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Reader Poll: What are Your Favorite Camp Shoes?

Crocs - Camp Shoes
Crocs – Camp Shoes

When you go backpacking you need to take care of your feet. That may sound obvious, but people don’t do a very good job of it. Blisters, athletes foot, bunions, broken toenails, etc. can sideline you for days, weeks, or even an entire season unless you actively and consciously manage the heath of your feet.

Many hikers like to bring camp shoes with them on backpacking trip so their feet can dry out at night or to wear during stream crossings. Others go to great lengths to find the lightest possible camp shoes to bring, since Crocs can weight close to a pound. That’s a lot of weight to carry for an item you only wear a few hours at night before bed.

What are your Favorite Camp Shoes?

Please leave a comment. 

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48 comments

  1. I like to let my feet air out and flip flops work best and I’ve not found them a disadvantage in water crossings and they are light weight to carry. Bug spray may be needed but I carry that any way.

  2. I use Teva water shoes, but was thinking of going with crocs. Are they really that heavy?

  3. Sockwa G3. 6oz total in pack, highly packable.

    • I agree. Our G3 rocks. Great for river crossings, or evening wear around the camp pitching the tent, making dinner, or just howling at the moon. Turn it inside out and it dries in 10 minutes.

    • Do Sockwa G3s have enough sole to prevent getting poked by small stones and sticks around camp?

  4. Vivobarefoot Ultra Pure shoes are nice – around 8 oz. a pair and can also be used for river crossings and such.

  5. Crocs. They are sturdier than booties, let your feet dry, and offer a bit more protection than flip flops.

    • For some reason, I had not ever thought to weigh my crocs… I always just strap them to the outside of my pack on the way out the door. 17 ounces!!!! They’re staying home next time.

  6. I really like the ultralight sandal company, called Unshoes: Check out their
    Pah Tempe Sandal.
    They have a variety of options, but are all in the minimalist/ultralight realm. Support U.S.-made products! :-)

    • Thanks Mark for the unshoes tip. I have been using and loving Teva Olowahus that weight 5 ounces. The unshoes are claiming to weight under 3 ounces and you can hike in them…deal!

      I have tried many times to leave camp shoes behind, but I love the luxury of getting into camp, changing into clean dry socks, and NOT slipping these back into sweaty trail runners at the end of a day.

    • I want a pair of these so badly but have been waiting to wear out my Reef flip flops. I should just suck it up and order.

  7. I stopped carrying camp shoes altogether about three years ago when I switched to trail runners. There didn’t seem much point in carrying another shoe to air out my feet when the first pair did a fine job.

  8. I love the Patagonia Advocate at 4.2oz for mens they are hardly noticed. Can usually find them on clearance cheap. I have used my pair for two years strapped to the outside of my pack. They dry quick, as I use them for water crossings as well. Very little or no cushion. Insole can be removed to really get down there on the weight. I love letting my feet relax after a day in my trail runners. Letting your day shoe dry as long as possible is a reason I think for no blisters over the same time frame.

  9. My husband swears by Crocs, but I just can’t feel good about how bulky they are strapped to my pack.

    I’ve been using a pair of plain old flip flops as camp shoes for the past 2500 miles. No, they’re not as durable if you plan to rock scramble for your water, but I’ve always found them to do the job chilling around camp. They are completely open so my feet breathe immediately (instead of Crocs or closed-toes which restrict air flow to blisters that need to dry out), they strap perfectly flat to the outside of a pack and don’t mind the rain, they are the lightest thing I’ve found for shoes, and I don’t have to feel bad if they fall apart (which, miraculously, they haven’t) because they cost less than $3.

    Also, they can be used for stream crossings! I fashioned a duct tape strap that comes around the back of my ankle to hold them onto my feet. Do I look somewhat silly in them? Yes. But I look a lot less silly crossing in seconds with my quick slip-ons than someone who crosses in nylon sandals that trap water in the Velcro and stay dripping wet for hours.

  10. I haven’t brought camp shoes for at least the last ten years. I’ve been using trail runners for years and they are so comfortable that camp shoes would just be unnecessary additional weight. That is not to say I don’t remove my shoes periodically throughout the day to air out my feet. I’m considering switching to Keen sandals and toe socks for hiking as they provide the best support for my feet but that is another story…

  11. Vivobarefoot Ultra Pures for me. They are good for camp, water, and, if need be, a back up to runners if your shoes blow out.

  12. I don’t bring camp shoes. They weigh too much. I wear trail runners with bungee cord laces and can get in and out of them very easily. If my feet are tired, I let them air dry and then back in the shoe they go.

