Looking for some great minimalist sandals? You’re definitely in the right place then! In this detailed review, we will show you the ten best pairs of minimalist sandals that money can buy.
Some are those barely-there barefoot running sandals that are perfect for people who don’t actually like wearing shoes in the summer, while others are more rugged sandals that have a fairly thick and supportive sole, and then just some straps on top. So, whether you’re looking for sandals with extremely thin soles or ones that are supportive enough for your high arches, you will find several great options in the rest of this review.
At A Glance: Best Minimalist Sandals
Read on to find the perfect pair of minimalist sandals for you!
Best (Women's) Minimalist Sandals For Water
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Most Rugged Barefoot Minimalist Sandals
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Best Barefoot Minimalist Sandals
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Most Supportive Minimalist Sandals
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Best Elegant Minimalist Walking Sandals For Women
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If you prefer thong sandals to traditional sandals, the Crocs Serena might just be the best option for you. Especially if you want sandals that you can wear in water, without worrying that you’ll damage them or that they will get soaking wet.
These minimalist sandals are entirely made from Croslite foam, so they’re extremely comfortable and don’t retain water at all. They’re also quick-drying, so they’re pretty much the perfect pair for any water adventure.
Especially with the textured and anatomical footbed that guarantees your feet are not only supported but also that you have more than enough traction even when walking around in the water. Your feet won’t slip around in the sandals, and the chances of you twisting your ankle are minimal.
These minimalist sandals also feature a good, textured outsole for improved grip and stability on different terrain types. It’s not so rugged that you can attempt to go climbing in these water flip-flops, but is perfectly suitable for the beach.
The main downside of these is that they’re thong sandals – some people love them, and others hate them. Depending on how sensitive your feet are, you might be able to wear these for an entire day, or you might have to take them off after an hour because they are causing blisters between your toes. If you generally can’t handle wearing flip-flops, I’d advise against getting these Crocs.
Another thing to note is that the ankle strap of these sandals is closed and can’t be adjusted. This means that you will have to pull your entire foot through it – a feat that is impossible for most people with high arches, no matter how stretchy the strap tends to be.
The Serena sandals run true to size, but they are only available in whole sizes. I’d recommend you go half a size up if you are normally between sizes since that’s the general rule when buying flip flops and similar minimalist footwear.
The Luna Leadville sandals are an excellent example of rugged minimalist sandals. They consist of a 9mm sole and a couple of straps, and the pair of them weighs less than 9 ounces – it hardly gets more minimalist than that.
But the construction of these is anything but minimalist. In fact, the Luna sandals actually feature a Vibram outsole, which is extremely tough and rugged. It is very grippy, and it will provide you with all the traction you need on hikes and runs. Vibram outsoles are top-notch and they have usually featured on extremely rugged winter boots – the fact that you get one on this tiny sandal is absolutely amazing.
The Luna sandals feature a continuous webbing strap upper that is fully adjustable. You can easily make these fit your feet perfectly, with the adjustment buckle that makes it super easy to tighten and loosen the strap.
Another upside of the Leadville Pacer minimalist sandals is how flexible they are. They will bend along with your feet, which just reinforces that barefoot feel. Also, these sandals have a textured footbed that further improves traction in and out of water. This helps your feet stay put, which can be a bit difficult considering they are thong sandals.
The downsides are pretty obvious I think – with a really thin and flat sole, these are not a good option for people who need something very supportive. And they are thong sandals – whether or not that’s actually a downside is entirely a matter of personal preference.
These are unisex minimalist sandals, so they are available in sizes for both men and women. They are also available in both whole and half sizes and they run true to size, so it’s going to be really easy to get a shoe that fits you perfectly.
The Genesis sandals by Xero Shoes are another great option if you’re looking for that barefoot feel. They are extremely thin and lightweight, which has its pros and cons. The sandals really let your feet the terrain below your feet, and they practically stop your feet from sweating. If you prefer being barefoot outdoors but still want some protection for your feet, these minimalist sandals are excellent for you.
