Best Walking Sandals 2023 - Outdoors Magic

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Best Walking Sandals 2023

Heading for warmer climes for your adventures? Take on land and sea with our roundup of the best walking sandals for 2023

Now might be a good time to get a pair of the best walking sandals. With summery adventures beckoning on the hazy horizon, the versatility offered by the finest adventure sandals will come into its own. Whether you’ve got your eyes on rocky scrambles or are planning to embark on some water sports, you’ll be surprised at just how well a walking sandal performs across a range of demanding activities.

The best walking sandals are designed to give you the breathability and good looks of a casual beachwear sandal, with the grip and comfort of a hiking shoe. This makes them extremely versatile products that are just as at home on boulder-hopping expeditions as they are exploring rock pools on the beach.

What To Look For When Buying Walking Sandals

As walking sandals are often employed for amphibious outings, they need to be crafted from quick-drying materials that also grip well when wet and won’t wear out after only a few adventures. The excellent traction offered by Vibram rubber soles is used in some of the best models, while padded neoprene and leather are also sandal mainstays thanks to their comfort and durability. The quality of the materials is the main reason that you’ll have to fork out a little more dough for a pair of decent walking sandals – cheaper models sold to everyday holidaymakers simply don’t stack up.

The best walking sandals differ in terms of the protection they give your feet. Minimalist models may just feature a grippy sole and a y-strap to hold your foot in place, while some sandals resemble hiking shoes that look oddly unfinished, giving you the breathability and freedom of a sandal with the protective shield and toe box of a trail shoe. If you’re off on rugged scrambles, you’ll want a more maximalist sandal than people who are merely gallivanting around on the beach.

One final note: If you’re looking for some footwear for longer distances and/or trips over challenging terrain, you might also be interested in our best walking shoes round up, or our top 10 guide to the best walking boots.

The Best Walking Sandals We’ve Tested

We’ve gathered half a dozen of the very best walking sandals. These are firm favourites that, over countless adventures, have never let the team at Outdoors Magic down:

  • Lizard Super Trek Best Walking Sandals
  • Teva Hurricane XLT2 – Best Value Walking Sandals
  • Bedrock Cairn Pro
  • Keen Newport
  • Keen Targhee III sandal
  • Meindl Capri
  • Merrell Kahuna 4-Strap
  • Hoka One One Sky Hopara

Lizard Super Trek

Weight: 255g
Price: £90

When choosing sandals for hiking you want them to be lightweight but sturdy, cushioned and comfortable. You want them to be grippy, you want them to be fresh-feeling and you want them to be quick drying too. These tick all those boxes.

These sandals from Lizard tick pretty much all the right boxes in terms of their suitability for hiking. They’re lightweight but sturdy and they’re cushioned and comfortable. They’re also grippy and quick-drying too.

Our team testing the Super Treks in the Scottish Highlands. Photo: Michael Drummond

What we liked most about the Lizard Super Trek is their three-point adjustment, with a snap buckle on the top and then velcro tabs around the ankle and at the toes, and this means you can get a really precise, custom fit from these.
Underfoot, there’s an EVA foam in the midsole which is made from 30 per cent recycled content. Overall the stack height is 25mm at the heel and 17mm at the toes – fairly big then. This gives these sandals a nice, somewhat springy feel to them.

Read our full Lizard Super Trek Sandals review.



Teva Hurricane XLT2 | Best Value

Weight: 255g
Price: £38.99

Hiking is at the heart and soul (or should that be sole?) of Teva’s Hurricane XLT2s. With a sole forged and shaped specifically with the trails in mind, they’re an excellent choice for summer adventures and won’t break the bank either. A heel height of 3cm is enough to absorb all the shock of a day spent trekking, as well as protecting your feet from any spiky encounters.

Photo: Chris Johnson

All of this would be academic if the sandals didn’t grip properly or weren’t durable enough to keep you going for many trips. It’s a good job, then, that the Hurricanes are crafted from Teva’s proprietary Durabrasion Rubber, which is impressively grippy and gives you traction even on wet rock. The sandals hold up very well over time, with next to no loss of cushioning or wear and tear.

Read our fullTeva Hirrcane XLT 2 review.



Bedrock Cairn Pro

Weight: 240g
Price: £98

This minimalist offering from Californian brand Bedrock does everything you need an adventure sandal to do, and it does it with assured, understated confidence. Simplicity is the key here: a high-quality y-strap attached to a Vibram sole gives you a product that’s perfect for wild and wet outings. However, don’t confuse simple with basic; the Cairn Pro has been refined over a period of eight years to arrive at the durable, capable sandal it is today.

