Can You Hike in Crocs?  The Bottom Line

Can you hike in Crocs?  As with most things, you can do whatever you think is best.  But whether you should hike in your Crocs is another question.  

The bottom line is this: Crocs are okay for very short hikes with minimal elevation gain.  If your hike could almost be considered a walk, your Crocs are probably fine.  For any strenuous trails or long distances, though, Crocs don’t have enough ankle support, heel support, or traction.  

I’ve done a few short hikes in my pair of Crocs and been okay.  In this article, we’ll walk through all the pros and cons of hiking in your Crocs so you can make the best decision for your next hike. 

So, Can You Hike in Crocs?

Crocs are comfortable shoes, and they are cushioned and cheap.  So is it a good idea to hike in them?  At the end of the day, crocs are okay for very short and mild trails.  

They do have okay arch support, and the foam cushioning will give your foot some amount of support for short distances.  However, crocs are not a good option for rocky trails or trails with big inclines.

close-up image of crocs shoes
The pair of Crocs I own is comfortable, but not great for most hiking trails.

Pros of Hiking in Crocs

The biggest upsides of Crocs are that they are comfortable, lightweight, and have some arch support. 

Comfort

Obviously, comfort is a matter of personal preference, but I find my Crocs to be very comfortable.  They have decent arch support, and the foam insole is cushioned and comfy.  There are no straps to irritate my feet, making them a better option than certain hiking sandals for short, easy trails.

Very Lightweight

My Crocs weigh only 5.29oz, making them by far the lightest shoes I own. This makes Crocs the perfect shoe to strap to your backpack and carry with you on the trail (more on this later).

crocs on a scale
My Crocs are by far the lightest pair of shoes I own.

Water-Resistant and Quick-Drying

Crocs are naturally made of water-resistant material.  However, this doesn’t mean that your feet will stay dry with river crossings.  Your feet will most definitely get wet, but the water-resistant rubber dries out quickly and will not get ruined by the water.  

So, does this mean that Crocs make good water shoes for river crossings?  We think they can be a good option for the water crossings only.  As in, you’ll want to strap them to your backpack and hike the rest of the trail in your regular hiking shoes.  

You won’t want to hike around in your Crocs afterward, as your feet will slip and slide all over the place.  

wet crocs | can you hike in crocs?
Crocs are water-resistant and can be good for river crossings.

Easy to Clean

One good thing about Crocs is that they are the easiest shoes I own to clean.  You can spray them down with water or scrub them with a sponge without worrying about damaging the materials.  This makes them great shoes for walking around camp or going to the beach. 

Toe Protection

Unlike hiking in my Tevas, crocs do offer some toe protection.  They don’t have a reinforced toe box like traditional hiking boots, but your toes are covered by the foam material.  

However, because they don’t have this fortified toe box, you can still damage your toes if you were to ram them hard against sharp rocks on the trail. 

crocs vs tevas
Crocs, compared to hiking sandals, do offer some amount of toe protection.

Arch Support

Crocs do have decent arch support, although they don’t offer as much support as many of my other shoes.  For someone who’s had problems with plantar fasciitis, the foam insole feels good and cushions my foot.  With Crocs, however, you’re unable to add a custom orthotic like you would be able to with most regular hiking shoes. 

Cons of Hiking in Crocs

Although Crocs have many pros, they also have many downsides, especially for long trails. The biggest disadvantages of hiking in Crocs are that they offer no ankle or heel support and have poor traction. 

No Ankle support

This is one of the biggest downsides of hiking in Crocs.  I can’t count the number of times I’ve stepped the wrong way on an awkwardly-shaped rock, and it’s been the ankle support of my hiking boots that has saved me from twisting my ankle.  This lack of support with Crocs means you’ll be much more likely to twist your ankle. 

heel of Crocs vs hiking boot
Crocs, unlike regular hiking boots, offer no ankle protection.

Poor Traction

Another big downside of hiking in Crocs is the lack of traction. My favorite pair of Columbia hiking boots is built with an ‘Omni Grip’ traction pattern that has a finer, more detailed grip in the toe area and bigger lugs in the back. I used these last year on my very slippery ascent of the granite Half Dome in Yosemite, and they worked wonders.  

While many Crocs do have some traction, the weaker foam tends to wear down quickly. My Crocs are currently almost completely smooth on the bottom of the soles and offer absolutely no grip on the trail. You’ll want to choose something with better grip than Crocs for any trail with uneven terrain or rocky ascents. 

tread of crocs vs hiking boot
The traction on Crocs is not great to begin with, and the softer material wears out quickly.

No Heel Support

Many people don’t tend to think about heel support as much as they do about ankle support when looking for a good pair of hiking shoes, but it’s arguably just as important.  

