How to choose the best hiking sandals for men ?

Read our guide to find out how to choose the best hiking sandals for men. Comfort and breathability for your adventures.

As our summers get hotter and hotter, we’re all looking for ways to keep cool. Hiking sandals meet this need – they provide good breathability, enabling air to pass over your feet with every step. Sandals are also popular because they are lightweight and comfortable (their airy design reduces the risk of blisters forming).

How to choose the right men’s hiking sandals for your preferred activity?

Your choice of men’s hiking sandals will mainly depend on your preferred activity. Hiking sandals are suitable for terrain that is easily accessible and not too rugged, but should be avoided for technical hikes at medium altitude. That's because they don't provide as much support and protection as hiking boots.
Here’s our advice on which sandals to choose for your activity:

  • walking-sandals-men

    Sandals for short hikes on flat trails

    Leather or synthetic open-toe sandals.
    If you’re walking on trails with small stones, choose sandals with a stone guard at the front.

  • hiking-sandals-men

    Sandals for hikes in the mountains

    Hikes with a gradual ascent of less than 300 metres: Open-toe sandals with good cushioning, grip and support.
    Hikes with a gradual ascent of up to 500 metres: Closed-toe sandals or hiking shoe-sandals

  • trekking-sandals-men

    Bivouacking sandals and Trekking sandals

    Bivouacking sandals: Lightweight sandals for an evening of bivouacking in the mountains
    Trekking sandals: Closed sandals that protect the front of the foot and provide good support


What factors should you take into account when choosing hiking sandals for men?

Which sandals are the most comfortable to wear?

When you're out walking, whether for a few hours, a day or several days, your sandals need to be comfortable. But how do you know if a pair of hiking sandals are comfortable or not?

  • The materials used (leather adds strength and synthetic materials dry quickly)
  • The sole. It must be comfortable, fit to the arch of your foot and must not let your foot slide around in the shoe when you’re walking on a slope. A slightly raised sole at the front of the shoe will protect your feet from rocks and stones. If you have orthopaedic insoles, don't forget to check that they fit in your sandals by taking them with you when you try them on.
  • The fastening system. Hiking sandals usually have adjustable straps so you can adjust them to fit your feet, ensuring you feel really comfortable and stable. Generally speaking, the more straps you have, the more you can adjust the sandals to your feet, giving you better support. Ideally, you should have three straps (one at the front of your foot: no.1, one next to your ankle: no. 2 and one behind your heel: no. 3). Remember to check that the straps are positioned correctly and the possible areas that they might rub you (particularly around the ankle).
The most comfortable sandals are those that adjust to the arch of your foot, fit snugly and don't rub your feet.

How to know if your hiking sandals have good grip?

It’s easy to slip when you’re hiking. So, to reduce the risk of an injuring yourself, it’s essential your sandals have good grip. This will enable you to move with confidence over rough or slippery terrain, while good stability will help you maintain your balance, even on uneven surfaces.

On hard surfaces, like rocks or stones, grip is best achieved with a wide, shallow tread.
On soft surfaces, like mud or dirt, grip is generally provided by a deep, sculpted tread.


Open-toe or closed-toe sandals?

Open-toe sandals: lightweight and airy

Open-toe sandals are characterised by their airy design, which maximises the circulation of air around your feet. This type of sandal is ideal for easy hikes in the summer or in warm regions. They are usually very lightweight, which makes walking less tiring over longer distances.

  • Optimum breathability : Open-toe sandals provide maximum breathability for your feet.¨ Your toes are free and air circulates easily, preventing excessive sweating and blistering.
  • Easy to put on and take off: These sandals are also popular because of how easy it is to slip them on and off. So they're particularly practical if you need to cross any water during a hike or if you feel like taking them off when you stop for a break.
  • Comfort: They are very comfortable, especially if you choose a pair with a padded insole.
  • Where to wear them: These sandals are suitable for walks that last for up to three hours, on well-marked, easy trails with little gradient. They don’t provide much protection from external elements, such as rocks or branches. So it's essential to assess the type of terrain you'll be walking on before choosing your sandals.

