The Most Comfortable Sandals for Women, According to Our Tests

You can sightsee in comfort all day in Sandalup’s Elastic Flat Sandals.

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most comfortable sandals
Photo: Courtesy of Amazon

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, a New York City­-based podiatrist and 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 tested a few ourselves 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's Top Picks

Best Overall: Sandalup Elastic Flat Sandals

most comfortable sandals
Courtesy of Amazon

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

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 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 muscles in your feet and can also make common issues like bunions, hammer toes, and pinched nerves even worse. That type of pressure is reduced with these sandals. 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.

Our testers' favorite thing about the sandals? The fact that they were comfortable right out of the box. One tester reports that they stretched enough to immediately accommodate her wide feet, unlike most other sandals. The tester also notes the shoes are easy to pack, comfy enough for all-day wear, and perfect for warm weather since they don't cause your feet to sweat.

Price at time of publish: $16-29

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

Best for Wide Feet: Munro Pisces Sandal

most comfortable sandals
Courtesy of Zappos

Also available at Nordstrom

Why We Love It: They come in five different widths and more than a dozen colors and prints.

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.

Our testers were particularly impressed with how sturdy they were and how long they remained comfy. "I wore them to a four-hour concert where I was on my feet the entire time, standing and dancing," one said. "I was shocked by how cushiony yet supportive they were and appreciated that they didn't slide around." She also mentioned that their lightweight design makes them ideal to pack in a suitcase.

Price at time of publish: $150

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

Best Sporty: Teva Tirra Sandal

most comfortable sandals
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Zappos

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

What to Consider: They're not very versatile beyond outdoor activities.

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.

According to our testers, the Tirras stand out as true active footwear, as they're rugged and provide a personalized feel. "These shoes offered a great fit as soon as I put them on," Jamie Hergenrader, Commerce Director at Travel + Leisure, says. "I like that there are three adjustable velcro straps, so they were easy to adjust when needed to make them tighter or looser. Also, the style is nice — not as much for an everyday shoe, but as far as hiking sandals go, I like the look of these."

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

Price at time of publish: $46-171

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

Best Heel: Steve Madden Irenee Ankle Strap Heel Sandal

most comfortable sandals
Courtesy of Steve Madden

Also available at Nordstrom

Why We Love It: The style is versatile enough for almost all casual and 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 sandals with a low block-heel 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.

Hergenrader has owned these for years and packs them on most warm-weather trips due to their versatile style and comfort for walking around cities. T+L editor Elizabeth Rhodes, who also tested the shoes, adds that "the design is aesthetically perfect… and the heel height looks very polished, but isn't too high." And while heels might seem counterintuitive for a comfortable shoe, know this: A little height is totally okay to add into your packing lineup. 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.

Price at time of publish: $80

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

Best Flip-flop: Vionic Dillon Toe Post Sandal

most comfortable sandals
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available Vionic at Zappos

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 the brand because of their scientific approach to shoes. The vacation-ready sandals have a thin profile with a soft sole and topsole cushioning that makes them extra comfortable.

If you ask our testers, these shoes are all about versatility. "I like that they manage to merge comfort and style," T+L commerce editor Hillary Maglin says. "I spent several days walking and standing in these on various terrains and my feet never hurt. I'll also probably pack them on my next vacation, because they'd be perfect for sightseeing in both comfort and style." Maglin notes that while the top straps were slightly loose on her narrow foot, they would probably fit shoppers with wider feet perfectly.

Price at time of publish: $39-100

Sizes: 5 to 12 | Material: Leather, suede

Best Slides: Adidas Adilette Sandal

most comfortable sandals
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Adidas

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

What to Consider: They have a rough break-in period.

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 ever 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, this is a great pair to consider throwing in your bag.

Our testers especially favor the Adilettes' sporty feel and appearance. They have a trendy look while still being convenient enough for running errands or making treks to the pool. One tester even wore them while riding a bike "with no problem at all." Although there are plenty of things to love about these slides, we don't recommend them for prolonged walking and urge you to remember the break-in period can be uncomfortable.

Price at time of publish: $20-104

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

Related: The Best Swimsuits for Women

Best for High Arches: Vionic Tide II Sandal

most comfortable sandals
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Vionic Shoes and Zappos

Why We Love It: They offer firm support at a light weight.

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. As Dr. Sutera explains, it's all about keeping your foot as neutral as possible — 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.

And our testers agree that these shoes were made for taking on the day in comfort. The textured footbed received rave reviews for preventing feet from slipping around, and testers loved that the Vionic Tide II Sandals are plushy and supportive with a substantial arch. One tester did say, however, that the rope-like toe divider was a bit uncomfortable, even after several wears.

Price at time of publish: $45-100

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

Best Traction: Keen Rose Sandal

most comfortable sandals
Courtesy of Amazon

Also available at Keen Footwear and 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.

Our testers say the comfort and walkability factors are where these shoes really shine. They proved to be pretty and stylish enough to wear to work and durable enough for long walks. Keen's "grippy sole," small bumps on the inner sandal for traction, prevented any slippage when testers' feet got sweaty. When it came time for cleaning, testers appreciated how easy it was to wipe dirt off of the Rose Sandal.

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

Price at time of publish: $81-214

Related: The Best Slippers

Other Sandals We Tested

Three of the sandals we reviewed had fans among our testers, but certain pitfalls ultimately kept them off our list of the most comfortable options.

Steve Madden Kimmie Espadrille Sandal: Despite the comfort of these shoes' elasticized ankle wrap and molded footbed, our testers found them to be very narrow. While shoppers with slender feet may have no problems with them, those with wider feet likely won't find them comfortable.

Ugg Yarrow Espadrille Wedge Sandal: While they're certainly stylish, our testers felt the zipper on the heel rubbed badly enough to keep them off our comfort-based list.

Birkenstock Arizona Soft Footbed Sandal: These slides are versatile in that they can be dressed up or down, but according to our testers, the leather uppers make them too uncomfortable to be good walking shoes.

How We Tested

To accurately review each sandal in this roundup, we sent a pair or two to each of our staff members to personally "test drive." Our testers wore them in multiple settings and temperatures to experience the shoes the same way a shopper would. To get a true feel for the shoes, our team members wore their sandals for several hours each day of the test — and didn't hold back when it was time to give their candid opinions.

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," Dr. Sutera 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 have plenty of support and padding.

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

For this article Hillary Maglin researched dozens of women's sandals, interviewed a podiatrist, analyzed test results, and used her expertise as a travel writer to curate the perfect list of comfortable sandals for women.

Up Next: The Best Sun-protective Clothing for Women

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