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Are you ready for long hikes or walks on hot summer days? Of course, you must have the perfect equipment. In addition to hiking clothes or a backpack, the right footwear is a must. Hiking sandals are a good alternative to sturdy, closed hiking boots. Without sweaty feet, you will have much more fun hiking over hill and dale on summer days.
Our hiking sandals test 2023 should help you find the perfect hiking sandals for you. To make your decision easier, we have compared the materials leather and synthetic and listed their advantages and disadvantages. We have also selected our favourite hiking sandals for women, men and children.
- 1 Summary
- 2 The Best Hiking Sandals: Our Picks
- 3 Buying and evaluation criteria for hiking sandals
- 4 Decision: What types of hiking sandals are there and which is the right one for you?
- 5 Guide: Frequently asked questions on the subject of hiking sandals answered in detail
- Hiking sandals are a good alternative to hiking boots on warm summer days. Despite their robustness and thick soles, they are air-permeable and prevent blisters due to moisture accumulation.
- Hiking sandals can be divided into two broad groups based on the material. Sandals made of leather and those made of synthetic materials. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, but the price range is slightly different.
- You can recognise the perfect hiking sandals if they fit tightly on the foot and do not pinch. They should not end directly at the toes and should have a non-slip tread.
The Best Hiking Sandals: Our Picks
Buying and evaluation criteria for hiking sandals
There are many different types of hiking sandals. In the next section, we will show you which aspects you should consider when comparing hiking sandals.
The criteria you can use to compare hiking sandals include:
Size is always the most important factor when buying clothes or shoes. This is also true for hiking sandals, as they are used to cover distances of several kilometres and sometimes difficult terrain.
Hiking sandals should ideally not pinch anywhere, not be too big or too small and fit tightly at the heel. It’s also important that the sandals don’t end directly at the tip of your foot, but are slightly larger. This is especially important for running downhill, as your feet will slide forward a little.
Common closures on hiking sandals are Velcro or a drawstring. These allow for a perfect and individual adjustment to your foot.
Hiking sandals, like hiking boots, are often bought half a size larger. You should also avoid trying them on in the morning, as feet can swell during the day. You should try on hiking sandals before you buy them.
One of the most important aspects of footwear is the material, as this requires care. Upper means the part of the shoe that is above the instep of the foot.
Most hiking sandals are made of either leather or synthetic materials such as polyester. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.
In addition, leather reduces the formation of odours. However, this material needs a lot of care and reacts more sensitively to wetness.
Synthetic materials are less sensitive than leather and do not require special care. They are also often light and comfortable. Synthetic materials are more robust in combination with water, but also lead to odour problems or pressure marks more quickly if they are not well made.
The inner material of hiking sandals describes only the tread or the insole.
Just like the upper material, the inner material can be made of synthetic materials or leather. The most important thing is that it is durable and skin-friendly. Materials that are often used on the inside are:
After using your hiking sandals, you should never forget to clean them. Long hikes can be strenuous and you may start to sweat. For cleaning, you should remove your insole if you need one.
Unlike the outer material, the inner material is invisible. Therefore, its appearance should not matter much to you. Since sandals are usually worn without socks, your main concern should be your skin tolerance and comfort.
The soles of hiking sandals are often made of rubber or synthetic materials such as polyester.
When looking at the sole, you should not only pay attention to the material, but also to the heel. Many hiking sandals have no heel, but some have a small one of a few centimetres.
The most important thing about the sole is the tread.
In contrast to normal sandals, the tread is rather coarse. A comparatively coarse tread provides an adequate grip, which is very important especially on difficult hikes.
Cushioning also plays a role when hiking, as you naturally want to experience a relaxed hike for as long as possible. Since you perform differently on hikes than in your leisure time, a lot of value is placed on a good sole.
The two most common types of closure for hiking sandals are the drawstring and the conventional Velcro fastener. You won’t find laces on hiking sandals.
For longer hiking tours, the drawstring is definitely an advantage. This type of closure is more robust, more durable and also of higher quality than the Velcro fastener.
The Velcro fastener, on the other hand, is suitable for lighter and shorter hikes. Sandals that can be fastened with Velcro are particularly quick and easy to put on. Sandy terrain quickly causes the Velcro to come loose.
The advantage of these two types of closure is that they allow you to adjust the shoe to your foot. You can fasten them individually and thus partially compensate for size and fit.
Since sandals are open shoes, your feet are of course not protected from getting wet.
However, you should always make sure that your hiking sandals are water-repellent. This means that they do not soak up water.
Water-repellent shoes or clothing can be recognised by the fact that the water rolls off the surface and does not get inside.
Hiking sandals that soak up water not only become considerably heavier and increase in weight, but the wearing comfort can also become significantly more uncomfortable.
