It’s almost summer and that means a lot more nice weather to enjoy when you hit the trails. If you’re used to hiking in a sturdy pair of your favorite hiking boots the thought of high temps and boots that don’t breathe is probably already making your feet sweat. Honestly, who could blame you?
The good news here is that you do have another option. Hiking sandals are not your average flip flop or fashion shoe. They are built for every demand a summer full of hiking excitement is ready to throw at them. If you haven’t gotten a pair of hiking sandals yet, you’re going to want to reconsider that decision. Here are five reasons you need to get hiking sandals.
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1. They’re Well Ventilated
Planning out your hikes to avoid water is possible but it’s not always the most enticing option when you’re really feeling adventurous. If you have to cross a stream or run into some rainy weather your boots are probably going to stay wet for the rest of your hike, which can be pretty uncomfortable.
Hiking sandals are by nature, full of ventilation. This means those streams and puddles you run into may get your feet wet, but they’re also going to dry very quickly. The open style allows air to circulate around the shoe (and your foot) meaning your hike won’t be a soggy sock mess for the rest of your day.
Ventilation also means your feet aren’t going to be stuck sweating it out in a pair of boots during the hot summer weather. Most good hiking sandals still enclose your foot (they can sometimes be referred to as a close-toed sandal) keeping it safe while offering you the chance to get some fresh air on your feet instead of hiding them away in a shoe that doesn’t breathe at all.
2. They’re Light Weight
Boots are heavy because they’re sturdy and made to handle rugged terrain while protecting your feet. Most hikers are pretty attached to a specific style or brand and for good reason. The right footwear can make the difference between a hike that ends in ten minutes and one where you spend the whole day enjoying the scenery around you.
Hiking sandals are still created to keep your feet protected and hike ready, but they’re also lightweight. Brands like Teva have a great reputation of using materials that will be just as rugged and sturdy as your boots but aren’t going to weigh your feet down.
If you have a long day of hiking planned you could notice a huge difference in how long your feet last with a lightweight shoe option. If you aren’t wearing yourself out as quickly by wearing a heavier shoe you’ll have more time to explore and enjoy every aspect of your hike.
3. Fewer Blisters
Depending on which hiking sandal design you choose your feet may not have much material rubbing against them while you’re hiking. If you do decide to skip the close-toed options you’ll have even less shoe friction blister worries because the only fabric touching your foot will be the sandal straps themselves.
Sandals also cut down on blisters by giving you a chance to hike without having to worry too much about your feet swelling up. Most hiking sandal designs are adjustable to varying degrees meaning if your feet do start to swell you can loosen your sandals and keep right on going.
4. They’re Comfortable
Most of the hiking sandals on the market right now come with great options for arch support and adjustability. The sandals are still tough enough to face your hiking adventures but they offer a more personalized fit meaning maximum comfort for your feet.
Another great thing about a lot of the sandal materials used right now is they have some great shock resistance. If you’ve spent a lot of time hiking heavier terrain you know how valuable it can be to have even just a little extra padding and absorption to keep your feet happy.
Materials like ethylene vinyl acetate (often called EVA when you’re looking at shoe specs) or midsoles with foam offer the best options for absorbing a little extra shock and keeping your feet from feeling the fatigue of the hike too soon.
5. You Can Easily Rotate Them With Your Current Hiking Shoes
Remember these sandals are lightweight. That means they will fit into a backpack without adding a lot of extra bulk to carry with you. If you decide you want to wear your usual hiking boots and still be ready for puddles, streams, or hot feet you can pack your sandals into your bag with ease.
Switch your boots out for your sandals when the trails and terrain seem to demand a quick dry option, or just wear the sandals around your campsite. Even if you only choose the latter of those two options it’s still worth bringing your sandals along.
Giving your boots a break and a chance to air out while you’re resting at your campsite means they won’t smell like sweat and feet quite as much as they otherwise might. It also gives you a chance to let your boots dry if you did end up getting them wet while out enjoying your hike.
While hiking sandals are not the only option you should use when hiking, they aren’t something you should write off as impractical. These sandals are made to handle more than your average everyday sandal options. They’re created with the needs of a hiker in mind, and ready to hit the trails as soon as you are.
Make sure to try a few different styles and brands to get the best fit for your feet. You don’t have to settle for a brand that doesn’t work for you just to have a pair of hiking sandals in your collection of gear. There are a plentiful amount of styles, fits, and brands to try. Find what you like and then go enjoy your next great hiking adventure. Your feet will thank you.