If you’re heading on a sightseeing adventure or are planning to do a spot of trekking in warmer climates, then choosing the right footwear is one of the most important things to sort out before you travel. When you’re spending long days on your feet, you’ll want to avoid painful blisters or rubbing, as this will lead to a very unpleasant experience – especially if you’re in a more remote part of the world. You’ll also want your feet to be kept cool and comfortable, whatever the weather.
Walking sandals are a great option if you know you’ll be traveling over tricky terrain. Your walking sandals should be hard-wearing and tough enough to do the job of boots while allowing your feet to breathe. It can be hard to know where to start in finding the perfect pair, so this guide is dedicated to giving you the rundown of the seven best walking sandals for women.
Choosing a pair of women’s walking sandals is an investment, so don’t expect a decent pair to be cheap. Walking sandals are unlike traditional shoes in that they’re not simply designed for fashion. Instead, they’re made using premium quality materials with plenty of features that enable them to do a more technical job, ensuring your travel plans go without a hitch.
By reading this guide, you will learn the following:
- The seven pairs of walking sandals that are the best on the market, according to us.
- The main things to think about before you purchase a pair.
- The key technical features of each pair.
- The pair we think is best overall and why.
Things to think about when choosing a pair of women’s walking sandals
If you’re searching for a pair of women’s walking sandals that you’ll be using when traveling, you’ll probably find shopping for the right pair a little bit different to choosing sandals that simply look good. They have so much more to offer you and have been completely designed with adventuring in mind, so check out our top tips below on how to choose walking shoes.
When trying your sandals on for the first time, look out for any pinching or areas of discomfort – especially where the straps are done up. If they’re too tight they’re bound to rub or dig in, so try a size up if you’re finding this problem. However, you’re looking for a happy medium here as you’ll want the straps to be tight enough so that the sandals stay in place as you walk.
Make sure your heels aren’t hanging over the back of the sole or over the sides of the sandals, and that there is enough cushioning in the sole so that you get a bit of bounce. This will prevent too much pressure from being applied to the bottoms of your feet which will ultimately make them sore.
Choosing a lightweight option
One thing’s for sure; you won’t want to be trudging around with heavy shoes on your feet, especially when you’ll be standing and walking all day. Many sandals today have been made to be super lightweight, so they’re well worth a closer look if you prefer the feeling of not noticing the shoes on your feet.
If you’re going lightweight, make sure the footbed and outsoles are made with plenty of cushioning to counteract the overall feel of your shoes. You need to make sure you’re getting plenty of support from your sandals.
Think about the cost
You can find walking sandals that meet pretty much every budget, whether big or small. More affordable sandals will tend to use plastic-based materials. While effective, you might prefer more premium quality materials like leather or suede, in which case these will be more expensive.
Expect to pay for the technical features too, like shock-absorbing outsoles, memory foam in the footbed, or removable straps for a better fit. Weigh up your travel plans against what you’ll need to use your walking sandals for (i.e. intense hiking trips or a more casual beachside adventure) and work out which features you can say goodbye to (if any), and which ones you can’t live without.
Best walking sandals – our top 7 picks
At this point of our guide, we’ll be bringing you the top seven walking sandals for women. We offer an unbiased view so that you can make the right decision for your travel plans.
Teva Terra FI Lite
- Durable and quick-drying water-ready polyester webbing.
- Easy hook and loop closure comes on and off quickly and gets the fit just right.
- A cushioned Shoc Pad™ in the heel absorbs impact where you need it most.
- Treated with Microban®, a zinc based antimicrobial technology that helps prevent stink.
- Rugged Spider Original rubber outsole; supplies great traction.
- Nylon shank stabilizes and supports your foot on uneven terrain.
If you’re looking for a sandal that looks just as good as it performs, the Terra FI Lite from Teva is just the pair. Founded in the early 1980s by a Colorado River guide, Teva are pioneers of the sport sandal and have designed their footwear to traverse streams and slippery terrain. The FI Lite is a lightweight upgrade on their already extensive range of Terra sandals – you’ll hardly notice you’re even wearing them.
Designed to be fully lightweight and flexible, they’re made with a chunky rubber outsole that sticks to any surface and will keep you rooted with ease – meaning you’re less likely to slip. They also dry super fast if they get wet, and the Microban® antibacterial fabric treatment means they won’t smell either.
