14 Best Sandals for Travel for Women (Podiatrist
Now that summer is (finally) here, it’s time to think about all the places you’ll go during the next few months. From amusement parks to the Amalfi Coast, it’s important to consider which shoes, mainly, which travel sandals, will accompany you on your journeys. There’s nothing worse than spending a long day sightseeing and coming back to the hotel to discover aching arches, pinched toes, and unsightly blisters. While we may look to sneakers first as a source of comfort, it’s summertime—and who wants to stuff their feet into sneakers on a hot and humid day, anyway? Speaking as someone who lives for a strappy sandal or a flip-flop year round (okay, living in Los Angeles may have something to do with that, but still), comfortable sandals are the way to go when the temperatures reach 80 and up.
Whenever I travel, I like to get out and do a lot. Yes, a day or two at the beach or pool is nice, but I’m a sightseer. Museums, city walking tours, bar and restaurant crawls—you name it, I’m probably doing it. So I’m always on the lookout not only for fashionable, comfortable sandals, but the best sandals for walking long distances, too.
When it comes to choosing the best sandals for travel, sizing is everything. “Make sure the width and length of the sandals fit your feet,” says Dr. Hillary Brenner, DPM. “Choose a sandal that is the correct size—go shoe shopping midday [or] towards the end of the day, that’s when your feet are true to size.”
Whether you’re looking for the best walking sandals, supportive sandals for women, or comfortable sandals, there are a host of factors to keep in mind when planning your summer travels. Maybe you’re hiking. Maybe you’re laying out on a tropical beach. Here’s what to think about when packing your sandals, wherever your summer plans may take you.
We’ve all bought that pair of shoes that didn’t necessarily feel the best right away, but we figured they’d loosen up. But that’s not the case, according to Paragon Podiatry’s Dr. Ernest Isaacson, DPM. “Summer sandals, like all shoes, should be selected with an emphasis on comfort,” he says. “If it doesn’t feel good in the store or the first time it’s worn, it’s probably not going to improve over time.”
Considering your arches is important, especially when you’re walking far distances or standing for long periods of time. “Sandals should have an arched contour, helping support your arch,” says Dr. Brenner. Flats are typically preferable to heels, and “should ideally have good arch support,” Dr. Isaacson says.
When choosing the right pair of sandals for summer travel, look for pairs that offer stability throughout a variety of activities. “Look for adjustable straps, preferably around the ankle,” recommends Dr. Brenner.
Whether you opt for flat sandals, wedges, espadrilles, or heels, make sure they’re comfortable and supportive.
“A 1-2-inch heel feels good as it provides stability for the ankle and structures toward the heel,” says Dr. Isaacson. “It relieves pressure on the arch and heel without exerting pressure on the ball of the foot.”
For flat sandals, Dr. Isaacson recommends a thick flip-flop or sandal with a solid cork and leather insole.
“I personally like wedges made of raffia, which aids in shock absorption,” says Dr. Brenner. Plus, they have a wide, chunky heel.”
Now that you’ve thought through all the reasons to choose comfortable sandals, here are our 13 favorites to take you around the globe in comfort and style.
Simply put? I’m obsessed with this style from Teva. I’ve been wearing them on and off since high school (which is [redacted] amount of years ago), and they haven’t steered me wrong yet. Whether I’m spending a long day at Disneyland or trekking around a new city, this is the sandal that gets me through the day with tons of comfort by my side (or on my feet, as it were). With double adjustable Velcro straps, a treaded rubber outsole, and a cushioned EVA footbed, it’s hard to go wrong. The webbing is also crafted from quick-dry fabric, which comes in handy in freak rainstorms or even if you want to wear them into the water.
I’ve found that the Midform style offers more support and comfort than the Original Universal style, which is lower to the ground and causes the straps to dig into the skin more easily. They’re also extremely durable and long-lasting—they’re basically non-destructible, even after years of walking thousands of steps daily. With an almost staggering array of colors and prints (at last count, Amazon offered 54 different ones), it’s near impossible not to find at least one you want to wear.
Out of the more than 4,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, many point to these sandals’ ability to travel. “I have trekked through the forests of Costa Rica in these and will forever be a Tevas fan!” raves one Amazon shopper, while another says, “I was able to wear them all day without pain. I wore them in the ocean, hiking, to dinner, everywhere!”
Available sizes: 5-13
Even when we’re aiming for comfort, we still have days when we want to dress up, too. These wedge sandals from Ecco easily toe the line (pun intended) between comfort and style. The strap across the ankle is adjustable, and the upper is made from brushed nubuck leather. The footbed is crafted from Ecco’s signature CORKSPHERE™, which adheres to the shape of your foot, and the sole features their FLUIDFORM™ Direct Comfort Technology for added support and comfort.
I’m partial to the Pure White Gold/Powder hue, which features a pebbled gold upper that looks ultra-chic while offering up tons of comfort. Plus, they’re washable! I love that the sole is rubber, which means they’re easier to wipe off after a long day of walking outside. “It’s like they were made for my feet and I was able to walk for a long period of time in them right out of the box,” says one reviewer. I tend to agree.
