Whether you’re pacing it out on the beach, through the desert, or on the trails, it’s important to have the best running sandals to support your joints and help you reach your fitness goals in a safe and comfortable way – and that’s where we come in.
We’ve done the research for you and pulled together a list of the best sandals for running, from minimalist designs to styles that mimic durable flip flops and specialty barefoot running sandals. Explore the top models available for men and women to discover a perfect match for your running routine.
Here, you can compare running sandals to find a style that’s best for you. If you need a bit more advice, read on to learn everything you need to know about which features to look for in running sandals, so you can decide whether you’re more suited towards a barefoot design or a flip-flop-inspired shape.
After working your way through our list of the best choices and reading our in-depth expert advice, you’ll be ready to gear up and get moving with confidence that your feet will be safe and supported.
The Best Running Sandal
Hook and loop closure system
Teva Men’s Hurricane XLT Running Sandals are designed to feel effortlessly good in every situation, whether you’re sweating it out during your favourite outdoor activity or you’re busy exploring a new place and spending the entire day on your feet. Made from high quality materials, including polyester webbing, a rubber sole, and nylon straps and shank for extra stability and support, each element is carefully designed to bring both comfort and durability to every step you take.
You can depend on guaranteed traction, thanks to the specialty Durabrasion Rubber outsole, which promises to take on whatever rugged terrain your day has in store. The EVA-foam midsole ensures your feet are cradled within a lightweight cushioning, helping to absorb the shock of every step. With an easy to use hook and loop closure system and a padded heel strap for extra protection, these running sandals are easy to step into, so you can quickly get on with whatever you have planned. Make sure you also check our guide to the best hiking sandals.
They promise to last as long as you need them to, thanks to extremely durable materials
Designed for comfort, so you’ll hardly notice you’re wearing them
Simple and stylish, to match whatever’s in your wardrobe
You might need a little time to let your feet get used to the feel of the straps
5 gen midsole cushioning
Goga max return energy footbed
Soft fabric lining
Skechers Performance Women’s Running Sandals are the perfect addition to any ladies’ wardrobe, designed to be worn all day, every day, whether you’re out running errands or setting off on a long trek up a mountain. The rubber sole is both lightweight and durable, easily able to take on hours of pounding the pavement along with rougher terrain.
Concealed in the minimalist design is 5 gen midsole cushioning and a goga max return energy footbed, which is carefully created to mold to your unique shape. All of this means that these running sandals promise to protect your feet and keep you feeling comfy, regardless of what sort of heavy-duty activity you might be doing.
Detail goes into every single detail to ensure they’re extremely comfortable
Molds to the shape of your foot, for ultimate protection and support
Will hold up when worn casually and on long walks and hikes
Not available in half sizes, so you may need to size up
Multi-layer toe cap, complete with 3 layers of toe protection
Upper part of the shoe made from soft fabric that’s durable and quick to dry
Compression-molded EVA midsole
Secured via elastic cord laces and adjustable hook
Bringing you the best elements of an outdoor shoe and a durable flipflop, ATIKA Men’s Running Sandals are the perfect hybrid for all your heavy-duty outdoor activities. Complete with a closed toe that’s protected by a 3-layer cap, they have a robust quality that makes them great for wearing over rough terrain. The bottoms are finished with a multi-directional lug pattern, so you can keep your grip on loose or slippery surfaces, and a rubber outguard covers the lower portion, for a slim look and additional protection.
As well as being durable, these running sandals are extremely comfortable. The midsole is made from compression-molded EVA, which will absorb shock of impact and provide cushioning for your feet, while maintaining a super lightweight quality. The upper part of the shoe is made from synthetic material that’s both hardy, soft, and quick-drying – the polyester webbing is also designed to cradle your foot, wrapping under and around to create a customized fit. For more great running options, check out our guide to the best motion control running shoes.
Provide long-lasting quality, offering great value for the price
Designed to take on tough terrain, with protected toe and gripping sole
Comfortable fit thanks to thoughtful design
Some people missed having an elastic strap on the back
FeelTrue rubber sole creates barefoot-effect
Sole is 5.5mm thick, with Z-Trek webbing for security
Xero Shoes Z-Trek minimalist barefoot running sandals have an ultra-sleek design, making them the best option for anyone looking for a natural and organic feel while still benefitting from a layer of protection. Easily transition from land to water with the water-resistant design and let these sandals join you while you participate in all sorts of outdoor activities, whether it’s running, hiking, fishing, kayaking, or simply walking along your favourite trail.
