Women’s walking sandals have long been the wayward traveler’s multi-functional best friend. You can find dressy sandals for nights on the town, waterproof sandals for days at the beach, heavily padded sandals for day hikes, and even mid-range sandals which can keep you comfortable even during a full day of site-seeing. And the best part? Sandals easily pack down in your luggage, taking up a fraction of the space of normal sneakers or boots. Why would you ever need any other type of footwear?!
That being said, it’s important to know what you’re getting yourself into when choosing the best women’s walking sandals for you. It’s essential to consider the type of strain you will be putting on your feet while traveling. For example, if your travels have you mostly sitting in cars, trains, subways, airports, or restaurants, you won’t need to put as much emphasis on padding and durability. Instead, you may choose a cuter option that may have less support.
On the other hand, if you’re an adventure traveler spending much of your time outdoors, you’ll want to consider something with toe protection, strong straps, and enough support to get you to the end of the trail.
16 Best Women’s Walking Sandals
1.) Birkenstock Mayari ($99)
- Weight: 12 oz.
- Material: Cork Footbed, EVA Footbed, Rubber Sole
- Pros: Comfort, Support, Thick Rubber Sole
- Cons: Not For Everyone, Hippie Look
Birkenstocks have long been associated with hippy culture and free-living ideology, so naturally, they would make phenomenal walking sandals! However, Birkenstock Mayaris is much more than a name. They feature the patented cork footbed that contours to your foot, giving you amazing arch support and comfort.
This footbed also gives them an excellent shock absorption quality that your joints will thank you. The suede lining means they are best suited for dry urban environments. Also, the cork footbed absorbs smells, so if you are prone to stinky, sweaty feet, these may not be the best choice for you.
2.) Rainbow Sandal ($54)
- Weight: 13.8 oz.
- Material: Leather, EVA, Rubber Sole
- Pros: Comfortable, Affordable,
- Cons: Thong Strap, Leather Makes Your Soles Dark When Wet
I’m a sandal person and don’t believe any travel bag is complete until I throw in a pair. I’ve had Rainbow flip flops for almost eight years now.
In those eight years, I have only had two pairs of Rainbow flip flops, and I only had to replace the first pair because of theft on a bus in Thailand. In my opinion, these are the best brand of flip flops.
The sandals are made with premium leather, nylon threads, and are triple glued for optimal durability. Perhaps what makes these so great is the high arch in the midsole, this allows me to wear the sandals all day.
3.) OluKai ‘Upena ($90)
- Weight: 14 oz.
- Material: Leather, PU Footbed, Rubber Sole
- Pros: No Break In, Comfortable, Super Cute,
- Cons: Straps Not For Wide Feet
Hawaiin baed OluKai makes some amazing comfortable sandals and slip-on shoes. We love their shoes for walking, but it’s the Upena that stands out as a walking shoe for women because of its style. It’s super cute, versatile, and most importantly comfortable.
The two sandals above require a bit of breaking in as they’re leather and cork, but the ‘Upena comes ready to go. No need to worry about blisters, foot pain, or slick bottoms in these walking sandals. I wore them on a recent trip to the Mediterranean and they were perfect for long walking days to an evening out in a dress.
4.) Teva Tirra ($80)
- Weight: 18 oz.
- Material: EVA, Molded Nylon, Rubber
- Pros: Comfort, Thick Rubber Sole, Ready For Trails, Active Shoe, Secure, Nice Straps, Not Bad Style For Hiking Sandal
- Cons: Hiking Sandal Look
Created by a river guide in the Grand Canyon, Teva has fully embraced their adventurous upbringing and bent towards water sports. The Teva Tirra is a perfect example of this. Made with all the best features we have come to expect from Teva – like their sturdy straps and EVA midsoles – they also take water protection to the next level.
The Tirra, in particular, features water-resistant polyester webbing that dries very quickly, a lightweight EVA-foam midsole for maximum comfort, and a ladder lock enclosure that ensures the best custom fit.
They also have that awesome Vibram outsole that gives you great traction. All of this and they don’t sacrifice on style! These travel sandals can easily take you from the urban setting to the great outdoors without missing a beat. The lugs on the outsole are specifically made to channel away water, and the anti-slip midsole will keep you stable whether you are walking through a puddle or a river.
