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Beach hiking footwear?
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Russell Swanson
(rswanson) - F

Locale: Midatlantic
Beach hiking footwear? on 05/01/2007 08:56:53 MDT Print View

Can anyone make some recommendations for shoes or sandals that have worked well in sandy environments? My wife and I are headed to Assateague Nat'l Seashore this weekend and will be hiking extensively (but not entirely) in the sand. We both wear trail runners with lots of mesh now, which would surely get packed with sand. Suggestions?

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: Beach hiking footwear? on 05/01/2007 09:21:58 MDT Print View

This is good question and although I don't have an answer, I can tell you my experience. About 2 years ago I hiked the Kalalau Trail and then down the west side of Kauai on the beach. My shoes would fill with sand, so I ended up taking them off and hiking with just bare feet, but then the sand was hurting my feet(abrasive?), so I put my shoes and socks back on, and just dealt with it - empty them every once in a while. Not a really big deal until it starts to get between your toes. I didn't even think of the sand as a problem before leaving for the hike.
One thing for sure, hiking on soft sand is painfully tiring.

Russell Swanson
(rswanson) - F

Locale: Midatlantic
Re: Re: Beach hiking footwear? on 05/01/2007 11:15:11 MDT Print View

I'm mostly concerned about sand packing in the footboxes of our trail runners, which are largely comprised of mesh fabric.

I'm interested in any recommendations about sandals...Teva, Chaco, Keen, etc. Are sandals with toe protection like Keens usable in sandy conditions, or does the toe box defeat the purpose?

Denis Hazlewood
(redleader) - MLife

Locale: Luxury-Light Luke on the Llano Azul
Re: Beach hiking footwear? on 05/01/2007 11:53:46 MDT Print View

California's Lost Coast is one of my favorite beach hiking areas. On June 2 I will be leading a week long trip there. While sand walking I have worn everything from breathable low-top shoes to 7" hiking boots. Getting sand in my shoes is very hard on my feet. I tried gaiters with low tops and the sand still got in. When it gets between your toes it's like using a sanding block on your toes. Not fun.

I would suggest a moderately high top boot that is water/sand proof. Even then you can kick up some sand that may run down into your boots. Concentrate on not scuffing your feet. It just kicks up sand. If you feel any sand in your socks it's a good kdea to stop and clean it out.

A technique I teach is to walk flat footed. Don't place your heel down first. And don't push off with your toe. Take shorter steps and place your foot down flat before putting weight on it smoothly and evenly. This will give you the most amount of weight bearing area on the sand and helps keep your foot from sinking into the sand, saving a goodly amount of energy. As a previous post mentioned: Hiking in soft sand is painfully tiring. You can ceretainly feel the burn.

Edited by redleader on 05/01/2007 11:54:36 MDT.

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Beach hiking footwear? on 05/01/2007 11:54:56 MDT Print View

If you have sandals which are comfortable... I would go with those... mostly because getting the accumulated sand out is pretty easy.

Some people like mid high boots / trailrunners with goretex to seal the sand out. I don't like that approach, but some people like it.

The last couple of times I was beach hiking some light gaiters to keep sand coming in from the top and the mesh trail runners (inov-8 flyrocs) worked reasonably well. Feet / socks got pretty dirty from the micro sand/dirt... but the ammount that accumulated wasn't too bad. I dumped the little sand that accumulated out during my short rest stops every 1-2 hours. Accumulation was never so much that I had to stop and dump out the shoes.

I have sometimes wondered if I should take my snowshoes to the beach and raise above the sand :-) I have found that extreme agressive sole (such as those on the flyroc) see to give me better traction than most shoes / boots. The Flyrocs have been the least fateguing shoes for me when it comes to hiking in sand.

As Dennis mentioned. Walking flat footed... helps some. Also staying on hard packed sand is helpful.

Edited by verber on 05/01/2007 12:01:30 MDT.

Russell Swanson
(rswanson) - F

Locale: Midatlantic
Re: Re: Beach hiking footwear? on 05/01/2007 12:18:47 MDT Print View

Thanks for the replies guys. I'm pretty sure I'm going to try Tevas or Chacos. I thought of gaiters but they would probably be useless for me as the mesh on my Salomon trail runners is so loosely woven I can see daylight through them. My wife might have better luck with her Vasques but I'm sure she'll use this as an opportunity to buy new shoes : )

Chip Reier
(chipreier) - F
Chacos in the sand on 05/01/2007 17:12:58 MDT Print View

Once while hiking a slot canyon in Chacos the combination of fine sand and water turned the strap over my forefoot and toes into sandpaper. I think taping my foot when I first noticed a hotspot would've prevented the problem.

Donna C
(leadfoot) - M

Locale: Middle Virginia
Re: Beach hiking footwear? on 05/02/2007 06:02:31 MDT Print View

Most of the trails there are very hard-packed. You could wear Keens, Cacos, or even your light-weight hikers. If you're in soft sand along the beach, don't forget the sand will be hot and you may want to consider a more closed shoe. Wear a bug net or some kind of deterrent of your choice. Black flies and other biting bugs are out. Cottonmouths are plentiful as well, but usually hide. You can see their tracks all over the sand.

Try hiking the False Cape/Back bay area. You need to reserve a space 2 weeks in advance, usually, but it's a great place to hike and camp.

Have fun!

John Haley
(Quoddy) - F

Locale: New York/Vermont Border
SandSkins for Beach Walking on 05/02/2007 07:01:11 MDT Print View

SandSkins are very inexpensive and also very lightweight. May be the ideal item if multi types of footwear are needed.

paul francis

Locale: Southern Australia
Re: Beach hiking footwear? on 05/02/2007 08:42:12 MDT Print View

I do a lot of my walking on beaches. These days I always wear sandals(Tevas). For longer hikes I find using trekking poles with the baskets on really help as well, particularly getting up over dunes. Off the beach I usually wear New Balance 808s (which have mesh tops). I used these on multi day walk 18 months ago with lots of beach and dunes and the mesh let in a lot of sand requiring frequent stops to empty them out. Combined with some rain it led to a ripper set of blisters between my toes.
More recently I did a 2 day 55Km walk on soft beach and dunes in Canunda National Park here in South Australia with a good dose of high wind and rain thrown in with no problems in the Tevas.
First week of June I'm off to walk around the coast line of the foot of Yorke Peninsula (200+ Kms)most of which will be on the beach and the Tevas will be my only footware.

Brett Marl
(brettmarl) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
sandskins weight on 07/24/2007 18:56:23 MDT Print View

the sandskins look really interesting. i asked them to weigh a pair of size large (10 mens) and they came in at 3.40 oz. a little on the heavy side as a backup for me - but probably worth a go if you are doing a lot of dune hiking.

Andy Jarman

Locale: Edge of the World
Trail Runners for Sand on 10/30/2012 02:57:40 MDT Print View

Has anyone tried these - Saucony Men's Progrid Razor 2.0 Trail Running Shoe ? They look like you'd need to be pretty 'self assured' to wear them in public whilst wearing shorts, but sand in my trail runners is a daily problem and with a bit of encouragement I might give them a go!

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Beach hiking footwear? on 10/30/2012 12:18:22 MDT Print View

Barefooted... perfect for the beach.

Sometimes in winter I hike in the desert in GTX trail runners. Keeps sand from entering through the mesh and Dirty Girl gators minimize the rest. GTX are too hot for warmer weather.

I do a lot of hiking in sandy areas and pretty much it is a useless endeavor to keep sand out. My Mizuno Wave Universe 4 have a fine mesh which works better than most, they are super light and I just take them off once in a while and shake them out.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Beach hiking footwear? on 10/30/2012 12:58:49 MDT Print View

Depends on the beach. I wear Keen H2's all summer, but they are terrible on a beach with small pebbles. More open sandals like Teva's are easier to get the rocks out without removing them. I would go with Teva's for consistent loose dry sand too.

Wet packed sand is easy--- better than most trails, or city sidewalks for that matter, and you could wear just about anything. The tide level and distribution of materials will determine what you are walking on. A PNW beach might have hard packed sand at low tide, or scattered exposed reefs with barnacles and seaweed. At high tide you might find yourself on loose dry sand, loose pebbles (terrible stuff) or picking your way around driftwood. Some headlands require climbing steep banks at high tide and you want all the traction possible. I usually just wear what I used for the trail to the beach: low top shoes in summer and mid-highs in wet/muddy conditions.

If you use aluminum trekking poles, rinse them with fresh water often. They can pit like crazy when salt water beach hiking. If you have some old beaters, take those. Carbon rules :)

I just noticed the original date on this thread :)

Edited by dwambaugh on 10/30/2012 12:59:50 MDT.