Best Shoes for Hawaii: These Are the Ones to Pack
September 13, 2021
Pack These Shoes for Your Hawaii Vacation
There are a few different styles of Hawaii trips. I have been so many times now and have seen so many of the sights, that I tend to spend my week in Hawaii sitting on a lounge chair, reading four books during that time, and never leaving until dinnertime. Others, will go completely off-the-grid to hike the spectacularly picturesque waterfalls and volcanic landscapes that the islands of Hawaii have to offer. And most, will probably do some sort of combination of the two. The good news is that you can dress as casual as you want in Hawaii – seriously, anything goes – so there is a lot of flexibility when it comes to what shoes to bring. Wearing flip flops to a nice dinner is perfectly acceptable and no one would bat an eye. Or, if you’re like me and enjoy dressing up for dinner each night, you can put on a sundress and flat sandals. So, with that said, what are the best shoes for Hawaii?
Pack a pair of water hiking shoes, flip flops, flat sandals, sneakers, and water shoes. You should bring water shoes if you don’t plan on doing extensive hiking and therefore, don’t need to pack of pair of water hiking shoes.
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Best Hiking Shoes for Hawaii
Water Hiking Shoes
Hawaii has hundreds of hiking trails with variable terrain and many lead to a body of water like a waterfall or swimming hole. So, what are the best hiking shoes for Hawaii? The clear winner when it comes to footwear for these types of treks is water hiking shoes. The tread on the soles will appropriately grip the ground as you walk, you will have proper arch support for uphill and downhill climbs, and you won’t have to pack another pair of shoes to change into when you make it to the water. Plus, the shoes are much more breathable than hiking boots which is phenomenal for the hot, humid weather in Hawaii.
KEEN sandals are my first choice recommendation, and one you will hear over and over again from Hawaii travelers. For women, the KEEN Whisper shoes and for men, the KEEN Newport H2 are the most popular. KEEN have also created closed toed water hiking shoes, so if you plan on doing some more intense hiking and you know there is tricky terrain like loose rocks and gravel on the rocky (volcanic) areas of the beaches, these shoes are great. You can even snorkel and swim in them!
90% of people swear by KEEN sandals, but there are a few that say they prefer shoes with a little more give like Teva footwear. There are also die hard Chacos fans who swear by their water hiking shoes, so I encourage you to read reviews of all these brands too before purchasing. If you are going to be doing some strenuous hiking, Merrell shoes are a boot-style but waterproof. These will be bulkier than the others, but offer phenomenal support for those long multi-day hikes along volcanic rims.
Best Flip Flops for Hawaii
You’ll be walking to and from the pool and the beach a lot, so flip flops are a must-have shoe to bring to Hawaii. I love my Old Navy flip flops and wear them religiously around the house and when I’m walking short distances. They will start to rub if I wear them for longer walks or all-day errands, so that’s when I switch to my Havaianas flip flops. They are better quality and incredibly comfortable!
If you plan to do a lot of walking in your flip flops or just generally prefer a more supportive pair, Sanuk flip flops are my go-to. They are incredibly comfortable and really great quality.
Best Sandals for Hawaii
Flat sandals, another essential shoe for Hawaii, can be worn out to dinner at restaurants in Hawaii or during the day if you plan on doing some light exploring. I swear by Sam Edelman flat sandals. They have just enough cushion, and are all-around cute, trendy shoes. Plus, Sam Edelman sandals always seem to fit my feet perfectly. I own a couple of pairs of the Gemma sandals, and while they don’t make it in a cloth version anymore, they have the Gasha sandals which are the same style just in leather. I would highly recommend these! Steve Madden also has some great flat sandals like the Donddi.
If you need better arch support – especially for women who suffer from foot pain – check out ECCO and Vionic sandals. Vionic’s Rest Kirra Backstrap are a classic but I prefer the fit of the Lupe. If you have a narrow foot, try the Naot Dorith or Naot Sabrina sandals!
And, if you are looking for a hybrid between a flip flop and a sandal, the Croc wedge sandals are another Hawaii favorite. They are versatile and can be worn day into night.
Best Shoes to Wear in Hawaii
You’ll also want to bring sneakers for dry land activities. These are perfect for excursions like picking your veggies for your farm-to-table lunch at O’o Farms in Maui, touring Greenwell Farms in Kona, or standing in an hour-long line for the best shaved ice on the island of Oahu. Sneakers will keep your feet from getting sunburned.
I have a post that details the most comfortable white sneakers for walking, which includes the following brands of tennis shoes: Adidas Cloudfoam, Allbirds (Tree Runners for Men or Tree Runners for Women), ECCO Soft 7, Sam Edelman Ethyl sneaker, and Hoka One One Cliftons. Depending on the activity, you might not want to wear all-white sneakers. But I’ve highlighted the brand, not just the color, that make all of these shoes the most comfortable sneakers. And they all come in a variety of colors.
Best Water Shoes for Hawaii
If this trip to Hawaii is more for leisure and you don’t plan on doing any hiking or intense outdoor water activities, then you probably won’t need to bring water hiking shoes. Pack those trusty, classic water shoes instead. Regular water shoes will be perfect if you decide to go on a boat tour, swim a bit in the ocean, or do some more mild water activities like Flumin’ Kohala on the Big Island. If you want something more durable than classic water shoes, the Ryka Hydro Sport look just like regular athletic shoes, but drain out the bottom!
Are you packing and trying to determine which are the best shoes for Hawaii? Let us know what shoes worked and what shoes didn’t in the comments below! Shoe preference can be so dependent on the individual. And, don’t forget to check out these other posts on WOAW!