Lightweight hiking shoes are great for exploring during them summer if you are the sort of hiker that tends to stay on the trail and only explore well beaten paths. But if you are anything like me, you constantly find yourself of the trail and exploring creeks, rivers, boulder fields, all sorts of over things you won’t find on the trail. Lightweight hiking shoes can certainly handle these terrains, but a good pair of water shoes can handle them even better. If you think I am talking about those neon water sock things for the early nineties, you must think I’m crazy. I couldn’t walk a quarter of a mile in these things, let alone go hiking in them! Not to mention I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing them! No, I am talking about a pair of more up to date water shoes that are a cross between hiking shoes and sandals. If you haven’t heard of, or seen these before, you might be a little upset that you were out of the loop.
Today’s water shoes are nothing like those water socks of the past. They are a creative blend of hiking shoes, sandals, and a hybrid of the two. While these water shoes come in a variety of styles, the majority of them are more hiking shoes and less sandal. These sort of water shoes are great for when you do just as much on the trail as you do in the water. So if you know you will be hiking down stream for a few miles or will have a lot of rivers to cross on a long hike, these type of water shoes are perfect. There are also water shoes that are more sandal like. These sort of water shoes still cover your whole foot and have a shoes like sole, but they tend to have a lot more mesh and not as much support as the ones mentioned above. Be sure to choose your water shoe based on your type of activities.
If you are familiar with all of the hybrid sandals shoes such as Keens and other hybrid sandals such as that, you might be wondering what the difference is. To the untrained eye, these shoes might seem similar, but they actually have a lot of differences. One difference is that water shoes to completely enclose your foot in the shoe. Some Keen type sandals are close to this, but tent to have large sections of the sandal that don’t have mesh or anything else covering them. Another huge difference is that water shoes have a outter sole that is more like a trail hiking shoe. This sole is much thicker and softer than those found on sandals. This gives you better traction on a variety of wet and dry surfaces, as well as making longer hikes more comfortable. Lastly, many water shoes have a lot more support and protection than sandal type shoes, making them safer tow ear on longer and more technical hikes.
What do you think about these water shoes? Have you had a chance to wear any of these for extended hikes that covered a variety of terrain? If so, how did the perform? If you currently wear Keens or a similar type of sandal, do you think you will switch over to a pair of water shoes or are you die hard Keen?