Crocs are water shoes that were initially designed to be used for activities such as boating. However, thanks to their comfortable and stylish designs, many people wear Crocs for casual activities and even everyday use.
While they’re not as bulky as hiking boots, Crocs have some similarities to hiking shoes and even hiking sandals.
Their utility in water, breathability, and comfortableness, which allows for barefoot wear or use with socks, makes Crocs some of the most versatile shoes on the market.
That said, are Crocs good for hiking? Let’s take a look further down to see whether or not wearing Crocs on a hiking trail is really as good of an idea as it seems.
What Are Crocs?
Crocs are a pair of lightweight shoes characterized by their signature clog-like design and resemblance to a sandal.
All Crocs are designed with a Croslite foam, which is a closed-cell resin that gives the shoes their weight savings, cushioning, durability, and support.
The ventilation holes on Crocs also make them breathable and essentially waterproof, given how quickly they drain.
However, since these shoes have evolved from their classic clog-inspired designs, Crocs can now be worn in styles such as sandals and flip-flops, making them even more versatile for casual excursions.
Aside from how well they prevent sweaty feet, adhere to slippery surfaces, and flex to your movements, Crocs are even praised by the American Podiatric Medical Association as high-quality footwear for demanding jobs.
Additionally, considering that most Crocs weigh no more than 14oz. per pair, making them lighter than all hiking boots and hiking shoes, it’s easy to see why they’re so popular.
Can You Hike in Crocs?
You can hike in Crocs, but it’s only recommended to do so on short and simple trails. While Crocs are more comfortable than hiking shoes, they don’t have the stability, ankle support, or traction of one.
Since Crocs lack ankle collars and rigid shanks, there’s not really anything to secure your foot into the shoe other than the adjustable heel strap.
Unlike hiking shoes and hiking boots, which sometimes use the more popular and reliable Contagrip or Vibram outsoles, the Crocs brand uses its in-house Crocs Lock non-marking rubber outsole.
Even though the outsoles are made to be slip-resistant and have treads that perform well in customer service settings, they’re not sturdy or adhesive enough to be used outdoors.
Trying to use Crocs for anything more than ultralight hiking trips could result in discomfort or injury. Additionally, Crocs are just as exposed as hiking sandals, making you even more susceptible to trail hazards and making uneven terrain riskier to travel through.
What Are the Best Crocs for Hiking?
Crocs Unisex-Adult Classic Hiker Clogs
The Crocs Unisex-Adult Classic Hiker Clogs are a pair of shoes with comfortable foam uppers and a 10mm platform height.
The non-marking rubber outsole has a sawtooth design, which makes it good for latching onto slippery surfaces, particularly in some work environments.
The hook and loop heel straps are adjustable and cause no issues with rubbing, with or without socks. As the first and original design of the Crocs, these shoes have good utility in urban environments and light outdoor settings.
These can be worn in most casual settings and are convenient enough to be slipped on and off at a moment’s notice.
Crocs Unisex Classic All Terrain Clog With Adjustable Strap
The Crocs Unisex Classic All Terrain Clog is designed to be used in more harsh environments.
Unlike the Classic Crocs, which are better suited for indoor activities, the All Terrain Clogs have a rugged outsole, an aggressive tread pattern, and deeper lugs than you’d see on most shoes like this.
The adjustable turbo straps also give you a secure and custom fit, ensuring that the shoes can’t slide off when walking over certain terrain. These Crocs hold up much better for camping trips and trail hikes than other versions of the shoes.
Even though they don’t have a lot of arch support, like most Crocs, they still make great outdoor options.
Crocs Unisex Offroad Sport Clogs
The Crocs Unisex Offroad variant is similar to the All Terrain shoe but with a few differences.
Firstly, the outsole is thicker, giving you a better grip on rocky terrain while also giving your underfoot insulation from the trail.
The second difference, which makes these pair of Crocs even better than the Classics, is that they have built-in arch support. The orthotic heels and tarsal bars secure the foot inside the shoe, but it also has a massage-like sensation that promotes circulation.
