The 12 Best Comfortable Sandals of 2023

The best sandals from Birkenstock, Hoka, Skechers, and more

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We all love cute summer sandals, but nobody wants to run the risk of a strained muscle or plantar fasciitis after months of walking miles with unsupportive shoes. 

Priya Parthasarathy, DPM, a board-certified podiatrist based in Silver Spring, Md. and spokesperson for the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), recalled seeing a spike in patients during late August and September. 

"Summer is usually when we are the most active, and we all need shoes that can support us," explained Dr. Parthasarathy. "Your muscles, tendons, and toes have to grip harder to stay stable in sandals, which can lead to overuse and strains, and even stress fractures."

Luckily, not all sandals are problematic. The best comfortable sandals have straps covering the entire forefoot to prevent muscles from lifting and straining, a supportive footbed with arch and heel support, and a slight one- to two-inch heel to relieve the pressure from your Achilles tendon and plantar fascia.

Here's what you need to know about what to look for and what to avoid while shopping for the best comfortable sandals, as well as the 12 best comfortable sandals to support your feet during those hot summer months.

The 12 Best Comfortable Sandals

Dr. Parthasarathy and Suzanne Levine, DPM, a board-certified podiatric foot surgeon and professional associate of podiatric medicine at the New York–Presbyterian Hospital, provided their input on the most supportive shoes to narrow down what sandals that will support your feet and are worth your money.

Based on the leading podiatric research and hundreds of product reviews, Dr. Parthasarathy and Dr. Levine compared arch support, strap position and adjustability, heel height, footbed construction, and price to deliver the 12 best comfortable sandals, including:

What Types of Sandals Are Good for Your Feet?

The best comfortable sandals for your feet are low wedges with adjustable straps covering most of your forefoot and ankle. They should also have a supportive footbed with arch support and a heel cup. 

Per the APMA, the worst types of sandals for your feet are traditional flip-flops, which don't provide support or keep any part of your foot held down, and often slides, which usually don't offer support or maintain the back of your foot locked down.

"Finding the right sandals can prevent foot pain in the long run," explained Dr. Parthasarathy. 

Here's a tip: If you're shopping in person, try on shoes at the end of the day to get the most accurate fit. That's because your feet swell during the summer (and throughout the day). 

When choosing a supportive, comfortable sandal, the most important factors to consider are straps, footbed, heel height, materials, and width, among others.

Straps

Dr. Levine noted that the best comfortable sandals need a strap covering the forefoot, not just the toes, and not just a thong or flip-flop style. That helps prevent your foot from peeling back and lifting with every step, an action that can lead to strained muscles, per the National Library of Medicine

Additionally, look for thick straps—a thin band across your forefoot isn't going to hold anything down.

Ideally, you also want an adjustable ankle strap, which helps offer stabilization and reduce the chances of a sprained ankle, added Dr. Parthasarathy.

Footbed

If you can fold a sandal in half, do not wear it, said Dr. Parthasarathy. Instead, you want a sandal with built-in arch support—even if you have low arches and cushioning in the balls of the foot.

Also, look for a heel cup. Without it, all the pressure goes on the forefoot, which can cause neuromas, and no heel support can cause fissures in the feet, added Dr. Levine. 

According to the APMA, neuromas are pinched nerves that most commonly occur between the third and fourth toes. The most common symptoms of neuromas include: 

  • Pain
  • Burning or tingling feelings
  • Numbness between your toes or in the balls of your feet

Heel Height

You want at least a little wedge over an utterly flat sandal. That helps take pressure off the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia, explained Dr. Parthasarathy.

Although, research is limited regarding the effects of heel height on the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia. Still, according to one study published in 2019 in the journal PM&R, researchers found that high-heeled shoes caused the Achilles tendon to thicken, whereas the shoes did not affect the plantar fascia.

So, if you're looking for high-heeled shoes, pick a sandal with about one to two inches in the heel.

Materials

Dr. Levine mentioned that some of the ideal sandals are leather, which is highly durable. Many sandals are typically made from a special foam, a great material to keep the shoe lightweight and provide molded support.

Width

When it comes to sandals, one red flag to keep an eye out for is if it isn't wide enough for your whole foot, noted Dr. Parthasarathy. So, ensure your sandals offer support across the forefoot and that the shoe accommodates ailments such as bunions, neuromas, and hammertoes.

