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Sport Sandals

Top Picks

How we choose: The best sport sandals highlighted here were selected based on 279 reviews of 111 products. Our top picks are those that are readily-available in the United States and have received the highest overall ratings from reviewers.

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Keen Newport

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (7 reviews)

My most durable and trusted footwear, so far! DURABLE!! BULLETPROOF!! FUNCTIONALITY!! These are the original "Hummer" of sandals. Safe transportation through difficult terrain that challenges/kills other sandals. Built to help keep the human inside safe. I've had these exact sandals for about 13 years now and still use them every day. Comfortable, rugged, waterproof materials (including leather), sure footed on wet rocky stream crossings. Highly recommended for humans. Do they make them for water dogs too?

Reasons to Buy

  • Comfortable, excellent support, sure footed on wet rocks
  • Excellent design and materials
  • Very well made with excellent quality stitching and AMAZING DURABILITY
  • Rubber cap saves your toes in rocky river crossings and hides toenails.
  • Tenacious sole grip rubber and tread pattern on slick wet surfaces

Reasons to Avoid

  • So durable you might get tired of their color over the years
  • Relatively expensive (but actually a bargain due to function and durability)

Keen Newport Sandals are among my most trusted footwear for Utah exploring trips. They have got me safely down slot creek carved canyons and into Moab's Fiery Furnace, and back out. Here my friend Brent, at Woodsounds Flutes, took a video of me playing one of his custom Native American Style flutes in the Firery Furnace (over 40,000 YouTube views now, humbling!). While at a Native American Flute Festival in Zion National Park we were to go up a slot river canyon the next morning. My buddy saw my Tevas and said "man you are going to kill your feet".

Read more: Keen Newport reviews (7)

Keen Solr Sandal

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1 review)

People who canoe, kayak, raft, stand up paddle board, boat, or hike in and out of the water will like Keen’s water-dedicated Solr. A gasket-style ankle, close fit, and smaller openings mean less sand/grit/stones get in, and a sole made of grippy rubber that is both textured and razor-siped maximizes traction. Plus, they are just plain comfortable for walking too, and the webbing is made from recycled plastic that dries quickly for a partially enclosed sandal.

Reasons to Buy

  • Comfort
  • Traction
  • Good at keeping stones and grit out
  • Relatively quick dry time

Reasons to Avoid

  • Less firm/stable than other Keens
  • A little more effort to put them on

Photo above shows the top of the shoe, the elastic to tighten them (I have it tucked under), the loop on the ‘tongue,’ and the toe bumper. Note the elastic attached to two yellow pieces that tighten a cord that runs around your ankle.  The rougher-looking sections are robust and thicker; the smoother parts in the middle are stretchy mesh that allow water and some air to circulate.  The Solr (sea, ocean, land river) builds on Keen’s strengths—a forgiving, moderately-arched footbed and Keen’s well-known bumper to protect your toes—with features that should make it a go-to choice for water sports and adventures.

Read more: Keen Solr Sandal review (1)

Bedrock Sandals Cairn 3D

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

The Bedrock Cairn 3D sandal puts the company's unique and very stable strap design on a thicker and somewhat more contoured midsole than Bedrock's original Cairn. As a result, the Cairn 3D does a better job protecting your feet and is more comfortable for hiking and walking than the related model—and also heavier. With straps that do an outstanding job keeping your feet secure, great traction, and awesome durability, the Cairn 3D rivals and arguably exceeds many of its well-known competitors

Reasons to Buy

  • Secure and adjustable straps
  • Comfortable and mildly contoured under your feet
  • Excellent traction
  • Excellent durability

Reasons to Avoid

  • Between-the-toe design may not thrill you
  • Competitors provide more support, cushioning

INTRODUCTION A few words on sport sandals generally: when original Teva sandals hit the market, they changed my summers. I spent a lot of my time in canoes and in/around lakes, streams and rivers hiking, and having a shoe that was much more than a flip-flop, secure enough that it wouldn't fall off in the water, and with enough tread to portage or hike a bit, was a revelation. It spawned a new segment of outdoors footwear, and this is the kind of shoe I'm most inclined to wear in the summer unless I'm hiking many miles and wearing hiking shoes or boots.  Bedrock is a relatively new, U.S.- based company that initially rolled out highly minimalist sandals—the kind that are one or two steps away from walking around barefoot, extremely lightweight,...