The outsole of the Genesis sandals even features multi-directional lugs, so you will actually have decent grip and traction on different terrain types. It’s obviously not as rugged as the outsole of some proper hiking sandals, but it’s definitely better than walking around barefoot.
On top of that, these feature an easily adjustable thong strap that really allows you to get that custom fit. The straps will hold your feet in place firmly and ensure that they’re not sliding around on the smooth footbed. The only problem is that you might wind up with an excess strap once you’ve adjusted the sandals – you’ll either have to cut it off or tuck it away somewhere where it won’t bother you while you’re walking.
The biggest downside of these minimalist sandals is that they provide absolutely no support, so they’re not a good option for people with flat feet and high arches. And generally – if you normally require (or like wearing) supportive footwear, stay as far away from these as possible.
Also, if you intend to wear these really often, keep in mind that you will have to repurchase them sooner rather than later. The thin sole wears out pretty fast, but that shouldn’t be a surprise considering how thin it is. The manufacturer does give a 5000-mile warranty, but honestly, I don’t think that’s realistic. In any case, if you only wear them during the summer, you will definitely get one, maybe even two seasons out of them.
The Chaco Z2 Classic sandals are a great minimalist option for people who don’t really want those barefoot feel sandals. They are extremely supportive, with lots of cushioning in the heel and arch area. And they are very durable sandals that you will be able to wear for years – their soles are very thick and they will not wear out quickly.
These sandals feature webbing uppers with adjustable straps, so it’s really easy to get that perfect fit. And, the Z2 includes a toe strap – if you’re not a fan of that feature, then just go for the Z1. The two models are virtually identical, with the toe strap being the only difference.
Chacos are known for being extremely comfortable, thanks to their excellent footbeds. In fact, the sandals feature the brand’s proprietary LuvSeat footbed, which is designed for contoured arch support. And that’s what makes these minimalist sandals great for people who have high arches or flat feet – the support is there, and the adjustable straps mean you will have no issues fitting these on your feet.
The footbed is also textured, for great traction even in water. And the outsole offers even better grip and traction – it’s a ChacoGrip outsole made from non-marking rubber, with lots of deep, multidirectional lugs. It’s also the main reason why these sandals are so popular for hiking and other outdoor adventures where you need grip and stability that comes only from extra-rugged outsoles.
Chacos are available in both standard and wide options, so they’re great if you have wide feet. The only downside is that they don’t make them in half sizes – considering these run true to size, you’ll want to measure your foot and check out the size charts to ensure the best possible fit.
The Z2 sandals are also available in a women’s specific version.
The Ella Criss Cross sandals from Sorel are a great option if you want something elegant for your everyday life. You can choose from leather and suede for the uppers – both materials are durable and look beautiful, but I would recommend classic leather. Suede is a bit more sensitive, and if you were to get caught in a summer shower while wearing the sandals, they could get ruined.
Their footbed is on the flatter side, but it is made from EVA foam. This means that your feet will kind of sink into the footbed, and it will really hug their contours. So, even though the minimalist sandals look quite flat, they’re actually not, and they are very comfortable walking sandals. And that’s something you don’t get from just any pair of minimalist shoes.
The exact price of these depends on the color and size combo you go for, but they’re usually around $60. Even though that’s a bit pricey for sandals, it’s actually a great deal for a brand like Sorel, which is known for their amazing but expensive footwear.
Also, these feature a molded rubber outsole that provides you with all the traction you need in everyday life, which is great. Since it is not entirely smooth, that also means that you’d be able to drive in these sandals normally, and that’s a big plus.
The Sorel minimalist sandals are available in both whole and half sizes, so it’s going to be easy to get a pair that fits you just right. They’re only available in a single width though, so I’m not sure how they’re going to fit ladies with wider feet. Also, these feature buckle closures with holes, so you might have to make an extra hole if you find the existing ones too tight or too wide.
