Best Camp Shoe - What's the lightest and most versatile?

Dan

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Feb 24, 2012
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454
I'll admit, normally I'm not a huge fan of camp shoes. But sometimes, they are an absolute necessity. For instance, when hiking all day and your feet are wet, you need something dry to slip into for the around camp chores.

I lucked out two years ago and found a pair of ugly crocs in nepal that were 2 bucks, and were made of material half the weight of standard crocs. Each shoe weighs about 3.7 ounces. Normal crocs are in the 6-8 ounce range, depending on the model.

After a discussion on the grand canyon hikers group, I was alerted to these Vivobarefoot Ultra Pure shoes. They are ridiculously light weight, they can lace tight for crossing rivers without ripping off (like crocs can) and they have an enclosed toe. Win, win, win.



Only downside? Their cost is a little steep. But I went and tried on a pair today. I think they are now in the number 1 ranking as far as camp shoes go...

Any other shoes y'all use and like?
 

Nick

Spiral out.
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Aug 9, 2007
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Whoa! Those are sweet! I like the black/blue much better though. The reviews on Amazon are pretty good, some of which specifically mention it being a perfect backpacking camp shoe. Supposedly excellent for river crossings too. I like the idea that if something were to happen to my boots, these seem like I could actually hike out in them. Not something I would say about flip flops. I have added them to my wish list. :)
 

slc_dan

Desert Rat-Weekend Warrior
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Jun 7, 2012
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I've been wanting to start a thread about, "what are good river/trudging through creeks" shoes. My keen sandals pissed me off when I walked through a few rivers. Rocks would get in the foot bed really easy.

I'm curious how they work out.
 

Dan

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Feb 24, 2012
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I've been wanting to start a thread about, "what are good river/trudging through creeks" shoes. My keen sandals pissed me off when I walked through a few rivers. Rocks would get in the foot bed really easy.

I'm curious how they work out.
unfortunately, probably still have that problem with these - i'm thinking more along the lines of fording high rivers one time. definitely would not be good for hiking the narrows, or the like.
 

intuitive cat

Jurassic Dust in my Bones
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Mar 9, 2012
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for around camp i usually pack a pair of Sanuks or my Teva Zilch's if i want sandals. (bought both during sales at less than half retail price making them affordable options). neither take up much packing space and are lightweight. my zilch's are everyday wear around town in summer.

i've been looking at some of the Cushe canvas shoes as well with collapsible backs allowing them to be used as slip ons. they look like they would not pack down as flat, though.

---------

slc_dan - i've tried multiple water shoes. so far, for more casual non technical hiking (such as wandering along the escalante river & other creek hikes with regular water crossings) I have been enjoying my Teva Gnarkosi, believe it or not. they may be a bit too futuristic/ hip/ strange looking, but very little sand and no gravel whatsoever get into them & the spider rubber soles perform pretty well even when wet. they are also very lightweight for a full shoe. i bought mine on clearance at Sierra TP and with a good coupon code, they were less than 40 bucks. after trying them out for awhile, i actually got a second pair for future use. (they discontinued the burnt orange ones and now only have some rather ugly color choices available, so i wanted to be sure i got another pair of ones that i actually felt looked halfway decent)

the key difference i've found between shoes meant for kayaking and canyons - most water shoes are not designed to keep out sand & rocks and canyoneering shoes are a bit too much for more casual excursions.

personally, for most of my hiking, i like to be as close to barefoot as possible when i can (of course, this depends on terrain and pack load).
I've also tried out the Zemgear Terra split toe shoes, and they have been ok in casual water settings - i like them for when i go casual wading, but they are horrible on sand and stone due to the fact that the soles have NO insulation.within minutes of moving from water to a sandy slope, it felt like my feet were literally getting fried. definitely not worth the price.i think they would be great for around camp if not for the insulation issue, as they would allow the foot to spread & stretch out helping relax them after being confined all day.

Most watershoes are designed primarily to drain water. i've previously tried a few types of open sandals and some mesh watershoes, but all of them tend to collect massive amounts of sand. i'm not into mesh sided shoes. i have wide feet and tend to split them open or else damage the outside mesh through abrasion rather quickly.
in july and august i spend a lot of time on the escalante just around hwy 12 heading to waterholes to keep cool after a day of work, so i got a little obsessed with trying to find what worked best for such simple use but could also stand up to longer hikes - and that area is a great mix of sand, gravel and stone, so any issues become apparent rather quickly, especially when simply standing in the escalante river with all of its tiny pebbles and gravel. omg, sandals were a nightmare in that setting! they may be good for simple crossings, but definitely not for hiking in the river!

i'm guessing that this is an area in which we will see more product development as companies receive more feedback about the performance of their products in canyon / desert settings.
I'd say wait & see what comes out this next season before choosing anything, though, as the watershoe market is expanding rather quickly.

-------

my question with the vivo's is how will that rubber/plastic heel feel against the skin? it looks like it could rub one raw. does it have a mesh lining? they look like they have a rather narrow footprint as well, and i'd doubt that the plastic would stretch much for a wider foot. is the material they are made of recyclable? they look like they could be (and SHOULD be).
 
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Mike K

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After a discussion on the grand canyon hikers group, I was alerted to these Vivobarefoot Ultra Pure shoes. They are ridiculously light weight, they can lace tight for crossing rivers without ripping off (like crocs can) and they have an enclosed toe. Win, win, win.