Read more: Bedrock Sandals Cairn 3D review (1)

Chaco Z/1 Classic

user rating: 4 of 5 (3 reviews)

This is a review of a custom pair of Chaco Z/1 Classics I purchased a few years ago. It’s a pair of Z/1 Classics customized via Chaco’s website; still a nice sandal for walking and water stuff, super-durable, equally happy on moderate trails, in/around the water, on canoes, and at the beach. My only gripe is that the very durable straps have one place where my feet tend to develop a blister, even after a few years; I wear a small piece of tape over that spot. I’m also sprinkling in some ReChaco comments, because I re-strapped and re-soled an old pair of Chaco Z/1s.

Reasons to Buy

  • Custom options so you can get the feel underfoot, sole, straps, hardware you want.
  • Same simple Chaco strap design—adjustable and highly durable
  • Comfortable and supportive for walking and good wet surface traction
  • Very durable
  • Custom Chacos are made in the USA, in Michigan

Reasons to Avoid

  • On the heavier side for water shoes
  • Straps I chose are very hard-wearing, I blister in one place unless I tape that area of my foot
  • Custom is more expensive

I bought my first pair of Chacos around 2008 after I broke the hardware on another brand of water sandals. The brand works well for my feet. A few years ago, faced with significantly worn straps and soles on an old pair of Chaco Z/1 Classics, I took a two-pronged approach: I sent the old pair back to Chaco for a fresh pair of straps and a new sole, and I also went on their site and made a custom pair.  WHAT DISTINGUISHES THIS BRAND A few things come to mind about Chaco’s sandals. First, they’re very durable.

Read more: Chaco Z/1 Classic reviews (3)

Chaco Z/Volv

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

The Chaco Z/Volv Sandals are more of an evolution of the classic design rather than a revolution in the design — which means they are very very good. And I like it that way.

Reasons to Buy

  • Quality Chaco design
  • Versatility
  • Durability
  • Lighter weight than classic design
  • Semi-eco conscious

Reasons to Avoid

  • New material feels less rubbery more plasticy
  • New material is more slippery under the foot

I owned a pair of Chaco Z1 Classics for over 15 years. I wore the sandals as everyday wear, hiking sandals, beach wear, boating shoes, house shoes, fly fishing shoes, etc., etc., etc... I took the sandals on a year long adventure traveling through Latin America. The sandals were truly amazing. After 15 years they finally blew out. I think that I made the mistake of washing the sandals in the washing machine, but then also drying them in the drying machine. Don't dry your Chacos with heat.

Read more: Chaco Z/Volv review (1)

Teva Tirra

user rating: 5 of 5 (2 reviews)

Great women's sport sandal! Very stylish and comfortable for a variety of outdoor activities! I wore them hiking and in the canoe.

Reasons to Buy

  • Thick, tough soles
  • Adjustable, velcro straps to make a custom fit
  • Stylish, yet comfortable

Reasons to Avoid

  • A bit expensive.
  • If your feet get really wet (while wearing the sandals), your feet can slide a bit INSIDE the sandals (your feet sit on a fairly smooth surface). Not from sweat, from walking in a river and then back on the trail.

I am a first-time buyer of the TEVA brand, and I am happy with my purchase. The size is true to what I always buy (a woman's 8).  The sandals fit my feet, as if they were made for me.  The built-in arch support is comfortable.  The easily adjustable, velcro straps (2 across the top of the foot, and one around the ankle) make a nice custom fit for many different foot types/sizes.  After long walks, if your feet swell, you can loosen the sandals. Not much break-in is needed.  I wore them hiking with little break-in, and it was fine.  I didn't have any problems with debris, but small particles could enter around your foot, as with any sandal.

