Crocs are a divisive footwear. You either love them or hate them and there are a surprising number of people who enjoy hiking in them. This makes many people wonder if Crocs are actually a good choice when it comes to hiking.
You can hike in Crocs, but they aren’t suitable for every trip. Crocs are a good option if your hiking route is relatively flat or has numerous water crossings. However, Crocs should be avoided when taking on rocky trails, steep slopes, and longer hikes.
Of course, there’s a lot more to learn about hiking in Crocs. You should consider the advantages, disadvantages, and what types of hikes they are good for. Read on to discover everything you need to know about wearing Crocs for hiking, so you can decide if they’re the right footwear for you.
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What Are Crocs?
Crocs are shoes that were originally designed for outdoor use on boats. Later, they were modified to cater to all sorts of people. There are now several different styles that serve a myriad of purposes including medical, fashion, and even hiking, making them a popular choice for people of all ages.
They’re a particularly good fit for people who have trouble with regular shoes because they put maximum emphasis on comfort and flexibility. Those who have conditions like bunions, corns, joint pain, and even people with knee and back problems can benefit from using them.
Anatomy Of A Croc
Crocs are clog sandals that fit over the toes and feet. They are open in the back and securable with a strap. Made from patented Croslite closed-cell resin, Crocs provide soft padding and comfort. They boast a wide foot, and they’re peppered with ventilation holes throughout. These clogs are designed to pop style-wise as well, with bright colors and even charms.
Crocs have a shallow tread and offer little traction. Though they offer good arch support, they do not provide much in the way of ankle or heel support. Even the hiking-specific line of Crocs does not have laces, so there’s no tightening or loosening the shoes to provide additional stabilization.
Are Crocs Good For Hiking?
Crocs can be good for hiking, depending on what type of trail it is and how long your hike will be. Cases where you may be hiking on a flat trail with water crossings would be a great time to choose Crocs. However, in cases with rocky paths or climbing spots, Crocs would prove a poor choice.
To determine if they’ll be suitable for you, consider their features first. Crocs are one of the most breathable shoes you can get. Their many holes provide a ton of ventilation, which is amazing for warmer climates where feet can sweat uncomfortably. They sport plush, foam padding which dries in minutes, so they are ideal for water crossings and surprise mud puddles.
While Crocs have their undeniable benefits, they also have quite a few drawbacks. These will be most evident when you’re already on the road. It’s important to examine the specific route you’re going to be taking, so you can decide beforehand if Crocs are appropriate for the terrain, climate, and conditions of your chosen trail.
Crocs are best for flat terrain. They have a wider foot that provides a lot of wiggle room. This can be good for flat conditions where your feet may swell slightly, but it isn’t ideal for hilly and mountainous terrain. Traversing steep slopes in a wider shoe can cause your feet to slip and slide around. You run the risk of falling, tripping, or twisting an ankle.
Crocs don’t offer any ankle support. As you climb up and down the slopes, your ankles could shift around a lot since there’s nothing prohibiting their movement. This can increase your risk of ankle injuries, including strains and sprains to the tendons and ligaments.
Crocs pose little risk for hiking over flat terrain. If you secure them properly with the strap, your ankles and feet will stay nice and snug. They’ll be comfortable, light, and airy on the trail, and you won’t have to worry about your feet slipping around on even ground.
Crocs are perfect for warm climates. Since Crocs are full of holes, they won’t keep your feet very warm. Even if you wear socks inside them, your feet will still beexposed to the elements. This won’t be a major problem in warmer temperatures.
It can be dangerous to hike with Crocs in cold climates, as this increases your risk of frostnip and frostbite. Not to mention, your feet could get uncomfortably numb, cold, and hard to walk on. To stay comfy, avoid Crocs in high altitudes, wintertime, and during the rainy season.
Rainy weather is an issue because Crocs can get slippery when wet. Their wide foot combined with the foamy material doesn’t provide the best traction for your feet and slipping around can cause injuries on a hike. For that reason, it’s better to use Crocs in dry climates. Always check the weather before you head out, just in case of a shower.
Crocs are a good choice for hikes with even conditions. Think about your route of choice and the ground you’ll be covering. Soft dirt, grass, and sandy loam soil are all good for hiking in Crocs. However, rocky and gravel trails can pose problems.
Since Crocs are full of holes, it’s easy to get rocks stuck inside of them. Stopping every five minutes to dump gravel out of your shoes doesn’t make for a very good hiking experience. It can be very uncomfortable, and it can even cut your feet.
Furthermore, Crocs don’t have ultra-thick soles like many hiking boots. While this can add to their comfort level for many people, it also means that sharp objects can penetrate the soles more easily. Be careful on pointed rocks or debris.
Are Crocs Comfortable For Walking?
