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Choosing Shoes to Match your Style and Lifestyle

I’m going camping next weekend at Donner Lake. In a sleeping bag, on the ground, in a tent. I haven’t done that for over 50 years. My grandson is joining us, and I’m psyched. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t sleep on the ground for anyone else in this world!

Since we put a deposit down on our trailer last week, I’ve been told by several friends that I don’t look like a “trailer type” woman. That begs the question, am I a camp in the woods type woman? We’ll see!

Last weekend I went to REI looking for shoes to wear camping. My regular shoes just won’t work. I know my style is going to have to change for camping and trailering, but it still has to feel genuine to me. I can’t dress like an entirely different person. My shoes have to be comfortable mentally and physically.

Shopping for shoes to match my style and lifestyle


First, I tried on these Chaco sandals that are meant to get wet. The bright colors and rustic sole felt awkward on me. I also like softer colors, and the nylon strap was uncomfortable.

Chaco Water sandals to wear at the lake when camping


Then I tried on these Keen Whisper sandals. I’ve got several friends who wear and love them. Again, the style felt too chunky for me, and my pinkie toe kept catching on the side.

Keen water shoes for women

I tried on five or six different styles and left empty-handed. No matter how practical the shoes were, they just weren’t my style.

I don’t appear to be an REI shoe type woman.

I’ve decided to bring my dog walking sneakers with me, camping. While not stylish, they’re supportive and comfortable. If they get trashed in the lake, I won’t care because I’ve had them for years.

My well worn walking sneakers are just my style for camping

We’re picking up our new trailer next week, so I’m planning what to bring. My shoes won’t need to be quite as sturdy, but they will need to be durable and campground ready. I’ll need slip-on shoes that are easy on and off for life in a trailer. Tracking outside dirt into the RV is not a good plan.

What shoes do you wear when you camp or go in your RV?

Have a great day!

xo Jennifer


    1. Thanks for the link Elaine! These look really comfortable and practical. I have to have both.

  1. Merrill’s are the best…you need a sole that will grip. Cheap sneakers or shoes that have no ‘corrugated’ bottoms sound like a good idea until you slip on rocks or mud and then you are sorry. Crocs are sturdy but will leach every bit of moisture out of your feet until your feet are a cracked, painful mess. Also, I have Morton’s neuroma, and wide feet, but the Merrill’s are so comfy I never have a problem with pain or pinched feet. I don’t camp, but I sometimes live at an altitude of 6500 feet and walk/hike with others. Your feet are important!!!

    1. These are really great points Lynn. Thank you! I’ve never worn Crocs for the ugly factor alone :). And I totally agree about how important tread and grip are on gravel and rocks. The very last thing I want to do is fall again! Merrill is at the top of my list.

  2. Ann Kelley says:

    I use EasySpirits and Crocs. Crocs are great for mud, water, and any dirty thing. The EasySprits are comfortable and supportive for walking and informal outings.

    1. Great suggestions Ann, thanks!

  3. Amy Robertson-Smith says:

    Hi Jennifer,

    I agree with what you said about the two styles you tried on. I’d like to suggest you take a look at Jambu shoes. I have similar interests to you in shoes and styles and i LOVE this brand. They are comfy AND stylish and perfect for travel and events like you’re talking about. Last year I wore my red Mary Jane-ish style all over Austria, I could dress them up with a striped dress (not super dressy, you know vacay fun dressy), or with jeans. Check them out!

    1. I haven’t heard of that brand. They sound perfect. I’ll check around for them, online. Thanks Amy!

  4. When we had our trailer we did not take extended trips so I never had to plan for a lot of different activities or worry about long term wardrobes etc… I think it will be an adventure that you will enjoy! I have some of these Go Walk shoes and they are very comfy. Super lightweight.I purchased them about 4 years ago. I have a light gray pair. They work great for all casual outings. https://www.skechers.com/en-us/style/13777/skechers-gowalk-blend/nvy

    Have fun on your camping trip! I would take an air mattress though!

    1. Thanks for the link Linda! We’re starting with short trips to see if it’s something we want to do full time. Skechers seem to be many ladies’ favorites so I’m going to try them!

  5. They look like a practical solution to me. The last thing you want to be out on the trails and deep in the woods is uncomfortable or impractical with your shoe choice. Have fun around the campfire.