Read more: Teva Tirra reviews (2)

Chaco Z/2 Classic

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

I have owned the Chaco Z/2 since the late 1990s. They are by far my favorite pair of footwear. I have narrow heels and these are the perfect solution for me. The resole and restrap service was a great experience. I wear these daily during the summer as a work shoe and as a water shoe on the weekends. I'll hike in easy terrain where the open toe won't be an issue.

Reasons to Buy

  • Chacos are constructed very well and stand up to years of use.
  • The straps make it easy to create a custom fit if you have narrow feet.
  • Eventually you'll need to have them resoled or fresh straps added. This service was easy and a positive experience.

Reasons to Avoid

  • Chaco are a bit heavier than other sandals but it isn't an issue.
  • Any cons about this sandal would be the same for any sandal out there. For example, you could get a pebble under your foot with any sandal.

In the mid to late 1990s I went on a white water rafting trip and accidentally left my old water shoes behind. The only place nearby was the outfitter shop associated with the rafting company and these were the only brand there. At first, I was taken back by the high price but had no other choice. I have not regretted buying them. They quickly became my favorite shoe. I wear them everywhere in the summer. Luckily, I work in a place where I can even wear them to work daily. I have size 11.5 narrow feet.

Read more: Chaco Z/2 Classic review (1)

Keen Zerraport II

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1 review)

Water shoe with great drainage and Keen’s well-known toe protection. I like Keens around boats and rocks because they keep my toes from getting mashed. This one has the added benefit of siped soles, good traction, and an open design that dries quickly. The midsole/sole is also thick enough for moderate hiking. Adjustability of straps is kind of limited.

Reasons to Buy

  • Toe protection
  • Comfortable footbed
  • Thick sole/midsole protects feet
  • Traction
  • Open design, dries quickly

Reasons to Avoid

  • Weight compared to some water sandals
  • Lateral support
  • Limited adjustment potential

Keen‘s Zerraport II is a successor to their Zerraport, which in turn is a successor to the long-discontinued hydro guide. It combines great toe protection, a comfortable fit under your feet, good traction, and an open design that drains water very quickly.  Basic design: one long strap for the front of your feet that pulls tight, heel strap with hook/loop adjustment FIT: The Zerraport II has a reasonably forgiving fit—my feet are E width in front, no problems with these sandals.

Read more: Keen Zerraport II review (1)

Chaco Z/Cloud

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1 review)

This is Chaco’s original Z-1 Classic with a softer footbed. The sole is pretty good on both trails and wet rocks; the softer, more grippy rubber shows some wear over time. Good support and comfort for a sport sandal. This is one of my go-to sandals for walking on trails and the beach as well as on canoes and around the water.

Reasons to Buy

  • Softer footbed means feet feel better
  • Adjusts and fits well in wet and muddy/sandy conditions
  • Fairly grippy sole does well, wet and dry
  • A fairly durable design

Reasons to Avoid

  • On the heavy side for sport sandals
  • Tradeoff with grippy soles and softer footbed is that they wear faster.

I have been wearing Chaco sandals for nearly fifteen years, still have a pair of their Z/1 Classics; I picked up the Z/Clouds about three years ago as a more forgiving alternative. These have since been worn a fair bit more often than the Classics. Three years of wear showing on the plastic hardware. Instep view shows the thickness and some of the contour of the midsole. Also shows the very robust stitching of the straps to the fabric ‘post’ that’s anchored to the midsole.  Top view.

Read more: Chaco Z/Cloud review (1)

Keen Newport Canvas

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

This sandal is bombproof. I picked it up on a whim from the recreational equipment co-op we all know because I was about to head out on a two week cross country National Parks tour. I would be able to put the sandal through its paces.As a water shoe it was outstanding. We floated down the Little River near Cades Cove in the Great Smokies. The shoe protected the toes from toeing in on rocks and boulders. Did well on slippery rocks. (as good as any non felt bottomed shoe), and dried out fairly quickly.The true testament to this shoe comes from a bit of a goof up on my part.

Read more: Keen Newport Canvas review (1)

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