Women's feet wearing Tread Labs Covelo raised in the air, framed by the open door of a mesh tent with trees in the background.

Camping Sandals: Essential Camp Footwear

by Mark Paigen 7 minute read

Dive into our guide on selecting the perfect camping sandals, crafted to provide comfort, versatility, and style for your outdoor adventures.

The Basics: TL;DR ---

  • Comfort and Versatility. Camping sandals offer a unique blend of comfort, ease, and versatility, ideal for lounging or light activities around the campsite.
  • Essential Features. When choosing camping sandals, look for durability, quick-drying materials, good traction, and adjustable straps to ensure comfort and safety on various terrains.
  • Footwear Recommendations. Select your camp footwear based on camping activities; sandals are great for water activities and casual use, while hiking shoes are better for rugged terrain.
  • Tread Labs Picks. The Tread Labs Men's Redway and Women's Salinas sandals are top choices for camping enthusiasts, offering both functionality and style for outdoor adventures.
  • Practical Tips. Always consider the specific environment and activities of your camping trip to choose the most suitable footwear.

What You Need To Know ---

Sandals can offer comfort and versatility while camping, especially with essential features like durability, adjustable straps, and quick-drying materials. Tread Labs offers a number of models that make great camping sandals. Choosing the right sandals involves considering the specific activities and environment of your camping trip.  A lightweight pair of sandals are often the perfect camp shoes.


Table of Contents

  1. What Are Camp Shoes?
  2. Camp Footwear: Sandals vs. Traditional Hiking Shoes
  3. Choosing Appropriate Camp Footwear
  4. Essential Features of Camping Sandals
  5. Common Questions About Camping Footwear
  6. Our Top Picks for Camping Sandals


Man and women wearing Tread Labs sandals, reclining in chairs with the sandal soles visible around a campfire ring with a tent in the background.

    What Are Camp Shoes?

    When preparing for a camping trip, selecting the right footwear is as crucial as choosing a tent or a sleeping bag.  Camping shoes should support your feet after a long day of hiking and provide relief when you’re simply relaxing around the campsite.  Ideal for lounging, short walks near the campsite, or managing chores around camp, they allow your feet to recover while still providing enough support and protection from the ground.

    In many cases, sandals are actually the best camp shoes as they offer a unique combination of comfort, convenience, and versatility. The best sandals for camping incorporate lightweight designs, quick-drying materials, and firm arch support. Robust soles for uneven terrain and adjustable straps for a personalized fit are also essential.

    Whether you're relaxing by the lake, gathering around the campfire, or engaging in light activities around your campsite, a reliable pair of ultralight camp shoes can significantly enhance your outdoor experience. In this guide, we’ll explore why camping sandals are a game-changer for both casual campers and seasoned adventurers looking for backpacking camp shoes. We’ll detail the important features of the best camping sandals and address common questions.


    Camp Footwear: Sandals vs. Traditional Hiking Shoes

    Sandals as Camp Shoes

    Camping sandals are designed with versatility and comfort in mind, making them a popular choice for campers who prioritize ease and breathability. Here’s a look at their advantages and disadvantages as camp shoes:

    Pros Cons
    Lightweight. Ideal for reducing pack weight, especially on long trips. Less Protection. Offer less coverage and protection against sharp objects and rough terrain.
    Breathable. Keep feet cool and dry, reducing the risk of blisters. Limited Support. May not provide sufficient support for challenging hikes away from camp.
    Quick Drying. Excellent for water activities or wet conditions. Durability Concerns. May wear out quicker than hiking boots under tough conditions.
    Versatile. Can be used for light hiking, water crossings, and campsite wear. Weather Limitations: Not suitable for cold or snowy conditions.


    Hiking Shoes as Camp Shoes

    Traditional hiking shoes are built for durability and support, making them essential for trekkers tackling tough terrains and long distances. Here are their pros and cons of using them as camping shoes:

    Pros Cons
    Robust Protection. Offer more coverage and protection from environmental hazards. Heavier. Can add significant weight to your pack.
    Ankle Support. Provide superior ankle support and stability on uneven grounds. Less Breathable. Can lead to overheated and sweaty feet in warm conditions.
    Long-Lasting Durability. Constructed to withstand rugged use and harsh conditions. Slow Drying. Not ideal for wet conditions as they take longer to dry.
    Better for Cold Weather. Suitable for colder climates and diverse weather conditions. Less Versatile. Typically not as comfortable for casual campsite wear or water activities.

    Man tightened a tent line wearing Tread Labs Covelo sandals

    Choosing Appropriate Camp Footwear

    Selecting the right footwear for your camping trip can significantly impact your comfort and mobility. Depending on the type of camping and activities you plan, the choice between hiking shoes and camping sandals varies. Below is a guide to help you decide the best option for various scenarios:

    Camping Scenario


    Reason for Recommendation Additional Considerations
    Car Camping Sandals Provide comfort and ease for casual activities around the campsite. Sandals with an open-toe design make it easy to add socks for cooler temps.
    Rafting Trip Sandals Quick-drying and easy to remove, ideal for water-based activities. Water-friendly sandals with rubber soles are essential.
    Backpacking Trip Shoes Offers durable support and protection for long distances and rugged terrain. Consider bringing a pair of lightweight sandals for relief at the end of each day.
    Mountain Biking Trip
    Sandals Easy on-off allows for a quick transfer between biking shoes and camping sandals. Open-toe sandals enable sock use, essential for the quick transition.
    Beach Camping Sandals Sandals are better for sandy environments, allowing sand to escape easily and dry quickly. Sandals with polyester straps offer robust durability against salt and sand.
    Alpine Camping Shoes Protect against underbrush and keeps feet dry and safe from bites or stings. Rugged terrain sometimes calls for full foot protection.
    Fishing Trip
    Sandals Suitable for wet conditions and frequent water contact, providing ease of use and quick drying. If mosquitos are a threat, consider bringing boots or mid-height shoes as well.
    Desert Hiking Sandals Light and airy, perfect for warm weather. Robust arch support and adjustable straps are essential for desert hikes in sandals.


