Years ago, water shoes simply meant sandals. Knowing that most water adventures involve some sort of hiking and exposure to rocks and other sharp objects, footwear brands have created a new series of hybrid water shoes with beefed up protection and support to take you comfortably from water to trail.
The new Hydroterra Shandal ($95) from Adidas is built around a soft foam frame for barefoot comfort. The open mesh cover is laminated to the frame away from your foot, cutting down on any irritating stitching. The collapsible heel lets you slip the hybrid water shoes on like a sandal, but is also connected to the speed lacing system to give you a snug fit when worn for hiking.
For Spring 2013, Columbia updates one of my current favorite hybrid water shoes, the lightweight and comfortable Powerdrain. The new Powerdrain Cool ($90) adds an Omni-Freeze Zero lining to help keep your feet cool in warm weather. The single layer mesh upper guards against blisters when not wearing socks and the drainable insole, Techlite cushioned midsole, and Omni-Grip wet grip rubber outsole work together to quickly drain any water out of your shoes.
With a beefier yet still lightweight construction, the Salomon Kalalau ($100) offers plenty of protection for long hikes, while the quick drying mesh upper and draining outsole will keep your feet happy as you play in the water. These hybrid water shoes look stylish enough you can even wear them to the bar when you are done with your island adventures for the day.
In a more traditional style, KEEN introduces the Clearwater CNX ($100) for men and women next spring. This hybrid sandal and hiker contains a washable polyester webbing upper, PU midsole with a 4 mm drop, and metatomical toe ridge in the footbed. The outsole features multi-directional flex grooves with razor siping for enhanced traction on slick surfaces.
Look for all these new hybrid water shoes to hit shelves early next spring.