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Footware for Fording Creeks
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Richard Loar
(loarrh) - F
Footware for Fording Creeks on 03/18/2010 11:08:14 MDT Print View

Just wondering what people are using for fording creeks. I am looking for a light solution that does not include using hiking boots. I normally just wade barefoot, but my feet aren't as tough as they once were. I've tried the water socks and flip-flops, but they are heavier/bulkier than I would like.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: Footware for Fording Creeks on 03/18/2010 11:12:59 MDT Print View

A lot of us hike in very breathable trail runners so we just cross water in those and keep right on going. They're mostly mesh and usually drain very fast.

Eddy Walker

Locale: southeast
Re: Footware for Fording Creeks on 03/18/2010 11:27:31 MDT Print View

I use crocs for wading creeks and camp shoes

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Footware for Fording Creeks on 03/18/2010 11:27:50 MDT Print View

I use racing flats...basically, really light sneakers. There's no way I'll ford a creek barefoot.

Andy F
(AndyF) - F

Locale: Ohio
Re: Footware for Fording Creeks on 03/18/2010 11:38:21 MDT Print View

The approach I take is whichever of these seems most attractive and efficient for the time available and conditions:

1. Just walk across in trail runners I'm wearing.
2. Barefoot
3. If it's too cold or too rough of a bottom, I remove shoes and socks, and put shoes back on for the crossing. Drain and sling shoes around to remove excess water before putting them back on.

Edited by AndyF on 03/18/2010 11:38:51 MDT.

Adam Rothermich
(aroth87) - F

Locale: Missouri Ozarks
Re: Footware for Fording Creeks on 03/18/2010 11:53:27 MDT Print View

I just slosh right on through in my trailrunners. Nothing disrupts a hike like having to take off boots and socks, strap them to a pack, then dry your feet off and put them back on. My Salomon Tech Amphibs were the absolute best summer hiking shoes I had until my puppy decided to chew on one of them. It felt great on those 80* or more days to splash through a creek and have the breeze blow across your feet. My Inov8s still dry quickly plus they fit a little better than the Tech Amphibs and are more suitable during the rest of the year.


Jeremy Gus
(gustafsj) - MLife

Locale: Minneapolis
re: Footware for Fording Creeks on 03/18/2010 11:55:17 MDT Print View

+1 on wading with the trail runners. Being that they are mesh, they dry out really fast.

This last weekend, I hiked in 35-45F weather in my mesh trail runners. Probably 30% of it was in wet snow or walking through icy, cold water. I was fine and my feet stayed mostly warm as long as I wasn't standing in the cold water and kept moving. I was just wearing a merino wool liner sock or a pair of smartwool socks depending on the day.

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
Re: Re: Footware for Fording Creeks on 03/18/2010 11:55:21 MDT Print View

+1 Chris, but only when I think I have enough hiking time left for my shoes to dry out again before I stop for the night. Towards the end of the day, I'll put on my in-camp Crocs instead. That way my hiking shoes are DRY when I put them on again the next morning.

IMO, getting into cold, wet footware on a cold morning is a real demotivator and basically a lousy way to start the day. That and the prospect of a 2000 foot uphill in the shade makes me want to burrow back into my warm little nest and wait a bit - like until NOON.

Wandering Bob

Edited by wandering_bob on 03/18/2010 11:57:45 MDT.

Lori P
(lori999) - F

Locale: Central Valley
Re: Footware for Fording Creeks on 03/18/2010 12:08:28 MDT Print View

I'd go with "it depends."

Crocs have replaced my Tevas for late afternoon freezing water crossings when I am not wanting to be waking up to frozen shoes in the morning. Crocs absorb no water so do not get heavier when wet or freeze solid - any frost on them brushes off easily. They also provide more side and top coverage than the Tevas did.

Jeff K
(jeff.k) - F

Locale: New York
Re: re: Footware for Fording Creeks on 03/18/2010 12:19:35 MDT Print View

Does the think merino wool liner sock help in regards to warmth and moisture management, when you are wearing a smartwool sock as well?

I always wear a SmartWool sock, but have never tried it with a liner. Am I missing out?

Gary Boyd
(debiant) - F

Locale: Mid-west
Trail Runners... on 03/18/2010 12:21:21 MDT Print View

Yup, just walk on through. I do try to roll up my pants though.

Derek B.
(derekb) - F

Locale: Ottawa, Ontario
Re: Footware for Fording Creeks on 03/18/2010 12:22:59 MDT Print View

Pretty good consensus here on just wearing your trail runners. The only thing I'll add is that if you are hiking in colder weather, neoprene socks can help keep your feet warm if you plan to be in and out of water a lot. I do a lot of canoe tripping, and I use trail runners with neoprene socks lined with a thin liner sock to prevent friction blisters. They don't dry that well, and they don't smell great after a few days, but they do keep my feet warm even when I'm in and out of near-freezing water a lot. May not be what you need for your context, but works for me.

