Yes, I’m saying it. I love hiking in sandals. Well, I love having the right track and weather to be able to hike in sandals to be more precise. So I’ve spent a lot of time looking for the best women’s hiking sandals I could find – and I went through a lot.
The fresh feeling of being able to wiggle your toes in the air, being able to feel the wind and grass around your feet… It’s definitely worth the sandal strap tan lines you inevitably get.
And which sandals took the crown after a recent collective metric crap-ton of testing?
The short answer
Here it goes without any affiliate links (Go search them yourself): The “Chaco Z/Cloud”
Those things really earn their names. There you go. The end – if you’re the impatient type.
Wanna stick around for more details? Great!
The long answer
What are we looking for in hiking sandals for women?
Look, I don’t think any of us 4 are cheapskates when it comes to gear. I mean, we go through a lot and test a lot. If it has superior quality we’d be willing to spend quite a bit on it. But it always comes down to value for the money for us.
So if we were only looking at the price, we’d probably recommend you either the “Xero Shoes Z-Trail EV” or the “Teva Hurricane XLT2” – both are decent hiking sandals for women and cost only around $75 but they don’t quite have the comfy feeling that really made us fall in love with the Chaco Z.
Speaking of which, the Chaco Z sandals aren’t too expensive either. At around $100 I’d call them midrange price but amazing value.
No surprise there with how much I’ve gone on about comfort, huh? Arch support, softness and rigidness in the right places – it all comes together to a symphony of happy feet.
There’s also always the crux that comfort is highly subjective. But I think we have a group consensus that while not everyone loved the cushion-y feel of the Chaco Z/Cloud as much as I do, everyone at least generally like the feel. In the end you probably will have to try it out for yourself.
By the way, the Chaco Z/1 Classic are a good alternative if you want a bit less of the cushion-y feel with a lot of the same good all-around support.
What’s a good sandal worth if you can’t trust it to last through the whole trip?
Have you ever had a sandal strap tear while out? Remember how annoying it was to get back home in that thing? Yeah, now imagine that happening in the middle of a multi-day backpacking trip.
And I’ve had that happen. I won’t even dignify the offender with a mention in this article… but I’ve learned to develop a keen eye for even the slightest beginning of wear and tear that could potentially become dangerous to my footwear.
I gotta say, many of the mid-tier to high-end sandals we tried showed no sign of stress even on longer hikes. The Chaco Z definitely seem sturdy though.
Other honorable mentions by the way would be the ECCO Yucatan and the KEEN Newport H2 – both of which some have been with us through pretty harsh and long hikes and came out looking perfectly ready for another round.
Just starting out hiking in sandals?
With all that said, a note of caution for the first-time sandal hikers amongst you:
1 – Hiking in sandals can easily cause more blisters than you’re used to when your feet aren’t used to it yet! Start small, and take some other boots with you! And a few athletic / blister tapes. You’ll thank me later.
2 – Everyone’s feet are different. Don’t give up if my recommendations didn’t hit your specific needs. Try another pair. Once you’ve found the right women’s hiking sandals, you’ll never want to miss them again.