Why I hike in crocs

Note: When I say “Crocs” I mean this:

It’s just your standard plain old classic clog croc (real ones, not fake). I also always wear a pair of socks with crocs. I do all types of hikes with crocs including:

  • Day hikes
  • Weekend hikes
  • 5+ day hikes
  • Canyoneering / abseiling (I then use them with wetsuit socks)

I have also done a 5km parkrun (In which I came second with a PB time of 20:18), a 15km trail run with 600m elevation gain, and some rock climbing in crocs amongst other things.

How I got here:

I started off hiking the Otter and Oorlogskloof trails in a pair of Wolverine boots much like the ones below:

What I liked about them:

  • They keep my feet warm and dry

What I disliked about them:

  • Blisters! A lot of them
  • They are heavy

After those trails, I rowed the orange river. In the interest of going lightweight, I decided to only take my pair of crocs that I bought as camp shoes for the otter trail. They were great. I also hiked up a mountain each day once we made camp and I saw that it was possible in crocs.

For my next hiking trip, I decided to go a bit more-light weight when hiking on the Outeniqua trail. I took a pair of Nike tekkies.

What I liked about them:

  • Lightweight
  • Less blisters

What I disliked about them:

  • Once they were wet it took DAYS to dry
  • Still gave me blisters

For my next hiking trip, I decided to do a 5-day hike in the Drakensberg with a 20kg bag on my back in my trusty crocs. It was amazing.

What I liked about them:

  • Very lightweight
  • Comfortable
  • ZERO blisters
  • Dries quickly
  • Doubles as a camp shoe

What I disliked about them:

*Not great at keeping my feet warm

FAQ:

Q: Aren’t they slippery?

A: No. There is a general rule: the softer the sole of a shoe, the better the grip. If you investigate trail running shoes you will see that some soles are made soft specifically for this reason. If the sole is softer, it can bend and sink into crevices that a hard sole isn’t able to.

Q: What about ankle support?

A: If you have weak ankles or are recovering from an injury then I would recommend ankle support otherwise you don’t need it. I like the idea of trying to build strong ankles rather than trying to restrain their movement (I am not a doctor though so keep that in mind).

Q: What about footbridge support?

A: Same situation as with ankles. Once again, I’m not a doctor though.

Q: Do your feet not slide sideways inside the Croc when cruising along a contour without a flat path for example?

A: Nope. I always wear socks with the crocs to prevent chafing and to limit sweat from causing my feet to slide around inside. I think socks on the rubber sole might have more grip than socks on the insole of a regular shoe/boot

Q: Do you have wide feet or narrow elegant Italian feet?

A: My feet are on the wider side.

Q: How often do you have to replace your crocs?

A: I go hiking at least once a week and they last about a year give or take.

Q: Do you find they squash flat with a heavy pack? When I carry a heavy pack (say 20kg+) my trail runners literally flatten under my feet, I can feel more stones, pressure points, etc. Also, they feel as if their grip and structure deform to the point of not feeling trusty anymore…when clambering over rocky sections I almost get the sense they’re on the verge of shredding off.

A: I like to describe crocs as having a lot of cushioning but little support (In terms of rigidity of the sole). I prefer having that flexibility in the sole, but it sounds like you might feel more comfortable with a more rigid sole.

I like to look at it like this:
When you have a rigid sole and you step on a rock the sole on the rock forms something like a seesaw (Basically like a rigid plank on a fulcrum). This then causes you to have to use your ankle to stabilize yourself. It also might cause your shoe to tilt to the side causing your foot to slide into the sides of your shoes which causes pressure and heat causing blisters to form. I also feel like it affects your balance negatively.

Crocs have a softer sole that bends around rocks when you step on them. This stops your foot from tilting and sliding into the sides. Instead, it stays planted in the center of the shoe. I guess a downside of this could be if you are constantly walking on uneven terrain then your foot would become overworked. I usually only started to notice this at the end of day 3 with a heavy bag on my back. My feet usually recover with a nights’ rest.

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Also a fan of crocs, need to get a genuine pair maybe in the coming months. Currently hiking in my 2nd pair of Hi-tec alititudes which work well for me but as my camp shoes they tick the boxes!

I walked Camino and saw a guy in his crocs and socks going over the Pyrenees, not a problem in the world and when my salomon ultras got wet it was a mission to dry them out in time!

Interested to know what socks you use with your “classic clogs”??

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Hi Daniel,
I also have wide feet, and I’m also a fan of building strong ankles, hence me using Zero Drop (Altra) shoes / boots.
I saw one of my friends in Russia running with Classic All Terrain Crocs (which I have too), and thought that he was crazy​:joy::rofl: See Classic All Terrain Clog – Crocs South Africa (crocssa.co.za)
I love them!
Keep on rocking in your Crocs,
Ian

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Really interesting! I use crocs as camp shoes, and I have done some day hiking in them before when I forgot my regular hiking shoes. Maybe I’ll give them a shot as a hiking shoe :blush:

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Haha yeah, I remember trying not to melt my tekkies next to the fire each night on the Outeniqua trail.

I use any type of sock really. I have used regular Woolworths socks and fancy verses socks. The fancy socks just make you feel more professional :smiley:

Check this out:

Hi Daniel
Thanks for this!
I did a 15K road run in Innsbruck this morning, in my Classic All Terrain Crocs, with Bridgedale Trail Socks, and they were super comfortable. He is correct in terms of “form”.
I’ll be using them for sure, on early morning beach runs at Blouberg, and the Strand, this summer.:grin:
Enjoy,
Ian

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Had a day of heavy rain on The Leopard Trail and my hiking boots had not dried by the next day. Decided to do the day in my camp shoes (crocs). Worked really well for me. Haven’t stuck to them for other hikes, but always bring them with as a trustworthy backup.

Thanks @Spaniel for the story

Something interesting to add - I have a friend who seconds for the Fish River Canyon Ultra and he does it in Crocs! As in, walks the whole Fish in one go wearing crocs :star_struck: