Water shoes are great for scrambling in the river if you’re kayaking, or otherwise scrambling in the water. But can you use Crocs as water shoes? See what the hiking community says in the article below.
Crocs can be used as water shoes. However, Crocs may not be as stable, secure, or tight enough for fast-moving bodies of water and longer water crossings. Crocs can be used as water shoes if the hike includes smaller streams and fewer water crossings.
Crocs as water shoes have several positives and negatives. While many of the benefits definitely made sense, some of the cons included safety concerns that I wanted you to know.
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Lastly, the hiking community claimed that there was one specific type of Croc that they recommend as a water shoe if you choose to go the croc route. See what that model is in these sections to follow.
Can You Use Crocs As Water Shoes? We Asked The Hiking Community
If you’re not clear what water shoes or water sandals are, make sure and check out the following sections.
To answer this question, we sent a survey to the hiking community and asked them if they thought that Crocs would make good water shoes and why.
As a result, we got 48 responses from hikers who felt strongly about either using Crocs as a water shoe or not using Crocs as a water shoe. The people who claimed they did not use Crocs for a water shoe generally had good reasons that related to safety.
According to the survey, we found that 56% of hikers did not think Crocs were a good shoe for water. And, about 44% of people said that they would use Crocs as a water shoe if given the chance or currently use Crocs as their water shoe.
In addition, we found that the people who did use Crocs as water shoes weren’t necessarily ecstatic about the Crocs being the perfect water shoe. Meaning, they used Croc as water shoes but also noted that there were better options out there. This was an interesting response to the survey because many people felt that Crocs could be used as water shoes, but they weren’t necessarily their first choice.
Additionally, there are some styles of Crocs that seemed to work better as water shoes than others. We discussed both styles of Crocs at the end of this article.
What Are Water Shoes?
You probably have an idea of what water shoes are if you are here, but have you ever thought of the difference between water shoes and water sandals? Let’s talk about water shoes real quick just so you have a clear picture.
Water shoes are designed to be submerged underwater,
Water shoes are flexible shoes that are typically made from a mesh material that allows for increase breathability. Furthermore, they are designed with enhanced traction on the bottom so you can walk on the smooth pebbles of a riverbed without losing your balance, and they also are designed to allow water in and out of the shoe, immediately.
Water shoes are designed to help the water drain out from your shoe. This also allows them to be quick-drying and makes them ideal for crossing bodies of water, or for sports like kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding.
In addition, many water shoes provide insulation that can help keep your feet warmer in colder water. Also, some water shoes are made from mesh so that your feet will stay cool despite being wet.
So, in summary, water shoes are specifically designed to help you when you need to wear your shoes in the water.
Crocs Vs. Water Shoes
When comparing Crocs vs water shoes, there are some areas that should be discussed. Firstly, there is a difference between a water shoe and a water sandal. Unlike water sandals that do have straps and holes around the shoe, water shoes are a fully enclosed toe design that protects your feet from rocks and other debris found in an area of water.
In addition, water shoes are generally made from a mesh that allows for increased breathability and are designed to be quick drying. Crocs, on the other hand, are made from a rubberish material and tend to have holes within the shoe that are similar to water sandals (like Keen H2 Newports–I used these shoes for several years and loved them–check them out at REI or at Keen’s website).
Benefits of Wearing Crocs as Water Shoes
Even though we asked the hiking community if they would wear Crocs as water shoes, we also asked them why they thought Crocs would make or do make good water shoes. The answers that we got definitely gave us some insight as to why some hikers prefer Crocs as their water shoes. Below we will go more in-depth as to why Crocs can be used as water shoes.
Don’t Forget About Sport Mode (4×4 Mode)
If you are a Croc fan, you have likely heard the term “sport mode.” Sport motor refers to putting the strap of your crack up so that you are more secure in your shoe. The strap itself will hold your heel back and keep your toes towards the front of the Croc. This should, in theory, prevent slippage and make you more steady on your feet.
Also known as 4×4 mode, the sports mode is more versatile and allows you to wear the Croc as a more athletic shoe instead of a comfort shoe. The hikers who like to wear Crocs also said the 4×4 mode is also great for hiking and even lounging around the campsite.
