5 Best lightweight backpacking camp shoes

With all the options for backpacking and camping shoes available on the market, choosing a pair can be simply overwhelming!

Never fear, shoppers, because we have narrowed down the list for you! To compose this list, we’ve carefully selected five shoes according to our criteria.

We’ve picked one that has each of the following traits: One is lightweight, since you’ll have to carry them.

Another is compact and easy to pack.

The third protects your toes from injury while you’re traversing rough terrain. The fourth is made to be stable enough for stream crossings, and the fifth is designed to dry quickly.

What more can you ask for when it comes to backpacking shoes? Read on to decide which model is perfect for you.

Shoes nameUnique featurePrice
ZEMgear O2 Oxygen NinjaLightweightCheck Price
Xero Barefoot SandalsCompactCheck Price
Vivobarefoot Ultra II Water ShoeProtects Your ToesCheck Price
Sockwa G Hi
Ideal for Stream CrossingsCheck Price
Speedo Men’s Surfwalker 3.0 WaterDries QuicklyCheck Price

1. The Lightweight Shoe: Zems O2 Oxygen Ninjas

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Unique Features

This is an amphibious shoe. You can use it at the gym, on the beach, or in the water. No matter what you’re doing, this shoe will probably cut it. Heck, why not wear it to a red-carpet event? It’s almost snazzy enough!

While this shoe has a sole that resembles that of a running shoe, the body is stretchy and light. It fits to the form of your foot while still offering a little bit of support.

Pros

  • It’s comfortable.
  • It doesn’t cause sore feet.
  • This shoe feels soft.
  • It can be machine washed—a big plus for people with smelly-shoe problems!
  • It can keep feet happy longer, so you will want to exercise longer and hike further.

Cons

  • It doesn’t last as long as some other athletic shoes.
  • It looks a bit like socks or slippers, so if you don’t like wearing unusual things you may not be as comfortable.
  • It’s not available in half sizes.
  • Some people have trouble with their feet sliding out of these shoes when walking.
  • It’s not for everyone, especially people with support problems or flat feet.

Our Verdict

Our verdict is that these are definitely worth trying! Unless you have flat feet or very narrow heels, you’ll probably find these are the most comfortable shoes you’ve ever owned. Don’t buy them, however, if you need a lot of support in your sole or ankle.

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2. The Compact Camp Shoes: Xero Barefoot Sandals

Xero Shoes Barefoot

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Unique Features

There aren’t a lot of good open shoes that are also comfortable and good for hiking. The Xero Barefoot Sandals are one of the few that are. You get the feeling of being barefoot or wearing comfy sandals, just with a lot more support and protection.

The rubber soles will keep you from getting stabbed by thorns or rocks, and the straps will act as a support for your ankles.

Plus, the strap goes over your toes, so you won’t cause unnatural separations to form between your big and second toes. You can also wear them in the water, because it’s waterproof and dries fast.

The best part? It literally rolls up. So you can stick it your pocket or into a tiny corner of your bag. Less bulk is always a benefit when you’re backpacking!

Pros

  • This shoe is good for a variety of situations.
  • It has a fairly simple sizing chart.
  • It’s well-built, and it can last for a long time.
  • It has nice color choices, and looks stylish while being functional.
  • It’s unbelievably compact.

Cons

  • It is a bit thin in the soles. You can feel the roughness of the ground through them.
  • The silicone band on top of the shoe is irritating to hairy feet.
  • It’s slightly expensive for the quality.
  • There is no toe spring. It’s flat instead, so there is a tripping hazard.
  • It can be difficult to adjust for custom fitting.

Our Verdict

This shoe is fantastic, as long as it fits your feet. For those whose fit aren’t quite the right fit, they are not comfortable at all. However, the positive reviews far outweigh the negative reviews, so these are worth a try if you’re looking for an extremely compact shoe.

