The Best Sandals for Women That Are Incredibly Comfortable to Walk In

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Sandal collage
Photo: Courtesy of Amazon, Zappos, Nordstrom

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:

T+L Top Picks

Best Overall: Sandalup Elastic Flat Sandals

Sandalup Elastic Sandals
Courtesy of Amazon

Why We Love It: The straps are snug for a tight fit to your foot, but not uncomfortably so.

What to Consider: They run large, so size down a half or full size.

These sleek sandals feature elastic straps that mold and stretch to fit your feet perfectly — there are no buckles, zippers, snaps, or ties on the shoes to constrain movement or cause irritation. In fact, the more straps the better, because they'll hold you in, and bonus if there's a back or ankle strap. In a slide, thong, or any other open silhouette, your toes are constantly gripping in order to keep the shoe from sliding off your foot. According to Dr. Sutera, that causes strain on the baby muscles in your feet and can also make common issues like bunions, hammer toes, and pinched nerves even worse. These also have a lightly padded footbed and rubber sole for extra comfort and traction. Best of all, they're super stylish, so they can be worn with everything from dresses and skirts to jeans and leggings.

Sizes: 5 to 11 | Material: Rubber, elastic, textile

Best Overall, Runner-up: Birkenstock Arizona Soft Footbed Sandal

Birkenstock Arizona Footbed Sandal
Courtesy of Nordstrom

Why We Love It: The cushioned footbed molds to the shape of your foot.They're ultra-comfy without sacrificing style.

What to Consider: They require a short period of breaking them in before wearing them for longer periods.

Birkenstock is known for producing high-quality comfortable sandals like this classic, long-popular style. The cozy shoes have a shock-absorbing footbed that is super soft and gentle on the feet. The sandals also feature extra cushioning, ample arch support, and a rubber sole that offers excellent traction. Two sturdy-yet comfy buckled straps ensure the shoes stay on your feet effortlessly as you move.

Sizes: 5-5.5 to 11-11.5 | Material: Leather, synthetic materials

Best for Wide Feet: Munro Pisces Sandal

Munro Pisces Sandal Shoe
Courtesy of Nordstrom

Why We Love It: They come in five different widths, so you'll always find a perfect fit.

What to Consider: They feature a high arch, so they're not recommended for flatter feet.

If you have a difficult time finding sandals that are comfortable for wide feet, check out this pair by Munro. The cute shoes come in five different widths, ranging from super slim to extra wide. They also feature an elastic back strap and padded insole for all-day comfort. Snag them in more than a dozen colors and prints ranging from neutral beige and white to cheetah and giraffe prints.

Sizes: 4 to 13 | Material: Leather, suede, vinyl, textile

Best Strappy: Plaka Flat Sandals

Plaka Flat Sandals
Courtesy of Amazon

Why We Love It: They're budget-friendly, but look and feel expensive.

What to Consider: They're best for shoppers with narrow feet.

These chic sandals have our seal of approval thanks to their durable rubber sole and stylish rope details that stretch to fit your feet. And don't let the shoes' dainty appearance fool you — they're actually very sturdy and ideal for walking on everything from uneven, cobblestone streets to dirt roads. The sandals are also water-resistant, so you never have to worry about getting them wet. They even come with a cute cotton shoe bag, making them easy to pack.

Sizes: 6 to 11 | Material: Rubber, nylon

Related: 17 Women's Waterproof Walking Shoes to Make the Most of a Rainy Trip

Best Flatforms: Steve Madden Kimmie Espadrille Sandal

Steve Madden Kimmie Espadrille Sandal
Courtesy of Zappos

Why We Love It: The footbed is soft, and the straps are stretchy.

What to Consider: They run small and narrow.

These stylish sandals by Steve Madden may look like your average pair of flatforms, but they actually feature a durable rubber outsole for traction and stability, a molded cork footbed, and an ankle strap for additional support. The platform heel provides a 1.75-inch lift, while a soft suede insole keeps your feet comfortable. They come in several colors, including camo print, snakeskin, and rainbow.

Sizes: 5 to 11 | Material: Cork, suede, textile, elastic

Best Sporty: Teva Tirra Sandal

Teva Tirra Sandal Shoe
Courtesy of Zappos

Why We Love It: These sandals rival sneakers in comfort and arch support, but are so much more breathable.

What to Consider: They run small.

If you're looking for a sporty pair of sandals to wear on long summer hikes, check out this pair by Teva. The quick-drying sandals feature a padded midsole, and they have a rubber outsole for traction to help you avoid any slips or falls. They also have shock pads in the heels and stretchy mesh-lined straps that won't cause blisters.

Sizes: 5 to 11 | Material: Polyester, nylon, rubber

Best Heel: Steve Madden Irenee Ankle Strap Heel Sandal

Irenee Ankle Strap Sandal STEVE MADDEN
Courtesy of Nordstrom

Why We Love It: The style is versatile for almost all casual or formal occasions.