A good, fortified heel cup does multiple things.  First, it protects your heel from rocks and backward slipping.  Also, it stabilizes the heel and keeps your foot and ankle aligned while hiking.  For those who have ever had Achilles Tendon problems, this is an important feature that helps keep your Achilles tendon straight and strong every time you take a step. 

If you do really want to hike in your Crocs, the best choice is to choose a pair that has an adjustable heel strap.  An adjustable strap makes a world of difference in getting a secure fit around your foot.  

No Removable Insole

Like I mentioned before, Crocs do have decent arch support, but there’s no removable insole that you can customize to your foot’s needs. I always replace the insoles of my trail runners and hiking boots with these Walk Hero Plantar Fasciitis insoles. They offer more support than any of the insoles that come with my shoes and help keep my feet pain-free on the trail. 

removable insole with trail runner shoe int he background
These Walk Hero insoles are my favorite, and I can’t use them with shoes such as Crocs.

Feet Can Stay Wet 

Although Crocs’ rubber material is water resistant and dries quickly, your feet can actually stay wet for quite some time after a river crossing.  This is because the water that gets inside your crocs and ends up trapped underneath your feet has a hard time airing out.  

I’ve done a few river crossings in my Crocs, and my feet were wet for at least 20 minutes afterward.  Also, because the rubber isn’t breathable, I’ll end up with sweaty feet if I’m walking around in my Crocs in hot weather.  

They Can Fall Off

Yes, you can put your Crocs in ‘sport mode’ to help prevent them from falling off, but because they tend to have a looser, less secure fit, there’s still a good chance you could lose them while crossing a river (especially one with a stronger current).  

Even fancier Crocs, like the Merrell hydro mocs, are less secure than other hiking shoes or sandals, which will be more securely strapped to your feet. 

Thin Soles

My Crocs have the thinnest soles of any pair of shoes I own. This means that the shoes don’t offer good shock absorption on the trail. While this isn’t a big deal for short, easy hikes, it can cause problems with joints on a long hike.  

Good quality outer and inner soles are important for absorbing the forces of each step and will protect your knees and hips on long-distance trails. 

hiker with crocs, as seen from behind
The insoles of Crocs are fairly thin and don’t absorb shock well on long hikes.

Feet Slip Around

Crocs are meant to have a looser fit, which means your feet will slide around, especially when wet.  This makes hiking on a steep incline incredibly difficult, as you need a snug-fitting shoe to be able to push off rocks and navigate uneven surfaces without slipping. 

Friction and Blisters on Little Toes

I have a wider foot width than most, so this may not be a problem for everyone.  For me, if I wear my Crocs for too long, I will start to get friction and blisters on my pinky toes.  While wearing socks helps with this a little bit, the socks also make my feet slide around more. 

Are Crocs Good for Water Crossings?

Crocs can be good for river or stream crossings if the water isn’t too deep and doesn’t have a strong current, which is definitely better than crossing in your bare feet.  

I like to strap my Crocs or Tevas to my backpack for hikes with lots of river crossings.  The downside of Crocs for water crossings is the lack of traction and the fact that they can slip off in a strong current.  

And, as I mentioned before, I don’t like to hike in my wet Crocs afterward because my feet slide around all over the place. 

crocs clipped to a hiker backpack
If you want to bring Crocs for river crossings, just attach them to your backpack.

Are Crocs Good as Camp Shoes?

Yes, crocs make for some of the best camp shoes; this is where they really shine.  Crocs are a good choice for carrying with you on the trail because they are so lightweight and easy to strap to your backpack.  Also, because the material is water resistant, you don’t have to worry about rainy or wet conditions while hiking.  

Crocs are great camp shoes because they are comfortable and airy.  It always feels amazing to take off your hiking boots after a long day and be able to put on a pair of sandals.  Crocs are a better choice than, say, flip flops just because they stay on my feet better and have decent arch support.

Can You Hike in Crocs FAQ:

Are Crocs Good for Your Feet?

Crocs offer decent arch support and a wide toe box, which can make them good shoes for walking around the house. However, they don’t offer ankle or heel support for longer distances or walking on rough terrain. 

Are Crocs Good for Plantar Fasciitis?

Crocs do offer some arch support, which is the most important part of a shoe for those with Plantar Fasciitis problems. However, Crocs’ arch support is less than what is needed for some foot types, and Crocs do not have a removable insole. 

What are Crocs Made of?

Crocs are made of a closed-cell resin called Croslite, which is soft, comfortable, and odor-resistant. This material also provides cushioning and support, making Crocs a good choice for around-the-home wear. 

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