Made with a FeelTrue rubber sole that has the brand’s signature Z-Trek webbing, these running sandals have a barefoot-inspired feel, meaning your feet are free to move in a totally natural way. The sole is only 5.5mm thick, allowing you to enjoy the best of both worlds – release your feet to have an organic experience exposed to the light and airy surroundings without having to worry about injury or exposure to harmful elements.
Ultra-minimalist finish, for those who want a really sleek look
Offer that signature barefoot effect, for a natural and organic feel
Suitable for all sorts of activities, on land or in the water
Because of the minimalist design, it’s important to get the sizing just right – but you can contact the manufacturer for advice if you need to
Textile finish with durable rubber sole
Secured with thin, fabric straps and adjustable closure system
Minimalist design, with completely open top and sides
Machine washable, air dry
Vibram Women’s VI-S Fitness And Yoga Shoes have an undeniably elegant and feminine finish – but don’t be fooled by the pretty exterior! The robust design means they’re tough enough to take on your fitness regime and are a great option for outdoor activities such as walking and running or indoor workouts like yoga, pilates, and barre. The top and sides are finished in a thin, lace-effect textile, with a high-traction flexible rubber sole that moves and flexes in tandem with your foot.
Designed to support your toes, simply slide your foot into place and off you go. The open top and sides mean your foot is free to breathe, offering plenty of ventilation and a truly organic feel, while still protecting your sole and toes. The closure system consists of adjustable thin straps and a quick release functionality, keeping your feet securely in place while adding a delicate, slimline quality. If you love running shoes, check out our guide to the barefoot running shoes.
Both stylish and robust, great for outdoor activities and casual wear
Comfortable and lightweight design, with thin rubber sole
Thoughtful design for maximum comfort and style
Some people found that their toes didn’t fit perfectly, depending on the shape and size of their foot
Vibram outsole and MGT (Monkey Grip Technology)
Climbing-grade webbing used for the strap
Sole is 9mm thick, both minimalist and robust
Luna Sandals Leadville Pacer minimalist running sandals are designed for the true adventurer, ready to accompany you on whatever extreme activities life has in store for you. The ultra slimline design is sleek and cool, but don’t be deceived by the unassuming look – these barefoot flip flops pack a lot of potential.
Designed with a base that brings together a Vibram outsole and MGT (monkey grip technology), you can enjoy strength, durability, and undeniable comfort. The sole is only 9mm thick, meaning it’s thin enough to be lightweight and easy to wear while still having a robust quality. Plenty of thought has gone into creating the hardcore tread, to ensure these sandals are ready to take on volatile surfaces when you’re out in the world.
Super thin and lightweight, ideal if you’re after that barefoot feel
Cool, minimalist design that can be worn casually as well as for heavy-duty activities
Packed with unique technology that delivers a quality feel and lasting comfort
A bit on the pricier side, as they’re a premium product
Made from durable leather and textile
Three adjustable straps
Lycra neoprene lining
Merrell air cushioning in the heel
M select GRIP on the outsole
A durable and robust running sandal, Merrell Men’s Moab Drift Strap Sandals are the best choice for a huge range of outdoor activities, whether you’re a keen hiker or cyclist or you’re looking for piece of reliable kit to enhance your running or walking routine.
Made from leather and textile, they offer the perfect balance of hardiness and breathability. The upper part of the shoe is lined with Lycra neoprene, which provides flexibility and comfort. You can rely on the sole to deliver shock absorbency, cushioning, and support, thanks to Merrell air cushion incorporated into the heel and an EVA midsole. Feel confident about every step with M select GRIP outsoles, which ensure traction and stability on even the most rugged of surfaces. Our selection of the best shoes to wear without socks offers some amazing footwear so check them out.
Durable and flexible, with a robust rubber sole and breathable fabric lining
Fit your foot perfectly thanks to the adjustable three-strap closure system
Plenty of protection, with Merrell air cushioning and EVA midsole
Some people had issues with the sizing, so make sure to check your measurements carefully before you order
Running Sandal Buying Guide & FAQ
How We Chose Our Selection Of Running Sandals
Your running sandals need to be able to take on whatever unexpected elements your day might throw at you, whether it’s a casual trip to the grocery store, a 5-mile run, or a hike up to your favorite picnic spot. We take our job seriously and put a lot of thought and effort into which running sandals we add to our list, to make sure that they really are the best of the bunch.
When choosing which running sandals to feature, we consider a variety of factors that we know are important to you. In order to get a well-rounded idea of which models are the best option for you, we look closely at:
Brand - Footwear brands are a dime a dozen, but when it comes to choosing running sandals there are a few names that you know you can trust as soon as you hear them. This trust is born out of the fact that certain brands have put years of effort into designing and creating reliable products that speak for themselves in terms of quality and durability.