    1. Exactly my thoughts Barbara. Unhappy feet aren’t worth it!

  6. Sharon H. says:

    I’ve seen camp moccasins that ought to be just the ticket for RV camping. Maybe you could have an inside pair and an outdoor pair. LLBean, perhaps?

    1. Slip ons are the best choice for sure. I forgot all about LL Bean! Classic outdoor sportswear. Thanks!

  7. I’m not an REI person, either, nor am I a camping person! Gotta have air-cond, blow dryer and toilet. I have the same Saucony tennis shoe in another color. So comfortable. Shoes are an adventure at this age with finicky feet. I can’t wait to hear about your camping adventure, Jennifer!

    1. Thanks Terry 🙂 Luckily the trailer has electricity. That’ll go a long way towards comfort for me. This weekend I’ll be wearing lots of hats!

  8. Mine are similar to the Easy Spirit Quash slip-on sneaker. I am not affiliated with ES-just a VERY satisfied customer.

  9. I love my Easy Spirit slip ons. They went from TN to Yellowstone and back. They are light weight and not chunky like runners. I have a pair from a couple of years ago (the particular style no longer available) and they are still in very good shape. I have washed them in the washer along with some towels – then air dried them in the shade. Similar styles are in the ES stores. Get a pair in taupe/nude and the “camping dust”won’t show as quickly.
    Have fun shopping!

  10. PS I forgot to add that I love your new Travel Trailer camper. You will really enjoy that. Where are you going camping? We are off to Pine Mountain Ga this weekend camping with the grandchildren for the first time. It should be an adventure!

  11. I camp a lot and have never bought special shoes. I just wear my sneakers like you plan on doing. They are already broke in so no worries there. I do take water shoes when we go rafting or tubing down the river but my husband always just wears an old pair of tennis shoes. Unless you are planning on doing some serious hiking your sneakers should be fine. Or you can try some of those cute slip on Skechers .

  12. Sketchers – the most comfortable shoes ever! I am new to camping – previously a ‘Where do I plug my hairdryer in’
    Just bought myself a campervan and these shoes have been my second best investment. Chuck them in the wash when dirty and start again.

  13. I have bad feet and must wear comfortable shoes. Teva Tirra are my go to sandals which are great for any length of dry walking. I am like you I do not want a sandal for hiking in dirty areas so I use a gel support athletic shoe Asics is my choice now. I do have the Keen Whisper for water and yes my little toe catches also. Chacos have too high an arch for me. I have found trial and error in each brand as the quality and fit vary. Merrills are a consideration as well as Ecco.

  14. I love those Keens! I agree they can be rather clunky, but in the right setting (such as an easy hike) they can be the perfect shoe. I have a bright yellow pair. I rarely wear them, but that gray and turquoise is still tempting!

    1. That’s why I tried them on! The color.

  15. I haven’t been camping in years! How fun that you are going with your grandson!

    I bought several clothing items and sandals that can get wet at REI several years ago for a backpacking trip in the Alps. None of the items ever felt like me; it felt like I was putting on a costume…

    Maybe try The Walking Company? Good luck finding shoes that fit your new adventure and your style!

    Andrea’s Wellness Notes

    1. Exactly what this exploration is all about Andrea. Being true to my style and not feeling like I’m putting on a costume.

    1. Marcia, you’re the best! I’m going to check these out tomorrow. Thanks so much.

  16. I would suggest a pair of slip on sneakers. Like Vans.Nordstrom’s has a lot to choose from in all colors even metallics . Ellen DeGeneres has a line of casual shoes that may work. Just remember to look for some that will slip off easily . That way you can remove them before entering the tent or your travel trailer..

    1. I had a feeling the slip-off feature would be critical. I don’t want to track tons of muck into the trailer. I’ll Google the Ellen line, I’ve not heard of them. Thanks, Marcia.

  17. Janey Swanson says:

    We spend two summers in a trailer park while our mountain home was being built. I dreaded it…but much to my surprise it was wonderful. I actually missed the people when I moved into my beautiful home!

    1. You give me hope this will be more fun than I hoped for! Thanks, Janey:)

  18. I am laughing at your sleeping arrangements , and I agree the only way I am sleeping on the ground is for ” the grandson”

    1. You know it! I am insane over that fellow 🙂

  19. Mary Hartman says:

    I like New Balance for walking/hiking. I like Skechers or Mephisto for easy on and off.

