Who says running footgear is all about shoes? If you’re looking for a fun and sassy yet healthy way to protect your feet, a running sandal might be what you need. Those who have never heard of it may disapprove of the idea. But before you totally freak out, sandals can absorb the shock caused by high-impact terrains while at the same time keeping your feet comfortable and cool.
Do we need to say more? Let our review speak for itself!
Our Top Running Sandals Reviews
Choosing the right product means ensuring it stems from a reliable manufacturer and is consistently transparent with the claims. Having a myriad of colors or styles is a plus point. While each of the products below has flaws (there’s no such thing as perfect!), they are among the best-selling running sandals we think can fit well to your budget and liking with confidence.
A few of the things you should be looking for in a sandal include material, style, comfort, value, and durability, which we will discuss here to give you a fair judgment.
Best Overall Running Sandals: Xero Shoes Z-Trek
Have you been in the market for a minimalist, lightweight, and packable running sandals? You may want to check out Xero Z-Trek Lightweight Shoes for women and Z-Trek Barefoot-Inspired Sandals for men. They are considered top lightweights with durable straps and outstanding grip. The design is made ultra-smooth to give that organic and natural feel. Z-Trek is a highly versatile footgear you wouldn’t want to miss yourself. You can have it worn in all types of outdoor activities aside from running, such as walking, kayaking, and hiking. Name it!
Compared to most running sandals, Z-Trek’s 5.5mm soles are pretty supple – letting you feel the ground curve. And yes, it’s also great in the snow! The soles do a virtuous job of insulating against extreme temperatures, so you can spend an hour or so outside without getting your feet cold.
- Vegan-friendly design
- 70 percent lighter than similar sports sandals
- 5.5mm thick FeelTrue rubber sole that promises a barefoot experience
- Zero drop sole that aids with balance, agility, and posture
- 5000 miles warranty
Pros and Cons
- Xero Shoes are secure to the feet and have a great land feel, which you can use for almost any outdoor occasion regardless of the weather condition.
- The fact that the manufacturer used non-leather material to craft the product says a lot about how it gives importance to the animals and environment. The sandals are not only limited to average users. Even vegans can rely on it for superior comfort and fast track.
- Z-Trek comes with a few heel cups to ward off debris and dirt while keeping the heel in position, which we think is a clever design.
- Being minimalist comes with a problem too. You have to get the correct sizing, or your running session will be compromised. Plus, the soles alone may not be enough to protect the foot against sharp rocks and pebbles.
- LIGHTWEIGHT PACKABLE SPORT SANDAL - Whether it's yoga, a walk, trail, run, hike, or even kayaking, the Z-Trek sets your feet free - it's the perfect combination of protection, lightweight, natural flexibility, durability, and versatility
- FLEX YOUR FEET, FEEL THE FLOOR - Patented 5.5mm FeelTrue sole offers just-right protection and the ground feedback that your feet love. Adjustable Z-Pattern straps give you the right tension around your foot and heel, but leave your toes free to move
- XERO DROP SOLE FOR PERFECT POSTURE - The Xero Drop sole offers a non-elevated heel and is low-to-the-ground - this allows proper posture, balance, and agility. A Women’s size 7 sandal averages just over 5 ounces each for a truly lightweight feel
- VEGAN FRIENDLY - Xero Shoes believes in promoting healthy and sustainable lifestyles which is why the Z-Trek is made with zero animal products
- GET THE RIGHT FIT with FREE Domestic Exchanges - This sandal runs 'true to size." If for any reason that's not the case for you, contact us for a free domestic exchange of your 'like-new' sandal
Best Running Sandals for the Money: Luna Oso Flaco Winged Sandals
Luna Oso Flaco Winged Sandals are huaraches-styled perfect for a myriad of terrain and activities like running, trekking, and walking around the town. Wearing the pair can also help prevent shin splints, bunions, plantar fasciitis, and other common problems in the foot, toe, and leg. Sure, the price could be somewhat steeper than the comparative products we have here. But its ground-feel and healthy design features are worth the money risk.
