With secure straps to hold your foot in place, quick-drying materials, and the same midsole technology used in hiking shoes, sport sandals can handle trips from the riverbed to the trail.
Most sandals designed for use around water will have a free-draining and quick-drying upper made from a synthetic fabric or webbing straps. It’s common for uppers to fully enclose the foot to provide more protection.
Width and fit
As with tramping shoes and boots, sandals require a thumb width of space in front of the longest toe and the heel should be cupped at the rear to prevent it sliding up. Many brands offer wide and narrow options.
Webbing straps with buckles are easy to adjust and to slip on and off. Pull-cord laces provide a better, more adjustable fit along the length and width of the foot.
The lug pattern and outsole compound determine how grippy the sandal will be in different conditions. Harder compounds will last longer but don’t provide as much grip as softer options. Widely-spaced, multi-lugged soles are great for muddy trails, while narrower spacing is better for water-slicked rocks and tracks.
A stiffened shank offers support and protection for your foot. Arches are supported by a medial post that also reduces twisting.
Impregnated or coated with an anti-microbial treatment to reduce odours caused by sweat, the footbed is generally soft and anatomically-shaped.
Northside Burke II Athletic $89.99
Hiking sandal with synthetic leather and nylon upper, elastic drawstring closure, breathable inserts, black faux leather overlays, EVA backing, abrasion-resistant toe guard, shock-resistant sole, water-resistant construction, moisture-wicking EVA lining. 580g (m/w). www.northside.co.nz
Chaco Z Cloud $159.95
Polyester webbing upper, high-tensile webbing heel risers, injection-moulded ladder lock buckle, dual-density PU midsole, podiatrist-certified LUVSEAT antimicrobial footbed, non-marking rubber outsole, 3.5mm lug depth. 594g (m/w). www.chacos.co.nz
Chaco Z Cloud 2 $159.95
Polyester webbing upper, toe-loop, high-tensile webbing heel risers, injection-moulded ladder lock buckle, dual-density PU midsole, podiatrist-certified LUVSEAT antimicrobial footbed, non-marking rubber outsole, 3.5mm lug depth. 610g (m/w). www.chacos.co.nz
Chaco Odyssey $179.95
Closed-toe with mesh upper, polyester jacquard webbing and synthetic overlays for toe protection. Dual-density EVR midsole, antimicrobial odour control, vegan-friendly construction, non-marking ChacoGrip Plus rubber outsole with 2.5mm lug depth. 587g (m), 500g (w). www.chacos.co.nz
Merrell Women’s Tetrex Crest Wrap $199
Water and hiking closed-toe sandal, moisture-controlling perforated EVA
footbed, Lycra neoprene lining, EVA midsole, traditional lace closure, siped rubber outsoles. 482g. www.merrell.co.nz
Merrell Men’s Tetrex Crest Wrap $199
Water and hiking closed-toe sandal, moisture-controlling perforated EVA footbed, Lycra neoprene lining, EVA midsole, traditional lace closure, siped rubber outsoles. 600g. www.merrell.co.nz