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The Best Lightweight Hiking Sandals for Summer Adventures

This is our list of the 5 best lightweight hiking sandals for summer adventures – which are also vegan-friendly. A good pair of lightweight hiking sandals will last you years and are a versatile item of footwear worth investing in for summer months. All of the lightweight hiking sandals in this list are designed for hiking with and can also be worn for water sports such as SUP’ing (stand up paddleboarding) and kayaking, as well as hikes where your feet may get wet crossing rivers or simply cooling off in a river or lake.

To make it onto this best lightweight hiking sandals buyer’s guide, these sandals all had to meet all our strict ranking criteria and have the features listed below:

  • Be ‘lightweight’ – while subjective, weight is really important to us when choosing a pair of sandals and we have determined lightweight to mean, in general, that they weigh less than 1lb and are specifically marketed as being lightweight sandals. There are a lot of excellent hiking sandal options out there that are heavier than this and they have not made it on to our shortlist for this reason.
  • Be comfortable – to wear against your bare feet, a good pair of hiking sandals has to be comfortable, with a good, adjustable fit and no rubbing or hot spots. All of the lightweight hiking sandals on this list have highly-rated reviews left in the stores that sell them.
  • Dry off quickly – sandals designed to get wet need to also dry off quickly and not hold moisture, as walking in wet footwear for long periods of times is not good for your feet, makes them prone to hot spots and chafeing and also makes the sandals heavier.
  • Protect your feet – sandals will not generally protect your feet as well as a good pair of trail running shoes or hiking boots, however foot protection is a key consideration for all of these sandals – some of which offer more protective features than the others, for example toe protection.
  • Have good grip – all of these sandals are designed to be worn on trails and grip on uneven terrain. We have included descriptions of the sole materials used in the construction, as well as photos of the soles of each pair of hiking sandals so you can check out the size of the lugs and tread pattern on each sandal.

Materials used in the sandals on this ‘best lightweight hiking sandals’ list

The three main parts of a hiking sandal construction are the midsole, sole and lacing system. Depending on the sandal, the material used for the lacing and the upper may be one and the same. In general, these lightweight hiking sandals have rubber soles, foam midsoles and webbing/polyester uppers and lacing, although some use elastic bungee cords for lacing.

The majority of the lightweight hiking sandals featured in this list are explicitly vegan-friendly, on account of being made from polyester/nylon fabric and webbing, plastic, foam and rubber rather than suede or leather.


Rather than provide a long list of hiking sandals, we have identified a shortlist of the best lightweight hiking sandals currently available that are designed for summer, including water sports, hiking and general adventures, so it’s easier to identify the best pair of sandals for you and your personal preference. This ‘best lightweight hiking sandals’ list is regularly updated so make sure you bookmark this post and check back before buying your next pair.

The links in the price comparisons below take you to the men’s version of the hiking sandals by default, however, the majority of the retailers stock the women’s versions too.


1. KEEN Clearwater CNX Sandals

Keen clearwater cnx lightweight hiking sandals best lightweight hiking sandals

The Clearwater CNX are some of KEEN’s bestselling sandals, for good reason. These lightweight sandals are designed to provide flexibility, a comfortable fit, and foot protection while still being a sandal that keeps your feet cool in summer. We particularly like that they include toe protection to reduce the chance of stubbing your toe on slippery rocks when hiking or in the water, while still managing to be lightweight. The Clearwater CNX sandals also provide more foot support than some of the alternatives on this list, such as a contoured arch for your midfoot and a 4mm drop from heel to toe.

Keen clearwater cnx sole best lightweight hiking sandals

These sandals are designed to get wet and so would be ideal for watersports such as stand up paddleboarding (SUP). They’re made using KEEN‘s ‘anti-odor’ technology that helps prevent stink, and when they do get too dirty/smelly then you can wash them in a washing machine – all Keen sandals are machine-washable. For all these reasons they have been awarded an Editor’s Choice Award and sit at the top of our Best Lightweight Hiking Sandals Buyer’s Guide.

