Hiking shoes come in all different shapes and sizes, but it takes a special kind of hiking shoe to allow you to walk through water without ruining your hiking day. Fortunately, there are some excellent water hiking shoes that have enough ventilation that you can walk through the water and while your feet will get wet, they will also dry fast. They’re not quite sandals, but they’re also not hiking shoes, they fall somewhere in between those two.
Water Hiking Shoes
What to look for when reviewing water hiking shoes.
Sandal or Shoe – If you’re looking for water hiking shoes, what you might really be looking for is a pair of hiking sandals. Water hiking shoes have more of a shoe upper, just with chunks removed, while hiking sandals have just straps to secure your foot to the sandal, and not much else to shield your feet from the elements.
Weight – As with any shoe, weight matters. Big, heavy hiking shoes will sap your energy, because it really does take a lot of energy to move your legs back and forth all day. So do yourself a favor and go with a pair of lightweight water hiking shoes, rather than dragging around two big heavy hiking shoes all day long.
Best Water Hiking Shoes
Some of the best water hiking shoes for hiking in.
Vibram FiveFingers Sprint (Women's) - First up, the very popular Vibram FiveFingers, which are ideal for when you're in and out of the water on a regular basis. These particular version of the popular toe shoes are open on top, so that your feet have every chance to dry quickly when you exit the water. They also have an anti-bacterial treatment, which is nice since they're quite close fitting. Of course like all of Vibram's FiveFingers they're quite thin on the bottom, and don't offer much in the way of support, so it's recommended that you give your feet a chance to adapt to them.
Keen NewPort H2 Sandals (Women's) - The Newport H2s are a bit like a shoe that has had large chunks of the upper cut out of it. It has a rudimentary lacing system, plus a sturdy Vibram sole. That said, it does also have plenty of ventilation, which means your feet wont be stuffed in to a tight, damp and warm place when you get out of the water. So a more traditional option for water hiking shoes.
Chaco ZX2 Unaweep Sandals (Women's) - These are much more like a sandal. Whereas the Newports above have most of the upper intact, these are just a few straps holding your foot in place. So like any pair of sandals you don't have to worry in the least about your feet getting wet. Unlike your average pair of sandals, however, these come with a solid Vibram sole, so you wont have to worry about a lack of good traction on the hiking trail. So a good option if you would prefer something like to a sandal for your water hiking shoes.