The fact that Crocs float was actually both a benefit and a drawback. While we will get into the potential cons of using Crocs as water shoes in the next section, we will discuss the possible benefits of having Crocs be able to float.
Even though we would prefer not to lose our shoes while crossing a river or stream or while kayaking or canoeing, it is a possibility. If your canoe or kayak were to flip over and your shoes were to come dislodged from your feet, the Crocs will float so you may have a chance to retrieve them. For that reason, you may not be stuck shoeless for the rest of your camping, canoeing, or kayaking trip.
Versatile and Multifunctional
As we briefly mentioned above, Crocs themselves are versatile and serve multiple functions. Many people prefer to use Crocs as a camp shoe so that they can take off their heavy hiking shoes and put on something that is lighter, more breathable, and more comfortable.
Additionally, Crocs do have that strap that can either go over the back of your heel or sit lightly on top of the shoe. This can also make them easier to take on and off and makes them the ideal lounging shoe that allows you to easily put your shoes on as you get in and out of your tent.
Many Crocs are made out of a rubber that does not absorb water. Thus, they really don’t hold water, dry quickly, and can keep your feet dry. When compared to shoes that are made from fabric or mesh, it is easy to see that Crocs are one of the fastest drying shoes of them all. In fact, even the quickest drying and moisture-wicking fabrics really cannot compare to Crocs.
For the individuals who like to pack as light as they can, Crocs may actually be a good choice. The average pair of Crocs weighs between 11 ounces and 16 ounces total. This also means that they are lightweight to wear on your feet, so if you do plan to hike in them, they may be a little more comfortable than heavy hiking boots, especially through paved and smooth sections of trail
Additionally, you may choose to change into water shoes when you need to cross water. If you do you plan to hike in your hiking boots but change into water shoes, having such a lightweight pair of shoes hanging on your backpack may be beneficial.
The people who swear by Crocs also love how comfortable they are. This is why many people choose to wear them for camp shoes. The Crocs themselves have just enough support and padding to support your body, and the material is generally soft and breathable so that your feet aren’t sweaty and uncomfortable.
Drawbacks of Wearing Crocs as Water Shoes
Although there are some benefits to wearing Crocs as water shoes, some of the drawbacks of wearing Crocs as your water shoes were important to note. In fact, these cons generally referred to the safety issues of wearing Crocs as your water shoes. To get a better sense as to why you may not want to choose Crocs as your water shoes, check out the sections below.
Unless you are one of those people who looks for every cool rock you can find, you may find that you are unintentionally gathering quite the hefty rock collection. Because many of the Croc styles have holes in them, you may find that rocks get lodged in your shoe often.
Many of the hikers who claimed they do not wear Crocs as water shoes or have tried them in the past have said this was a major problem. The same will likely be true for sand and other debris. Even so, because Crocs are rubber you can wash them off in the river if they do get stuff stuck in them, but it may get annoying if you have to do it every time you cross a body of water.
To be fair, I’ve had the rock-collection problem with water sandals such as the H2 Newports and Chacos. So the rock collection problem is a broad problem for all types of water sandals.
Unstable and Slippery
While one purpose of the water shoe is to make sure that your feet dry quickly, you also need a water shoe that is stable and prevents you from slipping and falling in the water. Because many rivers, streams, and creeks can have extremely slippery and rocky bottoms, this is incredibly important to your safety.
Many types of Crocs are not meant for being a water shoe. For that reason, they may not have the right treads underneath the shoe to support you as you’re walking across the water. Many water shoes do have specific designs to help you cross water safely, and many hikers agree that Crocs were not among these designs.
In fact, some hikers in our survey said that they or someone in their party wore Crocs and slipped and severely injured themselves in a hike. Whether it was a broken ankle or a broken wrist, it warranted a trip to the hospital. Slipping in a river could have really dangerous effects.
Too Loose on Feet
When you are hiking, you want your shoes to fit snugly. That said, you don’t want your feet to move around in your shoe as you walk. Many people found but Crocs were too loose and made it so that they were unstable as they crossed a body of water. This was especially a problem when the water was flowing quickly.
