When it comes to travel, you don’t want to pick form over function. It’s a mistake we probably all made in the past, but bad shoes can make or break a trip. I’ve dealt with the pain when I was much younger, but these days I care a lot more about my feet.
Luckily, even with outdoor or orthotic brands, you can find a small selection of stylish shoes too.
On this post, we tested out all the best sandals for travel that are featured on various blogs and travel sites to let you know how they performed.
A big thank you to all the following brands for providing sandals for review. All opinions are always our own. This post may contain affiliate links, where we receive a small commission on sales of the products that are linked at no additional cost to you. Read our full disclosure for more info. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Local Adventurer possible.
Last Updated: January 5, 2021
Best Sandals for Travel in 2020 That Are Both Stylish and Comfortable
Before you see all the travel sandal options, ask yourself what types of activities you will be doing on your trip. There are different needs for hiking vs walking around the city vs lounging at a resort
What Makes a Great Travel Sandal?
- Versatile – you can dress it up or down and it’s a bonus if it complements many colors.
- Lightweight and easy to pack or wear at the airport.
- Stylish – you don’t always have to choose between comfortable and stylish. Sometimes you can have your cake and eat it too.
- Comfortable padded footbed and arch support especially if you have fallen feet.
- Decent traction on various surfaces so you don’t slip.
- Easy to get on and off – If there are shoe laces or features that make it more time consuming than others, I am less likely to wear them if I have other choices.
- Ankle straps that hold the foot in place for extra support is a plus.
- Water resistant – not always necessary, but it’s always good to have one pair you can wear to the pool or beach and not worry about getting wet
Note: I generally wear a size 5.5, which not many shoe brands carry. The woes of having small feet in an in-between size. Most shoe brands that carry sizes down to 5 don’t often do half sizes until they are bigger. I also have wide feet in the front, narrow in the back, and low arches, so the combination of these things and my feet being small presents interesting challenges for finding the right shoes and sandals for travel.
Best Flat Sandals for Travel
These are now my main go to shoes to slip on and explore town. I wear the Swift in the Platinum / Natural color. I’m usually a 5.5, and the 6 worked out well for me. I originally wanted the Beek Finch, which is mentioned on many major travel sites and blogs as one of the best walking sandals for women.
However, the Swift, which has the fully adjustable buckle straps instead and happen to be better for my wider feet. The Finch has a more asymmetric look, which you can see in the photos below.
- Soft vegetable tanned leather.
- They have adjustable buckle straps for perfect sizing.
- Their handmade leather soles custom form to your feet within hours.
- Rubber heel for grip
- There isn’t much cushion to absorb impact.
- They say you don’t notice the toe ring, but for my odd shaped toes, one felt a little tight while the other was slightly loose. After a few wears, it stretches, which could be good or bad.
We were ambassadors for Superfeet in the past and have always loved their insoles and lightweight shoes that incorporates their insoles. Their shoes are designed from the inside out, so you know you will always have the support and comfort you need. I already loved their stylish ankle boots for travel and have taken them on so many trips. When I saw that the Laurel sandals were voted best for summer by Outside Magazine, I had to try them.
I have them in size 6 in the color grey / orange, though they look more pink than orange.
- Very lightweight and easy to wear slide
- Cork and EVA blend
- Full grain leather footbed has the best support.
- Slip resistant synthetic rubber that provides good traction
- Great for the outdoors and easy to moderate hikes. I probably would not scramble in these, but they did have decent traction. I mainly use them for approach and bouldering in between climbs.
- 6 is the smallest size they make, and the shoe and straps are slightly big on me.
The Vionic Kirra Backstrap Sandals were featured on virtually every travel site or blog as one of the best travel sandals. It’s podiatrist designed to hug your arches and received an APMA (American Podiatric Medical Association) Seal of Acceptance.
I ordered a wide 5 in rose gold metallic.
- Easy to take on and off
- Elastic backstrap for stability and adjustability
- Contoured footbed gives good arch support and helps treat heel pain (plantar fasciitis).
- Durable rubber outsole with patterned tread provides traction on a variety of surfaces.
- Breathable microfiber EVA footbed absorbs shock and reduces stress on feet, ankle, and knees.
- 30 Day wear test guarantee or your money back.
- The reviews mentioned that they run big. Unfortunately for me in the smallest size (5), and I found them to be loose. I tried them out as my primary shoes on a recent week long trip, and while I had no foot pain, it was annoying that my feet moved so much in it. I also have the Vionic Coralina Wedge in 5, which fits small on me, and you can see the huge difference in sizes (see below).