The Xero Shoes Z-Trek sandals give a whole new meaning to the word minimalist. These sandals are definitely not for everyone, as they are designed for people who are looking for that barefoot feel but still want some protection between their feet and the ground. And if that’s exactly what you are looking for, then these minimalist sandals are actually perfect for you.
This minimalist sandal features a very thin sole, which barely provides you with any support – if you usually need minimalist footwear that’s more supportive, these are not the sandals for you. But if you like walking around barefoot around the beach and your yard and want something that feels just as lightweight but with a little extra protection, the Xero is a great option.
The best thing about these sandals is that they actually feature a rugged outsole with multi-directional lugs. This means you will definitely have better grip and traction in these than you would without any shoes on.
Another cool thing about these sandals is that they’re really wide, so they’re pretty much great for men with wide feet. They will fit well, and it’s super easy to adjust the different straps to make these really hug your feet. In addition to that, these sandals are actually so thin and lightweight that you can roll them up and fit in your pocket – perfect for travel, as well as all sorts of outdoor adventures when you want to have that extra option.
One important thing to note about these is that they are not really suitable for rough terrain. Because they are so thin and lightweight, you will feel most of the terrain below your feet. And if you step on a sharp rock or a piece of glass, there’s a possibility it will cut through the sandals.
The Teva Hurricane Xlt Infinity sandals are excellent for women who want minimalist shoes with minimalist uppers, but a comfortable and supportive footbed. These sandals offer all the heel and arch support you could need, making them the perfect option for long explorations of foreign cities.
And, considering just how rugged their outsole is, they’re also a great pair for hikes and other outdoor adventures. It is made from Durabrasion rubber and features deep, multi-directional lugs for excellent grip and traction on any terrain.
On top of that, you can even wear these in water – their uppers are made from water-resistant Poly webbing that doesn’t retain any water, ensuring that the sandals don’t get soggy. Plus, these actually feature anti-microbial treatment, which ensures that both the sandals and your feet will smell fresh even after you’ve spent an entire day walking around in them.
The upper strap is easily adjustable, and it is made from a soft material that won’t cut into your skin. This means that these are comfortable out of the box – there’s no break-in period, so feel free to put them through the harshest test possible as soon as you get them.
Additionally, the Hurricane sandals also feature a nylon shank for extra support and stability on uneven terrain. And that’s just one of the many features that makes them excellent for rough and demanding outdoor adventures. It’s also worth noting that the footbed of these Tevas is lightly textured for improved traction in the water.
The sandals run true to size, but they are only available in whole sizes. I would recommend going with a smaller pair if you are usually a half size because these can be a bit big. And that’s mostly because their outsole is pretty wide, as it is designed to really hug your feet from all sides – in other words, the main focus of these sandals is pure comfort even after hours and hours on your feet.
When talking about minimalist sandals, we simply can’t mention any Tevas. The brand is a champion of minimalism since most of their sandals consist of a few straps and a sturdy rubber sole. And the best part is that the features of their sandals are anything but minimalist.
These are the Original Teva sandals, which are available in a wide variety of different colors. They have adjustable Velcro straps around the toes and ankles, making it easy for everyone to make the sandals fit well. And the Original Tevas are available in both women’s and men’s styles – the only difference between the two is the size variety.
These minimalist sandals are an excellent option for ladies who want to wear comfortable minimalist footwear. They have a great EVA footbed and a molded EVA midsole, which provide you with excellent arch support. The footbed is also heel cupping and textured for improved traction in the water.
And you can wear these in water if you want to – the polyester webbing uppers are quick-drying, and they barely retain any water in the first place. On top of that, the non-marking rubber outsole offers excellent traction on both wet and dry terrain, ensuring that you are confident in every step you take.
