Best Running Sandals: A Short Guide For Men And Women
Runners take their running shoes seriously but what if we told you that the best pair of running shoes is actually a sandal?
The idea of running in a sandal can sound strange but running sandals are not the “sandals” you’re thinking of. Firstly, a flip flop is not the same as a sandal. It’s not a good idea to run wearing those. The same is true for tongs. They’re good for casual wear but not for running. The same is true for sports sandals.
Running sandals are very different from the common sandals you’re familiar with. They mimic barefoot running which was how our ancestors used to run. Here are 5 factors that make running sandals different from your typical sandal.
- Zero drop – this means that the height of the back of your sandal is the same as the front. Some shoes have 20mm high heels and 15mm toebox which means that there is a drop of 5mm. Zero drop is important because it allows you to run at mid-strike.
- Thin soles – ideally running sandals ideally have a sole 12mm thick or less.
- Flat footbed – running sandals do not have arch support. You want sandals to mimic the support-less ground you’re running on.
- Lightweight – ideally 12 ounces or less.
- Minimal straps – these are usually a personal choice for users. The fewer straps can mean better comfort.
Here are our choices:
Xero Shoes Z-Trail – Women’s Lightweight Hiking and Running Sandal
- 10mm thick.
- Zero-drop non-elevated heel for natural posture.
- Water resistant and fast drying.
- Super-comfortable tubular webbing.
- Lightweight & very packable.
- Can be used for yoga, water sports, trekking.
- Great grip and traction.
- Wide toe box allows toes to spread.
- Thin webbing.
- Almost no support.
- Not very stable on slippery surfaces.
The Xero Shoes Z-Trail is an ideal pick for women who are looking for a minimalist running sandal. It is made with 2 layers of ultra-thin soles so they are some of the lightest sandals in the market. It’s only 10mm thick, just enough protection for sharp rocks and pine needles but still feels contoured to the bottom of your foot so that you have some support while running.
The 10mm thick is ideal for barefoot running but not ideal for people who are planning to walk long distances in this sandal. The thinness of the sole also means that it has less support compared to other outdoor sandals. However, if it’s a lightweight running shoe that’s true to barefoot running that you’re looking for; this running sandal is a top choice.
Teva Men’s Hurricane XLT Sandal
- Nylon straps and lugged outsole.
- Rugged Durabrasion Rubber outsole is extremely durable and supplies great traction.
- EVA-foam midsole for lightweight cushioning and also features
- Nylon shank which stabilizes and supports your foot on uneven terrain.
- Comfortable and can be worn all day.
- Versatile can be worn for water sports and trekking.
- Durable construction.
- True-to-fit sizing.
- Not designed for barefoot running. Too thick soles and too heavy for that.
- Straps have no padding and can rub on the skin.
- The Velcro straps attract a lot of dirt.
Teva Men’s Hurricane XLT is a good choice if you’re looking for a durable sandal with a reasonable price. Teva is known for durability and comfort so you can tick two boxes with this product. This is a versatile pair that can be a staple for your warm weather adventures. They can be worn while hiking, trekking, rafting and other water sports. However, this is not a running sandal.
If you want a true running sandal, the Hurricane XLT is not a good choice. Firstly, it is too thick and too heavy to be considered for running. This product is grippy though so you feel secure wearing them in slippery surfaces.
Luna Sandals Mono Winged Edition
- Vibram, EVA+ natural rubber sole.
- This edition is the ultimate do everything, go everywhere adventure sandal.
- Very flexible and lightweight.
- One continuous strap for a customized fit.
- 9 oz (single sandal) so very lightweight.
- 11mm thick soles plus 4mm lug height for versatility.
- Very easy to adjust for a perfect fit.
- All terrain.
- Limited variation and colors.
- No arch support.
The Luna Mono Winged Edition Sandal is ready for all your outdoor adventure. Not only is this pair designed for running, it can also be used for hiking, travelling, spelunking and camping. It even looks good in a pair of jeans. The Mono is a good running sandal because it is lightweight. The soles are also thin making it easy to run mid-strike. The lugs of the sandal make it more elevated but that’s what’s makes them versatile so you can also use them for trekking and water sports.
The product has slide adjustment buckles in one continuous strap so you can customize the fit of your sandals. It’s a bit pricey though but very durable so it’s worth the investment.
Xero Shoes Z-Trek – Men’s Minimalist Barefoot-Insipred Sport Sandal
- Super comfortable webbing.
- Zero-drop sandals.
- Adjustable z-pattern for the right tension across your foot.
- Super lightweight at just over 5 ounces.
- Lightweight and comfortable.
- Adjustable straps for comfort fit.
- True running sandal.
- Designed for balance and agility.
- Not a lot of color variations.
- Too flimsy for other activities like trekking or hiking.
The Z-Trek feels like it’s been glued to the bottom of your foot. It’s that comfortable. This design allows you to run at mid-strike and is a good choice for barefoot running enthusiasts. The soles feature lugs so you have stability and support in wet and slippery environment. Best of all, this pair is lightweight and very packable. It is 70% lighter than other sport or running sandals and feature 5.5 mm thick soles so you can run at mid-strike.
It doesn’t offer a lot of protection for dirt trail trekking or arched mid soles for all-day walking but this is a true running sandal therefore it’s on top of the heap if it’s what you’re looking for. The Z-Trek is a bit pricier compared to other sandals but it is also very durable and worth the investment.
Teva Men’s M Hurricane 6 Sport Sandal
- Nylon shank stabilizes and supports your foot on uneven terrain.
- Durabrasion Rubber outsole for traction.
- Shoc Pad cushioning in the heels.
- Microban zinc-based anti-microbial treatment.
- Versatile sandals.
- Simple design that’s easy to clean.
- Sturdy and supportive sandal.
- Not a running sandal.
- Straps can cause chafing.
- Not a true-fit and is not very stylish looking.
This pair of sandals offers great comfort and durability. It is a multi-sport sandal that’s built more for the water. The mid soles offer good support and comfort while the Durabrasion Rubber outsoles offer good support and traction for trekking and hiking. The webbing is quick drying so you feel comfortable once you’re out of the water.
However, the Teva Hurricane 6 is not a pretty sandal. While others like the basic look, it’s not for everybody. It’s also not a true running sandal. It’s ideal for water sports and trekking but not for running. While it is still relatively lightweight and has amazing traction, it’s uncomfortable to run in them and feels too heavy.
If you’re a Teva fan, better wait for them to come up with a true running shoe.
Runners prefer footwear that’s lightweight. A lightweight running sandal can help with their performance and reduce stress in their leg and knees. A thinner sole is also advantageous not only because it reduces the weight of the sandals but also because it allows them to run mid-stride for lesser impact. Every time a runner takes a step they are pulling weight and the force of the impact of their stride can be felt by their legs and knees. This is why finding the right pair of running sandals is important to them.
Running in sandals can get some time to get used to. It can be uncomfortable at first but the right pair of running sandals can help you get into the rhythm and get used to the sensation.
If you’re in the market for a running sandal, make sure to research first so that you can find out what characteristics make them different from other types of sandals. These differences will make it easy for you to choose a running sandal that is best suited for your lifestyle and performance level.
Have you tried running with sandals? What do you think of our running sandals choices? Tell us by leaving your comments below.