The 13 Best Sandals for Your Feet, According to Podiatrists

Score a pair of doctor-approved kicks to keep your feet healthy all season long.

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sandals shopping fashion woman health comfort
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Summer means grilling, the beach, and sandals. And although it's always fun to kick your heavy winter boots aside­, sandals are not the most foot-friendly shoes to be wearing. Besides the lack of support and blister-causing straps, sandals can also be easier to trip in, leading to bumps, bruises, or something worse, like rolled ankles and broken toes.

Luckily, there are plenty of supportive and stylish sandals out there. "There are many companies that have started making much better sandals," Dr. Howard Osterman, a Washington, D.C.-based podiatrist, tells Health. "People have gotten much less formal and perform increased activities with less supportive shoes. The companies have caught on to this and have started designing better sandals." We reached out to top podiatrists across the country to get the scoop on what they personally wear and recommend to their patients.

The most comfortable sandals to buy in 2022

  1. Best Overall: Birkenstock Arizona Soft Footbed Sandal
  2. Best Wedges: Vionic Amy Wedge Espadrille Sandal
  3. Best With Strap: Naot Footwear Kayla Sandal
  4. Best With Arch Support: Therafit Eva Leather Adjustable Strap Slip-on Sandal
  5. Best Flip Flops: OluKai U'I Sandal
  6. Best With Memory Foam: Aetrex Jillian Quarter Strap Sandal
  7. Best for Walking: Chaco Z/Cloud 2 Sandals
  8. Best for Flat Feet: Timberland Santorini Sun 2 Ankle Strap
  9. Best for Plantar Fasciitis: FitFlop Iqushion Flip-Flop
  10. Best for Pregnancy: Birkenstock Gizeh Sandal
  11. Best Stylish: Sofft Casidy Wedge Sandal
  12. Best Flats: Seychelles Speechless Slide Sandal
  13. Best Budget: Rockport Briah Perf Sling Wedge

RELATED: 10 Comfort Heels That Won't Hurt Your Feet

How to Make Sure Your Sandals Are Comfortable

Shoe enthusiasts know that no two sandals are the same. When shopping for a new sandal, New York City-based podiatrist Dr. Miguel Cunha, DPM, recommends taking extra time to make sure that you've found the right size. "You should try on shoes at the end of the day to ensure a more accurate fit," he tells Health. "A lot of times, people buy their sandals at the beginning of the day when your body is in equilibrium and when their feet are in their smallest state, compared to the end of the day when gravity has pulled all the fluid down and feet are most swollen. So, if the sandal fits well at the end of the day it is most likely to feel comfortable throughout the day."

He also suggests paying close attention to details such as the width, heel height, and strength of the arch to guarantee comfort. "The sandal should have somewhat of a slight heel less than ¾ inches in relation to the front because it takes the stress off the achilles, which can help with the alignment of your posture, ankles, knees, and spine," he explains. "Also ensure that the sandal is wide enough in the forefoot but also that the straps are not too loose to avoid injury. Make sure the sandal is also not flimsy in the middle. If it bends easily, then you are not getting adequate support in the arch and you will get foot pain such as arch pain and heel pain."

And, as a general rule of thumb, Dr. Cunha recommends avoiding flip-flops whenever possible. He adds, "You don't want a sandal where your toes are contracting similar to flip-flops. At every step your foot is exercising to hold on to the sandals, and over time it can cause foot pain, or imbalance issues."

Ready to shop? Below, explore the most comfortable sandals that come recommended by experts. They also have thousands of glowing reviews on Amazon, Zappos, and Nordstrom.

Best Overall: Birkenstock Arizona Soft Footbed Sandal

birkenstock-sandal

Not only a must-have for their versatility, these Birkenstock Arizona sandals are renowned for their comfort and support. "Companies like Birkenstock have been around for a long time and have made good sandals with good footbeds at a reasonable price," Dr. Osterman says. The secret lies in its advanced cushioning, which features an additional layer of plush foam that increases the softness of the shoe's signature cork construction and offers more shock absorption. Additionally, the sandal contours to the shape of your foot and has adjustable straps, plus a bar to provide support to your toes.

"These soft footbed Birkenstocks are heaven for my feet," one reviewer wrote. "I'd definitely recommend the soft footbed Birkenstocks over the originals. For me, the extra padding in the sole really makes a difference. And because they align my feet, they cause my whole body to stand 'properly' with the right arch support, therefore helping my back pain pretty significantly."

