day while exploring towns, cities and even tackling more challenging terrain. The duel density footbed is lightly contoured to hug your foot and reduce strain. It’s antimicrobial, which reduces the build-up of odour-causing bacteria. The small heel cup provides a modicum of extra support and prevents your foot moving too much within the sandal. However, when wet this isn’t super effective and your feet can slide around, causing discomfort and instability.
- Traction — The durable outsole on Teva’s Universal Sandal provides plenty of grip in normal conditions. You’ll be able to pound out the miles around towns or cities without issue. However, they begin to reach their limit on more challenging terrain. The tread pattern is very basic, so muddy or wet environments can pose some difficulties.
- Adjustability — The straps on these sandals feature plenty of adjustment, although it can take a few attempts to get the hang of them. They have a short break-in period, after which the recycled polyester straps stretch slightly, allowing for a more customised fit.
- Price Range: $$
- Best Feature: Comfortable, well price sandals
- Feature To Improve: Overall stability is limited when the sandals are wet
Keen Newport H2 – Best Closed Toe Sandals
- Excellent wet traction
- Lack adjustability
- Protection — Keen’s Newport H2 sandals feature a chunky rubber toe box, protecting your digits from knocks and scrapes. The upper is more substantial than most sandals too, acting more like a very breathable shoe than a sandal.
- Support — The straps cover the majority of your foot, securing it in place. They’re lined with soft neoprene and feature an elastic lacing system. When combined with the dense, supportive footbed, these straps create an incredibly stable base for your feet.
- Traction — The stiff outsole has a gentle tread pattern which doesn’t bite into dirt as well as other sandals on our list. That said, the rubber is grippy and offers amazing traction on wet stone and rocks. The Newport H2 sandals are quick drying too, making them some of the best sandals for water sports or river crossings!
- Adjustability — While the Keen Newport H2 sandals secure well to your feet, they lack the adjustability of other sandals. There are no velcro straps, leaving you to rely on the elastic laces for all adjustments. Plus, the sandals are more like shoes when putting them on or taking them off.
- Versatile — The versatility of these sandals is amazing. Due to the extra protection they offer, they can be worn in more environments than regular, open-toed sandals. They’re airy enough to wear in hot, tropical climates without your feet overheating or sweating too much! The downside is their weight. At nearly 500g per shoe, you may need to make room for them in your baggage allowance!
- Price Range: $$$
- Best Feature: Excellent for watersports
- Feature To Improve: They're heavy for sandals
Chacos Z/Cloud – Most Supportive Sandals
- Podiatrist approved footbed
- High arch support
- Customisation options
- Not suitable for all foot types
- Straps are hard to master
- Podiatrist Approved — All Chaco sandals feature a podiatrist-approved footbed. It’s contoured for maximum comfort and while the sandals are a great choice for everyone, those with high arches will be most impressed.
- Footbed — The footbed in the Z/Cloud sandals is softer than most Chacos, meaning it conforms well to the shape of your feet. It has gentle siping along the top which prevents you sliding around in the sandals, even when it’s wet and dirty!
- Sole — The dual-density midsole absorbs impacts, protecting the rest of your body from repetitive footfalls. As for the outsole, it’s made from Chacos’ proprietary compound and tread pattern to deliver the best grip across a range of environments. It’s stiff enough to be supportive but flexes enough to provide grip on uneven or rocky terrain. The protective sole means these Chacos weigh in at around 400 grams per shoe. They’re not the lightest sandals but they’re not the heaviest either!
- Straps — Chacos are known for their innovative strap system. This takes a while to get used to but once you have it mastered, you can get the most customised fit of any sandals available.
- Custom Models — The Z/Cloud sandals are available in a range of colours for both men and women. But if you want to stand out, you can fully customise your sandals on the Chacos website. Choose from their vast collection of strap designs or even upload your own. From there you can add embroidery, change the colour of the stitching, footbed and even outsole!
- Price Range: $$$
- Best Feature: Podiatrist-approved footbed
- Feature To Improve: Straps take a while to get used to
Xero Z-trail EV – Best Barefoot Sandals
- Barefoot style
- Excellent ground feel
- Barefoot style (it's a double-edged sword)
- Lack versatility
- Barefoot Design — Xero are at the forefront of the barefoot revolution and while the Z-Trail EV sandals are far from their most minimalist model, they still deliver amazing barefoot feel and weigh very little. In fact, at just 170 grams each, these sandals go almost unnoticed in your bag. The entire sole is just one centimetre thick, ensuring they flex and allow your feet to move naturally.