It even features a cushioned Shoc Pad™ in the heels, which absorbs the impact when you’re walking to help keep you on your feet for longer. There have been a couple of reports from reviewers that the stitching is prone to rubbing, but this is likely to be a manufacturing flaw in a few unlucky pairs.
If you’re looking for a lightweight sandal that’s designed for maximum comfort; try the Teva Terra FI Lite on for size.
- The footbed and strap paddings are super comfortable.
- They’re lightweight, but feature plenty of grip.
- The straps are easy to adjust for a perfect fit.
- They’re very flexible for tricky terrain.
- Some wearers have noticed a strong rubbery smell that can be unpleasant for some.
- The stitching can sometimes rub against the foot – try a pair on before you buy to double check this.
Columbia Kyra III
- Upper: leather/webbing.
- Midsole: Techlite™ EVA.
- Outsole: Omni-Grip™ rubber.
- Omni-Grip™technology sole holds its grip in any terrain.
- Techlite™responsive superior cushioning for impact absorption and high energy return.
- Adjustable straps around the instep and ankle; versatile and customizable.
Whether you’re backpacking or on a casual stroll, the Columbia Kyra III sandals are tough enough to tackle all kinds of terrain. Columbia is one of the world’s leading outdoor apparel brands, and understand that people love the outdoors as much as they do. All their shoes are tested tough so you can enjoy the outdoors for longer.
The latest technology has gone into the design of these sandals, including Omni-Grip™ outsoles to help them keep their grip on any surface. They’ve also been made with Techlite™, which offers superior responsive cushioning to absorb impact and give high energy return – making each step easier to handle.
For a fully versatile and customizable fit, they feature adjustable straps around the instep and ankle, so you can tighten them up or loosen them to suit your foot’s shape and size. They’re incredibly lightweight too; you’ll barely feel that you’re wearing them. This is perfect if you’re on longer rambles, or if the weather is really hot as your feet will have plenty of room to breathe.
And if you’re big on the style and design of your sandals, you’ll love the printed palm trees on the cushioning. They add the perfect finishing touch to really set them apart from other sandals and brands. If you’re looking for a more stylish shoe then these are a great pick.
- The cushion is printed with palm trees for a lovely finishing touch.
- Available in plenty of colors.
- They’re lightweight and incredibly comfortable to wear.
- They’re a classic shape and design.
- The colors are quite neutral so not the best choice if you’re after a more colorful pair of sandals.
- The front straps aren’t cushioned so feel a little flimsy.
Crocs LiteRide Sandals
- Relaxed fit; a little more room – feels more secure on your foot.
- LiteRide™ foam insoles are supersoft, incredibly lightweight and extraordinarily resilient.
- Soft, stretch gore ankle straps feel broken-in from day one.
- Forefoot strap is non-stretch for a more secure fit.
- Durable Croslite™ foam outsoles provide all-day support and comfort.
Crocs brand themselves as the most comfortable shoes in the world, making softer, more flexible sandals that unlock the key to happiness. You might have already seen the plastic, holey Crocs shoes that have divided opinion across the world, but the Crocs LiteRide Sandals are a complete move on for on-the-go lifestyles. They’re perfect for warm-ups, cool-downs and all around town.
Surprisingly, this is a very stylish pair of sandals. They come in a range of flattering colors, so there’s something to suit everyone, and the canvas straps are comfortable and they look great when fastened, too.
LiteRide™ foam footbeds offer world-class comfort, and have been engineered to help you feel good with every step. They’re soft and incredibly lightweight, but also resilient so you won’t have to worry about any rough surfaces. In addition, the chunky Croslite™ foam outsoles are really comfortable, providing plenty of support.
The straps definitely deserve a mention too. The ankle strap is made from soft gore, which is designed to feel broken-in so you don’t have to go through the process of breaking them in for yourself. The strap at the front is non-stretch, giving you a more secure fit; the sandal won’t move around.
If you’re looking for a more stylish walking sandal, then Crocs are offering a solid option to help put a spring in your step.
- The design of the straps have been carefully considered for comfort.
- They come in a range of flattering colors.
- The foam outsole offers plenty of cushioning with every step.
- They’re an affordable option.
- They can feel a bit sweaty on hot days.
- The Crocs brand is still associated with being ‘unstylish’, so some purchasers might need to overlook this.
- They’re not the best fit for wider feet.
