Three of the principal players in the hiking sandal department are Keen, Chaco, and Teva. We’re big fans of all three because they’re time-tested companies that consistently serve up superior products. In this article, we share our Top 10 best Keen, Chaco, and Teva sandals for hiking in 2020, along with a helpful buyer’s guide. Our Top 10 Chart below includes men’s and women’s sandals and a list of key highlights for each pair.
If this is your first visit to Water Shoe Reviews, we welcome you with open arms. We’ve put many, many hours of research into choosing our top picks and compiling our guides. You won’t find any lists that were just slapped together here. We believe our visitors deserve the highest quality content that genuinely helps them make the best buying decisions.
We’ll start with our Top 10 Chart before jumping into our individual reviews. After the reviews, be sure to stick around for our complete buyer’s guide that’ll make your decision as easy as pie. With all the options available these days, we know how tough it can be to choose the right hiking sandals for your next adventure. The information below is the most efficient way to land on the right pair.
Now, let’s get started!
What did you think of our top 10 picks? We had a blast putting together this list for you, and we’re confident these are the best possible options. We went especially deep when choosing the best Teva hiking sandals since there are so many different models available. The Terra Fi 4 and Hurricane XLT 2 models are undoubtedly the cream of the crop.
In the next section, we’ll take a closer look at each of our top 10 picks. In each individual review, I give a quick overview of the sandal, list the best uses, and the pros and cons of owning each pair. If you haven’t decided on a pair already, you’ll know for sure which pair is for you after checking out the individual reviews below.
Be sure to stick around after the reviews for our buyer’s guide that explains all the key determiners for choosing the best Keen, Chaco, and Teva sandals for hiking.
Keen, Chaco & Teva Reviews
My personal favorite of the three brands is Keen because they provide extreme all-around foot protection in their sandals. The versatility of Keen sandals puts them in a class of their own. Let’s start with the Newport H2.
#1 KEEN Newport H2 – Our #1 Pick for Men and Women
The Newport H2 is one of the most diesel hiking sandals on the block. One of the greatest advantages of choosing Keen over Chaco and Teva is the complete toe protection provided by the thick rubber bumper. The second feature I love is the neoprene lining – the perfect material to prevent blisters from forming on longer hikes.
Compared to a traditional water shoe or standard sandal, the Newport H2 has a lot more arch support. There’s also enough room in the toe box behind the bumper to accommodate people with wide feet.
The final features we want to point out are the thicker sole and footbed with anti-odor protection. If you plan to go hiking over rocks, along a river, or up to a waterfall, the Newport H2 provides maximum comfort. There’s no need to worry about the nagging feeling of rocks poking through the sole with these all-terrain vehicles.
Uses: Hiking, Stream Crossings, Everyday, Walking, Waterfalls, Lakes, Rivers, Kayaking, Canoeing, Sailing, Boating, Fishing
#2 Keen Clearwater CNX – Our #2 Pick for Men and Women
The Keen Clearwater CNX is my personal favorite of all the hiking sandals in our top 10. It’s essentially a lightweight version of the Newport H2 with enhanced airflow to protect against the dreaded sweaty feet while hiking. Another advantage is the Clearwater CNX is less likely to trap pebbles or gravel since the outline of the footbed and outsole don’t extend beyond the edges of your feet.
If you plan to do more hiking in wet conditions with stream crossings or go on river tubing adventures, the Clearwater CNX is your best friend. If you plan to bring them along for a thru-hike, they’ll dry quicker than the Newport H2 and add less weight/take up less room in your pack.
While I love neoprene for preventing blisters and the added comfort it provides, it does need extra time to dry. The added airflow in the Clearwater CNX promotes faster drying of the neoprene.
You may have also noticed that the toe bumper doesn’t come up quite as high as the Newport. I like this feature because I still get full protection yet more airflow to my toes.
Uses: Hiking, Stream Crossings, Everyday, Walking, Biking, Waterfalls, Lakes, Rivers, Kayaking, Canoeing, Sailing, Boating, Mud, Snorkeling
#3 Keen Venice H2 – Our #3 Pick for Women
The Keen Venice H2 is perfect for women who want a thicker midsole than in the Clearwater CNX, yet more airflow than the Newport H2 offers. The size of the toe bumper is between the Clearwater and Newport models. You may also find that the V-strap forefoot capture upper design provides better stability and support on your hikes.
