Make a Splash
Nine river-ready kicks engineered for endless summer fun
whitewater rafting shoes: Salomon's Pro Amphibian
whitewater rafting shoes: Adidas Mali
whitewater rafting shoes: Teva Gamma Pro
If you’re into fording streams during Heart of Darkness rainforest treks, forget about keeping your feet dry. Instead, try these shoes that take in agua—then send it on its way.
1. SALOMAN‘s PRO AMPHIBIAN is what you get when you cross-pollinate a running shoe (Kevlar laces, low-profile design) with an amphibious shoe (sandal-style exoskeleton, quick-draining synthetic mesh). Cinch the collapsible heel’s ankle strap for hiking—or fold the heelpiece flat for a mellow tube run. ($85; 800-225-6850, www.salomonsports.com)
2. Evidently, ADIDAS is code for “All Day I Dream About Steepcreeking.” The proof is in the MALI, which looks like a track trainer from the seventies but is surefooted enough to keep you upright on slime-covered boulders. Credit a super-sticky rubber and flow-through outsoles that drain in a flash. ($75; 800-448-1796, thestore.adidas.com)
3. With a hydrophobic synthetic-leather upper and mesh side panels, the TEVA GAMMA PRO is bomber but not needlessly beefy. Wraparound sticky-rubber outsoles cling to wet stone when you’re hoofing it on rocky streambeds. Minor bummer: The water-hogging insoles can turn toes into prunes. ($60; 800-367-8382, www.teva.com)
whitewater rafting shoes: Nike ACG's Toketee Mid
whitewater rafting shoes : Tecnica Immersion FLT
whitewater rafting shoes: Five Ten's Tennie
Whether you’re creek boating or stalking spring steelheads, cold water shouldn’t chase your river fun away. These booties combine state-of-the-art traction with time-tested neoprene to keep your toes toasty and your footing dependable.
4. Expedition kayaker Brad Ludden custom-tweaked his paddle shoes on a 2002 descent of Zambia’s boat-munching Luapula River. The upshot: NIKE ACG‘s TOKETEE MID, which sports a neoprene upper and supertough Velcro straps. With a climbing-shoe-style outsole, it’s sweet for slippery cliffside traverses. ($60; 800-344-6453, www.nikeacg.com)
5. As any fly-caster will tell you, nothing grabs a streambed like a felt sole. TECNICA dressed up a high-density polypropylene version of the old-school fabric for its rugged all-purpose, amphibious IMMERSION FLT. The aqua-grip rivals the best rubber on the market, while the neoprene and adjustable straps deliver superior support and fit. ($80; 800-258-3897, www.tecnicausa.com)
6. FIVE TEN‘s alchemists modified the company’s best-in-the-business AquaStealth sticky rubber specifically for the WATER TENNIE, and the new stuff hugs the wet and mossy like a jealous lover. Zip-tie-style plastic buckles may foil fingers numbed from winter creeking, but beefy soles are welcome on long, rocky portages. ($89; 909-798-4222, www.fiveten.com)
whitewater rafting shoes: Columbia Titanium Interchange
whitewater rafting shoes: Chaco Z/Rivative Zong
whitewater rafting shoes: Bite Vstream
We’d all rather go barefoot, but tough aquatic terrain sometimes demands otherwise. Count on these sandals to provide the right mix of performance and comfort.
7. File the removable heel on COLUMBIA‘s TITANIUM INTERCHANGE under “Gimmicks That Work.” Go fully strapped to enjoy the full-on performance of the Vibram outsoles, or pull off the heelpieces for slide-in, kick-off comfort. However you configure them, stretch panels built into the synthetic-leather uppers, plus the ultra-grippy snakeskin-textured insoles, will keep your feet firmly bedded. ($65; 800-547-8066, www.columbia.com)
8. Comfort and simplicity are the bedrock of CHACO‘s sandal empire, and the new Z/RIVATIVE ZONG delivers plenty of both. Thanks to the form-fitting footbeds and Vibram outsoles, these backless wonders breeze through pushy terrain. Just right for sipping a riverside cappuccino or breaking trail to the swimming hole. ($75; 970-527-4990, www.chacousa.com)
9. In designing the VSTREAM, the folks at BITE evidently started out with a shoe and, Michelangelo style, removed everything that wasn’t a sandal. Full-coverage midsections and speed laces ensure superior fit, while the sticky-rubber outsoles deliver traction galore. Plus-size footbeds give your waterlogged dogs room to swell. ($80; 800-248-3465, www.biteshoes.com)