Despite having a light sole made of soft rubber, we experienced decent traction from the XLT 2 while pushing steep inclines. Men's Locker Iii Slide Sandal. Furthermore, the added coverage of extra materials left our feet feeling secure as well as comfortable, though flat-footed individuals may want to look elsewhere. They each have supportive yet cushioned sole construction that provided the highest level of comfort in the most applications. We tested today's top
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Get fast, free shipping with Amazon Prime. Get to Know Us. Our side-by-side tests are designed to determine the best combinations of performance, comfort, and value. Each model was put through a gauntlet of trails, streams, beaches, and pavement around California and the High Sierras. We included options that serve well as hikers, water sport shoes, and stylish camp loungers for post-romps in the woods.
If you're looking to kick it in even more relaxed fashion, saunter over to our Men's Flip-Flops Review. Across the board, there was one model that continually impressed us with its ability to perform. No matter what we threw at it, the Bedrock Cairn Adventure rose to the occasion and often exceeded our expectations. It has a unique and eye-catching design that provides a tremendous amount of support with virtually no hot spots or pinch points.
We were surprised that a thong-style model could qualify as a high-performance footwear option, but the Cairn is just that. The sole material is made of high-quality Vibram rubber that holds in even the sketchiest of conditions but is also still light enough to foster that barely-there feel.
It appears no compromises were made in the construction of this shoe. It is not only adept and capable in a wide variety of situations, but it is also very comfortable and low-key stylish. The all-around performance and high-quality nature of this Bedrock model make it one of the most versatile in the review. All-in-all, we feel that the Cairn is an overachiever worthy of a second consecutive Editors' Choice Award.
Perhaps the only thing it can't do is be worn with socks—bummer, dude. A fresh take on an old classic, the Teva Hurricane XLT 2 offers reliable performance and stability at a low price. The three-strap design is familiar and easy to work with but now features a neoprene heel pad to give even greater comfort while on the move. Quick-drying webbing and a foamy, supportive insole mean that the Hurricane is ready for the water, but we also had no issues bombing around for some light-duty adventuring.
It didn't outshine any of the other contenders in one category in particular, but it did prove itself to be consistent and trustworthy across the board. It's not the burliest model, and for proper support under the weight of a pack, you'll be better served by other models. For the price, though, this above-average sandal is a great entry-level pair for someone looking to invest in a multisport option. Teva Hurricane XLT 2. Admittedly, some of our testers are not particularly fond of closed-toe models.
However, we all agree that the Keen Newport H2 is a worthy competitor in the performance sandal category. It's tuned up to be water-savvy with durable rubber outsoles and a hydrophobic EVA-foam footbed, though we also find the Newport to be versatile and grippy in dryland activities as well. The molded insole is both supportive and comfortable while maintaining a relatively lightweight feel. Padded with neoprene backing, the webbing structure of the Newport is both very comfortable and quick to dissipate moisture.
As a closed model should, it also offers adequate protection from stubbed toes on the trail and submerged river rocks. While it performed better than the similar Teva Omnium, we also felt that Newport held a candle to some of the more aggressive models in the lineup. We give it the seal of approval for trail use as well as watersports.
This footwear isn't most folks' first pick for around town, but in the outdoors, this model gets it done. Sometimes you don't need over-the-top arch support or heavy-duty traction to reach your objective comfortably. Cue the Xero Z-Trail — a lighter-than-air minimalist model that is so thin you could fold it into your back pocket. While barefoot-inspired footwear barefootwear? Gram-for-gram, the 10mm sole and ultra-thin webbing are remarkably comfortable and capable on the trail, though not as bomber as a beefy hunk of rubber.
Xero, a company that is leading the charge in zero-drop footwear, promotes the credo that feet were meant to move naturally and "Feel The World. For sure check it out if you're a minimalist trail-runner or a weight-conscious traveler. For the intents and purposes of this review, we focused on shoes that offer more secure fits for active use. Every model reviewed has some form of securement on the heel to provide a lineup that is fully capable of handling off-road adventures bipedally.
Each contender has different tread patterns, sole materials, and securement styles that each offer a unique experience both on and off the trail. After a thorough examination of the market's current offering, we settled on these ten models from seven reputable brands. Our experts combined their sandal knowledge with solid consumer feedback on new models during the selection process. All of the contenders here are top performers, and their scores in this review are in relation to one another.
Our tests ranged from general use to specific traction tests on varying terrain. The overall score of each model is the result of a combined score in each performance metric, weighted appropriately, within a scale of Not all shoes are created equally. And while we were careful in selecting products that hit multiple price points, it is wise to invest in an option that will give you the most bang for your buck.
In our experience, cheaper price tags come from cheaper materials. Bargain hunting will serve you well in some arenas, but we wouldn't recommend it for footwear that you plan to log lots of miles in.
When considering value in these models, we looked for quality and durability before considering whether or not the manufacturer offered any warranty or repairs. It may not surprise you that the Chaco offerings are some of the priciest options in this lineup.
Though, if you're familiar with the brand, you'll know that they're known for their superb longevity. Although it's difficult to forecast the lifespan of a shoe, it is easy to recognize quality construction and robust materials that will stand up to potential years of abuse.
That being said, we can safely say that the Chaco models and the Editors' Choice Bedrock Cairn Adventure standout as the most durable options, making them valuable to an active user. In the chart below, the products trending toward the lower-right quadrant possess the most impressive performance per dollar ratio.
Nowadays, it's not uncommon to find beefy Vibram soles or climbing rubber on mainstream outdoor shoe offerings. That trend has now carried over into the realm of sandals. Consequently, the overall traction and purchase potential of these shoes has far exceeded what some might be familiar with on their worn-out flip-flops.
Many brands have proprietary sole technology that sets them apart from the competition, and we were eager to see how they each performed. We tested traction on steep granite, mossy logs and loose, dusty trails. We also took the contenders out skating, biking, and strolling to see how they performed on asphalt. Each model was subjected to both wet and dry conditions while carrying a heavy pack to assess slippage.
High marks were awarded to models that left us feeling confident even on sketchy scrambles. The Bedrock Cairn Adventure takes the cake in this category, which is not surprising when you consider its aggressive tread pattern and Vibram sole.
Our feet felt locked-in and secure no matter what surfaces or conditions we faced in the Cairn. The other Vibram sole in our lineup, the Luna Oso 2. Stiff-soled models like the Teva Terra Fi , the Keen Newport H2 , and the Chacos received respectable scores, though they lacked the raw gripping potential of Vibram soles.
They each feature their own variety of hard rubber molded into sporty tread patterns that maintained traction in most conditions including wet rock and loose pebble. However, they received some deductions due to less confidence on majorly steep descents. The underperformer of the traction metric is the Xero Z-Trail which is purposefully low-profile and pliable, but also slippery.
Soft outsoles with shallow tread were the primary issues we found when taking lightweight models up steep or sketchy terrain. This type of footwear is casual and relaxed by nature. Though we opted for models that could handle rugged conditions, we didn't want to sacrifice the comfortable, easy-going spirit of sandals exclusively for performance. We gauged this metric by paying close attention to how our foot interacted with the shoe both out of the box and over an extended period of use.
The contact points between the arch and the footbed, as well as the straps and buckles and attachments, are all key influencers of comfort. Well-designed and ergonomic pairs received higher scores on average. We tested comfort in a variety of activities, surfaces, weather conditions, and with socks when possible.
After the initial unboxing, we took note of whether or not the shoe required any breaking in before more rigorous use. If any hotspots or weaknesses became evident over time, we directed our attention to the design or materials that may prove to be problematic long-term. Comfort is largely dependent on individual factors like foot shape and intended use, so we aimed to include a broad spectrum of sports and activities while taking note of the overall 'feel' of the shoe.
If you're looking to tackle long, rugged hikes, your feet will be happier with greater stability and traction.
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