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Minimalist Camp/Water Shoe - update question
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Charles Potter

Locale: Northern Cal
Minimalist Camp/Water Shoe - update question on 06/07/2012 10:54:29 MDT Print View

I'm looking for a recommended minimalist running shoe for water stream crossing and camp shoes use only. I don't care for the 5-finger types, since I want maximum protection for stream crossing pebbles/rocks (soles and toe coverage protection), so sandles/crocs are out. Closed toe sandles (Keen) seem a bit heavy too. I'm also aware of some of the aqua shoes out there, but they too seem (from the advertising) to be more on the water-use side than camp shoe side. The newer minimlist runners seem to be closing the weight gap between open-toed strap sandles (I have a 4 oz pair) and real full-coverage shoes (i.e., running shoes that could possibly be used as an emergency hiking shoe, if my heavier trail runners have issues). I don't mind adding a few ozs for more protection and possible emergency use on the trail. I have been looking at some of the newer minimalist runner models at the $100 level (e.g., 6.5 oz New Balance Minimalist Zero, Nike Free 3.0, etc.) and some models at a lower price level (Reebox). These guys are super light, but how do they do in water, after getting water logged on a 20-yard, knee-high water crossing? I don't have the time or $ to water test all of the new models and was wondering whether anyone has identified the/a lightest and best performer of the new minimalist runners for water crossings that will dry out and perform as a decent camp shoe. Thanks.

Tim B
(FlatlanderIA) - F
brooks on 06/14/2012 14:31:48 MDT Print View

i run in the brooks connect and have thought they'd make a great camp / wet shoe. extremely lightweight but protective and would drain / dry fast. also great minimal but effect sole cusioning!,default,pg.html

adam blanton
(adamallstar) - MLife

Locale: Central Texas
Vivo on 06/14/2012 15:35:56 MDT Print View

Vivo Barefoot ultra pure:

Crocs material, but full toe protection. Very light and comfy, and won't break the bank at $50.

Zack Freije
(oldskool) - F

Locale: Ohio
New Balance on 06/14/2012 15:50:02 MDT Print View

Minimus MT00: 4.5 oz ea.

Gregory Stein
(tauneutrino) - F

Locale: Upper Galilee
Vivo Barefoot ultra pure - 104 grams/3.7 oz is A KILLER!!!! on 06/22/2012 00:27:35 MDT Print View

SUBJ. Does lighter shoe exist? I need full enclosing shoe like crocs or something for stream crossing/campshoe

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Mizuno Wave Universe Wave 4 on 06/22/2012 02:08:34 MDT Print View

For the past year or so, I have often used a pair of Mizuno Wave Universe 4 as camp/water shoes...

They also see dual use as my hiking shoes. That is the good news--you can leave your other heavier shoes at home.

They dry fast. Posted specs for a Men's US size 9 is 3.8 ounces. My size 12's weigh 4.90 ounces (139 grams).

I have done 25+ miles days with them. They have close to 400 miles on them and (surprisingly) are not worn out yet.

Craig Wisner can verify that I actually hike in these. One day we did a 15 mile desert cross country hike through significant amounts of cacti, boulders, and a major canyon-scree descent, and they did well... well they don't protect that well against spines in cholla infested areas :(

On another trip, one day we hiked 18 miles to include a 9,000+ foot elevation gain, and my Wave's were the trip's fashion statement... a value added bonus.

Nick 11

John Abela
(JohnAbela) - MLife

Re: Mizuno Wave Universe Wave 4 on 06/22/2012 02:48:16 MDT Print View


Thanks for posting your thoughts on those shoes.

I have almost 3000 miles on a few different pair of the Inov-8 X-talon 212 shoes and have really been loving them.

A few months ago I picked up a pair of the Vibram Spyridon LS just to give them a try, with the hope of conditioning my feet a bit better and I have to say I have rather (and unexpectedly) fallen in love with those things.

One of the more surprising aspects of using the Spyridon is the lack of inclination.

The X-talon 212 have a 5mm inclination (heel is 18mm, forefoot is 13mm) and I thought that was pushing things a bit. Now having used these Spyridon for around 300 miles I have discovered that I think my feet are a bit more ready for a lower inclination. Not that I have any problems when I go back to wearing the 212's but they are 7.6 ounces (without an insert).

The Mizuno Universe 4 seems to have an inclination of 4mm (Heel is 18mm, forefoot is 14mm) so it would be pretty much identical to the 212 (honestly not sure if a person could even detect 1mm inclination, no way I would) but at ~3.9 ounces, they are nearly four ounces lighter than the 212's.

I suspect that most of the weight difference is in the lugs of the x-talon - which I honestly do believe are the best lugs of any shoe I have ever used - and by the looks of it the Mizuno Universe 4 has pretty much nadda for traction. Could you take a moment and share any experience you have with using the Mizuno in wet weather trail conditions? Additionally, it is true that they have a non-removable insole? If so, that is just messed, well, odd.

Thanks Nick!

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Mizuno Wave Universe Wave 4 on 06/22/2012 11:21:53 MDT Print View

Thank you for the recommendation Nick, I'll check them out tonight online to get a source. I lost one Croc to the Kern River last summer, then realized my $400 camera took a dip also. :(
PS, hows the sizing, I wear 10.5 in most shoes/boots.

