8 Best Minimalist Sandals for Hikers (Buying Guide)
No longer an embarrassing accessory worn by your uncle, sandals have grown in popularity in the last decade, especially in the hiking world. This is especially because of the rise in the popularity of ultra-lightweight backpacking. Hiking sandals make a great addition to a hiking trip, especially if you’re also camping, or you’re going hiking in a hot climate. But which are the best sandals minimalist sandals for hiking?
The answer really depends on the ways you intend on using your minimalist sandals. If you’re looking to invest in a pair of hiking sandals to wear in the summer, then you need a hardy pair of sandals that have good arch support, and will cushion you form the rough rocks below.
But if you’re looking to purchase sandals as a lightweight addition to your backpack, to give your feet a breather and your hiking boots a rest (or just to hang out in your campsite), then you might be looking for a more stylish, and minimalist pair of sandals. The amount of support you need depends on how you intend to wear your new sandals.
Best Minimalist Sandals for Hikers – Overview
1.Luna Sandals Mono Winged Edition
- The Mono Winged Edition is the ultimate do everything, go everywhere adventure sandal. Its incredibly flexible and lightweight design offer freedom and comfortable mobility to all outdoor enthusiasts.
If you’re looking for the best of the best in minimalist hiking sandals, Luna sandals are a good place to start. However, the price matches the quality of this product, so for cost-effective sandals, some of the other options might be better for you. The Luna sandals are suited for whatever purpose you could fathom.
Firstly, these sandals are super lightweight, meaning you can easily carry them in or attached to your backpack. Because the straps are so thin, this design is uber breathable, making it a great option for long hot summer hikes.
The Luna salad was created by outdoors and sports enthusiasts, to be the be all end all of hiking sandal. They use a special grip technology, called Monkey Grip Technology, on the soles of the sandal, to create the ultimate grip. The quality of the grip means these sandals are ideal for both long, rocky hikes and everyday usage.
Despite offering your foot lots of support, the soles of these sandals are 11mm thick, making them easy to transport. However, these sandals don’t offer much arch support, so if you’re hiking for long distances you might want to look for a more ergonomic design.
- Super lightweight
- Customizable fit
- Top of the range sole and grip
- Designed for hiking, running, and all outdoors activities
- Uber flexible
- No arch support
Xero Shoes Z-Trek – Women’s Minimalist Barefoot-Inspired Sport Sandal
- All the fun, freedom, and benefits of being barefoot, but with the protection and comfort you want in a sport sandal. Xero Shoes come with our 5,000 mile warranty.
If you liked the minimalist, lightweight design of the last sandals, but you’re looking for something a bit more shaped to your foot, or a bit cheaper, this might be the option for you. These women’s sandals from Xero are sharped to the foot, and even have a ridge at the back for heel support. This cancels out any risk of the annoying flapping sound of some sandals, and makes longer hikes more comfortable. Another benefit is that these sandals are water-resistant, making them perfect for crossing streams, or kayaking or canoeing.
These sandals have very thin soles. With the Luna sandal, the sole will absorb more of the shock when you’re walking, making it more comfortable for some long hikes. However, these sandals from Xero give you optimum flexibility, meaning you can be truly free in them to hike, walk, run, work out, or trail running, kayaking, or any other outdoor activity.
This is also a really lightweight option for backpackers: up to 70% lighter than other sports sandals at only 5.5mm thick, you can actually roll up these sandals to fit them in your backpack. These sandals will give you the freedom of feeling like you’re adventuring barefoot.
- Shaped to the foot
- Super flexible
- Can roll up to fit in your backpack
- No arch support
- Thin soles, not much shock resistance or cushioning
3. Teva Women’s W Hurricane Xlt2 Sport Sandal
- Nylon shank stabilizes and supports your foot on uneven terrain
These sandals by Teva are not as minimalist, and are a bit more traditional in design. However, they might be a better option for you if you’re looking to hike long distances, especially over rocks, in the summer months. The main reason for this is the arch support in this sandal. Arch support corrects your posture and hiking technique, and cushions your foot on long hikes. This sandal also has a thinker sole, and thus more shots absorption.