  • Weight: 12oz (men’s) 7.7oz (women’s)
  • Construction: Mesh and polyester webbing upper and lightweight PU foam midsole
  • Sole: Non-marking rubber tread
  • Lacing: Elastic bungee

2. Merrell Kahuna Web Sandals

Merrell Kahuna Web Sandal best lightweight hiking sandals

Merrell’s Kahuna Web performance sandals are designed for hiking in and around water, but would equally be perfect for everyday wear, travel, and vacations. The Kahunas slide on to your foot easily and are padded with a neoprene lining, and, as with many Merrell sandals, running shoes, and hiking boots, the Kahuna Web sandals feature Vibram soles, which are specifically designed to provide grip and traction in all weather and temperature conditions.

Merrell Kahuna Web Sandal sole best lightweight hiking sandals

The Merrell Kahuna Web Sandals also come in a wide range of colors for men and women, including some editions which use recycled material for the webbing upper.

  • Weight: 1lb 2oz
  • Construction: Mesh and polyester webbing upper and EVA foam midsole
  • Sole: Vibram rubber, 3.5mm lugs
  • Lacing: Hook and loop

3. Chaco Z / Volv Sandals

Chaco Z volv best lightweight hiking sandals

These Chaco Z / Volv sandals are designed for land and water adventures and feature pull-through adjustable webbing straps which is designed so that you can customize the fit of the sandals to your foot – the webbing straps are secured using a molded plastic buckle which is designed to stay secure while hiking.

Plexus Co. (dba Chirp)
Plexus Co. (dba Chirp)
Plexus Co. (dba Chirp)
Plexus Co. (dba Chirp)
Chaco Z volv lightweight hiking sandals sole best lightweight hiking sandals

Chaco designed the Z/Volv with a grid-inspired footbed for traction in water, a PU midsole for stability and support, and partially recycled rubber sole for grip on all sorts of terrain.

All new Chaco sandals come with a lifetime warranty and can be sent to Chacos to be ‘Rechaco’d’ – where they repair or replace your straps or soles for a small cost – we love that this service means you could really be wearing the same pair of your beloved sandals for a lifetime.

  • Weight: 9oz (men’s)
  • Construction: Polyester webbing and PU midsole
  • Sole: 25% recycled rubber
  • Lacing: Plastic buckle with webbing straps

4. Teva Hurricane XLT2 Sandals

Teva hurricane xlt2 hiking sandals best lightweight hiking sandals

Teva’s Hurricane XLT2 sandals are specifically designed for light day hikes and for getting wet in. The XLT2s feature a new rubber outsole design with improved traction compared to previous versions. The webbing used in the straps is made from recycled plastic and seals with hook-and-loop, and the heel-strap also features an added neoprene cushion to help keep them secure even when wet.

Teva hurricane xlt2 hiking sandals sole best lightweight hiking sandals

The Teva Hurricane XLT2s are available in a wide range of different colors for men and women, or just plain black if you prefer to keep your sandals simple.

  • Weight: 10.25oz (men’s) 7.75oz (women’s)
  • Construction: Webbing (made from recycled plastic) straps, EVA foam midsole
  • Sole: Rubber
  • Lacing: Hook-and-Loop

5. Xero Shoes Cloud Barefoot Sandals

Xero Cloud Sandals best lightweight hiking sandals

The Xero Shoes Cloud Barefoot Sandals are the most lightweight hiking sandals on this list. These ultra-minimal and lightweight Tarahumara-style sandals are ready to run long trail distances in or, simply wear for everyday adventures. They would be ideal sandals for carrying in a hiking pack and changing out of hiking boots to let your feet breathe after a day of hiking as you’d hardly know you were carrying them.

Xero Cloud Sandals sole Best Lightweight Hiking Sandals Trail and Kale

Due to their minimal design, the Xero Cloud Barefoot sandals may not be expected to be as durable or protective as the other lightweight hiking sandals on this list, however, Xero offer a 5,000-mile sole warranty. If you wear out your Clouds in under 5,000 miles and they’ll replace them for 60% off MSRP.

  • Weight: 4.6oz (men’s) 3.8oz (women’s)
  • Construction: Foam, plastic and nylon
  • Lacing: Cord and plastic

We hope you have enjoyed reading this list of the best lightweight hiking sandals and that you found some that tick all your boxes! If you have a question regarding any of these lightweight hiking sandals, please drop it in the comments below.


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Helen
Helenhttps://www.trailandkale.com
Hi, I’m Helen. I write about all things trail running, outdoor adventures and mindful living. Aiming to be a positive influence and have a positive impact on the environment and those around me.
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