Best Overall Women's Sandals
at Bent Gate Mountaineering
Fits many foot types
Sizing is not women's specific
Throughout testing, one shoe continually demanded attention. The highest scorer in the test, the Bedrock Cairn Sandal
offers a unique style, employing a thong construction combined with an ankle strap. This design lends a surprising, barely-there feel, eliminating pressure points on the side of the foot and between the toes. In addition, this model sports a Vibram sole, making it unique within the test group. Our testers have grown to love and trust Vibram rubber, so there was little hesitation when scurrying up and down steep slabs with a heavy pack while wearing the Bedrock. Add in a comprehensive adjustment system, style points, and a lightweight feel that adds versatility, the Bedrock was an easy pick for Editors' Choice. This competitor is a do-anything champ, and if you're looking for a companion on your way to the crag, beach, and bar, this is the shoe for you.
Read full review: Bedrock Cairn
Top Pick for Adventure Travel
KEEN Clearwater CNX
High water performance
Does not fit wider foot types well
Lacks ankle adjustment
Keen has long been a purveyor of sturdy footwear that score high in versatility despite their bulky profiles. The Keen Clearwater
upholds the brand's standard for adaptability while bucking the trend for bulk, and its sleek footprint helped it steal the Top Pick for Adventure Travel from its clunkier cousin, the Newport H2
. The Clearwater is capable of taking up minimal space in your carry-on, and it provides near-full coverage, making it a versatile option for rugged terrain. The footbed manages to achieve a comfortable level of squish while still remaining supportive enough for all-day use. Our one gripe was the Clearwater's lack of heel adjustment, which made quick on and off and use with heavy socks difficult. But thanks to its comfort and coverage this product can handle almost anything, making it the ideal choice for days when you don't know what to expect.
Read full review: Keen Clearwater
Merrell Enoki 2 Strap
Poor performance for rugged use
Among the cheapest options in our selection, the Merrel Enoki
performs well in most areas, and its low weight makes it an easy pick for Best Buy. With a slim strap profile, this model is more minimalist than most, making it a stylish option that lacks some performance on rugged terrain. Although the thin straps caused discomfort for some testers, they allow you to get away with pairing the Enoki with a summer dress. A two-point adjustment system allows you to tighten this contender as needed when you're cruising the beach or trails, and the contoured sole provides the right amount of traction for short off-trail forays. If you're looking for a cheap option that can handle light-duty adventure, the Enoki is your best bet.
Read full review: Merrel Enoki
Chaco Z/Cloud 2
The Chaco Z/Cloud 2
was a chart-topper, and although it didn't win an award, its all-around performance earned it an honorable mention. This model features one of the best traction performances in our review, combining underfoot traction with foot-to-shoe interaction that allowed testers to feel comfortable and secure in this model. With a comprehensive adjustment system that can hug each area of the foot, this product was a favorite. Although the adjustment system can be tricky to figure out at first, once you have it dialed it's a cinch. The Z/Cloud 2's high price point and relatively high-arched profile that left flat-footed testers a little uncomfortable were the only reasons it missed out on an award. If you're willing to shell out a bit of extra cash for a model that will last, this is an excellent option.
Read full review: Chaco Z/Cloud 2