Your feet are made for walking, and there’s no better way to explore a city and to casually keep fit at the same time. But if you are going to be doing a lot of walking in a hot country, then it only makes sense that you equip yourself with a pair of walking sandals that are durable and comfortable over long distances.
Walking allows you to see all the intricate details of an area that you otherwise wouldn’t see when you’re in a car or a train.
How do you know which walking sandals are right for you? There are so many varieties on the market by so many different brands that sometimes it’s hard to know what to go for. This makes it especially difficult when buying online where you cannot try on a pair of sandals.
If you would like to jump straight to our recommendations, then check out:
I’ve created this article to provide you with some help on how to choose the perfect walking sandals.
Which Walking Sandals are Right for Me?
There are only a few factors that will determine what type of walking sandals suit you. After you know what they are, you should have a good idea of what you want and need.
Are you male or female?
I hate to state the obvious, but yes, your gender is a factor for choosing any type of footwear. Certain sandals are unisex while some are specifically made to fit the feet of men or ladies.
What type of activities will you be doing?
This is a major factor that should determine the style of walking sandals that you choose. If you’re planning on intense hiking up mountains and through rocky areas, then you’ll need sandals that have a thick cushioned sole that has excellent grip, good heel support and tight closures.
If you’re going only going to be walking around towns, cities and beaches, then you’ll have the luxury of being able to wear something that’s lighter, more breathable, more fashionable and easier to put on.
How Can I Tell the Quality?
Ideally, you would want a high quality pair of walking sandals that are able to withstand miles upon miles of walking for years to come. You don’t want the stitching to come loose or Velcro closures to wear off. By paying close attention to the following features of a sandal, you’ll begin to know whether it’s the perfect fit for you.
This is the portion of the sandal that secures your foot onto the sole. For sandals, this is pretty much just a few straps that can be a basic or detailed design, depending on the type and style of sandal. Materials are usually leather, rubber or a textile fabric such as nylon or polyester.
For adjusting the tightness of the upper, sometimes there are straps that can be adjusted and secured using a Velcro, buckle or button closure mechanism.
The most important things you need to look out for in an upper are:
- If it has a heel support – This is essential if you’re doing any sort of intense hiking over multi-terrain.
- Is it adjustable? – You may want to have the option to be able to loosen or tighten the sandals.
There are essentially three parts to the sole of a shoe. In this case, for many sandals there may be three or only two parts.
Sitting directly beneath your feet is the insole. It’s a thin layer of material that may have extra cushioning to provide more comfort to its wearer and it may also have some sort of solution added to cope with moisture and odour.
Certain insoles are shaped to conform naturally with the different positions of your feet, and therefore, they have added health benefits as a result which is ideal if you have foot aches and pains.
Some sandals don’t even have an insole at all, but rather it’s merged with the midsole which is then layered onto the outsole.
In between the insole and outsole is the midsole (assuming that the sandal has an insole). This layer is specifically designed to absorb shock and impact, especially at the heel where the most pressure is pinpointed when walking.
It’s usually made from a type of rubber though this is not always the case. Generally, the thicker the midsole, the more shock it can absorb, therefore reducing the likelihood that you’ll experience aches and pains in your feet, ankles and knee joints, particularly long term.
The final layer is the outsole which is the section that touches the ground. Like the midsole, the outside of a sandal is usually constructed from natural or synthetic rubber. The depth of the crevices and the design of the patterns on the outsole will affect how much traction it has.
So the deeper the crevices and the more complex the pattern, the better your grip will be on any given surface as opposed to a more flat and simplistic pattern.
As a summary for the type of sole that’s fit for your purpose, you need to think about:
- Intense Walking/Hiking – If you’re going to be trekking over different terrains for long periods, then I highly recommend that you get an ergonomic sole that contours to your feet, one that’s thick to absorb a lot of pressure and one that has a very good grip. This is particularly important if you suffer from any feet or leg problems.
- Light Walking – For journeys through cities, towns and beaches where the surface is mainly flat, you have the added option to choose a sole that’s thinner, flatter and lighter as a result.
Making Your Decision
I hope this short guide has helped you to choose a comfortable pair of walking sandals. However, if you’re still a bit confused on what to go for, then I always recommend the following.
- For strenuous activities, always choose the sandals that offer the most security and protection. They might not be the most attractive but they’re likely the most comfortable and durable when putting them to the test.
- For casual walking, you can opt for more fashionable sandals that are still capable of providing comfort even when walking around for long periods of time.
To help you make a choice, I’ve put together a list of the top 5 best walking sandals for men and for women for you to check out. They’re some of the bestselling and best rated sandals designed for walking, and have received great feedback from wearers.