The 6 Best Camp Shoes: Backpacker’s Guide

Conquerwild’s #1 pick for Best Camp Shoe: OOFOS Sport Recovery Slide Sandals!!

When it comes to camping, it can be hard to find the right balance between ruggedness and comfortability. That’s when a good pair of camp shoes comes in.

This extra set of footwear can make a huge difference in having a leisurely, convenient camping trip. Every camper wants to be comfortable, but we must also be ready to handle the perils of nature. The goal is to find a great pair of shoes that can do both.

Here are some of the best camp shoes that money can buy:

What We’ll Be Reviewing:


OOFOS Sport Recovery Slide SandalsBest Pick Overall

A first glance at the OOFOS Unisex Slides screams simplicity. This pair of lightweight sandals for backpacking was certainly not crafted for the royal ball. Though let’s remember that we’re talking about camping here. The extra shock absorption technology found in these puppies makes up for their lack of fanciness. This pair is rugged enough to take on almost any camping trip, but they mainly focus on muscle recovery.

These unisex sandals are great for anyone with arthritis, back pain or sore muscles. They simply make it easier to stand when you’re tired of being on your feet. The OOFOS are also commonly used among athletes, so they make for a great treat after a long hike.

Being that these sandals are “slides,” it’s obviously super easy to slide into and out of them. This is so important when it comes to entering and exiting a tent seamlessly and quickly.

As someone with very high arches in their feet, I appreciate the arch-cradling technology that these come with. Also, if you want a bit of extra sha-bang, then maybe opt for the sport version of these sandals, which have the OOFOS logo printed on the side. Either way, quality prevails with this pair of camping sandals.

Pros

  • They have great arch support and they absorb about 37% more impact than most footwear foam.
  • The material is 100% synthetic.
  • They’re great for plantar fasciitis as well as back pain, muscle soreness and joint pain.
  • They’re machine washable!
  • You can purchase them in black, matte black, black sport (with a logo on it), navy sport or smoke (gray).
  • They’re super durable.

Cons

  • They don’t come in half sizes – OOFOS recommends ordering one size down if you’re a men’s half size.
  • Their design is pretty simple. If you want something fancy, this is likely not the pair for you.

>>>Check Them Out On Amazon<<<

FitKicks Original Barefoot Water ShoesMost Lightweight

If you’re a minimalist when it comes to your footwear, then the FitKicks Original Barefoot Water Shoes may be a great choice for you. The thickness of these ultralight camp shoes is barely a step above that of a sock- but they’re still durable enough to handle the perils of nature.

The FitKicks come in an array of colors and they’re amazing for backpacking. They can also be easily folded in half without ruining the quality of the fabric. You’ll have no trouble fitting a pair (or even 2 pairs) into your backpack, even if it’s already jammed full of equipment.

Once you unfold these babies and pop them on, they’re ready for pretty much any activity you have in mind. You can wear these for low-impact workouts, lounging around a campfire, or even wading/swimming through streams. They fit tightly to your feet, in a way that’s snug, yet breathable; this is thanks to the polyester makeup, spandex blend and FlexFoam sole. Also, a protective toe-guard means your feet are kept safe from your environment.

Overall, these are some of the most functional camp shoes on this list. They cover most of the essential areas for quite a low price.

Pros

  • They’re super affordable!
  • With a polyester makeup, these shoes are great at wicking away moisture (and breathable).
  • They’re foldable, meaning they’re perfect for backpacking and can fit virtually anywhere.
  • They’re ultra lightweight and super comfortable.
  • You can purchase them in 2 variations of black, 2 variations of gray, green or navy.
  • Convenient pull tabs make these shoes easy to put on, even though they’re snug-fitting.

Cons

  • They’re a bit on the ugly side (in my opinion, of course).
  • Sizes come in small, medium, large and extra large, so it may not always be a perfect fit for you.
  • They don’t offer the best arch support.

