I am in the need of new shoes for hiking. In the past I have preferred low top approach shoes or trail running shoes, but now that I am getting in to backpacking more I have been considering something with a little more sole rigidity, such as from the "light hiking" section. However, this past weekend I went with my son on an overnighter that involved a couple of river crossings. At the last minute I chose to wear a pair of running shoes instead of my old Solomons, figuring that the lightweight material would be faster to dry if they were to get wet. It worked OK, if a bit squishy. The hike & the river made enough of an impression on us that it is a must-return.
This new discovery has added a complicated variable to my shoe shopping. What is the best way to deal with anticipated or unanticipated river crossings and the like without investing in or dragging along multiple specialized types of shoes? Do they now make water shoes with all-day hiking comfort, cushioning and support (including not filling with gravel along the trail)? Or real hiking shoes that are ventilated and synthetic enough not to be ruined or waterlogged by multiple total immersions, and dry out quickly?
Or does one pack along a pair of sandals or crocs just for the crossings? I don't relish the idea of buying two entirely separate sets of expensive shoes for my next two hikes. I am into it more for the hiking than the river play, but don't want to limit myself to "dry" hikes now.
What are your thoughts or suggestions?