10 Best Camp Shoes of 2022

10 Best Camp Shoes and Stream Crossing Shoes

Many hikers and backpackers carry camp shoes to help their feet recover after a hot day of hiking or to change into for stream crossings to keep their socks and hiking footwear dry. Sandals, water shoes, slides, clogs, and minimalist footwear are all popular choices but it’s worth giving some thought to their strength and weaknesses in different environments and climate conditions. They’re also indispensable for showering in hostels and at campgrounds to avoid contracting athlete’s foot from others. Check out our Camp Shoe Selection Guide below for a full discussion of the factors you should consider.

Here are the 10 Best Camp Shoes that we recommend.

Make / ModelGenderAvg Weight (Pair)
Crocs Classic ClogsUnisex12 oz
Merrell Hydro MocsMens | Womens11 oz
Xero Shoes Aqua X SportMens | Womens12.4 oz
Hoka One One Ora Recovery SlidesMens | Womens12.8 oz
OOFOS OOriginal SandalsUnisex12 oz
The North Face Base Camp Slides IIIMens | Womens8.7 oz
Xero Shoes Z-Trail EV SandalsMens | Womens10.8 oz
Crocs Crocband FlipsUnisex8 oz
Mayfly Ultralight Imago Camp ShoesUnisex1.8 oz
Bedrock Sandals Cairn Adventure SandalsMens | Womens17 oz

1. Crocs Classic Clogs

Crocs Classic Clogs
Crocs Classic Clogs have been a hiker favorite for decades. They make great camp shoes to help your feet recover and provide enough protection and support for easy stream crossings. Easy to clean and quick to dry, they have built-in ventilation ports for breathability and drainage. They’re best attached to the outside of your backpack since they’re on the bulky side. You’ll also want to wear them with socks when the insects are out. Cros also comes in lots of fun colors if you want to let your hair hang out. Avg weight per pair: 12 oz.

Check for the latest price (Unisex)
REI | Amazon

2. Merrell Hydro Mocs

Merrell HydroMoc Camp Shoes

Merrell’s Hydro Mocs are cool and comfy shoes to wear in camp, for water sports, or down at the watering hole on a hot summer night. These slip-on waterproof shoes are made with single density injected EVA with a 2mm lug depth for secure traction on wet surfaces. They have an articulated heel with a strap for a secure fit and a contoured arch for support. The sizing is generous, so you normally wear a half size in footwear, we suggest you size down in this product, rather than ordering the ½ size larger. These are great for water crossings and trails that have lots of stream/land transitions. Avg weight per pair: 15 oz.

Check for the latest price (Men’s)
REI | Amazon
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REI | Amazon

3. Xero Shoes Aqua X Sport

Xero Shoes Aqua X
While Xero Shoes Aqua X Sport shoes look like beefy trail shoes, they’re actually astonishingly lightweight and packable. It has a breathable mesh upper with a quick-dry lining, non-absorbent tongue, toe guard drain holes that help you quickly shed water, and a perforated self-draining insole, so it’s barely any heavier wet than dry. Weighing just 14.4 oz/pair, they are lightweight and cool for lounging around in camp but provide enough stability and protection for stream crossings and town use. Avg weight per pair: 12.4 oz.

Check for the latest price (Men’s)
REI | Xero Shoes | Amazon 
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REI | Xero Shoes |  Amazon

4. Hoka One One ORA Recovery Slides

Hoka One One Recovery Slides
Hoka One One’s ORA Recovery Slides will help cool and dry aching feet and put a little spring back into your step after a hard day of hiking.  Their dual-layer construction, cushioned, oversize midsoles and soft EVA top layers provide step-in comfort and durability. These are best used in camp but don’t have the protection of stability you’d want for stream crossings where you can’t see your feet or underwater obstacles. While they’re not insect-proof without socks, they make great shower shoes at campgrounds and in hiking hostels. Avg weight per pair: 12.8 oz.