>>>Check Them Out On Amazon<<<

Crocs Offroad Sports ClogMost Reliable

Let’s be honest straight off the bat here: I am not a Crocs guy. I’ve never liked them, and I don’t think I ever will. HOWEVER, I cannot deny the functionality and resilience that these shoes provide. These Offroad Sport Clogs are like the Jeep Wrangler of Crocs.

Crocs have always been about customizability, from their expansive color options to their collection of shoe charms. This pair also comes with a removable, adjustable turbo strap, which allows for a firmer fit if you need it. Though in general, Crocs are meant to have a bit of a looser fit; that’s really the beauty of them.

The signature element of these shoes, as everyone knows, is their holes. These orifices are more than just a fashion statement- they’re a highly efficient ventilation system. For anyone with overly-sweaty feet, Crocs will allow you to get some much-needed air and help prevent profuse perspiration. This makes it less likely for blisters to form on your feet while you’re wearing them.

In general, Crocs are a super safe, and mostly affordable option for campers. While I’ve never actually owned a pair, I have worn them on occasion and I must say, they are super comfortable and convenient. If you’re going to bring any pair of Crocs backpacking, these are the ones to go with.

Pros

  • They come in navy green/espresso, espresso/walnut, black/graphite, smoke/charcoal and khaki/walnut.
  • They’re 100% synthetic.
  • The shoe’s material melts ever-so-slightly with body heat, causing them to mold to your feet.
  • Their ventilation system is as good as it gets, meaning they’re perfect for sweaty feet.
  • They’re water resistant and great in most environments.
  • They have a slip-resistant, non-marking outsole.

Cons

  • Everyone knows that these come with a bit of a stigma…
  • ….The stigma is for good reason because these things are ugly.
  • If you want a super snug fitting shoe, this is not the pair for you.

>>>Check Them Out On Amazon<<<

PENGCHENG Water Sports ShoesBest Value

When it comes to high-performance camp shoes, the PENGCHENG Water Sports Shoes are quite possibly the best option out there. For the price, this pair is an amazing value. 

These are a bit different from the other choices on the list, as they’re the most like a fully-functioning shoe. At first glance, they look like an average pair of running sneakers. The only difference is that they’re waterproof, super cheap and practically weightless.

From swimming to long-distance walking to running, the PENGCHENG’s are high-intensity-ready with good traction and a flexible design. At the same time, they’re super cushiony and made to naturally cradle the feet. It’s clear that the intention here is to feel more like a sock than a sneaker.

Perhaps the greatest thing about the PENGCHENG’s is the insane amount of options they come with. There are a total of 45 variations of this one pair of shoes, each with a different color or style! Basically, there’s an option for (almost) everyone, no matter what your taste in footwear is. For the campers out there who need affordable yet versatile footwear, it doesn’t get much better than these.

Pros

  • They’re the best value out of all the options on the list.
  • These are comfortable, flexible and have a breathable drain for water and sand.
  • Built in sweat prevention and smell reduction will allow you to stay hygienic while wearing them.
  • They’re super flexible.
  • Instead of tied laces, these shoes use a lace clasp (some variations use velcro), which makes for easy adjustability.
  • Their honeycomb-shaped soles make for a comfortable fit.
  • They’re really lightweight.

Cons

  • Some customers have complained about the sizes being a bit off from what they expected.

>>>Check Them Out On Amazon<<<

Amoji Unisex Garden Clog ShoesMost Affordable

For a pair of shoes that’s super affordable but also great for camping, consider the Amoji Unisex Garden Clogs. These shoes are great if you want something that you can easily throw on and off in an instant. They’re also light enough to go anywhere with you, even if you’re carrying them by hand.

Their simple slip-on design makes the Amoji’s a great choice for both camping and lounging around the house. Leave them in your foyer or at the entrance to your tent and you can literally hop right into these ultralight shoes whenever you feel like it. This is the type of convenience I like to look for in a good camp shoe- and I love that these can be used for things beyond just camping.