5.) Sanuk Yoga Sling 2 ($40)
- Weight: 12 oz.
- Material: Stretch Knit, Yoga Mat Foot Bed, Rubber Sole (Vegan)
- Pros: Super Comfortable, Relaxed, Cute, Fits Most Feet
- Cons: Thin Rubber Sole
These super cute shoes are also really comfortable and perfect for walking. At an affordable price and a multitude of colors so you can afford to pick up more than one color. They’re super comfortable and the footbeds are made from yoga mats for a soft squishy feeling.
There are two things to note. These women’s walking sandals have thinner soles so not great for rough terrain. There is also a lack of arch support for those suffering from weak arches or plantar fasciitis.
6.) Chaco Z/Cloud ($110)
- Weight: 21 oz.
- Material: Dual-density Polyurethane, Rubber
- Pros: Super Robust Sandal, Great For Hiking, Comfortable, Walking Sandals Outdoors, Arch Support
- Cons: Style, Straps Uncomfortable On Odd-Shaped Feet
The only sandal brand that can come close to the quality of Teva is Chaco. There are diehard fans on both sides of the debate with strong opinions on who should reign supreme. All that means is that when you choose to buy a Chaco sandal, you leave confident that you have purchased the highest quality travel footwear out there. If you need arch support or suffer from plantar fasciitis these are tremendous pair of women’s walking sandals.
The Z/Cloud is just one of three in Chaco’s Z series, and offers such great support you’ll feel like you are wearing a shoe more than a sandal. The sole also features an antimicrobial application that will prevent odor and keep your feet feeling fresh all day long. If you want info check out my post where I compare Tevas vs. Chacos best walking sandals.
7.) Plaka Sandal ($35)
- Weight: 16 oz.
- Material: Rubber, Nylon (Vegan)
- Pros: Super, Cute, Comfortable Straps, Color Choices, Unique, Affordable
- Cons: No Arch Support, Lacks Cushion
Plakas aren’t the most durable sandals on this list they are my favorite, more fashionable sandals for the beach women out, there are Plaka. Plaka sandals are handwoven women’s sandals with a hard rubber sole that is good to wear anywhere in the summer. All of these sandals are hand-made and water-resistant and can dress up a casual beach look.
I have a pair in almost all of their styles and always manage to get compliments when I travel! The best part? They take almost no room up in a suitcase or backpack but can easily dress up a summer outfit. (Psst here is a code for 20% of your next pair on Amazon: S3NYM4TU)
8.) Ecco Damara ($99)
- Weight: 12 oz.
- Material: ECCO Leather, ECCO Comfort Fibre, Polyurethane Soles
- Pros: Super Comfortable, Support, Sturdy Straps
- Cons: Okay Style
If you’re looking for the perfect “around town” sandal that doesn’t sacrifice on comfort, check out the Ecco Damara women’s walking sandals. These adorable sandals have a gladiator strap style that comes in multiple colors, so you can dress them up or down with any outfit.
They also have extra cushy midsoles and durable rubber outsoles that will keep you comfortable while you sightsee all day long.
9.) Wiivv Sandals ($99)
- Weight: N/A (Heavy)
- Pros: Fantastic Arch Support, Custom Foot Bed, Thick Rubber Sole, Cushioned Heel
- Cons: Thong Strap, Heavy
I just got my hands on my first pair of Wiivv custom sandals, and they are a life changer! If you love the convenience and freedom of flip flops but hate how they make your body feel, these are perfect for you. Every pair of Wiivv sandals are made custom for your exact feet to give you the most comfortable fit possible.
They use groundbreaking technology to take a digital map of your foot. The first step is to visit their website and choose from a wide range of colors and designs; then after you purchase, you can download their app to take photos of your feet. The images get automatically sent to Wiivv, and they create a 3D-printable file unique to each foot. Within days you have a new pair of flops directly at your doorstep. Isn’t technology amazing?
Once I received them in the mail, I was able to see just how comfortable these flip flops are and how important good arch support is. Seriously, try them out for yourself! You can test them (outside!), and if you don’t like them within 30 days, they’ll refund your money. If you’re having problems with your arches or feet I’d recommend giving these women walking sandals a try.