Other Considerations

If you have a unique foot structure or medical issues, look for unique attributes in your sandal—including:

  • A supportive footbed: If you have plantar fasciitis, look for sandals with a supportive footbed and a wedge to reduce pressure on your Achilles tendon and plantar fascia.
  • Shock absorption: If you have high arches, look for sandals with shock absorption and a conforming footbed (for example, Dr. Parthasarathy recommended Birkenstocks) to offload the pressure.
  • Arch support: If you have flat feet, a lack of structure can overwork the posterior tibial tendon that holds up your arch, said Dr. Parthasarathy.

What Sandals Do Podiatrists Recommend?

Countless brands make supportive sandals, but Dr. Parthasarathy recommended Birkenstocks, OOFOS, Hoka, Chasco, and Dansko. Dr. Levine seconded a vote in favor of Birkenstocks, as well as Jennifer Tattanelli's platform sandals.

Here's a breakdown of the 12 best comfortable sandals that Dr. Parthasarathy and Dr. Levine recommended, depending on your preferences.

Best Overall: Birkenstock Arizona Soft Footbed Sandal

Highly regarded by Dr. Parthasarathy and Dr. Levine, Birkenstocks have a contoured footbed that delivers arch support and a heel cup, durable straps to cover the whole forefoot, and a timeless design that'll last you years. But it's worth noticing that the design lacks a heel or ankle strap.

These shoes hit every feature on Dr. Parthasarathy and Dr. Levine's must-have lists: For starters, they're supportive and shock-absorbing, Dr. Parthasarathy pointed out. The contoured footbed provides arch support, and the heel cup will mold to your foot's shape over time. Keep in mind: Birkenstock's regular sizing is wide enough for most feet, and they have the option for a narrow fit.

The straps cover the entire forefoot to prevent your tendons from straining with every step, and the straps are leather, which Dr. Levine recommended for its durability.

Style-wise, Birkenstocks tend to go with everything. Although they don't have the bonus of an ankle strap, which Dr. Parthasarathy recommended, the slide design means they're easy to pop on as you run out of the house but still more supportive than flip-flops.

These sandals aren't cheap, but most Birkenstocks last for years, so they are a very sound investment for your foot health for many seasons.

Price at time of publication: $140

Best for Walking: Chaco Z/1 Classics

With a supportive podiatrist-backed footbed and straps that secure every part of your foot and are also entirely adjustable, Chaco's Z/1 Classics is the ideal sandal to support your feet walking distances. The sporty style is very casual, but the crisscrossing straps can lead to awkward tan lines if you aren't diligent with your sunscreen.

Dr. Parthasarathy and Dr. Levine agreed sandals are not a good idea if you're walking a long distance, like when you travel. But if you're looking for the best comfortable sandal for walking around town, Dr. Parthasarathy recommended Chaco Z/1 Classics.

The classic outdoor shoe is crafted to be dependable and comfortable on long treks. The brand's foray into trendy colorways and cool partnerships with brands like Outdoor Afro has made the adventure shoe an all-the-time shoe. And Chaco offers options for a wide fit.

For starters, it has straps holding down every part of your foot, including a heel strap to support and keep your foot in place. The straps are all one long piece of jacquard webbing, so you can adjust the tension on each section to fit your foot width and height, then tighten the sandal with the plastic buckle. The webbing straps are also breathable, so they don't rub or cause blisters.

These shoes have an APMA-certified LUVSEAT™ footbed that provides arch and heel support, heel lift, and all-day comfort. The outsole has a rubber grip reliable enough to keep you from slipping on slimy river rocks or desert sand, so it will keep you safe anywhere you're walking. 

Price at time of publication: $100

Best for High Arches: Aetrex Jillian Braided Quarter Strap

Aetrex is a trusted and tech-advanced footwear brand that offers a unique footbed to stabilize high arches, relieve pain, and support the other structures of your foot—all in a stylish package. What's more, the leather straps and decorative flourishes are better for city walking than for more adventurous endeavors.

As one of the leading orthotics and footwear brands, Aetrex brings a depth of technology to its sandals. With an option for every foot issue, including plantar fasciitis and bunions, we particularly like these stylish sandals to support high arches.

Higher arches mean less of your foot touching the shoe when you walk, so there's less shock absorption. And according to Dr. Parthasarathy and Dr. Levine, shoes with improper support can throw off your biomechanics and leave your feet tired, sore, and stiff. 

The Aetrex Jillian sandals have proprietary arch support designed to stabilize higher-than-average arches and relieve arch pain. Additionally, they have a memory foam footbed for cushioning and support, including a Met Bar Pod to alleviate discomfort in the ball of your foot and a padded heel. 

The heel height on these sandals is just over one inch, as the podiatrists recommended, and the adjustable straps make these sandals work for narrow, wide, or regular feet.

And with a timeless design and 16 colorways, these sandals will go with almost any outfit.

Price at time of publication: $135

Best for Summer Travels: Teva Verra

With arch support, added shock absorption in the heel, and quick-dry material on its many straps, this shoe correctly supports your feet whether you're hiking, in the water, or on other long summer adventures. However, the rugged design isn't ideal if you need comfortable summer sandals to take you from day to night on your next getaway.

Teva is one of the original adventure shoe companies, and its Verra is a single bullet to take on every adventure. Summer adventures mean hiking, river soaks, and long treks to find a cold beverage. That means you need a shoe that can handle a lot of different terrains, different weather patterns, and long miles.

The podiatrist-approved EVA foam midsole is contoured to provide high arch support and has a specific shock-absorbing pad in the heel. The outsole has good, reliable traction to handle different types of terrain, from asphalt streets to rocky mountainsides.

Additionally, these shoes have straps from every angle—including cupping the heel and ankle, so your foot is better kept in place with every stride—and the straps are also quick-dry and breathable. Therefore, it won't give you blisters if you have to tromp through a river or get your feet wet in the ocean. 

They're also made from recycled materials and infused with Microban® zinc-based protection, which prevents the growth of bacteria, mold, and mildew.

And with an adjustable toe and ankle strap, these reliable sandals will fit various foot sizes and shapes.

Price at time of publication: $80

Best Dress Sandal: Jennifer Tattanelli Rate Platform Sandals

One of Dr. Levine's recommended sandals has straps across the forefoot and ankle, as well as footbed support, and they're the perfect look for a summer soirée. However, while cushioning, the insole doesn't have a ton of support for weak or high arches.

These Jennifer Tattanelli dress sandals don't come cheap, but supportive sandals that blend in seamlessly at a wedding or garden party are an item you'll use for years to come. What's more, all Jennifer Tattanelli shoes are handmade in Florence, Italy, under the unique craftsmanship of local leather stylists, so they're bound to last longer than cheaper shoes.

The platform style was one of Dr. Levin's favorite options for sandals, as the 1.7-inch wedge heel design takes the pressure off your tendons while providing the stability you don't find in other dress-shoe designs like heels. They have braided yarn straps that cover the entire forefoot and offer adjustable ankle support to further strength. The leather lining also provides durability and comfort.

Price at time of publication: $490

Best Environmentally-Conscious Sandals: Everlane ReNew Sport Sandal

Made with recycled materials and from a low-plastic brand, these sandals use multiple straps and a cushioned insole to support your feet alongside the environment. Although, the sizing can run a tad narrow. And at less than one inch, the heel is slightly lower than Dr. Parthasarathy and Dr. Levine recommended.

These sports sandals from the eco-conscious clothing brand Everlane are made with 100% recycled material. They have multiple straps to support your feet, including a heel strap to keep you locked in. The adjustable velcro closure makes for a personalized fit. 

While the heel is just under one inch, it still provides some pressure relief, and the cushioned insole supports your foot. Additionally, Everlane has eliminated 90% of new plastic from its supply chain.

Price at time of publication: $75

Best Stylish Sandals: Naot Kayla

These APMA-backed low wedges combine function and style with multiple straps, a contoured footbed for support, and 19 colorways to choose from to match your style. 

However, the straps on this attractive sandal aren't adjustable, except for the velcro strap that crosses the front of your foot. Still, the multiple straps, including a heel strap, will help lock your foot down for added stability.

These sandals also have an anatomic cork and latex footbed for strength and the ability to mold to your foot shape, a 1.5-inch heel to help relieve pressure, and an EVA sole for shock absorption. With all those features, it's no surprise it also has the APMA Seal of Acceptance that it's a reliable, health-supporting shoe.

To top all that comfort off, it's also stylish. The suede-lined straps and slight wedge give this sandal an elevated look that would fit in at any summer party, and its classic, simple design means it'll never go out of style. 

Price at time of publication: $140

Best for Athletes: Hoka Ora Recovery Slide

With the APMA Seal of Acceptance, these sandals are ridiculously comfortable for tired feet with a plush midsole, Hoka's signature rocker geometry to glide you through every step, and a lightweight feel thanks to the EVA foam construction. But keep in mind: Since these are a slide, they don't have an ankle or heel strap for added stability.

You probably love taking off your cleats or sprinting shoes and sliding your overworked feet into a pair of comfy slides if you're an athlete. Hoka—a running shoe brand so comfortable it has a near cult-like following—takes that experience and makes it better.

Hoka is beloved for its unique oversized, plush footbed and rocker design that assists a runner's natural gait cycle to help you roll off each step easier. The Recovery Slide has both, so your feet feel like they're walking on pillows. The plush footbed is a true treat for sore feet.

