Finding a good pair of water shoes for use on your aquatic adventures can be a bit like looking for a needle in a stack of needles. After all, there are dozens of different options to choose from, and after awhile they can all start to look about the same. But fortunately for us, Body Glove has created a pair of shoes designed for use on the water that are comfortable, versatile, and affordable. They also have a unique look that is more than just form taking precedent over functionality.
At first glance, the 3T Barefoot Warrior water shoes will remind you an awful lot of those Five Fingers shoes from Vibram that were all the rage amongst runners a few years back. Both share a similar design in which individual toes each have their own designated slot. But where as the Five Fingers had a specific slot for each digit, these shoes only have individual spaces for the big toe and the second toe, while the remaining three share a common space. This has the dual effect of making the Barefoot Warriors a lot easier to get on than the Fiver Fingers ever were, but they are also more comfortable to wear over an extended period of time too.
The unique design of these shoes allows the wearer to maintain the same level of balance and dexterity that they would have if they went barefoot, which is something it tends to be lacking in similiar shoes of this kind. This was most noticeable while stand-up paddleboarding, an activity that can be hard to maintain your balance during if you’re wearing pretty much any type of footwear. But with the Barefoot Warriors on my feet, I still felt in control at all times and never found myself in danger of falling. On the contrary in fact, the additional grip provided by the soles of these shoes proved helpful at times when shuffling around on the wet board while adjusting my stance and position.
I also put these shoes to test while kayaking and whitewater canoeing as well, and found them to be equally well suited for those activities. Not only did they provide a solid level of of traction while getting in and out of various boats, they also offered a level of protection from sharp objects – such as rocks and branches – that are hidden just under the surface.
The designers at Body Glove came up with a unique system that allows water to filter into the shoe and then quickly drain back gout again. This has the effect of preventing the shoes from getting overly happy from soaking up too much water, and it speeds drying times as well. That same drainage system – which mainly made up of mesh and strategically placed openings in the sole – has the added benefit of keeping your foot cooler when you’re out of the water too.
Over the years I’ve tested a number of different water shoes from a variety of manufacturers, and for my money what Body Glove has achieved here is quite noteworthy. With the 3T Barefoot Warrior they have delivered a shoe that is lightweight, versatile enough to be used in a variety of activities, and comfortable to wear both in and out of the water. On top of that, they are highly packable for travel, it offer a good level of protection for your feet and traction on slick surfaces, and can even be used efficiently while on a stand-up paddleboard. That alone makes these shoes worth taking a look at if you SUP on a regular basis.
I’ll also commend Body Glove for making these shoes affordable too. The 3T Barefoot Warriors run $59.99, which put them in reach of just about any paddler stretching from absoulte beginners all the way up to the pros.