Crocs: Trail shoes for the backcountry

When you are choosing hiking shoes for your backpacking adventure there is well over a gazillion choices.  It’s important to have a solid, supportive pair of shoes for most of your walking.  Depending on how much weight you carry you might use running shoes if you have a light load or leather hiking boots for heavier loads.  Regardless of your choice for your primary shoes it’s quite often helpful to have an extra pair of shoes.

I find that Crocs are terrifically useful.  They are reasonably priced shoes, especially if you buy a knock-off product (my wife finds them at the local drugstore).  Crocs are comfy and squishy for everyday wear around the house, dropping the kids at school, or wandering a mall.  Aside from their utility, these shoes are devilishly handsome.  Sort of.

On the trail I’m a lot more concerned about the utility aspects.  Crocs are pretty light compared with other shoes.  They tend to weigh in at about 12 oz.  So what do you get in exchange for 3/4 of a pound of shoe?

There are the times when you get to a stream or river where you’re not sure how you’re going to cross.  Unless you’re wearing some heavy leather boots you’re probably going to be worried about your feet getting wet.  Even with leather boots you have got to consider whether the water may end up coming over the top of your boot.  Maybe your foot slips.  Maybe one foot splashes up water that comes down your leg and gets your sock wet.

Personally I’m happy to take a few minutes to be cautious.  I take off my hiking shoes and socks to don my Crocs.  I just assume my feet will get wet and step into the water with the Crocs.  They tend to get good enough traction.  Obviously your feet will get wet, but the water flows right out of the holes in the sides of the shoes.  After you ford the water and change back into your primary shoes, you can clip your Crocs to the outside of your pack and they try quickly in the air.

Crocs are also very comfortable to wear around the campsite.  The squishy soles are very pleasant.  Due to the holes in the sides of the shoe you might find that some dirt or pine tar may end up coming into the shoe.  You can shake them out pretty easily and without discomfort.  The shoes can also be cleaned very easily since they are made out of Croslite™, a resin material that can be washed and scrubbed.

If you’re bringing an extra set of trail shoes for the backcountry with you, consider bringing along a pair of Crocs.  They make backpacking a bit more pleasant.  As an added bonus you can, of course, use the comfy shoes back at home too!


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