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Proper Hiking Shoes


New Member
My wife and I hiked Smith For Canyon earlier this week. Due to a rain storm the prior day, the stream was running, so some of the time we were walking in water and some of the time on dry land consisting of sand and rocks. However to start the hike we had to walk through about 20 yards of the Lake Powell mud / quicksand that pulls your shoes off. We chose to take both a chacos's type sandal and a standard low top hiking shoe. We found the sandal did not work in the mud, it was so sticky you could not get your feet out, so we ended up going barefoot through the mud and the early portion of the stream until it got rocky, then switched to the sandal. We never find a long enough stretch of solid dry ground to switch to the hiking shoe, so we did the entire hike in the sandals. We hiked for just over 4 hours and with all of the rocks, sand and debris in the mud and water it was brutal on our feet. Is anyone aware of a better type of shoe to do this type of hiking in or is there something we could do differently that would make it easier on our feet on this type of hike?


Escalante-Class Member
That mud to stream to rocks transition is a huge challenge everywhere at Lake Powell, as you know. Smith Fork is a great example. I've tried a lot of shoes, and these are the ones I keep coming back to--the Merrell All Out Blaze Aero Sport...

These are tough enough to hike on dry land as regular hiking shoes, they do great walking through streams (they drain well), and stay on your feet in mud. I wear them with Smartwool socks. I've backpacked the 40 miles or so down the Paria to Lees Ferry, hiked up slick rock mounds at Lake Powell, and pretty much anywhere. I've even hiked up Smith Fork and then to the top of Tapestry Wall from within the canyon all with these shoes... All they lack is super study ankle support, but even there, these are not too bad. The current pair I have I've been using for close to 10 years...still holding together...

I like Merrell's because they're wide enough in the toes too, and that's a problem for me...
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Active Member
That Merrell is a good shoe. You can also search the internet for Canyoneering shoes, not a lot out there though. Really no perfect all in one shoe for all those conditions.


Well-Known Member
Chaco classics for short hikes, Merrill Moabs for long hikes. Haven't hiked for a few years, so at higher water levels mud was seldom an issue. But the Moabs filled with muck occasionally in canyon pools. As Cookie said, no perfect shoes, backpack with alternates is the answer for serious hikes.