    1. Thanks, Mary. I just tried those memory foam Sketchers! Like walking on pillows and you’re right, easy on and off.

  20. Kathy Nelson says:

    Pick up a foam mat and two mattress covers. Cover the mat on each side. Duck tape under each cover to hold in place. Sleeping bag on top. We camped in Alaska , Wyoming, Colorado, Texas and Arkansas. Loved it till my knees gave out. Best shoes are the ones you chose. However a few pair of hiking socks will keep you more comfortable. Have great trip !

    1. You sound like you’ve figured this out!! I love your strategy Kathy. I realize socks are going to be critical. My thin ones from Target won’t cut it.

  21. Try Ryka flutter slip-ons. They are cute, comfy, supportive, and could even be worn with a casual dress. Most definitely with crops.
    I love mine! And I find Keens too heavy and clunky, and all those water sandals reek after a couple months. Seriously, google it, it’s a well known problem.
    Hope this helps

    1. Cute, comfy and casual dress, sounds right up my alley. Thanks, Susan. I knew my readers would have the very best advice!! Shoes that reek is NEVER my goal.

  22. Sorry, but those are ugly. Other than walking I wouldn’t wear them anywhere.

    1. Isn’t it funny? They’re ugly in a cute way. I kept thinking..if only my feet were smaller, they would be adorable.

    2. Isn’t it funny? They’re ugly in a cute way. I kept thinking..if only my feet were smaller, they would be adorable.

  23. Jennifer, if you want cute, oh so comfy and waterproof slip ins, check out Oka-B. They’re the only show that I could tolerate walking around Florida theme parks and when it poured down rain I was good to go!

    1. Thanks, Tracey! I haven’t heard of them and will check them out!

  24. Karen Leggett says:

    Oh Jennifer! I just smiled and laughed reading this! My husband and I have a country place on some acreage about 3 hours from our home where we spend most every Friday through Sunday. There are ants and dirt and spiders and flying bugs and all sorts of critters to contend with but I enjoy every second! You will be glad on your choice of shoes. Closed toes shoes and shoes that protect your feet are most important! Have a great time!

    1. Oh no! Closed shoes sound like what I need! Thanks, Karen.

  25. Jan Brown says:

    Hi Jennifer,
    I wear a tried and true pair of Merrell trail shoes that I’ve had for a few years. They were a lucky find at TJMAXX. Id suggest The Walking Company store. I see on their website that they have several locations in CA. Great variety of stylish yet practical shoes for outdoors. Check out their website. Good luck to you and enjoy your camping adventure!

    1. I looove Merrell shoes! They are so comfortable. I’m a big fan of the Walking Company…they such comfortable shoes!

  26. Jennifer, look into Easy Spirit “Travel Knot Clog” or some of their other clog styles. The soles are great for walking and are good for camp like terrain Being clogs they slip on/off easily. I wear these when we road trip cause they can be kicked off when riding shot gun and slipped into for potty or snack stops. Not the most glam however, but not real clod hoppers. Have fun camping..

    1. Oh wow Lesley…you nailed it right there! Potty and snack stops are real and I need an easy shoe for that. Clogs make perfect sense plus offer support for my tricky feet. Thank you.

  27. Jennifer – I am so glad to see this post. I too am a camper and we just purchased a teardrop trailer. We enjoy the simplicity, comfort and ease of it. We both love being up off of the ground in a nice comfy bed! I have been wearing my good tennis/walking shoes (Dansko) for camping but do not want to ruin them. For warmer weather I have a pair of Teva’s but sometimes more support and protection. One reaches a certain age were clunky just no longer works. This shoe/clothing thing is and will be a challenage. Good Luck and I will be watching to see what items that you find helpful for your new adventures. Thank You Thank You for this post.

    1. Thanks for the reminder Cathy! I have several pairs of Dansko from my years in retail. I would never have thought of them, without your comment! My black pair will be perfect for comfort and support! Thank YOU!

  28. You are one adventurous, fun loving gal. I love the fact you’re so willing to try some new (old) adventures in your life. And that grandson is going to be I heaven!
    I hear ya when it comes to camping attire, it still needs to speak your name and style and yet be comfortable and practical all at the same time.
    It won’t surprise you (knowing my style) that I own and love those Chaco sandals. I use mine when I go kayaking, boating, any activity with water involved.
    I think you are wise to stick the the shoes you are most comfortable with. Have a wonderful time????

    1. Thanks, Trina! I will be bringing everyone along, sharing my style journey. It should be fun. xx

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