Recommendations for footwear for hiking with stream crossings

Anna K.Anna K.
edited March 19 in Gear Advice & Care
Hi,

I'm hoping to hike Kanarra Creek Falls and possibly the Subway at Zion NP in the fall.  There will be a good amount of hiking on dry terrain, some elevation and plenty of wading through streams.

I'm looking for shoes that will provide good foot support and will be able to handle wading through foot deep water while providing good traction on wet rocks.

Is there a single shoe that can do all that?  I'd prefer not to be switching between my hiking boots and sport sandals, but I worry that such a shoe doesn't exist.

Thanks,
Anna

Comments

  • One of the nicest things about hiking is having comfy feet. If I know there will be creek crossings, I would bring strappy sandals (Teva, Chaco..) for wading, and to keep your hiking shoes dry. They double as camp shoes, so you can take your hiking shoes off and air out your feet at camp.

    There are plenty of trail running shoes that will support your feet, possibly dry out by the next day, and maybe not carry too much water from the stream up the trail. They will provide as much traction as a river sandal. But for the comfort and foot-happiness, I would keep my shoes dry.
  • Good info!
  • Following  :)
  • I ditched my Tevas in favor of Keen water sandals.  The straps on the Ts rubbed my ankle bones the wrong way.  A medium sized beaner allows clipping them to the outside of my pack and they weigh so little.  Easy on/off when streams show up and dry feet otherwise.  
  • Krocs with the heal strap... Light and waterproof
  • There is good advice above.  You definitely do NOT want ordinary flip flops or cheap wading shoes that are held to the heel with only elastic; a fast current will take them right off your feet.
  • Keens--if you have concern for more ankle support grab a pair of ankle braces to put underneath.  The narrows water is cold--the past couple times I have worn neoprene socks underneath the keens and it did great.  I have tevas and chacos and wouldn't change them for the keens for longer hikes with water.  Keens are the most comfortable and stable for me.  
  • Anna K. said:
    Hi,

    I'm hoping to hike Kanarra Creek Falls and possibly the Subway at Zion NP in the fall.  There will be a good amount of hiking on dry terrain, some elevation and plenty of wading through streams.

    I'm looking for shoes that will provide good foot support and will be able to handle wading through foot deep water while providing good traction on wet rocks.

    Is there a single shoe that can do all that?  I'd prefer not to be switching between my hiking boots and sport sandals, but I worry that such a shoe doesn't exist.

    Thanks,
    Anna

  • When it comes to footwear for hiking, Do Not Skimp. Invest in a good pair of boots like Lowa or something top shelf like that. A good boot should be waterproof and have a vibram brand sole. Also I've always found hiking poles make stream crossings easier because you always have a way to balance yourself when stepping on rocks. When crossing streams proceed with caution. Step on rocks and test the slipperiness before committing to the step and advancing your hiking poles. I always check for snakes near water as I have found myself standing too close to a Copperhead before.
  • No matter what type of shoe you decide on make sure they have vibram soles, they will help on th slippery areas.
  • Kasey M.Kasey M. ✭✭✭
    Listen - I 1,000% recommend the LL Bean Cresta hiking boots - I don't work for them, i don't get a cut of their sales. I have hiked all 67 New England 4,000 footers in 1 pair of Cresta boots in all 4 season. My feet got wet maybe 2 times and it was because I actually fell in rivers. haha! 

    They may be a little pricey but they are all leather, so they are super rugged and very durable. I bought a pair for me and for my wife. They have full gussets so you have to step in water above the top of the boot before water will leak in. They are goretex boots so they are waterproof beyond what leather offers. I treat my boots with Snoe-Seal bees wax to keep them beautiful.

    Take a look:
    https://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/14774?feat=506795-plalander

    Their guarantee makes it worth it as well. They are the best boots that I've ever owned. I'm an avid hiker and will not disappoint.

