Walking Sandals

Monday, 28 April 2008 | Tags:

Whether you plan to take strolls on the beach, shop in comfort, or go for a 10 km hike, slipping into a comfortable pair of walking sandals will help make the time on your feet more enjoyable. We find out what to look for in a good walking sandal.

The Basics

  • Walking sandals typically provide the comfort of an athletic shoe with features like motion control, flexibility and secure strapping.

  • More serious walking/hiking sandals have less fashion-appeal. Moderate versions attempt to mix fashion (style and colour) with comfort and function.

  • Trail Sandals are for more rugged, outdoorsy activities, with toe guards and durable soles with good grip and traction.

  • Straps should be easily adjustable to get that perfect fit so your foot doesn’t slide around.

  • Make sure your heel fits snugly against the back strap to prevent rubbing and painful blisters.

  • Check that the arch of your foot lines up with the arch in the shoe.

  • The shoe needs to be flexible but not so much that it doesn’t provide support. Try bending the sandal, it should be fairly stiff. If it feels more like a foam flip-flop, look for something more substantial.

  • If your activities mean your feet get wet, choose a sandal made from a polyester or quick dry material.

  • Open-toed sandals are best for ventilation, preventing sweat and odour. If you prefer an enclosed-toe shoe, look for one with antimicrobial coating to help keep odour under control.


We took a few pairs of walking sandals on a cruise and tested them on-ship and at each port of call. We tested:

  • Birkenstock: $109
  • Merrell: $110
  • Keen: $125
  • Ecco: $140

Comfort Test

  • The Ecco sandals were the most comfortable of our test subjects.

  • The Merrell were a comfortable, light-looking sandal.

  • The Keens were good for some pretty serious hiking with their close-toed protection. It was more than we needed for a stroll on the beach.

Style Test

  • We liked the Birkenstock style the best out of our test options.


The Birkenstock are our top choice for both comfort and style. If comfort is the most important thing to you, consider Ecco as an option.

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