Available sizes: 4-11.5
I’m a Cali girl at heart, so I always love a good pair of flip-flops. This style by Reef features a pillowy, cushioned footbed and treaded rubber outsole that encourage me to walk right out of my hotel room and not come back ’til sundown. Our editorial commerce director recently took these with her on a trip to Mexico where there was a lot of beach walking involved, and she was surprised by how soft and supportive these felt—and she didn’t need to break them in at all.
While some flip-flops can feel uncomfortable between the toes right out of the box, that’s definitely not the case with this pair. Since I’m always looking for ways to become more sustainable in my clothing and footwear choices, I also love that the lining and toe post are made from 100 percent recycled PET derived from post consumer plastic bottles. All four colors are versatile, but the white is especially sleek. This is a great style for more casual days, especially at the beach and pool.
With over 10,000 five-star ratings on Amazon, I’m definitely not alone in singing their praises. “These are perfect for walking long distances and no blisters,” says one reviewer. I agree.
Available sizes: 5-12
I first heard about Dansko when I worked for a scrubs company and interviewed nurses about the shoes they preferred for long shifts. Over and over, they mentioned Dansko. So it stands to reason that I immediately checked them out for myself! While I don’t love the clogs (sorry, Dansko!), this modified flip-flop style appeals to my aforementioned love of flip-flops while also being undeniably easy to wear day in and day out.
I don’t typically have issues with my arches—but for people who do, this style is designed with the brand’s Natural Arch technology to offer extra comfort and support. I also love the interesting take on a classic flip-flop design, with a toe loop and wider vamp strap for added security. Plus, they’re designed with over 50 percent bio-based EVA—so they’re durable while also being good for the planet. Whether you want a more neutral hue like grey or black, or opt for a colorful color like the baby blue or lavender, this is one sandal that offers up must-have comfort.
Colors: 4 Available sizes: 5-12
If you’re planning any outdoor adventures that involved getting wet this summer, pack Forsake’s water-friendly Rogue sandals in your bag. These durable, open-toe sandals are made for wading through rivers, paddling lakes, and staying protected from sea critters.
Nearly every feature in these supportive sandals are made with sustainable materials, including a shock-absorbing midsole made from recycled EVA foam and algae (yes, really). The outsole provides serious traction for navigating slippery rocks or slick docks, while the recycled polyester straps keep your feet in place. They dry so quickly. All the materials are water-resistant, especially the straps which don’t stay soggy long after they get wet. The best part? They float!
Available sizes: 6-15
It seems I’ve been searching my whole life for the perfect pair of comfortable yet stylish slides. I seem to have found that in spades with this Vionic style. The puffy faux nappa leather is pillowy soft, while they’re also biomechanically designed to hug your arches and support natural body alignment. This style also received the APMA Seal of Acceptance, which is granted to products that promote good foot health. Dr. Brenner likes Vionic, too, and says they focus on arch support, shock absorption and minimizing blisters. “Most importantly, they take biomechanics into consideration when designing,” she says.
The 1.5-inch platform also lends added comfort and support while walking longer distances. They feel more secure than other slides I’ve tried, which just, well, slide right off my feet as soon as I take a step. I will caution that the midsole is raised a bit, which gives the slides the feeling of a little ball you’re rocking back and forth on as you take steps forward. This can feel a bit off-putting at first. They’re like “walking on a cloud,” says one reviewer, and I wholeheartedly agree.
Colors: 4 Available sizes: 5-11
It’s taken me an almost embarrassingly long time to hop on board the Birkenstock train. My friend Cari has been telling me how comfortable they are for years, but I’d tried a couple pairs without success. Then the Kyoto walked into my life—and the rest was history. While the brand’s signature two-strap Arizona style has just never fit me correctly, this style fits so well that I never want to take them off. I love the double Velcro strap design, with one slender strap encompassed within the wider outer strap.
Birkenstock’s iconic footbed encourages proper foot wellbeing and health and the longitudinal arch support runs along both sides of the footbed, while the deep heel cup cradles the heel and keeps natural cushioning right under the heel bone. There’s even a raised toe bar, which helps encourage the natural gripping motion of your feet and stimulate circulation. (I never knew I actually wanted my shoes to give me a workout until I tried these.) The result? Stable, comfortable, supportive sandals that easily stand up to long days of walking, walking, and more walking.
The Kyoto comes in a whopping 28 different colors, with multiple different fabrications available, so finding at least one to covet is pretty easy. I love the Nubuck/Suede in Candy Pink for a subtle pop of color.
Available sizes: 4-12.5
I’ve already told you how much I love flip-flops, so it should come as no surprise that I’m including another pair on the list. This style by Oofos is equal parts comfortable and lightweight, the latter of which is always nice when trying to figure out what to cram in an already overstuffed suitcase. They’re made with the brand’s trademark OOfoam™ technology to absorb a high percentage of impact.
