Trail Sandal

Why you should have a trail sandal in your backpack

Boots, socks, insoles are all important. But have you ever thought about a trail sandal?

The right trail sandal can be very beneficial. Have you ever crossed a stream that was so deep, it came above the top of your hiking boots? When you got to the other side, you had a boot full of water. If you had a pair of trail sandals, you could switch to them before crossing the stream and keep your boots dry.

What about at your campsite? Have you ever taken your hiking boots off and really wanted to let your feet “dry” out from the hike only to find that walking around the campsite in bare feet is painful or worse, dangerous? Well, again, a trail sandal could help let your feet dry and protect them at the same time. It would provide more of an airing out then an enclosed sneaker. You also don’t have to use up a pair of socks.

So let’s talk about the trail sandal selection.

Finding the Right Trail Sandals

Just picking up the first trail sandal that you find may not be the wisest thing to do. Like other hiking footwear, there are some characteristics that you need to keep in mind in order to choose the right sandal.

  • Style – Don’t select a sandal that is not designed for hiking. If you choose a “walking” or “fashion” sandal, you will be disappointed in the support and durability. You might look “fabulous”, but only to your feet’s detriment.
  • Support – Make sure that the sandal has a formed foot bed. It should provide arch support and be shaped to your foot. A sandal with a flat foot bed is not designed for hiking.
  • Straps – Don’t buy sandals with a Velcro connection strap. Velcro tends to release in water. Select a trail sandal where the straps clip. You don’t want to watch your sandal floating down the river.

One more thing, some people like to where sandals for general hiking. This does work on flatter terrain for shorter day hikes. Never use sandals for long hikes or hikes with a moderate to heavy backpack. Also, remember that sandals provide no ankle support, like a true hiking boot. If you have weak ankles, don’t hike with sandals. Lastly, make sure that there is not gravel or other small loose objects on the trail or they will end up in your sandal. Not a good combination. You will be spending more of your time cleaning out your sandals than you will enjoying the hike.

Sandals can be a great lightweight addition to your backpack that can help create a better hiking experience.

Thong or open trail sandals


More protective trail sandal
These provide less protection for your feet on the trail, but are lighter weight and work well in water situations. They provide some cushioning and traction in river situations. An especially good sandal for around the campsite. Not really designed for hiking conditions.

Of course, things are relative. A protective Sandal could be an oxymoron. Anyway, these protect more of the foot including the toes by providing an enclosed front area. Be careful, because these are going to be a bit heavier in your pack. Finally, these can be a nice alternative to boots for short hikes.

The right trail sandal can be a great addition to any hike.

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