Best Walking Sandals Recommended By Podiatrists

After an interminable winter season, the days are getting longer and the weather’s getting warmer. And while this is a source of delight and serotonin for those of us who have been craving long walks on sunny days, there is one downside to sandal season: summer footwear that wreaks havoc on our hardworking feet.

There’s no denying that certain sandal styles can cause various foot and ankle issues. Much to our chagrin, they are often the most stylish ones.

Dr. Priya Parthasarathy, a podiatrist at U.S. Foot & Ankle Specialists, explained that wearing the wrong sandals can cause serious problems, including Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, pain in the big toe and even stress fractures. Finding the right sandal can prevent foot pain in the long run.

She told HuffPost that she sees the most people coming into her office in late August and September, which she calls “plantar faciitis season.” It’s the result of wearing unsupportive sandals, usually flexible flip flops, all summer long. It’s imperative to have shoes that are supportive during the active summer season.

Avoiding soft, flimsy sandals is key, Parthsarathy noted, even if they feel comfortable: “A completely flat sandal is equally as bad as a high heel. Another red flag is a sandal that you can bend in half, or one that is not wide enough for your feet. The width of the sandal is important to accommodate your foot and any ailments such as bunions, neuromas and hammertoes.”

Unfortunately, there are certain people who should avoid sandals in general. If you are actively treating a foot injury, tendinitis or a fracture, then now is not the time to be slipping on a pair. If you aren’t sure, Parthasarathy recommended speaking to your podiatrist.

Look for the following features when sandals shopping:

  • Built-in arch support. Bonus if the shoe has removable arch support that allows you to slide in your own orthotics or additional arch support if necessary.

  • A slight wedge to take pressure off the Achilles and plantar fascia.

  • An adjustable ankle strap that stabilizes the foot and reduces the chance of a sprained ankle.

  • Proper width.

Now that we know exactly how to keep our feet healthy during the busy and active summer months, it’s time to do a bit of shopping. Keep reading for Parasarathy’s favorite walking sandals for men and women, so that you can spend the summer in style, safely.

HuffPost and its publishing partners may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page. Every item is independently selected by the HuffPost Shopping team. Prices and availability are subject to change. The experts consulted for this story do not necessarily endorse the products ahead unless otherwise noted.

Birkenstock Arizona sandals

You can’t go wrong with an iconic Birkenstock sandal. Adjustable straps, a soft footbed with a cork layer and durable EVA outsoles provide the perfect amount of support and comfort. They are Parthasarathy’s favorite summer walking sandals. These are unisex shoes that come in women’s sizes 4-12.5 and men’s sizes 6-13.5 in four colors.


Orthofeet Gaya flip-flop

Dr. Perkins recommends this option from Orthofeet, that’s designed to alleviate the pain of many foot conditions, including heel spurs, plantar fasciitis, bunions and arthritis. With an anatomical insole design with arch support, this flip-flop is made for everyday walking without the pain that comes with having high arches. The thong material is also thin and soft so you don’t have to worry about being uncomfortable as you walk. It comes in women’s 5-12 in brown, gray and blue.

Hoka Ora Recovery Sport slide

If you love your Hoka running sneakers, you’ll be happy to hear they offer another ultra-supportive slide, that still manages to feel lightweight on the foot, and can actually aid in injury recovery. The construction allows for a smooth transition as you take each step, putting less stress on your heels and toes. The contoured cushion footbed feels like a dream when you’re hitting the pavement. And per, Parthasarathy they’re another great Adidas alternative. This is a unisex shoe that comes in women’s sizes 5-12 and women’s color 3-14 in six colors.

Dansko Season sandal

Parthasarathy’s go-to when she wants a bit more height? These retro sandals from Dansko. In previous reporting, other podiatrists have recommended Dansko shoes, noting their shock-absorbing foam midsoles and you see them worn often by people who spend a lot of time walking and standing like teachers, nurses, restaurant employees and flight attendants. These adorable kicks are lightweight on the feet, offer a slight wedge, an extra layer of cushion and are adjustable around the ankle and toe box to ensure the right fit. These come in women’s sizes 5.5-12 in four colors.


Tevas Original Universal sandal

Tevas are hot right now, and their very first sandal style remains as popular as ever. It’s famous for its comfort level, making it perfect for long summer days spent walking around festivals, the beach and even hiking. Made of recycled plastic and eco-friendly recycled poly webbing, it’s supportive and durable. Two adjustment points ensure a proper fit, while ample arch support keeps your foot healthy and safe. These come in women’s sizes 5-12 and men’s sizes 7-15 in dozens of colors.


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