The footbed also helps reduce stress on knees, ankles, and other joints—although it’s also so soft and cushy that it can take a bit of getting used to, though I’m of the opinion that it feels like you’re walking on clouds. I also love the wider thong straps.. “I’m extremely flat footed and these are so comfortable to wear,” says one reviewer, including, “They also feel great after a long day on your feet.”
Colors: 14 Available sizes: 5-11
True story: As soon as I slipped these sandals on my feet, I texted my mom a photo and said, “I’m in love with these Skechers sandals.” They’re cushy, they’re comfortable, they’re a bold mint green, and they’re a dupe for Tevas. Seriously, what’s not to love? Skechers is definitely having a style renaissance as of late, and these sandals from their Bobs line are an example of that. The woven strap upper features an adjustable ankle strap and the brand’s signature Plush Foam® footbed for added support. The treaded outsole makes it easy to, ahem, tread long distances.
One reviewer writes, “I have fallen arches and damaged muscles from prior injuries but walking in them has been stabilizing and comforting. This is the most I’ve been able to walk.”
Colors: 3 Available sizes: 6-10
For days and nights when you want to be comfortable yet stylish, this option from Aerosoles is a good stand-by. I love the more elevated take on a classic flip-flop, and the gleaming gold interlocking buckle detail adds a polished touch. Not to mention the wide thong strap that effortlessly shows off your summer pedicure.
These sandals are also designed with a supportive ortholite insole, diamond flex outsole, and flat heel that lend themselves easily to long days and nights of walking. I will caution that the upper feels a bit stiff right out of the box, so they might take a bit of breaking in before popping them into your suitcase.
Colors: 4 Available sizes: 5-12
Looking for that one easy, casual, lightweight, supportive, comfortable, goes-with-everything summer sandal? The Ellis Sugarlite does it all. This modern take on a classic Grecian sandal slips on with ease, adjusts to your foot with a Velcro back strap, holds up to miles and miles of walking … really, what can’t these sandals do? The soles are crafted from Sugarlite™, which is Native Shoes’ sugarcane-based EVA that uses less greenhouse gas emissions than traditional EVA. I’m always looking for flat sandals that are equal parts comfortable and stylish, and these ones absolutely deliver.
Colors: 3 Available sizes: 5-11
With a staggering 30 different colors to choose from and a desirable price tag, these Cushionaire slides are a summer comfort must. The spongy molded footbed confirms effortlessly to your foot, and the waterproof material makes them ideal for the beach. Plus, the non-slip bottom keeps you from—you guessed it—slipping when you walk. I was pleasantly surprised when I first slipped these out of the box and onto my feet; the subtle 1.75-inch platform heel lends a bit of height and a lot of support.
These slides have over 20,000 five-star ratings on Amazon, so I’m definitely in good company. Multiple reviewers point to how comfortable and cushiony they are in dealing with issues like sore heels or plantar fasciitis. “These are more than comfortable, they’re miracle workers, states one reviewer. “I had been having heel pain for months. I was considering going to the podiatrist to see if I needed surgery. In days, I felt my heel pain ease up. They’re super cushioned. Super comfortable. They must have corrected whatever poor walking habits I had. I can’t say enough about how much these slides have eased my foot pain.” With raves like that, you’ll be hard pressed not to find at least one shade that appeals to you.
Available sizes: 5-12
I’ve long been a fan of Sanuk—the brand’s signature yoga mat footbeds make every pair of shoes they offer supremely comfortable. I already owned three pairs of the Yoga Sling 2, so it stood to reason that I’d need to try the Cosmic Sutra Sling LX, too. Walking in these is somehow pillowy and supportive all at once. The ankle strap and double top straps make them secure yet comfortable, and the previously mentioned Yoga Mat footbed offers resiliency and support. Better yet, the sandals are designed with an impressive variety of sustainable materials.
I’m partial to the tan color, especially for summer, though they also come in basic black. Reviewers say they’re “so comfortable and not slippery,” “versatile and very cute,” and one hopes for even more shades to be released, saying, “I would like this shoe in every color.” I tend to agree.
Available sizes: 5-11
Say what you want about Crocs, but they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. These clogs give most shoes a run for their money when it comes to comfort, because the treaded rubber footbed molds to your feet and they’re made for miles and miles of walking. Plus, the movable strap lets you choose whether to wear it around your ankle or more like a modified Mary Jane.
I held off on buying Crocs for years, no matter how many friends of mine told me I was making a mistake. But as soon as I finally bought my first pair, I knew just what I’d been missing. Now I own two pairs, including this fun ’70s-inspired floral print with accompanying flower Jibbitz charm, and I have to admit—I don’t really want to take them off! I also love that the strap on this specific pair is terry cloth for added visual interest. I’ve worn them on long plane rides, during a day at Disneyland, walking around the French Quarter in New Orleans, all without a hint of pain or discomfort. Crocs may not be the most attractive shoes out there, but when it comes to comfort, they’re pretty much unparalleled!
Colors: 1 Available sizes: 4-15
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