Save the boots for walkin’. Road trips call for sandals. The options below liberate your toes and support your soles, which makes them great for long-range roaming.
Bogs Rio Stripes ($80)
With adjustable straps made of nylon webbing and grippy, trail-ready tread, these waterproof sandals look a lot like the river shoes we already know and love. What’s different is the footbed, which has a springy rebound more typical of a running shoe. It also conforms to your foot (there’s a slight heel cup and pronounced depression for the ball of the foot), so wearing the Rio feels a bit like walking on sand.
Chaco Tetra Cloud ($80)
Chaco’s classic river sandals are famous for their support (the arch-cradling design gets podiatrists’ seal of approval) and durability (the superthick polyurethane footbed withstands all abuse shy of jumping up and down on a saguaro cactus). But they’re heavy: during more than one plane trip, I’ve nudged my checked bag beneath the weight limit by removing my two-pound Chacos. Thankfully, the new Tetra Cloud features a thinner sole that’s not only lighter (by about four ounces per sandal) but also more cushioned, with a layer of foam on top of the polyurethane. It’s like a pillowtop mattress for your feet.
Reef Escape Lux ($26)
The basic rubber flip-flop has remained popular for good reason: there’s still no better shoe for the beach. But with zero arch support, these spongy wafers are notoriously bad for your feet. So Reef gave the Escape Lux a few upgrades while stopping short of messing with the gloriously simple style. It features a stronger toe post that won’t yank out of the sole after a couple of wearings and is oval shaped, so it rests comfortably between your toes. The footbed (a blend of PVC-free rubber and squishy EVA foam) also has a more anatomical shape with some arch support. The foot-cradling is subtle, but that’s what makes these flops feel like your favorite shower shoes.
OluKai ‘Ohana ($65)
The straps may look like rubber, but they’re actually made of a synthetic material. The style is just spiffy enough to wear with a sundress but practical enough to wear on short hikes or on slick boat decking (the natural rubber outsole is siped for sticky traction on wet surfaces). And the molded footbed provides substantial arch support.
Teva Original Universal Rope ($90)
I love the suede footbed, which wicks sweat and feels like peach fuzz. What looks like cork is actually a cushy EVA foam midsole. But my favorite feature is the cool-looking climbing rope on the heel, ankle and toe straps.
Superfeet Laurel ($120)
A polished-leather footbed makes this the dressiest sandal here, but it’s the foot-hugging innards that make it comfy on long walks. The midsole is a cushiony blend of cork and EVA foam, and the deep heel cup gives this slip-on more support than some sneakers. Also cool: the elasticized instep strap accommodates feet swollen from long car or plane rides.