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Singer
10-20-2005, 16:09
Does anyone here regularly hike in sandals (not flip flops). I recently have been hiking in my Tevas and wool blend hiking socks. The socks do a good job of reducing the chaffing between the foot and the plastic/rubber footbed. This seems to be a good option for me since I can't find a boot that fits perfectly (i.e won't give me blisters). I have finally experienced a 6+ mile hike where my feet are not in pain, yippee!!! :clap Much better than the other 550+ pain filled miles!
I would also like to know if there are any better sandal options out there; vibram lug soles would be nice (I tend to slip a lot) :( and something to protect the toes. Any advice or knowledge would be helpful. Thanks.

littledragon
10-20-2005, 16:25
Although it is not a regular thing, I did hike over half of Maryland in Tevas. This was due to my old boots not fitting well and causing blisters. I went to Montrail low hiking boots and have not had a problem since- even in the 100 Mile Wild erness. :clap

tlbj6142
10-20-2005, 16:37
Chaco's are probably the best trail sandal. And there are several folks on this site that hike in them regularlly. I think Hammock Hanger hiked 1000+ miles of her AT thru in Chaco's.

I use them on trips where I expect quite a bit of water (or rain). And I have used them to climb tall mountains (http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/vbg/showimage.php?i=3456&catid=searchresults&searchid=140) as well.:D

Traction
10-20-2005, 17:04
I use crocs. They are truly a dream to hike in. But, they won't guard your toes. If you're looking for that.. check out Keen's. An amphibious type shoe.. sort of a mix between a sandal and a trail runner.

jackiebolen
10-20-2005, 18:17
I hiked about 300 miles on my AT hike in Chacos with a pair of Smartwools. Was great but my feet just got extremely dry and cracked due to the extra hydration so I had to switch back to shoes.

Moxie00
10-20-2005, 19:09
In 2000 "X Man" did the entire trail in Tevas. I believe he was 67 yer old at the time. He had climbed Northeasts 100 highest and was one fast hiker. We started about the same time and he finished with "Harriet Tubman" over two weeks before I did. My friend and constant hiking companion "Arrow" did the last 1000 or so miles in Chacos. Both X Man and Arrow protected their feet with socks. I believe Smartwools. I have hiked with Chacos but prefer my LL Bean Crestas on the trail with a heavy pack. In Damascus "Cowboy" slipped a brick into X Man's pack as he was having breakfast before leaving town. I hear it didn't slow him down a bit. However, a warning to future thru hikers, if you eat at Cowboys keep your eye on your pack. I am from the far north but can testify that Cowboy makes one heck of a sausage bisquit with white gravy.
:sun

Rollergirl
10-20-2005, 19:18
Chaco's are my vote as well, though Teva makes a similar style to the Chaco toe-strapless model that's great too (though its true they don't have the Vibram sole)...I love my Tevas because they are lighter but I wear my Chaco's for hiking because of the toe strap.

Hammock Hanger
10-20-2005, 19:39
Chaco's are probably the best trail sandal. And there are several folks on this site that hike in them regularlly. I think Hammock Hanger hiked 1000+ miles of her AT thru in Chaco's.

I use them on trips where I expect quite a bit of water (or rain). And I have used them to climb tall mountains (http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/vbg/showimage.php?i=3456&catid=searchresults&searchid=140) as well.:D
That would be true, 1000+ miles in Chacos. The only place on the AT that I had trouble with them was in the Whites as my heels began to split. So, I ended the hike with sneakers. Thinking of using the Chaco's again this year.

Lone Wolf
10-20-2005, 19:43
Chacos are the s**t. Still my camp shoe of choice even though they weigh 20 lbs. :rolleyes: Buncha weight weenies.

Tha Wookie
10-20-2005, 20:09
Island Mama and I hiked the west coast, the Colorado Trail, and and most of the PCT in Chacos. Also I put a grand on them on the AT -probably up to 2000 by now. I've used them for over 6,000 miles. i get about 700 a pair.

They are well made. They last way longer than trail runners.

