10 Best Running Sandals To Improve Your Physical Performance

Written by Priyam Gupta
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What’s your physical exercise of choice? People who like to keep fit often infuse a mix of yoga, strength training, and pilates into their routines. But if you believe hardcore cardio is the way to go, you should be supplementing your workouts with the correct gear. High-intensity sports like running demand optimum foot support, as your feet are literally what carry you short and long distances. At the same time, your chosen footwear needs to be soft and cushioned to relieve the pressure in your heels and joints. If close-toed shoes aren’t your scene, we’ve got the best running sandals lined up here that might be right up your alley.

You might be thinking, “Who the heck even runs in sandals?”, but plenty of professionals and athletes swear by this lightweight footwear. As the chunkiness of shoes is absent, your feet are free to move the way you want them to. Coupled with the highest quality of cushioning and sole design, running sandals can help alleviate foot fatigue and extend comfort to your joints. Keep scrolling until you find the one that speaks to you.

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Xero Shoes Z-Trail Sandals
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Viakix Siena Walking Sandals For Women
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Teva Women’s Original Universal Sandals
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Skechers Women's On-The-Go 600-Brilliancy Sport Sandals
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OOFOS OOriginal Sandals
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MEGNYA Women’s Hiking Sandals
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LUNA Mono Winged Edition Hiking Sandals
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KEEN Women’s Rose Sandals
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Dream Pairs Women’s Summer Sport Sandals
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10 Best Running Sandals To Keep Your Joints Well-Supported

1. Xero Shoes Z-Trail Sandals

These Xero running sandals are made to be 76% thinner and lighter than others but still extend ample comfort and support. They have a 5,000-mile warranty that allows you to complete marathons without worrying about them abandoning you in the middle. With a non-marking Z-style webbed rubber sole for traction, this pair of running shoes has a zero-drop non-elevated heel so you can maintain your natural posture. Water-resistant and equipped with the ability to dry quickly, these sandals are so flexible that you can roll them up and stuff them in your backpack for travel.

Pros

  •  Available in 3 colors
  •  Flexible and lightweight
  •  Offers great traction
  •  Water-resistant
  •  Quick-drying
  •  Non-elevated heel

Cons

  •  Some may find the toe box to be slightly narrow.

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2. Vibram Five Fingers Women’s V-Soul Shoes

Looking for something specifically designed for pilates and yoga? Vibram’s trail running sandals extend optimum articulation and ground-feel with a secure and adjustable fit. The XS Trek Sole helps with wet traction and flexibility, so you can wear these versatile minimalist shoes for both indoor and outdoor activities. Even on unpredictable terrains, you are guaranteed security against slippage, while the wool-poly sockliner keeps your feet warm. The XS Trek Compound in these barefoot running sandals is engineered to lend you an impressive amount of stability during movements.

Pros

  •  Available in 3 colors
  •  Soft PU foam insole
  •  Flexible and lightweight
  •  Optimum traction
  •  Warm sockliner
  •  Adjustable hook closure

Cons

  •  Some might find the straps a bit too short.

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3. Viakix Siena Walking Sandals For Women

These rather good-looking women’s running sandals use soft and stretchable webbing, which embraces the curves of your feet and makes them feel secure. Featuring a unique stabilizing technology, this pair of sandals comes with an ergonomically-designed insole and a contoured sole that grips the ground in all the right places. The adjustable straps provide you with a fit that doesn’t fail, while the toe box is roomy enough for wider feet. You can rest your feet comfortably on the soft EVA foam midsole no matter where you go, whether it’s the beach, hilltop, or your favorite running trail.

Pros

  •  Available in 6 colors
  •  Contoured foot support
  •  Adjustable straps
  •  Roomy toe area
  •  EVA footbed
  •  Offers wet traction

Cons

  •  Might not be ideal for narrow feet

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4. Teva Women’s Original Universal Sandals

The Teva running sandals have a utilitarian style with a chunky rubber sole to protect your feet from feeling the pressure on all kinds of terrains. The printed straps on these barefoot sandals are not only adjustable but also lend your athleisure attire a chic edge. They are made of traceable and verifiable recycled plastic, making these sandals a great choice for those who look for sustainability. Comfortable and supremely flexible, running in Teva’s sandals will keep you energized throughout your daily jogs, becoming your favorite footwear.

