What are your favorite water-friendly hiking sandals?
May 31, 2013 3:10 PM   Subscribe

What are your favorite water-friendly hiking sandals?

I hike in wet areas a lot so I like shoes designed to get wet. I had Tevas but the lack of a big toe strap meant my feet slid forward out of the shoe. I had a great pair of Chacos, then they changed their sole to be lighter and now the tread doesn't grip, causing several tumbles.

Do you have a favorite shoe? Needs to sturdy, something I can walk a rough trail in and not hurt my foot or be slipping all over the place. It'll get completely submerged on a regular basis, so, it has to be designed for that. I hate having my foot slip forward out of the shoe.

I've never tried those classic Keen sandals, Any votes for them?
posted by Foam Pants to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (17 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I love my Keen sandals. Love love love. Wet, dry, whatever. The only thing I don't like about them is if a rock gets in it's tough to get out. That doesn't happen too often. They stay on and don't slide around when they're wet the way Tevas do.

I wear my Keens pretty much non-stop through the summer.

I hate my Keen sneakers, but you didn't ask about those.
posted by bondcliff at 3:15 PM on May 31, 2013 [2 favorites]

I have these Keens - Newport H2. I wear them for my research fieldwork, which involves a lot of trail hiking and then wading in a lot of rivers. These sandals do great at both - no stubbed toes, no slipping out of the shoe, no slipping on wet rocks.
posted by pemberkins at 3:18 PM on May 31, 2013

Not exactly sandals, I guess, but Vibram five-fingers are excellent at this.
posted by kickingtheground at 3:26 PM on May 31, 2013

Vibrams are fantastic - just make sure you get one of the kinds specifically aimed at outdoor activity, because some of the casual ones have ultra-thin soles that handle gravel trails poorly.

It really is amazing how handy toes can be over rough terrain. It's probably the only situation in which I really prefer Fivefingers over a barefoot-style but non-toe-pocket shoe.
posted by restless_nomad at 3:30 PM on May 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

I love my Keens and I also love my Tevas. But I guess your foot might slide forward out of those if they're wet. Doesn't happen to me, but it might happen to you. The Keens don't have that problem and they protect your toes. So there's that.

In any case, both of these are very sturdy and also good for walking for extended periods, and designed to get wet. I would recommend them both. Which one you prefer is a matter of personal taste.
posted by Too-Ticky at 3:31 PM on May 31, 2013

I like the look and feel of my waterproof Keens (I have women's Whispers), but after just a day of wearing them, they get funky. I'm actually looking for another shoe solution that doesn't have that problem. Your mileage may vary, though!
posted by limeonaire at 4:06 PM on May 31, 2013

Chacos are available with different types of soles. Maybe one of the other types would work better.

Chacos allow your feet to dry off much more quickly, but Keens cover the toes so you don't stub them on rocks. For a rough trail, I'd wear my Keens. In and out of sandy river bottoms all day, Chacos.
posted by yohko at 4:25 PM on May 31, 2013

I really feel like the Keens are the gold standard for this. The only time they've let me down is hiking more than 10 miles through creeks; I did get blisters. But I've done 8 with no problem.

The ability to walk through a stony stream and not stub your toe is revolutionary.

Limeonaire, does a trip through the washing machine not resolve the funk?
posted by purpleclover at 4:27 PM on May 31, 2013

I have the Teva Tirras, which have a different strap design than Ye Olde Standard Teva--the part over the top of the foot is actually adjustable. My feet feel very secure in them; I wear them Stand-Up Paddleboarding, and haven't had a slippage issue.

I've never tried them myself, but everyone I know who has them loves their Keen sandals.
posted by rhiannonstone at 4:31 PM on May 31, 2013 [2 favorites]

Keens are the best. I wear them all summer long and they were the only shoes I took on a 3 week trip to Taiwan. I also had a pair of Chacos that were very comfortable but my foot didn't feel as protected and stable as they do in Keens. I wear a full size up in Keens and buy them on Ebay for half of what stores charge.
posted by cairnoflore at 5:05 PM on May 31, 2013

I had a pair of Keen sandals that I loved and found to be very durable and generally excellent. However, they were a little soft in the instep-- great for getting a grip when you need it, bad for my (pre-existing) plantar fasciitis. The lesser-known Ahnu makes very similar sandals (might go so far as to call them knock-offs), but I find the instep stiffer and that agrees with my feet more. I wear mine just about every day in the summer. Try them both if you can.
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:03 PM on May 31, 2013

I *love* my Mephisto Sharks. They're comfy and well built. I accidentally took them on a rafting trip, and the American River didn't do any damage at all to them.
posted by colin_l at 7:01 PM on May 31, 2013

I don't know what you mean by the lack of a big toe strap. My Tevas have 1'' straps both around the ankle and over the toes, and are great for hiking in water (though you can stub your toes since they're sandals). I love 'em.
posted by Lady Li at 8:35 PM on May 31, 2013

Came in to recommend the Keens. I'm on my second? third? pair, with an average of 3-4 years of heavy warm-weather wear. The funk issue, while real, is controlled by a combination of occasional trips through the wash and sitting outside in the sunshine.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 10:49 PM on May 31, 2013

I use a set of Tevas like rhiannonstones - both front and back ankle straps and front of foot strap are all adjustable - I don't know the model name, but it does stop slippage for me. They don't have a toe strap like Lady Li's but that option was available in store when I bought them. My one gripe with them is that the beautifully tough but flexible and grippy Teva sole (great on wet granite slabs, streams beds, hard slick mud trails, etc) tends to be both just a little bit heavy and picks up a bit of soft mud (they spend most of the time in my pack and only really come out when I'm going to be wading so putting them back in when my boots go on requires a bit of on the spot cleaning).
posted by Ahab at 3:18 PM on June 1, 2013

I like my Chacos but Keens are indeed the gold standard here. Have gotten all sorts of unpleasantness all over them (camel dung included) and they come out of the wash like a champ. Their men's and women's styles look equally great on their wearers, in my opinion.
posted by Morrigan at 5:00 PM on June 2, 2013

Yeah, the Keens wash up great, but it's not always convenient for me to run them through the washing machine, since I live in an apartment and the laundry room is downstairs and not free. My compromise in the summer months is to step into the tub briefly after I put them on in the morning and rinse them off with body wash before I leave for the day. But even that's not perfect—they can be a little chilly as they dry, I've gotten a touch of athlete's foot before from the wetness, and that doesn't cure the funk the way a full trip through the washing machine does. So it's a little frustrating.
posted by limeonaire at 7:37 PM on June 2, 2013

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