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For many hikers, the choice of a camp shoe is relatively far down the path of gear choices. While this makes sense there is a simple and straightforward answer that works for nearly everyone as a camp shoe but also as emergency hiking shoes in a pinch, so are crocs good for hiking long trails?
If you are looking for a lightweight, waterproof camp shoe that is easy to put on and take off, Crocs may be the perfect choice for you. Many thru-hikers have started using Crocs as hiking shoes because they are versatile and comfortable.
They are also notable as they can be worn in wet or dry conditions, and they are easy to pack when you are on the go.
In this blog post, we will discuss the benefits of using Crocs as camp shoes, backup hiking shoes in a pinch, and some tips on choosing the right pair for your needs.
Why Crocs Are Favored as Camp Shoe
There are very few options for a true camp shoe that can give you the performance that Crocs can as a camp shoe.
They are comfortable, they have great drainage, they are lightweight, and they are easy to take on and off which is perfect when you are getting in and out of your tent.
This makes them a nearly ubiquitous choice as the best camp shoes among many thru-hikers.
Some people have loved them so much that they decided to make crocs their full-time hiking shoe!
Very Lightweight and Durable
Overall Crocs are one of the lightest options and the most durable for the best cost.
When looking at shoes that you will carry on or in your pack you need to have the gear be lightweight.
You need them to be durable as you are using them in the forest where there are poking rocks and sticks all over.
Easily Replaced on the Trail
Camp Crocs are simply simple to replace on the trail if they get damaged and or fail in some way, sometimes your shoes just break or tear and you need to have a plan B.
Crocs or faux Crocs are available at Walmarts and many other stores that you will find along the trail, or you can always get them on Amazon and have them delivered to a Locker in a trail town, I have a list of Lockers on the A.T here.
Very Comfortable for Tired Feet
After a hard day putting down miles on your feet the chance to get out of the compressed shoes and to expand and breathe helps your little toes and feet recover for the upcoming day.
Crocs are very comfortable for this as they are roomy and have great padding on the bottom so your feet can relax, and quickly recuperate and relax those sore feet.
Easy to Slide on and Off at Camp
I used to bring Xero shoe sandals with me, but quickly I got tired of getting straps and connectors all done before being able to move around.
This is where Crocs shine in that they are so easy to take on and off with just a simple heel slide for camp chores and moving around.
You can be in your tent and have them quickly off so you can get some air to your feet, or if you need to make a quick trip outside the Crocs go on in seconds.
This may seem silly but in the middle of the night on a cat hole bathroom expedition being able to be out and up fast is vital between you and a thru-hike accident.
Yes, they happen to many.
Open Construction Allows Airflow to Dry Feet and Shoe Fast
Something vital to your feet after rough days hiking is getting airflow to allow your feet to dry and Crocs offers excellent ventilation holes to help them airflow along with eliminating dampness which breeds bacteria and can cause many foot ailments.
The open construction of the Crocs is great for this as they allow airflow to circulate around your feet which helps them dry quickly, and also helps to ventilate the shoes, so they do not hold moisture.
Can You Hike In Crocs?
The benefits of Crocs as camp shoes show why there are some who have moved forward and replaced their trail runners or boots with Crocs as their primary shoes, with many of the benefits above being listed as the reason why they choose to hike in ultralight camp shoes instead.
Some people wear them around home constantly and have no issues hiking in them, but some feel that they do not provide the support and durability for a long hike.
If you are looking to use Crocs as your hiking shoes then it is important to make sure that you try them on and take them on a few short hikes before taking them out on a longer trek.
This YouTuber has hiked thousands of miles in Crocs showing that it is totally possible, not just a fad to manage traveling over rough terrain in comfortable shoes.
Why Choose Crocs For Hiking?
For one they would lead in the comfort realm while helping your feet get constant air leading to less foot funk and problems that happen with feet being contained for 8+ hours a day.
Crocs also have a great reputation for being one of the most durable shoes on the market, meaning they will last you mile after mile without fail. Being lightweight also means you could carry a second backup pair and it would be lighter than any primary set of shoes alone I bet.
This means your camping crocs would be your hiking crocs and allow you to save some serious costs on $100 trail runners along with space and weight in your pack.
Why Choose Not to Hike in Crocs?
As to reasons not to hike in Crocs, a big one is that some people need much more support than they feel they can get from a pair of shoes like Crocs. Additionally, if you are hiking in colder weather your feet and toes are exposed much more than you would be with a hiking shoe.
Crocs are also not as weatherproof as some other hiking shoes on the market and if it is pouring rain outside and your feet are constantly wet even in a pair of wool socks, they may start to feel cold and clammy after a while.
There have even been cases of Crocs slipping off mid-hike due to the looseness of the shoe, this looseness can also lead to blisters for some if their feet can shift around too much.
Lastly, Crocs don’t have the best traction overall versus hiking boots or trail runners which can lead to issues on more technical terrain.
So there are some things to think about when deciding if Crocs are the right hiking shoe for you, but ultimately it comes down to personal preference.
Advantages Of Hiking In Crocs
There are some real reasons why hiking in Crocs makes sense which we can outline below as they may influence your decision.
