Comfortable Sandals

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8 Supportive Sandals with a Backstrap in Time for Summer

As long as I can remember, I’ve had hammertoes…yea. I even recall my mom inquiring about surgery to flatten out my bumpy toes when I was a teenager. This was years before my RA diagnosis and although I never went through with the surger, I wondered what would become of my weird toes as I aged. Well, guess what. I still got ’em and surgery is imminent. But in the meantime, I know one thing that’s making them worse: slip-on sandals and flip-flops. Dr. McCarthy, a top podiatrist in Phoenix and author of Podiatry Shoe Review was right–sandals with back straps are a must if you suffer from hammertoes or bunions. The rearfoot control that a back strap discourages toe-gripping to keep the sandal on (this motion speeds up the progression of hammertoes…and bunions).

While I’d love to tool around one more summer in my favorite Birkenstock Arizonas, it’s due time to invest in a sandal with a back strap so I’m not worsening the hammertoes (they’ve crossed the line between mild nuisance to somewhat painful condition). Can you relate? Let’s take a look at 10 comfortable sandals with back straps to promote good rearfoot control and keep us from scrunching up our already hammered toes!

Sandals with Back Straps : Merrell Around Town Backstrap Sandal

Merrell Around Town Backstrap Sandal

Merrell Around Town Backstrap Sandal“Roomy, but not sloppy.” “Perfect right out of the box.” This is the gist of most customer comments regarding the Merrell Around Town Backstrap sandal. With moderate arch support, an adjustable ankle strap and a cork-covered EVA sole, this comfortable sandal will keep your feet secure and supported as you’re out and about. Whole sizes 5-11 at, Zappos. Find a deal at Amazon and Find a Merrell retailer near you.

Sandals with back straps: Clarks Arla Jacory

Clarks Arla Jacory

Clarks Arla JacoryIf cushioning is what your soles crave, the Arla Jacory from Clarks Cloudsteppers line is for you. Clarks special Cushion Soft™ insoles provide layers of shock-absorbing foam atop a rubber composite outsole. Not only is the Arla Jacory a great walking sandal, it’s affordable too. Available in whole and half sizes 5-10, 11, 12, medium and wide widths at, Zappos, and Amazon.

Sandals with Back Strap: Aetrex Jillian Quarter Strap

Aetrex Jillian Quarter Strap

Aetrex Jillian Quarter StrapApproved by the American Podiatric Medical Association AND many online customers! The Aetrex Jillian features a built-in Lynco® orthotic support with a memory foam footbed and enhanced arch support. Two adjustable straps allow for a customized fit. Available in whole and half sizes 5-10 from Zappos. Nordstrom carries up to size 11. Find an Aetrex retailer near you.

Sandals with Back Straps: Born Cape Town

Born Cape Town Sandals

Born Cape Town SandalsWe’re happy to see this sandal from Born because it reminds me of the popular Bastille style from last spring. Both the Bastille and Cape Town feature a thick platform which helps alleviate discomfort from hallux limitus (painful big toe due to arthritis or injury). The Cape Town’s cushioned footbed and rubber outsole add to this cute sandal’s overall comfort. Available in whole sizes 6-10 from, and Zappos.

Sandals with Backstraps: Olukai Luana

Olukai Luana

Olukai LuanaIs it a fashion sandal or a sport sandal? That’s what we love about Olukai–the ability to create a chic, minimalist sandal that can be worn with a skirt one day and hiking shorts the next. The Luana features water-resistant adjustable straps, moderate arch support, and a textured outsole for good traction. Available in whole sizes 5-11 (order down if between sizes) from Zappos, The Walking Company, and Amazon. Find an Olukai retailer near you.

Sandals with Back Straps: Earth Bay

Earth Bay Sandals

Earth Bay SandalsA gladiator sandal with a boho twist, the Earth Bay encloses the heel completely. There’s a bit of elastic goring where the ankle straps attach to the back panel to provide a little give. A contoured footbed with multidensity cushioning makes for easy walking. A crowd favorite at Zappos! Available in whole and half sizes 5-10, 11, 12 at Zappos, Nordstrom, The Walking Company, and Amazon. Find an Earth Brands retailer near you.

Sandals with Back Straps: Eric Michael Millie

Eric Michael Millie


Eric Michael MilliePrefer a little heel? The Eric Michael Millie features a 1.5″ wedge heel with a 3/4″ platform. The suede-covered cork footbed molds to the foot for good support. Customers love the soft leather straps and pretty spring colors. Tends to run narrow. Available in sizes 35-42 (5-11) from Zappos and Amazon.

SAS Pampa Sandal

SAS Pampa sandal:  Every Zappos customer that left a review for the sandal awarded it five stars for comfort–every single one so far!  A contoured footbed with soft suede lining conforms to the natural arch and curves of the foot. Extra cushioning at the ball-of-foot and heel comes as a welcome relief for those suffering with plantar fasciitis or metatarsalgia (forefoot pain). Available in whole and half sizes 5-12 (including hard-to-find 10.5 and 11.5), medium and wide widths at Zappos. Find a SAS retailer near you.

