Holiday Gift Guide 2011: Sockwa G2 Camp Shoe

We just might have found the perfect camp shoe.

I’d like to think I have my personal backpacking gear pretty well dialed—there’s something to be said for a lifetime of weekends in the Cascades. The one glaring exception is my camp shoes. It’s been a slow evolution from running shoes to river sandals, to bouncy rubber clogs, to not bringing camp shoes at all because I just can’t seem to get it right. Everything has been too heavy, too bulky, lacking in traction, or sometimes all of these things. Are you in the same boat?

Meet the Sockwa G2s, little more than a 2.8 mm neoprene sock bonded to a treaded 1.2 mm TPU bottom. My size 9s came in at just over six ounces, and protected my feet while allowing me to tread lightly in camp, something lug-soled boots just can’t do. I tested them in Idaho’s Frank Church/River of No Return Wilderness and in the North Cascades over a period of a month of intense hiking. I liked the snug fit and found the bottoms grippy enough, though the wafer-thin soles made my tender feet feel like they were being tickled by the ground. I remedied that problem by putting the insoles from my hiking boots (in my case, custom orthotics) into the G2s.

One day I forgot to put the insoles in, and it turned out that I no longer needed them. Conditioning, I guess! The upper is quite stretchy, and unfortunately completely mosquito-permeable, though the shoes are machine-washable. They held their own when confronted with some slippery rocks in a creek, and dried out quickly to boot. And they scrunch up to moon-pie size, so I don’t mind carrying them.

My search for camp shoes may very well be over.

The Specs:

Cost: $50

Weight: 6.1 oz (Women's 9)