You may love your Crocs for running errands or walking around camp, but are they good shoes for hiking?
Out of 189 hikers surveyed, only 2 (1.06%) use crocs for hiking 5+ miles. Crocs are highly comfortable shoes that provide a lot of breathability and ankle support, but they don’t have the thickest soles. Rocks, sticks, and other bits of debris can be felt through the soles
Hikers can have vastly different opinions about hiking in Crocs. Most view it as a terrible idea while others really enjoy wearing Crocs on a hike. It’s all up to each individual hiker. There’s a lot more to know about what makes hiking in Crocs so divisive. Upon researching the opinions of a number of different hikers, I’ve been able to get a feel for what people love about hiking in Crocs as well as what they hate about it.
By the way, as an Amazon Associate, I earn when buying qualified products through links on my site.
Read on and learn whether or not Crocs are the right hiking shoe for you.
Can You Hike In Crocs?
When it comes right down to it, you can hike in just about any shoes or even no shoes at all. Although it’s not the most popular option, there are people who hike with Crocs, regularly. There’s more to the story, though.
Just because you can get away with wearing any type of footwear doesn’t mean you’re always going to have a fun experience. Some shoes can be more prone to causing blisters, ankle sprains, or even stress fractures. It’s because of this that many hikers swear by high-quality hiking shoes with plenty of support and cushion to keep their feet comfortable and safe on a hike.
We Surveyed 189 Hikers To Find Out Who Wore Crocs
I wanted to know if hiking with crocs was a thing at all so I decided to ask 189 hikers what they usually hike with to see how common it was to hike with crocs.
I admit the results were surprising.
And a nice pie chat so you can get a sense of the proportions.
So, from this data, we found that 1.06% of people wear crocs for long-distance hiking. This means that in the group we surveyed, that around the same amount of people wear barefoot shoes or go literally barefoot. Those who wear Crocs on the trail are in the minority.
Almost half of all surveyed (about 45%) opt for hiking boots, while ~36% of those surveyed wear running shoes or trail runners for hiking, and about 16% wear hiking shoes.
Right now, I’m in the 16% camp–I choose to wear hiking shoes, which are similar to a hiking boot but with a lower profile.
On a side note, if you’re not sure what hiking shoes are, I wrote a post about getting the proper fit for a hiking shoe and there you can see a lot of pictures of what they look like as well as some of the biggest mistakes people make when people fit their shoes. You can learn 10 different ways to find out whether or not you have the right hiking shoes for your feet. Check it out here.
Can You Use Crocs As Water Shoes?
Crocs, when properly adjusted, can be used as water shoes, although they aren’t always ideal. Find out why in our article here.
Why Choose Crocs For Hiking?
Some hikers like to try out the more unusual footwear options to see what results they might find. When it comes to Crocs, in particular, there are a few hikers out there who will absolutely swear by them in a wide variety of hiking environments. The question worth asking is whether or not you might be one of those hikers.
Although you can hike in Crocs, it’s worth taking the time to find out whether or not that is comfortable for you. If you enjoy Crocs for regular activities, then you can always try wearing your Crocs on a short, easy hike. You may also choose to bring along some backup shoes just in case the experiment does turn out to be a failure.
On the other hand, you might just find that you love hiking in your Crocs. If you do, you can try longer hikes. Just make sure you have first aid and a backup pair of comfortable shoes until you know for certain that your Crocs are your ideal choice for hiking shoes.
If nothing else, Crocs, themselves, make for good backup shoes while hiking and they can work really well as crossing shoes (for going across rivers) as opposed to going barefoot or getting your boots wet.
Advantages Of Hiking In Crocs
There are certainly a number of benefits to hiking in Crocs. These shoes are known to be really comfortable, suitable for wet conditions, and are great for keeping your feet dry. It’s because of those benefits that some hikers absolutely swear by these shoes.
Learn more about the benefits you can get from wearing Crocs on a hike below.
Crocs may not be considered the most stylish shoes on the market, but there are many who swear by the level of comfort they provide. According to WebMD, crocs are specifically designed for people who have problems walking around comfortably in other shoes. As such, they also provide a heightened level of support for your ankles. Some consider that to be a good thing, while others may believe it allows the ankles to become weaker over time.
That said, people who wear crocs regularly say that they feel like they might as well be wearing an extra-durable pair of slippers. It’s because of that comfort that many people enjoy wearing them around the house, campsite, or on errands.
A top-quality pair of hiking shoes can cost a pretty penny. Not everyone has the funds to wear shoes that are $100+ on a long hiking trip, especially knowing that the shoes may not last as long as they’d hoped. On the other hand, crocs can provide a great deal of comfort for somewhere around half the cost or less.
This depends on the model of Crocs you’re using, of course. Some of the more rugged versions of Crocs can run from $70+ which is in the ballpark of some hiking shoes.
Some hikers may prefer a less expensive pair of hiking shoes, but hiking shoes that aren’t the ideal fit can sometimes result in some nasty blisters. Based on my research on what a variety of different hikers had to say about hiking in crocs, blisters seem to be less of an issue unless you try to hike with them in very sandy areas.
To combat blisters, some Croc wearers recommend wearing socks with their Crocs which can help get rid of rubbing which can cause blisters.
