The summer essentials cart is incomplete without a pair of sandals, especially if you love to sweat it out by walking long distances.

But gazillions of sandals have flooded the market, and you don’t want to buy a crappy pair that tears apart after a single walk.

We have made that job a lot easier, and in this post, you are going to find the top ten sandals for 2018. They have come through a rigorous selection process, and each of them excels in a specific area.

We also have a detailed buying guide, which helps you understand the trivial details behind a sandal and enlists the reasons why sandals are soaring high in popularity.

But before we talk about that, here are top sandals for walking long distances of 2018.

1KEEN Newport H2 Sandal – Best Overall


Overall, for walking long distances (around the city) or hiking, this is hands down the best sandal you can get.
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2Teva Omnium Closed-Toe Sandal – Best for Durability


When it comes to construction, it resembles a well-made hiking boot.

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3FILA Men’s Transition Athletic Sandal – Best Open Toe Hiking Sandal


If you a veteran hiker, who is looking for a lightweight, breathable option, then Fila’s transition will be the best buy.

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KEEN Newport H2 Sandal – Best Overall

Score

  • Comfort – 10/10
  • Support – 9/10
  • Traction – 9/10
  • Durability – 7/10

KEEN is the company that can be credited with popularizing walking sandals. The Newport is its flagship product and is our top pick for walking long distances.

It has a lot of things going for it, but it steals the show with its comfort. The “metatomical footbed” adapts to your feet, and the longer you wear it, the more comfortable you feel. (Ideal for full day walking).

The straps can also be easily adjusted, giving you a snug fit. The EVA midsole offers ample support and cushioning. Toe and heel protection is also taken care of with the closed design.

The outsole is inspired by KEEN hiking boots, giving you dependable traction and grip. It performs reasonably well on most surfaces; however, it can get a bit slippery on a damp terrain.

Finally, the neoprene upper is quite breathable and is treated by “Cleansport NXT”, which prevent any odor buildup.

The biggest disappointment has to be the durability. The seams which connect the straps to the midsole are somewhat flimsy and tend to fall apart. Having said that, you’ll experience this only if you are taking this on an extremely rocky terrain.

What we liked

  • All around comfort
  • Toe and heel protection
  • Firm grip
  • No odor buildup

What we disliked

  • Disappointing durability

Bottom Line

Overall, for walking long distances (around the city) or hiking, this is hands down the best sandal you can get.

Check it on Amazon →


Teva Omnium Closed-Toe Sandal – Best for Durability

Score

  • Comfort – 7/10
  • Support – 9/10
  • Traction – 9/10
  • Durability – 9/10

Are you a hiker who is looking for a lightweight sandal to backpack this summer? But you don’t want to compromise on durability or support? Then the Omnium by Teva would be our top recommendation.

When it comes to construction, it resembles a well-made hiking boot. The seams are nicely sown (so you don’t have to worry about broken straps), the outsole is firmly attached to the midsole, and rubber outsole easily handles few bumps down the way.

Apart from that the EVA midsole, the Shoc Pad in the heel, reduce the pressure on your feet, giving you all-around support.

The outsole has an aggressive lug design, which helps it to eat through the terrain. However, just like the KEEN Newport, you might encounter an occasional slip on wet terrain.

The comfort is somewhat average, as the footbed begins to bite after a long day of hike. (Wearing a pair of socks is recommended).

Overall if a sandal seems the best alternative for a long summer hike, then you can’t go wrong with the Teva Omnium.

What we liked

  • High Durability
  • Adequate toe protection and support
  • Firm grip

What we disliked

  • Comfort
  • Breathability

Bottom Line

Are you a hiker who is looking for a lightweight sandal to backpack this summer? But you don’t want to compromise on durability or support? Then the Omnium by Teva would be our top recommendation.

Check it on Amazon →


FILA Men’s Transition Athletic Sandal – Best Open Toe Hiking Sandal

Score

  • Comfort – 8/10
  • Support – 8/10
  • Traction – 9/10
  • Durability – 8/10

First up, we were impressed by the construction, and this bad boy is made to last. The footbed is also quite comfortable, and the adjustable straps give you a snug fit.

