Podiatrists Helped Us Find 8 of the Most Comfortable Sandals on Amazon for Everyday Wear
This story originally appeared on SouthernLiving.com.
When the sun's out, that probably means your toes are out too! And whether you're going the distance or hitting the town, wearing comfortable sandals is the best fashion decision you'll probably ever make. But trust us, not all sandals are alike. When you're standing and walking for hours at a time, with every step, you're adding some kind of pressure to your feet, which can cause pain and discomfort. But throwing on a pair of cushioned, supportive sandals? That can change everything.
New York City podiatrist Dr. Nelya Lobkova, DPM at Step Up Footcare, explains, "When we wear sandals with a decent footbed, cushioned or platform outsole, and adjustable and flexible straps, we nurture the muscles and bones that we use in the walking cycle and we eliminate overuse injuries." And according to Dr. Priya Parthasarathy, DPM at Foot & Ankle Specialists of the Mid-Atlantic in Maryland and spokesperson for the American Podiatric Medical Association, sandals that are flat or fold in half (you know the inexpensive kind we're talking about) won't provide great support for your arches. She says these kinds of shoes are "equally as bad as a higher heel."
Most Comfortable Sandals on Amazon
- Best Overall: Vionic Kirra Backstrap Sandal
- Best Value: Sanuk Yoga Sling 2 Sandals
- Best Platform Sandals: Dream Pairs Platform Wedge Sandals
- Best Heeled Sandals: Naturalizer Azalea Heeled Sandal
- Best Espadrille Sandals: Cushionaire Mandy Cork Espadrille Wedge Sandals
- Best Lounge Sandals: Birkenstock Milano Oiled Leather Sandals
- Best Sport Sandals: Teva Hurricane XLT2 Active Sandals
- Best Closed-Toe Sandals: Keen Whisper Walking Sandals
What sandals do podiatrists recommend?
Before you make your next summer shoe purchase, our experts share three must-have factors that'll practically guarantee comfort.
When shopping for a comfortable sandal, make sure to check out the footbed. A lot of inexpensive sandals tend to be flat or are made of materials that don't conform to or support your foot—those are your cues to say goodbye. A comfortable sandal's footbed will have an ergonomic design that mimics the curves of your foot and gives you a decent amount of arch support. And make sure the outsole, or the bottom of the shoe, has some kind of wedge or cushion.
And while the straps can be eye-catching, they should also be every bit as comfy. Look for a sandal with flexible straps (leather is a great material that can stretch). Dr. Lobkova also recommends getting a shoe with a front and back strap for added stability. You'll notice you won't need to "grip" as much!
Additionally, the width of a sandal is important if you need to accommodate ailments like bunions, neuromas, and hammertoes. "Remember that a lot of people's feet swell during the summer," Dr. Parthasarathy explains. "It is important to shop for sandals at the end of the day so you get the most accurate fit."
Now that you know the basics, it's time to start shopping. There are tons of comfortable sandals at great prices right on Amazon, and yes, they all have the expert-approved features outlined above. Read on to shop for this year's trends with a comfy twist.
Best Overall: Vionic Kirra Backstrap Sandal
You've probably heard about Vionic before. After all, it's known for making some of the most stylish comfy shoes in the industry. Oh, and Oprah loves the brand, too! Trust us, you won't find anything resembling Gammie's slides here. The Vionic Kirra Backstrap sandal is super cute and has all the expert-approved features you want: a supportive contoured footbed, a raised outsole, and, as its name implies, stabilizing straps. Approved by the APMA, these sandals also have a deep heel cup that provides great stability. Did we mention they're cute?
Best Value: Sanuk Yoga Sling 2 Sandals
The bohemian look isn't going out of style anytime soon, and we're definitely here for it. Sanuk's Yoga Sling 2 sandal has tons of cushion that feels like "walking on clouds," according to enamored Amazon shoppers who've previously experienced plantar fasciitis and heel spurs. In fact, the sandals have over 12,700 five-star ratings as of this writing. While Dr. Lobkova says you should avoid flip-flops, you can still get the thong-sandal look without sacrificing stability thanks to this style's back strap, which is made out of soft fabric that'll prevent pinching and squeezing.
