Water sports are a great way to have fun and stay cool, especially in the summer heat. Aside from swimming, there’s scuba diving, snorkelling, jet skiing, boating, rafting, you name it. While they’re all different activities by definition, they do have one thing in common—that is, they all take place either in or on the water.
Given that, it’s not surprising to know that they do require a certain set of gear. For instance, you’ll need a wetsuit for snorkelling and diving. Footwear is important as well. Because let’s face it, sneakers aren’t the best choice for water sports. Your feet could easily get wet! That’s why water shoes are a thing.
What Are Water Shoes?
Water shoes are a specific type of footwear that’s designed for water sports. How are they different from regular shoes? They’re made so that they won’t get heavy even when waterlogged. That way, you’ll be able to move easily even if your feet are wet. Many also have tiny holes on the sides or bottom of the sole that allow for water drainage. In other words, your feet will dry faster; it’ll also help to prolong its lifespan.
Generally speaking, there are three types of water shoes—the “standard” water shoe, which can be worn in and out of water (they can also be worn on dry surfaces), water sandals, and water socks.
Water shoes: The most common type that also functions as a normal shoe.
Water socks: Appearance-wise, they’re very similar to your everyday socks. However, they’re thick enough so that they can protect your feet from sand, pebbles, or rocks. At the same time, you still get the feeling of being barefoot. Usually worn when swimming or playing by the water.
Water Sandals: Water sandals allow for water and sand to pass through easily. The soles are thick with a noticeable tread pattern, which provides excellent traction on wet surfaces.
Picking the Right Water Shoes
There are several things that you want to keep in mind when shopping for a pair of water shoes. For one thing, you want to make sure that it has a secure grip. Next, protection. For instance, you’ll want something a little more durable than mesh if you plan on hiking on hard and unforgiving terrains.
From there, you want to pay attention to its construction. After all, not all water shoes are waterproof and that’s okay. At the end of the day, it depends on the activity that you’ll be doing. For instance, you can go for something that’s water-resistant if you just plan on walking and playing near the water.
Taking Care of Your Water Shoes
Ideally, you want to wash your water shoes after each wear. They may be designed for the water but that doesn’t mean that they won’t get icky after a while. If anything, odor is a common issue with these types of shoes. After all, they’re always wet. Ultimately, it’s this moisture that attracts odor-causing bacteria. Fungus can be a problem as well.
That’s why you want to be diligent about washing them. The last thing that you want is to wear something that’s ridden with germs! It won’t be good for your feet nor will it be good for the shoes.
How to Wash Water Shoes the Right Way
The good news is that water shoes are relatively easy to wash. For one thing, you don’t have to worry about water damaging the material.
Are Water Shoes Machine Washable?
Depending on the materials that they’re made of, you may be able to put them in the washing machine. When in doubt, check the label inside the shoes; it should tell you whether or not they’re machine washable.
Before you put them in the washer, rinse them with hot water, ideally for a few minutes. Alternatively, you can soak them in a sink. This helps to remove loose debris from the shoes. If the sole is removable, take it out and rinse it separately.
Keep your water shoes together by placing them in a laundry bag. That will prevent them from being tossed around during the wash cycle. It’s not recommended that you wash them with other items. However, you can balance the weight by adding in a few towels. Once you’ve tossed the shoes inside the machine, add one scoop of ACTIVE detergent. Do not use bleach.
Set and run a delicate cycle. Retrieve the shoes once it’s complete and place them in a sunny spot to dry. It’s important that you do not put them in the dryer—the heat will cause the material to warp and potentially melt. If you want, you can speed up the drying process by putting a couple of towels in the shoes. Make sure that they’re completely dry before storing them away.
Washing Water Shoes By Hand
Take off your water shoes as soon are you’re done wearing them. Rinse them with clean water for a couple of minutes. Once you’ve done that, fill a sink with warm water. Mix in a small amount of ACTIVE detergent. Agitate the water with your hand to dissolve the powder.
Place your water shoes in the sink. Give them a mild wash by rubbing the material with your hands. If necessary, you can also add some baking soda into the water—it’ll help get rid of any odors. Soak the shoes for about 15 minutes.
Saturate a sponge with the soapy mixture and use to to scrub the inside and outside of the shoe. Don’t forget to clean the sole as well. When you’re done scrubbing, rinse the shoes clean with running water. Make sure that there’s no detergent left before taking them out of the sink. Stuff a dry rag in each of the shoes to help with the drying process.
Note: If you want, you can speed up the process by using a blow dryer on low. Make sure to dry them inside out.
Washing Water Socks
Water socks are similar to water shoes in that you can put them in the washer or wash them by hand. If anything, they’re a little easier to deal with.
Putting Your Water Socks in the Washer
The first thing that you want to do is rinse them with water. Once you’ve done that, turn them inside out. Place the socks inside a garment bag; it’ll keep them together and minimize friction. You can wash them with other garments granted that they’re not opposite colors.
Note: It’s always a good idea to check the label on the socks first before dunking them in the washer.
Load your water socks and clothes into the washer. The next step is to add detergent—one scoop of ACTIVE detergent will suffice unless you’re washing a lot of things in which case you can add a bit more. Do not add bleach. With the detergent added, set the washing machine to “gentle.” Cold water is recommended over hot water as heat can cause the neoprene material to warp or melt.
Press the start button and allow the washing machine to run. Once everything’s been washed, take out your water socks and hang them up to dry. It’s not recommended that you put them in the dryer.
Washing Your Water Socks By Hand
Rinse the socks with water as soon as you take them off. Turn them inside out and place aside. Prepare a sink or container by filling it with warm water. Create a sudsy solution by mixing in a bit of ACTIVE detergent. Once you’ve agitated the water, there should be soap bubbles; that’s when you know that you can put your socks in. Move them a few times through the water to work in the detergent. Let them soak for at least 10 minutes.
Gently scrub the socks with a soft-bristled brush, paying extra attention to the outside. Hold the socks under running water afterward to rinse off the soap; there shouldn’t be any bubbles left when you’re done. You may have to rub the material several times while you’re rinsing.
Once they’re free of detergent, hang them up in the shower to dry, preferably upside down. Alternatively, you can let them air dry in a sunny spot. Do not put them in the dryer; it will damage the neoprene material. Extreme heat can shrink or even worse, melt your socks.
Deodorizing Your Water Shoes
Start by putting the shoes in a sink. Fill it with water and add a bit of detergent. Next, add half a cup of baking soda. Swish the water to help it dissolve. Dampen a sponge with the solution; you can also sprinkle a bit of baking soda directly onto the top. Use it to scrub the inside and outside of your shoes.
Let the shoes soak in the sink after scrubbing; leave them for at least 30 minutes. Drain the sink afterward and rinse the shoes completely under the faucet. If the odor is still present, consider placing a few teaspoons of baking soda in each shoe. Leave the powder in overnight and rinse them again the next morning.