- They can be a bit slippery on wet surfaces.
Chaco ZX1 Classic Sports Sandals
- Vegan-friendly construction.
- 100% Jacquard webbing; wraps around the foot and midsole for a customized fit.
- Adjustable and durable high-tensile webbing heel risers.
- Injection-molded ladder lock buckle.
- Non-marking ChacoGrip™ rubber compound with new tread designs.
- Luvseat™ footbed for all day long comfort. Certified by podiatrists.
If you’re a vegan or looking for a pair of sandals that aren’t made using animal by products, then Chaco have created a solid alternative with their vegan-friendly ZX1 Classic Sports Sandals. Some of the most colorful and striking walking sandals on the market, Chaco doesn’t hold back when it comes to both style and technical features, leaving you with the best of both worlds.
Not only do these sandals dry very quickly but they have an antimicrobial coating to stop nasty odors. Each pair comes with custom-fitting, adjustable straps that can be worn in the way that fits your foot best. The Luvseat™ footbed is also podiatrist certified, offering all-day comfort to put a spring in your step.
When it comes to the outsoles, they’re made with ChacoGrip™ rubber. This gives great traction underfoot and leaves no marks, lending itself to its lightweight construction. However, one thing we should mention is that some wearers of the ZX1 Classic Sports Sandals have reported painful blisters, so you’ll need to persevere if you’re feeling some discomfort as they do break in after some time and wear.
For a more jazzy sandal option and for a pair that you can really rely on, add these Chaco sandals to your wishlist.
- The footbed has been certified by podiatrists, so they have solid backing from professionals.
- Smells are eliminated through the antimicrobial coating.
- There are plenty of vibrant design options to choose from.
- They’re animal-friendly.
- They will need breaking in before you use them.
- They’re at the more expensive end of the scale
Birkenstock Arizona Leather Sandals
- 100% leather upper.
- Suede footbed lining.
- Anatomically shaped cork-latex footbed.
- Details: two straps, each with an individually adjustable metal pin buckle.
- Made in Germany.
One of the most-loved travel sandals in the world, Birkenstock is a German shoe manufacturer that creates sandals that contour to the wearer’s feet. The Birkenstock Arizona Leather Sandals are no exception. As you walk, the sandals are designed to mold to your foot, enabling your body weight to be distributed evenly over the whole foot. This provides optimal support whether you’re rambling, hiking or exploring new terrain.
The Arizona sandals are made with premium quality materials, featuring a 100% leather upper and suede footbed lining. The cork-latex footbed is anatomically shaped too, offering superior comfort and added support with every step. When it comes to the straps, while bulky, they stop the sandals from slipping off, and feet are kept unrestricted thanks to the absence of the back strap.
They do need to be broken in first as the cork is designed to adapt to the shape of your foot, so you need to persevere with allowing this to happen. But once they are broken in, they’ll be incredibly comfortable and ready to wear on your travels.
Looking for a reliable sandal that has plenty of rave reviews from wearers all over the world? These Birkenstocks could be just the pair you’re after.
- They last a long time and the cork footbed can be replaced easily to expand the lifespan.
- They’re versatile and can be used for a range of activities.
- They’re a classic style and shape; everyone recognises a Birkenstock sandal.
- They offer plenty of support for feet.
- They’re easy to pack in a suitcase.
- You’ll need to break them in first.
- The cork will need to be fully dried out if you get the sandals wet.
Viakix Samara Walking Sandals
- Made with elastic webbing that stretches and adjusts to your foot’s shape and size.
- Cushioned ergonomic EVA foam midsole.
- Arch support absorbs impact.
- Lightweight; fit perfectly into a suitcase.
- Water-ready, quick-drying fabric.
- Come with a 30-day guarantee.
Hand-crafted using the best quality materials, the Viakix Samara Walking Sandals are some of the most versatile on the market. You’ll get so much wear out of them, and the quick-drying fabric makes them perfect for wearing at the beach or on wet waterfall hikes.
If you’re worried about the fit then don’t! With elastic webbing uppers, the straps stretch to fit the size of your feet. They’re also fully adjustable with a Velcro strap, so you can tighten them up or loosen them with ease. Also, the cushioned ergonomic footbed offers superior arch support and absorbs the impact of every step. Wherever you’re going, you’ll stay super comfortable.
