EXTRA,  GEAR,  March 2023,  Product Reviews

Review: Water shoes

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Lightweight, insulated or easy to slip on pre- or post-swim: Omie Dale has your guide to water shoes for swimmers. 

Vivobarefoot Ultra III Bloom | £100 *BEST FOR SWIM HIKES*

They say: Foot shaped (not shoe shaped), to let your feet do their natural thing. The Ultra III carries you across land and through water with grip, flexibility and full barefoot feeling. The open- honeycomb design is made with BLOOM® foam, which removes harmful algae blooms from waterways to reverse the damage of water pollution.

We say: A hefty price tag, but Vivobarefoot’s expert design justifies it. Designed to fit the shape of your foot, and built to be thin and flexible, the shoe works to promote the foot’s natural strength and movement. Not only is it super comfortable, but durable enough to wear on both land and water for a long time. Definitely a winner for me.

Subea Elasticated Aquashoes 120 | £15.99

They say: Our Subea design team have developed the Aquashoes 120, comfortable and easy to put on aquatic shoes to protect you on the sand. The Aquashoes 120 will make your snorkelling trips easier! They are easy to slip on and prevent sand from entering. The studded soles will also prevent you from slipping.

We say: The funky design on these aquashoes is great. The studded soles are a lovely touch and I felt really secure wearing them, even when walking on slippery ground. The ease in which they come on and off is a great benefit when trying to get changed in a post- cold swim hurry.

Nabaiji Aquabiking-Aquafit Water Shoes Fitshoe | £17.99

They say: Our design team developed these shoes for regular Aquafit or Aquabiking classes. Looking for a shoe that combines comfort and good fit for your weekly Aquafit sessions? The Fitshoe has integrated socks, water drainage holes and grip on the bottom.

We say: A sleek design for a reasonable price; I particularly like the drainage holes at the bottom. Due to being designed for indoor pool fitness sessions, the shoes are slightly less flexible than others on the list, being more suited to walking to and from the water and going in for short dips where grip is a priority.

Lomo Slip on Water Shoes | £7.49 *BEST FOR WILD SWIMS*

They say: These lightweight Slip-On Water Shoes are perfect for keeping you on your feet when you’re surfing, sailing, kayaking or by the pool. The shoes are made of a polyester/elastane mix with a durable rubber anti-slip sole. This makes them flexible yet durable and quick drying. They’re super lightweight and flexible with stretchy, breathable fabric making them comfortable, easy to put on and easy to wear.

We say: Even with the affordable price tag, these shoes do the trick. They are incredibly lightweight, when swimming with them I barely felt them on my feet. The rubber anti-slip sole felt as if it provided a good grip when I was walking towards my swim spot. A great option if you want an easy-to-wear pair of shoes that will take up very little space in your swim bag.

Speedo Zanpa Watershoe Black | £26

They say: Made for around the pool or on the beach, these water shoes are great for protecting your feet in wet areas. Made from soft, comfortable materials, and with handy tabs at the back to help you put them on easily.

We say: These water shoes are durable enough to protect feet from rocks and other items when swimming, while remaining lightweight and comfortable. Before putting them on, I expected them to be slightly stiff, but they were flexible enough to allow me to swim efficiently in the water.

Orca Hydro Booties | £39

They say: These booties provide maximum thermal insulation to your feet. And thanks to their fit, they stay put and will not bother you while swimming. The pattern with a separated toe improves the fit, allowing the hydro booties to stay in place, thus preventing water from entering. In addition, the soft thermal lining provides added comfort and prevents chafing on the skin.

We say: Orca’s ingenious split-toe design allows for minimum water ingress when swimming, and its thermal insulation provides warmth in even the coldest of water. This is a product more suited to those who want to swim distances with minimum disruption, rather than needing a hardy shoe.

This article is from the March 2023 issue of Outdoor Swimmer. Click here to subscribe to the magazine. Read more Outdoor Swimmer gear reviews.

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Outdoor Swimmer is the magazine for outdoor swimmers by outdoor swimmers. We write about fabulous wild swimming locations, amazing swim challenges, swim training advice and swimming gear reviews.