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Mens Water Shoes and Sandals Review

Updated on March 31, 2012
Water shoes for men
Water shoes for men

Men’s Water Shoes

With the summer almost upon us and the water temperature now bearable, the lure of aquatic sport becomes irresistible and kayaking, canoeing and white water rafting become the order of the day. For the beach there is no better footwear than men’s water shoes, which are capable of taking a thorough dousing and give impeccable underwater grip.

Whatever your choice of sport there is a great selection of water shoes for men to choose from with all of the major outdoor performance footwear brands offering a wide selection. There is no longer any need not to have perfect traction for the feet when the terrain gets more slippery and your toes can be kept well protected from unseen underwater hazards.

Within the men’s water shoes range you will find all shapes and styles of shoes, from trainers to sandals each with their relative merits depending on the activity you have planned and the likelihood of getting wet. All are designed for a life more aquatic and have the technology and the features to ensure that whilst total immersion is all but guaranteed, when the terrain does get dryer so will your feet.

This hub pulls together some of the best performance brands and the latest models along with a classic or two, and gives a guide to what I consider to be the best water sandals currently on the market. These water shoes will get you safely from the house, downstream, to the beach and back again in perfect comfort.

The Keen Newport hybrid shoe

Toe protection for the ultra clumsy
Toe protection for the ultra clumsy

5 of the best - Mens Water Shoes Review


In the summer heat there is nothing better than a lightweight sandal when its time for water sports action. However when it comes to toe protection there is one brand which stands head and shoulders above the rest and that is Keen sandals.

Formed from the desire to produce a sandal which protects the toes, the Keen Newport was created and the brand has not looked back since. This classic men’s water sandal broke the mould for sandal design offering all important protection for the toes with their patented toe guard. When wading, unseen hazards lurk to catch the unwary off-guard, however with the Keen Newport never again will you suffer from a stubbed toe.

The Keen Newport is a hybrid shoe and features the patented toe protection system for which the entire range is famed. The last thing you need is to have to untie wet laces and a drawstring fastening gives a quick and easy to use alternative. Underfoot a Vibram rubber razor sipped sole helps to dispel water for formula 1 style grip in the wet.

The uppers are constructed from abrasion resistant Nubuck leather and an antimicrobial guard in the soles makes sure that they won’t take on life of their own. This all round classic shoe is as popular today as it was when created and still provides the benchmark by which all other men’s water sandals are judged.

Verdict: If you love your toes, love Keen. As good in the water as on dry land

Freaky Footwear
Freaky Footwear

Vibram Five Fingers KSO

If you are looking for toe protection then don't choose Vibram Five Fingers. They are at the opposite end of the spectrum to Keen. Vibram Five Fingers show off the toes in their full 5 digit glory, and bring barefoot walking to a more aquatic environment. They are simplistic in design, and just offer a Vibram rubber coating for the feet to give outstanding grip. They help you to gain an extra purchase and bring the toes into play when traversing rocks. They are great for water board sports and they are designed to get you closer to nature. These fun shoes are so comfortable you will forget you even have them on your feet. More fun than a sandal and less painful that going barefoot there is nothing quite like Vibram Five Fingers, with the Vibram Five Fingers KSO model an excellent choice of water shoe for men.

However beware cheap alternatives – nothing can beat Vibram rubber for grip and paying full price for the Vibram quality is money exceptionally well spent. Barefoot walking offers many health advantages, great efficiency of movement, and can help to prevent common foot injuries. Perfect for freaking out your friends and keeping you on your board they are terrific water shoes.

Verdict: Pure unadulterated barefoot action. Fun footwear to freak out your friends.

Slick sandals for a life more acquatic
Slick sandals for a life more acquatic

Merrell Waterpro Ganges

When you slim down sandals and remove most of the uppers you are often left with a shoe which lacks support and feel flimsy. Not so with the Merrell Waterpro Ganges. Whilst not looking like there is much support your feet, you’ll be surprised by these water shoes. They offers incredible support for the feet thanks to the rear stability posts, and the three hook and loop closure straps keep them secure even in the most torrid of currents.