Crocs can be a very comfortable option for walking, but it comes down to personal taste and preference. Their wide shape provides plenty of space for your feet, and even gives roomy relief to those with corns or bunions. If your feet tend to swell on walks, Crocs could save you a lot of pain.
The Croslite material that Crocs are made of is light and spongey. It has a large capacity for shock absorption, eliminating excess kinetic energy so it doesn’t travel upwards to impact your joints. This is a great boon while walking, as the repetitive motion can wreak havoc on ankles, knees, and hips.
The foamy resin eliminates a lot of strain on your feet by padding them with a soft cushion. However, it also provides much-needed arch support that can help your ankles out in the long run – even without laces and high ankle wraps. Crocs can be very comfortable to walk in if you’re not walking over especially rough, uneven terrain.
Advantages Of Hiking In Crocs
Hiking in Crocs come with a plethora of advantages. While these shoes tend to get a bad rap because of their somewhat outlandish look, there’s a method behind the madness of their design. As it turns out, Crocs have superiority in many areas where hiking boots fall short.
Crocs are well known for their comfort. Where the shoes may lack in appearance, they make up for in comfort. The foam they’re made of is a closed-cell resin that is basically made of tiny air bubbles. It makes you feel as if you are walking on a cloud, and your feet will certainly appreciate this aspect.
Older models may feel a bit stiffer but newer Crocs, especially those made specifically for walking or hiking, provide a thicker sole and undersole. This design maximizes shock absorption and adds an extra layer of comfort into the mix.
Furthermore, the ventilation you get with the holes keeps your feet cool and prevents them from sweating excessively. With closed boots, you get a lot of sweat and rubbing. This is the perfect environment for blisters to form, but that isn’t the case with Crocs.
Consider the shape and material of these shoes. With airy, foam soles and ventilation holes, there’s not much to weigh you down. Crocs are incredibly lightweight, with the average pair weighing just a pound or even less depending on the size and model. In contrast, an average pair of hiking boots can weigh up to four pounds.
A few pounds might not seem like much, but it matters a lot when you’re hiking. Lightweight shoes are better because they take the stress off your feet and ankles. They are lower-impact, decreasing muscle soreness and fatigue after a hike. In turn, this aids in recovery – meaning you won’t be out of commission for too long after your journey.
The lightweight nature of Crocs also gives them a versatility lacking in heavier shoes. You can take them with you on a longer backpacking journey without worrying about the added weight. If you bring them, you’ll have the choice to hike in them if you desire and won’t have to be committed to them the entire hike.
Their shape and ventilation holes make it easy to strap them to the outside of a pack. They won’t cause an imbalance in your load since they’re so lightweight. They’re also a great shoe to have on-hand for wearing around the campsite or in case you run into a water crossing. You can quickly change into your Crocs instead of soaking your boots.
Hiking boots can get expensive. High-end boots can run hundreds of dollars, but Crocs rarely get that high. The less-expensive pairs are considered cheap, and even the more developed lines of Crocs tend to stay on the low side. This saves you money in the long run and gives you peace of mind.
We tend to worry more about expensive belongings, taking special care of items we invested more money in. Crocs are easy to take care of and take up less headspace because they are not as valuable monetarily.
Hiking in less expensive shoes may seem counterintuitive, but it could help you focus more on the task at hand. You won’t be worried about ruining them on a hike, because it isn’t such a big deal if they break. You’ll be able to enjoy nature and perhaps even take a few risks you might not have taken if you were wearing more expensive footwear.
Crocs are the perfect shoe to get wet in. Their resin does not absorb or hold water, so they dry incredibly quickly. The ventilation holes allow water to move freely in and out of the shoe, preventing it from getting trapped inside and sloshing around with your feet.
Crocs discourage blisters from forming because they dry quickly, and water won’t get trapped inside. Blisters can happen easily in wet boots, as the damp friction quickly rubs your feet raw. Crocs make the drying process quick and easy, deterring fungal growth and other infections from occurring as well.
Since Crocs dry quickly, you won’t get bogged down by heavy, wet shoes. They’ll weigh the same when you get out of the water as they did when you got into the water. If you’re carrying them along as water shoes, you’ll also enjoy the fact that they’re easy to get on and off.
Some water sandals tend to come off too easily once you’re swimming or wading with them. Since you can secure Crocs with the back strap, there’s little danger of them falling off your feet. Crocs also float, so you don’t have to worry about them sinking to the bottom of a stream where you can’t reach them.
Crocs don’t break easily. In fact, they’re so durable that they might last a bit too long. The company has had to close several hundred stores throughout the US, and many people cite the apparent durability of Crocs as the reason why they aren’t selling anymore. Everybody already has a pair, and they don’t tend to wear out.
Of course, they aren’t indestructible. While they can maintain function for over five years of regular wear and tear, hiking in Crocs puts unique strain on the shoes that they don’t see on the daily. Sharp objects can destroy the foam, while repeated use over continuous milage will wear down even the thickest soles available.