  13. For car camping, I use Crocs because they are so comfy and quick to use. I also wear them around the house. I switched to trail runners for backpacking a few years ago and I don’t use camp shoes on the trail since my Innov-8 shoes are the most comfortable I’ve ever owned. I’ve pretty well worn out my original pair (which probably contributed to my bad fall this past weekend) and will buy another as soon as the budget recovers from the orthopedic bills. My current ones had Gore-Tex liners, which was supposed to make them waterproof. For the replacements, I’m leaning toward the non lined model so that I can just slosh through stream crossings and walk them dry.

  14. Crocs…drilled some extra holes in the top and strap. :) I love how roomy they are, as well as good tread to run down the trail for water.

  15. I bought a pair of Saucony Hattori minimalist shoes at Sierra Trading Post for $34. These weigh 8.5 oz for the pair. They are a stretch fabric top with velcro closure and an fairly durable eva sole. I switched to trail runners ( La Sportiva Raptors) but like to put these on around camp to have something clean and fresh at the end of the day ( not clammy like some Crocs can feel). Unlike Crocs, their constuction allows them to be very compact. I lash them to the bottom of my pack so they help keep the pack bottom off any damp ground when I stop for a break. They also stay on your feet like water shoes at stream crossings and dry almost immediately. They are worth the extra weight to me. They are rather colorful so no fear of forgetting them when I break camp.

  16. I only wear trail runners so I never bring extra camp shoes. Unless I’m car camping with my wife then I bring sandals to wear around camp and at the beaches along lakes and rivers in state parks when lightweight backpacking gear isn’t as big of an issue. I adore sandals in the summer.

  17. I started a thru hike with Crocs and quickly grew to not like them. They are bulky so the rain cover was hard to get on, they are heavy, and I lost all balance when wearing them (think johnny depp as Jack Sparrow). I switched out for a pair of teva flip flops and was very happy. I ended up hiking 17 miles in flip flops when my shoes got soaking wet and began to give me blisters.

  18. Vivobarefoot Ultra’s for me as well.

  19. I’ve been backpacking since 1976. I’ve never brought camp shoes, even when I used heavy leather boots. Now that I use trail runners, I just loosen the laces for camp use. I’ll put on pair of dry socks if the socks and shoes I are wet from hiking through water. A pair of produce bags keep my dry socks dry when wearing wet shoes.

    If it’s going to be very cold, I may bring a pair of fleece socks to wear in camp…

  20. I love the Timberland Radler. Zips up nice and compact in the backpack and are light weight.

  21. I agree with Philip that with trail runners, an extra pair of camp shoes is not really necessary. Neither are stream fording shoes–I just splash through the creek and walk the shoes dry. However, I have found that the soles of my trail runners tend to tear up the ground outside my tent when I go in and out (thanks to my age that happens several times per night). I’m also prone to cold feet! I bought a pair of Goose Feet down booties to keep my feet warm and bought the shells that go over them. That way I can wear the down booties with the shells outside the tent and without shells in the sleeping bag. 4.0 oz for warm, comfortable feet!

  22. I am using ZemGear for my camp shoes. Very light weight.

  23. I like flip flops. if I am going to do some relatively easy walking around water, I may leave the flip flops and take a pair of keens, tevas, or water socks. but for just campsite stuff, flip flops are great.

  24. I found croc knockoffs at Walmart that weigh only 9 oz for the pair. They have a velcro strap so you can tighten them up to prevent losing them in streams. As someone else mentioned you can add extra holes.

    • I think I found the same ones. Only $10 and half the weight of crocs although they don’t seem as durable or as cushiony.

  25. I have to go with Merrell’s Sonic Gloves. It is their water resistant barefoot running shoe. They are super light and incredibly packable. With the addition of a wool felt insole, they are cozy. Its nice to have something flexible on your feet after a day of stiff boots. Also, I’m of the philosophy that you ought to be able to hike (or run) at least five miles in your camp shoes, just in case.

  26. Vivobarefoot. Crocs are the ugliest shoes on earth. :-)

  27. Re: going outside several times each night. Carry an empty cottage cheese container and use it as a chamber pot. I never go outside to pee at night anymore.I can get back to sleep more quickly by not having the hassle of going out of the tent. I just rinse out the container every day–I have used this method for 2 months straight backpacking. It was great. I dry the container out and can pack other stuff in it during the day. I also use it for a dipper for my Sawyer Squeeze water filtration system.

  28. Cold weather: The North Face Thermoball slipper. Warm weather: Teva Zilch sandal. Both are unbelievably lightweight.. The Zilch later became the Northridge (different strap system).

  29. Bedrock sandals. A little pricey but great warranty and they weigh in at 4 oz a shoe.

  30. I found VivoBarefoot shoes. Similar to crocs much slimmer and lighter overall. The shoes fold in half and are very comfortable. Hardly notice the weight on my pack.

  31. crocks. i hammock camp; almost never in a “camp” site and usually in some rough, hard to get areas. thus, the ground beneath my hammock is often very bumpy to say the least. sandals or thin soled shoes just won’t get it for me. also, its nice to easily slide in and out of the shoe without having to fiddle.

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