Below are some of the main features you should find in any good pair of water shoes.
The materials often used in water shoes are mesh, leather, rubber, textile, and other skin-friendly materials. The upper part should be made of mesh to make taking off your wet shoes easier. It’s breathable and causes water to seep out of them, thus preventing an environment that encourages bacteria, yeast, and fungus to flourish.
Mesh also helps your feet get dry fast, which takes us to a feature that you should try to find in water shoes: quick dry. This makes a difference in comfort and durability, but note that water shoes will not really keep your feet dry in water. Instead, they won’t keep them wet for long.
Tip: If you’re, however, looking for something to keep your feet dry, opt for a sealed rubber boot.
Furthermore, insulation maintains your feet’s warm temperature in cold water, which also betters your performance, and rubber soles are designed to provide optimal cushioning and a solid grip.
Slip-ons might make practical water shoes, but they don’t cover or support your ankle the way regular lace-up shoes would, which is a drawback, especially if you’re going to wear them for extended periods.
Furthermore, mesh is useful for support as it hugs your feet in a snug fit but still doesn’t suffocate them, and that snug fit ensures that your feet don’t wiggle in your shoes or, even worse, fall off entirely. Last but not least, to counter slippery surfaces, water shoes use tread and rubber outsoles, which in turn elevate your traction, and lessen your chances of slipping.
Good traction is probably what distinguishes high-quality water shoes from low-quality ones. It increases the friction between your shoes and the slippery surface you’re treading on, which, in turn, allows you to walk along riverbanks, lake banks, and beaches, in addition to swimming with no fear of slipping.
If your legs are sorer from moving your shoes in water than they’re from leg day, that might just be a red-flag. Your water shoes have to be light, and feature sipped outsoles to move water aside as you tread on the ground, thus handling the extra weight of water and enhancing their traction.
Well ventilated fabrics and several drainage points and perforations drain water from the shoes so that they aren’t too heavy to lift.
You’re, after all, wearing water shoes with built-in toe shields to protect your feet against rocks, shells, and other objects that could injure you at sea. This is why you need ones with full coverage and thick soles.
Water shoes are an absolute blessing when you’re wearing them in a situation that requires them. Making sure you have the best pair for you and your feet is paramount. Hopefully our guide has helped you make your choice!
If you’re interested in choosing more footwear for the water, check out our guide to choosing freediving fins: