Authored by Adam Sherman
So you’ve decided to see everything that the Aloha State has to offer. Admittedly, that’s a tall order—so you’d better come prepared.
Famed for their beauty, the Hawaiian Islands are one of the hottest tourist destinations in the United States. Perfect for newlyweds, couples, and families of all types, these famed islands boast some of the most unique hiking trails in the entire US.
But if you’re planning on actually walking them, you’re going to need the right pair of hiking sandals. That’s right—the Hawaiian Islands have trails unlike any other that you’ve ever encountered before and you don’t want to try them with just any pair of sandals.
So what do you need to consider to make sure that you’re getting the most out of your Hawaiian vacation? We’ll walk you through just what you should consider to get the right pair of hiking sandals for Hawaii.
Hiking Sandals Overview
Let’s start by taking a more in-depth look at what exactly hiking sandals are. You likely have a pair of sandals in your closet after all—so how, precisely, do hiking sandals differ from those? Traditionally speaking, hiking sandals are more open and provide more room for your feet to breathe, though it doesn’t stop there. The defining hallmark of these sandals, which come in a range of styles, is the greater level of midsole and outsole support they provide, giving your feet the protection they need from sharp objects and riskier terrain. Compare this to normal walking sandals, which provide a nice fit but do little to protect your feet when things get (quite literally) rough.
In addition to this, some sandals also provide greater levels of traction to help you maneuver those wetter areas. Don’t worry—you can also expect these hiking sandals to dry much quicker than their standard sandal counterparts. This makes hiking sandals perfect for those Hawaiian trails, particularly if you plan on encountering a lot of rain!
Generally, there are a few main components to hiking sandals that distinguish them from the pack. Let’s take a look at a few:
Lacing may not be the first thing we think of when it comes to sandals, but it can heavily affect the quality of your footwear and of your trip. For this reason, it’s important to take a look at just what types of lacing are available and common for hiking sandals.
Most models come with three to four straps (two across the foot proper, one around the back of the heel, and one optional strap to run diagonally across the foot for an extra layer of protection). The style of the straps is up to the wearer and their comfort level.
The quality of a sandal’s midsole can quite literally be the make-or-break factor in your next purchase. As the middle layer separating the cushioned insole that your feet will touch and the outsole that touches the ground, the midsole plays an important role in absorbing shocks and keeping your feet comfortable.
So just what makes a good hiking sandal midsole? It starts with the material. Softer and lighter-weight sandals are typically constructed from ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA), which is good at absorbing from small-to-mid-level shocks but may not cover you in all situations. Higher-grade models are designed with polyurethane (PU), which is better for rocky terrain but does weigh more. In general, all hikers are advised to wear PU hiking sandals when carrying loads that weigh thirty pounds or more.
The outsole shares shock absorption responsibilities and also offers you extra traction to keep you safe during your trek. Generally speaking, the outsole is constructed of a sticky rubber that absorbs impact and keeps your feet from taking unnecessary force. Depending on the shape of outside lugs on the bottom of the sole, you can expect different levels of traction. Here’s the rule of thumb: the deeper the lugs, the more traction you will get—so it’s important to keep this in mind if you plan on going to tropical or rainy areas.
Do You Really Need Hiking Sandals for Hawaii?
We know what you might be thinking. Do you really need hiking sandals to enjoy your trip in Hawaii? Won’t tennis shoes be enough?
Yes—and no. If you’re really looking to make the most of your time in Hawaii, having the right pair of shoes is critical. And you’re not going to want to just use your regular tennis shoes.
But why is it necessary to invest in a quality pair of hiking sandals? We’ve put together some of the most important reasons below!
1. Unusual Terrain
Perhaps the most important reason that your regular shoes just won’t cut it is that the terrain in Hawaii can get rather rocky.
It should come as no surprise that many of the amazing hiking trails in the Aloha State have been formed through craggy lava remains. Because of this, you may find that your regular shoes just aren’t comfortable enough to make the cut.
This means that you’re going to want shoes that are designed to give you just a bit more protection. With a quality pair of hiking
sandals, you’ll be able to make sure that your feet are better protected even when going over rocky terrain. This gives your feet the padding and support they need to keep you walking longer.
Because the truth is, without the right pair of shoes, you won’t be able to get very far. It only takes one misplaced step on these rocky trails to make for an uncomfortable trip. Not only that, but you may find that your shoes simply weren’t made to hold up. If this is the case, you could be left dealing with razor-sharp, rocky edges suddenly embedded in your feet. And, of course, you’d be down a pair of shoes.
Trust us: this is something that you don’t want to experience. By making sure that you have the right shoes, you can keep your feet protected, while also potentially saving yourself time and money during your trip.
2. All-Day Comfort
So what does this mean for you?
Try all-day comfort. You’ll be able to take your travels with new-found ease. By investing in hiking sandals, you’ll be better equipped to enjoy your travels.
And let’s face it—if you’re going hiking in the Aloha State, you’re going to be walking … a lot. So take it from us: you really don’t want to start having issues with your feet. Long story short—it’s no fun walking on blisters.
The truth is that your tennis shoes won’t be able to provide the real cushion and protection that you need to make your hikes in comfort. And if you’re planning on spending a significant amount of your vacation on your feet, you’ll need to come prepared. Doing so could keep your vacation from descending into an unexpected nightmare.
3. Arch Support
But what is it that makes hiking sandals so much better than your regular tennis shoes?
Try the fact that they come in with built-in arch support. Though this may not sound like much, don’t underestimate the power that this brings to your feet.
With the right active sandals, you can make sure that your foot is properly supported, helping you stay comfortable throughout your walk.
But what is arch support? And why is it so important for your feet?
To understand this requires knowledge of your foot’s anatomy. For starters, consider the fact that each time you take a step, your foot must bear both the weight and the impact. This can cause shocks to ripple through your foot, affecting both the muscles and connective tissues.
In this way, it becomes clear that both heavier and more forceful footfalls can cause increased damage to your feet. This is important to note because you may find that your feet make harder contact with the lava rocks in Hawaii—making hiking sandals all the more important.
By investing in a pair of hiking sandals that provides arch support, you can help make sure that your feet have the support they need during your Hawaiian vacation.
Finally, keep in mind that your regular tennis shoes won’t come with this built-in arch supporting design. This means that you’ll want to go ahead and spend that little bit of extra money on a pair of quality hiking sandals. By taking this extra step, you can be sure that you’ll be much more prepared to enjoy your trip the way you planned.
Finally, make sure that you come dressed for the weather. You’ll want to nab a great pair of open-toed sandals that won’t have your feet sweating. But because you’ll be on an island, don’t overlook the possibility of finding waterproof sandal options, as well.
When thinking of the warm weather in Hawaii, it becomes clear that you don’t want to be sporting your tennis shoes anyway. Unlike hiking sandals, your regular shoes won’t give your feet enough room to breathe.
This means that not only will your feet be uncomfortable from the lack of proper support, but that they’ll be hot, icky, and sweaty to boot. And that’s not a combination that anyone should be looking forward to.
But choosing the most comfortable hiking sandals for Hawaii isn’t always easy. If you’re not sure where you should get started, don’t worry! We’ve got you covered. Below, we’ll tell you want you should be looking for in your hiking sandals, as well as provide a list of some of the best options available now!
How to Choose the Right Pair of Hiking Sandals
So now you’re convinced that you need to buy some hiking sandals for you trip. There’s only one problem: you’re not sure which ones you should buy.
In fact, you don’t even know where to start. With so many options on the market, you can’t really distinguish one from the other. To make matters worse, you’re not familiar with the technical language or the science behind the designs.
All you know is that you want a quality pair of shoes that will keep your feet off your mind during your Hawaiian vacation.
Let us help you out with that. We know just what it takes to find the right pair of hiking sandals, and we’ve put together the only guide you should ever need to find the pair that’s best for you.
One of the first considerations you should make is the weight of your sandals. If you plan on hiking a lot, you’re going to want a lightweight option that provides you with the utmost mobility.
Heavier sandals can tire you out more quickly and put more strain on your feet. Because your feet will be heavier, you’ll need to exert more energy with each step. And though this may sound miniscule—trust us, it adds up.
For this reason, consider getting lightweight options that will allow you to focus on more than just your feet.
Next, you’ll need to make sure that the shoes that you’re getting are actually comfortable. And if you’re going to be hiking in Hawaii, this may be just a bit more difficult than usual.
This is because, as noted, Hawaii has trails of unusual terrain. This extra-hard terrain can increase the impact your feet make when walking. This can quickly add increased stress to your feet, leading you to experience uncomfortable feet.
With the proper amount of cushioning, you can enjoy greater comfort as you walk. This added cushion will help soften the blow your feet make when walking, reducing the stress that your tissues accumulate.
This helps increase the duration that you’ll be able to walk. This proves especially important for those who plan on going hiking, as this will allow you to do more with the limited time that you have.
We’ve mentioned the terrain in Hawaii more than a few times, but we want to emphasize it here one more time.
