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HomeHomeDiscussionsDiscussionsGeneralGeneralCamp ShoesCamp Shoes
New Post
8/2/2013 9:54 AM

To avoid drifting another thread to far, I thought I would start a new one. I am still on a search for the perfect camp shoe. I like to get my feet out of the boots at the end of the day. I want something that is easy to slip on the middle of the night, or can be worn in the sleeping bag. They have to be tough enough to wear around camp, and packable.

Crocs - avoiding the obvious jokes, mine went down the road because the didn't compress worth a crap and if a bit of water got in they were slippery. Also felt clammy as my sweat feet dried.

5-fingers - don't slip on easy at night and not much warm when it is cooler

Cushe - seemed really light and maybe the answer, but then I got them on the scale, 1lb even. To heavy

Booties - always was worried they would be to hot

Flip flops - good way to twist and ankle

Tevas - base model goo way to twist and ankle

Keens - to heavy

Acorns - these are still my favorite and what I keep coming back to. Basically a rag wool sock with a leather bottom.  They pack great, slip on easy, can be slept in. The down side is they don't have great traction and the rag wool stretches over time. They are also a bit heavy, but I don't have a weight right off.

What do you have and why do you like it.

Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
New Post
8/2/2013 9:57 AM
Big Agnes booties. They fit all your criteria. Warm, packable, lightweight, can be worn in the fartsack, and have enough on the bottom to make it easy to hit the head in the middle of the night or move around the camp fire while working your favorite stogie. May not be suitable though for warm weather camping.
New Post
8/2/2013 10:01 AM

My vote is for the Wild Things Tactical Happy Suit booties....for the same reasons El Mac states.  Primaloft insulated, waterproof/breathable, can walk around in them, wear them in the bag, compress well, and are lightweight.

I also like the Integral Designs Hot Socks....although they aren't good for walking around in.

Years ago I had a pair of hut scuffs that I bought in the Austrian Alps, made from boiled wool and with leather bottoms...they were outstanding until they finally just wore out.  They packed flat and were very comfortable.

I've often thought about either making or buying a good pair of moccasins for camp shoe wear in warmer months.  I had a pair of buckskin and rawhide ones that I made as a teenager...they lasted a pretty long time and I thought I was Hawkeye or Chingachgook running around in them.  I wanted them to look more authentic than the ones you can buy at roadside trading posts.  Comfy, too!

In warm weather, I either just suck it up and keep my boots on, or I'll use Chaco river sandles with the Vibram sole.  I don't carry them along that often, 'though.

Hill People Gear Coureurs des Bois (Brand Ambassador). Victoria faveat paratam. De Oppresso Liber.
New Post
8/2/2013 11:29 AM

 I've been thinking about something like the Sanuk Vagabond. Not sure how much they weigh. Acorns are nice. 

New Post
8/5/2013 1:22 PM


New Post
8/8/2013 12:32 PM

 I have been looking at the Patagonia Advocate slipper, but need to check fit, as it is advertised as "medium width" on their site.

New Balance has some minimalist cross trainers that weigh in at around 6ozs that could be good, and are also offered in wide 2E.

New Balance

New Post
8/9/2013 7:27 AM

I wear 'UNSHOES' Pah Tempes. they are more or less lightweight, floppy chacos. I run in them, walk in them, and put them on after i take off my work boots, snake boots, hiking boots, etc. very comfortable. but if im getting up in the middle of the night to take a leak i do it barefoot. (I'm also in Texas, snow or anything here.)

it seems like you listed a few of the shoes without support for fear of twisting an ankle - through my experience going from weak feat with planter fascititis in 2010 to being able to run near bearfoot now.... i would say just embrace the minimalist footwear! strengthen your feet and ankles by not always walking with them in rigid-cast-esque boots all the time. i went from being told to only wear high topped running shoes with expensive orthotics.... to being able to run in floppy sandals - my feet were weak, my arches pudding and skin soft. now my feet are tough and strong. just pick the thorns out of your feet when get back to your campsite :D

New Post
8/9/2013 9:25 AM

Those are interesting.

For me it is not so much a lack of support as stepping on something in the middle of the night and having the foot bed portion torque out from under my foot, and in the case of the teva the ankle strap can then torque your foot. If you look at the Acorns, they have absolutely  no support being basically a leather bottom sock, but if I step on something and my foot rolls it rolls whereas with the base model tevas and flip flops the foot bed can provide extra movement or torque. I realize that I am not explaining that well, but I never had the same issue with the original chacos (made by teva before the designer left and started chaco) or a slip on Birkenstock knock off. In both cases the foot bed was captured where as with the base teva and flip flops the food bed seems to move around on its own and not in relation to my foot always.

Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
New Post
8/9/2013 12:46 PM

gm2011 - out of curiousity, how much do you weigh? Also, what kind of terrain do you normally traverse? Very much rough off trail travel? I'm trying to keep track of folks who have had good luck with the "barefoot" thing and have yet to find anyone over about 170lbs who it has worked for. Basic vertebrate zoology -- volume goes up as a cubic function whereas surface area goes up as a square function. There is some point at which "build stronger feet" doesn't scale.

That being said, I do believe in going as minimal as possible for all of the reasons you state. Just trying to build an anecdotal sense of the weight at which full on barefoot becomes possible.

We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
New Post
8/10/2013 9:03 AM

 I'm 6-0 @ 185lbs. I use the new balance minimus mt10 for lightweight hiking mainly and some running. I also wear smokejumper style boots for work. I don't like sandals and tevas, and I don't think I'd like the unshoes, but going to a minimal barefoot running shoe for hiking and training just about changed my life. I suffered knee pain for years and even had meniscus surgery. The barefoot shoes took some getting used to, and you'll find muscles in your feet and ankles you never knew you had, but within a few weeks you'll notice a change. My feet are noticeably stronger and the knee pain is gone. I think I'd call my legs more "resilient" than before. I prefer the enclosed shoe like the NB or Merrel equivalent, and they have some tread to them. The NBs especially weigh very little and would be easy to carry. 

Caveats:  they're not for everyone, and I would still wear good boots for carrying more than a light daypack on rough ground. If you want to switch to "barefoot" style footwear, start strengthening your feet by simply going barefoot around your house and yard. Your soles will toughen up too.  I occasionally hike actually barefoot and I find it an important part of connecting with nature and my surroundings. You pay attention to every footfall. 

New Post
8/11/2013 5:40 AM


no worries- I'm 5'10", 185lbs. For most daily walks its rocky terrain, hard packed dirt trails in and around creek beds, and then concrete surfaces as well. I'm not traversing mountains! But, I do walk on rocks, boulder, stones, pebbles, etc. I find that I actually get better traction with my unshoes because they conform to the terrain. Be it just a log, or downhill rocky slope I have total control and can feel every detail. It took me two years to get where I am, though. 

I imagine there is a limit to the size of a person going minimalist for real hard backpacking...but I would argue that anyone can an should go barefoot or minimalist for walks/non load bearing hikes/whatever they can do- simply as a way of training. I had to relearn how to walk and run (hint: not landing on your heel). Strengthen your feet at home, and I'd be surprised if it didn't help your performance in other areas.  

New Post
8/11/2013 5:39 PM

 Ill also add that I was 220lbs when my feet and ankles were really screwed up. Going to a mostly primal/paleo diet helped me shed the weight, which also had a positive impact on my footwear transition 

New Post
8/11/2013 6:32 PM
Evan, I'm 6'4" and 240 lbs. I don't really try to talk guys in to going minimalist, but it did work for me. I spent 6 years in the Marines, and had chronic shin splints which eventually led to stress fractures. I started out with 5fingers and ended up with my favorite shoe being the Merrell trail gloves. I have not had any shin splints or even pain at all since I switched. Unless I'm on heavy rocky terrain, I hike, run, walk, and wear these pretty much all the time. I have several Danners I wear in cold weather or in more treacherous terrain. Not to highjack the camp shoe thread, but wanted to jump in on that one. For camp shoes I have some old Minnetonka calf high laceup boots. I just leave them loose. If it's hot, no socks, if it's cold they can fit some good socks.
New Post
8/11/2013 6:54 PM

 chacos are usually my secondary shoes, for river crossings, camp use and as a true "backup." if my boots fail or give me horrible blisters the chacos have enough support to get me home. they are HEAVY though. when I was traveling alot I wore my chacos whenever I could to save my socks.

my alternate camp shoe is a pair of nike free 2+. very light and comfy, compress pretty well for a running shoe and slip on pretty easy if you lace them up loosely. obviously not as light/compressable as NB or merrel barefoot shoes but they are what I have right now.

I'd love to try my hand at moccasin making, my sister-in-laws have made several pairs. I think I'd try it with wool blanket scraps and hypalon.

New Post
8/12/2013 8:05 AM

nevermind the thread drift - thanks for chiming in on your barefoot experiences. I spent a lot of time working in that direction last spring and summer, culminating in doing essentially the same trip in a pair of salomon fastpackers and then asolo powermatic 500s. There were pluses and minuses. I found I could climb trail better in the fastpackers and descend trail better in the boots. For climbing a high angle scree slope, only the boots were good to go since edging was required. Not sure what wins out crossing talus fields. If you're going to wear boots, then you've got some choices to make come training time -- do you wear lighter weight shoes to build foot and stabilizer strength, or do you wear the boots to build the muscles necessary to move them? I try to divide time between the two. My latest attempt is to split the difference between the boots and the fastpackers with a pair of leather asolo powermatic 100s. We'll see how that goes. I'm also interested in trying something a notch more supportive and beefy than the fastpackers.

We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
New Post
8/12/2013 9:29 AM

As for camp shoes - any type of veldskoen's (I would avoid Clark's, as they have become retro trendy and are now super expensive).  In the US there is a good company called Rogue Trans Africa Boots.  These original desert boots are the suede, crepe soled kind, super lightweight and easily packable.  I have carried a pair in my pack since 1991 (not the same pair now mind you - I am using Roamers Ghillie boots now) and wear them when I take off my heavy boots.  I used to wear them in my sleeping bag when my combat boots were too wet.  This is what  I was taught by my instructors, most were Falklands veterans and the old issued boots stayed wet.  We would wear our 'DB's' in the patrol base and stuff our combat boots with newspaper and stick them in our packs until first light.  I will never go anywhere without them.

As to the minimalist shoes - I am fully converted for running and training.  My shoes are not complete zero mm drop (mine are 3mm drop) from Innov8.  Saloman S-Labs are very good too.  Wouldn't use them carrying too much in really rough terrain but these will help you run properly and strengthen your legs and feet.  If you have had issues with archs, these type of shoes will fix the problem that fancy orthotics cannot.

New Post
3/29/2014 1:33 AM

 Has anyone seen these? They look sort of goofy, but may fit the bill

New Post
3/29/2014 5:42 AM

You might consider a pair of real handmade leather mocasins, almost nothing will pack smaller or be lighter, they need to be fitted to your actual foot though, and made by someone who knows the diference between a real mocasin and a house slipper that looks like a mocasin.

Other than that, I like minimalist sandals for camp footwear, Chacos are nice if a bit bulky and overbuilt, a set of tire sandals would pack smaller and be just about as good if you can make them or know someone who does.

New Post
3/29/2014 10:07 AM

The pakems are cool looking, but at 1lb for size 10 seem a bit heavy for what I am looking for.

I have thought more than once about making another pair of moccasins, as the last pair I made wore out years ago.  I just never have. I have a few ideas about how to improve on my last pair too, which would hopefully increase longevity.  The only true moccasin shop I know of is in Taos and I haven't been there in at least a decade. 

Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
New Post
3/29/2014 5:37 PM

 The weight does seem a bit high on the packems. 

I wonder how many of the quoted shoe weights online are actually for a pair? For instance, a pair of lightweight sneakers that I have looked at are the Inov-8 Bare XF 210- which have a quoted weight of 7.4 ozs, I am somewhat skeptical that the stated weight is for the pair, then again I could be wrong.

I have been wanting to make a pair of moc's for awhile- I thought about making them with a hypalon sole. There are some patterns online, and from what I can gather, the design that most appeals to me is called a soft sole plains style moc. 

HomeHomeDiscussionsDiscussionsGeneralGeneralCamp ShoesCamp Shoes