10.) Merrell Terran Convertible II ($99)
- Weight: 12 oz.
- Material: Nubuck Leather, Microfiber, Molded Nylon Arch, Foam Footbed,
- Pros: Technology Packed For Comfort and Support, Soft
- Cons: Hiking Sandal Look, Straps Not For Wide Feet
Merrel is a household name when it comes to comfortable outdoor footwear, and I predict they will soon get the same recognition for their line of women’s walking sandals. Gone are the bright colors and rugged look that we have seen in most of their adventure footwear; in its place is a subtle, attractive sandal that gives you incredible microfiber soft footbed support and thong/ankle strap security.
Like the Teva above, Merrell has taken all the key elements of a superb hiking shoe and converted it into sandal form. The Terran Convertible II boasts all-encompassing support and protection in a comfortable package
Once you hit the water, the sandal will immediately expel it and begin the drying process. As you may have guessed, the Terran Convertible II is therefore geared to water-intensive adventures, but don’t let that drive you away if you’re more terrestrial.
The sandal sole is both comfortable and supportive to optimize your hiking, while the rubber Vibram outsole provides excellent traction over almost any obstacle. I also find them to be some of the most attractive hiking sandals I’ve had the pleasure of wearing.
11.) Bedrock Cairn Adventure ($105)
- Weight: 16 oz.
- Material: Polyester/Nylon, Vibram Sole
- Pros: Super Comfortable, Made For Running, Lightweight, Vibram Sole
- Cons: Style, More For Athletic Use
If you just can’t give up on that flip flop feel but want the added stability and support of an outdoor sandal, look no further than the Bedrock Cairn. The thong-like design with ankle strap gives you that great, barely-there feel, while the Vibram outsole is tacky enough to climb mountains.
Their comprehensive adjustment system means the sandals are custom secured to your foot, and the basic construction relieves you of any pressure points. However, because of the strap construction, these are recommended for hiking in strenuous terrain, but they are stylish enough for urban adventuring and durable enough for long day hikes.
12.) Crocs Serena ($29)
- Weight: 12 oz.
- Material: Croslite™ Foam
- Pros: Comfortable, Support, Style For Crocs
- Cons: Crocs,
I have been a fan of crocs for years. I find them to be one of the best walking sandals for walking while still looking cute. Yes, I said attractive. Crocs make some pretty charming women’s sandals perfect for travel.
I have had a few pairs now and even wore them to the club at a younger age. Crocs are super affordable, comfortable for a day of walking, and they are waterproof.
Yes, my mom does all of her garden work in them. Just not in the attractive Crocs Serena women’s walking sandals.
13.) Sketchers Reggae Slim Vacay ($40)
- Weight: 12 oz
- Material: Fabric, Rubber
- Pros: Comfortable, Easy To Put On Straps, Cheap
- Cons: Sketchers Quality, Not As Good As Tevas, Chacos, etc.
Sketchers are an award-winning international footwear brand that prides itself on high quality at an affordable price. Naturally, their Reggae Slim Vacay walking sandals adhere perfectly to this brand model.
The sole has a great memory foam feature that cradles and conforms to your foot similarly to cork, but without the concern of odor absorption. The extremely comfortable faux leather straps are adjustable, giving you the perfect fit whether you have wide or narrow feet. Overall, these sandals have some of the best value considering their cost and features.
14.) Clarks Leisa Cacti Sandal ($85)
- Weight: 12 oz.
- Material: Leather, Rubber, Foam
- Pros: Comfort, Leather, Heel, Arch Supoort
- Cons: Style Not For Everyone
The high-end Clarks Leisa Cacti Sandal are some of the most comfortable sandals you can currently find. They combine an extra-soft footbed with a subtle arch support that will prevent those achy feet that can come with a full day of travel.
15.) Chaco Classic Z ($105)
- Weight: 22 oz.
- Material: Dual-density Polyurethane, Rubber
- Pros: Comfort, Durability, Outdoor Activities
- Cons: Style, Price
The Classic Z walking sandals are a throwback to the basics of Chacos footwear. Iconic with hikers, festival-goers, and river rats, these sandals can stand up to whatever adventure may come your way.
