Fold-in-Half, Zip-up Backpacking Shoe


Style points and packability are hallmarks of the Radler Trail Camp, a unique outdoors shoe new this summer from Timberland. Made for campers and backpackers, the main “wow” function of the shoe — what makes it truly interesting — is a zipper that rings the entire upper, allowing you to fold the shoe in half and zip it onto itself to create a “shoe pod” portable enough to fit in a jacket pocket.

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Timberland Radler Trail Camp folds in half, zips into ‘pod’ for transit

There are small bungee loops on the back of each shoe. When it is folded up, these loops can be clipped to a carabiner for attaching each Radler Trail Camp on the outside of a backpack.

Timberland touts that backpackers and hikers can “forget about packing bulky Crocs or flimsy flip-flops.” The Radler shoes serve as a substitute to those popular options, though with more traction and a better fit. A cinch-up lacing system and rubber lugs on the outsole provide a tight fit and traction, two things sandals skimp on.

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Radler Trail Camp in ‘pod’ form

As a bonus, the Timberland shoes have uppers made of rip-stop nylon with a water-repellent treatment. This lets you use the shoes in three seasons, where sandals are often summertime-only.

The Radler Trail shoes, which cost $65, are not made for walking miles and miles. Timberland designed the shoe as an “around camp” model. You wear hiking boots or trail-running shoes during the day pounding miles. The Radler shoes unzip in the evening once you’ve made it to camp, serving as footwear for cooking, firewood and water collecting, and other around-camp chores.

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Radler Trail Camps are good-looking for everyday wear

Beyond the backpacking application, the fold-up shoes seems made for travel if you’re looking to save space. I found the shoes comfortable enough to wear all day in normal life, and they are good-looking, too. I got a few comments from friends along the lines of “what are those cool shoes?” (They were even more impressed when I took one off and zipped it in half as a magic trick!)

The shoes are on under the men’s category and sold in men’s sizes. But they are being marketed as a unisex shoe, a company rep told us. The fit is a neutral shape and semi-wide, and the shoes are low to the ground with no mid-sole and an overall minimal design.

My size 12 Radler Trail Camps weigh about 8 ounces per foot, which puts them in the “lightweight” but not “ultra-light” category in my book. Take out the felt insole and weight watchers can lose a few more grams for each “foot pod” bouncing and suspended on a carabiner as you hike down the trail.

—Stephen Regenold is founder and editor of Connect with Regenold at or on Twitter via @TheGearJunkie.

Posted by Michael EcoHiker Defenbaugh - 07/28/2011 09:57 AM

Sounds like a good idea and a neat product, I agree that it’s lightweight but not ultralight; I think my V5F’s do a pretty good job already though!

Posted by Pierre Ostor - 07/28/2011 10:09 AM

Please do not use on muddy trails, or bring an old tooth brush to clean the zipper.

Posted by gnarlydog - 07/28/2011 07:16 PM

You say:
>>made for travel if you’re looking to save space<<
It’s not like that they will take up less volume; actually more since they are not folding totally flat without a bit of space between the fold.
Unless one’s luggage is incredibly short and can’t accommodate the shoe unfolded?!?
On the other hand a zipped-up shoe might contain the funk that shoes usually develop :-)

Posted by Editor - 07/28/2011 09:49 PM

They fold up pretty small. In a crammed carry-on suitcase, two of these shoes will take up the space of one normal shoe. The upper material is like cloth, and it folds down easily. You’re left with just the thin rubber sole, which hinges and zips together.

Posted by Jarod Fleming - 07/29/2011 10:54 AM

How are these for crossing streams? Do they dry pretty fast?

Posted by Editor - 07/29/2011 11:20 AM

Stream crossings? No, not in this shoe. The felt insole will sop up water. These are “around camp” shoes, not made for hard hiking.

Posted by jpea - 07/29/2011 12:22 PM

they look like a Sanuk – if they referenced those well, then it’s gonna be a comfy “after adventure” shoe :)

Posted by mc - 07/29/2011 07:16 PM

How is the fit? My initial thought is as an alternative “hike down the back instead of rappel” shoe for certain multipitch routes. Less bulk, and less to get in the way / snag things when clipped to a harness. As long as they are functional for the hike down. Even an option for the rappel, if you do not like to stay in your climbing shoes that long…

Posted by Editor - 07/29/2011 10:04 PM

“hike down the back instead of rappel” — maybe. I’d consider it if the hike wasn’t too technical or too long. The fit is good, but they are really minimal shoes (no mid-sole) and not made for gnarly terrain like talus or scree, just trails.

Posted by Steve-O - 08/01/2011 11:58 AM

here’s what I see useful—-throw this in your bike bag so if you break down you have shoes to walk in —not bike shoes

Posted by jimmythefly - 08/01/2011 03:31 PM

Do you typically wear a 12 in other shoes? I’m trying to guess at sizing on these before ordering. I’m a 12 in Montrail and Nike footwear.

Can you wear them barefoot comfortably? Thin socks or thick?


Posted by Editor - 08/01/2011 04:39 PM

They are a bit big for me; I’d order a 1/2 size smaller than normal. But don’t blame us if it’s off. . . feet/shoe sizing is very fickle. Barefoot? Yes.

Posted by Flaps - 01/30/2012 04:00 PM

Those are awesome! I saw these Flaps Folding Sandals” which are similar to those!

Posted by James - 10/16/2012 03:32 PM

Perfect for preppers who are female and wear high heels or men who wear dress shoes at the office and need something for their go bags.

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