Are you looking to hike the narrows and finding it hard to pick a good pair of hiking shoes for narrows? If yes, then this article is all about that. Keep reading.
Types of shoes suitable for hiking narrows
If you are hiking narrows then there are some things that you should consider before taking any shoes with you on a hike.
Good traction control
If you want to be on the safe side then wear shoes with good traction control as the surface is going to be slippery under the water. On top of that, water pressure will also make you lose balance, and your feet may smash into rocks underwater.
Closed-toe design really helps in the prevention of your toes from smashing any stone or rock underwater. If you have narrow feet then you are likely to wear closed-toe shoes. If you have wide feet then make sure the fitting is perfect, don’t go for loose shoes. If you have high arches then check the best hiking shoes for you – Best hiking boots for high arches
Excellent ankle support
Ankle support is a very important feature that your hiking shoes should have while hiking the narrows, as it is an uneven surface underwater, and the chances of getting your ankle roll increase. If the water level is above then average you should go with hiking boots with mid-ankle or high ankle support.
On the other hand, if you are hiking in decent water then you can also go with other options.
Avoid sandals or flip flops
Though you may see some hikers in narrows wearing flip flops and sandals, still you should avoid them as they don’t provide you any support at all. On the other hand, if you are used to flip-flops and hiked in flops earlier then you may try.
If you want to wear flip-flops on your narrow hike, then it should be in summer, as the water gets very cold in winters or in fall.
If you want to know the best sandal for hiking narrows then keep reading, I will cover this below in the best hiking shoes for narrows.
How to choose hiking boots for narrows
As we already have discussed the type of shoes you need for hiking the Zion Narrows. However, this is not suitable for every hike, which means if you are hiking narrows from top to bottom then, then you will need specific hiking shoes depending on the weather and water flow.
If you choose to hike the narrows from top to bottom, then that means you are a serious hiker, as it is difficult to conquer the narrows through this route. On top of that, you also need a permit for this route.
However, if you are hiking the narrows from bottom to top, then you fall in most visitors’ categories. You don’t need any permit for this and the hike is also easy in contrast to the former one.
The bottom-up hike to narrows is a 10-mile round trip. However, one can also reduce the hike to a 6mile round trip which includes Wall Street. Moreover, a 2-mile hike is also worth visiting if you have less time, this is going to be a Riverside Walk.
Best shoes for Hiking the Narrows
For a comfortable journey, most of the hikers including myself suggest wearing water boots with neoprene socks. You can rent these shoes, socks, or you can use your own if you have one. These boots will give your feet the comfort and traction required in narrows. Renting shoes, socks, and sticks can cost you around $25.
However, there are no shoes that are completely waterproof, you may feel water after a minute or two in water even if you are wearing water boots. Plus point of water boots is that they dry off quickly in contrast to regular shoes which take a whole day to get dry.
Pros of water boots
- Excellent performance in water
- Excellent traction control
- Dry quickly
- Toe protection
- Can be used out of water
Cons of water boots
- Expensive (average price $100)
- Not used for hiking purposes
If you want to wear water boots on your narrow hike, which you should, then the best is to rent them instead of spending your money on them. Water boots will not be of any use after your hike and can only be used in water.
If you want to buy then here are some options to buy water shoes :
Amphibian boots are another alternative to water boots for hiking in narrows. Amphibian boots are quick, light, and mainly used by divers.
However, you can also use them in hiking as they are light and help you move faster in water. On top of that, they also dry quickly then hiking boots.
You can consider these boots as an option, however, we don’t recommend you to buy these boots especially for hiking in narrows as they are expensive. A good amphibian boot like lolo can cost you around $350.
However, you can always find the cheaper and best options on Amazon and Walmart like these ones :
- Amphibian boots – Wolverine Men’s W02363 Amphibian Work Boot
These lightweight shoes are one of the best hiking shoes for zion narrows, as they have excellent traction control and provide a secure fit.
You can buy these hiking shoes as they can be used for other steep hikes also.
The comfort of these shoes is good even when you are in the water. These hiking shoes will cost you around $130, which we think is a good investment.
The company also launched the newer version which provides comfort and excellent traction for steep hikes. Not only for steep hikes but also for hikes where you have to step in a water full of wet rocks like narrows.
As these boots are non-waterproof and light, they dry more quickly than heavy waterproof shoes.
You will feel the water in these shoes as but that is true for all shoes.
You can buy these shoes from
Merrell chop rock
This is one of the best water hiking shoes for any hiker who is planning to hike the narrows. They have all that a narrows demand, from lightweight to great traction control and Breathability, these shoes are all-rounder for such a hike.
