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Recommendation for first pair of Water Shoes

I'm looking to purchase my first pair of high-quality water shoes (women's sizing 7.5/8), and would love a recommendation. I'm looking at the Keen Newport H2 and Hoka One One. Definitely want the toe protection, arch support, and traction for rocky/muddy beaches. I have a narrow heel with wider front of foot. Any advice/insights much appreciated!

12 Replies

@WaterShoesNewbie Thanks for reaching out!

First off, love your username! Secondly, based on how you have described the shape of your foot, we think the Keen Newport H2 would be a great option. They have been making the Newport H2 for a long time (long enough, in fact, to have a retro version) and it has proven itself to be a top performing water shoe. They offer toe protection and really good grip with their siping feature on the soles.

Hopefully this helps!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

This is so helpful! Thanks so much!! 


@WaterShoesNewbie one note on sizing with Keens - we recommend sizing up if you're between sizes, as Keens can run a little short!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Very good info, thanks! Do you know how these compare with the women's Hoka One One? It sounds like the Keens are my best bet, but curious about Hokas since I've heard lots of good things. Normally I'd just try them on in the store, but trying to do my sleuthing remotely. 🙂


@REI-JohnJ  I like that Retro Version Groovy ! lol  I ask another topic about water shoes if you could paddle over and look! Thanks Cathy


@WaterShoesNewbie I don’t wear my Keen Newport H2 very often because I found they don’t have enough heel protection for kayaking, tend to get small stones stuck inside when walking in stoney creek beds and take long time to dry.  I then bought a pair of Teva sandals which solved all three problems and they are definitely my go to  water shoes.  You don’t get the toe protection and I’m no expert but that’s my story for what it’s worth.

Great advice and much appreciated! I ended up ordering both the Keens and the Hokas, and the Keens fit perfectly while the heel of the Hokas was way too wide for me. All-around comfort/protection seems to be great in the Keens so far. So I'd say the Keens fit a foot well that's narrow-ish overall, wider in front, with a pretty narrow heel. They also fit true to size for me at 8 (although I've gone up to 8.5 in my hiking boot so there's extra room for cozy socks). The Hokas also seemed true to size at 8, but just overall way too wide for my foot.


Thank you so much for circling back here in the community to tell us about what is working for you. That will be very useful information in the future. We're glad to hear you found a pair of water shoes that works for you!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Hi @WaterShoesNewbie,

I recently invested in the NRS Kicker Remix Water Shoe that's sold by REI, and I absolutely LOVE THEM! 

I often find myself kayaking in lakes/rivers with rocky bottoms, and have found that the solid and grippy sole works extremely well on slippery surfaces. Another great bonus about these shoes is that they cinch around the ankles, so you don't have to worry about them coming off. Their design also "reflects" your foot's heat back on itself, so even if you're in cold water, I have found that these shoes keep my feet nice and warm!

This isn't entirely designed like a regular sneaker, but it works great on land nonetheless!

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