These cute asymmetric thong sandals have been featured on Health Magazine as well as other travel sites. I’m usually a 5.5 but was able to size down to a 5 though some sites say it runs small and recommends you order the next size up. I originally got the 6 and had to exchange them for the smaller size.
- It’s easy to slip on.
- Available in 33 colors.
- Cork midsole and contoured footbed feel similar to Birkenstocks. Their soft-air technology reduces hard impacts and gives you fatigue-free walking
- 100% premium leather
- Breathable leather lining and perforations for added breathability.
- Adjustable buckle strap for custom sizing and secure fit.
- Durable rubber outsole
- Although it’s considered a lightweight sandal, in comparison to many of the other travel sandals, it weighs more (9 oz). The others are just that much more lightweight.
Born Tusayan ($$)
I wear a 6 in sun yellow and the strap helps with the fit. I love the pop of color, but if you want it to complement many outfits, it’s easier with the brown or black sandal.
- Leather and elastic straps with adjustable buckle closure for extra support
- Cushioned footbed for added comfort.
- Durable rubber outsole
- Smooth and breathable leather lining
None yet. Will update after a longer trip.
I have the Dansko Reece in the Mango Waxy Burnished color in a 36 EU. It’s a 1/2 size too big.
- Molded memory foam footbed for comfort.
- Toe loop is comfortable
- Velcro makes it easy to take on and off.
- Hook-and-loop adjustable back strap for added support
- Leather uppers are treated for stain resistance.
- Rubber outsole for traction and long lasting wear.
- Haven’t found any yet.
Best Wedges and Heels for Travel
I ordered a 6 in white cuba. I’m usually a 5.5, so I sized up. The footbed fits me well but the straps are too loose.
- Ultra Light. Out of all the wedges, this one is currently the lightest one.
- Cork Footbed and their Soft-air technology reduces hard impacts
- Velcro makes it easy to put them on and take them off, and it’s not noticeable that they’re velcro.
- At the beginning the straps irritated my feet, since they are slightly big and there’s too much wiggle room. Would love to hear from people who have the correct fit.
Jambu Sandy is a leather platform with a beautiful woven design. I ordered the 6, which is the smallest they run. It’s slightly big on me, but I can tighten the strap on top and use heel cushion inserts to fill in the space. Not the most ideal situation, but it works.
- Footbed provides a lot of cushion. Between this and the Born Meade, they are the cushiest wedges.
- The traction on these shoes are like no other. Even though they’re wedges, I might take them hiking with me just to test out the traction on different surfaces.
- Velcro closure makes it easy to take on and off.
- Chunky heels help distribute your weight.
- It could be a fit issue for me, but the straps and upper don’t fit as securely and rub against the sides of my foot and ankle while walking.
Dansko Veruca is a gladiator sandal that I ordered in Rose Gold Nappa in size 36 EU / 5.5-6 W US Medium Width.
- Adjustable straps with velcro for fit and so it’s easy to take on and off.
- Rubber outsole for long-lasting wear.
- The Nubuck leather is treated with 3M Scotchgard for stain resistance.
- Soft suede shock lining.
- Contoured cork midsole wedge heel with foam footbed for support and cushioning.
- Also runs slightly big, but I can tighten the straps to almost get the right fit.
I ordered the Born Meade in 6 in the red suede and it is a 1/4 size too big on me.
- The footbed has a lot of cushion and feel more plush than any other wedge I’ve tried.
- Breathable leather lining
- Heel strap makes it easy to take on and off.
- Durable rubber outsole.
- If you want the height, this one has the highest heel.
- They’re very cute, but I found them hard to match with outfits other than dresses. They’ll be perfect for a resort or cruise trip, but not as versatile as I would like.
I ordered a 5 in cherry, and though they offer different widths, unfortunately they aren’t available in wide in size 5.
- These are the cutest wedges of the bunch.
- Breathable canvas.
- Podiatrist designed to hug your arches.
- 30 Day wear test guarantee or your money back.
- You can order them in medium and wide width from 6-11
- The upper is stiff and irritates my foot because the toe box is narrow. Could be a sizing issue.
Best Flip Flops
Sanuk Yoga Salty ($)
- Made out of yoga mat, so it’s comfortable and squishy.
- It retains water for a long time, so do not get it wet.