The support offered by the midsole is average, and you feel the rocks that you step on. (However, this is something, barefoot enthusiasts won’t mind). Other than that, the arch support is reasonably good which can come in handy on a long day of continuous hiking.

The outsole is a complete beast and crushes over the rocks that come its way. It provides solid traction (on almost all terrains) but really shines on a muddier trail.

If you are looking to avoid blisters, you can wear socks, but the straps do come with ample cushioning.

On the downside, the aggressive lug design of the outsole restricts this for hiking, and we won’t recommend it for walking around the city.

What we liked

  • Breathable
  • Great Traction
  • Ample Cushioning

What we disliked

  • Average Support
  • Not recommended for city walking

Bottom Line

If you a veteran hiker, who is looking for a lightweight, breathable option, then Fila’s transition will be the best buy.

Check it on Amazon →


Dockers Men’s Newpage Gladiator Sandal

Score

  • Comfort – 9/10
  • Support – 8/10
  • Traction – 7/10
  • Durability – 9/10

Firstly, thanks to the memory foam insole, they are comfortable from the get-go. This helps in reducing foot fatigue, and your feet don’t get tired that easily. The cushioned straps, added heel support, and roomy construction keeps your feet nice and relaxed.

The outsole is designed for paved roads and provides decent traction for a casual stroll in the park.

The durability is also impressive, and the Gladiator will last for years. (However, we recommend cleaning it with the damp cloth now and then)

Overall, if you like to take long walks in the city, then this Dockers sandal proves to be the ideal marriage of comfort and durability.

What we liked

  • Memory Foam Comfort
  • Breathable
  • Heel support
  • Extremely Durable

What we disliked

  • Prone to odor

Bottom Line

Looking for a stylish pair of sandals that you can wear while exploring a city? The Newpage is a perfect blend of style and comfort.

Check it on Amazon →


Chaco Women’s Zx2 Athletic Sandal – Best All-around Walking Sandal for Women

Score

  • Comfort – 8/10
  • Support – 8/10
  • Traction – 8/10
  • Durability – 6/10

First up, the webbing wraps your feet nicely (giving you a secure fit). Next, the midsole is designed especially for women and gives ample shock absorption and support for a long walk.

Next, if you like to have a long walk in the park, you have nothing to worry about thanks to the grippy lugs of the outsole. They also hold quite well on the muddier trail.

All that sounds good, but I don’t like smelly feet.

After a long walking trip, your feet begin to sweat (and smell). Chaco takes care of that with antimicrobial layer over the uppers. Furthermore, the upper repels moisture quite well.

And yes, you can choose from multiple colors and overall this is one of the most stylish athletic sandals you can find on the market.

What we liked

  • High on Style
  • Decent comfort and support
  • Good traction

What we disliked

  • Low on durability

Bottom Line

This sandal by Chaco hits the sweet spot between style and sport.

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Birkenstock Arizona Unisex Soft Footbed Sandal – High on Comfort

Score

  • Comfort – 9/10
  • Support – 7/10
  • Traction – 7/10
  • Durability – 8/10

It manages to do that, with the combination of foam (in the midsole) and stacked air bubbles. This helps the footbed to adapt to your feet and the bubbles help in cushioning your feet from the tiny stumbles along the way. (The soft suede feel of the footbed makes you fall in love with this sandal instantly)

Being a slip-on, it is super breathable, and you don’t have to worry about sweaty feet after a long walk. You can also adjust the leather straps to give you a snugger fit.
Finally, the outsole works best on paved road, giving you adequate stability & support.

Overall, if you are going out for shopping (and you know you are going to walk a lot), then you can rest assured that the Birkenstock Arizona is going to keep you comfortable all day long.

What we liked

  • Super comfortable
  • Premium feel
  • Durable

What we disliked

  • May take time to break into

Bottom Line

Pinpointing at the best sandal for arch support seems dubious, but if we had to name the frontrunners, then Arizona would be right up there.