Also, these are made of resin, so they’re super durable for their price. They’re also very well ventilated, which is important- especially for hot weather camping. In my eyes, the Amoji Garden Clog Shoes are like a more attractive (and cheaper) version of Crocs. Their low price doesn’t come at the expense of losing quality, though. I find them to be a great choice all around.

Pros

  • They’re the cheapest waterproof camping shoes on this list.
  • They come in gray, navy, army green, white, black, red, khaki, light blue, purple and brown (and they all look great, in my opinion).
  • Their resin composition makes them very durable, flexible and comfortable.
  • Weighing less than 0.3 pounds, these camping shoes are extremely lightweight.
  • They have an effective, non-slip, EVA sole.

Cons

  • The back of these clogs is pretty minimal, so they’re not the best for any high-level activity. They’re sort of like backpacking slippers.

>>>Check Them Out On Amazon<<<

Antika Outdoor Hiking SandalsBest For Hiking

For more traditional open-toe footwear, consider going with the Antika Outdoor Hiking Sandals. These camp sandals come in versions for men and women, and they’re both of great value.

The Antika’s put the term “hiking sandals” to good use with their shock absorbing rubber out-sole, good arch support and decent cushioning. They scream “rugged” and “camp-ready” more than any other sandals within this price range (in my opinion). Also, these are another pair of lightweight camp shoes that have a huge range of stylistic options (30, to be exact).

Generally, sandals are not the ideal type of footwear for a long hike. However, the protection and durability of this pair makes them suitable for most moderate treks. Either way, these backpacking sandals will keep you comfortable no matter what you’re doing.

Pros

  • They come in a ton of different color and style variations.
  • They include an EVA midsole with great ergonomic arch-support.
  • Being that these are sandals, there’s a ton of ventilation for your feet.
  • They’re lightweight and great for the water.
  • The loop and hook straps are quick-drying.

Cons

  • Since they’re open-toe, they don’t offer your feet as much protection as shoes with more coverage.
  • I personally don’t think these are the most attractive sandals out there (but then again, I’m not a huge sandal guy).

>>>Check Them Out On Amazon<<<

Do You Really Need Camp Shoes?

Many people may assume that the term “camp shoes” means the same thing as “hiking shoes.” Those people would be wrong… In most circumstances, at least.

Camp shoes are generally known to be a spare pair of footwear that you bring along for your camping trip. There are several benefits that this extra pair should provide that your standard hiking shoes will not.

A Dose Of Relief

The first and most obvious reason to pack yourself some camp shoes is for comfort. This is especially true if you’re going to be hiking all the way to your campsite.

After working your leg and foot muscles intensely for a long period of time, it’s important that you allow your body to recover. Many camp shoes (such as the OOFOS Sport Slides) are designed specifically for athletic recovery.

The most comfortable camp shoes generally have nicely padded soles and….

…A Bit Of Ventilation

Ventilation can be super important when it comes to camp shoes. The hotter the weather is… the more strenuous your hike… the more your feet are going to sweat.

If your feet have accumulated some blisters from your hiking boots, this is a great opportunity to let them get some air and heal naturally. Put on some less restricting footwear and give your feet a break.

For Hygene’s Sake

Your feet are one of the sweatiest parts of your body. After a long day of hiking or performing any vigorous activity, you’ll need to clean them up a bit.

Think of your camp shoes as “transition footwear.” You’ll be putting these on after taking your sweaty hiking boots off and before putting on a pair of clean socks. In the meantime, you should use some sanitizing wipes or tea tree oil to clean your feet. Give your hiking shoes a chance to dry off and prepare for the trek back.

What To Look For In A Good Camping Shoe

Now that we’ve established the general purpose of camp shoes, let’s get into the process of choosing a pair. There’s no point in buying any type of footwear that isn’t going to live up to your standards. In this case, you’ll need to find a pair that’s camp ready.

Prioritize Comfort

As stated earlier, the main point of your camp shoes is to provide extra comfort. There are several things factors that aid in the comfortability of your shoe.

First of all, it’s important that your camp shoes have at least a bit of padding. This will take some of the pressure off your feet and make it easier to stand.

Look for shoes that have a bit of arch support as well (unless you have flat feet, of course). Without proper support, you risk putting excess stress on the soles of your feet. When your arches are unsupported, it can cause back pain and imbalance after standing for long periods of time.

EVA, or Ethelyne-Vinyl Acetate, is a super comfortable material that’s often found in the sole of camp shoes. This rubber-like material is great because it’s flexible, lightweight, great at absorbing shock and good at retaining heat.

Find A Pair That’s Durable

Since you’ll be wearing these shoes in the great outdoors, it’s important that they’ll be able to withstand the forces of nature. You’re going to need to do at least a little bit of walking while wearing these. You may even need to use these shoes as backups for your hiking footwear, just in case something goes wrong.

You don’t want them to fall apart after a couple of uses.

Guy jumping across rocks on a mountain wearing camp sandals.

In general, it’s best if the out-sole (the outer bottom of the shoe) is made out of rubber or a similar material. Since you’ll be putting a lot of pressure on this area of the shoe, you need something that’s sock-absorbent.

It’ll also be helpful to have some sort of anti-slip layer on the out-sole of your shoes, as this will keep you from taking a nasty fall.

Camp shoes that are made of resin are some of the best out there when it comes to durability. This is a strong type of plastic that’s super sturdy, but also flexible enough to make a pretty comfortable shoe. This material is often found in sandals, slides and flip flops.

While shoes or slippers made from cotton may be comfortable, they’re not the most durable choice. They’ll also get dirty more quickly.

Camp shoes made from synthetic materials (such as polyester) are great because they’re usually cheap and cruelty free. In other words, no animals need to be harmed in order to create the material.

Water Resistance

Having a nice pair of camp shoes that resists water is a huge plus. If you plan on crossing over streams, swimming or performing any activity that involves getting your feet wet, you need to think about waterproofing.

Rubber and plastic materials are often the best for this, as they don’t absorb moisture. Water shoes are often made out of polyester, which does a great job of wicking away wetness.

Cotton absorbs moisture and will become heavier once it’s wet. I would avoid any type of water shoe that’s made of cotton.

Any pair of shoes that advertises “sweat prevention” is often a good choice, as this will help wick away moisture from the inside.

Think About Convenience

Camp shoes are supposed to bring ease and simplicity to your trip. This is why it’s important that your pair is easy to take on and off. If you’ll be getting in and out of your tent all day long, then this is even more crucial.

Slides are my favorite when it comes to convenience, as you can literally kick them off, hands-free if you’d like.

Camp sandals or shoes that use velcro are also a good choice because they’re easy to adjust and take off.

If your shoes have laces, it’ best if there’s an adjustable plastic clasp for tightening and loosening. It’ll be a pain in the butt to tie and untie your shoes every time you want to leave/enter your tent. 

I used to use a pair of tattered, old Nike sneakers as camp shoes. I would get beyond frustrated every time I entered and exited my tent because of the constant tying and untying.

Look For Lightweight

Unless you find camp footwear that can double as hiking shoes (like the Antika Outdoor Hiking Sandals), you’re going to need to carry this pair during your trek. For this reason, it’s best to find something that’s lightweight.

Also, nobody wants a pair of heavy, bulky shoes on their feet. It’ll make it harder to walk around your campsite. Many of the backpacking camp shoes on this list are super lightweight. Surprisingly, sandals tend to weigh more than most water shoes.

Assess Your needs And Circumstances

There are many personal factors that come into play when a camper is looking for the best camping shoes. It’s important that, before you make your purchase, you analyze your specific circumstances to figure out what you truly need.

Open Or Closed-Toe?