Teva’s sandals mold to your feet over time, especially with the placing of the straps, and the heel strap. The nylon shank stabilizes your foot, and supports you even on hard, rugged terrain. The design even boasts a cushioned heel, for increased comfort on your hike. Another benefit of this design is that it’s resistant to water. The recycled PET webbing dries out quickly, and stands up to abuse and wear. These are practical shoes for crossing streams or water-based activities.
- Good arch and heel support
- The thick sole offers shock absorption and cushioning
- Strap material and placement withstands wear and stabilizes your foot
- Bulkier than some more minimalist designs
- More traditional design
4. Skechers Women’s Reggae-Dub Fest-Quarter Strap Webbing Sandal
- Cushioned and contoured comfort footbed
Although the option by Teva did feature some arch support, the sole is only partially arched. If you’re looking for more arch support in your sandal, for long hikes or all-day wear, and option like this from Sketchers could be just the trick. The undulating design of these sandals is contoured to offer comfort from the footbed all day long. This sandal also boasts soft fabric lining, which is unique from the other sandals we have reviewed. They also have a shock-absorbing lightweight foam midsole.
This level of both arch support combined with ultra shock-absorbing sole, makes this an ideal hiking sandal. However, this sandal doesn’t have the same sleek charm of some of the more minimalist sandals we have reviewed.
But if your priorities are utility over style, and you’re looking for a sandal that will support your legs and feet from hiking over boulders and rocky terrain, these sandals will keep you in comfort throughout your hike. Also, the brand recognition of Sketchers, and their trusted high-quality utility footwear, might just sway you too.
- Contoured, undulating footbed offering loads of arch support
- Shock-absorbing lightweight foam midsole
- Soft fabric lining
- Brand trust
- Not as chic as some of the other designs
- Size can run large
5. Chaco Women’s Zcloud Sport Sandal
If you’re looking for just as much support and shock absorption as the sandals from Sketchers, but slightly more simple and chic design, this option of women’s sandals by Chaco could do the trick. And if you’re worried about a lack of support for the arch of your foot, this sandal has you covered: literally. This sandal has a strap wrap-around design, supporting your heel, mid-foot, and before your toes. These sandals by Chaco offer an extra layer to the midsole with the polyester jacquard webbing straps.
For a long hike, the sole of these sandals will keep you and your posture supported. The thick sole and arch support offer maximum shock absorption too. An added, and unique, benefit is the sole construction is vegan-friendly too! However, one issue with this design is that the front straps aren’t adjustable, so unlike with some of the other sandals we have reviewed, you might not be able to get the adjusted perfect fit. Also, the sole of these shoes isn’t as ridged as some of the other options, so you might not want to wear these in rugged climbs.
- Three straps, including midfoot strap
- Thick sole and raised arch support
- Maximum shock absorption
- Vegan-friendly construction
- The design could be chicer
- Sole could be more ridged
- Front straps aren’t adjustable
6. CIOR Women’s Sport Sandals Hiking Sandals with Arch Support Yoga Mat Insole
- EVA FOOTBED: The cushiony EVA yoga mat insole are soft and can absorb impact. The foot bed is textured to provide extra grip.
If your needs are much more simple, and you’re looking for a cheap pair of hiking sandals to wear around the campsite or the garden, then this pair by CIOR could suit. These sandals boast a cushioned footbed, made from EVA yoga mat, which will keep you feeling comfortable and supported. They also have a slightly raised arch support, but it may not be enough for you if you’re planning to wear these sandals on a long hike. They also don’t have a very deeply textured sole, so we wouldn’t recommend wearing these sandals on rocky terrain, as you might slip.
For wearing around the campsite, and going kayaking or canoeing though, these sandals could be a good, cheap solution. Especially seeing as wearing camping can give quite a lot of water to sandals, at least they’re cheap to replace if they do break! These sandals will also give you great heel protection with the padded heel straps, that reduce chafing. These lightweight sandals are a great option of cheap sandal, if you’re looking for a pair to attach to your backpack, and give your feet a rest from boots at the end of the day.
- Very cheap
- Raised footbed arch support
- Cushioned footbed
- Good heel protection and padded heel straps
- Sole could be more textured, may risk skidding
- Arch support not enough for long hikes
7. Xero Shoes Jessie – Women’s Barefoot Inspired Minimalist Lightweight Zero-Drop Sandal
- Natural COMFORT - With a soft woven toe loop, and natural barefoot feel, you may even forget you have the Jessie on your feet
If minimalism is what you’re looking for, then it doesn’t get better than with this option by Xero shoes. This sandal will take you almost as close as you can to feeling barefoot. It does this by looping over your toe at the front, which may be a step too far for some people. However, with this design, you’ll never feel the caring that you might get with flip flops, as the toe loop is made from a soft woven fabric. This sandal is perfect for agility, with the non-elevated zero-drop sole allowing for proper posture, freedom of movement and balance.
This sandal wins in regards to weight. At roughly 4.8 ounces, this sandal will easily roll up and go in your backpack, adding hardly any weight or size. The ultra-thin sole, at 5.5mm, lets you feel the earth beneath you and allows your feet their natural flexibility. A chevron sole will still keep your feet protected, but they’re so lightweight you might even forget you have them on! The straps are also padded and made of soft woven fabric, to avoid any chafing, and blisters.
- Super lightweight
- Soft woven toe strap and heel strap
- Ultra-thin sole lets you really feel the hike
- No arch support
- Limited shock resistance
- Some may mot enjoy the toe strap
8. Xero Shoes Genesis – Men’s Barefoot Tarahumara Huarache Style Minimalist Lightweight Running Sandals
- All the fun, freedom, and benefits of being barefoot, but with the protection and comfort you want. Xero Shoes come with our 5,000 mile warranty.
Another great option of sandal that will make you feel like you’re barefoot is this option from Xero. The major difference in this sandal is that the straps are made from chord, and instead of having a strap in the front they attach to the base in between your toes like a flip flop.
However, these are far more evolved than the simple flip flop, as the easy-adjust lacing holds comfortably and securely around your foot without pressure points, and is easy to adjust. They can even be used as running shoes (like those from z-trail).
This is another option of uber lightweight sandal, that rolls up easily and fits in a backpack or a pocket. With only a 5.5 mm sole, these sandals are designed to make you feel like you’re walking barefoot while also protecting your feet from the ground.
Despite its thin sole, these sandals can comfortably be worn hiking, running, doing yoga, working out, paddle-boarding, or kayaking: basically any outdoor activity you can imagine. The Xero shoe even comes with a 5,000-mile warranty.
- Super lightweight
- Feels like you’re walking barefoot
- 5.5mm outsole protects feet from the ground
- Can be used for any outdoor activity
- Rolls up and fits in your pocket
- 5,000-mile warranty
- No arch support
- Limited shock absorption
- Some may not enjoy toe strap
Our pick for the best all round minimalist sandal is the Luna Sandals Mono Winged Edition. This sandal has all of the flexibility and lightweight properties of the uber minimalist designs, but it has a sole which is double the width.
A wider sole on a sandal means it will be more effective with shock absorption. It also protects your foot from sharp objects or terrain. Lastly, on a long hike, you need some cushioning or arch support to keep your feet comfortable throughout. For longer hikes, you may find that your feet get tired in the ultra lightweight, minimalist sandals.
Another winning feature of these sandals is that they have a really strong grip on the bottom, meaning you could wear these sandals to hike up a hot day on a mountain. You’d get enough gip on the rocks not to slip, but your feet would remain flexible and agile, unlike if you get a sandal with a really thick sole.
However, as we have mentioned before, hikers wear minimalist shoes and sandals not just for hiking in. Hiking sandals are useful as well, to give your feet a rest from your boots, and vice versa! So if you’re mainly hiking in boots, or using boots for more difficult terrain, your sandals don’t need to have as much grip or shock absorption. In this case, it might be better for you to get some ultra minimalist sandals that will let you feel like you’re walking barefoot, and fold up small enough to go in your pocket.
When finding the right hiking sandals for you, there’s a few things you need to consider. Firstly, how much arch support and shock absorption you need, and thus how thick and contoured the sandal needs to be. Secondly, the type of camping trip you’re going on comes into play. If you’re going on a hiking, backpacking and camping trip, you might be prioritising ultralight rollable sandals.
And the last thing is fit. If you have thin or wide feet, you might want to go for sandals with lots of adjustable straps. Whether you enjoy a toe strap or not also comes into play. Whatever your needs or preferences, you’ll find something in this list to suit them.
Bonus tip: For a video review of Zero shoes, check out this useful video!