Stay tuned for our review of the Alegria Playa sandal, another fantastic sandal with a back strap for a secure fit.

Still looking for that perfect summer sandal? Take a look at our recent sandal articles:

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22 Responses to 8 Supportive Sandals with a Backstrap in Time for Summer

  1. Laura says:

    I love the wolky Jewel, !! So many colors and patterns, also ive had the same pair for over 2 years so they last and last.

  2. Linda says:

    I have to vote for an old favorite of yours, and mine, the Jewel by Wolky. All parts are adjustable for perfect fit and with a thick protective sole and that all important back strap. As it comes in about a million different colors the only problem is choosing one! I actually wore a pair of gold ones once to a wedding as I’d hurt my knee and couldn’t walk in heels at all. Every time I wear them I get at least one compliment and asked where to buy them. Although they’re somewhat funky looking, it’s a good funky😊

    • Kirsten Borrink says:

      You are so right, Linda. How could I have left that one off? It’s a oldie but goodie and keeps coming back year after year.

  3. Olivia says:

    I really love the new styles from SAS. I don’t have hammer toes, but the toes on my left foot do not lay flat so any shoe that requires gripping by toes is uncomfortable and and annoying. However, I find as long as a sandal has a strap high across the foot my toes don’t need to grip. So, a sandal like the Birkenstock Arizona is fine.

  4. Judy says:

    I’ll bet if you take your Birks to a shoe repair place, they could stitch a back strap on for you. One with some elastic in it would be awesome!

    • Kirsten Borrink says:

      Hmmm, that is a great idea but I have a limited edition Arizona in teal leather! Wonder if they could match it??

      • Judy says:

        They would be used to dyeing shoes, but an exact match may be tricky. If they can’t, try a strap that matches the sole instead (like black or grey) to still look cohesive. Or, a nude colored strap would more or less disappear.

        I’m no stranger to doing surgery on my shoes, but I’m limited to what can fit under my sewing machine needle (not much!) or I will hand sew if desperate. I had actually never thought about going to a shoe repair shop until I read your post today about straps. Might have to do that myself on a pair I can’t sew.
        We’ll do anything to quiet the barking dogs!!!

        • Judy says:

          One more strap idea… a much lighter or much darker teal (different enough to look intentional) for a two-tone look.

  5. Autumn says:

    I just ordered the Alegria Playa in purple. I didn’t see a referral code in the URL, so when the checkout form asked for the email of the friend who referred me, I put yours.

    I’m looking forward to wearing these sandals. Thank you so much!

    • Kirsten Borrink says:

      Well, thank you! I’m wearing mine around for a while before writing review. I love how lightweight they are, good arch support. They may bend a little too much at forefoot for my stiff big toe, but it’s a new style with more flexible sole.

  6. Rosie pollard says:

    Loving my new Spenco backstrap sandals with moderate arch support. Worth a review.

  7. Beatrice Hive says:

    I love the site and want to ask a question myself, but I can’t figure out how to do that except by commenting. I’m always on the lookout for sandals with both backstrap and covered toes. Keen Venice H2O has been my standard for years. Any other suggestions? Also, what is your recommendation for best shoes to wear to stand a long time? Walking around a little but mostly standing for 6 hours — bottom of feet get SO sore! Thank you for your site!

  8. Beatrice says:

    I’m going to give the Arataki a try. Nice looking! I usually can’t do ankle straps (Keen Rose doesn’t work for me) but this looks like a lower strap. Are you recommending these also as shoes that work well for standing 6 hours?

    • Kirsten Borrink says:

      That I don’t know, but the cork latex footbed feels similar to Birkenstock which is somewhat firm but shock absorbing.

  9. Clara says:

    The Earth Bay has been an amazing sandal for me. I have bad bunions, and these are the only sandals besides FitFlops that don’t hurt either my toes or my foot. The straps on the Champagne version have a dark edge, which adds interest and makes them especially nice with a black sundress. I wore them through a graduation weekend (lots of standing and walking on both grass and pavement) and they were comfortable. Thumbs up from me.

  10. Natashya says:

    Have you tried the olukai ones you have listed here? They are adorable but I’ve read mixed reviews on how much support they have so I’ve been hesitant to try them.

    • Kirsten Borrink says:

      I personally have not. I don’t think they’d have the same support as a Vionic or Birkenstock! I liked the low profiles of this particular style, but it is super low to the ground, so I wouldn’t expect aggressive arch support. Do what I do and order a few from Zappos and send back the losers!

  11. Scott Adams says:

    I’m so glad that you mentioned cork shoes. My wife wants new shoes for summer and I have been searching nonstop. She wanted something comfortable, and that could mold to her foot. I’ll keep looking for various cork sandals. Thanks for the tip.

  12. Bette says:

    I highly recommend the Naot Norah from their Elegant Flats line. I absolutely love this sandal — it’s got the usual cork and latex sole, with adjustable straps across the forefoot and ankle. I wear a 10-10.5 shoe and the 42 is perfect for me.

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