That’s why we’ve included running sandals from the likes of Vivobarefoot, Merrell, and Luna within our list of the best, as they’ve established themselves as companies that have an expert foothold within their niche.
Reviews - When shopping online, a great product description and high-quality images can help you get an idea of what sort of shoe you’re looking at, but sometimes you need a bit of extra insight – which is why we always take reviews into consideration when choosing the best running sandals. In the absence of being able to try them on yourself, reviews offer a real-life insight into how the shoes fit, look, and perform in certain scenarios.
You can do endless research about running sandals, but there’s no replacement for a bit of advice from someone who has worn a product and experienced what it’s like to go through the day with them on their feet. That’s why we only choose products that have received excellent feedback from people like you – to give you that extra level of confidence that the product will deliver exactly what it promises to do.
Price - You need a great pair of running sandals that will protect your feet, feel comfortable all day long, and deliver excellent value for the money you spend. When pulling together this list of durable flip flops, we’ve looked at price as one of the key factors for determining what denotes ‘best’.
We’ve included a mix of price-points to suit all sorts of budgets. However, you can rest assured that the more expensive models will go above and beyond your expectations and uphold their condition over the long term, while the cheaper running sandals are a real bargain in terms of the quality you get for the price you pay.
Features To Look For In Running Sandals
Running sandals may seem like a small and sleek piece of kit, but a lot goes into that minimalist design that can make a real difference in terms of how it feels to wear them. When shopping for running sandals, there are a variety of different features to look out for – we’ve outlined them below, to help you find the best pair for your lifestyle and personal preference.
Sole Thickness - Running sandals generally have a thin sole, compared to regular running shoes or sneakers. However, there are still many variations within the running sandal category, from somewhat sturdy soles to extremely thin designs.
The style you choose will depend heavily on how you want your shoes to feel. Some people prefer a more durable level of support, akin to a regular sandal – in which case, a thicker sole around the 9mm mark is the best choice. However, if you’re looking for a more natural, organic sensation, it’s better to choose a thin sole that’s designed purposely to mimic that signature barefoot effect – these can range anywhere from 3mm to 5mm.
It might be that you want a balance of both – enough thickness that you feel like you’re wearing a shoe while still benefitting from the sense of engagement and control that a barefoot shoe can give. In this case, look for a running sandal that has a mid-level of thickness, at around 6mm-8mm.
Flexibility - Depending on the type of activity you’ll be doing in your running sandals, you’ll need a level of flexibility that suits. As a byproduct of having generally thin soles, most running sandals are already highly flexible.
However, if you’re going to be wearing them when you need to be able to really maneuver your feet, such as while hiking or climbing, it’s important to choose a design that has plenty of flexibility. In this instance, look out for a design that has a particularly thin sole that incorporates webbing into the design.
Durability - Your running sandals should be able to keep up with you an maintain their quality look and feel after a long day doing whatever it is that you love to do. When choosing a pair that is durable enough for your lifestyle, look carefully at the materials that are used and consider whether they will suit your favorite activities.
This means thinking about water-resistance, what the sole is made out of, and the type of fabric used to create the upper part of the shoe. Materials like nylon are strong and lightweight, while a rubber sole should offer support and protection.
Size & Fit - The minimalistic nature of running sandals means that finding the right fit is incredibly important, as there’s not much room to adapt. Depending on the brand and style of the shoe, sizes will run differently. It’s always important to look past the basic numbers and check out the brand’s size guide for a detailed idea of the length and width of the shoes.
Measure your feet and compare the dimensions to those listed on the size guide, so you have a clear idea of where you fit into the spectrum.
Sole Grip - When searching for running sandals that can meet the needs of your workout routine, finding the right grip is vital. Most models will come with a good grip as a starting foundation, but you can also find designs that have soles that offer enhanced traction.
Think carefully about how you’ll use your shoes and look for a style that offers the sort of protection you need. For example, if you do a lot of trail running or hiking, you’ll likely need a pair of running sandals that have a multi-directional lug pattern on the soles, which will provide plenty of grip on unsteady surfaces.
Running Sandal FAQ
Q: Does it hurt to run in running sandals?
A: Just like with any pair of shoes, running sandals take a little while to get used to – especially if you haven’t worn them before. The ultra-slim design means that you’ll feel a lot more contact with the ground compared to standard running shoes, which can be a bit strange at first. However, over time you’ll start to get used to the sensation and probably enjoy the level of control and engagement that you feel during your run.
Start off with shorter sessions, to help you build up tolerance for the intensity and correct your form to suit. As you grow more comfortable with running in sandals, you can begin to go for longer distances and test out new terrain. Chances are that once you’ve experienced the incredible feel of barefoot running, you won’t want to turn back!