It’s the eternal dilemma when packing for an upcoming trip: should I pack my comfortable sandals or the ones that look good? Is it possible to find sandals that are cute and comfortable?
Especially if you’re travelling with carry-on luggage only and limited in the number of shoes you can pack.
The ideal travel sandal is comfortable for long days of sightseeing yet cute and strappy enough to style up for casual evenings out. Hardcore hikes will require something more substantial, but the perfect sandal for your summer travels should be versatile and sturdy, ideally with more support and treat than your standard high-street sandals.
Those beautiful marble streets in European cities get damn slippery when it rains.
I’ve lost count of the hours I’ve spent online searching for the perfect travel sandal. Looking for the one shoe to rule them all. So I’ve compiled an epic list of the best sandals that I’ve come across, to save you the legwork (boom-tsshh!).
TOP 50 SANDALS FOR TRAVEL
Chaco Maya II
These are #1 on my list for my 2019 travels. Chacos are one of the big brands making ‘proper’ footwear and have a devoted following. Be careful with thong styles if you plan do light hiking though, it’s better to have a strap around the ball of your foot. Sizing tends to run large on Chacos.
Sofia is the strappier sister of the Maya. This flip-flop design has added straps around the ankle to secure it, and with a decent tread is a good choice if you’re planning on pounding the pavements in Europe. Available in a few different colours.
Tevas are well known for their comfort and sportier look. It’s velcro fastening around the ankle is the best you can get in terms of securing your foot, but is offset by a cork-wrapped midsole and leather straps. Sizing tends to run small. Also available in brown and red.
The iconic Teva Originals are the last word in comfort and having a resurgence thanks to the normcore trend. Wear them now whilst it’s socially acceptable! They come in all manner of fabrics, colours and sole choice these days (including flatforms). Fabric sandals are the way to go if you’re planning on walking in wet or damp climates.
Similar in shape to the Teva Originals but slightly more streamlined, with leather straps and a cork footbed which should mould to the shape of your foot over time.
Guys, did you know that winter-boot-maker supreme Sorel also make sandals? I only just found out. The Ella comes in a bunch of different colours and is secured by elastic around the ankle. Sizing runs small so be sure to order up.
Crocs Sexi Flips
Most of the sandals on this list are leather as I find them the easiest to dress up. But if you’re going to be spending significant time near water on your travels, then Crocs are worth a shout out for their range of surprisingly cool plastic sandals.
Flip flops with an upgrade. Although these plastic sandals will be too sweaty for hardcore walking, these pack down to almost nothing and look cute teamed with a dress.
Crocs Isabella Flat
Now you wouldn’t guess these were Crocs, would you? Another plastic sandal option, with a slightly sturdier sole and more strap support than a flip-flop.
Crocs aren’t the only ones making simple plastic sandals for your beach vacations. Brazilian company Havaianas have cornered the market (and our hearts) with their extremely comfortable (but slightly pricey) flip-flops, and the Luna has an extra strap around the back of the foot but still slips on and off.
Havaianas Freedom SL
Even better than the Luna, these ones have a buckle so you can adjust the fit around the back of the ankle. Available in plenty of colour options. Excellent if water – rather than walking – is the focus of your trip.
Keen are another brand that fare well with those who demand a lot from their sandals. This studier toe-post style sandals will slip on but still withstand a lot of walking.
Reef Gypsy Wrap
If boho vibes are your thing, check out this sandal from Reef made with braided cotton straps and a leather footbed. Did someone say island-hopping?.
OluKai are a Hawaiian brand which make quality footwear with a surfer vibe – ‘inspired by the feeling of bare feet in wet sand’. Exactly what you want, even when not travelling. The Upena has leather straps and a contoured footbed. Sizing runs small.
OluKai ‘Awe ‘Awe
OluKai Eheu T Strap
Another versatile option from OluKai the Eheu is a leather toe-post thong with slingback strap and buckle fastening.
The Upena has a classic strap configuration with adjustable ankle strap. Complete with its molded footbed and non-marking sole, this is one versatile sandal.
You either love them or hate the look and feel of Birkenstocks. But if you’re already a devotee, these ones are probably the most secure.
The classic Gizeh has plenty of fans, but make sure the sandal fastens securely to avoid gripping with your toes – which is the biggest problem with flip-flop style shoes.
This Blowfish Greek-style sandal has faux-leather straps, a faux cork footbed, and comes in loads of different colours.
Merrell Sandspur Delta Wrap
If you need something a bit more rugged for hiking, this Merrel sandal in classic brown leather with strappy styling is a good compromise between fashion and function.