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REI | Hoka One One | Amazon 
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REI | Hoka One One | Amazon

5. OOFOS OOriginal Sandals

Oofos Original Sandals
OOFOS OOriginal Sandals are waterproof recovery sandals made with a super comfortable foam that helps your feet recover after high mileage hiking days or trail runs. They have a non-slip footbed and sole that provides excellent arch support and relief from plantar fasciitis. They even float! These sandals are best used for camp and for easy stream crossings but don’t provide the protection you’d want for deeper streams. Plus, for every pair of OOFOS sandals you buy, the company will donate 3% of the purchase price to the Dana Farber Breast Cancer Research Team. Avg weight per pair: 12 oz.

Check for the latest price (Unisex)
REI | OOFOS | Amazon

6. The North Face Base Camp Slide III

TNF Base Camp Sandals
The North Face Base Camp III Slides are great recovery shoes for tired and swollen feet after a hard day of hiking. They don’t really have enough heel support or toe protection for serious water crossings, but they’ll also serve you well in the shower house to keep your feet fungus-free. They have textured rubber outsoles to prevent slipping on wet surfaces, they fold flat for can be easily carried outside a backpack, and won’t absorb water when they get wet. Available for men and women, they only weigh 8.7 oz/pair.

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REI | The North Face | Amazon
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REI | The North Face | Amazon

7. Xero Shoes Z-Trail EV Sandals

Xero Shoes Z-Trail EV Sandals
Xero Shoes Z-Trail EV Sandals have flat, zero-drop soles allowing for a natural, barefoot posture. They offer the protection you expect from sports sandals but at up to 76% less weight and bulk. The foam topsole and midsole mold to your feet while the 3-layer 10 mm rubber outsole gives them a surprising combination of lightweight, comfort, flexibility, and protection. They’re so flexible, you can roll them up and slip ’em into your pocket, making them super easy to pack in a backpack. Avg weight per pair: 10.8 oz.

Check for the latest price (Men’s)
REI | Xero Shoes 
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REI | Xero Shoes

8. Crocs Crocband Flips

Crocs Crocband Flips
Crocs Crocband Flips are waterproof and durable flip flops that have massage-pod footbeds to help improve foot circulation and recovery after a hard day of hiking. Lugs on the bottom provide excellent traction and plenty of protection so rocks and pebbles don’t poke up through the footbed. They’re easy to clean, quick to dry, and pack flat. They also come in a wide variety of colors. Avg weight per pair: 8 oz.

Check for the latest price (Unisex)
Amazon

9. Mayfly Ultralight Equipment Imago Camp Shoes

Mayfly Imago Camp Shoes
Mayfly’s Super-duper-hyper-nano-ultralight Imago sandals are mainly designed to be camp shoes (to be worn in camp and not for hiking or stream crossing or saving damsels in distress) to help your feet recover from a long hiking day. Weighing 1.8 oz, they are made of fluted polypropylene which is the indestructible stuff used to make political yard signs together with nylon cord, silicone tubing, and thermoplastic buckles. They’re easy to adjust and a simple dunk is enough to clean them off. They pack flat and are an ultralight purpose-made option worth considering to keep your feet healthy and take off your gross trail shoes. Avg weight per pair: 1.8 oz.

Check for the latest price (Unisex)
Mayfly

10. Bedrock Sandals Carin Adventure Sandals

Bedrock Sandals Cairn 3D Adventure Sandals
Bedrock’s Adventure’s Cairn Adventure Sandals are so well-fitting that some people hike in them instead of wearing shoes or boots. But they also make great camp sandals with anatomically molded footbeds that provide excellent arch and toe support to help your feet recover after a hard day of hiking. They pack well because the straps fold flat, but lack toe and side protection for deeper stream crossings. Injini’s split-toe socks work really well with sandals like these when you need insect protection or greater warmth.  Avg weight per pair: 17 oz. Note, these Adventure Sandals are slightly different from Bedrock’s 3D Cairn Adventure Sandals which have the added arch and toe support.

Check for the latest price (Men’s)
REI | Bedrock Sandals
Check for the latest price (Women’s)
REI | Bedrock Sandals  

Camp Shoes 101: Selection Guide

There are a wide range of factors that make good camp shoes or water shoes for stream crossings. While almost all stream crossing shoes make acceptable camp shoes, many camp shoes lack the protection or traction needed for more challenging stream crossings, where you can’t see your feet or the bottom. Packability, stream crossing protection, weight, warmth, and insect protection are also important factors to consider when choosing a camp shoe or one that can serve double duty for stream crossings.