- Does not have good arch support, so if you’re walking or on your feet all day, your feet will hurt especially if you have fallen arches.
I take these on every trip just because I don’t know if I’ll be in a situation where I need waterproof sandals. Also, they’re my go to for lounging around the hotel or around a campsite.
- Most lightweight flip flop I’ve found and so thin that they’re easy to pack in the side pockets of my backpack.
- It’s quickdrying and feels waterproof to me. It works great for the beach, pool, camping, in the shower, or just walking around the hotel.
- They say it has a ultra-cushioned footbed for easy walking, but I did not find them great for support and all day walking.
- The cushioned outsole that’s supposed to give it traction and versatility might be good in comparison to all the other flip flops on the market. In comparison to all the sandals listed on this post, however, it didn’t feel like it had much traction.
Best Hiking Sandals
These are great athletic sandals that can be worn hiking, for water sports, and for every day wear. I wear the blue in a size 6.
- Custom Fit – it has elastic webbing that stretches and adjusts to foot size.
- All day comfort – the EVA foam midsole with ergonomic arch support absorbs impact.
- Lightweight and easy to pack.
- Can be used as a water sandal. It has quick dry webbing.
- Durable for outdoors. It provides long lasting wear.
- Good traction when we went hiking.
- Since I have wide feet, the fit isn’t as good for me. It’s slightly big length-wise and a little tight on the width. So far, I have issues taking any sandal on a moderate hike without getting blisters.
These are my favorite beach sandals. I have them in the color Endive and originally ordered them in size 6 was way too big, so sized down to a 5. The length of the shoe fit perfectly, but the front strap fit too snug and isn’t adjustable. It’s still great for the beach or shorter hikes, but when we go on longer hikes, it can irritate the sides of my feet.
- Super lightweight – Full injection-molded EVA sandal designed to be super lightweight, comfortable, and supportive.
- An easy hook-and-loop instep closure comes on and off quickly and gets the fit just right.
- You don’t have to worry about losing these at the lake or pool. They are so light, they will float with you.
- The front strap is not adjustable and isn’t great for wider feet.
Just recently added these to my collection. Still haven’t decided how much I like them yet, but they are comfy!
- Very lightweight sandals.
- They are waterproof so they are convenient for the pool or beaches.
- Offer a lot of support and cushion.
- On the narrow side so they squish my wider feet.
- Thicker than other flip flops so it takes up more space when packing.
More Travel Sandals
Here are some more highly rated travel sandals that have been mentioned on travel blogs and sites two or more times. I hope to check them out in the near future, and will update the post with more detailed reviews once I do.
- Aerosoles – Conchlusion Gladiator Sandals, Chlock Thong, High Hopes
- Ahnu – Maia Thong
- Beek – Palila Slide Sandals
- Birkenstock – Arizona, Gizeh, Mayari Birko-Flor
- B.O.C. Lauper
- Born – Mai Gladiator, Tripoli Gladiator, Trang, Atiana
- Clarks – Arla Jacory Wedge, Un Bali Way, Breeze Sea Flip Flops, Annadel Eirwyn Wedge, Saylie Moon
- Cole Haan Anica Thong
- The FLEXX – Band Together Gladiator Sandal, Beglad Wedge
- Gentle Souls by Kenneth Cole – Leah Wedge, Christa Block Heel
- Mephisto Agave
- Skechers BOBS Desert Kiss
- Steve Madden Donddi Dress Sandal
- Teva Originals, Terra-Float Livia Lux, Hurricane
- TOMS – Camilia, Majorca Cutout, Clara Birch Suede Espadrilles
- Vionic – Rest Karina Thong, Lizbeth T-Strap, Nala T-Strap, Tropic Violet Platform Sandal, Bella Thong Sandal
Best Travel Sandals Comparison Chart
Essential Tips for Picking Sandals for Your Trip
Questions to Ask
- What types of activities will you be doing on your trip? There are different needs for hiking vs walking around the city vs lounging at a resort.
- What are the temperatures? Will it be hot?
- If you want to pack those painful, cute shoes, you can pack them in your purse and take them out for photo opps, but even that is a pain to carry around.
The Best Sandals for Travel
Have you tried any of these? What did you think? Any more travel sandals we need to check out and review?
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Esther + Jacob
Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, which is one of the top 5 travel blogs in the US. They believe that adventure can be found both near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They explore a new city in depth every year and currently base themselves in Las Vegas.