There’s nothing like a good sandal to take your summer style up a notch. The right pair will feel light, airy and comfortable — but, unlike a flimsy flip-flop, they’ll also provide support for your feet. The key is finding a shoe that offers good arch support and cushioning, says board certified podiatrist Jacqueline Sutera of City Podiatry in New York. She recommends looking for a sandal with a slightly cupped heel that keeps your foot from pronating too much as you walk, and has a cuffed or padded sole that will help absorb shock.
Sandals can be great for walking long distances, particularly in hot climates or near water, as they offer breathability and traction. To keep your feet happy, opt for a pair with a supple leather upper and a secure fit. Also, check that they’re not too flat to the ground or the back of your foot could rub against the sole of the shoe, which can cause blisters.
If you want a sandal that can do double duty for hiking and water activities, look for one with a hiking boot-like outsole that maintains traction on wet surfaces. The best picks here are designed with this in mind, and also offer a nonslip footbed to prevent slipping or sliding on the bottom of your foot.
A few of our editors have test-driven these sandals on extended hikes and backpacked in them for multiple days. They’re lightweight, super comfortable and offer excellent traction on slippery, uneven surfaces. Plus, they have a soft footbed that’s great for heel pain and a slightly sculpted traction outsole to minimize pressure on the ball of your foot.
The supple leather uppers on these sandals make them incredibly comfy to wear, and the crisscross straps are adjustable for the perfect fit. They’re also waterproof, so they’re a solid choice for walking in the rain or for a day at the beach.
Another top pick for outdoor walking, these sandals have a sleek, minimalist design that looks polished and fashionable. Our editor who tried them says they’re lightweight and grippy, so they’re good for longer walks on uneven or sandy terrain. Plus, the molded footbed and supportive arch are ideal for those with high arches.
The uncomplicated silhouette on these sandals makes them versatile enough to wear with anything from a cotton midi dress to breezy linen suit sets, and the pliable leather ensures that they’re comfortable. The only downside is that the front straps might rub on some people’s feet, but a little tinkering should alleviate the problem.
While they may not look as cool or rugged as our other picks, the sandals on this list offer similar levels of comfort, support and durability for less money. The biggest difference is that they’re made with different materials, so you might need to experiment a bit to find the best fit for your foot. If you’re still not sure, try bending the shoes to see if there’s any flexibility at the forefoot and heel, and push down on the sandals to check the cushioning and thickness. best sandals