If you hike in well-drained hiking boots, shoes, or trail runners, it’s worth asking yourself if you even need camp shoes or stream crossing shoes or whether you’d rather not carry them and use your existing shoes as camp shoes and stream crossing shoes instead. There’s no right or wrong answer; it all depends on what your priorities are. There are times when it’s really nice to slip on a warm and dry pair of camp shoes while cooking dinner in camp.

Packability

If you plan on backpacking, it’s best to get a camp shoe or water shoe that’s easily packable with an upper that folds flat against the sole. Shoes with folding uppers are easily packed in pockets, and if they’re wet, in the front stretch mesh pocket of many backpacks. While you can hang bulky camp shoes on the outside of a pack, they can get torn off by passing vegetation or simply fall off because you didn’t secure them well.

Protection While Crossing Streams

Shallow streams are usually easy to cross because you can see your feet and the streambed bottom. But you’ll want camp shoes or water shoes that provide more foot protection if you have to cross deeper streams where you can’t see the streambed or sunken obstructions like sticks and logs. Water shoes that provide more protection around the toes and sides of your feet have a firmer sole, and better ankle support are advantageous in such circumstances. We never recommend crossing barefoot.

Athlete’s Foot Prevention

There’s nothing worse than picking up a case of Athlete’s Foot in public showers in hiker hostels, bunkhouses, or public campgrounds. Protect yourself by wearing camp shoes in the shower and allowing your feet to dry thoroughly after hiking all day in hot and sweaty hiking boots or trail runners. It takes forever to get rid of, especially if you’re day-to-day footwear doesn’t have a chance to dry out at night.

Weight

Many backpackers are obsessed with the weight of their backpacking gear and leave comfort items behind because they’re not strictly necessary or carry lighter-weight alternatives. In general, shoes that can only be used in camp tend to be lighter weight than those that are designed to be water shoes.

Warmth

If you’re camping or crossing streams in cold weather, you may want to opt for camp shoes or water shoes that encase your foot and your ankle more like a wetsuit bootie rather than sandals or slides. Don’t underestimate how cold mountain streams can get even in summer, especially if you have to ford wide streams. The same holds for standing around camp in colder weather. Camp shoes/water shoes with fewer ventilation ports will be warmer.

Insect Protection

If you’ve ever gotten a mosquito bite on your foot, you know how itchy and unpleasant they can be. Unfortunately, insects become more prevalent in the evening, just as you’re cooking dinner in camp. Water shoes with neoprene or lycra uppers are generally more insect-proof than sandals, slides, and clogs. Wearing a sock with a relatively open shoe may still not provide enough insect protection for your needs, something to consider.

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29 comments

  1. I’ve been using Barefoot Sock Shoes, light(ish) and compact

    • I need to have my feet cool off at night to reduce the swelling. Covering them up doesn’t work for me. They need air – but everyone has different preferences.

      • See, and I need something to keep my feet warm, since they are cold if the temps are less than 70 degrees. So I need camp shoes with which I can wear socks. No flip flops for me! (Crocs until recently, then last summer I bought a pair of lightweight clogs that are slightly heavier but a lot smaller and they work great so far.)

  2. The Xero Shoes Z Trails are one of the most disappointing gear purchase I have made. I got them as a camp shoe for my AT thru hike. For me, they were unwearable if they got wet at all. The tread on the bottom was fine, but the foot bed would get so slick that going up or down any incline on them was a nightmare because my foot would slide all around the sandal. I tried them in every configuration of tightness or as loose as possible and it was all the same. Also poor for stream crossing not just because of that but because the sole is so thin that when you try to take a step, the toe portion would fold in half from the drag and would have to constantly try to reposition before you put your foot down on the folded sandal and slip even more or stub your toe. They were nice on dry ground at least and a little less horrible if wearing socks with them.

    Also hated them as a camp shoe. When in camp, I would like the ability to quickly slip into my footwear. These are very fussy as if you try to quickly put your foot in, you twist the webbing and have to mess with it to get everything situated so nothing is digging into your feet and it is comfortable. It was frustrating when you need to get up and go having to sit there fiddling with these sandals trying to get them on.