Pros

  •  Available in 31 colors
  •  Adjustable and printed straps
  •  Eco-friendly construction
  •  Comfortable footbed
  •  Flexible and lightweight
  •  Provides excellent support

Cons

  •  Might not provide enough traction on wet surfaces

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5. Skechers Women’s On-The-Go 600-Brilliancy Sport Sandals

When it comes to all-around comfort, few footwear offerings can hold a candle to Skechers. This pair of minimalist running sandals is a top contender in the 5Gen category, thanks to the plush heathered fabric exterior and a customizable fit that is also secure. Ultra-light with a responsive and unique cushioning, its Goga Max high-rebound insole lends your feet ample comfort. The synthetic rubber sole adds a bit of height and gives you a brilliant grip, so you can improve the quality of your runs in no time with this sport-sandal style.

Pros

  •  Available in 8 colors
  •  Soft exterior
  •  Adjustable straps
  •  Grippy rubber outsole
  •  Cushioned footbed
  •  Water-resistant

Cons

  •  Some might find the toe box slightly small.

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6. OOFOS OOriginal Sandals

A sleek, open-backed design combines with the revolutionary OOFoam technology to bring you this impact-absorbing and stress-relieving runner’s sandal. OOFOS’ patented footbed supports and cradles your arches to minimize energy exertion in the ankles and allow for better recovery. These long-distance running sandals also perform the essential functions of reducing load, decreasing compressive forces, and supporting impulsive mobility, thus keeping your feet in the best possible shape.

Pros

  •  Absorbs impact
  •  Relieves stress
  •  Offers arch support
  •  Minimized energy exertion
  •  Aids recovery
  •  Available in 4 colors

Cons

  •  Slightly less breathable

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7. MEGNYA Women’s Hiking Sandals

With MEGNYA’s running sandals, women’s daily activities become a whole lot quicker and safer because of the anti-slip rubber outsole. They also feature cotton straps that are softer on the skin than they look and can be adjusted, while the elastic button at the rear gives you a snug fit so that the sandals don’t come undone repeatedly. The cherry on top (and bottom and sides) is that the ergonomic foot design conforms to your shape, contouring along the curves of your feet
for enhanced comfort while staying resistant to wear and tear.

Pros

  •  Available in 6 colors
  •  Anti-slip rubber sole
  •  Adjustable cotton straps
  •  Elastic adjustment button
  •  Wear-resistant
  •  Abrasion-resistant

Cons

  •  The arch support might be slightly lacking for some.

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8. LUNA Mono Winged Edition Hiking Sandals

With the LUNA sandals, running and hiking become a breeze, thanks to the lightweight and flexible design intended for better freedom and mobility. The Vibram Morflex and LUNA’s unique Monkey Grip Technology come together to create a base that allows you to perform casual and high-intensity exercises. For these running sandals, LUNA uses a single, continuous tubular webbing strap with easy-slide adjustment buckles that provide you with a safe, secure, and comfortable fit.

Pros

  •  Lightweight and flexible
  •  Rubber sole for traction
  •  Easy adjustment buckle
  •  Webbing strap
  •  Cushioned back strap

Cons

  •  Might be slightly wide for narrow feet

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9. KEEN Women’s Rose Sandals

KEEN’s leather running sandals have a chunky rubber outsole with a multidirectional lug pattern that allows you to perform any sport with no shoe-loosening worries whatsoever. The closed-toe running sandals have a lightweight design and are great for when you could use some extra forefoot support. With a non-slip midsole that keeps your feet well-protected, an upper crafted from washable polyester, and the Aegis Microbe Shield-treated lining that keeps bacteria away from your skin, these make for the ideal sandals to crush those miles in.

Pros

  •  Available in 13 colors
  •  Forefoot support
  •  Non-slip midsole
  •  Washable upper
  •  Anti-bacterial inner lining
  •  Non-marking durable rubber outsole for grip

Cons

  •  Takes a little more time to dry

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10. Dream Pairs Women’s Summer Sport Sandals

Dream Pairs’ sandals for runners are all about speed and convenience, with the hook-and-loop closure on the rear for quick wearing and removal. Taking the weight out of the cushioning are the EVA mat lines the inside, while the bungee elastic lacing helps keep the fit secure and snug according to your preference. The toe is closed with an anti-collision design to protect your toes from painful stubs or injuries and absorb any impact that comes their way better than traditional shoes.