One thing to keep in mind is that the outsole of these Tevas is not extremely rugged, so they shouldn’t be your first choice if you’re primarily looking for sandals for hiking. It does feature multi-directional lugs but they are not very deep, meaning that they won’t bit into the terrain as much, and you won’t have a lot of grip on steep terrain.
But other than that, the sandals are suitable for pretty much anything else. And they look great on your feet – the sporty textures of the footbed and outsole are not visible, so they actually look great with dresses and skirts.
The sandals run true to size, but they’re only available in whole sizes.
Ladies, if you love walking around barefoot, you will adore the Xero Jessie sandals. In terms of construction, they’re probably the most minimalist pair you can get – these consist of an extremely thin sole, a heel and ankle strap, and a tiny toe strap.
Because of such construction, I have to point out that they don’t look like a good option for clumsy people – they are very flappy, and if you’re anything like me, you will end up with a broken ankle at the very least. But if you don’t trip on flat ground, you’ll probably be okay in the Jessie sandals.
The soles of these are only 5.5mm thick and they are very flexible, which is why you’ll actually feel like you’re not wearing any shoes at all. But the outsoles of the sandals are actually really grippy – they feature quite deep, multi-directional lugs that bite into the ground with ease. Because of that, these sandals are suitable for different terrain types.
I would advise against wearing these anywhere where there are lots of sharp rocks – if a terrain looks way too rugged for bare feet, it’s probably not suitable for these sandals.
The heel/ankle strap is elastic and adjustable with Velcro hook and loop closure. However, the toe strap is only elastic, and it’s really going to be hit or miss whether or not it fits you. If your big toes are bigger than average, then it’s most likely not going to fit well, considering that it is pretty small.
Another downside of these sandals is durability – while the incredibly thin soles feel great for people who prefer to be barefoot, it also wears out much faster than thicker soles. And, while Xero does offer a 5000-mile warranty on all of their sandals, not many people can actually get that much use out of them.
Obviously, don’t get these sandals if you’re looking for supportive footwear. They are not designed for people with high arches or flat feet, since the flat, thin outsole is really just there to provide minimal protection from the terrain below your feet.
The Wave Train sandals by Columbia are great for men who are looking for rugged hiking sandals. While their simple design is very minimalist, their features are anything but – these sandals are equipped with Columbia’s best technologies, which they usually include in their excellent outdoor shoes.
For starters there’s the rugged Omni-Grip outsole with deep lugs that bite into the terrain with ease. It makes the sandals suitable for any terrain by offering outstanding grip and traction on both wet and dry surfaces.
Then there’s also the Techlite footbed that’s not only very supportive but also textured for improved traction in the water. The footbed is also contoured to hug your feet and it has good cushioning in the heel and arch areas, making it a great option for everyone – even people who really need the extra support.
The Wave Train sandals feature synthetic uppers that don’t retain water and which are quick drying. They are actually water-resistant, which means that the material won’t soak in water at all – a pretty convenient feature if you plan to use these for boating or crossing streams.
The only downside of these minimalist Columbia sandals is that it can be pretty difficult to choose a size that’s a good fit. They run a bit big, so you will most likely need to go a full size down if you don’t want them to be too loose. And considering these are only available in whole sizes, people who normally wear a half size will find it even more challenging to get the perfect fitting shoe.
At least you can easily tighten the sandals in case you find them too big for your feet – the Velcro hook and loop closure around the ankles and toes is easy to adjust, and it allows you to get in and out of the sandals in mere seconds.
First and foremost, let’s define exactly what we mean by ‘minimalist’. I’m thinking of sleek and simple open-toe sandals, that have a few simple straps and that’s it. We’re talking about sandals that have a minimalist design, which doesn’t really refer to rugged closed-toe sandals.
At the same time, this doesn’t mean that the features of those sandals are minimalist as well. It’s the opposite actually – the best minimalist sandals have very rugged outsoles and extremely comfortable and supportive footbeds. Some will even have additional features, like textured footbeds for improved traction in water and even antimicrobial coating that will keep the sandals and your feet smelling fresh even doing hellishly hot days.
I decided two include two types of minimalist sandals here – the truly minimalist sandals that give you that barefoot feel, and some sturdier options that still have a very minimalist design. So, whether you’re looking for the ultimate sandals for trail running or just something sleek and simple for walking, you will find some excellent options in this review.
For a lot of people, true minimalist sandals are those that give you the barefoot feel. And I did include several such pairs in this review but I didn’t want to focus solely on them, in case you wanted to check out some other options.
True minimalist sandals have the advantage of being extremely lightweight (usually up to 10 oz) and thin, which is how they manage to give you that barefoot feel. The best ones have an excellent outsole that will provide you with all the grip and traction you need – that’s exactly why these sandals are so popular with runners and hikers.
On the other hand, they usually come with several downsides. The fact that the sole is normally so thin means it will wear out a lot quicker than the one on your normal sandals, so you will have to replace them sooner. Also, most really minimalist sandals have flat soles, which aren’t very supportive. That’s a big no for people with flat feet and high arches, and that’s exactly why I wanted to feature a more varied selection of minimalist sandals for you.
Where you intend to wear the sandals pretty much dictates what kind of sandals you should get. If you want a pair that you can hike in, then you need something really rugged, with a lot of grip and traction so that you’re actually confident on the demanding hiking trails.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for sandals that you can wear on the beach and in water, you should prioritize the materials of the uppers, as well as the footbed. The uppers should be made from a material that doesn’t retain a lot of water, while the footbed needs to be textured – entirely smooth footbeds tend to be slippery, and don’t provide your feet with enough traction in the water.
In case you just want sandals you can wear around the town, you can choose from all of the pairs featured in this review. Make sure you’re getting something that’s very comfortable and supportive, especially if you plan to wear them for hours at a time. Leather sandals are actually a good option here – they’re great as everyday sandals because the leather is very durable, and it looks incredibly stylish. The main reason why I don’t recommend leather sandals for outdoor adventures is that they tend to be pricey, and leather is a sensitive material that can get damaged easily.
The bottom line is to go with more durable and rugged materials if you want sandals to wear on different terrain types but stick with classic leather if you’re looking for something sleek and stylish for every day.
Not entirely sure which of these minimalist sandals is the best pair for you? Then consider going with one of our top three picks, depending on what exactly you’re looking for in the sandals.
If you want really minimalist barefoot sandals, you will not be disappointed with the Luna Leadville Pacer. Especially if you actually want decent grip and traction – these sandals feature an extremely rugged Vibram outsole that’s easily worthy of a much sturdier shoe. They are unisex and there are sizing options for both men and women, so they’re pretty much great for everyone. And on top of that, the Luna sandals have an easily adjustable upper strap that ensures everyone can get them to fit perfectly, as well as a textured footbed for improved traction.
In case you just want the most minimalist sandals available with the thinnest sole possible, go with Xero Shoes Genesis. This is as minimal as sandals get – with a 5.5mm sole and a thin webbing strap, you won’t even feel these on your feet. But, you will still have some protection for your feet, as well as better traction than if you were to actually walk barefoot. The outsole actually features some multi-directional lugs, while the adjustable strap helps your feet stay in place while you’re out and about in the barely-there Genesis sandals.
If you need supportive sandals, the best minimalist option for you are the Chaco Z2 sandals. They feature a contoured footbed with plenty of cushioning in the heel and arch areas, which makes them an excellent option for people who need that extra support. These sandals also feature adjustable webbing uppers, a non-marking outsole with some deep, multi-directional lugs, and even a textured footbed. If you want sandals that are great for everything from the city streets to the rugged mountains, you will not be disappointed with the Z2.
Head over to Amazon to see the prices of all of the minimalist sandals featured in this review, and to check whether your size is in stock. And if you want to check out even more options on excellent outdoor sandals, be sure to read our related posts!