Two Speed
10-20-2005, 20:11
Overall I've logged about 120, maybe 130 miles in a pair of Tevas, about 65 miles on the AT, the rest on the Alabama Pinhoti and assorted day hikes. They're great in dry weather, but I don't EVER want to hike in the rain in those things again. After a while the tread clogs up with mud and then it's "slip-n-slide" city. The two worst gainers, I mean the "vicious, I darn nearly broke something" kind of gainers, that I've ever taken were on the same day, headed northbound to Max Patch, in an early spring rain in those stinkin' Tevas.

I was one wet, muddy and lacerated unit when I finally said the *@?% with it and made camp. It was so bad that I pitched the tent, shook out my sleeping bag, got the stove going for coffee, then stripped completely off and stood in the rain to rinse all the mud off. I just didn't want to bring that much mud and crap into the tent. To add the finishing touch to the day I realized I was a more than a little hypothermic when I finally got around to the coffee.

Every backpacker I know has admitted that they've had one or two days when they've had sincere doubts about their own sanity for indulging in our particular past time. Well, I had it BAD that day. I worked like a dog to make 11 miles and arrived in camp darn nearly needing stitches, then darn nearly checked out due to hypothermia before getting my soggy butt in bed. That just ain't a good return for the effort in my opinion.

As I said, I think they're great in dry weather. There isn't a shoe style that comes close for comfort and they're lighter than anything else on the trail short of going barefoot (got about 100 feet logged barefoot, won't be doing much of that). The business about getting debris in them is way over rated; all you've got to do is pick up that foot, wiggle the sandal good, and the stick or pebble usually slips right out. There isn't any other kind of footwear that dries faster, bar none. My Tevas are the lightest footwear I own, and I can make miles in 'em in dry weather.

The problem I've got is the only pair of sandals that I've ever seen that had as good a tread as the cheapest boots were a pair of Chacos that weighed more than a good pair of trail runners, and cost more too. When I see a pair of sandals with a decent tread that don't weigh a ton and cost more than a good pair of trail runners I may consider swapping over to sandals for almost all of my hiking.

I'll hike in Tevas again, if the weather's dry; been my favorite casual footwear for while now, but I can't imagine what it would take to get me to ever hike in the rain in them again.

Singer
10-20-2005, 20:24
Thanks everyone for the advice. I'll look into the Chacos. Weight doesn't matter that much to me currently, because my current Asolo boots must weigh 5 pounds each! Besides, if they give me room for my toes, I'll be one HAPPY camper! :jump

SalParadise
10-20-2005, 22:01
I've got a pair of Merrell sandals that fit great, real tight on my feet, good tread and somewhat thick soles that worked great to hike in. I did the 100-Mile Wilderness++ in them and they still look great, so I'd imagine they'd last fairly long. Cost me $8 on sale, usually probably $15. the things are great.

Ramble~On
10-21-2005, 03:11
Sandals. Chaco and Teva have been around a while and are great. Crocs are great camp shoes and I have hiked in them as well.
A while ago I picked up a pair of Keen Sandals and love them so much that I hardly ever use boots anymore. I think they rock and are great to hike in, cross streams and wear as camp shoes all rolled into one
www.Keensandals.com (http://www.Keensandals.com) I went with the Newport H2 and have nothing bad to say about them other than the weight. Since I don't use boots or carry camp shoes anymore the weight doesn't matter but to take them along and boots is more than I am willing to deal with. They're about as close to a cross between boots and sandals as you can get and the toe box is better than most of my boots.

CynJ
10-21-2005, 08:03
Spiritwind - I tried on a pair of those hybrids at Filene's end of season sale. Although a little heavy they were nice and roomy and seemed pretty comfortable.

Hammock Hanger
10-21-2005, 08:23
Sandals. Chaco and Teva have been around a while and are great. Crocs are great camp shoes and I have hiked in them as well.
A while ago I picked up a pair of Keen Sandals and love them so much that I hardly ever use boots anymore. I think they rock and are great to hike in, cross streams and wear as camp shoes all rolled into one
www.Keensandals.com (http://www.keensandals.com/) I went with the Newport H2 and have nothing bad to say about them other than the weight. Since I don't use boots or carry camp shoes anymore the weight doesn't matter but to take them along and boots is more than I am willing to deal with. They're about as close to a cross between boots and sandals as you can get and the toe box is better than most of my boots.
These did not work out for me as hiking shoes. I thought I would use them kayaking but they are just not for me. Therefore I have a pair of Ladies size 8 in Berry for sale cheap....