Ike Mouser
(isaac.mouser) - F
imo on 03/18/2010 12:28:09 MDT Print View

in the winter time i think its foolish to get your shoes soaked in a knee high stream. I just pull up my merino bottoms up high(had to cut them at the base to do this), remove shoes, because i have an aarn pack(securing them to the pack can be easily done without removing the pack). i keep a bag just for this, and i tie them off on front of my balance pockets. When i get to the other side, my feet are freezing, but i use my shamwow that i dry my tarp with to dry them, once dry i reapply socks/shoes. Hopefully it is not a continual thing(such as inthe smokies in winter), if so i try to find another way across if possible to avoid the slowdown of constantly putting footware back on. I would like to find a tough VB plastic material that i could wear on my foot, but would be tough enough to leave on for stream crossings, yet remove the socks/liners so they do not get wet when i cross. As you guys know, when your foot is remotely damp, its hard to get socks back on. If i had a VB that was tough and waterproof, i could just wade across in it, secure it with a rubber band at the top, and when i got across just slip my socks easily over it. Something to think about.

If your feet are really freezing on the other side, consider doing some bear grylls naked pushups or similar to warm the blood in your body. =P

in the summertime i just wade through with my mesh trail runners, no biggie. but that also depends on location, some places summer can change to freezing temps rapidly (mountains etc), so it depends. But 99% of the time i just wade through, they will dry fast.

i also agree with bbob bankhead, stepping into stiff frozen shoes is a terrible thing. avoid at all costs.

Edited by isaac.mouser on 03/18/2010 12:33:00 MDT.

martin cooperman
(martyc) - M

Locale: Industrial Midwest
Wading Creeks in winter on 03/18/2010 13:47:57 MDT Print View

In colder weather I've found Crocs or, even lighter, shower slippers, to work fine. Trailrunners are not going to dry off in 20 degree weather unless it is very dry and sunny.

Bare feet are a bit risky unless you really know what the bottom of the creek is like. One sharp upturned twig...

It gets more complicated if there's snow on the ground as it will stick to wet feet. I use a pad that I toss on the ground and then stand on, on the far side of the creek, in order to change back into trail runners. If snow sticks to wet feet they stay very cold.

Marty Cooperman

Richard Loar
(loarrh) - F
Guess I'm a wet foot Wuss on 03/18/2010 15:00:28 MDT Print View

Now I regret starting the thread because I found out what a true wuss I am. I hate hiking in wet boots/shoes, especially if it can be avoided.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
what Derek said on 03/18/2010 15:05:44 MDT Print View

"I use trail runners with neoprene socks lined with a thin liner sock to prevent friction blisters. They don't dry that well, and they don't smell great after a few days, but they do keep my feet warm even when I'm in and out of near-freezing water a lot. May not be what you need for your context, but works for me."

This is my system for most of my backpacking. Once you get your head 'round it hiking with damp feet isn't a big deal. Putting on frozen shoes in the morning and thawing them with your feet is a bit of a bummer, but it's backpacking so HTFU and get on with it.

Wading streams when it's well below freezing is a different thing altogether, and probably deserves its own thread.

Edited by DaveC on 03/18/2010 15:06:17 MDT.

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: Re: Footware for Fording Creeks on 03/18/2010 17:16:45 MDT Print View

I do a lot of canoe tripping

Age-old debate in canoe country -- do you wear something waterproof and try to keep your feet dry, or do you wear something that will dry quickly.

Some experienced people did one, some the other. Personally, I was of the latter persuasion.

-- MV

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Footwear for Fording Creeks on 03/18/2010 17:21:24 MDT Print View

Unless your feet are actually made of sugar, just get them wet. Mine are usually dry again in 20 minutes. I use Darn Tough 1/4 crews and Innov-8 Terroc 330's.

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: Footware for Fording Creeks on 03/18/2010 17:41:15 MDT Print View

If you want a precedent from a group that cares a lot about foot care, and which had a lot of men in a wet environment, consider the Army in Vietnam. They definitely went for drying quickly.

They issued Jungle Boots with mesh insoles. Those boots even had screened openings in the arch area. After going through water, you could see the guy ahead of you pumping water out those screened openings with every step. The water would squirt out an inch or two each step.

I wore mine later on for a summer canoeing in Ontario -- sure my feet got wet at each end of each portage, but I never was uncomfortable (because they dried quickly).

-- MV

Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Footwear for fording creeks on 03/18/2010 17:43:52 MDT Print View

I did a search sometime ago for lightweight wading shoes and bookmarked this (and then forgot about it):

Vincere Sand Socks, basically thick lycra socks with some sort of gripping "sole" on the bottom. Check out the "Grip Socks/Boat Socks." I have never tried/seen/wore these and don't know how much they weigh.

The Grip socks come in black, but the sand socks come in an assortment of colors. Think how awesome it would be to stop at a creek and put on hot pink or blue lightning socks!