I Tried the Nerdy Sandals That Are Taking Over Instagram, and They’re the Comfiest Shoe I Own
Move over dad sneakers—dad sandals are officially thing.
If my twenty-year-old self knew that I would now be unashamedly rocking outdoor hiking sandals as a fashion statement, she’d—without hesitation—come at me. Who would have thought that nerdy, thick-soled dad shoes would become all the rage in the last couple of years? I mean, It was only a matter of time before practical walking sandals became some of the trendiest footwear. Yep, those velcro sandals your father wore around the yard, to the pool, and to pick you up from a birthday party (the horror!) are *so* in, and my feet couldn’t be happier.
Enter: Ecco’s Yucatan Outdoor Offroad Hiking Sandal ($135; amazon.com), the newest addition to my comfy (and proudly nerdy) sandal rotation. While you might think I’m committing social suicide by sporting these babies in broad daylight literally everywhere, I’m not the only one leaning into the ugly shoe trend. Travel bloggers and fashion influencers alike have also discovered my current obsession—which makes sense, considering these sandals are super comfortable for all-day wear and are a statement-making piece that deserves a spot on your Instagram grid.
Pair them with shorts and a flowy blouse for sightseeing on vacation, or with a midi dress and straw hat for brunch with friends. They’re incredibly versatile and allow you to go from hiking to happy hour without a wardrobe change.
As clunky as they look, the sandals are surprisingly lightweight and are possibly the comfiest footwear I own. They feature a foam midsole and plush footbed with a soft microfiber cover for extra cushioning and stability (read: it feels like walking on clouds). You can adjust the three buttery-soft, nubuck leather straps for a customizable fit, so you can forget blisters. Even better? The rubber soles absorb shock, which means your feet won’t be aching after a few hours—whether you’re hiking or just walking around the city.
The first time I wore Ecco’s Offroad Sandal, I was running from appointment to appointment for over ten hours at an outdoor conference. With other shoes, I probably would have wanted to amputate both feet by the end of the day—instead, after the conference ended, I skipped off to dinner with colleagues and later biked around the city. All in the same sandals—my feet felt amazing! Since then, I’ve sported them to the office with jumpsuits, with dresses on the weekend, and walking around historic St. Augustine, Florida while I was home visiting my family. Let me reiterate: these shoes are life-changing. I snagged the Offroad Sandal in the multicolor nubuck color, which are totally on-trend with their color block straps.
If you don’t want to take my word for it, you can’t ignore that the Ecco sandal has over 2,200 glowing 5-star reviews on Amazon (91% of the reviews are 4 and 5 stars). Customers rave that they’re incredibly comfortable (like wearing bedroom slippers), are super cute, and accommodate both wide and narrow feet, thanks to the adjustable straps.
“I wore these shoes every day for three weeks while traveling in France. Most days we walked 5-9 miles and every step was comfortable—on cobblestone streets, dirt paths, cracked sidewalks, up dozens of flights of stairs, in the rain, in the sun,” wrote one reviewer. “They are just wonderful, comfortable and supportive. And they are really cute too. Something almost unheard of in comfortable shoes.”
“These are adorable. The colors make them pop. They are very comfortable. I do have to adjust the width to the smallest setting as I do have slightly narrow feet, but once adjusted, they feel awesome! Can wear all day without any problem. No break in period needed either,” said another.
Ecco’s Yucatan Outdoor Offroad Hiking Sandal also gets a stamp of approval from Miguel Cunha, DPM, founder of Gotham Footcare in New York City. The brand’s sandals, in particular, have excellent shock absorption—and you can tell by the thick, ribbed rubber sole with an arch indent, Dr. Cunha tells Health. Good shock absorption prevents knee, back, and heel pain (including pain from plantar fasciitis), he adds. Other great features Dr. Cunha likes: the EVA footbed, deep heel cup, grippy rubber outsole, and ankle strap for added stability, which can help prevent twisted or sprained ankles.
While I truly love these podiatrist-approved, trendy sandals, I know they may not be everyone’s cup of tea (if you feel this way, we can’t be friends anymore—kidding). If you’re looking for something more timeless and elevated, influencers are equally as obsessed with Ecco’s line of “sophisticated” sandals. From strappy flatforms to leather slides, this brand is apparently the footwear to sport for summer—and there’s really something for everyone. Below, some of our favorites to stock up on while it’s still open-toe season.
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