Crocs are surprisingly resilient for a clog-style shoe with such a low-price tag. Walking over hard ground won’t wear them down as fast as a regular pair of sandals. While hiking boots are undeniably more durable, Crocs’ unique Croslite foam will last much longer than your regular water shoes.
Disadvantages Of Hiking In Crocs
Though there are so many benefits to hiking in Crocs, they will not always be the best choice. There are plenty of disadvantages to Crocs, so it is important to consider all factors before deciding to wear them on your next trip.
Crocs are often thin when it comes to sole. Especially on older or basic models of the shoe, you’ll find the Croslite padding to be somewhat lacking. This isn’t so much of a problem if you’re hiking through smoother terrain, but rocky ground poses a risk for hikers who choose Crocs.
You’ll feel pressure from rocks and debris through the bottom of your Crocs. Sharp objects can poke you, and the soles won’t prevent nails or other dangerous items from stabbing you in the foot. This can be especially dangerous because it may allow puncture wounds, which need to be treated immediately – and that can be difficult on long hikes.
In contrast, hiking boots are designed to protect against these risks. Good boots provide protection from any sharp objects. With thick soles and extra layers of protection, they’re safe to wear in any terrain. That means if you’re hiking somewhere that sharp objects will be a problem, boots are your best bet.
No Heel Support
While Crocs provide plenty of shock resistance and arch support, they’re lacking majorly in heel support. The wide nature of the shoe means your heel remains unstable, while the thinner soles provide little security for this integral part of your foot.
This makes Crocs a bad choice for long hikes. While you can certainly wear them on shorter jaunts, hiking for several days with only your Crocs can mean bad news for your feet. They’ll get fatigued much faster and become sorer than they would in regular boots.
Some hardcore hikers actually prefer less support and thinner soles, because they want to toughen up their feet. If you’re in training to hike barefoot, Crocs can be a great way to wean yourself off shoes entirely. However, this isn’t a common practice and doesn’t apply to most hikers.
Lack Of Ankle Support
Crocs don’t come up to surround the ankle and support its movements as you walk. While there are no conclusive studies on the benefits of hiking with booted ankle support, many hikers believe that ankle support is necessary – and if that’s the case for you, Crocs won’t work.
There’s no denying that Crocs don’t provide the same support as hiking shoes. They don’t lace up, which means they remain loose and provide no stabilization. This is bad for walking over uneven terrain, as your feet need constant stability through all their parts.
Crocs don’t give you the same level of protection that hiking boots do. Crocs are short and full of holes. They have thin soles, and your feet can slip around easily in them. You may lose traction, slip, and fall while wearing them.
You won’t be as steady on your feet when wearing Crocs over rocky ground, which poses a risk of injury. If it rains and you’re wearing Crocs, you’ll likely slide around, which further compounds the risk. Furthermore, these shoes expose your feet to the elements.
The cold, thistles, thorns, poison ivy, and snakebites are much more of a hazard if you’re wearing Crocs. Your feet will also get dirtier. All these factors combined mean that regular hiking boots or even a pair of tennis shoes can provide more protection than a pair of Crocs can.
Are Crocs Good For Climbing?
Crocs are not a good choice for climbing whatsoever and should not be worn for climbing under any circumstance. The lack of traction, protection, and overall foot support means that they would not provide the structure or support necessary for climbing.
You cannot grip anything with the toe in a pair of Crocs, rendering them useless for sports climbing. However, you can totally bring a pair for between belays, resting, and walking around your climbing area. You can also use them as approach shoes.
They’re comfortable and lightweight, making them perfect for toting along to remote areas. If you don’t want to take off your bouldering shoes in between two climbs, you can just slip them into a pair of Crocs. Since the clogs are wide, you’ll be able to fit your climbing shoes inside them.
The Best Crocs For Hiking
The best Crocs for hiking are the ones specifically designed for the activity. The Classic Hiker Clog is the best model to go for when buying Crocs for a hike, as this one is made with the outdoor enthusiast in mind. This shoe offers several aspects that other models do not.
The Classic Hiker Clog comes with an extra 10 mm of height for added padding and protection. It has an adjustable strap on the back to help you secure your feet in place, helping reduce many of the stability and heel support issues of the basic clogs.
The Classic Hiker model also features a sawtooth design on the outsole for additional traction over rougher terrain. They come in several different styles and can be customized with the Jibbitz charms the Crocs brand is so famous for. If you’re going hiking in Crocs, the Classic Hiker Clog is the model to buy.
You can hike in Crocs if you plan to hike on smooth, even trails. They are a great choice for warm weather and trails that have water crossings. Crocs are comfortable and durable, but you should be aware of instances when you may need a more protective shoe option for hiking.