Especially if the hikers did not put the crocs in “4×4 mode”, many found that they either slipped and fell or even lost their Crocs to the current. One way to avoid this is to put the adventure strap down and make sure your Crocs fit.
One hiker even said that they prefer to buy their Crocs a size smaller so that they do fit more snugly. However, this may compromise the comfortability of the croc and you may end up getting blisters.
Some people claimed that Crocs are bulky and hard to fit into a pack. This is true because the Crocs themselves are rather wide shoes and do not compress down into an easily packable size. So unless you are wearing your Crocs instead of hiking boots or you strap them to the outside of your pack, you may find that as difficult to pack them as a separate shoe.
Do Crocs Float?
Yes, Crocs float.
While it is true that we had flotation in the benefits, it is also part of the drawbacks. If for example, your Crocs fell off your feet while you were walking in the water, you may lose them to the water’s current and never see them again.
Additionally, one hiker said that she was out kayaking but rolled her kayak while she was wearing her Crocs. Even though her Crocs did stay on her feet and she recovered them in the end, she did say that her feet floated up first before the rest of her body and if the water had been moving faster, she could have been injured. In that sense, Crocs were acting like an awkward floating device more than a pair of stable shoes.
Just like any shoe that doesn’t cover your foot (like other hiking sandals), you are at risk of leeches, which is a big concern if you’re hiking in states like Arkansas or Georgia. Long pants and closed shoes are the name of the game in leech country.
Crocs are squeaky. Did you hear the sound of a squeaking Croc when I said that? Because I sure did. If you are the kind of person who gets really bothered by the sound of feet squishing around in a pair of rubber Crocs, you probably should not wear them as your hiking or water shoes.
You may be able to cut down on the sound of your Crocs if you wear a pair of synthetic socks, but this may also keep your feet wet and may not be the best choice for water footwear. Because the point of the croc as a water shoe is that it does dry quickly and it is lightweight, wearing socks may make these benefits obsolete.
Will Crocs Work As Water Shoes?
So, will Crocs work as water shoes? Well, we’ve seen in the above reasons why some people choose to wear Crocs and some don’t. While on one hand Crocs may be lightweight, quick-drying, uncomfortable, they may also not be the best for fast-moving streams and slippery water crossings.
However, Crocs can work as water shoes. Maybe they are not the best type of water shoe to wear, but they’re still a viable option and many people do choose to wear Crocs as their water shoes. Additionally, there is one style of Croc that several different hikers recommended on the survey. We will explore that type of Croc in the section below.
Popular Water Shoes: Crocs That The Hiking Community Recommends
Now that we have seen more or less a split discussion on whether or not Crocs are good water shoes, we should point out that there are some Crocs that may be suitable for water shoes.
When analyzing the answers we got from the community, we also saw that Crocs generally were popular camp shoes and even hiking shoes if you are going for shorter and less extensive hikes. Those who truly felt that Crocs made a halfway decent water shoe did recommend a specific type of Croc.
Is hiking in Crocs actually a thing? Check out what 180 hikers have to say in this article!
Crocs Swiftwater Collection
When people think of Crocs, they likely think of the classic rubber shoe with various-sized holes and an adventure strap. However, the Crocs company actually makes several other styles of shoes. These shoes range from everyday sandals to hiking-specific footwear. When asked what their favorite types of Croc water shoes were, several members of the hiking community recommended the Crocs Swiftwater collection.
After reviewing the several types of shoes in the swift wear collection, we notice that these did look like your generic water sandal with open heels and toes. However, there is one model that includes a full mesh top that covers most of the foot. This model likely addresses some of the issues that the hiking community had with rocks and debris.
With the mesh covering and straps that secure the shoot your foot, you likely won’t have as many problems with your Crocs floating down the river or rocks getting stuck in your shoe. While we’re not necessarily recommending Crocs over the Tevas, Chacos, or Xeros that other hikers recommended, we are saying it is possible to wear Croc-brand shoes as your water shoes.