Specs

Weight 4.8 - 7.7 oz per pair, depending on size

Reviews

A minimalist stream crossing and camp shoe that also…

Rating: rated 3.5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $57

Summary

A minimalist stream crossing and camp shoe that also works well for sea kayaking. Excellent traction but thin soles don’t give much protection against sharp rocks. Neoprene offers some warmth but can also get moist or clammy.

Pros

  • Lightweight and compact
  • 2 mm Neoprene outers for some warmth
  • Thin, sticky rubber sole offer some grip and feel on wet rocks

Cons

  • Not much protection
  • Can be sweaty or clammy when used as a camp shoe

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I came across the Sockwa G4 about three years ago in a search for a lightweight shoe for crossing creeks and hanging out at camp on longer hikes where grams matter. I have crossed cold water creeks up to about knee deep and quiet water estuaries up to about crotch deep using these shoes. I have also used them for sea kayaking—sandals or heavy-soled neoprene shoes on my big feet don’t fit in my boat.

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They weigh in at 232 grams (8.2 oz) for a Men’s 13 pair and roll up or pack flat, so they don’t take up a lot a space.
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The uppers are 2mm neoprene all around except a strip of more breathable lycra over the middle of the foot. The molded, sticky rubber outsole is glued on. They are well-made with flat stitching all around. 

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The soles have pulled away slightly at the toe but this has not spread. There are a few small abrasion holes on the toes after three-plus years of episodic use.

They run small so I ordered up from my usual 11.5 as recommended. They are a snug fit and come up just over the ankle to help keep sand out during a crossing, although some sand may still get in.  
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The soles are thin and tough and meant to provide a barefoot feel, but sharp rocks underfoot can get a little uncomfortable. Traction is excellent.

If worn dry around camp the 2 mm neoprene uppers offer a little warmth but can be sweaty in warm conditions or clammy in cooler conditions. They are sometimes more comfortable with socks.

They are machine washable so I haven’t had any smell buildup. The asking price seems rather steep for such a simple shoe, but I think they live up to the price in quality and durability.

Sockwa also makes a breathable version that might be more comfortable in warm conditions, and a high-top version with a Velcro closure around the ankle that might keep more sand out.

These shoes are a good choice for hikers that need a lightweight shoe for stream crossings or something to slip into around camp, and also work well as a minimalist kayaking shoe.

Experience

Used in a dozen or so stream crossings on backpacking trips in the Wind River Range and Iceland, as camp shoes on those and other multiday trips, and a few kayaking day trips.

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