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#149209 - 04/13/11 10:47 PM River and stream crossing footwear.
Al Paca Offline
member

Registered: 10/11/10
Posts: 17
Loc: Oakland, CA
There have been a few occasions where I've come to swollen snow runoff or a stream crossing and stood frustrated in trying to find a way across while keeping my boots dry. Although I'm equipped w/ the knowledge of how and when to cross which streams, it's something I've always avoided on the grounds that hiking in cold, wet blistered feet is uncomfortable.

So I was wondering what other people do in similar situations. Does anyone pack river crossing water shoes or sandals? It seems like an unnecessary but necessary item to consider.

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#149211 - 04/13/11 11:14 PM Re: River and stream crossing footwear. [Re: Al Paca]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Take off the socks, put the shoes back on, cross. Empty water out of shoes, put on socks, put on shoes.

I do take crocs some trips when the streams flow gently enough that I can see where I'm stepping, but when the footing isn't certain and you can't see through the water, boots or shoes are better.

The formula for blisters is heat, friction and moisture. I've walked through multiple stream crossings in shoes and socks with nary a blister to show for it - my shoes fit great. The lightweight wool socks and non goretex mesh trail runners let the water run right out in minutes.

One of numerous reasons I remain disinterested in goretex.
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"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

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#149215 - 04/14/11 12:00 AM Re: River and stream crossing footwear. [Re: lori]
BrianLe Offline
member

Registered: 02/26/07
Posts: 1144
Loc: Washington State, King County
Depends on the crossing; if I can't cross it barefoot, I do like Lori, except that I don't stop to take off the socks. If it's likely the only stream crossing for the day, I'll stop on the other side to dry the shoes out a bit if possible (squeeze water out of the tongue and side fabric for a couple of minutes). The key is, indeed, quick drying (non-goretex) shoes as hiking footwear and not boots.

Of course, if I can see the bottom of what I'm crossing and it's not super swift nor a lot of sharp rocks --- and if fording is infrequent --- I'll do it barefoot.

There's no "one size fits all" solution here, but I can't imagine carrying crocs or the like. Unless for some reason I had to wear boots (!).
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#149216 - 04/14/11 12:00 AM Re: River and stream crossing footwear. [Re: lori]
OregonMouse Online   content
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6372
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I just walk through the stream in my trail runners and walk my shoes and socks dry.

Don't try walking through the stream in Goretex-lined boots, though. It will take 3 days or more for the boots to dry! Been there, done that, ditched the boots!
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#149220 - 04/14/11 12:30 AM Re: River and stream crossing footwear. [Re: Al Paca]
Al Paca Offline
member

Registered: 10/11/10
Posts: 17
Loc: Oakland, CA
Hmmm good to have some input.
I too have the non-gortex runners but also the gortex lined boots. The trail runners seem to hold onto water almost as bad as a boot which is what made me question my strategy.

Maybe I'll consider a different shoe...



Edited by Al Paca (04/14/11 12:32 AM)

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#149234 - 04/14/11 02:25 PM Re: River and stream crossing footwear. [Re: Al Paca]
aimless Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2838
Loc: Portland, OR
For most of my life I wore leather boots and forded streams barefoot whenever I couldn't cross them dry-shod. For the past five or six years I've switched over to mostly fabric boots or trail runners and I consistently wear them when fording.

The great advantage to wearing them is safety. I can place my feet with much greater confidence. No stone bruises on my feet or small cuts or gouges from unseen sharp rocks or sticks. Better traction, too. It makes river crossings that much easier and lets you concentrate on the current, not your feet.

I sometimes remove my sox and the insoles. Sometimes not. I almost always pour out any residual water, unless I know I must ford again in a half mile or less.

As others have noted, blisters are not a problem from wet footwear nearly so much as from heat and friction. Stream crossings tend to cool your feet and your boots, so this is not a problem on warm days.

The whole problem of cold, wet feet is another matter on cold, wet days. That's when I break out the Sealskinz, and keep my feet isolated from the wet footwear as much as I can.

Try it. You will probably come to like it.

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#149265 - 04/15/11 11:44 AM Re: River and stream crossing footwear. [Re: aimless]
balzaccom Offline
member

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 1719
Loc: Napa, CA
We use our Crocs on most stream crossings. They weigh less than a pound (about 11oz) and we've got the kind that actually includes straps to stay on your feet. And we love them for walking around in camp after a day on the trail.

Yeah, I know. Your lightweight trailrunners feel great on your feet. But we just don't like leaving our feet in the same shoes for 16 hours+ a day. The crocs really are very comfy, and it's one of the few luxuries we allow ourselves on the trail.

Other than the scenery and the sheer joy of backpacking, that it!


Edited by balzaccom (04/15/11 11:44 AM)
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#149601 - 04/25/11 04:33 PM Re: River and stream crossing footwear. [Re: Al Paca]
Mudflap Offline
newbie

Registered: 04/25/11
Posts: 13
can't go wrong with crocs, great for fordes, and camp shoes. comfy and let your feet air out.

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#178470 - 07/16/13 11:37 AM Re: River and stream crossing footwear. [Re: Mudflap]
cdtted Offline
newbie

Registered: 07/16/13
Posts: 1
I bought a pair of Treksta sandals a couple of years ago that enabled me to hike comfortably *without socks* and not blister. My feet could breathe, and the sandals popped on and off easily.

Moreover, I could ford streams easily and safely -- when I came to a crossing I could just push on through. I didn't need to stop, take off shoes/boots and socks, pack them for the crossing, take them out, dry my feet, put them back on afterwards, etc., etc.

The sandals were especially convenient in NW Montana where there are a lot of crossings, especially during the early season. Over the course of a day the time spent taking off and putting on adds up considerably.

Crocs I found to be less stable during crossings.

I've since bought sandals from another company, and blistered in them. They have more elasticity in them and one's feet slide around more.

Naturally, Treksta has discontinued their sandal...


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#178478 - 07/16/13 04:42 PM Re: River and stream crossing footwear. [Re: Al Paca]
rlarsen86 Offline
newbie

Registered: 07/16/13
Posts: 3
On all my weeklong and short excursion I carry with me a light pair of aqua socks the ones the have rubber bottoms that help with gripping. I just take off the boots and socks put those things on and go.

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#178488 - 07/16/13 09:11 PM Re: River and stream crossing footwear. [Re: rlarsen86]
immortal.ben Offline
member

Registered: 09/10/11
Posts: 91
Loc: Arizona
I have yet to find an acceptable solution. Right now, I too remove socks and slosh across in my boots.... but I do not like it.
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#178493 - 07/17/13 08:24 AM Re: River and stream crossing footwear. [Re: Al Paca]
bluefish Offline
member

Registered: 06/05/13
Posts: 677
I use a pair of Crocs that are designed as a water shoe. They have a back and a tightening cuff around the ankle. I wear neo socks with them. As this is my backcountry wading gear for fishing, also good for stream crossings. The Crocs have good traction and are stable . I've walked through many crossings in trail runners and socks and walked them dry in the Sierra, in the boggy trails in New England they never dry out.
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#178495 - 07/17/13 01:15 PM Re: River and stream crossing footwear. [Re: bluefish]
hikerduane Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 2123
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
I had half a pair of Crocs after trying to cross one braid of the Kern River here in CA. Ruined my camera that crossing too when I lost my balance and saw one Cros bobbing down the river, faster than I could move. I even had the back strap in place, it just got caught in some rocks and when I had to move that foot quickly, my foot came out.
Duane

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#178503 - 07/17/13 07:19 PM Re: River and stream crossing footwear. [Re: hikerduane]
bluefish Offline
member

Registered: 06/05/13
Posts: 677
The Croc I use is called the Quicktrail and is a shoe, not a sandal or clog. I used them yesterday fishing a large river with lots of slippery ledge, current and deep water. I'll use them on the Kern on a trip up above the ranger station in Sept., too. They may be discontinued, as with all good things that work, it seems. I got them in the big water year of 2011 and they performed well on many Sierra creek crossings.


Edited by bluefish (07/17/13 07:21 PM)
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#178510 - 07/18/13 08:07 AM Re: River and stream crossing footwear. [Re: immortal.ben]
JPete Offline
member

Registered: 05/28/09
Posts: 304
Loc: Eastern Ontario
Yeah, I'm in the same boots. Sit down, take off boots, take off socks an stow, put on boots, stagger across, sit down, pour out water, put on socks and walk wet for half an hour. It works ok, but there really ought to be a better way. Inflatable boots maybe? best, jcp

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#178512 - 07/18/13 09:44 AM Re: River and stream crossing footwear. [Re: JPete]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
An inflatable bridge? smile
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#178525 - 07/18/13 12:46 PM Re: River and stream crossing footwear. [Re: lori]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
You know, the last three months of backpacking, all the streams we crossed had some sort of bridge, be it a bunch of logs, a real bridge, or large rocks. I never had to wade through a stream. Maybe it is just Utah. I have only had to wade one stream in the last 5 years. But, then, I don't backpack as much as many here.
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#178530 - 07/18/13 01:50 PM Re: River and stream crossing footwear. [Re: finallyME]
Rick_D Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2801
Loc: NorCal
In the Sierra it tends to be an early-season phenomenon, with snowmelt-swollen streams that subside or even disappear later in season. PCT thruhikers, for example, have to wade a lot of streams, some pretty scary, that we less-ambitious folks can just rock-hop.