Best Wedges: Vionic Amy Wedge Espadrille Sandal

Flat Sandal Update
Nordstrom

According to New York City-based podiatrist Dr. Hilary Brenner, you can't go wrong with any sandal style from Vionic. "I like Vionic sandals because a podiatrist created the company," she explains. "No one knows the foot's biomechanics better than a podiatrist. When the Vionic shoes were constructed, shock absorption and arch support were highly taken into consideration." With the Amy Wedge, there is no shortage of comfort thanks to its soft, contoured footbed, which prevents pain and fatigue throughout the day. Plus, its adjustable straps provide a customized fit, and the style comes in wide width sizing.

"I have plantar fasciitis, so every time that I want to get a new pair of shoes I have to think about the inserts," one Nordstrom shopper explained. "That's why I try to get most of my shoes from Vionic… These shoes are very comfortable and stylish."

Best With Strap: Naot Footwear Kayla Sandal

Flat Sandal Update
Zappos

For Dr. Grace Hodges, a Florida-based podiatrist, the Kayla Sandal combines functionality with style to create a flattering-yet-supportive shoe. "I tell my patients to think about walking on the beach and having the foot form a pattern in the sand—that is what most of the sandals that I recommend do," she shares. "The second reason for the recommendation, particularly for women, is basically looks." Here, the flexible, anatomically-designed footbed supports your foot's natural movement and encourages healthy posture. It also absorbs shock and perspiration to ensure a comfortable wear. It's also a favorite of Dr. Cunha's for those with wide feet.

"I love these sandals," raved one Zappos customer. "I have several years of experience with this style, and have found that these are by far the most comfortable sandals I've ever worn—and I walk a lot."

Best With Arch Support: Therafit Eva Leather Adjustable Strap Slip-on Sandal

comfortable-sandals-therafit-eva
Amazon.com

Those who need a sandal with ample arch support will find comfort in this slip-on style from Therafit. "This brand has patented technology with adjustable cushion and shock-absorbing midsoles, contoured footbed, superior arch support, and deep heel cups that stabilize and support feet," New York City-based podiatrist Dr. Emily Splichal says. "The sandals offer relief from arch pain, heel pain, plantar fasciitis, and pronation. The company is endorsed by the National Posture Institute and has a seal of approval by the National Podiatric Medical Association. Plus they also look great."

"I have purchased 10 to 12 pairs of shoes within three weeks trying to get some relief from plantar fasciitis," one reviewer shared. "These are the only shoes that helped the pain… The support is amazing."

Best Flip-Flops: OluKai U'I Sandal

Flat Sandal Update
Zappos

While Dr. Hodges doesn't suggest wearing flip-flops for a prolonged period of time due to their lack of support, she recommends this style from OluKai. The sandals have a cushioned and sweat-wicking microfiber lining and offer more traction and stability thanks to their advanced sole design. "I live in Florida, so patients always ask me about flip-flops," she shares. "Flip-flops were never designed for all-day wear. They were mainly for shower and for pool use. However, that doesn't stop people from wearing them outside of those realms… A few flip-flop brands that I've recommended include OluKai, Vionic, and FitFlops. These brands have created designs which have contoured foot beds in which the heel sits and there is support in the arch."

"I literally ordered every style of the OluKai sandals and found that the U'i works the best for me," one reviewer said. "Slightly wider in the toe bed, enough arch support, soft in all the right areas… Very stylish, very comfortable."

Best With Memory Foam: Aetrex Piper Braided Quarter Strap

aertex natasha sandals
Zappos.com

In terms of cushioning, it doesn't get softer than this braided strap style from Aetrex, which has a memory foam footbed that allows the shoe to conform to your foot's unique movement while preventing the overpronation of the ankle. "Not only does this provide more stability, but it allows for a more natural gait pattern," Dr. Splichal says of the shoe's construction. "In addition, all Aetrex sandals contain their orthotics built into the sandals and are fully adjustable for a variety of foot shapes." Other key features include its antimicrobial material, superior shock absorption, flexible outsole, and of course, its vast assortment of colors and prints.

"I need shoes that not only support my feet but have enough cushion to support my knees as well," explained one Zappos shopper. "These sandals are it. I have worn them walking for up to six hours and I feel like I can still keep going... The fact that they look great is a bonus. I have tried orthotic shoes, stress relief shoes, memory foam shoes, etc. and these are the first shoes that I want to put on when I go somewhere."

Best for Walking: Chaco Z/Cloud 2 Sandals

Chaco Z/Cloud 2
Zappos

This athletic sandal from Chaco comes recommended by Dr. Cunha for its cushioned, arch-supporting midsole, durable rubber outsole, and adjustable strap, which he notes will "help support the shoe on the foot and eliminate the need for your toes to hang onto the shoe." It offers additional support to the foot with its secure toe loop and heel riser, which will relieve tendonitis pain.

"Surprisingly comfortable sandals," one reviewer wrote. "They fit perfectly on my wide feet and have good arch support. Great for walking around on the street but will also stay on my feet if I get thrown out of my raft into whitewater."

