The Best Summer Walking Sandals – Comfort Plus City Style

I wanted a pair of walking sandals that could cope with trails and look good in towns.

So, I buckled up, strapped on and came up with a shortlist of the stylish-but-sturdy summer hiking sandals to choose.

 

Latest update: March 2021

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First rule of good walking sandals

… forget the flipflops and slides

Without straps, you’ll slide out of your sandals and injure yourself, your knees and back will hurt from lack of support and your toes will become like claws. 

Most walking sandal manufacturers claim some technological feature with power to make us pain-free, and we take those with a pinch of salt.

The proof is in the wearing – three hours on a rough country track and 10 miles around a city. It’ll be the boys’ turn next, we promise! 

This is my sandals wishlist

  • Good soles with grip
  • Decent fastenings that hold the shoe properly and don’t let your toes slide forward (and into a rock)
  • No uncomfortable internal seams
  • No sweat
  • Great looks with both shorts and skirts


Clarks

Good old Clarks. Every year, they try out something a bit daring, but their range does tend towards sensible-shoe. We’ve found that some of the borderline styles look more up-to-date if your outfit isn’t also tending towards the sensible!

Clarks Un Adorn Calm Leather Sandals in Wide Fit Size 5½

My pair of sandals from the Unstructured range have been going strong for a while now.

They update the Un Adorn shoe with new straps each year, it seems. VERY comfortable, pretty cool-looking and excellent non-slip soles.

Clarks Un Adorn Vibe Patent Sandals in Standard Fit Size 5 Black

Other options in a range of colours are the neat Un Haywood and the simple Un Adorn Vibe. Both super-comfortable.

Clarks Un Haywood Womens Wide-Fit Sandals 3.5 Black


Merrell

Stylish. EVA footbeds, odour-eating insoles and good soles, Merrell are a safe bet for comfort and looks.

Our choices are the District Mendi sandals in a choice of unusual colours and the more sporty-looking Terran, again in a choice of colours. The Terran comes in either a cross strap as above or a lattice. I found the narrow lattice straps were a bit painful and preferred the simpler cross strap.


Keen

Keen’s closed-toe waterproof walking sandals have been a staple in our camping wardrobe for ages – men’s and women’s.

Keen Clearwater CNX – a long-term favourite and the contrast with skirts and dresses is a look we like..

The Clearwater sandal is a real favourite because the sole isn’t as chunky as many of its type, so it’s a bit more ladylike (when you’re jumping from rock to rock in your flowery shorts in a ladylike way). Not a city shoe, of course, although there’s a great range of colours now.


Karrimor

Karrimor Womens Salina Leather Walking Sandals Strap Touch and Close Outdoor Raspberry UK 5 (38)

These are very affordable, but aren’t quite smart enough for town, we thought. Depends on your town, of course! The soles on the Salina are the business, though! We loved the range of colours available in this range.


Ecco

The Danish brand Ecco has a huge range. Like Clarks, some of the styles are a bit off-the-mark, but many can be given an edge with the right clothes.

ECCO Flash Gladiator, Flat Sandal Womens, Grey (57462Warm Grey Metallic/Moon Rock), 6.5 - 7 UK (40 EU)

Ecco Flash sandals are lovely. Plenty of support too.

Sadly, the soles on the prettier sandal styles aren’t really hefty enough for off-road grip. The Flash is a decent compromise, but wouldn’t be our first choice for sturdiness.

ECCO Cruise Ii, Women’s Wedge Heels Sandals Open Toe Sandals, (Warm Grey/Tea 51364), 3.5/4 UK (36 EU)

Another option is the Cruise, which is more of a straightforward walking sandal.


Vionic

Some of the Vionic range are a bit old-fashioned looking, but we really, really liked the Amber model we tried.

Vionic Amber Womens Riptape Sandals 4 UK Black Croc

The shoes have something called FMT technology, which claims to align the feet to their natural neutral position to reduce aches and pains in the heel, knee and back. They definitely support the arch very well and were immediately comfortable, although some people might find the positioning of the straps doesn’t work for them. The Amber comes in a range of colours and the sole is good and grippy.


Teva sandals

Comfortable, soft footbeds lined with leather, suede or cork, durable rubber soles, smooth straps…a good choice if a bit more sport than city.

The Teva Elzada are rather glamorous compared to many walking shoes. I don’t wear leather, so not my top choice, but they do look lovely. A choice of brown or a rather dull-looking black.

The Tirra strappy sandals are sturdier for trail-walking and have a fantastic sole.


Sorel

Not much to choose from in this brand, but they do offer perhaps the lightest walking shoes we found.


Regatta walking sandals

Some not-so-nice options from this bargain brand, but we do love the Santa Cruz…and they cost that much.

Just beware stubbing your toes as the front is very exposed.

Check out our camp on the beach and camping toilet articles

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