After a long day of hiking, camp shoes not only feel super comfy they also help keep your feet healthy - allowing your feet to breathe and stay clean(er).
We tested some of the best camp shoes on the market today. Read on to see what we found and which ones are best for you along with some buying advice and the answers to some frequently asked questions.
Best Camp Shoes
The best camp shoes are:
- Best Overall Camp Shoe: XERO SHOES Z-TRAIL
- Most Comfortable Camp Shoe: CROCS CLASSIC CLOG
- Best Budget Camp Shoe: HAVAIANAS
- Best Lightweight Camp Shoe: EARTH RUNNERS ALPHA ADVENTURE
- Best Cold Weather Camp Shoe: FEATHERED FRIENDS DOWN BOOTIES
- Best Alternative Camp Shoe: SKINNERS 2.0
The product comparison table below is sortable. Click the arrow in the heading cell to sort the models by preferred spec.
|Brand & Model||Weight||Price||Score|
|1. Xero Shoes Z-Trail||5.4 oz||$80||9/10|
|2. Crocs Classic Clog||6.5 oz||$50||9/10|
|3. Earth Runners Alpha Adventure Sandals||5.2 oz||$93||8/10|
|4. Havaianas||5 oz||$16||8/10|
|5. Speedo Surf Knit Pro||5.5 oz||$36||8/10|
|6. Feathered Friends Down Booties||4.7 oz||$119||8/10|
|7. Vivobarefoot Ultra III||8 oz||$120||8/10|
|8. Skinners 2.0||2.8 oz||$67||8/10|
|9. North Face Thermoball Traction Booties||8.5 oz||$69||8/10|
|10. Vibram Five-Fingers V-Aqua||4.9 oz||$95||8/10|
Best Overall Camp Shoe:
XERO SHOES Z-TRAIL
❌ Foot can slide forward especially when wet
- Weight: 5.4 ounces (0.34 lbs)
For us, the 5.4-ounce Xero Shoes Z-Trail sandals are ideal for hikers counting ounces who still want exceptional versatility. We love that they pack down small and can be stuffed inside your pack or an outer pocket of your backpack. We found the adjustable strap lets you dial in the fit making them comfortable. With an open-toe design, we love the Z-Trail’s extra breathability too. We found the lack of toe protection in rocky terrain to be a drawback in rougher settings. It’s in the middle of the pack price-wise but the extra features are worth the cost, making this our best overall camp shoe. Read in-depth review on the Xero Z Trails here.
Most Comfortable Camp Shoe:
CROCS CLASSIC CLOG
❌ Inconsistent sizing options
❌ Heavier than ultralight models
- Weight: 6.5 ounces (0.41 lbs)
Watch any video from a thru-hiker, and you'll likely spot a pair of crocs hanging from their backpack. And for good reason, we love slipping our feet into the cushy foam at the end of the day making them our pick for the most comfortable camp shoe. Crocs are made from a Thermoplastic (EVA) material, making them both lightweight and fairly durable. We find hiking in them is a bit dicey, but it can be done in a pinch. Our main gripe is the sizing. Crocs are available in full sizes only. If you wear a half size, you need to wear them either a little small or a little big. We also don’t like the weight, they are on the higher end of the models we reviewed.
Best Budget Camp Shoe:
✅ Easy to find
❌ Not durable
❌ Not Comfortable
- Weight: 5 ounces (0.31 lbs)
Havaianas are found just about everywhere. They are cheap, light, and don’t absorb water. We found that compared to other flip-flops, they tend to be more durable. But they are still flip-flops. Not designed for hiking or stream crossings. And we wouldn’t recommend trying. They're prone to breaking when used on uneven ground and offer little support or protection. We love that they are very breathable and easy to pack in a side pocket or hung from a carabiner. For those not needing a rugged camp shoe, the price can’t be beaten making these Havaianas our best budget camp shoe.
Best Lightweight Camp Shoe:
Earth Runners Alpha Adventure Sandals
❌ Straps can rub
❌ Awkward to lace up
- Weight: 5.2 ounces (0.325 lbs)
This lightweight huarache style sandal is designed to be worn while adventuring. Not only do they work well as a camp shoe, but we love the Vibram sole for hiking, running, and crossing streams. We struggled a bit with the lacing system, which was a bit fiddly. Once we got the hang of it we were able to get the sandals to stay securely on our feet. Our big complaint is that the strap can sit awkwardly over the second toe causing rubbing. The cotton footbed was comfortable on our feet but we don’t like that it takes a while to fully dry out when wet. Price is a little on the expensive side. However, these are our pick for the best lightweight camp shoe.
Best Cold Weather Camp Shoe:
FEATHERED FRIENDS DOWN BOOTIES
✅ Great traction
❌ Water drainage issues
- Weight: 4.7 ounces (0.29 lbs)
If you’re camping in colder weather the Feathered Friends Down Booties provide the ultimate warmth. Made in two parts, an 800 fill-down sock and a detachable water-resistant shell with an insulated sole. We were able to wear them around camp or wear just the sock inside a sleeping bag. There are two adjustment points to help the booties stay snug, but we found it to be rather minimal. They are not designed for hiking or stream crossings. For as puffy as they look, we like how lightweight they were. Our biggest complaint is the price. The Feathered Friends Down Booties are one of the most expensive options on our list. But for a down bootie this is our top pick.
