When you’re hiking in warm, sweaty, or wet conditions - like in some parts of Southeast Asia - hiking sandals are a fantastic alternative to regular hiking shoes. Hiking sandals let your toes breathe free, and save your feet from becoming stinky with sweat.
They`re also a no-fuss option if you have to wade through water or cross rocky river beds on your hikes.
In this guide, I’ll review the best hiking sandals for women in the market. I’ll also include some tips about how to choose the best sandals for the trails.
My Review Process
Over the last decade, I’ve had a lot of hiking adventures. Thanks to the footwear I chose, I’ve experienced terrible foot pain and blisters on some of these adventures.
This has led me to research the hiking sandals I choose in great detail. Sizing, traction, and support are always at the top of my checklist when I’m buying a new pair.
I’ve spent a lot of time testing and weighing the pros and cons and designs. With that in mind, let’s check out my top ten picks for women’s hiking sandals in 2023.
If you had to choose one pair of footwear to do it all, the Bedrock Cairn Adventure is the one for you.
This is a lightweight sandal, which impressed me with its comfort and sturdiness. The Vibram outsole gives excellent traction that lets you navigate any type of terrain with ease. The Velcro strap at the rear makes it easy to adjust the fit according to any foot shape.
While the Y-strap might need some getting used to. But once broken in, the Bedrock Cairn Adventure Sandals are the best overall hiking sandals for women.
If water is a part of your hikes, the Keen Clearwater CNX is the hiking sandal to choose. The quick-drying material lets you move from water to trail without pausing. The razor siping on the soles offers great traction even on wet or slimy surfaces.
The closed-toed construction saves your toes from getting stubbed, which I find immensely useful. The design of the shoe also gives great arch support and keeps your feet pain-free.
The Women’s Clearwater CNX is expensive, though, and feels larger than other hiking sandals. Despite these drawbacks, it is undeniably comfortable, durable, and lightweight. I’d consider it to be the best women’s hiking sandal for water activities.
The Teva Terra Fi 5 Universal has wonderful cushioning on the underfoot and arch support that keeps your feet relaxed and comfy. The design also includes a notch behind the heel to keep it in place and add protection from injuries.
The webbing, while not the most secure, is very comfortable on the skin. It is super easy to make adjustments to narrow down the fit.
Despite being a bit on the heavy side at 805g, the Teva Terra Fi 5 Universal manages to strike a great balance between comfort, weight, and durability. It's my choice for the most comfortable hiking sandal for women in 2023.
The Xero Shoes Z-Trail EV is a minimalist sandal for women who want the feel of walking barefoot on trails.
This ultralight sandal from Xero Shoes is extremely flexible, yet surprisingly sturdy. The foam footbed is comfy underfoot. The 0mm drop under the forefoot and the heel provides a natural gait while walking.
The Z-Trail EV sandals are not the most robust with such a thin sole, and the foot tends to move around inside the shoe, especially when going downhill. Despite these drawbacks, the Xero Shoes Z-Trail EV is the best women’s lightweight sandals for hiking or wearing around the campsite.
The Newport H2 closed-toe sandal is the perfect combination of the comfort of hiking shoes with the breathability of hiking sandals. The closed-toe design is great for protection against jabs from sharp stones and stubbed toes.
These hiking sandals have excellent traction and make for a great companion on hikes over rough terrain. The Bungee closure is easy to adjust with a single pull.
The Newport does tend to trap dirt and debris due to its cutout design. But it's still my choice for water enthusiasts and hikers who want some extra protection for their toes.
The Maori term ‘Hopara’ means “to explore”, and these sandals let you explore on and off the trail with their supportive midsole and closed-toe design.
The Hopara sandals provide a good grip on loose scree as well as while clambering over wet rocks. That's thanks to their hybrid outsole with lugs and flatter treads. A gusseted tongue and the bungee lace closure system ensure a comfortable fit - even for wider feet.
The Hoka Hoparas are expensive, but I still consider them the best women’s sandals for wide feet due to their grip and comfort.
The Columbia Women’s Sandals have a soft footbed and firm frame. The midsole also has great cushioning which makes it super comfy for all-day hikes.
The adjustable straps and the cinch-able bungee cord at the back help secure the sandal around your feet for a snug fit.
Although these sandals might leave some funky tan lines after a day out, I still feel they are the best women’s sandals for narrow feet.
