As you already know, I’m a big fan of packing light and always try to travel to Hawaii without checking luggage. You also probably already know that my top secret to packing light is to minimize the number of shoes I bring. Well, I’ve just completed my second trip with these water sandals and I am so pleased with how multifunctional they are, especially for adventures in Hawaii. They definitely make traveling light easier, because they serve so many purposes.
I can wear these shoes for land sports like hiking and biking but they can also be worn for water sports like kayaking or playing in the ocean. My water sandals replace the need for reef shoes. I’ve mostly worn them for day hiking in Hawaii. If I’m on a muddy trail or one that has a creek to cross, I don’t have to worry about them getting wet as these shoes are designed to be worn in water and they are quick drying.
These shoes are very lightweight, breathable and moisture wicking which help keep feet cool and comfortable for walking and hiking. It is difficult to tell from the above photo, but these shoes have several holes. The photo to the right shows the updated version of my shoe, the Ahnu Tilden. From that photo you get a better idea of the built in air conditioning.
Even though it was snowing in Raleigh the morning I left for Oahu earlier this month, I wore these sandals to the airport and on the plane. I had my comfy cashmere socks on underneath to help keep my feet warm. Well, I wouldn’t win any fashion awards for wearing these shoes, but at least I didn’t have to check luggage. Just before landing, I removed my socks and voila, I was ready for the warm tropical environment of Hawaii.
The brand of this shoe is Ahnu and I purchased these at my local REI for $40 on sale last October. I see from REI.com, that the more recent version of this water sandal (Ahnu Tilden II) sells for $85 now. Teva and Keen also make water sandals. Andy has a pair of Keens that he really likes. His shoes look similar to the photo on the right.
I’d definitely recommend you consider picking up a pair of water sandals for your Hawaii vacation. This type of shoe gives you enough grip and stability for the various terrains you’ll encounter in Hawaii. Sometimes you just don’t know what sort of adventures you might find on your vacation and these shoes give you plenty of flexibility. They’d be the perfect shoe to wear for sight-seeing where you may walk over uneven ground. For example, if you plan to drive the road to Hana, these shoes would be ideal for walking over lava rock, short hikes in Kipahulu, and taking a dip in a waterfall. I wish I had my water sandals when I hiked around the Waipio Valley Rim as I could have worn these shoes in to the waterfall pool rather than going barefoot over the jagged lava rocks.
If you do purchase a water sandal, here’s some advice:
- Break the shoes in before you go on vacation. I didn’t get a chance to break mine at first because I purchased them right before my vacation. At a minimum, I should have worn them the day I traveled.
- Since you most likely won’t be wearing socks with these shoes, you may be more prone to getting a blister. So, bring bandages and a pair of socks for back up. I did get blisters the first time I wore them, but I did hike in them for four miles that day.
- If you plan to do some advanced hiking – like the entire 11 miles of the Kalalau trail, you might want to wear proper hiking shoes/boots.
- These shoes aren’t very good for long walks in sand as sand gets into the shoe through the holes.
Do you own a pair of water sandals? What do you think of them? What other shoe tricks do you use for travel to Hawaii?