Best Alternative Camp Shoe:
❌ Lack of protection on rough ground
❌ Less versatile
- Weight: 2.8 ounces (0.175 lbs)
More a sock than a shoe, Skinners are as minimalist and as portable as you can get. We love these for easily fitting in our packs. They have a snug, crew-length fit with a rubberized bottom for grip. We found this to help with traction, but it doesn’t offer much protection from sticks and rocks. Being a sock we like extra warmth while still being breathable. But they don’t fully air out your feet. We wouldn’t cross streams or hike in these. Despite the trade-offs, the Skinners can be a good alternative to heavier camp shoes, especially if you are packing ultralight. Read in-depth review on the Skinners 2.0 Socks here.
The Other Noteworthy Models
Speedo Surf Knit Pro
✅ Grippy soles for traction
✅ Hugs your feet
❌ Best only in wet conditions
❌ Heavier than other options
- Weight: 5.5 ounces (0.34 lbs)
Speedo's Surf Knit water shoes wrap your feet in a form-fitting mesh fabric. We love that the breathable mesh gives your foot full coverage. However, it’s still not nearly as much as an open sandal. Their grippy soles help navigate stream crossings and give traction around camp.
We like that they dry quickly too. In dry conditions, we found dust can build up in the mesh reducing its comfort and breathability. We love the price, they are one of the most affordable camp shoes on our list. While on the heavier side, we’d say these are definitely a worthy option in wet conditions.
Vivobarefoot Ultra III
✅ Great traction
❌ Water drainage issues
- Weight: 8 ounces (0.5 lbs)
Designed for water sports, the minimalist Vivobarefoot Ultra III can double as a camp shoe. We like that the Honeycomb EVA upper is breathable and durable, providing heel-to-toe protection from sticks, rocks, and other campsite hazards. And we find the soles robust enough to hike if needed.
For us, these really shine on stream crossings. We love the grippy rubbery bottom that provides secure footing on slippery rocks and logs. We did find water can collect inside the footbed, meaning they need more time to dry out. Our two biggest disappointments are the expensive price and the heavy weight. But if you need extra versatility above all else, the Ultra III is a great option.
Note: The Vivobarefoot Ultra is a seasonal shoe that the company only sells in the summer. Off-season, you may be able to find a pair on Vivobarefoot's recycled and refurbished site: revivo.com
North Face Thermoball Traction Booties
❌ Lack of adjustment
- Weight: 8.5 ounces (0.53 lbs)
The Thermoball traction booties look like a pair of slippers you’d wear on the moon. Designed for cold weather, the relaxed fit gives your foot room to breathe while still being snug enough to hold in warmth. We also found them to be super comfortable. They are water-resistant and we are stoked they are made with 100% recycled content.
With a chunky sole, they are durable enough to hike in, but lack adjustable straps which can lead to slipping on uneven terrain. They are the heaviest option on our list at just over a pound per pair.
Vibram Fiver-Fingers V-Aqua
✅ Excellent grip
✅ More foot protection than other models
❌ "Finger" design not for everyone
- Weight: 4.9 ounces (0.31 lbs)
Vibram took its famous sole and created the V-Aqua using its "Five Fingers" design. We like the outstanding grip on both wet and dry surfaces. As the name would imple, the V-Aqua is a rugged camp shoe perfect for water crossings. We were even able to hike in them in a pinch. They cover your entire foot, protecting your feet from bumps but it makes the shoe less breathable than other models. We were impressed that they can be rolled up inside your pack. We love that these are a much lighter option than similar models. However, they are pricey. And we find the "finger" design to be an acquired taste. Read in-depth review on the Vibram Five Fingers Aqua here.
The Important Things to Know
Switching to something dry and cozy at camp is one of the best reasons for carrying camp shoes. The material a camp shoe is made of is important for comfort. Foam shoes offer the most “cushy” feeling. Insulated shoes offer warmth on cold days. Look for a well-designed shoe that stays securely on your feet. If they are too loose or too tight, it can cause chafing when walking around camp.
The Most Comfortable Camp Shoes:
Having good breathability is key for your camp shoe. Not giving your feet time to breathe allows humidity to increase the chance of getting athlete’s foot, blisters, and other foot ailments. Look for a camp shoe that is roomier and has large open areas for airflow. Sandals, for example, give your feet the most breathability. Switching shoes at camp also gives your primary hiking shoes extra time to dry out.
The Most Breathable Camp Shoes:
Camp shoes will spend most of their life in your pack, go for as light as possible. For total weight use 6 to 12 ounces per pair as a benchmark, nothing over a pound. Open-toe shoes tend to be the lightest option and closed-toe heaviest. Features, like a chunky sole, will add weight.
The Lightest Camp Shoes:
When it comes to price, how you plan to use camp shoes will be an important factor. Inexpensive options work best in well-established sites (i.e. clear from debris and rocks) but come with durability issues. More expensive options offer increased durability and versatility offering more support in rocky camps, and can be used crossing streams, or even hiked in.
