Since the “Beach” Croc was released in 2001, Crocs have become a staple in American homes, most notably as an “around the house” shoe. The run on Crocs was immense, to begin with, and the tide has ebbed and flowed over the years. Outside of house and school shoes (most popular with high schoolers), are Crocs good for anything else, like hiking?
Despite how comfortable Crocs may be, despite their overly bloated appearance, they are not comfortable shoes for hiking in. Their open design allows for all manner of stick prodding, gravel infiltration, leaves, dirt, and everything else to get inside and wreak havoc on your feet.
Crocs are undeniably comfortable and you can walk around in them all day long. However, the idea of hiking ten miles in a pair of Crocs shouldn’t be on the table. Besides the above-mentioned reasons, Crocs lack the proper grip for uphill and downhill climbing or trekking.
They also lack any degree of ankle support. The first time you step on a steep wedge of earth above a gaping ravine, you’ll realize your mistake in a hurry.
Are Crocs good for long-distance walks?
So long as by “long-distance” walking, you mean nothing out of the ordinary. One thing that can be said about Crocs, when it comes to walking most of the day, is that they are extremely comfortable, highly breathable shoes.
They are also extremely lightweight, so they won’t be a killer on your shins if you wear them all day. Heavy hiking boots, especially for those new to long walks or hiking, will punish that thin sliver of muscle over the shin bone.
For the most part though, Crocs will function just fine for you on long walks. You can even wear them all day and into the night if you want. The problems only arise when you have mud, slippery terrain, heavy rocks, steep terrain, and worse.
Best case scenario, you’ll get blisters on your feet, most likely in some of the worst places possible. Worst case scenario, you’ll end up violently twisting your ankle or outright breaking it. A serious hike is for serious hiking shoes.
Pros & cons of hiking in Crocs
No one can ever say that Crocs aren’t incredibly comfortable shoes, so why not use them to your feet’s advantage? So long as you can spare the space in your pack, bring them along with you. There’s no rule against setting up camp, kicking off your filthy hiking boots, and slipping your battered feet into a clean pair of Crocs for the evening.
The feet are so underrated and it’s unbelievable that they should be so, especially amongst hikers. In the military, it’s imperative that you pack multiple pairs of fresh, clean socks before going on a hump. Every time you stop for a break, the boots come off and a pair of clean socks go on.
If your feet are blistered, you quickly lose your ability to hike safely. Treat your feet kindly and they’ll pay you back tenfold. There are a lot of advantages to wearing Crocs:
- Designed with highly comfortable, closed-cell resin or EVA foam
- Open designed for peak breathability
- Very lightweight – between 11oz and 16oz
- They don’t hold water so will never get heavier
- Resistant to microorganisms
All of those things sound great, especially for hiking, however, these advantages are only real advantages when you’re sitting in front of a cooking fire, with your Croc laden feet propped up on a stool.
In terms of disadvantages, in case we haven’t convinced you yet, there are far more when it comes to hiking:
- They get very slippery when they are wet since they don’t hold water
- The open holes are open invitations for everything in the forest and on the trail
- Very thin soles, which means that you will feel everything
- They have a terrible grip, even when they are completely dry
- A hard hike would destroy even the most resilient pair of Crocs
- The wide platform allows your foot to slide around
- The lack of ankle support is dangerous
- They lack laces so you can’t tighten them on your feet
Crocs are undeniably comfortable, however, as you can see they aren’t cut out for hiking, at least not in the long term. Since Crocs are completely waterproof, the water that they shed instead of absorbing makes the Crocs extremely slippery, which is only exacerbated if your feet sweat in them.
We’ve already mentioned the problem with the holes. Crocs is a company that is very proud of its breathability, however, they’re a terrible pain on the trail. The thin soles are not very responsive when it comes to gripping the trail.
They’re also not designed to be brutalized on a hard hike, especially wear the foam strap comes across the top. It’s likely just a matter of time before it breaks off entirely. All it will take is one, ill-placed branch.
Crocs are also very wide, which will allow your foot to slide around inside. Without stability, the sliding around of your foot inside creates friction and friction creates blisters. The worst disadvantage, however, is their lack of ankle support.
One wrong step and there is nothing to keep your ankle tight, rigid, and stable. If it slides out too far in one, explosive movement, then you will at best, suffer a sprained ankle.
If you’ve never suffered a sprained ankle before, it’s brutal and severely debilitating. It’s not the kind of injury that you want to suffer out on the trail, miles from the nearest help.
None of this is to say that Crocs are bad. In fact, this is hardly a knock on Crocs at all, for they are extremely comfortable and highly respectable footwear. But they are simply not for hiking. They are made for what they are made for and nothing more.
Are Crocs good for walking in the sand?
Crocs are perfect for the sand and especially for the beach. Since they are lightweight, they don’t draw your feet down into the sand. The open nature of Crocs keeps your feet dry, for the most part, and that’s always a good thing when beach sand finds its way down in and around your bare feet.
They’re perfect for the saltwater as well and you can wade into and out of the surf without worrying about them getting too saturated. They are made out of waterproof EVA foam so the saltwater won’t penetrate them any more than freshwater will.
They’re also highly affordable, and even though they do cost a little more than flip flops, anything is better than that rubber bar rubbing between your big toe and your middle toe. Beach sand can be annoying too but with Crocs, it’s easy to knock the sand out or simply slip the shoes off when you’re ready to dive into the water.
They’re also great for just walking in. As comfortable as they are, Crocs are an easy choice for walking, moving about the house, going to the store, or doing any and all of your errands around the home and out in town.
They don’t make for good formal wear but there’s nothing formal about making a run-up to the gas station, the fresh market, or the grocery store.
Why do some hikers insist on them?
Why do some people believe that every moment under the sun is appropriate for a selfie? Why are so many people addicted to the Facebook “Like” button? Why do some people insist that caviar is delicious or others wakeboard in their birthday suit?
We all do what we do at one time or another in this world and some people feel that it is in their best interests to wear Crocs on a hike. And, maybe it is for them; we’re not here to judge. However, there is a degree of safety and caution that should be considered before going on a serious hike with Crocs.
Light hikes, short hikes, or a simple (if lengthy) walk down the beach are the perfect things for Croc enthusiasts, and for the umpteenth time, there is no denying the fact that Crocs are highly comfortable shoes.
While the tough, EVA foam isn’t designed for heavy-duty hiking or scaling to the peak of Mt. Everest, it’ll easily provide you with miles and miles of comfortable walking. Of that, there is little doubt. Crocs have always been enormously popular and its stands to reason that someone would come along and put them forward as a candidate for hiking shoes.
Maybe, in a few years, there will be a lengthy debate on whether or not Crocs make better water skis than, well, water skis.
We would heartily not recommend Crocs for any kind of intermediate or advanced hiking trails, or even overly lengthy beginner trails. The lack of recommendation is primarily over safety issues that may arise from wearing them in a capacity for which they are not intended.
For those who insist on wearing them, to each their own and we won’t judge. However, pack a pair of hiking shoes and clean socks to travel with you and as always, stay safe.