Because it’s something that you’re going to have to plan carefully for. For instance, if you know that you’re going to be walking in an especially rocky or craggy area, you may want to invest in a pair of shoes that can provide more protection than hiking sandals.
And no, we don’t mean turning to your tennis shoes. The good news is that there are orthopedic hiking boot options that are available. If you’re dedicated to your hiking, you may decide to invest in a pair of these boots, as well as some sandals, before your trip. This will allow you to more safely travel through different regions of the Aloha Islands. It will also give you the ability to adapt your footwear to your terrain for maximum comfort.
That being said, a quality pair of hiking sandals should still be an essential part of your Hawaiian vacation gear. You’ll want to make sure, however, that they have a sturdy enough build to protect your feet over what can be quite rocky terrain. You don’t want to take chances here by getting floppy or flexible hiking sandals. In fact, it’s likely that these don’t have the level of arch support that you need to stay comfortable anyway.
Finally, you may find that sandals with heels work better for hiking on certain terrains, as they’ll provide your ankle a bit more support. This is important when climbing uphill, for instance, so make sure to keep this in mind as you shop. Extra traction is always advised, as well, as this will make it easier for you to keep your balance, even in less-than-desirable conditions.
Those looking for the best hiking shoes need not forgo style. That’s right—if you’re really looking to get the most from your shoes, you’ll want to find a pair that represents you.
The good news is that hiking sandals now come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and styles. This means that you can look and feel your best as you traipse through wonderful Hawaiian trails.
What’s more, both men and women can take advantage of these multiple style options. With the hiking sandals market now larger than ever before, there’s something for nearly everyone.
The trick is finding it.
We suggest getting a pair of sandals that you’ll love wearing just about anywhere. You’re certain to find at least one pair that goes with your wardrobe—but you don’t have to stop there. You may find that more than one pair catches your fancy, and that’s perfectly okay. As sandal enthusiasts ourselves, we know exactly how it feels to fall with multiple pairs all at the same time.
When getting your hiking sandals, make sure that you’re investing in a pair with the right fit. If you wind up with sandals that are too large or too small, you could run into a number of issues.
But how do you know if you’re getting the right fit?
For starters, make sure that the shoes are snug on your feet without being too tight. You want enough room on all sides that you’re not feeling compressed, but not enough that your feet can slide. Shoes that are too cramped can lead to inflammation and seriously limit your mobility. Obviously, you don’t want this.
To test your shoes, make sure that you try walking at various speeds and inclines. Go uphill and downhill, for instance, and see if your sandals slide on your feet. If they do, they’re likely too big. If you’ve got sandals with a heel strap, make sure that it’s not flopping against your skin, as this can cause blisters.
Furthermore, make sure that you get a pair that has flexible straps, as you’ll want to control their fit on your feet. Because feet tend to swell during the day, you’ll need a pair that you can loosen. This will help make sure that you stay comfortable throughout your trip.
Finally, you’ll want to make sure that your sandals don’t hog too much of your budget. While you certainly want the best pair of sandals possible for your trip, you want to leave room, as well, for the other necessities that will make your stay in the Aloha State comfortable and fruitful.
Coming up, we’ll go over some of the most comfortable and high-quality hiking sandals on the market so that you can get the most out of your Hawaiian vacation.
The Best Hiking Sandals for Hawaii
With this in mind, it’s time to get to the part you’ve all been waiting for. That’s right—we’ve put together a list of the five best hiking sandals that you should consider taking with you to Hawaii. With these sandals, you’ll be able to traverse any terrain
1. Napali Hiking Sandals for Women
The Viakix Napali Hiking Sandals are made for adventurers like you! In fact, the Napali hiking sandal was named after the famous Na’Pali coast in Kauai, Hawaii. This sleek, sexy sport sandal option boasts one-of-a-kind style that you’ll be hard-pressed to find anywhere else. These sport sandals are designed for all types of terrain, and boast a fast-drying design that makes them great even for wet, watery areas.
These athletic hiking sandals have an upper made from a water-resistant webbing that can be adjusted by three straps to precisely fit your feet. Having multiple closures on the sandal means they hug the feet and are suitable for people with any foot shape (narrow, wide, average).
The insole has excellent arch support and a shank stabilizer, which adds stability to the sandal. The midsole is EVA foam-injected, which provides plenty of impact absorption, making it easier to walk for long distances. The outsole is made from natural rubber, which is extremely durable and provides plenty of traction. Best of all, Viakix has developed these hiking sandals to provide maximum arch support, by engineering an innovative arch stabilizer right into the sandal outsole.
