Arizona sheriff defends 'sandal shaming' woman who wore inadequate footwear for 10-mile hike

Arizona sheriff's department posts a warning about hikers with inadequate footwear. (Photo: Facebook)
Arizona sheriff's department posts a warning about hikers with inadequate footwear. (Photo: Facebook)

A sheriff’s office in Arizona is being called out for “sandal shaming” after calling attention to a hiker who was unprepared for a 10-mile hike.

Undersheriff Michael L. Johnson of the Gila County Sheriff’s Department tells Yahoo Lifestyle that Sunday’s rescue mission is far from the first that’s taken place on the popular Arizona hiking trail Fossil Creek. But, he and other deputies hope that it’s one of the last after posting a warning to the department’s Facebook page with a photo of the inadequate footwear worn by one of the eight rescued that evening.

According to Johnson, the group, who ranged in ages from 10 to 36 years old, had already gone the five miles down the trail to the canyon where they stayed by the water for the day. When they decided that it was time to climb back up at around 4 p.m., however, they had to call for help.

“We arrived about 5:00 at the trail head and were able to get down to the bottom by 6:00. And then, once we got them some electrolytes and got them rehydrated, the rescue was just working our way out with them slowly,” Johnson explains of the nearly 5-hour mission. “I think they hit the top of the mountain about 9:45 that night.”

The sheriff went on to say that there are multiple informational signs at the top of the trail telling hikers about the suggested amount of water to have with them and warning to “wear sturdy hiking shoes.” Nonetheless, one of the hikers was wearing a pair of sandals that made it nearly impossible for her to make it back up the trail.

“The bottom part is the original sandal, but the top part, one of our search and rescue guys kind of fashioned the straps to keep the soles on the person’s feet,” Johnson says. “He just used some medical bandage and stuff that he had with him to come up with that part of it.”

People commented on the sheriff’s office’s Facebook post suggesting that the hikers lacked common sense, and even urged the officers to make the group pay for their own rescue.

“No common sense anymore... they need to pay for the rescue!” one person wrote. Another said, “These people are why shampoo bottles have instructions on them.”

And although Johnson says that the department has even been called out for “sandal shaming” the woman whose feet are pictured, he assures that the sheriff’s office’s priority is keeping people safe.

“We try not to embarrass people or anything like that,” he says. “We just want to get the information out there for people to take it seriously.”

Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:

Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for nonstop inspiration delivered fresh to your feed, every day.