Yes, we know. Crocs sometimes get derided as the red-headed stepchild across many shoe categories because a lot of critics don't like their style. However, Crocs makes great sandals and shoes in categories for work, typical clogs, and water shoes. Regardless of their unique styling, critics can't deny that they are stalwart, solid contenders in many different shoe categories. Water shoes is one of the categories in which they shine, and the Crocs Swiftwater Expedition Sandal we review here is no exception.
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The Crocs Swiftwater Expedition Sandal is a tough cookie. Extremely lightweight, yet a solid structured upper allows these sandals to remain firmly in place, protect your feet, and dry quickly in comparison to some of the other water shoes we tested.
An incredibly solid water sandal, the Expedition is one of the best on our list for standard water-based activities. Sure, we don't suggest taking a ten mile hike in these bad boys. However, for more standard uses, such as walking about in the water, exploration of rockier, slipperier beaches and river banks, and even relaxing on a canoe, boat, or kayak, it's difficult to go wrong with this choice.
These water shoes have plenty of features, as well. This came despite the fact they are one of the more minimalist sandals we tested. These features include hook and loop closures, Croslite foam padding and cushioning, and much more.
Initial Thoughts on Unboxing
When we took the Crocs Swiftwater Expedition Sandals out of the box, the first thing we thought was, "Hey, where's the iconic Crocs rounded toe." They come without the snub-toe design that people associate with the Crocs brand. Instead they have an open forefoot and toe, giving them a feel closer to traditional sandals. However, Crocs Croslite foam footbed for comfort and herringbone channeled outsole for traction in water ensure these perform up to the standard you expect from Crocs water shoes.
Overall, for weight to material, Crocs managed to make these some of the lightest shoes we tested. The foam soles feel lightweight to us, and the attachment points between the straps of the upper and the foam sole concern us. We did not have problems with them, but wonder if those might come lose given rougher use over time.
Putting Them Through Their Paces
We spent plenty of time testing the Crocs Expeditions in the elements at Little Talbot State Park. Our tests included the following.
- An ocean test: sugar sand, waves, and hard packed sand.
- Next, a river test: rocky creek beds, sandy shorelines, and flowing water.
- Finally, a hiking test: over pine needles, sand, puddles, and standard trail surfaces.
Here's how they fared.
The Ocean Test
The shoes performed very well in the ocean testing, ending up in the middle of the pack overall. When walking through the thick sugar sand, however, the open sandal design of the Crocs Swiftwater Expedition caused a lot of sand to get into our shoes and under our feet.
The River Test
For the river test, these shoes performed extremely well, in the higher end of the pack. This surprised us as sandals with Velcro straps instead of laces generally did not fare as well in the more strenuous walking and hiking of the river test. But, they stayed on great, and maneuvered through the slippery rocks with zero issues.
The Hiking Test
The hiking experience in these sandals left us wanting a bit more. The outsole, as anticipated, is not the toughest that we tested by any means. This lead to some punctures and scratching, and again the open sandal design left our feet exposed. One advantage the Expedition does have over other sandals is the hard plastic on the upper that protects the outside of the forefoot. This is where most scratches occur while hiking, so they deal with underbrush better than typical sandals. However, they are still sandals, so won't offer the protection of a full athletic or hiking shoe.
Advantages and Disadvantages
While the performance of the Crocs Swiftwater Expedition exceeded expectations with its Croslite foam soles, hook and loop Velcro straps, fully molded Matlite uppers, and more, it still has both advantages and disadvantages.
Below we outline the pros and cons we found during our testing, and from reading reviews of others who used these sandals in various conditions.
Advantages of the Crocs Swiftwater Expedition Sandal
- The open sandal design looks more stylish than the typical croc bumper toe design. It also provides ventilation for your feet and makes these ideal for hot and humid climates. This sets them apart from water shoes with full uppers that can get uncomfortably hot when out of the water.
- Crocs has a cult following for a reason. Hard-wearing, tough, and practical, these sandals won't disappoint the diehard Crocs fans. Apart from options from KEEN and Merrell that we tested, these performed best overall for hiking related adventures.
- Their thick foam cushioning and light weight make these some of the most comfortable water shoes we've tested during our review process.
- Compared to alternative shoes from Crocs, these came in at the lower end of the price range.
Disadvantages of the Crocs Swiftwater Expedition Sandal
- The Velcro closures stood out as one of the biggest pain points with these shoes. While they helped keep the shoes snug, expect to get sand caught in them immediately if you use these at the beach.
- While the open sandal design keeps your feet cool, it also lets in debris and sand. You'll need to stop and rinse them out frequently if you're in a sandy area or an area with lots of small rocks and pebbles.
- Despite not having the usual Crocs bumper toe, style still suffers compared to a lot of options we tested. Unless you love the style of Crocs, in which case, these won't disappoint!
Our Final Thoughts on the Crocs Swiftwater Expedition Sandal
Yes, Crocs don't prioritize style, they prioritize function and comfort. That's true of the Crocs Swiftwater Expedition sandal as well. These sandals are rock solid for what they do. Midrange in price among the water shoes we tested, but less expensive than many other Crocs brand shoes. Containing plenty of nice features, these solid water shoes will keep your feet cool and comfortable in the summer during your trips to the pool or beach.
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