Under the feet, a razor sipped Vibram rubber outsole helps to keep the feet firmly placed and the water away from the contact surface. An injection moulded rigid shank reduces torsion and even underwater, and the shoes feel incredibly sturdy and protective. The rear strap is independent and can be removed to convert them into a slip-on and being fully vegan friendly they are terrific mens water sandals for all who love an aquatic adventure and like to keep the animals grazing in the fields. A real top performer which has cows the world over mooing their approval.

Verdict: For a life more aquatic and high versatility Merrell are the masters.

Slimline strappy sandals for summer
Slimline strappy sandals for summer

Teva Hurricane 3

If you are looking for a lightweight water sandal you will find it hard to beat the Teva Hurricane 3. There is no more lightweight upper, however just because the material has been slimmed down don’t be fooled into thinking that they lack support.

Low price and low weight, they are perfect for travelling, hiking, walking and backpacking when every extra ounce counts. A great option for strapping onto the outside of a backpack for a quick change when it gets wetter, and they will save your walking shoes from getting sodden when a ford or stream threatens to spoil your day.

The straps have four points of connectivity to keep the sandals firmly on the feet and underfoot a super chunky sole gives excellent cushioning for a long hike. The athletic fit offers great all round performance for all manner of activities, and a full anti-bacterial treatment fights foot odour and fungal growth. The Teva Hurricane 3 is an all round great performance sandal with excellent versatility and one of the cheapest outdoor performance footwear models on the market.

Verdict: Super lightweight whilst still supportive. The traveller’s companion and perfect budget men’s water shoes

Hybrid Shoes for serious amphibious action
Hybrid Shoes for serious amphibious action

The North Face Hedgefrog

The play on words comes from the infamous Hedgehog off-road shoe from The North Face, a shoe worthy of a hub all to itself. The Hedgefrog provides the same outstanding off-road capabilities, but is more suited to a life more amphibious. It is the most shoe-like of all the sandals listed in this review, and maybe it’s a bit of a cheat including it as despite The North Face calling it a sandal, the jury is still out. However they are forgiven for pushing the boundaries of naming conventions because these hybrid shandals are truly awesome.

The North Face Hedgehog offers the support and protection of a trail and hiking shoe coupled with the amphibious abilities of a sandal and they will cope impeccably with all terrain you are likely to come across.  As with all the best water shoes they feature a drawstring fitting to allow you to take them off without having to cut the laces. To keep the shoes and feet healthy they feature AgIon (silver ion) antimicrobial treatment to cope with even the smelliest feet. The grooves in the top of the sole allow water to flow out for quick drying and the mesh upper dries in super quick time.  An SBR lining keeps the sandals incredibly comfortable for a long hike and they offer excellent balance, traction and grip on all surfaces apart but ice.

The sandals are jam packed full of features and include X2 cushioning from their beefier hiking shoe cousins, lateral multi-directional lugs on the sole for amazing grip, and they make for an efficient stride saving all important energy to keep muscle fatigue at bay.

The Final Verdict - Best Mens Water Shoes

So what is the best? Well, each has their own merits and the choice will depend on the individual. The Hedgefrog gets my vote as the best overall sandal, but it is better on land than in water. The Keen Newport offers excellent protection for the feet, and for a slim-line super healthy shoe it has to be VIbram Five Fingers. For travelling I would choose the Teva Hurricane 3 sandals, and for an all round water sports sandal, the Merrell Waterpro Ganges.

They are all winners in my book and if you stick to one of these five models of men’s water shoes you won’t be disappointed this summer.


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    • profile image


      8 years ago


    • profile image


      8 years ago

      thanks for this review hub on the 5finger sandals - wish i had these the other day when I stopped short on some barnicle covered rocks while skimming!

    • Patti Ann profile image

      Patti Ann 

      8 years ago from Florida

      Great reviews! My husband needs a new pair of sandals that he can wear when we walk on the beach each morning. Thanks - rated this hub up!!


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