    Currently wearing Saloman Cross-Amphibians as a water/camp shoe. Good for hiking, and are a decent camp shoe but still not my favorite. I will find it one day. Think I will be happiest with a pair of slides like the ones you have above.

    • The most difficult thing about camp shoes is trying to figure out what you like and what you need, since it can vary so much between trips and locales. I’m not a fan of anything that fits between my toes, so I happen to like these EV sandals although I understand the fiddly problems you’ve experienced. Slides are great if you just need them for padding around in camp. Super convenient too for getting in and out of your insulation and going to the privy at night.

      • I also hate something between my toes. The North Face slides look like a winner.

      • I used those slides all last season. I think the $$ they charge for them is ridiculous (same for Croc’s) which are just some molded foam/plastic but they are SUPER comfortable around camp, they nest together easily to be relatively flat and are relatively light.

        I would not try to cross a river in them though.

    • I also have similar issues with the Xero Z Trail, a disappointing purchase for sure. I’ve owned a pair for 4 years. I didn’t intend to purchase them as trail sandals, they were for camp or long city walks. They are alright around camp, but you hit the nail on the head with speed getting sandals on and off. The Z Trail require far too much effort to get on your feet. Even tougher when wearing socks. I only bring them backpacking when I know I’ll be in camp a while moving around for firewood and whatnot. Otherwise I prefer sticking to Rainbows, Adidas slides, or Totes slippers with a rubber outsole. Even though the Z Trail are more secure than those options, they don’t have great grip on the topsole or outsole. My foot slides around far too much for how tight I secure the straps, and they’re not good on the ground or rocks. I would like them more if they were very lightweight, but they’re not. There is not a big difference compared to my Rainbows or Adidas, and they weigh more than the cheap Totes sandals that I’ve been wearing for 10+ years backpacking. I wouldn’t recommend anyone buying them, you can match the performance with cheaper sandals or get much better premium sandals.

    • I have been using Salomon Crossphobians for a while. Good for water work, works well in camp. The quick laces make for easy on and off. The loop pn the heel lends itself to clipping on to my pack with a small carabiner.

  3. Great post. One other use is a backup shoe. Last summer the sole of a friend’s boot came apart several miles in on day 1. It was nice boot, looked new, but the sole came unglued. Attempts to fix it with duct tape we’re unsuccessful. She put the insoles from her boot into her water shoes and she was able to continue, albeit on a shorter route. That got me thinking about redundancy. I now use the Xero Z Trail for a water and camp shoe. If I had to, I could hike out with them, especially if I put a pair of socks on.

  4. Ive been using the Xero Z-Trail EV model thid year which i think is different than what Zach and Nate orobably used. So far no issues for me. They fit me great even when hiking on vrry muddy trails. While I do wish the straps were slightly softer, they dont slip anywhere near the other trsil sandals Ive tried. Great list of options here!

  5. If you’re using a camp shoe or sandal with a strap between the big toe & the next toe over, tabi socks are an option if you’ve had issues with Injini’s durability. I bought a pair of cashmere tabi socks for campsite wear. So warm & cozy! (they were on sale)

  6. Walmart has lightweight, resin mocs, similar to Crocs, for around $12 / pair. Models are a bit different each year. They are great camp shoes, but not good for stream crossings.

    • I purchase a pair of Walmart water shoes a few years ago for $8 and have been using them for both water crossings and as a camp shoe. Works for me.

  7. Another option is a running road or cross country racing shoe. They are fine for walking on smoother trails, rough trails in a pinch, have good traction for stream crossings and dry reasonably fast. I use Nike Zoom Streak LT3 (discontinued, 11.7oz/332g measured (M 11.5)). Current models include the Nike Zoom Rival Waffle 5 ($65, 6.5oz/184g claimed) and Brooks Mach 19 Spikeless ($90, 4.5oz/128g claimed).

    • The claimed weights, I’m discovering, are probably per shoe. So per pair: Nike Waffle at 13oz and Brooks Mach 19 9.0 oz.

