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Like a rally car ripping through muddy trails with its windows wide open, adventure sandals burst onto the scene in the 1980s. They’re rugged yet relaxed: the perfect item for those outdoor activities that don’t require protective footwear. The adventure sandal’s combination of suppleness and support has made it a standby among hikers, rafters, anglers, and the style set alike. Today, they’ve become muse for fashion houses like Gucci and Balenciaga. In a test of both durability and wearability, we took our favorite pairs out for a spin.
A gladiator sandal for weekend warriors, the HOPARA brings HOKA’s oversized outsole en plein air. We loved the plush feel, water-friendly materials, and bold styling. Comfortable straps and a unique cutaway look make this shoe a must-try for adventurers.
PUMA Surf Sandals
You may have seen a video of a surfing cat online. Here, for your consideration, is the PUMA Surf Sandal. We dug the pared-back look, especially with statement socks and baggy nylon shorts. A bungee cord upper adds a distinct adjustable element to this sleek amphibious sandal.
Montbell Lock-On Sandals
At just $45, it’s probably better to list some reasons why you shouldn’t buy Montbell’s Lock-On Sandals. Here’s one: Your witness protection alias hates open-toed shoes. And that’s, uh… that’s about it. Comfortable, unique, and easy to wear, the Lock-Ons are a lock.
Teva Hurricane XLT2
The granddaddy of adventure sandals, the Teva brand was invented in 1984 by a Grand Canyon river guide who strapped two old watch bands to a flip-flop so it wouldn’t float away. This Hurricane XLT2 is a direct descendant of that original pair. Its durable, multi-colored straps evoke the watch bands of the time. And its cushy footbeds feel floaty indeed.
Crocs All-Terrain Clog
Remember when wearing Crocs outside was a punchline? The All-Terrain Clog remembers. Now that the narrative’s reversed (and the foam Croc is a bonafide style icon), this beefed-up version of the Classic Clog is back with a vengeance. Outside is the only place to wear it.
Based in Portland, Oregon, KEEN’s unique aesthetic has spawned many beloved outdoor shoes over the years. Famously, it was a KEEN design that inspired Gucci’s own runway adventure sandal in 2019. The UNEEK (get it?) is one of the brand’s most out there designs to date, but believe us, those bungee cords are sublime on-foot.