The Ora Recovery Slides are made with EVA foam, so they're incredibly lightweight (another boon for tired feet) and have arch and heel support. The forefoot strap will keep all of your toes and tendons strapped down, and it's designed with ventilation to prevent your feet from getting hot, sticky, and blistered.

Price at time of publication: $55

Best for Plantar Fasciitis: OOFOS OOlala Sandal

These sandals utilize OOFOS' proprietary shock-absorbing foam footbed, a supportive footbed, and a slight heel to take the pressure off your plantar fascia. However, your toes might grip the footbed (instead of staying relaxed) as you walk due to their flip-flop style.

Dr. Parthasarathy called late August and September "plantar fasciitis season" due to an influx of patients complaining of heel pain. According to the Johns Hopkins Medicine Health Library, plantar fasciitis is a fairly common but painful condition. The ligament that runs from your toes to your heel tightens, often because it has been working overtime in unsupportive shoes. The best way to help plantar fasciitis is to wear supportive shoes.

OOFOS is a unique company with a proprietary foam footbed that absorbs more impact than other shoes, designed to reduce the stress on your joints. The OOlala sandal has the ease of a slide-on flip flop—which increases the chances you'll wear it around the house and outside—but with the slight heel that is great not just for sandals but for plantar fasciitis pressure relief, too.

They're also machine washable and designed to minimize odor so that you can wear them anywhere and everywhere. And best yet: OOFOS shoes come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Price at time of publication: $70

Best Flip-Flop Alternative: Vionic Tide II Post Sandals

These APMA-backed thong-style sandals upgrade to the traditional style with stronger straps, orthotic insole arch support, and grips on the footbed to help keep your foot in place. 

While flip-flops don't meet most podiatrists' number one criteria—enough strap coverage to keep your toes and forefoot—Vionics is a heritage orthotics brand started by a renowned podiatrist. The brand's Tide II Post sandals have the APMA Seal of Acceptance backing their quality.

These healthier flip-flops utilize the convenient thong strap style that makes flip-flops so beloved, but with a soft, foam-lined leather strap for extra durability and comfort. 

The real difference, though, is that these flip-flops have built-in orthotics to hug your arches and cup your heels, a lightweight EVA midsole to absorb shock and a unique grippy pattern on the insole that helps keep your feet in place (like those slip-resistance mats you put in the bathtub).

Price at time of publication: $75

Best Budget Sandals: Birkenstock Gizeh EVA Sandals

These shoes come from a trusted brand and have nearly every podiatrist-backed feature—including strap support, arch support, and a deep heel cup. Still, due to the complete EVA construction, you might find it hard to find traction in these Birkenstocks compared to the leather-cork-EVA construction on most of their other sandals.

Considering Birkenstock's reputation for support and shock absorption, it's no surprise they made our list twice. The Gizeh EVA Sandals were Dr. Parthasarathy's favorite from the brand and are a fraction of the cost of most Birkenstocks.

The Gizeh EVA Sandals have a thick, thong-style strap with an additional midfoot strap to support the top of your feet. Then, they have an EVA footbed to provide an arch, a deep heel cup, and traction on the outsole, which is sometimes a problem in slippery EVA shoes. That EVA foam construction also keeps weight and heat down.

Price at time of publication: $48

Best for Wide Feet: Skechers Flex Appeal 2.0 Deja Vu

These sandals have comfortable, shock-absorbing footbeds and stretchy knit mesh straps to keep super-wide feet supported and stabilized.

However, while flexible and breathable, the straps on these sandals aren't adjustable and may run too wide for some. Keep in mind: The Sketcher Deja Vu sandals are for folks who have difficulty finding a shoe big enough to fit their feet properly.

These sandals have a gel-infused memory foam midsole with specific shock-absorbing material, a textured finish to help keep your foot in place, and athletic traction underneath for reliability on slippery terrain. The insole boasts the podiatrist-approved 1-inch heel height.

Price at time of publication: $50

A Quick Review

While you can find comfortable, supportive sandals, there are a few instances where you really should opt for a more supportive shoe, like a sneaker. 

"If you are walking or traveling, or you're a nurse or cook, then sandals are just not supportive enough to carry you around all day long without overworking your feet," explained Dr. Parthasarathy.

Dr. Levine agreed and added that in all of those active situations, sandals also make your feet vulnerable to breaks and injuries if you were to, say, trip and fall or drop something on your foot.

All in all, keep these podiatrist-backed recommendations in mind while shopping for your next pair of sandals to avoid having painful, achy feet during your summer activities.

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