Hiking sandals vs boots

Has anyone done a multiday hike in good quality hiking sandals? I am considering ditching my boots.

I know two people who have done multi-day hikes in Rocky sandals, so definitely do-able, but your feet are A LOT less protected and a random twig or stone can quite easily puncture of slice the sides of your feet that are exposed in sandals and end your trip. So, yes, do-able, but a little risky.

agree with Arno - it is risky. which trail and how much will your backpack weigh? if you’re doing a slack-packing hike on well maintained trails one could risk it, but why not rather approach / running shoes?

I have moved to sandals and moved back again to hiking shoes. Easy walks like the Wild Coast etc was fine and enjoyable but as soon as you start doing technical terrain with rocks and bushes it is not as enjoyable. My advise would be to move from boots to hiking shoes.

A friend recently completely the Cederberg Grand Traverse in her La Sportiva TX2’s - 140km over very rough terrain and she had no complaints. Might be a good option for you @Karien.

I recently did my first multiday hike, the Fishriver Canyon and ended with 15 blisters. My feet over heated in the boots. I did everything to prevent blisters, liner socks, foot powder, dry socks every 2hours. I thought the sandals might solve the problem of heat.

if you don’t mind me asking, what type of boot did you use and did you “walk it in” before the time?

Good trail runners are also a nice balance between the two. We dont have a huge amount of choice here before it gets expensive, but Salomon, Adidas and Nike actually have some good options (Terrex from Adidas, Wildhorse and Terra Kriger from Nike). Then Saucony, Altra and La Sportiva in the higher end.

There is a move away from worrying as much about ankle support these days, there is not a huge amount of research to back up that it is an actual issue. And as gear has lightened it is becoming even less so.

Trail runners give you the best of both in my experience, foot protection, grip and if you stay away from Goretex they can get very breathable. If you need the extra protection then throw on a lightweight gaiter from AR Gaiters to keep stuff out of your socks.

I used Merrel dry select. They were walked in.

I am considering Salomon speedcross5 and Keen hiking sandals. I wear an ankle strap even with my boots as boots are only effective up to a point, so ankle support doesn’t bother me too much. At this stage most important consideration would be breathability.

yes unfortunately waterproof linings add a lot of heat to a shoe. also, walking on sand a lot (like the fish river canyon) definitely causes more friction as there is more “slippage” in each step. also, you should try a thin layer of anti-chafe cream on hotspots - really works wonders; I haven’t had a blister for 10-years and have done some seriously long distance hikes (i use the cycling brand “Ass Magic”).

re the shoes you’re thinking about, i would caution against the salamon speedcross - it’s a high performance trail running shoe; lots of grip but very little cushioning on the front of the foot. the sole also wears out very fast according to a lady friend who used them. perhaps something like the adidas terrex is a better option? lightweight and breathable; but with a sturdy mid- and outersole which gives decent support and will last longer.


Thank you, will check them out.

I would not try the Fish River Canyon in Sandels, the sand inside will destroy your feet. In my youth I managed large sections barefoot, otherwise boots with sand gaitors round the top to stop the sand getting in. My wife and I did nearly 1000 km last year on the Camino wearing Keen CNX sandels and socks, with no foot issues