The battle between open and closed-toe footwear ultimately comes down to preference. Both types have their pros and cons.

Obviously, closed-toe footwear usually offers more protection from your environment. The more walking you plan on doing, the more you’ll benefit from a closed-toe camp shoe. You’ll be less likely to get cuts, scrapes or splinters in your feet. Oftentimes, these types of shoes (especially water shoes) are built with a reinforced toe to protect your feet from banging against rocks or other hard objects. However, this also comes at the expense of less ventilation for your feet.

If you’re using closed-toe camp shoes, be sure that they’re made of a fabric that’s breathable. Polyester (yes, this is the 3rd time we’ve mentioned polyester as being a great material- because it is!) is great for this.

Open-toed camp shoes will surely give your feet a chance to breathe, though at the same time, you’ll be more exposed to your environment. If you’re using open toed shoes in the water, you’ll be more likely to collect rocks and bits of gravel inside them, which can be annoying.

Pair of sandals sitting alone in the grass.

Do You Have Any Special Needs?

It goes without saying that not every camper’s feet are the same. If your feet have any type of special needs or characteristics, then your camp shoes must reflect that.

Some people have wide feet. In this case, opt for a pair of camp shoes that aren’t so rigid and tight fitting.

Arch support can be hugely dependent on each individual camper. I have very high arches in my feet, so I need the insoles of my shoe to have great support. This helps me distribute the weight of my body more evenly throughout my feet while I’m standing. For campers who have flat feet, you may need a lower, but more firm arch in your insole.

If you have a diagnosed condition like plantar fasciitis, you’re going to need something with more cushion, a moderate heel and great arch support. Many people have said that the OOFOS Sport Recovery Slide Sandals are great for plantar fasciitis.

If you’re super concerned about accommodating your foot’s special needs, you can always buy separate insoles for your camp shoes.

For campers who have chronically smelly feet (no shame, it happens), keep your eye out for camp shoes with smell prevention. This will help in preventing your shoes from stinking up your backpack or tent, even after you’ve worn them dozens of times.

Don’t Forget To Check The Weather

We must never forget about the greatest environmental force of all: the weather. This can play a huge role in the effectiveness of your camp shoe.

If there are heavy rains in your forecast, then you definitely want something that’s waterproof. Even if it’s rained in the days preceding your camping trip, choose a pair of shoes that can handle getting wet. Imagine packing yourself some fancy, cotton slippers for your camping trip… Only to realize that your entire campsite is littered with mud puddles… Not the most ideal situation.

If it’s hot out, then you should definitely opt for something that’s more open and less restrictive on your feet. Once again, your feet tend to sweat a lot. It’s your job to help them out.

On the other hand, if the weather’s cold, you definitely want to stay away from open-toed shoes. Look for a pair that you’ll be able to wear with some nice, warm socks.


Conclusion

At the end of the day, finding the best backpacking camp shoes can take a bit of research and consideration. I would always recommend that you sort out your priorities and analyze your circumstances before making a final purchase.

Does every camper out there feel the need to buy a pair of shoes for camping? Certainly not. However, I find that camping trips are much more easy-going and relaxing when you have something other than hiking shoes to stick on your feet.

Each of the products I’ve reviewed work really well as camp shoes. Though in my opinion, one pair reigns supreme.

Our Top Pick Is….

OOFOS Recovery Sport Slides!!

At the end of the day, shoes come down to personal preference and the OOFOS Recovery Sport Slide Sandals are my cup of tea. They offer supreme comfortability and the type of relief I look for after a long day of backpacking. With arch support, impact absorbent foam and machine washability, I’m easily able to overlook the simplicity of this design- in fact, I think the minimalistic look of these slides are a plus for me. In my book, these sandals have just about everything you could ask for in a camp shoe.

If you’re looking for a higher-performance camp shoe with more of the old fashioned sneaker feel, then I’d go with the PENGCHENG Water Sports Shoes. They’re a great value and are more suited for intense physical activity.

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