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(jlhilliker) - F
Watershoes? on 03/07/2012 16:45:34 MST Print View

Does anybody else carry secondary shoes with them, to ford streams and to wear in camp? I use a pair of Teva Zilch's, which weigh around 14 or 15 oz, but I'm looking for something that covers my toes, and are just as lightweight. I'm looking at Columbia Drainmaker and New Balance Minimus. Does anybody have experience with these or have other recommendations?

Jace Mullen
(climberslacker) - F

Locale: Your guess is as good as mine.
Watershoes? on 03/07/2012 16:52:41 MST Print View

If you use the lighweight, mesh trail runners that many here use and advocate, watershoes become redundant as our trail shoes will actually dry faster than many watershoes and more comfortable.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Watershoes? on 03/07/2012 17:11:35 MST Print View

Lots of people probably do carry creek crossing shoes, but would be afraid to say so on this Most that I hike with will take Crocs. The Drainmakers are probably heavier.

Ty Guillory
(TyGui) - F
Watershoes? on 03/07/2012 18:09:32 MST Print View

Come on John; tell 'em about the bread bags!
By the way, the AR trip was simply great.

Edited by TyGui on 03/07/2012 18:11:20 MST.

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
Watershoes on 03/07/2012 18:25:23 MST Print View


Edited by skopeo on 09/08/2015 15:44:51 MDT.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Watershoes? on 03/07/2012 19:14:17 MST Print View

Hey The ERL trip was awesome for sure.

For the OP, one thing you can do if you don't want to take extra shoes for water crossings is to take a pair of bread bags. In camp you can dry off your feet, put on dry socks and bread bags over them, and wear the wet shoes in camp. Depending on how long in camp wearing the bread bags, you may need to let the feet breathe since the bread bags are a vapor barrier. You could also remove the insoles in camp to let them dry out.

Paul Wagner
(balzaccom) - F

Locale: Wine Country
Crocs on 03/07/2012 19:26:42 MST Print View

And we do take Crocs: not just to cross creeks, but also to wear around camp. WEight for mine is about 12 oz...and I love them

(KalebC) - F

Locale: South West
Water shoes on 03/07/2012 21:50:58 MST Print View

There are so many different types of terrains that this conversation is wide open to opinion. Some people say "just suck it up and wear wet shoes/boots" when crossing water, i dont agree. After my first time in Denali I tried the suck it up method and my feet were cold and wet for 7 days and it was uncomfortable. The second time I went to Denali, I brought an 8 oz modified pair of Nike lunar racers that I crossed deep rivers in, and my boots stayed dry, it was great. After all you can't dry your shoes/boots out in Denali cause you can't have a fire. If I can have a fire I usually just bring trail runners. I made a pair of myog sandals that weigh 0.8 oz that I sometimes bring along, or you could put your shoe inserts inside socks, many options based on the terrain and weight penalty price to pay.

Ted E
(Mtn_nut) - MLife

Locale: Morrison, CO
how about water socks?!?! on 03/08/2012 10:27:18 MST Print View

what i now bring with me if i know water crossings are eminent are a pair of neoprene socks that warmers makes. they weight 4.5oz (pair of XL), and since they are neoprene, the don't absorb water, so they need little drying. they double as insulating socks for cold morings and evenings, and are durable enough for walking around camp.

FYI, i do most of my hiking in colorado, wyoming, and utah at higher altitudes. if i was hiking at lower elevations where the water is warmer and normal air temps are higher, i would leave these at home and just take my socks off at river crossings.

Barry P
(BarryP) - F

Locale: Eastern Idaho (moved from Midwest)
Re: Watershoes? on 03/08/2012 12:35:22 MST Print View

“Does anybody else carry secondary shoes with them, to ford streams and to wear in camp?”

The only question I ask myself: should I go with socks or without?
Colder temperatures--- I go w/o. Then I dry my feet on the other side and put on dry socks; then it feels so warm!
Warm temperatures--- I cross w/ my socks on.

Small detail: I backpack in sandals and I don’t bring a ‘2nd pair'. Thus I go through that river in my hiking sandal.
I wish the Zilch’s would work on me! They are cool looking and light. But I can’t get use to the big toe strangulation :(

The mountains were made for Teva’s

Brian Austin
(footeab) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Watershoes? on 03/08/2012 15:00:59 MST Print View


Sandals/Flip Flops. Most everyone buys them way too small and therefore provides little toe protection. Buy them AT LEAST 1 or 2 sizes too large giving one extra room out front for confronting rocks! When you do this you will become a happy sandal wearer.

As someone else stated, a pair of Cross Country race shoes with essentially no sole on them work.

When I am kayaking, I wear socks/neoprene booties. Likewise one can buy a pair of aquasocks. These are actually "shoes", but are essentially all mesh. When up north in cold waters, I used to wear socks/VBL/aquasock type footwear. Said footwear cost me $15 at Big 5 sporting goods and lasted just as long, 3 trips totaling 2 weeks. I now wear Socks in kayak and when jumping out, take socks off and throw on sandals. Note, 2 sizes TOO large sandals giving toe protection!

Robert Kelly
(QiWiz) - MLife

Locale: UL gear @
Re: Watershoes on 03/08/2012 15:25:44 MST Print View

"In colder weather when drying my shoes is more difficult, I will take along a pair of Sprint Aquatics mesh shoes. Very minimalist and only weigh 1.8 oz for the pair but they do the trick."

