Due to their rustic natural appearance and multipurpose uses, water shoes have become a mainstream form of footwear from the desert to the rainforest. Arriving in a large variety of styles, this category of athletic shoe contains types like sandals, sneaker styles, booties, clogs and even hybrids. All with the same basic function: to be worn in or near the water.
Types of Water Shoes
Depending on your ultimate goal, water shoes should be selected based on their intended application. The following is a list of the five basic types:
The original water shoe was essentially a sandal that would wear easily in the water. From this basic design, current outdoor manufacturers have greatly enhanced what was once known as a simple sandal. Water sandals today come in a large variety of colors and styles. Most are made from nylon and rubber, with an assortment of treads--largely dependent on your intended use. The most high tech in this classification are sandals that are sturdy enough to hike, carry a raft, and stay on your feet in rough water.
2. Water Sneakers
As more customers found themselves enjoying the mixed use of a waterproof sandal for walking and hiking in the summer, the shoe market quickly caught on to this craze. By designing a sturdy, supportive walking shoe that can also be used in the water, the demand was satisfied. Not only does the water sneaker shoe provide more stability while walking, it also better protects your foot. This is ideal for river use due to the sharp hidden rocks and underwater hazards.
The booty is almost more of a water sock than a water shoe. Often, booties are simply constructed out of pure neoprene, with the more technical versions offering a sturdy base and rough tread. Commonly used for water sports such as surfing, snorkeling and scuba diving, they are also becoming more prevalent at even the local swimming pool. Booties provide the feet with extra warmth, protection and traction--without the rigidity of an actual shoe.
For that muddy walk to get the paper in the morning or while harvesting veggies in your garden, clogs have become the staple in slip-on water shoes. Certainly an item for the less technical user, clogs are convenient to have by the back door, even if you are the type to only use them to turn on the sprinklers.
The newest versions in the shoe market are the hybrids. As the name implies, these water shoes offer a cross of the various other types described. One example is the combination water shoe and sandal. By transforming the standard water sneaker, and creating mesh breathing panels, the shoe can offer the benefits of both the water sneaker and the water sandal.
Advantages of Water Shoes
As water shoes are either waterproof or water compatible, the main advantages are inherent in their ability to deal with wetness. Not only are they great for water-related activities like boating, rafting and fishing, they also function nicely in dirty conditions. Their ability to clean easily and dry quickly has helped water shoes to find a home in muddy yards, campsites and recreational vehicles.
When shopping for a new pair of water shoes, it is best to try them on. While shopping, keep the following tips in mind:
- Pick the style of shoe based on your intended use.
- The more technical your needs are, the more expensive and higher quality shoe you will need to buy.
- For cold water conditions, find an insulated shoe style.
- Ensure that the shoe is breathable, to avoid unnecessary foot skin problems and odor.
- For water sports, make sure the shoe fits securely to your foot and all the clasps and straps function correctly.
Key brands in this category are: