What to Look for in Quality Reef Shoes


Open water reef shoes are an essential piece of gear for anyone planning to spend time in or around the water. Whether you’re exploring the shallows, snorkelling or participating in water sports, these shoes will provide the support, protection and comfort you need. But with so many options available, it can be challenging to know what to look for when purchasing a pair. This article will outline the key features to consider when choosing quality open water reef shoes so you can make the best decision for your needs and budget.


The materials used in the construction of your reef shoes will play a significant role in their durability, comfort and overall performance. Look for shoes made from high-quality materials such as neoprene, mesh or synthetic fabrics, which are quick-drying and offer excellent breathability. You may also want to opt for shoes with reinforced stitching and durable soles to ensure they can withstand the rigours of the aquatic environment.


A proper fit is crucial when it comes to open water reef shoes.  Shoes that don’t fit well can cause discomfort, blisters and even impede your movement in the water. When trying on reef shoes, ensure they fit snugly but not too tight, allowing for some flexibility and movement in the foot. Look for shoes with adjustable straps or laces to help achieve a customised fit. You should also consider the thickness of the material. Thicker shoes will provide more insulation and cushioning, while thinner shoes will offer greater flexibility.


One of the primary functions of open water reef shoes is to provide traction and grip on slippery surfaces. Look for shoes with non-slip soles made from rubber or other high-grip materials. The sole’s pattern should also provide adequate traction, with grooves to channel water away and prevent slipping. Some reef shoes even come with additional features like toe and heel caps for extra grip and protection.

Protection & Support

Quality reef shoes should offer protection from sharp objects, rocks and other hazards that you may encounter in the water. Look for shoes with reinforced soles, toe guards and ankle support to help protect your feet from injury. Consider the level of arch support provided, as this can affect overall comfort and reduce foot fatigue during extended periods of water activity.


Good drainage and ventilation are essential features in open water reef shoes. Shoes that hold water can become heavy and uncomfortable, reducing your agility and speed in the water. Opt for shoes with mesh panels or drainage holes that allow water to flow out quickly and promote airflow, keeping your feet cool and comfortable.

Ease of Use & Maintenance

You should consider the ease of use and maintenance of your reef shoes. Look for shoes that are easy to put on and take off, with features like pull tabs or zippers. Ideally, choose shoes that are also easy to clean and maintain, as saltwater and sand can be harsh on materials over time.


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