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lightweight wading sandals or shoes?
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Francis DeRoos

Locale: Mid Atlantic
lightweight wading sandals or shoes? on 07/28/2011 16:56:45 MDT Print View

I'm hiking the JMT this september and my major goal is to fish as much as possible. With that in mind, I'm strongly considering taking along a sandal or shoe I can wet wade in so I can access much more of the rivers and creeks along the route. My current pair of wading sandals weighs 28 oz. Obviously a balancing act between lightness and enough structure for support, traction, protection. Anyone else thought about this trade off and have ideas?

Mark Ries
(mtmnmark) - M

Locale: IOWAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!
I use what I wear hiking on 07/28/2011 22:08:46 MDT Print View

I have not found anything that works better than my hiking shoes (merrill moab ventillators) that I would dare to carry.I take it you try to keep your footware dry?

Craig Price
(skeets) - MLife

Locale: Melbourne, Australia
specialised wading shoes on 07/29/2011 06:51:23 MDT Print View

salomon tech amphibians
Columbia outpost hybrid
many others also out there
cheapsters - dunlop volleys, the original - roofers still wear them

light weight mesh runner-style shoes with specialised rubber on the soles for river use. Less slippery than ordinary runners, whose harder sole rubber is really slippery. No rubber is perfect, but these are better than ordinary. Ok to walk in, but with softer soles will wear out sooner.


Francis DeRoos

Locale: Mid Atlantic
Wading shoes on 07/29/2011 09:57:37 MDT Print View

@ Mark,

Yes I need a 2nd pair of shoes because I find that if I hike after I'm in the water for a few hours, my feet get really chewed up.

@ Craig
Thanks for the suggestions
THe solomon tech amphibians are 24 oz
the columbia outpost hybrid is 20 oz
Merrell WaterPro Manistee Water Shoe are 22 oz

In regards to the lightweight runner style shoes are you referring to products like the
merrell glove cross trainers - they weight in at 13-14 oz for the pair. I tried them on and seem like they would be good in terms of the sole and grip, there is little stability and no front toe protection. So you'd need to be pretty careful when wading.

Maybe I can get creative with a knife and cut a bit off my current pair of sandals to reduce weight from the current 28 oz.....

Craig Price
(skeets) - MLife

Locale: Melbourne, Australia
light weight second pairs on 08/21/2011 06:41:35 MDT Print View

I missed this, sorry.

if you are carrying a second pair of shoes, then there are other options to consider. as a suggestion:

modifying a rubber soled pair will be lightest. it's such a pity that the rubber in crocs is more slippery than ice on wet river rocks.

cheapest is grabbing your lightest cheap shoe/sandal, cutting off any frills, then glueing on some thin waterproof carpet, the thinnest grade stuff to reduce wet weight. works pretty well for wading, but you need something else for hiking. if you use something with a purely rubber upper, it will do as a camp shoe also.

just suggesting...

Yuri R
(Yazon) - F

111111111111111 on 08/21/2011 10:32:59 MDT Print View

Question: I assume that the water will be plenty cold, as there still some snow on long do you think you can stand in sandals in cold water? Wouldn't you need something that is water-proof and wear some socks inside?

Francis DeRoos

Locale: Mid Atlantic
cold water and wading on 08/25/2011 14:02:42 MDT Print View

I find that most of the time, I can take a break on a rock or the bank to keep my feet happy even in the coldest water. For me a wading shoe needs to do 3 main things 1. protect your front toes 2. improve traction and protect soles of feet (as opposed to bare ft) 3. keep your socks and hiking shoes relatively dry to minimize blisters/skin breakdown, etc.

Jesse Glover
(hellbillylarry) - F

Locale: southern appalachians
Second pair of shoes. on 08/27/2011 11:05:01 MDT Print View

I would advise against a second pair of shoes. You'll be crossing water alot on that trail weather you plan on fishing or not. I'd just wear my regular hiking shoes and tromp on through. My Solomon xa pros and xt wings will both dry within an hour or so of hiking in them.

You need to learn to handle hiking with wet feet if you are going to do any long distance hiking.

Antti Peltola
(anttipeltola) - F
Re: lightweight wading sandals or shoes? on 08/27/2011 11:40:35 MDT Print View

Just got my shoes, but after some tries, I think Columbia Drainmakers are really good for getting feet wet. My feet dry much faster than an hour.

Check out the video:

Don't know what they are like when you get snow, other than that, they seem really nice.

Light? Enough for me. Weight: one shoe, Size 9, 8.85oz/251g

"You need to learn to handle hiking with wet feet if you are going to do any long distance hiking."

An the original poster said "major goal is to fish as much as possible." --> not so long distances, right?

Francis DeRoos

Locale: Mid Atlantic
RE: lightweight wading sandals or shoes? on 09/23/2011 21:18:03 MDT Print View

Antti - those look very interesting for 17 oz a pair it may be a great compromise.