What to Consider: They require a bit of a break-in period.

If you want to add a little polish and height to your travel looks, reach for these sleek, low block-heel sandals by Steve Madden. The buckled ankle straps keep your feet from sliding around, and the low heel (2 inches) is an ideal height for longer periods of walking. They're so stylish, you'll want to wear them with everything from formal dresses to jeans — and because they're so comfortable, you can. Jamie Hergenrader, Editorial Director of commerce content at Travel + Leisure, has owned these for years and packs them on most warm-weather trips due to their versatile style and comfort for walking around cities. And while heels might seem counterintuitive for a comfortable shoe, know this: A little height is totally OK to add into your packing line-up. In fact, it's healthier to switch up your shoe height and style from day to day, according to Dr. Sutera — you're welcome, over-packers.

Sizes: 5.5 to 12 | Material: Leather, suede, synthetic materials

Best Wedge: Ugg Yarrow Espadrille Wedge Sandal

wedge sandals
Courtesy of Nordstrom

Why We Love It: They're some of the comfiest wedges you can buy.

What to Consider: They run a tad large.

We recommend these shoes by Ugg if you're looking for wedge sandals that are as comfy as they are cute. These summery sandals have a padded insole and a textured rubber sole that provides excellent traction. They are less than three inches tall, making them easy to walk around in, and the bow at the ankle is adjustable, so you can make them as tight as you like. They even have a subtle zipper on the back for easy on-off.

Dr. Sutera even dubs herself a "wedge girl." "In the summer, that is my go-to," she says. "Wedges are great because there's a little heel height so they're kind of dressy, and the surface area that your body weight gets distributed across is a lot greater than a typical high-heel sandal. It has that chunky heel, so it's also a little bit steadier."

Sizes: 5 to 12 | Material: Leather, rubber, textile, synthetic materials

Best Flip-flop: Vionic Dillon Toe Post Sandal

Courtesy of Vionic

Why We Love It: The brand has been awarded the Seal of Acceptance by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) for promoting good foot health.

What to Consider: These can't be submerged in water, so avoid wearing them in waves or pools.

Flip-flops aren't known for being supportive enough to wear for a full day of sightseeing, but if you need a pair for the pool or hot sand, Dr. Sutera, who is a member of Vionic's Innovation Lab, recommends a Vionic pair due to the brand's scientific approach to shoes. The vacation-ready sandals have a thin profile with a soft sole and topsole cushioning that makes them extra comfortable.

Sizes: 5 to 12 | Material: Leather, suede

Related: The Most Comfortable Flip-Flops for Men and Women

Best Slides: Adidas Adilette Sandal

Adidas Adilette Sandal Shoe
Courtesy of Zappos

Why We Love It: They're easy to slip on and off as needed throughout your day..

What to Consider: They run two whole sizes large.

Slides aren't typically the best choice for comfortable shoes. However, if you need or prefer a pair of slides for your trip, these are your best bet. This style from Adidas has been a go-to sandal for women since the silhouette was originally released in 1972. The water-ready shoes feature a contoured footbed that molds to your feet and a rubber sole that makes them super durable — so if your plans include heading to the beach or lounging by the pool, this is a great pair to consider throwing in your bag.

Sizes: 5 to 12 | Material: Textile, polyurethane, synthetic materials

Best for High Arches: Vionic Tide II Sandal

Courtesy of Vionic

Why We Love It: Their high, firm arch support offers a great deal of comfort.

What to Consider: The firm footbed may feel too hard for shoppers who prefer softer shoes.

If you have high arches, opt for these comfortable, supportive sandals by Vionic. Not only are they incredibly lightweight, but they also feature a midsole that provides shock absorption. Their contoured design aids in stability and natural alignment. It's all about keeping your foot as neutral as possible, Dr. Sutera explained, not pronated (rolling inward), not supinated (rolling outward), but right in the middle. The biomechanically designed sandals have even earned themselves a Seal of Acceptance from the American Podiatric Medical Association.

Sizes: 5 to 12 | Material: Synthetic rubber, vinyl

Best Traction: Keen Rose Sandal

KEEN Rose Sandal
Courtesy of Zappos

Why We Love It: They're comfortable right out of the box.

What to Consider: They're on the pricier side.

If you are headed somewhere with rocky terrain or uneven cobblestone streets, you're going to want a comfy pair of sandals with great traction like this pair by Keen. The molded insole offers all-day comfort while the ridged rubber sole and durable ankle straps provide stability as you're walking around. We especially love that the sandals are machine washable and come in 11 colors ranging from red violet to silver.

Sizes: 5 to 11 | Material: Rubber, polyester, vinyl

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.

Up Next: The Most Comfortable Slides for Men and Women

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