Timberland Earthkeeper’s Sheafe
There’s no arch support and a fairly thin sole but the strap coverage is good and it’s a simple, classic gladiator design.
Another classic design here with the Cherrybrooke. My previous pair of Timberland sandals lasted a long time and many miles.
Clarks Tustin Sahara
Clarks is not a name that’s associated with fashionable shoes but they do come up with the odd corker. I pretty much live in Clarks shoes these days, nothing else comes close comfort-wise. Their summer selection isn’t out yet, but the Sahara would make a great robust city shoe.
ECCO has a great selection of sandals at the moment that would be suitable for travelling. These look super comfortable and I love the minimalist colours and casual style.
ECCO Flash Lattice Huarache
A great combo of classic strappy huarache design with a flexible, moulded synthetic footbed.
ECCO Flash Lattice T Strap
For even strappier still, check out this gladiator T-strap sandal from ECCO. It doesn’t fasten securely around the ankles though so I wouldn’t recommend it for walking long distances.
This would be perfect for walking around cities. Good secure straps with a classic leather design. I like.
ECCO Touch Braided
If you’re after something a bit different, these silver ECCO sandals could be easily dressed up but still stay nice and snug on your feet.
ECCO Damara Gladiator
If you have a minimalist vibe going on and are ok with tan lines from chunky straps, the Damara Gladiator looks comfy and has a cunningly hidden velcro strap.
Born is another brand with an excellent selection of travel sandals and they get great reviews for comfort. The Mai is simple and strappy but secured around both over the top of the foot and the heel.
The Lake is a classic T-bar shape with a fancy braided style and heel strap.
I’ve worn sandals like these for travelling in hot countries and they’re ideal for styling different ways, although be aware your foot can slide out to the side without a strap over the top of the foot.
Another lovely shoe from Born, I could fill a suitcase with sandals from their range.
The Tegal comes in a couple of different colours but I love the textured tan version.
Of all the gladiator-style sandals in this list, these ones look the most secure and also have a solid, grippy sole.
Sanuk Yoga Sling
Another sandal well suited to casual use and beach trips, the Sanuk Yoga Sling gets rave reviews for comfort. It’s basically like putting your foot in an environmentally-friendly hammock that’s made from recycled yoga mats.
Naot is another brand with great options for travellers. If you want something with a slight wedge heel then the Kayla looks like a solid choice.
The Bonnie has lots of fans. Easily dressed up, it has a cork and rubber footbed and laser-cut details.
Heading slightly normcore again with the Naot Nora, which is adjustable over the top of the foot as well as in front of the ankle. The footbed is made of cork, moulded latex and suede.
Casual footwear brand TOMS are continuously expanding their range. And now they’ve brought out the Lexie sandals which is perfect for lightweight summer trips.
Vionic get rave reviews for their ridiculously comfortable orthotic soles, particularly good if you have high arches. The Lizbeth is cute and dressy.
Another dressy but ridiculously comfortable sandal from Vionic, this time with geometric studs. It’s available in a few different colours.
I’ve been after a pair of these Balearic-style shoes for a while now. You can buy them in a huge range of colour combinations, and they’re great for dressed-down chic and mooching around town or the beach. If you have wide feet (like me) you probably want to try before you buy.
Another option for lovers of comfortable cork-latex footbeds, this one a simple strappy T-bar with heel strap and some stud detailing, available in a few different colours including this jazzy pewter.
Taos Beauty 2
Sperry Cala Jade
I have worn and loved a pair of sandals similar to this. I love the laser cut-out detail, however they’re secured by elastic only so best for short trips to warm places rather than long-term travel.
Aerosoles have a good reputation for making comfortable shoes, and the styling on the Conchlusion is a bit different to the rest of the sandals on this list.
The leather braiding on these sandals is so cute and retro. Team with a floppy hat for your Euro trip to Italy.
Steve Madden Donddi
Excuse me, I might have to go buy these right now. I’m in love with the white version (they come in several different colours). Admittedly they’re not going to stand up to long treks, but for exploring cute Greek villages these will do nicely, thankyou.
BONUS PAIR – WIIV SANDALS
I was recently sent a pair of WIIV sandals to review. If you’ve never heard of them, WIIV scans your feet with a swanky app and then custom 3D print the flip-flop style sandals to fit your feet exactly. You can choose from a range of colours (in fact the straps are interchangeable), but the best part is the custom arch support. If you usually wear orthotics or supportive insoles then you’ll appreciate this option.
You can read my full review of them over at my other site.
And there we have it! I hope this list helps you find the perfect travel sandal.
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Image credit: Santorini © Maridav / Adobe Stock