These shoes come in different colors, you have 8 options to choose from.
As they only weigh 380 g, making them extremely lightweight and best for short day hikes.
We don’t recommend these shoes if you are a heavy backpackers Or love to do long treks.
On the other hand, if you are one who loves a smooth experience on Rocky terrain and want shoes that expel water from underfoot, then these shoes should be your bet.
As discussed above, if you are hiking in narrows, you need shoes with great traction control (grip). And these shoes offer you that, thanks to their Vibram outsole.
With the EVA midsole and water-ready cushions, these shoes offer you a ground balance that one needs when hiking in narrows on slippery rocks underwater.
These shoes come in both men’s and women’s versions. The weight of the shoes will reduce in the women’s version (it’s around 256g). As they are low cut, which makes them easy to wear.
You can buy these from
People also ask – Can a woman wear men’s hiking boots?
Merrell all out sieve blaze
Of all the shoes recommended in this list, Merrell’s all-out sieve blaze is our priority pick for zion narrows. The sturdy build along with comfort and lightweight is what makes these shoes a priority for most hikers while hiking outdoors and in water.
The thing that makes these shoes a great choice for hiking narrows is their stiff and grippy sole.
Though it looks like a sandal but provides feet protection at the same time. You can definitely put your bet on these if you are hiking in the water. However, we don’t recommend it for heavy backpacking or wet and muddy hike as they are too light for that.
Another plus of these sandal-like shoes is they dry quickly, thanks to the leather and neoprene upper. It had a durable Vibram sole which provides you grip in the water and saves your feet from smashing into any rock.
The closed-toe design of these shoes also makes them compatible with a narrow hike. On top of that, it has unify midsole which provides comfort and absorbs the shock well at the same time.
Though the shoes are closed-toe, still you get a lot of ventilation that keeps your feet dry and helps shoes to dry quickly.
These are normal low-cut water hiking shoes that will cost you around $85 on Amazon. If choose to buy these, then you can also use them for more day hikes as well in summers.
These shoes also make an excellent extra pair for long hikes where you might have to step into the water.
You can buy these from
Well, these look like more gym and sports shoes, but in actuality, these shoes are one the best hiking shoes for hiking narrows.
Just like the other shoes listed above, these shoes provide excellent comfort and stability.
Besides the fact that these shoes will not let you down on your hike to narrows, you can also use them for hiking on wet terrain. Moreover, you can also use them for day hikes on summer days.
The plus of these shoes is great traction control with a drainable design, which works best in wet environments.
These shoes are very lightweight, thanks to their Cordura knit upper which keeps the shoes light and abrasion-resistant.
Moreover, it has a 4 mm heel-to-foot offset which provides extra comfort to your heels, even in water.
To make the grip strong, wave grip technology is used, and the outsole is made of Vibram Rivercomber. This helps in keeping the water away from under the shoes and provides a strong grip.
These shoes are also great for you if you have arch problems with your old shoes. The shoes have a removable Ortholite footbed which provides comfort, and arch support.
On top of that, it also provides great ventilation, as the footbed is made of open-cell polyurethane, which keeps the foot dry.
The only problem with shoes is that they have a tight toe box, which is actually good for narrows or if you have narrow feet. However, if you have wide toes then these shoes may run tight.
Lastly, we recommend Danner Rivercomber if you are hiking narrows and don’t want to rent out the water shoes. These shoes will cost you around $ 140.
You can buy these shoes from here:
Can use normal shoes for narrows?
Yes, you can use your gym shoes or running shoes for hiking narrows if the water level is not too high. Moreover, you will need a wooden stick or trekking pole to get the right balance in the water over stones.
The only thing with normal shoes or gym shoes is that they don’t provide you enough traction or grip over a slippery surface. So, if you are a fit and healthy person then you will not face any problem unless you lose your balance (so carry sticks).
If you don’t have any specific or branded hiking shoes then you can simply hike in your gym shoes, but make sure that they are not torn.
As most of the normal and gym shoes have great ventilation and they dry quickly. For your feet’ comfort or so that water doesn’t hold in your socks, wear neoprene socks.
Essential gear for hiking narrows
Trekking poles – Trekking poles are a must for hiking in narrows, as it is easy to lose your balance in the middle if you mistakenly step on a slippery rock. If you have a good hiking pole then bring your own, if not then rent it at the narrows.
Clothes that dry quickly – It is important that you are wearing clothes that dry quickly. In short, avoid clothes made of cotton or natural fabric and instead go with synthetic or blends. Usually, visitors prefer to wear shorts and t-shirts in summer and for winters add a layer of the jacket.