It’s sandal season, at last. Summer’s the time to let your feet breathe, but there’s also a lot of action to be had. Chances are, you want footwear that both gives you that Big Lebowski chill-out vibe but still performs if you’re boating, combing the beach, or heading out on a hike. The best sandals for men do it all, while also looking sharp. Before you pick out your go-to sandals for the season, keep a few things in mind. Mostly, the people who have to look at your feet.
Celebrity groomer Marissa Machado works with good-looking and style-conscious guys like Rami Malek and Zachary Levi. And when it comes to men and sandals, she doesn’t mince words.
“I truly believe that if a man is going to show his feet, they need to be presentable,” says Machado.
This means, guys, go get your toes handled. “Men can go to any nail shop for a pedicure,” says Machado.
But if this too, well, out-there for some guys, they can DIY things at home.
“Fill a large bowl or bucket of sorts with hot water and a pinch of epsom salt and soak for about 5 to 7 minutes. After your feet are good and soft, clip nails to desired length,” says Machado. “Use a cuticle pusher and clipper to clean up dead skin around the toenails. Finish by filing the nails for smooth edges and you’re flip-flop-ready.”
Foot management aside, when shopping for sandals or flip-flops, the American Podiatric Medical Association recommends you opt for leather ones, because they minimize blister potential. Make sure your feet fit snugly and don’t hang off the edge. And don’t wear sandals or flip-flops when walking truly long distances, because many don’t offer enough shock absorption or support.
That being said, the following sandals can handle all of summer’s fun, give your feet some breathing room, and look the part when you are just hanging out with a mojito. Choose wisely.
The Best Men’s Sandals for Summer 2020
Teva sandals have been gripping slick rocks and hitting the trail since 1984 — it's the first sports sandal and remains one of the very best. The Hurricanes perform across all terrains, whether you're hiking a dusty track or fording shallow creeks. The quick-dry webbing is tough as nails but comfortable over the long haul. As always, vegan-certified and made from plant-based materials and recycled plastics.
The Mountain Goats earn their moniker — they're minimalist, giving you a barefoot feel, and ultra high-functioning, giving you a performance shoe that can climb, run, and hike for days. Each pair is handcrafted in California from goatskin leather, with a Vibram Newflex and Morflex minimalist sole that can stand up to heavy use and is secured to the foot through a sophisticated three-way lacing system that's infinitely adjustable.
Teva's Cross Strap Trail sandal is sort of like the SUV of their minimalist sports-sandal line -- still ruggedly minimalist, but with additional support, with hook-and-loop closures on heavy-duty straps and a breathable mesh to let feet breathe.
A timeless sandal — this one's Italian-made — that's been workshopped to perfection over centuries in the Mediterranean and beyond. This Italian design offers all the airiness and kick-off ease of a flip-flop, while looking formal enough for any out-of-doors occasion. With flexible rubber sole, and smooth-finished leather construction.
Damn we love these Chaco sandals, which also double as hiking shoes. They're all-terrain while still giving you you that going-barefoot feel, and make a smooth transition from land to water to drinks. There's a breathable mesh upper, and synthetic overlays for toe protection. The midsole is antimicrobial so your feet don't smell. Minor nitpick: We only wish the heel strap was a bit tighter.
Both casual and comfortable, this Timberland sandal has a removable orthotic for added support. The uppers are made with leather and feature a handy hook-and-loop closure while the brand's Smart Comfort system tech gives wearers all-day comfort and support.
Sandals can get gross, fast. And that's why you'll appreciate that this sandal, which has three adjustable straps for closure, also features an EVA topsole with Microban zinc for some anti–microbial protection. Features aside, these sandals are casual enough for dinner, but rugged enough for a light hike, thanks to impressive traction.
We never thought we'd say this, but these are some damn fine-looking Tevas. The athletic sandals feature patterned webbing with adjustable hook-and-loop system. The quick-drying straps keep you comfortable in water and on land. And the print is on point. Just note that they can run on the narrower side.
It may look and feel like a casual flip-flop, but this Teva sandal thong is built for action. The leather upper not only feels good but it also keeps the kick secure on your foot. Best of all the outsole grips to rocks and dirt like a hiking boot. And it’s treated with an anti-stink tech that ensures you will still have friends after spending your entire summer in the same shoes.
In search of sandals that feel equally at place at a summer lunch as they do on a trail hike? These are for you. Montana-based Oboz adds an extra strap here to the the usual flip-flop and the result is a super-minimal, airy shoe that gives all the freedom of a flip-flop but can withstand a casual hike. With a non-slip outsole that can grip to wet rock, it’s the ideal shoe for fly fishing out of a drift boat or river trips when you want to get out and explore side canyons, but don’t want to haul along an extra pair of boots.
A water shoe/sandal meant for hiking? This is it. It has ventilated construction for fast dry-out times and a siped sole for traction in and out of the water. The Merrell sandal has a lace closure, a lycra neoprene lining for extra comfort, an EVA footbed for moisture control, and an EVA midsole for stability.
These sandals don't look like much, but they're actually meant for action. They're your sandal if you plan on hiking, running, doing yoga, rafting, or kayaking. They're flexible enough to roll up and fit in your pack.
With a plush footbed that keeps your foot secure as if it were in boot and a tough outsole that can eat up the trail, this sandal has the pedigree of a serious shoe. Plus the classic Chaco fit system, which includes a big toe loop to keep everything battened down ensures the sandal does not flop around when you're out on a serious hike. Good to note: The strap system can take some futzing to adjust and some people simply do not like the feel of the big toe loop.
Few sandals feel as cushy and natural on your hard-working feet than Birkenstock, thanks to the iconic brand’s cork footbed that molds to the idiosyncrasies of your feet the more you wear it while still supplying lots of support.
Ecco’s tough Receptor outsole and plush midsole mean this sandal can handle long days of touring ancient ruins or running through airports. It also provides lots of stability up top with a combination of Nubuck leather and neoprene that keep your foot in place but still offer enough breathability to deal with humid weather and sloshing around in the water. They do, however, weigh two pounds, which may be a deal-breaker for some.
If you just want a basic flip-flop that keeps your feet protected from burning-hot beach sand and the gross floors of a public shower, this is your ticket. The soft footbed and grippy sole mean you can ride waves in these babies and they offer up just a dash of arch support. Toss them in your bag when you hit the road.
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