The Gram Weenie strikes again! In his quest to lighten his load on his upcoming section hike, Frosty targeted camp shoes. He wants camp shoes to air out his feet in the evenings, but not if they weigh more than a shadow.
You also have to know that those extremely thin flip-flops from the dollar store that allow you to experience nature by feeling every pebble you step on wouldn’t work for him. I have no clue how much those flip-flops weigh, but Frosty won’t wear any footwear that has parts between his toes.
Frosty doesn’t have any river crossings on the section hike he is planning. So he didn’t need a shoe that would stay on his feet in rushing water or that could protect his toes from rocks.
Frosty had looked into several possibilities. Crocs, Xero sandals, cheap flip-flop style slides, and more, but he couldn’t find a “Goldilocks” pair – one that was just right. He wanted to find a light pair that was reasonably priced.
Frosty turned to the gurus of the lightweight forums for the solution. He found his answer on an old thread. This idea has been kicking around since at least 2011. The answer: make your own!
First, head to Walmart for the cheapest closed cell foam sleeping pad they sell. These pads are a vibrant blue that results in a sandal that won’t go unnoticed in the wild.
Frosty used an old pair of velcro top slides that I had as a template. He traced around one of them to get the foot shape and the “wing” shape. Then he checked the size against his own foot. He made some modifications adding more to the heel and the toe area. You need only make one template. It can be flipped over to make a reverse for the other foot. Frosty put the template on the foam and marked around it with a Sharpie. Then cut out the shoe. Flip and repeat. Finally, secure the wings together with duct tape.
Frosty’s flops weighed 1.5 ounces for the pair. He thinks he used too much duct tape. If he had used less, he could have shaved off a few grams. Oh, the concerns of the UL hiker.
People rockin’ these flops purported that they last about twenty days. We shall see. Of course, one foam mat will make multiple pairs of these shoes. There should be enough to outfit a basketball team, if they all needed stylin’ homemade shower shoes.
I did notice that the photos I found online of these camp shoes don’t appear to be on the trail. I’ll update this page with a performance review once Frosty has used his flops on a backpacking trip. I also want to take some photos of these stylish sandals in the wild.
UPDATE: The shoes performed much better than expected with one modification. I found that rocks and sticks would easily poke though the foam and into my feet. I added a little extra duct tape to prevent this. These shoes lasted through five weeks of backpacking this summer, and still have life in them!