Men's Water & River Shoes Buying Guide
Who knows where this trail will lead? And, honestly, how realistic is it to swap shoes mid-hike? Life's too short. We say: get one pair for whatever comes your way this summer. And if you’re whitewater rafting, leading a Cub Scout camping trip, wandering through tidepools, or just washing the car, you’ll want a pair that can get soggy and then dry out fast.
Creek crossings, hot springs, or that Slip-n-Slide you set up for the kids every July 4th; we have shoes that are approved for aquatic adventures of all kinds. But which water shoes are the best match for your brand of outing? Find the just-right pair by choosing the sentence that describes you best.
“I’m looking for sturdy sandals for weekends outside hiking, fishing and kayaking.”
The Newport H2 sandal is our most supportive (and most rugged) water shoe. It’s well-ventilated, but it still protects your foot as you’re taking a running leap over a felled log or feeling your way across a murky riverbed. The heavy tread outsole helps you get a grip when the going gets slippery.
“I wear them every day in summer including in saltwater surf, wading while fly fishing, and on long-range kayaking.” - Mark in Idaho
Pro tip: If a Newport (or any KEEN shoe) has “H2” in the product name, that means it’s ok to wear in the water - so jump in!
“I want something more casual that I can wear in the water or as an everyday shoe.”
We recommend the Rialto II H2. It’s more closed than the Newport, so less of your foot is exposed (it still feels breezy, but it has more of a sneaker level of support).
Bungee laces let you tighten and loosen them up quicker than you can say, “let’s head down to the river.” (Got your own orthotic? This pair will match well with it.)
“I am in the water of Lake Superior every day of the summer and rotate at least three pairs of KEEN [shoe]s so I can have a dry pair to wear at the end of the day.” - Lake Superior Boater in Michigan
“I like sandals with more of that barefoot feel.”
The Clearwater CNX sandal feels like going barefoot (but without all the ouchy parts). It has a more contoured fit and a minimalist design with a slimmer outsole, so the feel is really light and flexible. Friends tell us the streamlined sole makes these perfect for paddle sports like rafting and SUPing.
“I river raft and need a sturdy shoe that can get wet, drain, dry, and then go straight to setting up camp. Perfect!” - Randy in Nevada