Due to the holes in many Croc designs, you’re going to have plenty of air traveling through your shoes. That can be really helpful if you’re prone to sweaty feet. Keeping your feet cool can be really helpful for staying comfortable while you’re out on the trail, especially if you’re hiking in hot weather. With feet that are less sweaty, you’ll be less prone to those nasty hiking blisters.
Wet socks over miles and miles causes blisters–it’s very important to have dry feet
Whether you’re in Crocs or regular hiking shoes, blisters can really mess up your hiking experience. That is particularly true when it comes to blisters that form on your heels. If you tend to be prone to heel blisters while hiking, our article here can help you learn how to prevent and treat them, even while you’re in the middle of a hike.
You can see all the different Crocs styles on Amazon, but the examples I’ll give are from Crocs website.
When most of us think about Crocs, we tend to picture the classic, clog-style Croc shoe. However, there is a variety of other styles out there including Crocs sandals made for river crossing, Crocs for work, and even Croc slip-on shoes. So when you’re considering options that might work well for hiking, definitely take a look at the different varieties out there. You might just find that there is a style that works perfectly for your hiking journeys. At the very least, it’s worth taking a look.
If you’re heading out onto a trail with plenty of water crossings, crocs can be beneficial. Unlike regular hiking shoes, crocs allow your feet to dry out quickly once you’re back onto solid land. That means no worrying about wet socks or stinky, soaked shoes. You can even wear your crocs if you decide to stop for a swim and want to avoid stepping on a sharp rock or broken glass or something like that.
Disadvantages Of Hiking In Crocs
It’s difficult to find the perfect hiking shoes. One hiker might swear by a particular brand while another finds it to be the most uncomfortable hiking shoes they’ve ever tried. Ultimately, it all depends on each individual person. Some hikers might find Crocs to be the ideal hiking shoes, but many also experience flaws with them.
Here are a few of the flaws you might experience while wearing Crocs on a hiking trip.
Lack Of Grip
While crocs might be great for helping your feet to dry out after a slog through a creek, some models can be slippery when they are wet. If you know you’re going to be spending some time trekking through water, you may want to consider something other than standard crocs.
The brand does make other styles of shoes, including options like the Swiftwater, which are made to be a bit more water-friendly. There’s no guarantee that water-friendly Crocs won’t slip in the water, but you may be able to find a model of Croc that works well for you.
Holes In The Design
The holes in a pair of standard Crocs are what make them so great for drying off after you’ve walked through water. However, those wholes can be prone to more than just air and water. Small items like rocks, sticks, leaves, bugs, and sand can end up getting inside your shoes as well.
Consequently, you can end up with some uncomfortable moments in your hike where you have to stop and empty out your shoes. Even worse, the items that get into your shoes run the risk of injuring your feet as well.
I wear Keen’s H2 Newport hiking sandals when I go to the river and on the occasional short hike and I can attest that things really do get into your shoes if there any openings. It’s not a huge deal–you just have to take off your shoe for a second to dislodge whatever fell into your shoe–it’s just annoying.
Objects on the ground can also cause issues for your feet from the outside. The standard variety of Crocs aren’t really created for more difficult terrain. They’re perfect for a quick trip to the store, but if you’re walking around where there are a lot of rocks, you’re likely to feel those rocks even through the soles.
If your feet are toughened up, this may not be too much of an issue. That said, many of us are spoiled by nice shoes that keep our feet on the softer side. For those people, walking in rocky areas in just a pair of Crocs may not be a great experience.
I can’t really emphasize this point enough–I’ve been hiking in running shoes with a softer sole and stepping on those rocks creates an astonishing amount of pressure on your feet–especially after stepping on thousands of them. A stiff sole can make a huge difference in keeping your feet happy.
You may decide that, instead of opting for more comfortable hiking shoes, you want to toughen your feet up so that debris on the ground will be less of a problem. You can learn exactly what steps you need to take to do that in our article on the topic here.
Alongside the lack of grip Crocs may have on the bottom of the soles, many people can also find that their feet start to slip around in the shoes when they get wet. If you’re prone to sweaty feet or expect to walk in water often, you’ll need to be careful to avoid potentially rolling an ankle or taking a fall.
This is especially true if your feet are wet and you have to jog (such as keeping up with your adventurous 2-year-old) for a bit. The sliding around creates a LOT of friction and can set you up for blisters pretty quickly.
Some hikers who are fond of Crocs suggest adding in some extra tools like insoles or socks. If you decide to try out those options, just keep in mind that you’ll probably have to change them out frequently if they come into contact with water. That said, insoles can also play a role in protecting your feet from rocks and other objects on the ground.
And, to be fair, getting your socks wet with ANY shoe means you will want to change your socks–so it’s not extremely different.
Best Crocs For Hiking
I asked which set of Crocs works well for hiking and I learned about the Offroad Crocs design. You can see it on Amazon, here.
What’s great about these Crocs is that they have a more substantial sole as well as lugs to increase traction. This means that even in wet conditions these Crocs will hold up. Support and traction are extremely important while hiking. The huge toe box is another bonus if your toes creep up on each other.
If I was to try hiking in Crocs, I’d definitely try this pair.