Crocs Are Ultralight
One of the main advantages of hiking in Crocs is that they are incredibly lightweight which can save you energy on a long hike, and also help to reduce the overall weight of your pack.
Every ounce counts when you are hiking for miles each day, and Crocs can help you to save some serious weight.
Crocs Are Durable
Another big advantage of Crocs is that they are extremely durable and can last for a long time on a thru-hike with proper care.
This means you may not have to replace them as often as you would with other hiking shoes, and they can save you money in the long run.
Crocs Are Comfortable
Crocs are also well known for being extremely comfortable, which is one of the main reasons why hikers choose to wear them.
When wearing camp shoes that can be worn without socks it helps make them easy to slip on and off when you need to take a break.
Crocs Are Versatile
Crocs are also very versatile and can be worn in various conditions. They can be worn in wet or dry conditions, and are easy to take on and off when you are on the go.
Unlike trail runners and boots many Crocs will be around $30-$40. This is a fraction of the cost of some hiking shoes on the market and can be a deciding factor for some hikers.
These are perfect for people who suffer from sweaty feet as the extra airflow will help to keep their feet dry and reduce the amount of foot funk and issues related to keeping your feet enclosed for hours a day for months on end.
There are a wide variety of options for Crocs which can be helpful for hikers. Crocs come in a variety of colors, styles, and sizes to choose from.
For those who want to express themselves, these shoes are a great way to do so, and for those who want a more subdued look, there are plenty of options as well.
Quick-Drying & Perfect for Water Crossings
There are going to be times when you are crossing streams or maybe even larger river crossings and the ability to dry quickly is key. Crocs will do just that as they are designed to shed water quickly.
Stream crossings are plentiful on most thru-hikes and being able to dry quickly and not have to worry about your wet hiking shoes is a big advantage as you cut the time to change out of them.
Disadvantages Of Hiking In Crocs
There are reasons why people would not choose to use Crocs while hiking which we have detailed below.
They Don’t Protect Against the Elements
Crocs are not going to protect your feet against the elements as well as a hiking boot or shoe would. This means that if you are hiking in cold weather, your feet may get cold and if you are hiking in hot weather, your feet may get wet and sweaty.
This can be a big disadvantage for some hikers and is something to consider if you are hiking in extreme conditions.
They Don’t Have the Best Traction
Another downside of Crocs is that they don’t have the best traction overall versus hiking boots or trail runners which can lead to issues on more technical terrain. This can lead to more falls and can be a safety concern for some hikers.
Holes Offer Little Foot Protection
The big holes which allow airflow are useful but are equally a problem when you need foot protection, like when hiking over rocks and in more densely forested areas where sticks can point with sharp tips.
They Are Not as Sturdy As Other Hiking Shoes
Crocs are not as sturdy as some hiking shoes on the market and can be damaged more easily if you are hiking on rocky terrain or through dense brush. This is something to consider if you are looking for a shoe that will last you for an entire thru-hike.
Slippery On Feet When Wet
Your feet can move inside them very easily once water is introduced, especially when they are larger Crocs. This can be a big problem when hiking in wet conditions and can lead to you slipping easily around in the shoe or even losing the shoe.
Additional Questions on Crocs
There are many frequent questions paired with buying Crocs that I wanted to make sure we’re answered so you get the right ones for a thru-hike as they can adjust in size with weather and sun exposure as well as your feet expand on a hike too!
Do Crocs Run Big?
From my own experience in purchasing, Crocs run equal to normal sizing of my footwear, though I’ve read and seen some people say they run big and others that they run small.
So, it’s best to try them on at a store if possible before you buy if possible or purchase from an online retailer with a good return policy, like Amazon, in case they don’t fit when hiking.
Are Crocs Supposed to be Tight?
Your Crocs should fit without slippage, they shouldn’t be tight to the point of cutting off circulation but they also shouldn’t be so loose that your foot is moving all around inside or that they slip off with movement.
The shoe’s sides, top, and arch region should comfortably hug your feet. You’ll also want some wiggle room at the front of the shoe since you don’t want your toes to touch the front.
How Much do Crocs Weigh?
Crocs can weigh different amounts depending on their size, most Crocs will weigh in around 10 ounces to 16 ounces, though with exceptional foot size you may be beyond this weight.
Why Are Camo Crocs Popular?
Camo Crocs are popular because they are a versatile style that can be used for hiking, as well as other activities. They come in a variety of colors and styles and are lightweight and easy to pack.
Hikers may choose this style because it is less likely to stand out when hiking in wooded areas for me though I need bright colors or I lose things.
Final Thoughts on Hiking With Crocs
Crocs are a lightweight hiking shoe alternative that many hikers are turning to because they are easy to pack, can be worn in wet or dry conditions, and provide some protection against the elements.
However, one major downside is that Crocs don’t have as much traction on technical terrain as hiking boots or lightweight trail runners.
In addition to these pros and cons, it’s essential when buying any new hiking gear to consider your personal style preferences too!
Are you more of an outdoorsy person who loves being outside? Or do you prefer staying inside? Do you like vibrant colors or earth tones?
Answer these questions to help you decide if hiking in Crocs is the right choice for you or whether flip flops or other shoe choices may fit better!
If you want to explore all the best gear I find online for thru-hiking please come over and check out my gear guides, they are the top way to find your next upgrade!