- Traction — The outsole is a mix of rubber and foam sections. The rubber is durable and grippy while the dense foam increases flexibility, allowing your feet to move naturally as you walk. Both materials house an aggressive, multi-directional tread pattern which bites into the ground. The lugs aren’t the deepest but with only a centimetre of room to play with, this isn’t a surprise.
- Support — Barefoot sandals don’t offer the same support as traditional shoes. The thin sole is zero drop and completely flat – there’s no contouring to be found. This can take some getting used to, so we recommend only wearing these sandals for a few hours at a time while you condition your feet.
- Comfort — Although the sole on the Xero Z-Trail EV sandals is super thin, it features a layer of cushioned material which delivers a reasonable level of comfort. It helps absorb the impact of your footfalls without reducing sensory feedback, protecting your body from repetitive impacts. The heel cup helps keep you planted in the sandals and as you tighten the webbing straps, the footbed conforms to the shape of your feet.
- Price Range: $$$$
- Best Feature: Barefoot design
- Feature To Improve: They lack the versatility of other sandals
What to Consider When Choosing Sandals for Travel
Not all travel sandals are born equal. Some are designed for little more than walking to the beach while others are built to handle rough terrain on epic trails. The activities you’re going to partake in will have a huge impact when it comes to choosing the best travel sandals for you.
Sandals for walking in towns or cities should have some level of cushioning to protect your feet from the repetitive pounding of footsteps on concrete. Likewise, you’ll need good grippy outsoles to ensure you have enough traction if you get caught out in bad weather – especially in an old city with a lot of cobbled streets!
Looks will also come into it when choosing sandals for urban environments – remember there will be plenty of people around, so you might want smarter sandals than you’d wear to the beach!
Walking and hiking sandals need to be more durable with a rugged outsole and tough, supportive straps. Depending on personal preference, a contoured or cushioned footbed can be a good choice but if you prefer a more minimalist shoe, there are plenty of zero-drop hiking sandals available. Look out for sandals with deep lugs on the sole. These give plenty of traction, allowing you to keep your footing on more challenging terrain.
Closed-toe sandals are a very good choice if you’re walking through rough environments. They protect your toes from sharp rocks, roots and other obstacles. You don’t need to be hiking for walking sandals to come in useful either. They’re comfortable, supportive and protective, making them a great choice for all travellers. Their only downside is that they’re heavier than other types of sandal – not a good option for ultralight travellers!
Beach sandals tend to be less heavy-duty. Soft sand is much less demanding than rocky trails or hard concrete streets! You don’t need to worry about thick cushioned soles or comfortable straps because you’re not likely to have them on for long. Flip-flops are a common choice but if you plan on walking far, you’ll want more supportive sandals.
You should also consider packability when choosing sandals. You’ll need to get them into your bag when they’re not on your feet! Sandals that you can flatten, or even roll, are much easier to pack. It doesn’t matter if you’re travelling with a 40-litre backpack or massive suitcase, sandals that don’t compress in some way are a chore to travel with!
Ease of Cleaning
Let’s face it, sandals can get gross. Whether it’s sweaty feet, muddy trails or yucky water, you’ll need to clean them occasionally. Sometimes you can get away with just dunking them in clean water but now and again they’ll need a proper clean.
Make sure the footbed won’t degrade the first time you try to use soap and ensure the straps are safe to clean too. Check if there are any special cleaning instructions as some materials require certain detergents to keep them at their best.
Everything has an environmental footprint, even sandals. If you’re concerned about the planet – which let’s face it, you should be – take control of your spending habits and ensure you only buy from manufacturers who limit the damage they’re doing. Plenty of companies make sustainable and ethical choices in their footwear range, seek them out if you can!
Round Up of Sandals for Travel
Travel sandals come in all shapes and sizes. From basic flip-flops to built-up orthotic sandals, you’ll find a suitable option out there for you. Our overall favourites for adventurers are the Bedrock Cairn Adventure Sandals but these are pricey and the lack of support isn’t for everyone. The Ecco Yucatan sandals are an excellent all-round choice which are suitable for almost any situation and the Chaco Z/Cloud sandals are ideal for travellers needing some support from their footwear. If you’re keen on a more minimalist sandal, you can’t go wrong with the Xero Z-Trail EV.
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