The Best Water Shoes of 2016
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Protect your piggies in the wet.
Sperry Shock Light Boat
Best for: Doing It All
With a slipper-like fit, the Shock Light happily squeezes into the bow of a whitewater boat, while the grippy, nonmarking sole won’t scuff the teak deck on your buddy’s yacht. The shock-cord lacing keeps it snug should you fall into the drink, and it dries in less than half an hour.
Best for: Raft Trips
How to improve an iconic, river-guide-trusted sandal? Very carefully. Chaco’s upgrades on the new Z/Cloud are minimal and smart: a soft antimicrobial topsheet molds to your foot, and a rubber compound on the outsole boosts grip. Bonus points for the new webbing colors.
Five Ten Eddy
Best for: Sticking Like a Salamander
Built with climbing brand Five Ten’s famously sticky rubber outsole, the Eddy is ideal for sketchy portages on slick rocks. The armoring extends over the toes, so you can jam your foot into tight spots, and the mesh upper sheds water like a champ after swims, drying almost completely in under 20 minutes.
OluKai Nohea Moku
Best for: Island Vacations
The casual vibe of the Moku—one tester wore it with jeans on a Tinder date—hides solid tech: a fast-drying, sweat-wicking upper and a heel that drops down to transform it into a slip-on. Though not the best choice for a multi-day sea-kayaking trip, it’s perfect for island hopping in Belize.
Best for: Whitewater Kayakers
Our veteran river rat couldn’t find a single thing to dislike about the Hiyak. The over-the-ankle fit and lacing (protected by a Velcro guard) made it the most secure river shoe we’ve tested—“They just never come off,” said our tester—while a stout hydrophobic upper made it among the toughest.
Best for: Creek Hikes
The minimalist feel underfoot, simple one-strap fit system, and soft TPU coverings over potential blister points made this a tester favorite for daylong creek hikes. The tacky rubber outsole held firm on mossy rocks, though the buckle got finicky when covered in wet sand and mud.