The Best Sandals for Women That Are Incredibly Comfortable to Walk In
Seasoned travelers know that one of the most important things to pack for trips is a comfortable pair of walking shoes. The perfect pair should be supportive and as fashionable as they are functional. And if you're headed to a warm-weather locale, finding a comfortable pair of sandals is key.
If you choose the right pair of sandals for your foot and personal needs, they can be just as comfortable as sneakers, says Dr. Jacqueline Sutera, New York City-based podiatrist and board-certified foot surgeon. "The right shoe is everything!" she says. "Your shoe should be appropriate for your foot type as well as your activity. This will not only provide comfort but can prevent injury."
We spoke with Dr. Sutera to find out what makes a comfortable shoe and then researched and consulted frequent travelers to round up the best options.
Our top pick is Sandalup's Elastic Flat Sandals if you're looking for something supportive and stylish. But if you had something sportier, more formal, or water-resistant in mind, we've listed sandals for all needs below.
These are the most comfortable sandals to walk in:
- Best Overall: Sandalup Elastic Flat Sandals at Amazon
- Best Overall, Runner-UpClassic: Birkenstock Arizona Soft Footbed Sandal at Nordstrom
- Best for Wide Feet: Munro Pisces Sandal at Zappos
- Best Strappy: Plaka Flat Sandals at Amazon
- Best Flatforms: Steve Madden Kimmie Espadrille Sandal at Zappos
- Best Sporty: Teva Tirra Sandal at Amazon
- Best Heel: Steve Madden Irene Ankle Strap Heel Sandal at Steve Madden
- Best Wedge: Ugg Yarrow Espadrille Wedge Sandal at Nordstrom
- Best Flip-Flop: Vionic Dillon Toe Post Sandal at Vionic
- Best Slides: Adidas Adilette Sandal at Amazon
- Best for High Arches: Vionic Tide II Sandal at Vionic
- Best Traction: Keen Rose Sandal at Keen Footwear
T+L Top Picks
Best Overall: Sandalup Elastic Flat Sandals
Best Overall, Runner-up: Birkenstock Arizona Soft Footbed Sandal
Best for Wide Feet: Munro Pisces Sandal
Best Strappy: Plaka Flat Sandals
Best Flatforms: Steve Madden Kimmie Espadrille Sandal
Best Sporty: Teva Tirra Sandal
Best Heel: Steve Madden Irenee Ankle Strap Heel Sandal
Best Wedge: Ugg Yarrow Espadrille Wedge Sandal
Best Flip-flop: Vionic Dillon Toe Post Sandal
Best Slides: Adidas Adilette Sandal
Best for High Arches: Vionic Tide II Sandal
Best Traction: Keen Rose Sandal
Tips for Buying Comfortable Sandals
Choose Features That Signal Comfort
One main aspect to look for in a shoe for comfort is arch support. Arch support — that little bump in the center of the insole — will help you maintain better alignment. "It's normal to pronate throughout the gait cycle, but it's overpronation that causes a lot of problems when you have a flat foot, like heel spurs, plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, and even stress fractures can happen. An arch support keeps you from overpronating," she says. A thicker overall sole is best, too. And one that thickens beneath the heel is preferable to one that's totally flat.
The right shoe can also be part of a therapy if you have a foot condition. Dr. Sutera suggests features like wide toe boxes for shoppers with bunions, extra arch support for those with high arches and insteps, and, especially in sandals, a footbed that isn't completely flat.
Materials Make a Difference
Durable materials like rubber and leather are always wise choices when it comes to sandals, as both are typically lightweight and easy to clean. Rubber also expertly repels moisture, while leather remains breathable even in heat and humidity. Leather can take longer to break in, but once you have, it wears well. Other materials, like suede and memory foam, make for soft and comfortable footbeds. However, foam usually doesn't last as long; even if a foam shoe still looks good, long-term wear can diminish its supportive qualities, so keep an eye on any pairs with foam footbeds to see when they might need replacing.
Consider Style and Your Intended Use
While style mainly depends on personal preference —and you'll want to buy a shoe that you'll want to wear long-term — you should take intended activities into consideration as well. For beach or lake days, a pair of thong flip flops or rubber slides is a good choice. If you plan on hiking or getting active on uneven terrain, a pair with ankle straps and multiple straps over the top of the foot is best. Going to a formal event? You can't go wrong with strappy heels or wedges — as long as they can have plenty of support and padding.
Why Trust Travel + Leisure
Travel + Leisure writers are shopping, fashion, and product experts who use personal experience and customer recommendations to choose the best items for shoppers. For this article, Richelle Szypulski, Rebecca Carhart, and Hillary Maglin researched dozens of women's sandals, interviewed a podiatrist, and used their expertise as travel writers to curate the perfect list of comfortable sandals for women.
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