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Vionic Mens Neil Sport Sandal – Best Sandal for Flat feet

Score

  • Comfort – 9/10
  • Support – 8/10
  • Traction – 9/10
  • Durability – 8/10

Walking long distances can be a nightmare for people with flat feet. Usually, people with flat feet have to settle for big bulky boots, which can help in realigning their feet.

The Vionic Neil is a lightweight, trendy alternative to all of that. It is designed using the ortho-heel technology which not only helps with your flat feet but also helps with common problems like heel and knee pain. You would simply love walking in these as they give you the much-needed support for extended periods of time.

Thanks to the open design, they are also breathable, and the adjustable straps help in giving you a snug fit. We were also impressed with to the leather uppers which absorb the additional sweat and keep your feet odor-free.

The sole grips the surface nicely and the Neil performed surprisingly well on muddier trails.

Lastly, the leather construction, tight seams, and high-grade rubber outsole ensure that this sandal will last for years (for folks with flat feet – This one is a no-brainer).

What we liked

  • Great all-around support
  • Added comfort for flat feet
  • Adjustable

What we disliked

  • Velcro wear out
  • Takes time to dry up

Bottom Line

The Vionic Neil is designed using the ortho-heel technology which not only helps with your flat feet but also helps with common problems like heel and knee pain.

Check it on Amazon →


Birkenstock Unisex Arizona EVA Sandals – For Beach Walking

Score

  • Comfort – 7/10
  • Support – 7/10
  • Traction – 8/10
  • Durability – 6/10

The sole firmly grips the sand and doesn’t slip when you come in contact with water. Comfort is also taken care of thanks to the contoured footbed.

Like other Birkenstock Arizona sandals, it gives ample support to your arches, which also makes it suitable for a small walk in the park.

Lastly, we love the vibrant colors, and you are surely going to roll some eyeballs when you walk on the beach wearing this stylish pair of sandals.

What we liked

  • Firm grip on sand
  • Dries out quickly
  • Ample arch support

What we disliked

  • Flimsy outsole construction

Bottom Line

Another variant from Birkenstocks makes to our list of best walking sandals. The Arizona EVA is designed for those casual strolls on the beach.

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Crocs Men’s Swiftwater Sandal

Score

  • Comfort – 7/10
  • Support – 7/10
  • Traction – 7/10
  • Durability – 7/10

If you are specifically looking for a pair of sandals that can do well in wet conditions, then the Swiftwater is what we’ll recommend. The mesh dries up quickly and doesn’t absorb water.

We were also satisfied with comfort. The footbed is soft and adapts to your feet. To get a snug fit, you can adjust the straps easily.

The Swiftwater doesn’t do a lousy job when it comes to traction. We experienced no issues on wet trails. It is also a great pair for walking around the beach, but the sand sometimes gets stuck inside the sandal. Also at 25” the arch is on the higher side.

What we liked

  • Dries up quickly
  • Decent comfort and and traction

What we disliked

  • high arches
  • Sand gets stuck

Bottom Line

Overall if you are looking for a fishing sandal, or need something that can dry up quickly, then you can go for Crocs Swiftwater.

Check it on Amazon →


Pali Hawaii Unisex Classic Jesus Sandals

Score

  • Comfort – 6/10
  • Support – 6/10
  • Traction – 6/10
  • Durability – 7/10

The sandal by Pali Hawaii makes the cut, thanks to its quirky design. You can go for a full-day city tour or a trip to the mall, wearing a pair of the ‘Classic.’

Talking about specific metrics (like comfort and traction), the performance is somewhat average. But you can’t expect much from a sandal that costs around ten bucks (for the price we were impressed with construction, doesn’t feel that flimsy).

What we liked

  • Trendy design
  • Pocket friendly

What we disliked

  • Average performance all-around

Bottom Line

Overall, if you are looking for a cheap pair of sandals, that can be used for a vacation, then you can settle for the Pali Hawaii Sandal.

Check it on Amazon →


How to Choose Walking Sandals – Buying Guide

Sandals are soaring high in popularity. They closely mimic the barefoot walking experience and come with a breathable and lightweight design. Some sandals are now coming with rugged soles which make them a preferred choice for hikers.

