The 10 Best Men's Sandals
This wiki has been updated 31 times since it was first published in April of 2015. There's nothing that can ruin your day faster than foot pain, which is why finding the most comfortable pair of shoes is essential. These men's sandals are sure to make your feet happy throughout the summer months, regardless of where the day takes you, and many are stylish enough to wear to dinner or even casual Fridays at the office. We've ranked them here by style, value, and durability. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. If you'd like to contribute your own research to the Wiki, please get started by reviewing this introductory video.
May 28, 2019:
For many people, the word "sandal" is synonymous with "flip-flop". It shouldn't be, though, because flip-flops are a particular kind of sandal. Besides the classic Y-shaped strap design, there are a variety of other types of sandals, each better suited for different applications. For example, our #4 and #5 pick, the Chaco Z2 Classic and the Teva Original Universal Premier, are equipped with more rugged soles and footbeds that provide better support than your standard pair of flip-flops. These, as well as the Keen Newport H2 (#2 on our list), are the kinds you'll want for more demanding outdoors excursions. Meanwhile, our #6 pick, the Crocs Swiftwater, is great for everyday wear due to its comfort, and it's even better if you'll be submerging your feet in water for any reason.
While plenty of sandals on the market sacrifice style for functionality, there's no denying that the Birkenstock Arizona — which we've bumped to #1 on our list — embody a fine balance between the two. Sandals are supposed to be comfortable, but many models tend to cause foot pain after long periods of use due to a lack of arch support. These Birkenstocks suffer from no such flaw, though. Their thick, cushiony sole and slanted toe line help encourage proper posture, which is essential if you plan on wearing sandals for extended periods. Further, they're constructed with excellent, durable materials, so they're the kind of pair that should last you for years. And let's not forget this simple fact — the darn shoes just look good!
Bedrock Classic These Huarache-inspired sandals are handmade to order in the USA. They feature a Vibram® sole, a strong nylon footbed, and a simple, effective strapping system (with straps made from recycled polyester) that makes it easy to tighten them snugly around your heel. Many barefoot-style runners swear by them for trail use, though they're better suited for casual wear. To clean them, all you have to do is soap them up in the shower and scrub. Between this, their rugged outsole, and their lightweight, flexible construction, they're a great option for travelers, as well as for trekkers looking for something to slip on at camp after a long day of hiking. bedrocksandals.com
Keep The Sand At Bay
Sandals are made of everything from rubber, to treated leather, absorbent foams, cotton, nylon, or synthetics.
Scientists say that there are more stars in our galaxy than grains of sand on all the beaches of planet Earth. Unfortunately, this is no comfort to those of us who walk across even a small stretch of sand in closed shoes, ending up with what feels like a galaxy's worth of sand disturbingly trapped in there with our feet.
The primary function of a good pair of sandals is breathability for your feet, since not everyone has sand to contend with in their day to day lives, and there's no reason not to wear a good pair of sandals daily just because you aren't on a beach. The secondary function of a good pair of sandals, though, is almost just as important as the first, and that's allowing you to transverse sandy terrain without eroding the insoles of your boat shoes down to nothing.
What makes a good sandal, with these considerations in mind, is openness and stability. The sandals on our list are wonderful for these properties, and each is designed with one or more straps set to run across the tops of your feet. As you pick up your foot, the straps keep the soles of the sandals snug against your feet.
Sandals are made of everything from rubber, to treated leather, absorbent foams, cotton, nylon, or synthetics. The ideal materials are waterproof, lightweight, and of the right constitution to form to your foot over time.
No Socks Allowed
Men and women around the world–the particularly in the west–do a lot of work and spend a lot of money to get themselves in shape for the summer, to attain what is commonly referred to as the 'beach body,' a level of physique that, at the very least, won't cause you shame in a bathing suit on the sand. As a guy who grew up shamefully wearing a shirt in the pool until he figured out the importance of exercising and eating right, I can testify to the stress that the onset of summer brings with it.
A good swim suit, something flashy to wear over it, and a quality pair of sunglasses, etc. are fine, but you want to tie it all together with a sleek duo on your feet.
If you're going to put all that work into the presentation of your body, you really ought to get your beach gear in as good a shape as your body, if not better (perhaps to make up for not quite reaching your bodily goals). A good swim suit, something flashy to wear over it, and a quality pair of sunglasses, etc. are fine, but you want to tie it all together with a sleek duo on your feet.
All this is to say that, even with all the other variables in mind–the materials used, the comfort level, the durability, the price–it's the look of the sandals that should be your jumping off point. From there you can delve into all the other factors so that, whichever pair you choose, you can be proud to wear them.
Given that the particulars of one's personal fashion are so subjective, our list concentrates on qualities other than aesthetics. To contextualize them in the world of fashion, it's usually the case that the more comfortable and functional the sandal, the less fashion forward it will be. For example, the pair on our list with that thick, futuristic foam heel might give you the sensation of walking on a cloud, but it won't curry you any favor among fashionistas.
You need to ask yourself where you draw the line between form, fashion, and function, so that you can find a sandal that suits your personal taste, keeps you comfortable, and lasts more than a single summer. Just promise me, and yourself, and the international community one thing: do not wear them with socks. Socks and sandals together are a sin on par with regicide.
Step Into The Past
If you were stranded on a desert island, and you wanted to make yourself a useful pair of protective foot coverings, the odds are slim that you would create thigh-high, high-heeled boots. In every likelihood, you would fashion some kind of platform sole and find a way to strap it to your foot. In short, you would create a sandal.
The first of these resembled the sandals on our list, as they were worn low on the foot and were made primarily of willow leaves, twigs, and fibers.
That, without delving too deeply into the human species' utilization of tools and development of clothing, is what brought about the very first sandals, the oldest known pair of these we've traced back to at least 8,000 BCE from a pair of ancient sandals found in Fort Rock Cave in the state of Oregon.
The ancient Greeks worked primarily in one of two types of sandals. The first of these resembled the sandals on our list, as they were worn low on the foot and were made primarily of willow leaves, twigs, and fibers.
The other style common to the Greeks was worn with straps of leather and other fibers that ran up and around the ankle toward the calf. This style has actually gained a renewed popularity in women's sandal design in the last decade or so, even though it was often worn in Greece by hunters, horsemen, and men of certain authority.
The sandal never really went out of style, as one culture or another worldwide made consistent use of it, either by hand-making them from local materials or manufacturing them in a more industrial setting.