It is one of those footwear axioms that choosing the correct shoe for the correct terrain is the best way to guard against a great deal of discomfort. It’s just a fact of biology that your feet will always be the part of your body bearing all your weight and pressing into whatever is to be found underfoot. But sometimes the terrain doesn’t always immediately suggest the correct type of shoe. Let us take an example.
Consider hiking boots. You might think it’s obvious what you need for your hike by simply considering the underfoot terrain. However, say you are going on a long hike over many miles and on fairly stony and tough ground. Should you just go with the toughest full-grain leather hiking boots? Maximum protection, right? Well, while that may be the case, what about the distance you’re going? Do you really want to be lugging such cumbersome shoes across miles and miles? Something similar applies to choosing the perfect water shoe – or beach shoe – for a trip to the beach, the lakeside, or the riverbank.
Keeping in mind that much depends on the specifics of your trip, let’s delve into the top advice for choosing the perfect pair of water shoes.
What Makes a Good Water Shoe?
Shoe care experts ShoeFresh, a company specializing in foot odor sprays, say that not all aquatic or coastal terrain is the same, and so you should always defer to the specifics of the place where you are going over and above any actual hard and fast rules regarding what water shoes are the best. For example, you could find yourself on a fine sandy beach, in which case you might not need any kind of water shoe at all. Similarly, you could be paddling in the sea over sharp pebbles and stones, in which case you will want some protection.
Nevertheless, unlike some other kinds of footwear, there are a few set things that all good water shoes have in common:
Naturally, a good water shoe will be one that drains water quickly and does not retain it for long after you are back on dry land. A water shoe with good drainage will naturally have good breathability too, so this is also something to look out for.
Walking around wet areas can see you carefully making your way over some very slippery surfaces. Accordingly, you’ll want a water shoe with good traction. Having a water shoe with good traction can also be useful for hiking, as you may find yourself making your way across streams or over slippery rocks in the rain.
As mentioned above, aquatic environments can often be pretty perilous underfoot, and you could find yourself contending with sharp rocks or stones. Adding to the problem is that these might be obscured beneath the water’s surface. Accordingly, your water shoe will need to be tough as well as offering good drainage. This is an important balance to get right.
Nearly all kinds of footwear will degrade pretty quickly if they are regularly submerged in water. But the water shoe needs to be the odd one out. If a water shoe doesn’t react well to moisture, then give it a wide berth – obviously!
Again, water shoes are the odd ones out here. This is because they need to fit snugly to your feet (like any other shoe), but they need to do so both when on dry land and when filled with water.
These are undoubtedly the most important considerations when choosing a water shoe. If you can account for all these, then all that’s left is your personal taste.