So how do I choose my walking sandal? What material should I look for? What sandals are designed for walking long distances?

We answer all of that in this section, lay out the differences between walking sandals and how you should go about choosing your first walking sandal.

Before we go into the specific metrics you need to look for, lets’ have a quick rundown of the advantages you get from a walking sandal.

Advantages of a Walking Sandal

  1. Breathable – One of the major reasons people opt for sandals is the greater ventilation offered by them. Your feet are left exposed, and the added circulation helps in drying up the sweat.
  2. Lightweight – Walking sandals have a much lighter construction when compared to shoes. The overall lighter constructions make them a preferred choice for campers.
  3. Comfort – Due to greater ventilation and cushiony soles, sandals are extremely comfortable especially while walking long distances.
  4. Easier to Maintain – When compared to shoes, sandals are easier to clean. If you go for synthetic sandals, you can easily wipe off the dirt. They also resist water, keeping your feet nice and dry.

Apart from that, some folks prefer the design and the near-barefoot experience that comes with sandals. But if the above four reasons make sense, then a pair walking sandals will be in your cart soon.

So you have decided to get a pair, but how you do land on the perfect one. The next section will help you do that –

It’s in the Design

The very first thing you need to look for is the design. Walking sandals can broadly be classified into two – closed and open design. Here is more about them –

Closed Design

As the name suggests, such sandals have a closed design at the front. They offer better protection and can be used small-distance hikes. They offer protection against small rocks and keeps your feet safe from blisters (and cuts).

On the flipside, the closed design has an impact on breathability. Usually, closed design sandals are recommended for beginners who are looking for some protection on those hot summer hikes.

Open Design

Open design sandals are more breathable and come with a lesser number of closures. This makes them lightweight and you can easily stuff’em in your backpack. This makes them the ideal choice for camping as they can easily be stuffed into your backpack.

However, they lack in support and are usually recommended for paved paths.

The Construction

Apart from the closures, the next three things you need to look for are the footbed, midsole, and outsole.

Since sandals are now increasingly preferred by hikers, manufacturers are now opting for rugged soles. They give you a better grip on muddier trails and offer better protection against rocks. However, for walking around in the city, you should go for flatter outsoles.

Also, you should look for cushioned footbeds, which give added support to your feet on uneven terrain. When paired with an EVA midsole, a cushioned footbed can provide all-day comfort. (EVA midsoles also help in keeping your foot stable.)

Finally, the Fabric

Since most of you would be wearing these sandals without socks, the fabric has a big impact on comfort. Usually, leather or synthetic fabrics are used by manufacturers, and both of them come with their own pros and cons.

Leather Walking Sandals

If you hate sweaty feet, then going for leather sandals are recommended. Sandals with leather straps tend to absorb your sweat and keep your feet nice & dry. So if you are going for a hike on a hot sunny day, a pair of leather sandal would be the best choice.

On the downside, they don’t handle external water that well. Leather naturally takes a lot of time to dry up, and overall for rainy days, we would stay away from leather sandals.
Some manufacturers now offer sandals which are ‘silicone treated.’ This prevents bacteria buildup on your sandals when you encounter a puddle of water.

Synthetic Walking Sandals

Synthetic sandals (made from materials like Lycra and Neoprene) excel on wetter trails. They dry out quickly, prevent any bacteria buildup and also keep your feet sweat-free.

Durability is the major concern with a synthetic sandal, and they usually don’t stand the test of time.

Using the above three metrics, we made our list of the top walking sandals. No magic pair will fit into every criterion. Each sandal excels more on less in a specific metric.

Conclusion

To sum up, sandals are recommended for walking long distances as they rank high on comfort, provide decent support but more importantly give enough ventilation to your feet.

For a hiking trip, you can go for closed toe walking sandal, but for a casual stroll around the city, a slip-on sandal would make more sense.

So go on and buy the pair which fits your need. If you have any apprehensions (or if you have doubts regarding our recommendations), feel free to drop a comment below.

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