Last Updated on September 4, 2023

Sandals are a type of footwear that have been around for centuries, featuring an open design with straps or thongs that keep the sole of the foot in place.

As the name suggests, sandals are often worn in warm weather or on sandy terrain, where the feet need to breathe and stay cool.

After all, the word “sand” is actually included in the name “sandal”, which shows how integral these shoes are to sandy environments.

If you’re planning a camping or hiking trip in the desert, one thing you absolutely cannot overlook is the importance of having the right footwear.

Sure, sandals might seem like an obvious choice – they’re breathable, flexible, and lightweight – but don’t be fooled: not all sandals are created equal.

To make your search a little easier, we’ve rounded up some of the best sandals for the desert that offer maximum comfort, durability, and protection against the elements.

As part of the Amazon Associate programme, we earn from qualifying purchases.

Man in sandals on top of a dune in Margham, United Arab Emirates
Man wearing sandals on a sand dune in the desert

1. Teva Original Universal Sandals

Teva is a brand that is known for its durable and high-quality sandals that are perfect for outdoor activities, including hiking in sandy conditions. The Original Universal Sandals are a classic design that provides excellent support and traction in sandy environments.

These sandals feature a durable rubber sole that provides great traction on soft sand and a cushioned EVA footbed that conforms to your foot over time. The adjustable straps ensure a secure fit, and the open-toe design allows for breathability, making them perfect for hot days in the desert or at the beach.

2. Chaco Z/Cloud Sandals

Another top brand in the outdoor industry, Chaco offers the Z/Cloud Sandals that are an ideal option for sand hiking. These sandals feature a durable rubber outsole with a deep lug pattern that provides excellent traction on sandy and slippery surfaces.

The cushioned LUVSEAT footbed is designed for all-day comfort and support, and the straps are made of durable polyester webbing that dries quickly. Chaco also offers a customizable fit with their toe loop option, which provides additional stability and support.

3. Bedrock Cairn Adventure Sandals

The Bedrock Cairn Adventure Sandals are designed specifically for outdoor adventures, including those in sandy conditions. These sandals feature a Vibram sole with a unique tread pattern that provides excellent grip on sand and other slippery surfaces, making them perfect for hiking in sand dunes or on the beach.

The straps are made of durable nylon webbing and are adjustable for a secure fit. The Cairn Adventure Sandals also have a removable ankle strap for added stability and protection, making them versatile enough to wear in a variety of outdoor conditions.

4. Merrell All Out Blaze Sieve Convertible Sandals

For those who want the flexibility of a sandal with the protection of a shoe, the Merrell All Out Blaze Sieve Convertible Sandals are an excellent choice. These sandals feature a closed-toe design with a breathable mesh upper and a durable Vibram sole with a deep lug pattern that provides excellent traction on soft sand.

The bungee lacing system allows for a quick and secure fit, and the heel strap can be removed for a more traditional sandal feel. These sandals are perfect for those who want to explore the desert or beach without having to worry about their feet getting too hot or sandy.

5. Xero Shoes Z-Trail Sandals

The Xero Shoes Z-Trail Sandals are perfect for those who prefer a barefoot-like experience when hiking on sand. These sandals feature a flexible sole with a non-slip tread pattern that provides excellent traction on soft sand, making them ideal for hiking in sand dunes.

The lightweight and breathable upper allows your feet to stay cool, while the adjustable straps allow for a custom fit. The Z-Trail Sandals can also be rolled up for easy packing, making this minimalist footwear perfect for those who are always on the go.

Socks for Desert and Beach Activities

Having the right footwear is crucial for outdoor activities in sandy conditions, such as the beach or the desert.

Sandals are a popular choice due to their breathability and flexibility, but wearing the wrong socks can negatively affect your comfort and performance.

At the beach, wearing socks can provide additional protection and support when playing high-intensity activities like beach volleyball or soccer. They can also prevent sand from getting inside your sandals and causing discomfort.

In the desert, wearing socks can help prevent scorching feet by providing an extra layer of insulation between your feet and the hot sand.

It can also prevent sand and debris from getting inside your sandals and causing irritation or blisters.

Beach Activities and Sand Socks

Beach activities such as beach volleyball, sand soccer, and surfing require a lot of movement and quick changes in direction.

Sand socks are specially designed for these activities and provide excellent traction, protection, and comfort.

Sand socks are made of neoprene, which is a type of synthetic rubber that is durable, water-resistant, and provides excellent insulation.

The material is flexible and allows for a full range of motion, making it easy to move around on the sand.

The socks also have a non-slip sole that provides excellent grip on the sand, preventing slips and falls. Additionally, sand socks provide protection against the hot sand, preventing burns and blisters on your feet.

It is essential to note that sand socks are not meant to be worn with shoes, as this can cause discomfort and even lead to injury. Sandals are a better choice for beach activities, and they can be worn with sand socks to provide additional support and protection.

Desert Hiking and Merino Wool Socks

Hiking in the desert can be a challenging and rewarding experience, but it requires proper preparation and equipment. When it comes to footwear, hiking boots or sandals are the preferred options, but wearing the right socks is just as important.

Merino wool socks are an excellent choice for desert hiking, as they are breathable, moisture-wicking, and provide excellent cushioning and insulation. The wool fibers are soft and flexible, allowing for a comfortable fit and preventing blisters and hot spots.

Merino wool is also naturally antimicrobial, which means it can resist odors and bacteria growth, making it ideal for multi-day hikes. Additionally, the wool fibers can retain warmth even when wet, keeping your feet comfortable in colder temperatures.

It is important to wear hiking socks with sandals to prevent blisters and hot spots that can occur when sand and debris get into your shoes. Hiking socks are designed to be worn with hiking boots, but they can also be worn with sandals to provide additional cushioning and support. logo icon

Your n°1 source of information on the world of sandsports and desert adventure travel. Our articles are the result of extensive research, personal experience, and knowledge-sharing within the global sandboarding community.