What We’re Testing Now: Camp Shoes That Are Actually Worth the Weight

Plus: near-perfect hiking underwear.

Photo: Courtesy Oboz

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Sometimes bliss is in the details, as I found with the Oboz Whatakā Coast ($60) slip-ons and Paradis Sport Seamless Bikini ($28)—two new pieces of apparel in the running for our 2024 summer gear guide. Both qualify as humble hiking accessories that don’t usually garner a lot of hype—except that these detail-level pieces of gear perform so brilliantly that they have made a disproportionally big impact on my comfort.  

Many backpackers don’t even bother to bring camp shoes on trips, and I’ve long subscribed to that approach because I felt underserved by everything I tested: Après footwear that was light enough for backpacking proved too flimsy to support my tired feet during water-gathering missions and other errands where I’d end up stubbing my toes, slipping on mud, or wrenching my ankle on uneven ground. Camp shoes didn’t seem worth their weight. 

The Oboz Whatakā Coast clogs, however, have converted me. They weigh about the same as a pair of Crocs, but deliver far better traction and support. Made of dual-density EVA foam that’s fitted with a sticky rubber outsole, they’ve proven to be excellent creek-crossing clogs. I enjoyed adequate traction on wet rocks and outstanding protection for my toes when I bashed against submerged stones while fording the South Fork of the Elk River in northwest Colorado. Because the EVA foam doesn’t absorb water, the clogs were perfectly dry later in camp, when my sock-clad feet enjoyed an amply-ventilated respite from my hiking boots.

Oboz’s proprietary O-Fit footbed features a deep heel cup and ample arch support that delivers excellent stability while hiking and five-star comfort in camp. These shoes feel restorative to my feet after they’ve trekked all day, and they’re restorative to my confidence, too: Wearing them, I can stroll along lumpy stream banks and meadows without injuring my feet or ankles. Camp shoes that deliver that kind of practicality hardly seem like a luxury.

Paradis Sport Seamless Bikini
Paradis Sport Seamless Bikini (Photo: Courtesy Paradis Sport )

Since January, I’ve been testing Paradis Sport’s Seamless Bikini while ski-touring, Nordic skiing, hiking and backpacking. I prefer it to all other options in my drawer. The new cottage brand, founded by outdoor athlete Sarah Weihman, uses a USA-made nylon fabric that’s thinner than similar performance briefs made by companies like Patagonia. It’s light and forgettable, and moves moisture fast enough that the material rarely feels damp. The cut is also, dare I say, near-perfect. No matter how I’ve moved, I have not had to tug at these underpants to yank them back into position. No chafing, either. That’s a beautiful thing.

Paradis Sport just launched a Natural Fiber Bikini made not with synthetic material, but a micro-modal fabric sourced from beech tree pulp. Though it’s not seamless, it uses a particularly soft and unobtrusive Merrow seam to avoid chafing. I have yet to test the Natural Fiber underwear, but based on the evident geekery that went into the Seamless Bikini, I predict it’ll be a hit for active women who want non-irritating underwear.