The Ultimate Sandal Guide: Choosing the Right Sandals for You

Finding the perfect pair of sandals can be a daunting task. At Footwear etc., we aim to simplify this process by providing you with a comprehensive guide to help you select the right sandals based on your needs. Whether you're looking for everyday comfort, stylish options for outings, or supportive sandals for long walks, we've got you covered.

How to Choose the Right Sandals

Identify Your Needs:

  • Are you looking for everyday wear, athletic recovery, or something stylish for a special occasion?
  • Consider the environment you will be wearing the sandals in—indoors, outdoors, on the beach, etc.

Arch Support:

  • Look for sandals that match your arch type (flat, medium, or high).
  • Brands like Vionic, Birkenstock, and Aetrex offer excellent arch support.

Cushioning and Comfort:

  • Ensure the sandals have adequate cushioning, especially if you plan to wear them for extended periods.
  • Recovery sandals from Hoka and Aetrex are designed to provide superior comfort.


  • Choose materials that are durable and suitable for your activities. Leather and synthetic materials are common choices.
  • Birkenstock and Ecco are known for their durable and high-quality materials


  • Select a style that fits your personal preference and the occasion. Dress sandals should be elegant, while outdoor sandals should be practical.

Comparison of Top Sandal Brands

Brand Features Best For Top Picks
Birkenstock Iconic cork footbeds, exceptional arch support, durable materials Everyday comfort, orthotic support Papillio, Mayari, Granada
Hoka Maximalist cushioning, excellent recovery support, lightweight Athletic recovery, casual wear Ora Recovery Slide, Ora Recovery Flip
Vionic Orthotic-grade support, stylish designs, high-quality materials Everyday comfort, plantar fasciitis support Kaytie, Tide II
Aetrex Memory foam cushioning, arch support, comfortable materials Everyday wear, support for foot conditions Jillian Sport, Sydney
Naot High-quality leather, fashionable designs, excellent comfort Dress occasions, stylish everyday wear Innovate
Taos Great support, stylish designs, comfortable fit Everyday comfort, stylish outings Trophy 2, The Show
Ecco Durable, comfortable, excellent for outdoor activities Hiking, outdoor adventures Yucatan
OluKai Water-resistant, excellent support, beach-ready designs Beach trips, water activities Olukai

Understanding Different Types of Sandals

Everyday Comfort Sandals

Everyday comfort sandals are designed for daily wear and provide a balance of comfort, support, and style. They are perfect for casual outings and can be worn for extended periods.

Top Brands:

  • Birkenstock: Known for their high arch support and durable materials.
  • Vionic: Offers high arch support and stylish designs.
  • Aetrex: Features memory foam cushioning for superior comfort.

Athletic and Recovery Sandals

Athletic and recovery sandals are designed for post-activity recovery or light athletic use. They often feature cushioned soles and supportive designs to help your feet recover after workouts.

Top Brands:

  • Hoka: Renowned for their maximalist cushioning and recovery support.
  • Aetrex: Offers high arch support and cushioned comfort.

Dress Sandals

Dress sandals are perfect for more formal occasions and offer a stylish look without compromising on comfort. They typically feature elegant designs and high-quality materials.

Top Brands:

  • Naot: Combines fashion with high-quality materials for a comfortable fit.
  • Taos: Offers stylish designs with great support.
  • Birkenstock: Provides stylish options with exceptional arch support.

Outdoor and Adventure Sandals

Outdoor and adventure sandals are built for durability and support, making them ideal for hiking, beach trips, or any outdoor activities. They offer great traction, support, and often water-resistant features.

Top Brands:

  • Ecco: Known for their durable and comfortable outdoor sandals.
  • OluKai: Features water-resistant designs and excellent support.
  • Hoka: Provides lightweight, cushioned options suitable for various terrains.

Specialty Sandals

Specialty sandals are designed with specific foot conditions in mind, such as plantar fasciitis, or for those needing extra support and comfort. These sandals provide targeted relief and are crafted with the utmost care for those with unique foot health needs.

Top Brands:

  • Vionic: Offers orthotic-grade support, making them ideal for plantar fasciitis and flat feet. Their sandals are designed to provide maximum arch support and cushioning, helping alleviate pain and discomfort.
  • Spenco: Known for their memory foam cushioning and high arch support, Spenco sandals are perfect for those needing additional support. They provide excellent shock absorption and help reduce foot fatigue.
  • Aetrex: Features a range of sandals with built-in arch support and memory foam cushioning. These sandals are designed to provide relief for various foot conditions, ensuring all-day comfort and support.
  • Naot: Offers high-quality leather sandals with exceptional comfort. They provide good arch support and cushioning, making them suitable for dress occasions while still addressing foot health needs.

FAQs About Buying Sandals

Q1: What are the best sandals for flat feet?
A: Look for sandals with strong arch support and cushioning. Brands like Vionic, Birkenstock, and Aetrex are excellent choices for flat feet.
Q2: Can I wear athletic sandals for hiking?
A: While athletic sandals provide good support, it's better to choose outdoor and adventure sandals like those from Ecco and OluKai for hiking due to their enhanced durability and traction.
Q3: How do I know if my sandals fit properly?
A: Your sandals should fit snugly but not tightly. Ensure there's enough room for your toes to move freely, and the arch support aligns with your foot's natural arch.
Q4: How often should I replace my sandals?
A: Replace your sandals when you notice significant wear and tear, reduced support, or discomfort. This typically occurs every 1-2 years, depending on usage.
Q5: Are there sandals that can help with plantar fasciitis?
A: Yes, sandals with good arch support and cushioning can help alleviate plantar fasciitis symptoms. Brands like Vionic and Aetrex offer great options.
Q6: Can I use insoles with my sandals?
A: Some sandals come with removable footbeds that allow for custom orthotics or insoles. Check the product specifications to see if this feature is available.
Q7: How do I clean and maintain my sandals?
A: Clean your sandals regularly by wiping them with a damp cloth. For leather sandals, use a leather cleaner and conditioner. Avoid soaking them in water unless they are water-resistant.
Q8: What should I consider when shopping for sandals online?
  • Read Reviews: Look at customer reviews to get a sense of the fit, comfort, and durability of the sandals.
  • Check Sizing Charts: Ensure you are choosing the right size by checking the brand’s sizing chart.
  • Look for Return Policies: Make sure the retailer has a good return policy in case the sandals don't fit as expected. Footwear etc has a generous 30 day return policy.
  • Consider Your Needs: Think about where and how you will use the sandals to ensure you select a pair that meets your needs.
Q9: What materials are best for sandals?
  • Leather: Durable and stylish, leather sandals mold to your feet over time, providing a comfortable fit.
  • Synthetic Materials: Often more affordable, synthetic materials can be very durable and are often water-resistant.
  • EVA (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate): Lightweight and cushioning, EVA is used in many athletic and recovery sandals for its comfort.
Q10: Are more expensive sandals worth the investment?
A: Higher-priced sandals often offer better materials, superior construction, and additional features such as advanced arch support and cushioning. Investing in a quality pair can provide better comfort and longevity, making it worth the higher cost.