They are comfortable, simple, supportive, and constructed in the patented style that has helped make Chaco a household name. Basically, just one of the best women’s walking sandals that have ever been made.
How to Pick a Walking Sandal?
Obviously, there’s a lot to consider before jetting out, so here’s a breakdown of what to consider in a women’s walking sandals, as well as some of the best options currently on the market.
The Destination for Women’s Walking Sandals
As we alluded to before, knowing the intended use of your walking sandals is a biggy! You don’t want to be stuck with blistered, achy feet because you figured “a sandal is a sandal,” right? So, let’s look at what features are important based on your intended travel purposes.
If you plan to spend your days’ sightseeing and walking the streets of the city, comfort and style should be prioritized above all else. You can choose thinner straps in any pattern that strikes your fancy, and opt for designs that complement your wardrobe versus the bold look that many outdoor sandals have.
You’ll definitely want to keep a thick footbed in mind, as walking on concrete and pavement can be hard on your joints. Also, footbeds with a decent amount of grip should also be a consideration for those days you get caught in a downpour. You don’t want to slip out of your sandals and onto the street.
If you’re traveling to an outdoor location where you intend to spend your days hiking, biking, running, or climbing, protecting your feet should be high on your list. In this scenario, the entire construction of the sandal serves a purpose. You should be looking for walking sandals with thick, well-placed lugs on the outsole to give you maximum traction on rocky terrain.
The straps should be extra secure to prevent your sandals from coming loose at a pivotal point on the trail. You’ll want to make sure the footbed of the sandal is highly supportive, especially around your foot arch, and also look for materials that can take a beating without becoming frayed or broken in the process.
You may even want to consider walking sandals that give you some sort of toe protection, especially if you are heading to rocky terrain. While stylish adventure sandals do exist, this takes a back seat to the overall functionality when the outdoors are your intended terrain. I have loved having a more robust sandal in destinations like the Galapagos, Canadian Rockies, Africa, and Costa Rica.
Whether you’re heading to a beach destination, spending a weekend on the lake, or plan to do a lot of kayaking or rafting, all the best walking sandals for water activities have the same thing in common: they have excellent water resistance and grippy footbeds.
These two things will keep you both stable and comfortable throughout your trip. Water-resistance usually comes in the form of quick-drying synthetic nylon or polyester materials that naturally wick water out. Just a few minutes in the sun and they’re ready to go again!
Walking Sandal Materials
It only makes sense that the materials used in the construction of travel sandals directly affect longevity and comfort. However, some materials are better than others in various situations. For example, leather is a very durable and stylish material, but can become waterlogged and ruined in wet environments.
Synthetic materials such as nylon or polyester are great in wet environments, retaining their shape and drying quickly. Velcro-strapped sandals are great for a day at the beach because you can quickly and easily take them off and on. However, velcro can become frayed over time if put to extreme use, like long-distance hikes or climbing adventures.
One universally great material used in the soles of the best travel sandals is Vibram rubber. If you see this label on the travel sandals you’re considering, you know that you’re getting a high-quality product.
Walking Sandal Straps
Finding the right straps for your travel sandals is a bit like the goldilocks effect: there’s no right fit for everyone, but there’s a right fit for you! Just remember that choosing thinner straps can cause them to dig once strained over all-day use.
Straps that are too wide can be constricting and lack the breathability you’re trying to get by wearing sandals in the first place. The perfect straps usually fall somewhere in the middle based on your foot size.
Walking Sandal Soles
More and more podiatrists agree that no one should wear flat-soled flip flops. Not only is it hard on your feet, but it also puts extra strain on your back, knees, hips, and overall posture.
That’s why choosing a walking sandal with some form of arch support is so crucial. Luckily, manufacturers of walking sandals have seen this concern and have started producing sandals with high-quality soles that can even stand up to their boot and shoe counterparts.
Walking Sandal Fit
Just like any other footwear, you want to find a women’s walking sandal that fits your foot like a glove. They should be tight without constricting, gripped to the bottom of your foot, and long/wide enough that no part of your foot hangs over the edge.
Some brands run small and others run narrow, so be sure to look up the reviews before shopping, and try on your sandals before leaving the store. If you’re purchasing them online, also take this into consideration, and once you get them, take them for a test run before you head out on your trip.
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