Summer Footwear: The Best Sandals for Your Summer Fun



Summer Footwear: The Best Sandals for Your Summer Fun

Sandals are a great way to get out in the great outdoors without walking through a constant puddle of your own foot sweat. Nasty I know but the fact of the matter is keeping your feet couped up in boots, or even dedicated trail shoes can leave them feeling swampy and smelling like a Phish concert in the middle of summer. While you’ll be lacking a bit of ankle support, your feet will easily be able to trudge through river banks, rocky terrain, sand, grass, and pretty much anywhere else you want to take them without being waterlogged all day and today’s options are not only comfortable to wear for short periods of time, they actually are just about as good as shoes in many cases. Today we’ll be looking at the best sandals you can buy and wear on your next trip to the great outdoors for summer fun.

Summer Footwear: The Best Sandals for Your Summer Fun

Summer Footwear: The Best Sandals for Your Summer Fun

1. Teva Original Universal Urban Sandal


Teva Original Universal Urban Sandal

The Budget Option

The original sport sandal emerged from the shores of the Grand Canyon back in 1984. Born out of necessity to prevent sandals from floating downstream, a resourceful river guide strapped two Velcro watchbands to a pair of old flip-flops. The Universal Urban Sandal is comfortable, features lots of fun styling options from many great retailers, and comes in at a price that won’t hurt your wallet too much.

Pros/Stylish, Comfortable, Great all around use

Cons/Not very durable

Bottom Line/Great for vacation trips where you’ll find yourself mostly on paved surfaces but need to be prepared for off-paveme

2. KEEN Newport H2 Water Sandal with Toe Protection


KEEN Newport H2 Water Sandal with Toe Protection

The KEEN Men’s Newport H2 Sandal is a rugged sandal for adventures that move between water and trail with no time for stopping. In the kayak, out of the kayak, walk up a creek and snap a pic of the hidden waterfall, then turn around and get back in the boat. If your warm-weather adventures mimic something like this, then the protective rubber toe and outsole will be like heaven on your feet. No bruised toes due to kicking rocks, stay on your feet at the docks with razor-siped soles. The upper is a washable polyester webbing with a hydrophobic mesh lining, so when they need cleaning from the hustle and bustle of summer, toss ’em in the washer and lay them on the back porch to dry.

Pros/Great coverage for walking through water with great protection for the toes and sides of feet

Cons/Extra material can pick up nasty scents fairly quickly (luckily they are machine washable)

Bottom Line/Great for thsoe who love to hang out either in or on the water.

3. KEEN Kid’s Newport NEO H2 Sandal


KEEN Kid's Newport NEO H2 Sandal

An option for Kids

All the breathability of sandals with the added comfort and protection of shoes. With a sole that can tackle all terrain, nothing can stop him in the Newport Neo. It feels active and athletic with lightweight durability that makes it his go-to sandal for all things rough and tumbles. I like pretty much everything about the Kids NEO H2 Sandals except for the price which might be a bit on the high side for some parents who are just trying to get their kids in something that will keep their bare feet protected from the ground.

Pros/Great traction, a bit of ankle support and a simple velcro lacing system.

Cons/A little pricey for kids sandals but if you want the best, this is it.

Bottom Line/A frustration free way of handling your child’s outdoor footwear needs

4. Chaco Z/1 Classic


Chaco Z/1 Classic

The Chaco Men’s Z/1 Classic Sandal is an adjustable sandal for water and trail exploration. Seaside, lakeside or trailside, the ChacoGrip rubber outsole grips on whatever surface you walk upon, helping you stay upright, even in slippery situations. The webbing strap wraps the foot, adjustable to your preference so you can tighten up when climbing in and out of the water, or wear them loose when hanging around town. You’ll fall in love with the LUVSEAT™ PU footbed and not just for comfort, but for the support it provides to your arches day in and day out.

Pros/Lots of Adjustablity with great durablity and comfort for all day hiking

Cons/Like all fabric straps, they can cause nasty blisters with extended use, especially when wet. No toe protection.

Bottom Line/Great for keeping your toes nice and free across a wide variety of terrain and conditions

5. Ecco Yucatan Sandals


Ecco Yucatan Sandals

I’ve tried lots of brands of sandals and have consistently found that the Ecco Yucatan Sandals are the most comfortable and stable, and more true to size. One caveat is that it does not come in wide and since my feet are wide I take issue with this. However, the sandals handle water pretty well and feature very nice supportive leather interior construction fitted with a stretch-fit lining that keeps your feet from getting blisters from the straps and edges. If you’re looking for the ultimate in comfort, durability and fit, you should check out the Yucatan’s.

Pros/Great combination of fit, comfort, support, and durablity

Cons/No wide sizes, a tad bit more expensive than standard hiking sandals.

Bottom Line/My personal reccomendation.

Are sandals okay to wear for long hikes?

Hiking in sandals has a lot of advantages including more breathability, and less water retention when crossing creeks, and streams, and they also have the benefit of air-cooling your feet throughout the day as opposed to making them sweat inside hiking boots or shoes. The only real major downside to sandals is that they more often than not tend to be more uncomfortable to wear and lack any sort of ankle support that you’d need for really rough terrain. Another downside is that they can collect debris quite easily underneath or inside of the sandals making them uncomfortable till you can stop and remove whatever has wandered into your insole.

Do sandals provide enough traction to keep me from slipping?

Some do. Most of the options on this list are pretty good at keeping you stable on water but cheaper sandals, likely the ones you’ll find for less than $50 or so at Wal-Mart and the like, will probably not have the right kinds of materials and traction patterns that dedicated river or hiking sandals will have on them. If you’re planning on going on boats or hiking in areas with water in sandals, its best to spend the extra cash on a quality pair that can handle some moisture without putting you on your rear.

Should you wear socks with sandals to keep you from getting blisters?

Although it is a fashion faux pas to wear socks with sandals, sometimes it’s just a good idea. If you’re going to be around a lot of sand, grit, or dirt and don’t like the feeling or abrasiveness on your feet when that kind of stuff inevitably gets inside your sandals, a cheap pair of neoprene socks will do the trick of keeping debris out of your toes and feet and still maintain the water-friendly nature of your sandals.

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Luke is currently a full-time writer for,,, and of course, Luke is a competitive shooter, firearms enthusiast, reloader, outdoorsman, and generally takes an interest in anything that has to do with the great outdoors.
Luke is also a private certified pilot and is currently pursuing his commercial pilot’s license in the hopes of becoming a professional pilot. Some of Luke’s other interests include anything to do with aviation, aerospace and military technology, and American Conservancy efforts.
Instagram: @ballisticaviation

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