It has 13mm outsoles and midsoles, with 4.5mm lugs for a secured grip. Weighing only about 9 oz, it is definitely one of the lightest running sandals – fashioned for short and long-distance runs. We should also give credit to its easy-grip soles and heel padding. It will naturally conform to the figure of your feet over time. Other than dry areas, you can also expect Luna Oso Falco to run in drizzle or through wet patches effortlessly.
- The combined Monkey Grip Technology (MGT) and Vibram Megagrip creates fun running adventures and could be ideal for daily wear
- It is an animal-free product
- Comes with a manufacturer’s lifetime guarantee
Pros and Cons
- The strapping system is adjustable and highly comfortable. Neither it causes rubbing burns nor sinks into the skin as long as you’re not into extreme marathons.
- This footgear excels on river crossings as well as patchy, steep trails.
- Luna Sandals don’t come cheap. It isn’t modish enough and available in various colors to earn our all-around thumbs up. And unlike Z-Trek of Xero Shoes, they won’t keep feet warm in colder conditions. So, better carry a pair of shoes with you if you’re planning for a serious snow trip!
- The Oso Flaco Winged Edition is for those who want the most aggressive tread pattern for crazy grip, but also want super flexibility and full ground feel. Its incredibly flexible and lightweight design offer freedom and comfortable mobility to all outdoor enthusiasts!
- Durable Vibram Megagrip and LUNA’s own MGT (Monkey Grip Technology) merge to create the ultimate sandal base, ideal for everyday wear and extreme adventures alike.
- At 7mm thick (plus 4.5 lug height) and 7.2 oz, you can take your Oso Flacos on every excursion - climbing, running, hiking, walking, biking, camping, working and lounging.
- Customize your fit! The Oso Flaco Winged Edition features one continuous strap made from climbing grade webbing and easy slide adjustment buckles to give every foot a perfect fit
- All LUNA Sandals come with the Moonrock Guarantee to assure you with a lifetime of adventuring. Made in Vietnam.
Best Cheap Running Sandals: Teva Original Universal Sandal
Teva Men’s Original Universal Sandal and Teva Women’s Original Universal Sandal scream stylish comfort with a lightweight price tag. The Velcro toe and ankle straps allow you to adjust your kicks however you want, while the EVA foam underfoot does its job of securing your overall comfort. Topping it up is a Durabrasion rubber sole and thicker midsole. The webbing material is not the laxest against the skin. But the good news, you cannot experience hot spots or frictions once worn, even for extended hours.
The sandals are manufactured and fashioned with no animals involved in the process. It features an open-toe, breathable polyester webbing for upper, EVA-made midsole that is elastic and hard-resistant, as well as a Durabrasion rubber outsole to create a perfect balance between sturdiness and performance. It can absorb pressure from shocks, keep water off to help dry your feet swiftly, and prevent mildew from accumulating inside.
- Polyester webbing uppers for quick dry after getting wet
- Dubrasion rubber sole to guarantee firm, stable grip without adding redundant mass or bulk
- EVA footbed that offers cushioned comfort specifically made for dynamic adventurers
- Multi-point adjustment to customize the fit
Pros and Cons
- It is a good pick for wearers who value comfort and simplicity for casual outdoor use without being overly expensive.
- The adjustable straps make tautening and slackening a total breeze. So, anyone would surely appreciate how laidback this pair is to come on and down the road.
- If you love crisscrossing technical terrains or conquering a great distance, Teva sandals may not be the top choice. Moreover, the stability and traction are not up to scratch, especially in slippery or damp locations.
- Quick-dry webbing made from recycled plastic using traceable, verifiable REPREVE polyester yarn by Unifi supports your foot and stands up to abuse
- Adjustable ankle strap lets you customize your fit
- Molded EVA midsole with heel cupping and arch cookie for added support
- Rubber outsole for durability and traction
- Best for: getting around town, festival wear, all-day wear, water activities
Features to Consider for Running Sandals
If we get to compare running sandals to running shoes, the former has the best cooling and ventilation, allows more freedom of the feet, and can be used for running in wet conditions such as the beach. As for protection, it never goes out of date. It offers a decent amount of support and stability to avoid potential injuries while running. Some models feature a closed-toe design to shield feet against bumps.
