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Shoes and/or socks for hiking with water & creek crossings

We live in a very warm weather state and typically hike in fall through spring, but we are looking to hike in the summer which includes waterfalls and trails with many creek crossings. I have a pair of Keen Newports. I am very prone to blisters.  Will I have issues with blisters wearing the Keens themselves with no socks if I use them exclusively on the hike if it's less than 8 miles? I'm reading that they hold up ok for shorter hikes, but I haven't seen blistering addressed.  Would wearing liners or neoprene socks with the Keens help reduce the chance of blisters? Should I just use moleskin on the spots that are prone to blister? Or well they be fine on their own as they will dry quickly?

Thoughts and experience appreciated.

3 Replies

I agree hiking sandals are the way to go if I am going to get wet in the warm weather, so I think you are fine with the Newports.  I would go with thin merino wool/nylon blend sock (see Darn Tough no-show, ultra-lightweight running socks) if you are prone to blisters. You can also take them off at the crossings and waterfalls, but I know that is annoying.  Good luck!

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I just make sure and take moleskin or leukotape with me. I have also had good luck with the Randy Sun waterproof socks. They work great when you wear really quick drying shoes. Personally, I don't think that I would be able to hike anywhere close to 8 miles with no socks and not get blisters, water crossings or not. If there is a shorter trail to try some stuff out on I would recommend that. Taking care of your feet is maybe the most important thing on the trail behind having water. It would be a great idea to do some test runs before you go on a long trip. Sometimes trial and error is super helpful. I wish I had more experience with this specifically and could help more. Good luck and have fun!

"I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees."- Thoreau

A common approach is to use trail runners and a merino wool sock like darn toughs and just walk through the crossings as necessary. Trail runners generally dry quite fast. You will need to rinse the mud and sand out every so often.  I have not personally done that since the water crossing I have experienced were spaced far enough apart that temporarily changing to a sandle was reasonable.

Unless you know you can walk for miles in those sandles without socks or even with socks.  I wouldn't wait to experiment with that on trail on a big trip.  As @madefromstraw suggests, do some test hikes and figure out what works for you before hand. 

For blister prevention, tape hot spots with leukotape at the first sign of a hot spot. It sticks well even when it gets wet.  Some people use it to tape over drained blisters but you are committing to leaving it on until the blister dries out because it will remove the skin if you take it off before.

Use moleskin only to pad blisters you are not quite ready to drain. It absorbs water and will not stay in place unless you can securely leukotape it.  You can use duct tape in a pinch but leukotape works much better.