Most current owners reported that the Venice H2 is quite comfortable for hiking, and they prefer the design over the Newport. Keep in mind, you may have to go a half size up with the Venice H2. Another highlight is the number of color options available. You’ll have no problem finding your favorite color.
Overall, it comes down to your taste. If you prefer a sandal with more airflow and more support than the Clearwater CNX, the Venice H2 will treat you quite well for a wide variety of outdoor and casual activities.
Uses: Hiking, Stream Crossings, Everyday, Walking, Waterfalls, Lakes, Rivers, Kayaking, Canoeing, Sailing, Boating, Mud, Light Climbing, Ziplining
#3 Keen Rialto H2 – Our #3 Pick for Men
Meet the Keen Rialto H2, easily one of the best Keen sandals for hiking. What makes the Rialto H2 different? One of the stand-out differences is the removable PU foam footbed that provides excellent shock absorption while hiking over rocks or jumping between boulders.
The hydrophobic mesh lining in the uppers makes the Rialto H2 better for the water than the Newport H2. You may have also noticed the smaller rubber toe cap. One thing we love about the Rialto H2 is that it’s assembled in Portland, Oregon. There’s no need to worry about quality control issues that tend to occur overseas.
The high-traction grip pattern is another reason this hiking sandal is worth a look. We find the overall design more appealing than the other Keen sandals on this list. I must confess, I’m actually in love with this sandal and can’t stop looking at it.
Uses: Hiking, Stream Crossings, Everyday, Walking, Waterfalls, Lakes, Rivers, Kayaking, Canoeing, Sailing, Boating, Mud, Fishing, Outdoor Festivals
#1 Chaco Mega Z/Cloud – Our #1 Pick for Men
One of the problems you avoid with the Mega Z/Cloud is big toe discomfort that many Chaco owners have reported after hiking in other Chaco models. Most Chaco sandals have an extra section in the strap that wraps around the big toe. With the Mega Z/Cloud, you get a wider, more comfortable strap that keeps your feet more content while hiking.
As with all Chaco sandals, you get a ton of arch support. People who suffer from Plantar fasciitis often choose Chaco sandals to find relief and keep their painful symptoms at bay. The Chaco Cloud cushioning in the midsole makes the Cloud models the best Chaco sandals for hiking long distances.
Another highlight is the LUVSEAT footbed, which is the main reason all Chaco sandals are certified by the American Podiatric Medical Association. Compared to Keen sandals, the Chaco Mega Z/Cloud dries a lot faster and provides more airflow, yet you sacrifice the trademark Keen toe protection.
What I love most about Chaco sandals is the adjustability of the strap that allows me to get a perfect fit. Secondly, the ChacoGrip outsole is ready to tackle slippery rocks and other slick surfaces.
Uses: Hiking, Stream Crossings, Everyday, Walking, Waterfalls, Lakes, Rivers, Kayaking, Canoeing, Rafting, Sailing, Mud, Fishing, Camping
Interested in the women’s version? Click Here or the image below to view the current price and color options at Amazon:
#2 Chaco Z/Cloud – Our #1 Pick for Women
There are two main differences between the Z/Cloud and Mega Z/Cloud:
- The Z/Cloud strap is narrower than the Mega
- The Mega Z/Cloud sole is thicker for additional shock absorption and arch support
Since the strap is wider and the sole is thicker, the Mega Z/Cloud weighs more than the Z/Cloud. One of the reasons we prefer the Z/Cloud for women is the narrower strap is more than adequate to support most women’s feet.
Aside from the size differences, the Z/Cloud includes all the same features: LUVSEAT footbed, ChacoGrip outsole, Chaco Cloud PU midsole, and custom adjustable straps. Your decision comes down to preference and the types of terrain you plan to hike.
If you prefer a thicker sole and more strap to keep your foot stable, the Mega Z/Cloud is better for hiking over jagged surfaces. If you prefer a lighter feel and more airflow, the Z/Cloud is the better option.
