There’s nothing like returning to your campsite (or car) and relaxing after a long day on the trails. But you’ll need some camp shoes to swap in for your heavy duty hiking boots if you really want to unwind and get cozy.
What actually are camp shoes?
The words camp shoes are often used as a catch-all term for footwear that’s easy to slip on, outdoor-friendly, and, above all, comfortable. You can think of them as house slippers for campers and backpackers: They are a comfy counterpoint to hiking boots, approach shoes, or other types of trail shoes that you can wear around your outdoor home base, like a campground, tent, or hammock, before and after your adventures for the day. They come in handy if you need to run to your car or step outside your tent to relieve yourself in the middle of the night. Basically, whenever you need something on your feet but don’t want to lace up a clunky boot or risk shedding mud from your trail shoes in your tent, camp shoes are your solution. (For that same reason, camp shoes also make great running-to-the-corner-store shoes, picking-up-takeout shoes, or grabbing-the-mail shoes.)
What to look for in a pair of camp shoes
Generally speaking, hiking sandals and down booties make equally good camp shoes, so the best way to find the right pair for you is to consider where and when your next camping trip will be. Camping in cold weather will call for a shoe with insulation and some water-resistance, but you might need little more than a technical flip-flop for warm weather or summertime camping (especially if water sports are on the itinerary). Wherever you’re headed, think about how you want to feel at the end of a day spent enjoying the great outdoors. Your shoe of choice should help your feet recover and make you feel your most comfortable.
If you plan on using your camp shoes for some amount of walking outdoors, you can find pairs that provide a little more traction and protection from the elements (without feeling as rugged as a hiking boot). And if you’re planning a backpacking trip, it might be in your interest to prioritize a packable, lightweight camp shoe over anything else, in the name of saving space in your pack.
Now that you’re ready to add to your outdoor footwear collection, here are some of the best camp shoes you can try, from ultrawarm booties from The North Face to iconic Teva sandals to, yes, even Crocs. Read on to find your new favorite camping accessory.
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