PKH
10-21-2005, 09:30
As an experiment this hiking season, I pretty welll exclusively hiked in sandals (Chacos). I had solicited advice from this forum and others and most reponses were supportive and helpful, although one or two were downright vituperative.

In the main, the experiment was very successful. I started out on easy trails, and progressed to a very rough, heavily overgrown backcountry loop this last few days, that I wouldn't have believed possible for a sandal wearer. Now I'm a believer and convert.

I find it extraordinarily liberating to just splash and plough right through puddles, mudholes and streams. No longer do I find myself leaping around in a futile (ultimately) attempt to keep my feet dry for just a little longer. Everyone has done this at some time, so no smart comments please.

As other posters have noted, there can be a problem with cracked skin, particularily on the heels. You have to keep on top of this - there are a variety of good lotions, balms and salves that will keep this under control.

One thing I would recommend is before setting out on a long backpacking trip wearing sandals, is to ensure the sandals and your feet are thoroughly broken in. In other words, wear them around town for a couple of months as much as possible before doing anything ambitious. This should identify and take care of most of the potential sore spots well before you hit the trail.

I'm surprised how well it all turned outl

Cheers,

PKH

Turtle2
10-21-2005, 13:02
I've been wearing my Keen sandles all summer walking up and down hills without trails. The only problem I've has is loose dirt getting into the foot pad which shouldn't be a problem on the AT. It is to the point I hate the thought of wearing boots. That having been said, I may lug them along (22 oz) on my thru just to be able to send the boots home earlier.

billdnc
10-21-2005, 13:46
My son Wanderer, is SOBO and should finish on Springer next Tuesday. He started on Katahdin on July 11th and has hiked all the way in Chaco Z 1's. He reported seeing several other thru hikers doing the whole trail in Chacos as well. He wears thin low socks with them. A pair of socks only lasts him 3 weeks or so.
I hike in Chacos a lot too if I am not carrying a heavy pack.

LIVESTRONG
10-24-2005, 20:27
hiked 700+ miles in my chacos this year and didnt even take camp shoes with me cause they did not hurt my feet at all. Chacos are the future, I don't see why anyone wears boots anymore except for cold winter hiking.

Crash
10-25-2005, 09:13
I've been wearing my Keens. Pennsy requires footware that protects your toes from the rock jammings. The Keens work well. I wear socks with them during cold weather & water proof socks last winter. the weight of boots and sandals together on a backpack trip is too much.

Seeker
10-25-2005, 17:54
roman legionnaires wore sandals and carried 100# packs... worked for them.

mountain Soul
10-25-2005, 19:33
I have hiked in sandals this past summer. I use them when my feet are starting to hurt. I have a birth defect in my right foot (my toes are curled toward the sole of my foot) which causes me to walk on the ball of my foot. It is very hard to find good fitting boots and shoes. Although I have found a pair that are doing very well-they are timberland gore-tex and so far has been the best boot I have worn. I carry the sandals on my pack just in case.

ScottP
11-04-2005, 04:06
I've done some backpacking in Chacos. I like them, but the heel-strap dug right into a weak part of my achilles and caused some problems.

wacocelt
11-04-2005, 07:55
If you do decide on Keen's stick with the Newport H2 I beleive it's called. I wore a pair of those from K all the way to central mass and loved them. Switched to the Taos because it was rated as an actual hiking shoe and don't like them a bit. I don't understand why companies feel that for a shoe to be hiked in it has to be constructed of leather.

aburnce
07-19-2006, 18:29
I tried on Z1s and Z2s in the store today. I didn't much like the toe strap on the Z2s...can anyone tell me what benefit that thing is supposed to give? It could be that I just need to get used to it, but I felt more comfortable in the Z1s. That said, I felt my toes slipping a bit against the foot bed in both shoes (though less in the Z2s). It was enough that I couldn't imagine wearing these on the trail and not getting bad blisters in that area from the rubbing. Can anyone shed some light on this for me? Is it typical and somehow does not lead to blisters? I tried 2 sizes and both had the problem. Thanks!

berninbush
07-19-2006, 19:47
Ah, I hadn't seen this thread before... good to know I'm not the only crazy person hiking in sandals!! I just got Teva Terra-Fi 2's, with a fairly serious tread on the bottom, and tried them out on 8 miles of hiking last week (including some slick mud). They felt wonderful and didn't give me blisters. No socks for me... my feet like to breathe!