Uses: Hiking, Stream Crossings, Everyday, Walking, Waterfalls, Lakes, Rivers, Kayaking, Canoeing, Rafting, Sailing, Mud, Fishing, Camping, Casual
Interested in the men’s version? Click Here or the image below to view the current price and color options at Amazon:
#3 Chaco Odyssey – Our #1 Sandal/Shoe Hybrid Pick for Men and Women
This list wouldn’t be complete without a sandal/shoe hybrid. If you love Chaco sandals but yearn for a closed-toe model, the Odyssey is an excellent choice. The Odyssey is an innovation in hiking footwear. You get the best of both worlds with toe protection, a breathable mesh upper, secure strap system, superb arch support, and quick-drying materials that make the Odyssey great for hiking in wet conditions.
The toe box is roomy enough to accommodate people with wide feet, and the soft upper materials have a sock-like feel. The greatest feature is overall comfort. The Odyssey is lightweight enough to make you feel like you’re walking on air, yet it provides enough support to keep your feet comfortable during long hikes or walks.
Overall, the Odyssey gets the job done on many levels. What I like most about this hybrid is the toe protection that traditional Chaco sandals don’t offer. I do a lot of hiking over boulders around waterfalls, and toe protection is essential – depending on how frisky I feel that day.
Uses: Hiking, Everyday, Walking, Waterfalls, Lakes, Rivers, Kayaking, Canoeing, Rafting, Sailing, Fishing, Camping, Casual, Sightseeing, Backpacking
#1 Teva Terra Fi 4 – Our #1 Pick for Men and Women
If you’re searching for the best Teva sandals for hiking, look no further than the Terra Fi 4. Teva has since released the Terra Fi 5, but the 4 is better. The problem with the 5 is the straps. We recommend sticking with the 4 to get the best Teva experience.
What makes them so great? The one thing I like more about Teva than any other hiking sandal is the strap system. Tevas are always secure, the velcro is superb, and I never experience any slipping around that could affect my stability while hiking. The outsole comes equipped with Teva’s Spider Original rubber that grips wet surfaces like a beast.
The overall comfort is second to none. Most people, including myself, describe the Teva feel as standing on clouds. The wonderful part is you get a ton of support and shock absorption when hopping between rocks. Lastly, the zinc-based antimicrobial treatment does an excellent job of keeping foot funk at bay.
Uses: Hiking, Stream Crossings, Everyday, Walking, Waterfalls, Lakes, Rivers, Kayaking, Canoeing, Sailing, Boating, Mud, Outdoor Music Festivals, Camping, Fishing
Interested in a lighter version? Click Here or the image below to view the current price and color options for the Terra Fi Lite at Amazon:
#2 Teva Hurricane XLT 2 – Our #2 Pick for Men and Women
As you can probably already tell, the Hurricane XLT 2 is similar to the Terra Fi 4. However, there are several key differences. The three main differences between the Hurricane XLT 2 and Terra Fi 4 are:
- The Terra Fi 4 has more arch support
- The Hurricane XLT 2 doesn’t have neoprene behind the straps (The XLT 2 dries faster than the Terra Fi 4)
- There’s less tread on the bottom of the XLT 2
There were also several upgrades since the original Hurricane XLT model:
- The XLT 2 has softer padding in the heel strap to prevent blisters and calluses
- An improved sole design for enhanced overall traction
Overall, the Hurricane XLT 2 is a lighter-weight version of the Terra Fi that’s suitable for hikes with more water and less rugged terrain.
Uses: Light Hiking, Stream Crossings, Everyday, Walking, Waterfalls, Lakes, Rivers, Kayaking, Canoeing, Sailing, Boating, Mud, Outdoor Music Festivals, Camping, Fishing, Summer Activities
#3 Teva Omnium 2 – Our #1 Sandal/Shoe Hybrid Pick for Men and Women
The Teva Omnium 2 is the second and final hiking shoe/sandal hybrid in our top 10. After mulling over all of Teva’s hybrid models, we put the Omnium 2 at the top of our list. With the Omnium 2, you get all the benefits of a hiking shoe, but with added airflow in your midfoot and heel.
What are the advantages of a hybrid over the Terra Fi? The two biggest advantages are enhanced stability and toe protection. The Omnium 2 also provides better toe protection than the Chaco Odyssey, yet less arch support.
What we love about the Omnium is that trademark Teva Spider Original rubber that grips river rocks and slick surfaces like a champ. Lastly, we want to mention comfort. When you invest in the Omnium 2, you get one of the most comfortable hiking shoe/sandal hybrids in the world.