  8. I found these FitKicks fold flat moccasin slippers with a hard rubber sole, stretch cloth upper and synth swede toe box at (of all places) my pharmacy which has a small gift shop attached. They weigh in at 8.2 oz for the pair of men’s large. What I appreciate is the fact that they are flat, reasonably light, comfortable, offer acceptable foot protection and easily slip into the outside mesh pocket of my pack making them readily available to pull out and slip on to give my dogs a chance to cool off when taking a pack drop or reaching camp. Here is a link to their website https://fitkicks.com/collections/fitkicks-for-men/products/fitkicks-mens-green if anyone is interested.

  9. Good gear topic. Thanks for the selection.

    Honestly at my geezer age the only ones of the lot that I’d carry are the Mayfly “sandals”. I’m likely ordering them soon so thanks for the info.

  10. I purchased a pair of $8 water shoes at Walmart and have used them for about four years and they are still going strong. I use them mainly for stream crossings and around camp if it is dry. They have a good sole.

  11. Thanks for the Mayfly sandals tip. I never would have found out about them!

  12. Michael Boehringer

    I would add the Birkenstock Arizona EVA sandals. They are the most lightweight slip ons I have found that have an articulated foot bed–great for people who need orthotics. Don’t soak up water, pack down reasonably well, great for camp and showers, but not enough support for stream crossings. My size 11s weigh 267 gr or 9.24 oz.

  13. I use “MyShoeCovers Premium Reusable Shoe and Boot Covers for Contractors – 1 Pair, Black, Small” from Amazon.
    https://amzn.to/38HpNtZ

    They weigh 4.2oz for a pair. They are durable. Buy smaller than what works over your shoes. The size small fit my size 11 feet fine and I wear socks with them. They roll up and fit conveniently in my pack or in a side pocket on my pack. Not perfectly waterproof on the seams (I keep meaning to seam seal them) but the material on the bottom is waterproof so damp ground does not seep through.

  14. Christine Benton

    What use are ultra-light camp shoes if the ground is wet and they aren’t designed to keep your feet dry?
    That is the problem even with crocs that have cutouts that let in moisture. You change into dry socks, put on your crocs and your dry socks get wet! Please could you recommend camp shoes that aren’t too heavy that can solve this problem.

    • Just carry some bread bags…

      • Christine Benton

        I’ve tried that but somehow my feet don’t stay completely dry. I even found some plastic booties that fit my feet but still my feet felt damp.

        I backpacked the Ocean to Lake Trail in Florida and took sneakers and three pairs of socks. One wet pair on my feet, one on my pack drying, and one already dried pair for camp. That worked and my feet were really comfortable in camp – but it wasn’t exactly a lightweight solution!

  15. I’ve settled into a very light Merrell running shoes as my camp shoe. It’s light, laces up, protects your toes and has a slightly lugged Vibram sole. I’m more than happy to walk a 1/4 mile out of camp to get water or use them to do a stream crossing without worrying will they stay on my feet or slip on a rock. Found croc’s to be useless walking any distance on them. Tried some slip-on water shoes but found them too be not worth the extra weight to carry. My only complaint with these minimalist shoes is that the soles are thin and you can feel rocks on the trail. But you could always pull your footbeds out of your boots for extra protection, if you had to use these shoes for any distance in a pinch.

  16. Great post and comments. Thanks Phillip (as always) and everyone else. I plan to try out some of the options above. Currently, for water crossings, I use Level Six Photon Socks (3mm neoprene, 4.3oz per pair, size L). The soles have ok traction, but are thin, so I put some old closed cell foam insoles inside for added foot protection, bringing the weight up to 6.2oz total. They don’t absorb water so dry very quickly. Not breathable, so not good for extended use around camp if your feet will sweat or you just want to air them out. But they work well if you want to sit around bare foot but need some protection while walking around camp. And in cooler weather, they work well around camp over my dry pair of socks. I’ve done dozens of crossings and countless nights in back country camps with one pair and they show now wear. But I treat them very carefully, and worry that they will get ripped on sharp rocks or sticks. Which is why I’m still looking for alternatives. So far this is the best option I’ve found for the weight.

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