    Essential Features of Camping Sandals

    Choosing the right camping sandals involves more than picking a style you like; it’s about finding footwear that can withstand the challenges of the outdoors while providing the comfort and support your feet need. Here are some crucial features to consider:

    • Durability. Look for sandals made from high-quality materials like polyurethane and polyester that can resist wear and tear. Robust construction ensures your sandals can handle rocky paths and rough terrain without falling apart.

    • Comfort. Good camping sandals should have contoured footbeds to support your arches and help with shock absorption. This is especially important when you’re spending long hours on your feet, either at the campsite or on light trails.

    • Traction. The best camp shoes offer excellent grip on various surfaces, from wet rocks to muddy paths. Look for rubber soles with good tread to prevent slipping.

    • Adjustability. Sandals with adjustable straps provide a more personalized fit, which is vital for maintaining comfort and stability as you move. This feature allows the sandals to accommodate feet of all sizes and will ensure a proper fit even if your feet swell slightly after a day of hiking.

    • Water Friendly. Since camping often involves water – whether crossing streams or facing rain – water-friendly materials are a must. This feature helps prevent discomfort and minimizes blisters from wet footwear.

    • Lightweight and Packable. Ultralight camp shoes are a boon for backpackers. The lighter your sandals, the less energy you expend carrying them, which is crucial on longer treks.

    • Versatility. The ideal sandals for camping should be suitable for various activities, from walking around the campsite to light hiking and even water activities. Versatile footwear means you can pack less, which is always a plus in the outdoors.

    Common Questions About Camping Footwear

    What are the best shoes for camping?

    The best shoes for camping depend on your activities and the environment. For casual campsite use, camping sandals are ideal due to their comfort and ease of use. For more rugged activities like hiking or backpacking, durable hiking shoes are recommended for their support and protection.

    Is it OK to wear sandals hiking?

    Yes, it is okay to wear sandals while hiking, especially if they are designed as trail sandals with good grip and foot support. Learn more about the importance of sandals with arch support.

    What kind of shoes should you bring camping?

    You should consider the nature of your trip:

      • For light, casual camping, bring camping sandals.
      • For activities involving water, water-resistant sandals are advisable.
      • For hiking and trekking, opt for sturdy hiking shoes.
      • For more scenario-specific recommendations, click here.

    Do hikers wear sandals?

    Yes, some hikers wear sandals, particularly in warm, dry climates or on less challenging trails. Sandals offer breathability, comfort, and ease of use. They are also lighter and help in reducing foot fatigue on long walks.

    What are trail sandals?

    Trail sandals are specialized footwear designed for hiking and walking over varied terrains. They combine the open design of sandals with the robust features of hiking shoes, such as durable soles with enhanced traction, added foot support, and materials that withstand outdoor conditions. Trail sandals are great for campers and hikers who want breathability, comfort, and quicker drying times without sacrificing safety and functionality on the trail.


    Two hikers wearing sandals, sitting on a ledge with the feet dangling.


    Our Top Picks for Camping Sandals

    When it comes to combining comfort and practicality in outdoor footwear, Tread Labs offers standout options for both men and women.  These models check all of the boxes for essential camping sandal features:

    Essential Feature Tread Labs Models
    Durable Polyurethane midsoles, rubber soles, polyester traps.
    Comfortable Micro-fiber suede footbed top covers.
    Good Traction Slip-resistant rubber soles.
    Adjustable Durable aluminum buckles.
    Water-Friendly Machine-washable.
    Lightweight Ultra-lightweight polyurethane midsoles.
    Versatile Uses: casual, light-trail, and recovery.

    Our Recommendations

    For Women: Tread Labs Women's Salinas

    The Salinas sandal is perfect for women who need reliable footwear that can handle both water and trails. Its water-friendly materials and comfortable design make it versatile for any setting, whether you're crossing streams or exploring forest paths. The lightweight construction and supportive footbed offer all-day comfort and durability.

    For Men: Tread Labs Men's Redway

    The Redway sandal is engineered for the outdoors, featuring durable construction and a design that balances comfort and support. A robust outsole provides excellent traction for varied terrains, while the adjustable straps ensure a snug fit, making it ideal for all your camping adventures.

    Woman laying in a tent lounging wearing Tread Labs covelo sandals

    Camping sandals are an essential choice for those who prioritize functional versatility in their outdoor gear. Tread Labs offers other camping sandal options in addition to the Redway and Salinas models.  All of our sandals are designed to meet the varied demands of camping enthusiasts. Tread Labs sandals ensure that the practical needs of trail and campsite adventures are fulfilled in style.

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