Only downside? Their cost is a little steep. But I went and tried on a pair today. I think they are now in the number 1 ranking as far as camp shoes go...

I pulled the trigger on a pair of these Vivobarefoot Ultra Pures and they are pretty sweet. I just got them last night. They are super light, feel very comfortable, and should be a great camp shoe! They are lighter and more versatile than my current camp shoe which is just a pair of lightweight Nike sandals/flips.

They were pricey and it doesn't look like they'll have long life span but I'm excited to try them out in the field!
 

DAA

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Jun 14, 2012
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My Son and I rocked the Ultra Pures this summer for camp/wading shoes and loved them. Super comfy and light. No absorbency so they don't gain weight when wet and dry very quickly. And it felt sooooo good to get out of our boots and put them on at the end of a day. We both felt like they were one of our best gear aquisitions this year.



I took them on a river trip too, but reverted to my Keens. The super thin sole of the Ultra Pure was getting my feet feeling pretty beat up after half a day of rocky river wading. And they were at least as difficult to clear of rocks/sand as my Keens (my biggest complaint with the Keens). For years I was perfectly happy with Tevas for river walking/fishing. But last year I stubbed the CRAP out of my big toe while wading in deep fast water and it HURT so dang bad I would have cried if nobody had been looking. I let out a string of expletives that the onlookers will never forget instead... Ended up losing the toenail. So I bought the closed toe Keens for this last summer. Good toe protection and traction, but the closed toe prevents easy clearing of debris with a simple underwater lift and shake of the foot. And they are heavy and the webbing absorbs more water than I'd have guessed, making them heavier still, and that part seemed really slow to dry too. I might go back to the Tevas again and just try to be more careful :cool:.

- DAA
 

Mike K

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My Son and I rocked the Ultra Pures this summer...
Sweet. Thanks for sharing. Makes me feel even better about my purchase. Looking forward to that great feeling of relief that comes after taking off heavy, sweaty, and stinky boots after a long day's backpack!!

I took them on a river trip too, but reverted to my Keens...
It's hard to win when it comes to wading! With sandals (usually Chacos) I've stubbed toes, slammed feet, slipped and fell, rolled ankles, etc. while wading rivers with snot slick rocks! So I can empathize with you. My last river trip (Selway packraft) I bought some Five Ten Canyoneer 2 Boots. Worked great for minor wading, scouting, and short hikes. For more serious wading (fly fishing, etc) the traction still wasn't there though. Not sure anything would have worked well for traction (even studded/felt boots!!) =). Slick stuff! At least when I did slip around, I had full foot protection, which was nice. Anyhow, it'd be nice if there were one PERFECT do-it-all shoe for that type of a trip. But there are other threads for this topic...I digress.

The Ultra Pures should be great. Thanks again to Dan Ransom for starting the thread and to DAA for the review.
 

bscuderi

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Nov 20, 2012
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I just like crocs they are cheap and pretty light.

Sent from my ASUS Transformer Pad TF300T using Tapatalk 2
 

Dan

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Feb 24, 2012
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454
I just like crocs they are cheap and pretty light.
i kinda think they are pretty heavy for what they are. ymmv.

ultra-pure ~4oz
crocs ~9oz
montrail rockridge shoes ~12oz (my standard backpacking shoes)
(weights per shoe)
 

BeardedGoose

New Member
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Jul 20, 2014
Messages
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I just got back from a quick overnighter trip at Robber's Cave in Oklahoma.
I tried taking my Crocs this time because:

  • They don't absorb moisture
  • they slip on (great for if you have to get out of the tent at night)
  • Let me feet breath and relax after the day of hiking
However, the cons:

  • They're heavy
  • They take up more room than other alternatives
  • They're bulky
So, my search for lightweight camp shoes ensued.

I think the next shoe I'll try is my VIbram five finger Sprints ( I don't think they make em anymore).
Sort of like these, minus the velcro strap (http://www.amazon.com/Vibram-Fivefingers-Sprint-Running-Shoes/dp/B0029D6VE0)
I wish i had the ones with the strap though.
I think these would dry quickly, weigh 348g, and I can clip em to the outside of my pack.

I'm eager to get and try out the Vivobarefoot ones though. Wishlist!
 

Nick

Spiral out.
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Aug 9, 2007
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12,862
After a couple years now with my Vivobarefoots, my opinion on them is excellent. Not only are they the best possible 'camp shoe', in my opinion, they are also amazing for a boat/swimming shoe. They're super comfy like being bare foot in a kayak, but you can swim and step on nasty, hard stuff with no pain. I also use them as 'house shoes' when I take photos in luxury homes so that people can quickly see I'm not wearing 'outside shoes'. I'm a huge fan all around. Nothing else really comes close.
 

Mike K

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Jul 6, 2012
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Overall I've liked 'em too. My only complaints are the high price and that they smoothed out quickly on the bottom leaving little to no traction. I knew both of those facts going in though and have still really enjoyed them. I use them as a backcountry camp shoe, sometimes when paddling, around the house, and after I get out of my sweaty mountain biking shoes.
 

bscuderi

Member
Joined
Nov 20, 2012
Messages
36
Okay I posted crocks a while back but I've since converted to the vivo barefoot a there is no comparison. Thanks to this thread or I wouldn't have ever realized that they existed. :)


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 
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