With its two-cord closure system and unique style, Keen Uneek stands out from the crowd. The bungee cord woven through the upper gives a flexible yet super snug fit that hugs the foot. Another cord at the top allows you to dial in the fit further with just one pull. A molded rubber sole offers excellent arch support and a cushioned strap supports the ankles.
You do need to be aware that the Keen Uneek sandal is surprisingly quite heavy.But if you’re going on easy day hikes and want sandals with the best arch support, the Keen Uneek is hard to beat.
The Chaco Z/Cloud has a soft and squishy midsole and thick Z-straps to keep the forefoot and heel in place comfortably. The deep lugs on its outsole make it easy to put in the miles on uneven terrain and offer excellent traction.
They do feel a little bulky when compared to other hiking sandals, but they are super durable and supportive.
Like many other hiking sandals, the straps can chafe against the foot when wet. This can cause blisters and hot spots, so I’d recommend the Keen Clearwater CNX if you might get a bit wet.Still, with its great support, comfort, and traction, the Chaco Z/Cloud is the best hiking sandal for long distances.
The Teva Hurricane XLT2 offers a lot of the features of the hiking sandals I’ve mentioned above, albeit at a much lower price.
It has a cushy footbed and offers good support too. It also features a tread pattern that can take on rough terrain with ease. The strap design lets you adjust the fitting to your liking. A cushioned strap at the back of the ankle helps prevent hot spots and blisters.
The Hurricane XLT2 does lack traction on wet surfaces. Despite this drawback, it is an excellent budget women’s hiking sandal for dry terrain.
Women’s Hiking Sandals Buying Guide
Selecting any pair of hiking sandals without thinking about the features you need? You might be making a big mistake, only to realize it miles into your next hike! Here are some things to keep in mind during your search for the perfect hiking sandals. Go on, your feet will thank you later!
Climate And Terrain
Think about the terrain and the climate you’d be hiking in. If you usually hike on rocky terrain, you’ll need sturdy footwear that can withstand the wear and tear you put it through. Grip and support are must-haves when going off-trail.
Sandals work best in warm to cool temperatures, while walking through streams on the trail, or in sandy, desert areas. Some hikers also like pairing sandals with socks for winter hikes. But I like keeping my toes super warm and opt for hiking shoes for colder temperatures instead.
We usually wear hiking sandals on trails that can be wet or slippery or have loose scree in some sections. Good traction is necessary for such terrain.
Slim, multi-directional grooves and a Vibram rubber sole let the sandals grip surfaces well. Flatter tread patterns on the outsole help you maintain a good grip on wet surfaces and slippery rocks. Or when navigating river crossings on the trail.
It’s important to have traction on the footbed of the shoe as well. It helps keep your foot in place and stops it from moving around in the sandal.
Sizing And Fit
The sizing of hiking sandals depends on how big your feet are, of course, but also how much of an arch your foot has. Your usual street size is a good place to start. You might have to move up or down a size to find a size that offers a good balance of comfort and performance.
Most of the sandals have adjustable straps, so it’s easy to create a custom fit that is snug, not tight. A bit of space between the edges of the sandal and your foot is also necessary to avoid blisters and other injuries.
Features And Construction
Different hiking sandals offer different features depending on their intended use.
Some sandals have great cushioning and underfoot support which let you put in the miles even with heavier loads. Padded EVA or foam insoles offer good shock absorbency.
Most hiking sandals have adjustable Velcro or buckle straps that let you dial in the fit minutely. I prefer sandals with buckle straps because most velcro straps deteriorate over time. Many sandals designed for water activities use Bungee cords for a closure system. This prevents the chafing and irritation that buckles or velcro cause.
Then there’s the question of closed-toe vs open-toe sandals. Most sandals made for water sports are closed-toe and protect the foot better. Hiking sandals are usually open-toed and offer better breathability, flexibility, and style.
Hiking sandals can cost anywhere from $30 to $200 and above. In our list, we’ve included high-quality options from every price point. Before you select a pair of sandals, consider if the features suit your hiking or everyday needs.
I recommend the Bedrock Cairn Adventure as the best overall hiking sandal for women. It is lightweight, grippy, and suitable for all your adventures.
*The information on this site is based on research and first-hand experience but should not be treated as medical advice. Before beginning any new activity, we recommend consulting with a physician, nutritionist or other relevant professional healthcare provider.