Edited by hikerduane on 06/22/2012 11:28:11 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Mizuno Wave Universe Wave 4 on 06/22/2012 13:35:42 MDT Print View

The sizing is comparable to my Salomon 3D XA Comps. But I went up 1/2 size on the Mizunos -- I am finding I like shoes that have at least 1" beyond my longest toe. Also the foot box is wider. I think my feet swell more with minimalist shoes on long hikes. 11.5 Salomons are a perfect fit, and I went up to 12 with the Mizunos; and if I bought another pair of Salomons, I would probably go with a 12 too. With all of these shoes, I never have blister problems, except for one instance I will share a little later in this post.

The Wave 4 insole is thin, thin, thin and glued in. But they are minimalist shoes... replacing the insole kind of defeats the purpose?

Traction with the Wave 4 is not stellar. Craig and I descended a knarly canyon (think glisading on loose rock and soil for a thousand feet at something like a 30+ degree grade) and he was much faster, as his shoes had better traction. Or maybe it is that he is half my age/more agile/conditioned/confident/less risk adverse?

If I need great traction on a trip... lets say steep descent with lots of loose sand and tiny pebbles on granite, then I wear Sacouny Peregrines these days -- they are the best traction shoe I have. There is a trail I often hike that has an 8,000' descent over 11 miles. I will slip a few times with the Mizuno's, but not at all with the Peregrines. I doubt there is another trail in the continental US with this kind of descent so don't take it as a the norm. I ripped an expensive pair of nylon pants on this trail with the Salomons, and broke a LT4 using the Mizunos on it too. Both were on descents... I don't slip on this trail going up.

And no rock plate with the Mizuno's. That can be a concern. About 3 years ago Craig and I did a 60+ mile 3-day trip with a 20K foot elevation gain/loss and I wore a pair of Sacouny Shay XC flats, very light. On day 1 I had a impact injury to the ball of my foot. The morning of day 2, the entire ball of my foot was one huge blister. So this is the chance with light shoes and no rock plate. And the injury was not noticeable at first. Felt like the mid sole of my shoe had cracked and was pinching my foot... just a minor irritation. I inspected my foot a few hours after I first noticed it and I could not see any injury. It felt like something was wrong with the midsole of my shoe, not an injury.

Everything is a compromise. I have a pair of New Balance MT101RX. The traction is between the shoes mentioned above (Wave 4 and Peregrine). It has a rock plate. But my go to shoe is the Wave 4 whenever possible. In tough conditions it is usually the Peregrines or Salomons. I haven't warmed up to the NB yet, and not sure if I will.

I have a pair of Vibram KSO's and hate them for hiking. They are okay for running on nice trails. My little toe hits obstacles and they are hot and sweaty. After a few days they stink to high heaven. But if you like talking to strangers, wear the Vibrams... strangers will stop you and ask about them :)

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Mizuno Universe Wave 4 on 06/22/2012 14:02:34 MDT Print View

Nick, I'd only be using these as camp shoes, interesting that they are good for trail shoes too. For the price, I'd save them as much as possible. Amazon, over $100, ouch.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Mizuno Universe Wave 4 on 06/22/2012 14:31:51 MDT Print View

They are super light, so they would make good camp shoes. Also they don't have a bunch of support. They actually feel like you are wearing a pair of hospital slippers.

Warren Greer
(WarrenGreer) - F

Locale: SoCal
Hmmmm on 06/22/2012 23:10:32 MDT Print View


I have Peregrine's (blue/black) and a pair of Salomon XA Comp 5s. I really like the XA5s on trail. Super stable and rarely slip at all. I know they are not the lightest trail runner, but they are very confidence inspiring. Bought the Peregrine's last year as a second set of shoes. After wearing them in the gym only, I don't want to wear them on the trail because my foot squirms around too much being that there's only mesh upper with no supportive overlay. They are not oversized either. Just up a half a size for socks and a bit of foot swelling. Nick, it's interesting you like them so much on the trail. Maybe I'll give them a shot some day. But I need a good pair of gym shoes (read clean) and that's what they are doing duty as now.

I absolutely hate to get my shoes (and feet) wet but I only take what is on my feet and I've always done fine. Maybe just change into a pair of thin socks and loosen the laces and now I've got a camp shoe. Sorry to hijack the thread.

Gary Rozanc
(grozanc) - M
VivoBarefoot on 06/22/2012 23:25:14 MDT Print View

+1 on the Vivo Barefoot. Super light, don't take up pack space like crocs and offer enough protection for creek walking.

Susan Papuga
(veganaloha) - M

Locale: USA
Merrel Pace Glove or ZemGear on 06/23/2012 03:12:00 MDT Print View

If you want something closer to a shoe you can run or hike comfortably in wihtout a long break in or adaptation period, then try the Merrel Pace Glove or similar Glove models. If you want a more minimialist/barefoot type shoe, then try the Zem Gear O2 or 360 runner series at

Edited by veganaloha on 06/23/2012 03:13:13 MDT.