Do you enjoy exploring creeks and river beds? How about boating, shore fishing, river rafting, kayaking, hiking through or across streams? Regular sandals, flip flops or old sneakers can sort of do the trick, but they’re not the safest footwear when walking around areas that could potentially become wet. Slippery soles are nothing to mess around with. Wet rocks in a beautiful creek are way more fun to romp around on when you can trust your footing.
Unlike a typical sneaker, water shoes are designed to be worn around water. Not only do they provide safety on slippery and wet surfaces, but they also have proper drainage and venting to keep your feet completely comfortable. Water shoes are typically made form mesh and have a tough sole. The sole is grippy and maintains traction on wet rocks and slippery surface. Many soles of water shoes also have incorporated a shock absorption material, like Vibram® soles, which allows the shoe to traverse from riverbed to trail head quite seamlessly.
One thing is for certain. Once you pick up a pair of you own water shoes, you’ll wonder why you never owned a pair before! Numerous brands make water shoes these days thanks for their extreme popularity. With different silhouettes, water shoes each have a different intended use. Read on to learn more about water shoe features that fit your needs, then shop around The House’s well picked selection of Men’s Water Shoes! ( Check out our selection Women’s Water Shoes)
What to Look For in a Water Shoe
- Drainage and Ventilation – If you’ll be sipping champagne on a sailboat with the occasional splash on your feet, drainage won’t be appreciated as much as if you are wading in knee high water to dock the boat. Poor drainage results in squishy shoes and the potential for blisters. Proper water shoes should have multiple drainage points around the perimeter of a shoe. A nearly open shoe with multiple nylon straps also results in natural ventilation. A water shoe that looks more like a sneaker should have several mesh and or neoprene panels for proper ventilation.
- Sturdy Soles – Thicker soles set the versatile water shoes apart from the occasional beach walker. Even if you won’t be exploring river beds with your water shoes, sturdy soles are likely to last longer and will serve you well should you do some extended walking. Lugs are a nice feature in water shoes, especially if your favorite swimming hole is a mile hike into the woods. Lugs are grooves or thick indentations, often patterned, on the bottom of a shoe to improve stability and traction.
- Lightweight – If you’re solely looking for a water shoe for rafting or kayaking, a thick sole suitable for hiking might not be necessary. Lightweight water shoes that look more like an “aqua sock” will be perfect. You certainly don’t want your feet to be weighed down as you’re paddling through rapids. They also stay on extremely well should you go for an unexpected swim!
- Neoprene Heel Reinforcement – Wet shoes, whether a water specific shoe or a plain old sneaker, naturally have the potential to rub on your heel. A tight fitting, adjustable nylon strap will stay in place, but water shoes that aren’t adjustable should have a neoprene panel on the heel to prevent blisters and hot spots.
- Antimicrobial – Although not necessary, water shoes with antimicrobial properties is an extremely nice feature. Wet shoes in a humid climate are a breeding ground for fungus and bacteria. Antimicrobial technology will likely have an up charge, but it also helps extend the life of a water shoe.
Please let us know if our article isn’t complete and we’ll update the “Best Water Shoes for Men” list as needed.