Last summer, though, I had to wade the West Walker on the trip out because we had several days of rain that raised it a couple feet. I was quite grumpy about having to stop and switch to my flip-flops and get wet up to my rear, but it actually felt great.
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#178598 - 07/22/13 06:15 PM Re: River and stream crossing footwear. [Re: rlarsen86]
bpackengneer Offline
member

Registered: 05/01/13
Posts: 26
Loc: Massachusetts
I just walk through with my normal shoes. No special footwear for me. My trail running shoes dry out quickly.

Backpacking Engineer


Edited by bpackengneer (07/22/13 06:15 PM)

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#178802 - 07/31/13 09:33 PM Re: River and stream crossing footwear. [Re: lori]
WyOutdoors Offline
member

Registered: 07/19/13
Posts: 15
I've never thought about taking my socks off and then putting my shoes back on to cross. I feel quite ridiculous for not thinking of that. Thanks for the tip.

I know a lot of people are all about water proof shoes but in my experiences your feet are going to get wet no matter what. So why not get a non water proof shoe that breathes way better and will dry faster.

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#178836 - 08/01/13 02:05 PM Re: River and stream crossing footwear. [Re: WyOutdoors]
BrianLe Offline
member

Registered: 02/26/07
Posts: 1144
Loc: Washington State, King County
Quote:
"I've never thought about taking my socks off and then putting my shoes back on to cross."

For times where you're going to take the time to remove your socks, I suggest that you also take out the cushiony (or perhaps not-so-cushiony) shoe inserts. For me, at least, those take longer to dry than do my liner socks.

I do that on trips where I'm hiking with others who stop to change footwear. I'm waiting around anyway, so I might as well use the time so that my shoes will dry faster once we start walking again.

On the far shore what I find helpful is to prop my wet (but quick-drying) shoes top sides down, slanted so that the sole of the toe is pointing up and the heel down. This makes all the water in the shoe fabric drain towards the heel and the tongue, both of which more readily allow me to squeeze out the water while I'm waiting for others.

The other (and perhaps obvious) 'trick' is to take off the shoes and socks at even short breaks. Even with quick drying shoes, it helps a lot to have even a brief moment here or there to allow moisture to dissipate.
_________________________
Brian Lewis
http://postholer.com/brianle

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#179059 - 08/10/13 12:11 AM Re: River and stream crossing footwear. [Re: balzaccom]
mira.mikes Offline
member

Registered: 08/04/13
Posts: 35
Originally Posted By balzaccom
We use our Crocs on most stream crossings. They weigh less than a pound (about 11oz) and we've got the kind that actually includes straps to stay on your feet. And we love them for walking around in camp after a day on the trail.


I just do the same, but used this (about 5oz):
http://www.planetshoes.com/item/vivobarefoot-ultra-pure/20296

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#179127 - 08/12/13 07:55 PM Re: River and stream crossing footwear. [Re: mira.mikes]
ndsol Offline
member

Registered: 04/16/02
Posts: 673
Loc: Houston, Texas
Originally Posted By mira.mikes
Originally Posted By balzaccom
We use our Crocs on most stream crossings. They weigh less than a pound (about 11oz) and we've got the kind that actually includes straps to stay on your feet. And we love them for walking around in camp after a day on the trail.


I just do the same, but used this (about 5oz):
http://www.planetshoes.com/item/vivobarefoot-ultra-pure/20296


Are those 5 oz. each or for the pair? $60 is not cheap.

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#179188 - 08/15/13 09:06 AM Re: River and stream crossing footwear. [Re: Al Paca]
BillgGruff Offline
newbie

Registered: 08/15/13
Posts: 11
Loc: Troutdale, Oregon
You really don't want to die because your boots were too loose
I almost always have teva sandals strapped to my pack because I like to blue line a lot of stretches...
But I have also always been of the opinion that wet feet are better than a wet ass! If you're going to try to rock hop in the hopes of keeping your feet dry you should invest in waterproof boots and find a shallow ford. and if you're crossing deeper glacial run-off you should be prepared to take your time crossing (even if it means waiting for better weather. You really don't want to die because your boots were too loose

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#179189 - 08/15/13 09:11 AM Re: River and stream crossing footwear. [Re: BillgGruff]
BillgGruff Offline
newbie

Registered: 08/15/13
Posts: 11
Loc: Troutdale, Oregon
I really cannot believe how many people in this thread suggested taking of socks and taking out boot inserts to cross a glacial stream.
Why would you want ill-fitting footwear in one of the most treacherous situations on a mountain?

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