+1 on Sprint Aquatics, which can also be worn in camp if its not too cold

If I'm trying to go REALLY light and I know what I'm facing, will sometimes just barefoot it with care. I prefer to keep my hiking shoes dry if I can.

If it's raining or really soupy I may be wearing Goretex socks anyway, and would just cross in mesh shoes with those socks on.

Michael Foster

Locale: Louisiana
Drainmakers on 03/08/2012 15:35:03 MST Print View

I have a pair of drainmakers, and I have hiked in them, but the sole is very thin and the flex parts sole is completely unprotected, with only a thin piece of foam between the ground and your foot. I wouldn't use them as my only shoe on a trail with rocks or roots, but for crossing rivers they are pretty awesome. The soles are very grippy and handle slippery rock well, and they drain and dry exceptionally fast for a closed shoe. The only caveat would be the gaps in the sole. I have since just brought a pair Montrail Mountain Masochist and cross streams and hike in those. I use the drainmakers for sailing. The photo shows the "gap" in the sole that can bruise your foot if you hit a sharp rock in the right place. They weigh 18.5 ounces size 12. Walmart has some light "aqua sock" type shoe for $5.99, but like the others I've enjoyed just crossing in my trail runners, much less of a hassle.sole of drainmakers

Edited by nolamyke on 03/08/2012 15:38:05 MST.

Susan Papuga
(veganaloha) - M

Locale: USA
stream crossing footwear on 03/09/2012 21:57:18 MST Print View

Has anybody used the WP rocky socks? I read a footwear review last year on this site and they were recommended to wear over regular socks with regular hiking shoes. I'm doing the JMt this summer and anticipate I'll probably have a few wet crossings to deal with, so I'm reviewing my options now.

In warmer climate, I would just walk through and not worry about my socks getting wet and let them air dry as I go. Either that or bread bags.


Dustin Short
(upalachango) - MLife
Re: stream crossing footwear on 03/09/2012 23:09:48 MST Print View

If the weather is above freezing and I have to only worry about occasional stream crossings, I don't even hesitate and just wade directly into the water. I find the time fussing about getting wet is really a waste, in addition to having to worry about wet shoes in your pack and carrying extra weight.

I do wear light mesh trail runners though so they warm up in less than 15 minutes in 40F weather after a dunking.

If the weather is colder, or I expect prolonged water immersion such as hiking in canyon bottoms where the stream is often the most efficient "trail" I'll wear neoprene socks. I usually just wear a 0.5mm NRS hydroskin and it's worked above freezing relatively well. If day temps are going to be consistently under 50F with 40F water it's probably more comfortable to go with 2mm socks like the previously mentioned.

I think the Denali post is a bit misleading. If you're wearing heavy boots of any kind, whether mountaineering or hiking, getting them wet is a problem. They're simply not breathable enough that they trap and hold water and take an inordinate amount of time to dry. If this is your foot wear I would suggest switching to trail runners (assuming your pack weights are under 40lbs, or you have strong ankles) and not worry so much. However if you do still carry a heavy load and use boots for the ankle support, then getting river shoes would be beneficial.

For the record, I've never hiked/backpacked with anyone that brought stream crossing shoes. Some may try to find stepping stones or logs to cross with but every single one has no "issue" with getting their feet wet. At the very worst it's just funny when someone is trying to avoid it and then slips and gets soaked anyway ;)

John Almond
(FLRider) - F

Locale: The Southeast
Re: Re: stream crossing footwear on 03/10/2012 06:46:11 MST Print View

Note: I hike in Florida, and our most imposing elevation change here is under 300 ft, total.

With that being said, I hike in a Keen-style sandal that has toebox protection (this came out of my need for a bike shoe that drained well in the rain). No need for socks when the temperatures are above freezing (despite being a hot-natured guy, my toes freeze easily), and they dry within a quarter mile to an half mile after stream or swamp crossings. I have athlete's foot problems with closed shoes over long periods, and these have yet to give me trouble with that on the trail.

Mine weigh 700 g/27 oz for the pair (size 9.5). So, not ultralight, but they were also $5 at Wallyworld.

I still bring thick socks for sleeping in when the temperatures are forecast below 60 F, but that's a separate issue.

Barbara Karagosian
(Barbara) - M

Locale: So Cal
Nike Mayfly on 03/10/2012 12:37:21 MST Print View

Ive used Nike Mayfly running shoes with the insoles removed. They weigh 7oz for the pair. I used them as camp shoes and to cross streams that I cant rockhop. Disadvantage is they stay wet a while, whereas crocs drip dry almost at once. They only come in orange!

James Taylor
(Stahl) - F

Locale: Montana
Sprint Aquatics on 03/12/2012 17:34:12 MDT Print View

I cut some foot shapes out of 1/4" foam and inserted them in the SA sandals. Very nice for camp shoes (getting out of hammock and staggering around to uh... water the nice trees) and I just remove the foam for water.
The Sprint Aquatics site appears to not offer large anymore, though, which is the only size I'd recomend. The medium are very very tight, and I couldn't fit a pad in them at all. I wear a 10 1/2 boot, btw.