Long bike rides, such as you might experience while bike touring or bikepacking, can be a lot of fun. However, they can also be very challenging on your body.
While you can definitely expect to feel sore from the saddle, one thing that often catches new bikepackers off guard is how much of a toll cycling for long periods of time can take on the feet.
The last thing you want at the end of a long day of cycling is to have to deal with sore, blistered, sweaty feet - especially if you have to get back on your bike again the next day!
That’s why we recommend investing in a pair of sturdy, comfortable cycling sandals for your next biking trip.
Not sure where to start looking for the best cycling sandals? No problem!
We’ve compiled a list of the top 5 best cycling sandals for bike touring and bikepacking, and we’re going to be reviewing them for you today.
OUR TOP PICK
Our top cycling sandals are the KEEN Men’s Clearwater CNX Sandals.
These 100% polyester sandals with rubber soles stand out because of their practicality and protective features.
Not only do the KEEN Clearwater CNX Sandals have built-in toe guards, but they also feature microbe shield-treated linings.
What this means is that these sandals will protect your toes in case of contact with the pedals or any other part of your bike, but they’ll also keep your feet free from the unpleasant effects of bacterial buildup.
The KEEN Clearwater sandals feature a bungee lacing system as well as a pull-on loop, so these sandals are super easy and practical to put on in a hurry.
Something else we really appreciate about these sandals is that they have contoured arches. Foot pain is a common side effect of long-distance cycling, but it can often be minimized by shoes that provide proper support.
Contouring of the foot arches is one of the most effective ways to support the foot and reduce pain.
Moreover, the Clearwater sandals are machine washable, so once you get home from your cycling trip, there’s no need to scrub your dirty sandals - just put them in the washing machine and enjoy your well-earned rest!
However, we should mention that these sandals do not come in half sizes, and as they run true to size, they may not be the best choice for cyclists who normally wear half sizes.
- Built-in toe guard - Protective design
- Bungee lacing and pull-on loop - Quick and easy to put on
- Contoured arches - Superior support
- Microbe shield lining - Maintains foot hygiene
- Machine washable - Easy to clean
- No half sizes available - Not the best choice for cyclists with half-size feet
Our runner-up pick makes a great alternative to the KEEN Clearwater sandals for cyclists who prefer velcro fastenings to laces.
The Exustar E-SS503 Bike Sandals are made of polyurethane leather and neoprene, which means that they are highly breathable as well as impressively durable.
Thanks to the velcro fastening system, you can take these sandals off and put them back on again in seconds.
There are no complicated lace-up systems to get your head around and no stiff, uncomfortable buckles. Instead, you have four horizontal velcro straps that tighten across the top of the foot for security.
Inside the sandals, Exustar has added a rubber compound that feels soft yet supportive against the sole of the foot, so you can wear these sandals barefoot for maximum breathability without compromising on comfort.
And speaking of breathability, underlays are fitted under the straps to enhance air circulation and prevent uncomfortable chafing.
Moreover, the soles of these sandals have ports, covered by a cleat recess cover, that allow for the attachment of cleats of your choice.
The main issue we found with the Exustar sandals is that they’re not lightweight at all.
They’re actually quite heavy, so they might feel a little awkward and clunky at first while you’re breaking them in.
- PU leather and neoprene construction - Breathable and durable
- Velcro fastening - Ergonomic and practical
- Strap underlay - No digging or chafing
- Interior rubber compound - Enhanced comfort
- Cleat installation ports - Compatible with various cycling cleats
- On the heavy side - May feel clunky at first
There is no shortage of men’s cycling sandals on the market, but it can sometimes be a little trickier to find designs made especially for women.
While many men’s sandals can be sized down to fit the average woman’s feet, it’s so much better to wear cycling sandals that have been specifically designed for the shape of your foot.
These Women’s Whisper Sandals from KEEN are, in our opinion, the best cycling sandals out there for women.
The soles of these sandals have a high-traction texture and are also non-marking.
This means that they won’t leave any unsightly marks on your bike’s pedals, but you won’t find your feet slipping off the pedals at any point, either.
Possibly our favorite thing about these sandals, though, is that they feature contoured EVA foam footbeds.
These footbeds are so soft and supportive simultaneously that you can wear them barefoot for hours on end without feeling any discomfort at all.
Plus, thanks to the capture lacing system, fastening the sandals literally takes seconds. The lacing system feels intuitive and fastens very securely.
Additionally, these sandals come in a wide range of colors to suit any personal style.
Whether you have a bright red bike and want to match your sandals to it, or you prefer to stick with more neutral tones, KEEN’s range of 34 colors will give you plenty of freedom to choose.
The only thing to bear in mind with these sandals is that the sizing seems to run on the small side, particularly in terms of width.
So, unless you have narrow feet, you may need to size up.
- High traction sole design - Non-slip and sturdy
- Non-marking soles - No damage to your pedals
- Contoured EVA footbed - Comfortable and supportive
- Capture lacing system - Quick-fastening
- Wide color range - Compatible with various styles
- Sizing runs small/narrow - Sizing up may be required
A good pair of cycling sandals shouldn’t come cheap - you want them to last you a while and provide proper arch support, after all.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t find budget-friendly cycling sandals of good quality!
For example, these Unisex Bike Sandals from CyclingDeal are sturdy, comfortable, and durable, but they’re also reasonably priced.
Made of a combination of PU leather and neoprene, these CyclingDeal sandals provide good levels of air circulation while remaining tough and wear-resistant.
The toe protector, meanwhile, provides extra protection for one of the most sensitive and pain-prone areas of the feet.
We like that these sandals use velcro as a fastening system because it really speeds up the process of putting on and removing the sandals, so you never feel as if you’re having to rush or waste time.
Something else that helps these sandals stand out is the molded foam footbed, which helps to keep foot pain at bay.
The CyclingDeal sandals also feature a recessed cleat cover, so if you usually cycle with cleats, you can add your own to the soles of these sandals.
The one restriction to these sandals, however, is that they are not suitable for use on flat platform pedals.
Therefore, we would only recommend these sandals if your bike has caged or hybrid pedals.
- PU leather and neoprene - Ventilated and wear-resistant
- Velcro straps - Easy and quick fastening
- Toe protector - Impact protection
- Molded foam footbed - High levels of comfort
- Cleat recess cover - Cleat-compatible
- Not for use on flat platform pedals - Only for cage and hybrid pedals
These Men’s Newport Hydro-M Sandals from KEEN are perfect if you want to be able to splash through puddles on your bike in exchange for splashing out on a highly durable, high-quality pair of cycling sandals.
The KEEN Newport Hydro-M Sandals are the perfect sandals for wearing out cycling in wet weather conditions.
Sure, your feet might get soaked, but if you don’t mind that, you can at least rest assured that your sandals won’t be damaged by the rain.
Featuring razor-striped soles, these sandals provide excellent traction, so they’re non-slip, even in adverse conditions.
The KEEN Newport Hydro-M Sandals simultaneously protect and support the feet by incorporating both full toe protection and compression-molded midsoles into the design.
The toe protection extends all over the toe area of the foot, unlike some other models, which protect only the very tips of the toes.
Meanwhile, the midsoles provide an anatomically accurate contour of your foot for a tailored, supremely comfortable fit.
Plus, thanks to the bungee lacing, fastening and unfastening these sandals is never an issue.
The only potential problem is that these sandals do run fairly small in terms of sizing, so unless you wear half sizes, you may need to size up from your usual size.
- Compression-molded midsole - Anatomically accurate support
- Water-friendly - Suitable for use in wet weather
- Razor-striped traction - Non-slip
- Bungee lacing - Quick and convenient
- All-over toe protection - Superior protection
- Small sizing - Wearers’ normal sizes may be too small
That’s all from us for today!
We hope that our reviews of the top 5 best cycling sandals for bike touring and bikepacking has given you some insight into the types of cycling sandals available on the sportswear market, as well as which sandal might be the best fit (no pun intended) for you.
Remember to choose a sandal that prioritizes comfort, practicality, and durability in equal measure.
By prioritizing these factors, you will be ensuring that you get good value for your money while actively making your cycling experience more enjoyable.