Performance wise, the Cairn Pros are reassuringly grippy, with superb traction achieved thanks to their triangular lugs. The minimal footbed is surprisingly comfortable and conforms to your feet with each step. Finally, though they are relatively expensive compared to some, we consider them an excellent investment and, if they do eventually wear out, they are fully re-soleable. Oh, and did we also mention they are 100% vegan friendly.

Read our full Bedrock Cairn Pro review



Keen Newport | Best In Test

Weight: 431g
Price: £100

If you’re eager to give your toes more protection than they get with the average adventure sandal, a pair of Newports from American brand Keen might be just the trick. The leading closed-toe sandal, the Newport is the standard by which other such products are judged, giving you the breathability of a sandal with robust support and toe box protection akin to a hiking shoe. It’s a trendsetter too – the sandal that pretty much invented the genre of adventure sandals, so it has an stellar heritage.

The Newports are lightweight, breathable, fast-drying and impressively grippy, making them a go-to for those who like to add a little water to their adventures, as well as for those looking to hit the trails. The only disadvantage of the closed-toe design is the tendency for sand and other debris to gather in the toe box, which then has to be frequently removed. However, these are a great option for those who still want the freedom of a sandal but are looking to head out on rougher terrain. One thing that Keen have noted is that customers often find the style running about ½ a size small, so it’s worth considering ordering a ½ size larger than your usual.



Keen Targhee III Sandal

Weight: 590g
Price: £90

Like a pair of their Newports, the closed-toe version of Keen’s Targhee III Sandals are great for adventures on rugged terrain. Striking the middle ground between an open sandal and a hiking shoe, the Targhee IIIs are lightweight, breathable, yet robust enough to take on the occasional rocky scramble. Keen say that to arrive at the design, they took the top off their award-winning Targhee boot. With this in mind, it’s tempting to think of these as the trail equivalent of a convertible car with its roof off – much more liberating and stylish than its equivalents.

Traction is achieved thanks to the proprietary KEEN ALL TERRAIN rubber outsole’s multi-directional lug pattern, while the EVA midsole provides the cushioning. The waterproof leather upper can be adjusted to wrap securely around your foot, giving you a comfortable, customisable fit. After a soaking, it all dries with reassuring speed, making them perfect for hikers taking on amphibious adventures.



Meindl Capri

Weight: 610g (men’s small)
Price: £102

Meindl began making footwear 300 years ago in Germany’s beautiful Bavaria region. Eleven generations on, their products still maintain the same handcrafted quality, and this of course extends to the unisex Capri sandals. Well named after the rugged yet beautiful Italian island that’s renowned for its quality leather sandals, it’s no surprise that the Capris are designed to take on jagged, watery terrain and, in the spirit of the island, are crafted from high-quality nubuck leather themselves.

The uppers are lined with padded neoprene that, in tandem with the nubuck, gives you an extremely comfortable feel, even after many hours on the trail. Both materials are also ultra quick drying, which is vital for treks that involve the occasional splash in the sea. The chunky outer sole’s tread achieves great grip, while the Capri’s breathable straps are fully adjustable, giving you a customisable fit.



Merrell Kahuna 4-Strap

Weight: 568g
Price: £85

Wonderfully comfortable yet impressively practical, this is a high-quality walking sandal for warm weather adventures. Everything you’d want is present: a neoprene lining for padded comfort, hook-and-loop closure for quick adjustability, and an EVA midsole for stability and cushioning. The Vibram outsole features 3.5mm lugs for enhanced traction over rock and slippery ground, while a TPU heel counter helps to hold the foot securely in place for added stability and security.

The upper is constructed from suede and mesh, and the sandal slides easily onto the foot with a comfortable feel thanks to the padded neoprene. Underfoot, the Merrell Air Cushion helps absorb the lumps and bumps of the trail and provides additional stability. Merrell say the Kahuna 4-Strap is a “performance sandal designed for hiking in and around water” and “a versatile, comfortable option for long days spent on your feet”.



Hoka One One Sky Hopara

Weight: 680g
Price: £95

This is a walking sandal on steroids, with an aggressively-rugged and striking design. Described by Hoka One One as a “true outdoor explorer…that easily navigates through any terrain, wet or dry” and a sandal that will “blow other mountain sandals out of the water”, the Sky Hopara definitely adds a unique approach to the adventure sandals market.

The sandal features a synthetic upper with strategic cutouts for drainage while still providing a secure lockdown. It includes a gusseted neoprene collar for flexibility and comfort with reduced friction when wet. There’s also a quick-lace system, and the rubberised EVA midsole provides a responsive yet cushioned feel. You also get a rubberised toe cap for protection against debris, and a sticky rubber outsole featuring 4mm multi-directional lugs (in a broad pattern) for first-rate traction in a variety of conditions. Or, in other words, the Sky Hopara features everything you need from a reliable, strong and high-performance workhorse of an adventure sandal.



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