We always like to think of the best parts of summer—lounging by the pool, outdoor dining with friends, reading a book at the beach—and often forget the less-than-pleasant parts of summer: sweat stains, smelly feet, and sandal blisters that leave your toes and heels sore and all bandaged up.
If you’ve ever felt bruised and battered by a pair of summer sandals, you’re not alone. According to podiatrists, sandals offer little to no ankle and arch support, and can result in sprains, blisters, bunions, tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, and more. Most sandals are not made for walking long distance, and should be treated as a short-distance shoe—opting for sneakers on longer walks and runs instead.
If, however, sneakers just aren’t for you, you’re not out of luck. An increasing amount of sandal brands are making podiatrist-approved sandals to keep your feet secure and supported.
This summer, don’t sacrifice fashion for function. Check out these feet-friendly sandal brands guaranteed to keep your feet feeling comfortable and cool all summer long.
1. Maximum Comfort: Birkenstock
Why We Love It: Podiatrist-approved for maximum comfort
Price Range: $35–$270
Our Choice: Birkenstock Arizona
Birkenstocks are one of the most popular summer sandals, and for good reason, too. Designed to make you feel like you’re standing on sand, these German sandals are meticulously crafted for maximum comfort with every step.
Each Birkenstock is designed to include:
- A deep heel cup to hold the heel bone in its natural position and offer support similar to a closed-toe shoe
- A heel mold that engages the calf muscle and improves overall stability and coordination
- Arch support along the footbed
- Toe grips to stabilize the toes at the top of the sandal
- & More
These shoes come in a wide-variety of colors and styles, making it incredibly easy to find a shoe that matches your taste and comfort needs. Be sure to search for “vegan” for their extensive vegan offerings.
Shop the Birkenstock collection here
2. Environmentally-Conscious: Teva
Why We Love It: Upcycled sandals that are good for your feet and the environment
Price Range: $25–$100
Our Choice: Black Original Universal
Beyond being incredibly trendy and comfortable for long-distance wear, Teva sandals are an eco-conscious shopper’s dream—made from earth-friendly, recycled materials that save 4 plastic bottles with every pair of sandals. Wear for a day of hiking or for inner-city walking, knowing these sandals will keep your feet secure all day long.
Even better, Teva offers a TevaForever recycling program, that accepts used Teva sandals and recycles them to avoid further waste.
Shop the Teva collection here
3. Best for the Beach: Reef
Why We Love It: An upscale flip flop designed for beach comfort
Price Range: $20–$75
Our Choice: Cushion Vista
While flip flops may be the preferred beachwear, they’re a menace for your feet, knees, and back. To combat flip flop fatigue, brothers Fernando and Santiago Aguerre set out to create “high-quality, super comfortable products” that fit the beach lifestyle they loved.
Made with soft vegan leather, arch support, and heel cupping, these alternative flip flops will have you walking on sandy beaches well into the night without aching feet.
Shop the Reef collection here
4. Stepping in Style: Nisolo
Why We Love It: High-quality sandals that are both stylish and comfortable
Price Range: $90–$160
Our Choice: Go-To Flatform Sandal
Quite possibly the most gorgeous sandals on the market, Nisolo guarantees comfort, quality, and ethical production. Their go-to flatform sandal is made with memory foam for a shock-absorbing insole, and is waterproof for all-weather wear.
Better yet, Nisolo puts sustainability at the forefront of their brand as a certified B-corportation and #1 Re/Make brand. Pursuing 100% livable wages, 0% net carbon emissions, and full company transparency, know your dollar is going to a company passionate about corporate trust and responsibility.
Shop the Nisolo collection here
5. Hiking in Heaven: Chaco
Why We Love It: Perfect arch support for all day comfort.
Price Range: $20 – $130
Our Choice: Women’s Z/Cloud
Is it really summer vacation if you don’t come back with a Chaco tan? Made with adjustable straps that form an ‘x’ like pattern across the top of your foot, these sandals are the ultimate athletic hiking sandals for walking long distances across all type of terrain.
Chaco guarantees a “no slip, all grip” walk with a rubber outsole designed to keep your foot in place, with arch-support for long-duration wear.
These shoes feel like walking on literal clouds with their cushion underfoot, and are podiatrist-certified for all-day comfort and support.
Shop the Chaco collection here
Whether going on a walk or hiking all-terrain trails, this range of sandals has you covered for all your summer footwear needs. Buy one or a few, and know your feet will feel relaxed and secured all summer long.
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Photo: Taryn Elliott via Pexels