Moon Monster
07-20-2006, 00:09
I didn't much like the toe strap on the Z2s...can anyone tell me what benefit that thing is supposed to give?

I grew up hating nothing else more than the thong in flip-flops. Nevertheless, I went with the frequent advice to get Z2s. I never looked back. I have not worn Z1s outside of the store, but I have extensively worn various models of Tevas (including for a thru-hike). I find that the toe strap adds much anchoring of my foot to the sole, especially as my toes lift up a bit on each step. Having the big toe more anchored allows me to place the front of the sandal with more precision. It also blocks my foot from sliding forward (like on downhills), which was a common event for my in my Tevas that lead to smashed toes many times.

Again, I hated the thought of the strap between my toes at first, but I went with it and now I find it very natural feeling. You can always keep the toe strap portion a little loose at first to get started. You can also tug it tight down to the footbed whenever you want, like if you want to wear socks.


That said, I felt my toes slipping a bit against the foot bed in both shoes (though less in the Z2s)....Can anyone shed some light on this for me? Is it typical and somehow does not lead to blisters?

I can't tell exactly what you mean here. My toes naturally lift upwards as I step. This is something they cannot do when crammed inside a shoe, but something that is natural in sandals and barefoot. But, this has never caused irritation for me.

Make sure your heel is all the way back when you tighten the straps. The heel strap is not part of the continuous strap and cannot be adjusted, so fit it first. When that is done, the main strap can pull quite tight and if I tightened mine all the way down, I don't think my foot would move much at all accross the bed.

As for blisters, I firmly believe everyone is too different to generalize an answer. You may get some answer below, but I say what happens to me may not happen to you--period. That said, the only irritation I have ever had with Chacos comes from the following: 1) when wet, the straps can cut into the soft tops of my feet (and trails are often wet); 2) on humid hot days of long walking, the textured pattern on the footbed can rub raw the bottoms of my toes; and 3) in the first couple of weeks owning my new pair, the straps were stiff and cut the tops of my feet a bit and the textured pattern roughed up my feet--but I got over both issues fairly quickly.

Bottom line: It's hard to believe this now, but if you go Chaco, in time they will become one of your favorite purchases ever.

Hana_Hanger
07-20-2006, 05:42
I just ordered the new CROCS Off Road Hiker shoes...I am going to do the JMT with them. After 4 prs of Trail Runners and Hiking Boots and Light Hiking Shoes old fashion leather boots...all failed me.
I have hiked in regular Crocs before and Teva's...but the Crocs are far more comfortable to me.

mingo
07-20-2006, 09:40
bite sandals are made for hiking. they have toe guards. i like them.

http://www.coastlineadventures.com/ca1/adwear/bite.html

ganj
07-21-2006, 01:49
I hiked the PCT in 2004 only in Chacos. Yahtzee has probably put on 3000 AT miles in Chacos. I never intended to hike through the High Sierra with them but the shoes I had sent to Kennedy Meadows were too small. Someone was right to point out that your feet tend to dry out and crack. My feet cracked pretty bad even while wearing socks almost the whole way. But Tha Wookie told me to use a pumice stone on them, put balm on my feet at night, and wear socks to bed. It probably would have solved my problems if I had been consistent with it. However, I am sure the effort helped it from getting much worse.

Footslogger
07-21-2006, 08:06
Curious ...for those of you who hikin Chacos. Do you wear socks or hike barefoot in the sandals ??

I've evolved over the years from boots to trail shoes and I'm starting to wonder if sandals are next for me ...at least in the warmer months.

'Slogger

Two Speed
07-21-2006, 08:44
Been fooling around in a pair of Teva Wraptors recently, 3 and 4 day section hikes, dayhikes, nothing too demanding. Haven't been out in a real good rain storm, so the jury's still out on the tread issue, but pretty good so far.

Johnny Swank
07-21-2006, 10:33
I thru-hiked SOBO in 2000 while prototyping a pair of Chacos for them. Used two pair for the trip.


As far as socks go, I used 2 pair of cheap polyester dress socks (worn together) for most of the trip. Gave me the "old dude from Florida" look, but the socks dried in no time.