    Best,

    Kasey Marsters
    foxtrickadventures.com

  • I used to use Chacos for stream crossings but now just wade right in with my hiking shoes (and save a couple pounds of pack weight). Just find a good pair that vent well and dry fast. It's also important to have fast drying and warm when wet socks, which generally means a high merino wool content. I personally use Merrell Moab Ventilators, but there are plenty of good options out there. When fording through knee-high snow melt stream crossing, I'd rather just keep moving than have to stop to change footwear on each side of the crossing. It really slows you down and there's not always a good place to sit. This article has some additional info that you may find helpful: https://andrewskurka.com/2017/backpacking-footwear-early-season-conditions/
  • Probably late but I've given up on hiking boots and now use Altra trail running shoes.  My son and I did a 5 day trip several years ago that involved 8-9 stream crossings because snowpack had been quite high and runoff was late.  I had a pair of heavy Gore-Tex La Sportiva boots.  The first stream we had to cross was up to our knees and they boots were wet the rest of the trip.  They never fit quite right after that.  The trail running shoes have good traction and they dry out quickly.  I have no problems wearing them with a 30-35 pound pack.  YMMV
  • Kasey M.Kasey M. ✭✭✭
    For whatever reason when i first read this my mind went to boots - probably because I love my boots. But if it's above my ankles i wear crocs. i know, i know, i know what' y'all are thinking. but. don't knock it til you croc it. super lightweight and comfortable and then great camp shoes.

    -Kasey
  • Anna K. said:
    Hi,

    I'm hoping to hike Kanarra Creek Falls and possibly the Subway at Zion NP in the fall.  There will be a good amount of hiking on dry terrain, some elevation and plenty of wading through streams.

    I'm looking for shoes that will provide good foot support and will be able to handle wading through foot deep water while providing good traction on wet rocks.

    Is there a single shoe that can do all that?  I'd prefer not to be switching between my hiking boots and sport sandals, but I worry that such a shoe doesn't exist.

    Thanks,
    Anna
    Anna, when we hiked the narrows (early November) a couple of years ago, we used one of the local outfitters and rented their dry pants package which worked out perfect. ( http://www.zionadventures.com/narrows-rentals.html ). And since we were headed to Kanarra Creek the next day we kept the rented gear another day (extra days are discounted) and just used it (all but the hiking stick) there as well. The water in Kanarra was a lot colder than the narrows, so it was really nice to have that gear as compared to Keens etc. The hike up to Kanarra slot canyon, where the falls are, is just short enough to where you can hike in the gear rather than changing once you enter the slot canyon and having to carry extra stuff. Plus we hiked the creek up instead of the road and the evening before they got snow while Zion was getting rain. Don't underestimate how cold that water can be.
    As far as "normal" creek/stream hiking goes, unless you're sure the insides of your boots/shoes won't get wet, DO NOT get Gore Tex as they take a lot longer to dry out.
    Have a blast!!!

  • Anna, we just hiked The Narrows in Zion.  6 miles in the river and 2 miles on the walking path to and from the river (also, assorted other hikes along our trip).  We were definitely looking for versatility in our shoes.  I researched before I went because I had similar concerns as you have, especially grip (on the river rocks).  We went with Merrell MOAB 2 VENT HIKING SHOE and I've got to say...I LOVED THEM!  They did the job beautifully.  They are light but solid.  Water flowed through vents, but kept out debris, dirt, and sand.  The Vibram tread really gave us stability and grip on the rocks.  I wondered how other hikers could navigate in their sandles and even flip flops!  I wore SmartWool socks and they were very comfortable and warmed my feet in the cold water, but were also cool enough and soft on the dry walks.  I did bring extra pair of socks to change into after the river so the trek back was more comfortable.
  • Twice I have backpacked Coyote Gulch in Utah's Grande Escalante and it involves a lot of walking in the stream. First time I wore Merrill MOAB mesh low hikers and carried the MOAB GTX mid boots.

    Second timeI left the GTX boots at home. No need for them as my MOAB low hikers drained and dried quickly and were fine for any off-trail hiking.
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