Closed-toe sandals: sturdy and stone-proof

Closed-toe sandals (or "shoe-sandals") are an interesting alternative to open-toe models, particularly if you're looking for greater foot protection and if you're planning more technical hikes (ascents of up to 500 metres).

Closed-toe sandals are still relatively lightweight and comfortable to wear. Their design lets your feet breathe but also provides effective protection. Please note, however, that these sandals do not provide the same level of ankle support as high-top and mid-cut hiking boots.


Feedback from men who have tried our hiking sandals

  • "You can walk comfortably in hot weather with hiking sandals"
  • "Perfect for getting back into walking if you’ve suffered from a first metatarsal fracture"
  • "Four fastenings enable you to adjust the sandals so that they fit your feet perfectly"
  • "I bought a pair of closed-toe hiking sandals for hiking, and it turns out that I also use them a lot for cycling"
  • "Closed-toe hiking sandals (shoe-sandals) are very good for hiking"

Do you have any more questions about hiking sandals?

How can I make sure that my hiking sandals are the right size?

Determining whether a pair of hiking sandals are the right size for you is easier than for a pair of hiking boots. First and foremost, this is because you can see your whole foot, and so you can easily tell if the size looks right.
As with any shoes, it's a good idea to go into a shop and try on several sizes and models so you can compare them.

A few tips to bear in mind when you’re trying on your hiking sandals:

  • Try the sandals on in the afternoon so that your feet are already a bit swollen.
  • Check the positioning of the straps. Depending on the shape of your foot, if the straps aren’t positioned correctly, you might get blisters.
  • Check that the fastenings provide adequate support for your foot.
  • Check that the shoe fits the arch of your foot.
  • You should get sandals that have a bit of room at the front so that your feet don’t stick out at the front when you’re walking downhill.

Is it OK to wear socks with walking sandals?

Want to look more stylish while hiking? Why not wear socks with your sandals? Joking aside, wearing socks with your sandals can be practical in certain circumstances:

  • Socks can help prevent blisters and chafing.
  • They can provide extra protection against the elements (sharp rocks, mosquitoes, ticks, etc.)
  • They can protect you from sunburn (what's sexier than sunburn with strap marks from the hiking sandals on it?).
How to choose hiking socks to wear with your sandals.
  • Comfort: Make sure your socks are not too tight or too loose when you wear them with your sandals.
  • Material: Merino wool socks are a good option because this material has temperature-regulating properties and it wicks away moisture. Opt for breathable fabrics so that your feet don’t get too hot and sweaty.
  • Height: Higher socks can provide extra protection against debris and insects.
However, wearing socks and sandals together may not be for everyone and will depend on what you find comfortable and the hiking conditions.

How do you choose between hiking boots and hiking sandals?

Hiking boots may be preferred to sandals because they provide better protection. Boots provide more support than sandals, and they are designed to withstand more difficult hiking conditions on more technical terrain.
So, for technical hikes with an elevation gain of over 500 metres, you should go for boots rather than sandals.
What's more, hiking sandals are not suitable for cold or rainy conditions.

Can I wear my hiking sandals to the beach?

In fact, yes, you can wear your hiking sandals for many different situations. However, it's important to bear two things in mind:

  • Hiking sandals are not intended to be worn at the beach, and in particular on sand. Rubbing may therefore occur if sand gets between the straps and your feet.
  • Avoid putting leather hiking sandals in seawater, as they will take a while to dry and the salt could damage them.

If you're still deciding between hiking sandals and hiking boots, here's a summary of the things you need to consider. If you're planning less technical hikes in hot weather, and you like to let your feet breathe, opt for hiking sandals. If you're planning a short or flat hike, opt for open-toe hiking sandals; if you're planning a hike with a greater elevation gain (up to 500 metres), opt for closed-toe hiking sandals.

  • Think about grip and stability to ensure you are safe while walking, whatever the terrain.
  • Comfort is essential to avoid getting aches and blisters.
  • Fastenings provide good support for your feet (but beware of areas where they might rub you).
When you get your hiking sandals, you'll be ready for some great summer walks, so enjoy!

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