Backpacking through a rain-soaked trail or running on a beach during high tide requires a sturdy pair of extremely breathable and quick-drying water shoes.
Usually, a water shoe’s main task is to keep the wearer’s feet dry, but they also come in handy if you face a sharp-rocked floor or zebra mussels. Although they are made of mesh, they have a hard sole to prevent cuts and abrasions.
Here are the best water shoes for fording streams, sloshing through wetlands, exploring the shore and more.
KEEN Clearwater CNX – $100
The Clearwater CNX are part of the new CNX line of lightweight footwear developed by the established brand Keen. The CNX line is Keen’s latest stab at providing classic Keen quality while dropping the weight under 10 ounces per shoe. This water shoe sports a webbing upper and “bungee lace” allowing a tailored fit.
Multi-directional “flex grooves” on the low-profile sole supposedly boost the natural flexibility of the foot and bolster ground contact.
Additionally, “razor siping” supplies advanced traction on slick surfaces, and the contoured arch stabilizes the foot. Keen focused on making the shoe comfortable and ergonomic. The contoured foot bed goes a long way to keeping your feet comfortable when you are hiking and keeps your toes from chafing.
Cudas Men’s Flatwater – $20
Whether you’re forging a river or jogging on a beach, the Cudas Men’s Flatwater Water Shoe is designed to shield you from the threat of sharp rock and jagged glass. Its feather-weight design revolves around a supple neoprene-and-mesh upper that dries extremely quick.
The shoes are armed with toe and heel bumpers for added safety, and the rubber sole generates “non-marking traction” and superb grip on slick or wet surfaces.
The non-slip, all-purpose water shoes with “breathable waterflow mesh” key into the Cudas ethos. For almost two decades, the company has been producing shoes meant to celebrate everyday life and laid-back, comfortable living.
Like the Cudas Men’s Flatwater water shoe, the Surfwalker Pro All slip-on from Speedo has a clean, simplistic look. Surfwalker Pros are just right for sea and shore – the model boasts a supple knit upper with mesh insets for quick-dry breathability and a snug fit.
The water shoes also feature as extremely stretchy, rubber outsole. They offer good grip on slippery surfaces such as boat decks and rocks, and they are airy and flexible. Speedo sums them up as, “a relaxed lifestyle footwear for the beach and beyond.”
Teva Men’s Churn – $54
The Teva Churn is a multi-sport shoe that specializes in getting wet. The model’s mesh upper is extremely breathable and quick-drying – like a water shoes’ must be. That makes it the best shoe for actually jumping into water, which also makes the shoes usable in any wet setting.
Back in camp, when you just feel like slipping into your shoes, you can enjoy the Churn’s fold-down “heel Shoc Pad.” If you only plan to bring one pair of shoes on a trip, you won’t go wrong with the Churn. Unlike the other shoes presented in this round-up, the Churn is chunky, like a running shoe.
Wolverine’s multi-sport water shoe is lightweight and high-tech. The model features built-in drainage and aggressive traction. Whether you are standing on the floor of a canoe or a dock, a pair of Creek Beds should keep you firmly planted.
The style isn’t traditional, net-like and stripped down, but the sole is solid, like a running shoe’s. Like all water shoes should, they dry lightning fast and allow runners to trudge through any wet situation while maintaing grip.