Uses: Hiking, Everyday, Walking, Lakes, Rivers, Kayaking, Canoeing, Sailing, Boating, Mud, Outdoor Music Festivals, Camping, Fishing, Summer Activities, Rocky Terrain
Interested in the men’s leather version? Click Here or the image below to view the current price and color options for the Omnium 2 leather version at Amazon:
How to Choose the Best Keen, Chaco, and Teva Sandals for Hiking: 2020 Buyer’s Guide
What did you think of our reviews? We poured hours upon hours into creating this guide, and we’re happy to know that you’re going to save a bunch of your valuable time with our help!
In this section, we’ll go over all the key considerations to make when choosing the right pair of hiking sandals for your next adventure. We know how confusing it can be to choose between top brands since everyone’s feet are different, not to mention everyone’s taste.
By the end of our buyer’s guide below, you’ll know without a doubt which brand is your brand. Let’s start with the materials.
The first consideration is almost always materials. Do you plan to do a lot of hiking in wet conditions? If you plan to hike through streams, rivers, lakes, around waterfalls, and in other wet environments, it’s best to stick with one of the picks in our top 10. We always inspect the quality of the grip in the outsole when we build our top 10 lists.
You also want to consider how quickly the materials dry. If you’re doing a thru-hike and need your sandals to dry overnight, your best option is to stick with the lighter hiking sandals to use for wet conditions while using your primary hiking shoes or boots for dry conditions. The hiking shoe/sandal hybrids are great, but they won’t replace your primary hiking shoes or boots for a thru-hike.
Lastly, keep in mind, neoprene (which I love to have in a hiking sandal) makes the sandals take longer to dry. Overall, we put the Newport H2 and Clearwater CNX sandals at the top of the list for a reason. The Clearwater CNX is #1 on our list of best water shoes for hiking.
#2) Toe Protection
Do you plan to hike on rocky beaches, over river rocks, or hop around on boulders en route to a waterfall? If you do, you may require toe protection. While not all hikers require it, I personally need it because I don’t want to worry about bumping or stubbing my toe while engaged in a hike.
Again, Keen sandals provide the best toe protection of all hiking sandals, and the toe box is wide enough to accommodate all foot types. If you don’t like Keen sandals, consider taking a closer look at the hiking shoe/sandal hybrids in our top 10.
#3) Strap System
When choosing between Keen, Chaco, and Teva, there’s one important consideration to make regarding the strap system. One of the downsides of Chaco sandals is they take more time to adjust. You may have to sit down to make an adjustment while the Teva straps allow you to make adjustments on the fly.
With Keen sandals, you don’t have to worry about adjusting straps. You simply loosen or tighten the lace. It’s also important to remember that a lot of people have trouble with the Chaco strap being too long. If you have narrow or bony feet, you may get too much slack on the strap.
A good way to fix this problem is to use a sturdy rubber band or velcro hook and loop strap to gather the slack. However, you may find that the bundle of strap bouncing up and down on your foot gets annoying. A safety pin could remedy the second problem, but then you’re adding unnecessary time to securing your sandal.
#4) Arch Support/Midsole/Footbed
Of the three brands, Chaco provides the most arch support, so much so that some people consider it too much. For people who don’t require the level of arch support in Chaco sandals, Teva and Keen sandals provide ample support, with Teva being a little better than Keen in that department.
All three brands are super comfortable. With Chaco, you get the Chaco Cloud midsole and LUVSEAT footbed. Personally, I love the Teva Shoc Pad footbed. Keen offers a compression-molded EVA midsole. Overall, Chaco Cloud sandals and Teva sandals are the most comfortable, while Keen sandals won’t feel quite as soft beneath your feet.
When it comes to grip, it’s tough to outmatch the Spider Original rubber and tread in the Terra Fi 4 sandal. I put the Terra Fi 4 and group of Keen sandals at the top of our list as far as grip goes. The ChacoGrip doesn’t lag too far behind, though. Chaco built its outsole to provide grip on slippery surfaces and in wet conditions.
Here’s a visual comparison below (Teva, Keen, Chaco):
Do you want your hiking sandal to be as light as possible? If you answered yes, the Hurricane XLT 2, Chaco Z/Cloud, and Keen Clearwater CNX are the lightest of the bunch.
The average weight of the Men’s Terra Fi 4 and Keen Newport H2 is roughly the same. Each sandal weighs just over 14 oz. The Chaco Mega Z/Cloud is the heaviest with an average weight of 15 oz. per sandal.
You get what you pay for when you buy hiking sandals. Keen, Teva, and Chaco sandals last most people years depending on how hard they beat them up along the way. Due to Chaco’s simplistic design, you may find that Chaco sandals last you the longest of the three brands.
I’ve read reports written by owners ranging from 3 years up to 15 years of use before they needed replacements.
- Keen – One-year manufacturer’s warranty
- Teva – Limited one-year warranty
- Chaco – Lifetime warranty on defects in materials or workmanship
Where do you plan to hike? If you plan to hike over jagged rocks, stick with the models that have thicker midsoles and outsoles. This way, you avoid the feeling of rocks pushing up through the sole.
As mentioned in the outsole section, Teva and Keen have the best traction on wet surfaces. If you plan to invest in a hiking shoe/sandal hybrid, always consider how much gravel and small stones you’ll encounter along the way. The last thing you want to have to do is stop to dump out gravel or stones multiple times during your hike.
Hiking sandals generally aren’t great at keeping sand out at the beach. Chaco is the best brand for avoiding sand caught under your foot.
What do you plan to do in your hiking sandals? You may not need the features of the Terra Fi 4 or Keen models if you plan to do mostly light hikes and walking. There’s no reason to go overboard. Plan your purchase around what you plan to do in your sandals to ensure you match the features to your activities.
If you’re someone with Plantar fasciitis, Chaco Cloud sandals will treat you quite well while you do your daily walking.
One major drawback to all three brands is their appearance. You’re definitely not going to look like the coolest person in the room when you wear these sandals. In my opinion, Keen sandals are the ugliest, but they’re also my favorite. Keen heavily favors functionality over appearance.
Teva and Chaco offer models that are more visually appealing if you prefer to wear sandals in the street while sightseeing, backpacking, or during your travels. For example, the Teva Tirra and Verra sandals for women are more attractive than the best Teva sandals for hiking in our guide.
The bottom line is the best hiking sandals are almost never going to be nice to look at.
Sizing is a problem people often run into when buying their first pair of Chaco, Teva or Keen sandals. The best way to avoid the hassle of a return and get it right the first time is to check out the Q&A section on the product pages. There’s a good chance someone has already asked about sizing.
Another effective method is to search “size” or “sizing” in the reviews and check the most recent reviews to see how current owners ordered theirs. In my experience, Teva sandals are true to size.
Do Chacos run big?
Several men found that the Mega Z/Cloud runs big. However, it’s better to go a little bigger than too small to ensure total foot coverage.
Strangely enough, several women found that the Z/Cloud runs a bit small or true to size while a handful of others said they run big.
Do Keens run big?
Men found that the Newport H2 runs a half size bigger or true to size.
Women found that the Newport H2 runs true to size or if they usually wear an 8.5 or 9, it’s best to go with a 9.One last tip is to remember that over time sandals will stretch and mold to your feet. Sometimes, it’s better to stick with a sandal that feels a bit tight at first because over time it’ll fit perfectly.
Last, let’s discuss breathability. We love hiking in wet conditions with stream crossings and waterfalls. While we do love maximum breathability, we also love protecting our toes. Sacrificing a bit of breathability to get full protection is a worthwhile sacrifice.
The Clearwater CNX is our favorite hiking sandal overall. With Teva and Chaco sandals, you get more breathability, yet no toe protection. Keen sandals promote more airflow than the hiking shoe/sandal hybrids in our top 10, and they provide better toe protection.
The key takeaway is to consider the climate, activities you plan to do, and the terrain you plan to hike on before you make your final decision based on breathability.
Now you’re officially a hiking sandal expert! We’re confident that you’ll save a bunch of time and pick the right sandal if you made it this far.
Keen, Teva, and Chaco are top brands in the industry for a reason. When you invest in one of the sandals in our top 10, you put your money into a trustworthy company with a long track record of manufacturing superior footwear. You also get the added benefit of a one-year minimum warranty that knock-off brands don’t offer.
Most people become Keen, Teva, and Chaco fans for life once they settle into their favorite of the three. Which company do you love the most?