Welcome to the second installment of “Do I Really Need…”
Eventually I may do a post where the answer is “no,” but for now the answer is a resounding “yes!” Good sandals are a must, but I would say the bigger question here is: “What kind of activities are we going to be doing in each type of footwear?” Once we answer this question, we can then start to understand why ARR recommends top-notch, grippy sandals [reviews] and junky tennis shoes.
Where Do I Spend Most My Time?
Most of your time on any given river trip will be on the raft. The cold water will be a relatively constant element on the boat. Even if water isn’t being splashed on you, it will more likely be flowing through the passage ways on the boats. These passage ways are near your feet (you may want neoprene socks if you regularly get cold feet). You’ll want a shoe where water can flow right through it. This is usually a sandal or an amphibious hiking shoe. When the time comes to get on or off the boat, the wet tubes will be slippery and that sandal with lots of traction will come in handy.
Wet Hike vs. Dry Hike.
The majority of hikes you’ll do will have a varying amount of water associated with them. This could be a shallow creek bed or a deeper tributary river. Either way most of the time you will want your sturdy, grippy sandals on these hikes. Sometimes, there are dry hikes. If these hikes are longer or possibly steeper, you may want to switch to your tennis shoes if it’s more comfortable. The tennis shoes could offer a bit more ankle support, but make sure they still have good tread.
Oh The Places You’ll Go.
Many hikes require a little bit of scrambling. This is why the sandal that wraps around your entire foot with a heal strap and a sturdy sole will be important. For an extra layer of protection consider an enclosed toe box. We all know how much of a bummer a stubbed toe can be. 😉 Be sure to use your sandals in some sort of outdoor activity a handful of times prior to the trip. This will help you to break-in the sandals and reduce the risk of blisters. Many of these sandals are designed to form around your foot over time. Finally you’ll want to test your own mobility once they begin to conform. Knowing your own abilities and limitations are going to be a big part of hiking around the Grand Canyon.