One of the best things about these sandals is that they look great with their patterned detailing – and there are plenty of colors to choose from, too. They’re some of the more affordable sandals on our list too, so for a pair of travel shoes that are cost effective, stylish and packed with handy features, give the lesser-known Viakix brand a try.
- Comes in half sizes.
- Wide soles for comfort.
- Water-friendly fabric.
- The textured footbed allows your feet to breathe.
- They’re an affordable option.
- They may not last as long as more expensive travel sandals.
- The strap can feel a bit flimsy.
Skechers Reggae Slim Vacay Sandals
- Smooth faux leather upper.
- Smooth webbing fabric straps with colorful woven-in design.
- Front criss cross slide straps with stitched detail.
- Instep strap with quick-access buckle detail.
- Heel sling strap with center comfort cushion pad.
- Heel strap with dual side adjustable hook and loop closures.
- Convertible design with removable heel strap.
- Soft fabric strap lining.
- Lightly textured cushioned comfort footbed.
- Memory Foam cushioned insole.
- Shock absorbing midsole.
- 1 inch built in heel.
- Flexible rubber traction outsole.
Skechers is one of the world’s most well-known footwear brands and are famous for their lightweight, colorful range of shoes. The Reggae Slim Vacay Sandals incorporates their fun, preppy style into these built-for-purpose travel sandals, offering comfort, style and function, whatever the adventure.
The memory foam insole offers super comfortable cushioning and will mold to your feet for a great fit. You’ll be thankful for this after a few hours of walking. They also have a shock absorbing midsole and flexible rubber outsole, offering great grip on every surface.
One of the downsides is the straps. They’re a little thin, so women with slimmer or wider feet might struggle to get a good fit. However, with a bit of trial and error you should find a shape and size that works for you. The heel strap can also be secured with Velcro or it can be removed completely if that’s more comfortable for you.
Overall, if you love Skechers then you’ll love these sandals. However, if you’re looking for something a little more sturdy then they might not quite be the right option for you.
- They’re incredibly lightweight and comfortable to wear.
- They absorb the shock of every step.
- They have a classic and fun Skechers look.
- Only the heel strap is adjustable.
- The straps might be too thin for some wearers.
- Women with wider or slimmer feet might struggle to find the perfect fit.
The verdict: which walking sandals are best?
Seven reviews are a lot to take in, so we’ll break this guide down into which ones we think are the best overall. Each one is deserving of your investment as they’ve ticked a lot of the objectives required for a great travel sandal, but if you’re looking for the best of the best then see our round-up below.
Our overall winner is the Columbia Kya III. They’re perfect for tackling all kinds of terrain, whether you’re hiking on tricky paths or seeking a beachside adventure. We love that they’re fully versatile and customizable to fit any foot’s shape and size. They utilize the latest technology too, offering superior comfort and a lightweight design so you can barely feel them on. And finished with printed palm trees, you really can’t go wrong.
A close second is the Chaco ZX1 Classic Sports Sandals. These are a surprise option as they’re a relatively small brand compared to some on our list, but they’re perfect if you’re looking for a vegan-friendly option. That’s not all they offer though; the footbed is podiatrist certified, and the ChacoGrip™ rubber outsole gives great traction over rough terrain.
You can’t beat the classic look of the Birkenstock Arizona Leather Sandals. They’re well-known with travelers from all corners of the globe, and instead of trying to do anything fancy or overly complicated, they reply on two classic straps, metal buckles and premium quality materials to give them their stylish overall look. Buying a pair of Birkenstocks are an investment.
Best in wet environments:
The Viakix Samara Walking Sandals wins this one. What more can we say other than they’re made with water-ready, quick-drying fabric and have plenty of grip so you won’t lose your step. Even if you’re wearing them at the beach, they’ll hold their own.
Now you have all the information you need, why not try some pairs on for size to make sure your favorites stack up?
The bottom line
Now that you’ve reached the end of our guide, we hope you’re now armed with plenty of information to make your decision on the best walking sandals for you. Each pair of sandals on our list deserves its place as they all have something unique to offer, but ultimately which one is right for you will be your choice. Try a few pairs on before you buy as the fit will vary between each one.
If this article has helped you, we’d love to hear from you – and be sure to let us know where you’re headed on your travels too, as we want to hear all about it! If you’re looking for some inspiration on some beautiful places to travel, check out our guide on the Grayson Highlands Hike, or the Iceberg Lake Trail.