Remember that not all running sandals are equally created, and there’s no best pair. It all boils down to personal preference. What you think is most appealing might be just a sort of “meh” for some. Here are notable features you need to take into consideration before shelling out dollars on a particular product.
Since we are talking about footwear for running, you want to opt for a lightweight design as possible for quicker speeds. The sandals are typically made with four different lightweight materials: leather, synthetic, mesh, and foam. Each has benefits and drawbacks.
- Leather is versatile, lightweight, breathable, and stylish that can last for a couple of years with proper care. However, it tends to stretch out and look worn easily. It is a favorite among consumers and companies.
- Synthetic is purely man-made, which means it doesn’t stretch and conform to your feet size perfectly. Though, it is breathable and lightweight. It consists of an external and backing layer.
- Mesh is another crowd favorite owing to its light design. This woven material keeps the feet dry and cool throughout the activity.
- Foam is ultra-lightweight and claims to be a better shock absorbent than most materials out there. But similar to mesh, you may not want to use it in wet areas every so often.
It seems like there aren’t too many shortcomings for owning leather-made sandals. But be wary! There are cases in which pairs crafted from leather are heavier than other materials, let’s say synthetic. So, be sure to find out how your preferred product was sourced.
A running sandal with an adjustable strap lets you have control over the comfort and protection of your feet. Several brands have specifically designed strap laces that are comfy, lightweight, hard-wearing, adjustable, and resilient to water. If possible, look for Velcro straps, especially if you’re fond of walking or running under hot weather. These straps are great for hugging feet while allowing them to breathe through extra ventilation. When it comes to strapping types, the thong style is mostly recommended than horizontal as it tolerates unrestricted movement. Your toes are naturally outspread.
Open-to vs. Closed-to
Casual open-toe styles may offer extreme comfort when running. They are well-ventilated and breathable. However, closed-to styles provide that additional protection your toe needs, especially on dangerous terrain.
EVA Foam Support
Ethel Vinyl Acetate (EVA) is a human-made foam material offering excellent padding and comfort, which is crucial for running long distances. Moreover, it is resistant to water, moisture, fuel spill, stress-crack, and UV radiation. It has thermal insulation and is considered a more environmentally-friendly option since it uses zero amount of chlorine during production. You can find it in outsoles, midsoles, and even in the entire footwear. Its shock-absorbing properties make it a widely used material, not to mention highly elastic, flexible, and light.
While we commend leather for its sturdiness and water resiliency, it is not a better fit to run on damp landscapes. Sandals fashioned with canvas or Vibram will be more flexible and faster to dry. They can improve grip and endure wear and tear for quite a few years.
Running sandals range from ultra-thin to thicker, but users generally prefer soles between 5mm and 8mm to have that barefoot experience. That means you get to experience running barefoot through the grounds without damaging your feet. Thinner soles tend to be more flexible when worn, though you can have it up to 8mm or 12mm, depending on the type of experience you want to achieve. If you’re not yet comfortable with barefoot, go for thicker soles instead.
First of all, barefoot and zero drop foot gears are two different things. While barefoot sandals imitate your foot silhouette, zero-drop literally means there’s no drop you can feel from your heel to your forefoot. It promotes a more natural form of running and reduces the risks of injuries. Thanks to its low-impact gait.
Some studies show that zero-drop footwear can help heighten the foot’s strength, which later improves stability, alignment, and endurance. Some benefits you can experience include better ankle dexterity, enhanced balance and posture, and less knee discomfort.
Trips and slips are very common during outdoor activities, and running is no exception. It comes with its own potential risks and hazards. That’s why you should never overlook the importance of wearing the appropriate, supportive anti-slip running sandals. Not only does it lessens accident occurrences but also enhances footwear comfort and durability, repels oils, and gives you a high level of confidence on the terrain. A pair of sandals with steady traction for multi-area grip could be much better as it endures weather and provides exceptional control.
Running sandals are now swiftly becoming a contemporary alternative to running shoes. People love its superior comfort that can help strengthen feet muscles and improve running form. The trendy style, long-lasting use, and more freedom of movement are additional benefits. If you don’t want to fall into sketchy brands and take your hard-earned money, consider our personal choice of the best running sandals, and we are sure you will appreciate its combined ancient and modern function even more.