Camp Shoes that Provide the Greatest Value:
Affordable Camp Shoes:
Premium Camp Shoes:
For camp shoes, specialized features like a down filling, lightweight design, and grippy soles for water crossings will add a premium to the cost. Often these premium items designed are for very specific uses.
Other Things to Consider
Types of Camp Shoes
The king of camp shoes. They do not absorb any water, have a durable heel strap, and are virtually indestructible. Compared to other options though, they weigh a lot—typically at least 12 oz.
This is one of the best ultralight camp shoes out there. It has all the benefits of foam clogs (completely water-resistant and durable), but several ounces lighter. The average pair weighs in around 8.5 oz. They also are also much more like a "shoe" and able to take on miles of trail if need be.
Some people do entire thru-hikes in these ultra-thin sandals. They feel a bit too bare on rough terrain for many hikers though and often make better camp shoes. Ultralight, extremely durable, open-aired, and snug enough for a good walk. The best thing is how compact they are in your pack. Some models are reasonably priced at $40 as well.
Vibram Five Fingers are the most popular brand of this style. These are lightweight and can pack up very small. Depending on the model, the soles can also be very rugged for hiking if need be. However, they do not breathe as well as other camp shoe options and are hard to dry out.
Water shoes, canoe shoes, kayak shoes, boat shoes... whatever. They are made for the water and can be found at Walmart for a few bucks. Try to get the kind with well-vented top fabric so your feet can dry.
These have exploded in the past year. Basically a sock with a rough-coated sole - known as a "glove for your feet". Super light and compact. They will not let your feet breathe well, need to be washed regularly, and maybe too support-less for even the lightest hiking though.
Down booties make a fantastic camp shoe for winter. When camping in snow, you'll want more than a pair of sandals to cover your feet. Down booties feel much like an indoor slipper. They provide warmth, comfort, and they are just as light as more minimal types of camp shoes.
Flip flops aren't great camp shoes. But, in a pinch, they can work. They're surely better than nothing. If your primary pair of camp shoes fails and you need a replacement asap, flip flops may be all you find at the nearest trail town.
THE ONE-HAND TEST
At camp, you’ll be in and out of your tent while doing your camp chores. Having shoes that can easily slip on and off keeps your tent clean. You’ll also want something you can throw on groggily in the middle of the night if nature calls.
Look for shoes that don’t require lacing up. Basic slip-ons or straps. A good rule of thumb: can you put them on with one hand?
YOU WANT THESE TO LAST
While camp shoes won’t be the primary shoes you will be hiking in, they still need to be durable enough for rocky conditions around camp and to make it to and from your water source.
If a shoe breaks after a few nights of use, not only have you wasted your money but you have to spend the rest of your trip without camp shoes.
And, if you plan on crossing streams in your camp shoes you’ll want to make sure they can hold up to that task as well.
A camp shoe that can provide extra functionality for crossing streams and even hiking in are invaluable extras. We like camp shoes with adjustable straps that help stabilize while walking around rocky and less-used campsites.
The most common ways to pack camp shoes are inside your pack, in an outside pocket, or hanging them from your pack. For non-water resistant shoes, like down booties, make sure they can fold up small to fit in your pack. A water-resistance (foam) shoe like a Classic Croc, is quite bulky but can be stored on the outside of your pack.
What are camp shoes for?
Camp shoes are used for a dry, comfortable footwear option at camp. Camp shoes should allow your feet to breathe after a long day of hiking.
Do you need camp shoes?
Camp shoes are needed to let your feet breathe, provide comfort, and give your hiking shoes a chance to dry.
Bringing a second pair of shoes into the backcountry might seem like an unnecessary luxury, especially for hikers laser-focused on going ultralight. However, camp shoes provide some extremely important functions to keep your feet healthy in the backcountry. Specifically, camp shoes will:
- LET YOUR FEET BREATHE. Your feet will be steamy and possibly blistered up, after a long day of hiking. If you are backpacking for anything more than a night or two, you MUST let those feet air out for a couple of hours at night before slipping them into another steamy piece of clothing (socks, sleeping bag, etc.)
- KEEP YOUR FEET CLEAN(ER). While letting them breathe, you should clean your feet from any grime - mud, bug bites, blisters, whatever. Use tea tree oil, hand sanitizer (alcohol), or a wet wipe to give them a quick cleanse. Continue to keep them in your breathable camp shoes until dry again.
- GIVE YOU COMFORT. After a long day of hiking, nothing feels better than letting your sore feet out of those cast-like shoes. Putting them into a lighter shoe with different contours can feel super refreshing.
- LET YOUR HIKING SHOES DRY. While your feet are drying out and enjoying the freedom of the lightweight camp shoes, let your hiking shoes breathe and dry out as well. You don't want to have to hike out in steamy shoes tomorrow.
What's the best camp shoes?
The best camp shoes are Xero Shoes Z-Trails based on our research.
⏭ Read next: Hiking Clothes: What to Wear on The Trail
📸 Some photos in this post were taken by Ross Enlow (@rossaenlow)