Water shoes can be great for keeping your feet protected during various water sports are a few different designs, certain ones may be better suited for some activities than others.
Water shoes are designed with soles that can grip to wet or slippery surfaces. This means you can wear them in the water, without worrying about damaging them. And they will offer you an extra level of protection against slipping on rocks or the deck of your yak as you enter or exit your vessel.
They can be ideal for a range of activities, including kayaking, fishing, swimming or hydrotherapy training sessions, as they can allow you to gain better traction on wet surfaces.
The fabric on water shoes is designed to be quick to dry, meaning even when you exit the water, your feet should feel comfortable. The quick drying fabric can also minimize the risk of mold or other bacteria growing on the shoes.
Before you choose a water shoe, it can be a good idea to ask yourself what type of activities you plan to do while wearing them. Are you just needing a waterproof shoe for recreational paddling or do you need a more specialized shoe for hiking or diving?
Types Of Water Shoes
- These can be ideal for general kayaking, letting you hop in and out of your yak and wade through the water. They can be either closed or open toe but have an open shoe design like a sandal.
- They can be great during the summer or in warm climates and can usually double as a beach or pool sandal.
- These are more like regular shoes in appearance and can be ideal for when you have to cover more rugged terrain in between paddling.
- Some water shoes are designed more like hiking shoes and so will have the extra support for walking over long distances. These can be ideal for a range of weather conditions and can offer you more protection for your feet to prevent injuries.
- Booties are worn more like a sock and can have varying degrees of durability and foot protection. They tend to be made of neoprene material, like a wetsuit, and can be ideal for paddling in colder conditions.
- They may not be as suitable for hiking in between paddling sessions as they tend to be designed more for in the water use.
Pros And Cons Of Wearing Water Shoes
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Features To Look Out For
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The features that you might find useful on your water shoes will likely depend on the activities that you plan to do. But we’ll look at some of the features that you might want to consider.
For any type of shoe, comfort is important. With a water shoe, you may find you have different comfort requirements. Even though you’ll be paddling, and may mostly be seated, you should still look for a shoe that is comfortable on your feet.
Your shoes should be the correct fit for your feet and they shouldn’t slip off or rub on any part of your foot. If they rub or slip at the beginning, the problem is only likely to get worse and could lead to blisters or cuts.
Durability will be important if you plan to use your water shoes on land as well as in water. This usually means you will be wearing them for longer periods of time.
Many water shoes are made with durable rubber soles, which can give you the grip you need and should also stand up to walking over stones or sand while you make your way from A to B.
Most water shoes will be built for durability with materials that can survive being submerged in water time and time again.
In order to maximize the life of your water shoes, it can be a good idea to rinse them after each use, particularly if you’ve been in saltwater. Allow them to dry each time before you pack them away.
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While most water shoes won’t be waterproof in the sense that your feet will stay dry, some of the materials used will be waterproof.For example, some leathers can be coated in a waterproof layer which can protect the leather from water damage.
Water shoes will be safe to wear in the water, with the materials used being designed for that use. Some fabrics, such as neoprene will provide a waterproof layer but may still let water in the shoe, like a wetsuit.
Many water shoes will be made from breathable fabric. This can help the shoes dry and also help to keep your feet ventilated. Breathable fabric can be ideal for wearing in warm weather, where you don’t want your feet to overheat but you still need the protection of a shoe for safety.
You’ll find many water shoes are made using mesh fabric. This can be a good option, as it can also help the water (as well as air) to flow through, limiting the amount of water staying inside your shoe.
Having your water shoes fit securely on your feet is important, especially if you plan to paddle in whitewater or want to jump on and off of your yak. The last thing you want to do is worry about losing your shoes, particularly if they risk being swept downriver.
If you plan to swim while wearing the shoes, it’s also a good idea to make sure your shoes are securely on your feet, for the same reason.
If you plan to do more than just kayak, you may find you want a shoe that will suit various activities. For example, if you plan to camp and hike, you might want to look for a shoe that will double as a water shoe and a hiking shoe.
For this you should look for one with a sturdy, thick sole that’s designed for hiking. Walking for long distances in a thin soled shoe without the correct support for your foot could lead to injuries and long term health problems.
A closed toe shoe may be better suited for hiking on longer trips, as this can help to give you the protection you might need for your toes on uneven terrain.
The style of shoe you choose for a sit-inside kayak will likely be different from one you might wear for a sit-on-top. Depending on the size of the cockpit, you may want a shoe that will be slender enough for your feet to fit comfortably on the footrests. Or a pair that work well with a pedal kayak (if that’s your preferred style).
A more slender shoe may also be helpful in the event that you flip your kayak and have to swim.
If you are paddling in cold conditions you might be better with a neoprene water bootie, as this can help to insulate your feet against the cold water.