Getting through the snow and stuff down south was interesting, but I eventually came up with a somewhat workable solution with Sealskins and Smartwools. And neoprene. And Mucklucs. And... (tried a bunch of stuff)

JAK
07-28-2006, 19:34
I would like sandals with more cushion, like runners. I had this pair ok Nikes once that were sort of open on the sides and I made the mistake of trying them barefoot but of course a lot of debris got in there and gave be some bad blisters. After suffering for awhile I waded through this cold stream and then fixed my feet and the shoes up as best I could with duct-tape and then finally got the idea of hiking barefoot for a few km.

It was awesome. The trail was soft with pine needles but for the occassional rock or root, but the pine needles and pine tar and the soft massaging and cool drying action really helped my feet.

I am not suggesting hiking barefoot all the time, though I understand that some do and that's OK. I am just saying we shouldn't treat it as too much of a taboo. Try going for a few 100m or a few km now and then.

Still looking for the perfect running sandals.

berninbush
07-28-2006, 21:13
The more you hike barefoot, the easier it is. In fact that's true for going barefoot in general.

I met a girl (around age 20) who only wears shoes when she's forced to. She goes everywhere barefoot, and carries flipflops in her bag in case someone hassles her... but it's amazing the number of places she can get away with it (including convenience stores). She can walk on all kinds of surfaces, including hot pebbly concrete, with no problems because she has developed calluses as thick and hard as the sole of any shoe.

We were travelling together and she inspired me, so I tried it for a day. I walked all over the marketplace in downtown Monterrey, Mexico, and rode home to Texas (stopping in a restaurant and a convenience store in the US) barefoot. My calluses weren't as developed as hers, so I had a few painful moments, but it was a liberating experience. And surprisingly, nobody on either side of the border gave me a hard time about it. I am not maverick enough to do it every day, but I found it *can* be done.

So yeah, if you're tired of messing with boots/shoes/sandals, just work up some good calluses and go barefoot!

Casper
08-14-2006, 11:49
I don't see why anyone wears boots anymore except for cold winter hiking.

I have turned and badly sprained both ankles multiple times over the course of 20 years. The last time (missed the last step going down a flight of stairs) was bad enough to require a cast and physical therapy. So I continue to trudge along in my high, leather, 43 oz. EMS Summit GTX IIs. Lower shoes, even with ankle braces, just don't cut it with a 35 lb. pack.

I tape my ankles for softball, but I can't see doing that every day on the trail!

I'd LOVE to hear any other suggestions: after 9 hours my feet sure are hot and sore!

twosticks
08-14-2006, 12:10
One thing I've found with using sandels ( i have the keen boulder/water) is how hot the bottom gets. When I use the trail runners or just the straight up boots, the heat is bareable, but with the sandels, the bottoms of my feet get so sweaty and hot. The same happens with or without socks.

Shiraz-mataz
08-14-2006, 12:17
The more you hike barefoot, the easier it is. In fact that's true for going barefoot in general......So yeah, if you're tired of messing with boots/shoes/sandals, just work up some good calluses and go barefoot!

Amen brother! Over the last year or so I have started hiking barefoot more and more. Just yesterday I did a 7.5 mile loop around a local lake in a state park barefoot. A coworker who went with me was amazed to say the least but I've found that by challenging conventional wisdom once in awhile you may surprise yourself with what the truth really is. There is a whole other thread that could be started on this topic (which I may initiate).

But in keeping with the original intent of this thread: Hiking in Sandals... When not barefoot I like to hike in my Teva Terra-Fi's. I don't wear socks with them and have never had a problem with chafing or blisters. But of course my feet are so tough from all that barefootin'! When I've hiked with my son's Boy Scout troop I tend to fall back to Reebok walking shoes to abide by their seemingly abhoration of anything as unconventional as a sandal.

I will say this, there is a slight correlation between the gait one should use while wearing sandals or hiking barefoot. Since sandals are so open and offer less protection from side and front impacts than enclosed shoes, you can't just go walking willy-nilly in them. You have to LOOK where your step will land to avoid injury from things like briars and twigs. While barefooting, you have to go the extra measure of trying to land on the ball of your foot instead of the heel. This lets your body fully use the natural spring in the arch of your foot for shock absorption and allows you the ability to rapidly shift your weight to the heel if you happen to step on something sharp.

berninbush
08-14-2006, 12:31
;) Actually I'm a "sister," but you had no way of knowing....