Best for Flat Feet: Timberland Santorini Sun 2 Ankle Strap Sandal

SANTORINI SUN WEDGE SANDAL
DSW

According to London-based podiatrist Dr. Marion Yau, women with flat feet should opt for sandals with thick, supportive footbeds to provide shock absorption. There's no shortage of support in the Santorini Sun 2 Ankle Strap Sandal from Timberland, which comes recommended from Dr. Yau for anyone with flat feet or suffering from plantar fasciitis. "The adjustable buckle provides stability and motion control for the foot," she explains. "The EVA-blend foam allows rebound of the high powder when the foot hits the ground, providing great cushioning and preventing injury in people with flat feet."

"I thought the fit was snug at first, but there is an awesome stretch in the soft buttery leather," one shopper shared. "The most comfortable sandal I've ever worn. I can walk all day and my feet feel supported."

Best for Plantar Fasciitis: FitFlop Iqushion Flip-Flop

FitFlop Women's Iqushion Flip Flop-Solid
Amazon

Dr. Yau suggests gradually wearing arch supportive flip-flops to ensure that your feet can get used to them and prevent more trauma to the inflamed plantar fascia. "This is a great supportive shoe that has a sole made of Air Foam and has built-in supportive arch and heel cups," she says. "The Air Foam and heel cups are great for reducing impact and helps with weight distribution, it also reduces shock absorption to relieve stress on the plantar fasciitis. This can also support fallen arches and reduce pressure in the arch."

"I can't say enough good things about this flip-flop," one Nordstrom reviewer shared. "I wear them the minute that I get out of bed! I have plantar fasciitis and I have zero pain when I wear them. I even bought a pair for my daughter who has rheumatoid arthritis. They are great for wider feet and I will NOT go without these ever!"

Best for Pregnancy: Birkenstock Gizeh Sandal

Birkenstock Gizeh Birko-Flor
Zappos

This Gizeh sandal from Birkenstock is one of Dr. Cunha's favorite shoes for pregnant women as their moldable design supports the foot at every stage. "Pregnancy places a tremendous amount of stress on the foot, which can clearly lead to aches, pain, and fatigue," he says. "Their footbed will offer the same comfort and arch support you would expect from Birkenstock. These flip-flops are also ultra-lightweight, highly flexible, shock-absorbent, and skin-friendly."

"Right out of the box they were an excellent fit with no rubbing or pain, and the more I wear them the more comfortable they get," one Zappos shopper reported. "I'm 31 weeks pregnant. I needed supportive shoes I could slip on that would accommodate my feet swelling. These have fit the bill! Excellent arch support and I feel sturdy on my feet, even when waddling."

Best Wedges: Sofft Casidy Wedge Sandal

Casidy Wedge Sandal
Nordstrom

Perfect for any occasion, this stylish pair of wedges will take your footwear to new heights while offering excellent support. "They do have a high heel height of 3 ½ inches, however, this wedge is made of cork and leather which makes them feel comfortable," explains Dr. Casey Ann Pidich, who is a New York City-based associate podiatrist and the founder of the fashion-podiatry blog Dr. Glass Slipper. Plus, a wedge disperses our body weight more evenly to the rest of our feet and joints. Wedges are so much healthier than stilettos or regular heels."

"These are the absolute cutest and most comfortable wedges I have ever bought," one shopper raved. "They are true to size. I wore them all day the first time I put them on."

Best Flats: Seychelles Speechless Slide Sandal

Speechless Slide Sandal
Nordstrom

Those looking for a fashionable-yet-reliable flat sandal will find their solemate in the Speechless Slide Sandal from Seychelles, which has a cushioned cork footbed for optimal support and comfort. "I adore the cute pop of animal print on these and they are really comfy from personal experience," Dr. Pidich says. "Similar to the Birkenstocks Arizonas, they also have an adjustable strap for foot swelling in the summer."

"Fits true to size," one reviewer vouched. "Can go casual or even slightly dressed up. Very comfortable."

Best for Wide Feet: Rockport Briah Perf Sling Wedge

Rockport Women's Briah Perf Sling Wedge Sandal
Amazon

Another trendy pick from Dr. Pidich, the Rockport Briah Perf Sling Wedge is stable on the outside with its rubber outsole and breathable on the inside thanks to its woven fabric, ensuring that your foot is treated to the utmost comfort and support. And you have your choice of eight colors that are each available in wide width sizing.

"Wide width, heck yes," one Amazon reviewer rejoiced. "These wedges are so comfortable. They fit perfectly! Not tight at all on my normally wide foot. The heel isn't too high and I had no issue walking in them, even on carpet. I would highly recommend."

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