As the name suggests, these shoes perform well offroad and hold up well for mild hikes and light outdoor activities.
Advantages of Using Crocs for Hiking
Crocs are incredibly lightweight, even more so than trail runners. Usually, Crocs weigh no more than 1lb. per pair, which saves you a lot of energy you’d be using to haul around a pair of heavy boots.
The Croslite foam that all Crocs are made with is designed to be soft and flexible, unlike the bulky and dense material of other hiking footwear.
Crocs are designed to be breathable shoes, as indicated by the top and side holes around the forefoot.
The ventilation not only keeps the feet cool, but debris can freely exit the shoe without getting lodged.
The maximized airflow also dries the shoes quickly in wet conditions, giving them a form of waterproofing.
You can wear Crocs barefoot or with socks, which makes them convenient for hot weather and some cooler conditions.
The exposed design, which is similar to a hiking sandal, makes Crocs easy to slip on and off, even more so because the heel strap is the only point of closure. On a hike, they’d be simple to quickly throw on if you get tired of using your current hiking footwear.
The Croslite foam uppers provide flexibility and 360-degree comfort, which gives the clogs their pillow-like softness and similarity to hiking shoes.
For the most part, Crocs can be worn for long periods while standing without causing too much discomfort, assuming that they’re being worn in the appropriate settings.
Disadvantages of Using Crocs for Hiking
While some Crocs have arch support in the midsole and cushioned heel cups for shock absorption, these aren’t standard features. They’re only manufactured on certain models, such as the Crocs Offroad Sport Clog.
If you try using Crocs on technical or even moderate hikes, you might find yourself experiencing discomfort after only a few miles.
Unless a Croc is specifically designed to go off-trail, the rubber outsoles don’t have much traction.
Additionally, the soles don’t have as much durability as what you’d see on a hiking boot or hiking shoe.
They wear out very quickly if not taken care of, making them poor choices for wet and steep terrain.
Crocs have an exposed design, lacking proper protection around the ankles and partially around the forefoot due to the ventilation holes.
When on hiking trails, especially ones with a lot of debris, there’s a good chance that an object from outside the shoe could get inside, whether it be a small rock or branch.
Despite being great choices for average and warm weather conditions, Crocs, like sandals, aren’t made to withstand cold conditions.
Even though they can be worn with socks, the foam uppers of Crocs don’t provide much in the way of insulation and warmth against the elements.
Do We Recommend Crocs for Hiking?
All things considered, we would recommend Crocs for casual outdoor adventures, like trail walks and camping, but for serious hiking trips? No way. You’d be better off with traditional footwear.
Even though Crocs are comfortable shoes with great breathability and a lightweight build, they’re made for convenience. When taking into account the lack of protection and arch or ankle support, Crocs don’t have a lot of utility outside of urban environments.
However, for limited outdoor adventures, they’re a good option to have when your feet need a change of footwear.
With this information in mind, the Crocs we’ve covered in this list all have their own strengths and weaknesses for different activities, but they’re well-rounded for the average buyer.
However, if you’re interested in checking out other footwear, then read here to find out which hiking sandals we’ve rated as the best for 2023.
You cannot rock climb with Crocs. The rubber outsole has enough traction to latch onto simple surfaces, but it’s not durable enough to withstand constant exposure to rocky terrain. Trying to do so will wear the sole down quickly.
Crocs can be used outdoors and are great for light trail walks and camping. If you plan on using them for hiking, make sure that the trail you’re on is well-maintained and doesn’t require any special type of footwear.
Crocs have good traction in simple environments. The non-marking rubber outsole is designed to be slip-resistant in work settings, such as hospitals, restaurants, and other places that offer hospitality as a service.
Crocs do not absorb water. The materials that Crocs are made with don’t hold water at all, and any water that does get into the shoe is quickly expelled through the ventilation holes.
It is OK to wear Crocs in the rain due to their water-resistant design. Even if the shoes are exposed to water, the ventilation quickly dries anything that may have gotten wet, such as your socks and feet.