Colloquially, a protective toe cap is also called a steel cap, although it is not always made of steel. It is built into the shoe in a spherical shape and designed so that the wearer notices it as little as possible.
Hiking sandals come in many different designs and not all of them have a toe protection cap. This encloses the tips of the toes and ensures that the tips of your feet are protected from impacts, stones and injuries.
The protection can be made of different materials, all of which have advantages and disadvantages. Steel is the cheapest, but also the heaviest. Other materials include plastic or titanium.
If you decide against such protection, you should make sure that the sole of the foot is longer than the foot at the tip of the toe. This creates a kind of buffer zone.
Decision: What types of hiking sandals are there and which is the right one for you?
If you want to buy hiking sandals, there are two types of products you can choose from:
|Hiking sandals made of leather||Fits the foot, No sweaty feet, Durable||Requires a lot of care, Limited water resistance|
|Synthetic hiking sandals||Waterproof, Easy care, Animal friendly||Odour problems, Lower target comfort with poor quality|
Hiking sandals with synthetic uppers can be made of polyester, for example.
Both types have their advantages and disadvantages. Depending on what you prefer in terms of care and comfort, a different type of product is suitable for you. To make your decision a little easier, we have summarised more details about the two variants in the next section.
Guide: Frequently asked questions on the subject of hiking sandals answered in detail
You certainly have one or two questions before you buy hiking sandals. In the following section, we have listed the most important and most frequently asked questions from customers and answered them in detail. We hope that our great hiking sandals guide will make your decision easier.
Who are hiking sandals suitable for?
It’s best to start with longer walks to see if you enjoy hiking. In the beginning, you can also use your regular sports shoes, but the sole should be non-slip and have a good grip.
If you want to go hiking more often and choose different routes accordingly, you should definitely get the right footwear. Hiking sandals are particularly suitable for summer.
Since hiking sandals are often not as conspicuous as hiking boots, you can also wear them for longer city tours without any problems. So it doesn’t always have to be a long hike through the mountains.
How much do hiking sandals cost?
The prices for hiking sandals for men and for women are very similar. There are also unisex models, but they do not differ in price from the others.
|Leather hiking sandals||approx. 60-100 euros|
|Synthetic hiking sandals||approx. 30-70 euros|
If you compare leather and synthetic hiking sandals, you will notice a small difference in price. Leather sandals are a little higher in the price range, synthetic materials are more in the lower range.
How do I care for hiking sandals?
Since you’ll most likely be wearing them without socks, sweat will get directly onto the inner material. They also get dirty quickly on the outside when you’re walking over hill and dale. Like all the other clothing you wear for hiking, your footwear needs to be cleaned properly and cared for if necessary.
In the video you got a small insight into the correct shoe care. We have summarised the most important points so that you have a clear overview:
- Drying: If your hiking sandals get wet, you should always dry them. This is even more important with leather than with synthetic materials. Be careful not to let your footwear dry in direct sunlight or under a hot radiator.
- Remove coarse dirt: Whether your hiking sandals are made of synthetic materials or leather, the first thing you do is remove coarse dirt from your footwear. You can do this with a simple brush or even by hand. But don’t forget to clean the soles.
- Clean properly: Get some lukewarm water and clean your hiking sandals thoroughly with a cloth. It is important to clean the inner material and remove sweat.
- Care: If your hiking sandals are made of leather, you should care for the material after cleaning. Leather care is often sufficient. You should do this more often and not forget, otherwise your leather could become stained or even brittle.
What alternatives are there to hiking sandals?
Hiking shoes are often worn for longer and more difficult hikes or in stony terrain. Because of the high shaft, you have more support and it increases stability.
Unlike hiking sandals, hiking boots are completely closed and are therefore less permeable to air. However, they are often made of breathable materials. They are mainly recommended for low temperatures.
If you’re planning to go hiking in the snow or low temperatures in general, then you should leave your hiking sandals right at home. You’ll just freeze your feet off. For such hikes, you need proper hiking boots that are particularly high-cut.
Hiking sandals are no substitute for hiking boots! You definitely need sturdy, closed shoes for very long hikes with heavy luggage.
Do children need hiking sandals?
With the help of hiking sandals, your child is well equipped for longer walks or for romping around on unpaved surfaces.
Especially the toe protection is an advantage for children, as it reduces the risk of injury. At first, this might take some getting used to, but it is specially made so that you feel it as little as possible while wearing them.
Otherwise, hiking sandals for children have exactly the same characteristics as those for adults. They are designed to be comfortable to wear and offer sufficient safety.
The special thing about hiking sandals for children, however, is the variety of colours. Your child will be offered a wide range of colours and patterns and will probably not want to take these sandals off again.
Photo source: anzebizjan/ 123rf.com