I agree, hiking in sandals or barefoot requires you to pay more attention to where you're stepping, so that you don't collect debris (in sandals) or land on a sharp rock/twig/piece of glass (barefoot). But I think the more you do it, the tougher your feet are and the more automatic it becomes. It's something of a trade-off; you may need to exercise more care, but it gives your feet so much air and freedom. It's worth it, to me.

For the people who say they need ankle support... if past experience indicates that you easily get ankle injuries, you probably DO need the support. Everyone's different. I rarely roll my ankles, and when I do I've never sprained them (knock on wood), so a stiff boot seems unnecessary *for me*. HYOH.

Ditto for arch support. My arches support themselves, but I know that's not true for everyone.

I love my Tevas. The sole is springy, almost like getting a foot massage as I walk, and that combined with the free passage of air lifts my spirits in and of itself. I wear them as often as I can, even to work when I think I can get away with it. :banana

Rambler
08-25-2006, 14:08
http://thru-hiker.com/articles.asp?subcat=1&cid=54

highway
11-29-2006, 10:23
I prefer Wraptors. I have worn almost nothing but for the past few years section hiking the CDT, AT, all of the Camino de Santiago, and even use them on most of my exercise jaunts. Once broken in they are like walking on a cloud-they are that comfortable. I started wearing them before there was a Chaco hiking sandal; Teva was the first, as I recall. Mileage for me using them doubles what I used to get with trail runners-600 or so as opposed to 300 or so. I trash them when the foot bed begins to breaks down and I start to walk on the outside heel, as I want too protect my feet, rather than dragging the llife of the foot wear out excessively.

I have tried Chacos but their footbed is harder, stiffer and they are not as comfortable-for my feet at least. I am forcing myself presently to use a pair of Z2's now, since so many seem to swear by them.

But my feet to do better with foot wear designed with stability+ & cushion both, so I cant use (not well, at least) the Montrail/Chaco type, harder insole support.

As far as ankle support goes, a main criticism against sandal use, I am convinced that term is a myth at best-certainly a misnomer. It would seem a pair of very high-top paratrooper jump boots may have some 'ankle support', laced tightly enough, but even jumpers roll their ankles. Certainly lower shoes would have even less of that support and mid to low top hiking footwear really none at all. I suspect the term meant is not so much 'ankle support' as 'footbed' support. Now here is where the Wraptors shine. Wear them a while and you form the soles of your feet to the soles of the Wraptor and you begin to walk on a custom pair of orthotics, designed specifically for your own feet. I cannot stress that single huge advantage enough.

I have had almost the same experience with Nike trail runners, Air Wallawa ( no longer made) and Asics trail runners Gel-eagle V. Both are designed for stability+ & cushion. But neither last as long as Wraptors and I just do not know why-but its so-in my experience, anyway

Roadrunner Sports have a decent fit guide to help in the selection of each's feet/weight/gait to specific type of shoe:

http://www.roadrunnersports.com/rrs/mensshoes/mensshoesrunning/

Feet are all different and I have paid a lot of bucks looking for what works for me. I do go through a lot of shoes. I prefer the Wraptors. I wear socks-cheap liners and good Smartwool. Liners usually on inside- always when I plan to walk fast. They go on the outside in light snow.

Footslogger
11-29-2006, 10:38
[quote=highway;277923]It would seem a pair of very high-top paratrooper jump boots may have some 'ankle support', laced tightly enough, but even jumpers roll their ankles.
=====================================

Ouch ...been there, done that ! Wore those just about every day for almost 3 years (prior life). Wouldn't wish my old jump boots on anyone, for backpacking/hiking that is ...and yes, lots of paratroopers turn ankles as I recall.

'Slogger

laniamore
11-29-2006, 10:56
I heart Keens! I got my Keens over the summer and love them!! They are a little heavy for a long hike but they are comfortable, easy to clean, don't smell and protect your toes really well (even for someone as clumsy as me). I have the Newport H2 Keen. WONDERFUL! http://www.keenfootwear.com/pdp_page.cfm?productID=21