Pros

  •  Available in 8 colors
  •  Adjustable elastic lacing
  •  Anti-collision design
  •  Absorbs impact
  •  Lightweight cushioning
  •  Quick and easy Velcro straps

Cons

  •  Might be lacking in arch support

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Now that we have looked at some of the best sandals for runners out there, let’s talk about all the different types you can choose from and how to pick the right pair for your specific needs.

Types Of Running Sandals

  •  Zero-drop sandals

With no drop from the heel to the forefoot, this type supports your natural running style. It allows you to strike with the forefoot and not the heel, which keeps running-related injuries at bay.

  •  Strappy sandals

These are further divided into straps that are vertical or horizontal. The former is thong-styled and people prefer this because there isn’t much material surrounding the foot that can lead to abrasion. Horizontal straps are a good choice for those who want a secure fit that can also be adjusted according to their needs.

  •  Closed-toe sandals

This type of sandal doesn’t give you a minimalistic feeling as it more or less resembles a shoe. But if you happen to be running on hazardous or rocky terrains, they can prevent collisions and keep your toes protected.

  •  Open-toe sandals

Even though foot protection is not optimum in this type of sandal, it is more airy and breathable without causing the feet to sweat, making it ideal for running as well as the beach.

  •  Trail sandals

With a solid sole unit, a deep lug pattern, and a thick rubber outsole, these sandals are great at giving you the right amount of traction to help you tread unpredictable surfaces.

  •  Off-trail sandals

Similar in design to trail sandals, these have a closed-toe design for superior protection. They keep very few parts of the foot exposed and increase your safety from hazardous surfaces and terrains.

After looking at the various kinds of best barefoot running sandals, let’s learn how you can choose the right pair for yourself.

How To Choose Running Sandals For Women

  •  Materials

Since you are going to be running, you need to look for something lightweight as this impacts the overall weight. Synthetic fabrics have a backing and external layer, which make them both breathable and lightweight for runs. Foam is the best for shock absorption and is also ultra-light.

Leather, in addition to keeping your sandals lightweight and breathable, is also long-lasting and quite sturdy. It is known for wicking moisture away from the skin to keep you free from sweat. Speaking of moisture, mesh is also a preferred material because it facilitates constant airflow, ensuring your feet are dry and cool no matter how long you run.

For added protection, you can look for inner linings that are treated with antimicrobial coatings that keep odor and sweat-causing bacteria at bay.

  •  Comfort

This is a necessary feature to ward off foot fatigue and extend optimal support to your joints and ankles. Otherwise, you might face injuries that can impact both your performance and recovery. EVA is a foam polymer that’s both soft and flexible. It has a thin, lightweight profile and offers superior cushioning. Look for sandals that use this synthetic in the footbed.

Rubber outsoles are the best for much-needed traction as they keep you up and running on uneven or hazardous terrains without any slippage. Along with giving you excellent hold, they are also weather-resistant.

  •  Sole

Thin soles are not only useful for reducing the weight of the sandal, but they also provide you with better ground-feel. This, in turn, helps you run safely and enhance physical performance.

If you’re a runner, you know how important it is to invest in high-quality gear. The right bras, leggings, and shoes are all necessary before you set out early in the morning to your preferred trail. But if your shoes aren’t cutting it for you (or cutting your feet too much), it might be time for a change. Those who are used to wearing shoes always wonder how anything can be better, right until they give the best running sandals a shot. They are thinner by design, which allows you to enhance your ground feel. Compared to shoes, they offer better flexibility so you can run for longer. So, pick your favorite ones off our list and you might be in for a pleasant surprise.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

Does it hurt to run in running sandals?

No, as long as you choose high-quality sandals that feature a strong sole and optimum cushioning. Sandals give you better contact with the ground and help expand your range of motion, allowing you to move without limits.

Are sandals good for running?

Yes, specially designed running sandals have a supportive sole that gives you optimum traction and is flexible enough to not restrict your movement.

Is there such a thing as running sandals?

Yes, running sandals are specifically engineered to remove stress and fatigue from your feet while you perform. They absorb impact and allow you to run for longer with comfort.

Can you run in sports sandals?

Yes, sports sandals are ideal for anyone looking to establish more ground contact and keep their joints well-supported.

Is running with sandals bad for you?

If you have any foot-related problems, check with your doctor before running in sandals. Otherwise, this type of footwear is great for traction and absorbing impact for longer runs.

What are the benefits of running in sandals?

Running in sandals allows your skin to breathe, absorbs impact, and lets you move freely while establishing better ground contact.

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