Best Platform Sandals: Dream Pairs Platform Wedge Sandals
Want a bit of height? Platform wedge sandals are the way to go: Dr. Parthasarathy confirms that a wedge can relieve the pressure on the achilles tendons and plantar fascia. This option from Dream Pairs is made with a cushioned EVA foam midsole and a thick polyurethane outsole that absorbs impact with every step and provides great traction. It has a stabilizing toe strap at the front as well as stretchy elastic crisscross straps at the ankle, which is ideal for high insteps that need a little room. Plus, it connects to a back strap that'll keep you steady—and you'll need it, since this gives you 2.5 inches of height. It comes in 15 colors, and this sunny yellow is a showstopper for summer.
Best Heeled Sandals: Naturalizer Azalea Heeled Sandal
Even if you're going out for date night or heading to a classy event, there's no reason to sacrifice comfort for style. Naturalizer is a great shoe brand that's all about combining both elements into incredibly adorable shoes that contour your foot and support you all the way. These drop-dead gorgeous sandals will elevate your whole outfit thanks to its leather upper and chunky 2.5-inch heel that sits right beneath the ball of your feet; Dr. Lobkova says the latter feature will act as a shock absorber that minimizes the amount of stress put on metatarsal bones.
Best Espadrille Sandals: Cushionaire Mandy Cork Espadrille Wedge Sandals
Espadrille sandals have a way of looking both dressed up and casual depending on how they're styled. That means you'll get so much use out of these deliciously comfy sandals with a 2-inch platform and a cork sole that molds to your feet over time, as well as a cushioned insole that cradles your arches as you walk. And with its deep heel cup, you won't be sliding all over the place (like you might with flip-flops). The sandal has two front straps and a cool elastic ankle strap that holds you in place, and they come in four colors: black, brown, beige, and raffia.
Best Lounge Sandals: Birkenstock Milano Oiled Leather Sandals
Could we really make a list about comfortable sandals without including the famous Birkenstock? Both of our experts are fans of the brand, and Dr. Lobkova hand-selected the Milano Oiled Leather Sandals, which are a more stabilized version of the brand's classic Arizona. The reason? Its soft leather backstrap makes sure your foot is in constant contact with the footbed as you walk, so you're not overcompensating by gripping with your toes. Additionally, Birkenstocks are known for their adjustable buckled straps, which are gold in the shoe world because you can customize your fit just the way you like it. And the cork-latex footbed has an anatomical design that hugs your curves and a secure, deep heel cup for further stability.
Best Sport Sandals: Teva Hurricane XLT2 Active Sandals
Teva sandals are one of the coolest-looking athletic sandals around. And the support of the Hurricane XLT2 is pretty unbelievable. You see how the EVA foam midsole curves at the bottom? It's providing a natural fit for your foot from the toe to the heel. The footbed even has a little more height where your arch goes to prevent fallen arches, commonly known as flat feet. The straps are adjustable, made of quick-dry materials that were previously recycled plastic. Plus, it's available in all sorts of fun color combinations and patterns. A favorite among hikers and bikers, Teva sandals provide stability via its nylon shank and deep-grooved outsole with impressive traction.
Best Closed-Toe Sandals: Keen Whisper Walking Sandals
Another great athletic sandal is from none other than Keen, a brand that's all about creating footwear that lets you spend more time outdoors. If you plan to camp or hike this summer, opt for the closed-toe Keen Whisper Walking Sandals. It has an open weave mesh design that allows a breeze to pass through as you're getting active. And to keep you sturdy on your feet, you can thank the lace drawstring design, the stability shank, and the compression EVA midsole. The rubber outsole provides much-needed traction, and you'll appreciate that the rubber bottom travels to the toe area for added protection. It comes in 34 exciting colors, but we're really into this auburn color for the season.