The versatility of these sandals makes them an excellent choice for many kinds of activities, including hiking, water sports and camping. Best of all, you can enjoy this great comfort in the styles you like. With four great color options available, you can be sure to have something that matches any outfit!
The Viakix Napali hiking sandals come with a 30-day guarantee. If you decide you don’t like the way they fit or how they look, you can return the unused pair within 30 days to receive a refund. You can check out your very own pair here, for just $49.
2. Acadia Women’s Hiking Sandal
The Acadia boasts a unique design that will help you look and feel great. This incredible sandal option looks almost like a tennis shoe—but it’s not.
With its open-ended design, you’ll enjoy all the classic open-air benefits of sandals while still getting the great arch and ankle support afforded by more traditional shoes.
This makes the Acadia the perfect choice for traveling over unusual terrain. This means that if you’re planning on scaling the rocky, lava-created terrain found in some of Hawaii’s trails, these are great for you. Customers rave over their versatility, style, and surprising degree of comfort.
With the Acadia, you can enjoy super-soft arch-supporting sandals that will make it seem as if you’re walking on air. Though they may not be quite as light as more traditional sandals, they’re comparatively light for their frames, making them one of the most practical choices on the market! Against this backdrop, make sure to try the shoes out for yourself!
3. The Siena Athletic Sandal
When it comes to comfort, it’s hard to beat the Siena sandal. This incredible option boasts a simple, yet effective, design that will keep you walking longer.
What’s more, it comes with soft, flexible strapping that will help you maintain the perfect fit no matter how far you walk. These straps make them a great choice for those long walks and trips, as they’re malleable enough to give you room to maneuver comfortably.
But that’s not all. This incredible shoe comes in 6 stylish color options, making it perfect for nearly everyone. You’re sure to find a style that suits your wardrobe, no matter your fashion sense! With this in mind, make sure to check them out yourself to see if they’re right for you!
4. The Cortona Sandal
With one of the most unique looks around, the Sloane Sandal does its job—and it does it well.
This Sloane Sandal comes with a soft rubber sole that helps provide great support for your feet. What’s more, its webbed design helps provide both protection and breathability to your feet. Its thick, yet lightweight, design makes it perfect for nearly any type of terrain—which makes it even better for your Hawaiian vacation.
What’s more, you can choose through four different color options, meaning that you’re sure to find the one that works best for you! This makes them one of the best shoes for Hawaii—no matter what you’re planning to do.
5. Viakix Samara Sandal
If you’re looking for comfort, Viakix has some of the best sandals on the market. Known for their unique and science-driven designs, Viakix has become one of the comfort-shoe industries leading brands.
And the Samara Sandal proves why. This great option boasts an incredible design and unique custom fits that will leave your feet feeling great—no matter how far you walk.
Designed with your comfort in mind, the Samara Sandal is great for those who expect to be on their feet all day. But what makes the Samara Sandal so great? It features both an adjustable ankle strap for maximum support and premium water-resistant webbing straps that are elastic and conform to your foot size and shape.
The rugged, rubber outsole feature a thick ergonomic EVA foam midsole that provides more cushioning and less stress on the joints.
What’s more, the Samara Sandals come with super soft PU leather that won’t bother your feet even when traveling long distances. These adjustable straps will help these shoes conform to your feet, no matter the width, providing for all-day comfort! In other words, you can forget the days of raw and inflamed feet and say hello to glorious comfort.
Finally, these Samara Sandals come in four great color schemes that you’re sure to love! These sandals are very well priced at approximately $55. You won’t be disappointed!
Taking the Best Sandals Along on Your Hawaiian Adventure
Finding the right pair of hiking sandals for your Hawaiian vacation doesn’t have to be difficult. That being said, the selection process isn’t one that you want to take lightly, either.
With the right pair of sandals, you can make sure that you stay safe and comfortable no matter the terrain. Ultimately, this will allow you to enjoy your vacation the way you’ve been dreaming of.
Because let’s face it: having to stop every few minutes because your feet hurt is no one’s idea of a dream vacation. Neither is climbing into bed in dire need of a foot massage every night. Instead, with the right pair of hiking sandals, you’ll be more focused on what adventures you’ll tackle next—and not dreading what they’re going to be doing to your feet.
Don’t know where to get started in choosing the right pair of hiking sandals? No problem! We’ve got you covered. With our guide above, you can start sorting through the hundreds of shoes on the market to find the pair that’s right for you.
But that’s not all! Remember that we’ve selected five of the best hiking sandals currently out there for your convenience!
So don’t wait! Order your shoes today so you can get them before setting out!