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3. The Camp Shoe that Protects Your Toes: Vivobarefoot Ultra II Sports Shoe

Vivobarefoot Men’s Ultra II Sports Shoe

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Unique Features

This is a minimalist shoe that keeps your toes safe. No stubbing and no breaking toenails! It’s definitely for those who don’t want a supportive sole getting in the way, because the sole is almost perfectly flat. They make good shoes for diving, kayaking, and trekking; you can get them wet and they won’t get heavier or smell funny. They also last for a long time.

Pros

  • It is lightweight.
  • It has a cool, stylish design.
  • It is durable.
  • Many people find these shoes comfortable, even for walking long distances.
  • It doesn’t absorb water; good for land or water.

Cons

  • There is a color bleed issue with some of the products. Returns are not allowed for color issues.
  • Many users find the material of the shoe uncomfortable.
  • It is not an improvement on the previous model. If you liked the old model, you may not like this shoe.
  • The inner soles start coming unglued too quickly.
  • The holes on the side allow rocks and sand to get into the shoe.

Our Verdict

These aren’t a terrible shoe, but you might not want to buy them online. If you’re interested, go to a retail store and check to see if you like them or if they give you blisters. If you find them comfortable, then they are a great way to walk around in the great outdoors without having to wear bulky sandals or risk smashing your toes.

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4. The Camp Shoes for Stream Crossings: Sockwa G Hi

Sockwa G Hi

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Unique Features

If you like thin soles, then you’ll love these. It’s like being barefoot without all the dirt and grime! You can crush these shoes, bend them in half, stick them in your backpack, and they’ll never lose their shape.

They are great for crossing streams, because they are waterproof. They also work great in urban settings, since they have a gripping sole that will keep you from slipping. It’s the next best thing to walking around barefoot.

Pros

  • This shoe has nothing but four and five star reviews on Amazon.
  • It is great for people with sensitive feet.
  • It has a unique, adjustable ankle to keep feet clean and provide a bit of support.
  • It is long-lasting.
  • Although it looks expensive, it is definitely worth the price.

Cons

  • Some people think it looks a little funny.
  • The sizing chart can be confusing.
  • This is not a shoe you can wear to work—although you might wish that you could.

Our Verdict

To be honest, it’s hard to find things to complain about when it comes to the Sockwa G Hi. This is probably your best bet if you want a comfortable, minimalist shoe that doesn’t rub and doesn’t get ruined by water. You can’t go wrong with these—just be sure to read the sizing chart carefully!

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5. The Camp Shoe that Dries Quickly: Speedo Men’s Surfwalker 3.0 Water Shoe

Speedo Men’s Surfwalker 3.0 Water Shoe

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Unique Features

This is the updated version of the classic Speedo water shoe. Everybody needs one! It’s a quick-drying shoe that perfect for protecting your feet while you’re wandering around the lakeside or walking through streams. It’s breathable, so you won’t get stinky feet or blisters. It also won’t slip off, since it’s created to be fitted and hold on to your ankle.

Pros

  • This shoe feels comfortable either wet or dry.
  • It doesn’t smell like mildew when it dries.
  • It is a good quality for the price.
  • Its thick, durable soles protect feet from urchins, rocks, and other painful things.
  • It is good for a variety of water sports

Cons

  • The inserts come out easily.
  • The logo wears off.
  • You have to take them off and turn them over to get the water out. No drainage.
  • Sometimes, the soles come apart.
  • The sole is a bit slippery.

Our Verdict

Speedo water shoes have been famous for years, and there’s a reason why. You can’t argue with quality! However, some users have found quality issues with this model, so be sure to order the right size so the shoes aren’t too tight and start ripping apart.

Overall, this shoe is a good buy! It will keep your feet safe so you can enjoy skiing, snorkeling, wading, or anything else that involves water.

Throw away your flip-flops and move on to something better! Support your feet, stay dry, and don’t deal with any annoying broken strap issue any more. Any one of these popular shoes will do the trick, so pick up a pair and get going on your next adventure. Happy trails!

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