Just got back from through fishing the JMT south to north and decided not to bring any additional footwear on my trip. I initially waded in my hiking shoes for the first 2 days. Soon developed serious raw region over achilles tendons that were very painful requiring significant taping. afterwards, I either waded in socks to the other side of the creek to improve my cast line (fly fishing) or just stayed on the edge and walked up or down stream until I found a clear casting lane. In retrospect, there were only a few creeks/rivers on which, wading shoes would have been really nice (Woods Creek, middle and north fork of the San Joaquin, Mono Creek and Merced River). However, when fishing those creeks and rivers, I simply used my socks alone or bare feet. Not ideal, at times a bit uncomfortable but nothing compared to my torn up heels. If I did it again, I'd probably bring a light 5 fingers or simple beach/sand shoe for protection. maybe even a thicker sock with a bit of shoe goo on the bottom, hmmm.

Roleigh Martin
(marti124) - MLife

Locale: Moderator-JohnMuirTrail Yahoo Group
Re: RE: lightweight wading sandals or shoes? on 09/23/2011 22:12:47 MDT Print View

I've done the JMT every summer for the last 4 years and I like the Crocs' knock offs as they're totally functional (if you get the firmest/tightest size for your feet), you may need to order two sizes, try them out, and send back the size that's not right. has a crocs knockoff called the AT Walker or something AT in the name, that is about 4 oz per sandal.

Walmart used to sell knockoffs Crocs and I used those this summer.

By the way, shameful plug here. I'm the moderator of the and we have 1240 members and the best research library on the JMT period. There is a whole document in the file library on JMT wading sandals options, some of them going down to about 1.5 oz per sandal (which I've used, but I've decided the extra 2.5 to 3 oz more per foot is worth it totally). If you haven't joined that group, I encourage you to do so. The best single file we have in the crib sheet for the JMT (prints out on one sheet of paper) that has all the phone numbers you'd ever conceivably need while on the trail (in case you have to bail out or get an unexpected resupply, etc).

jennifer ross
(jenhifive) - F

Locale: Norcal
Totally possible to be u.l. and not have hamburger meat feet. on 09/24/2011 01:26:43 MDT Print View

Besides me falling in a lake i kept my shoes dry on the jmt by using my dirty socks to cross then putting on my backup socks and stringing the wet ones on my pack. After I take the socks off I clean them up a bit so it's productive anyway. If you cross another one, put the wet ones back on for the crossing. As far as toe stubs I didn't have a problem but I wasn't trying to fish. This is just what works for me. I still got very minor blisters but not painful while on the trail. I've had worse from day hikes in wet shoes.

Diana Vann
(DianaV) - MLife

Locale: Wandering
JMT group on 09/24/2011 01:42:20 MDT Print View


Thanks for the tip about the JMT group, it sounds very helpful. I haven't hiked the JMT, but it's high on my list of next hikes.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: JMT group on 09/24/2011 08:29:40 MDT Print View

some day maybe I'll do JMT


Jim Leonard
(mxracer33x) - F

Locale: West Coast
Crocs? on 10/06/2011 20:00:59 MDT Print View

WHat about a pair of crocs Quicktrails? I have no idea on weight, since I cant find one anywhere, but Im planning on calling tomorrow. These look just like what Ive been looking for for some of the areas I fish.

Kai Larson
(KaiPL) - F

Locale: Colorado
Columbia Drainmaker on 10/10/2011 21:56:48 MDT Print View

I've been using Columbia Drainmaker water shoes.

19.2 ounces for a pair in size 11.

Traction isn't great, but is adequate, and they dry out quickly.

jon fr
(brdaaw) - F
Light water shoes on 04/16/2012 16:52:03 MDT Print View

Vivobarefoot ultras. I wear a size 13 and they're 7.9 oz for the pair on my scale. That's with the removable tongues removed. They're super comfortable; I think they're the same material as crocs but much thinner. Ems sells a pair for 50

Richard Cullip
(RichardCullip) - M

Locale: San Diego County
Innov8 Roclite 295 for me on 04/16/2012 19:12:32 MDT Print View

I both hike and wet wade while fly fishing in my Innov8 Roclite 295's to avoid the weight of carrying a second pair of shoes. The rubber soles are soft and sticky and do a decent job of sticking to wet rocks while wading. The mesh top drains wells and dries quickly. The only downside I've experienced is that they don't keep my feet warm while wading in cold water. This limits the time I can keep my feet under water when wading ice cold streams/creeks before the cold drives me out of the water.

Joseph Raymundo
(jlrray) - F

Locale: Pacific Southwest
Wadersocks... on 04/18/2012 00:38:29 MDT Print View

You can get yourself a lightweight pair or wet wading socks which might make it more comfortable to wade in, but when wading in cold water for long periods of time, i usually throw on some neoprene guard socks on and away I go. kinda tough to keep adding things when you're trying to pack light, but for me, the whole point of going backpacking is fishing...

Dan Magdoff
(highsierraguy) - F

Locale: Northern California
Northface hedgefrog on 04/29/2012 12:17:17 MDT Print View

for water/ fishing shoes I use the Northface hedgefrogs. They are 21oz on my scale, and work great! Quick drying, closed toed, and can be drawn tight so that you can hike quite a ways in them and have good traction.