Wear-anywhere good looks and a solid design make the Columbia Sandal stand out from the pack for sea-to-shore adventures.
No toe protection
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Columbia Sandal: first impressions
Columbia claim that their Columbia Sandals are designed, “to be at home on water or land”, yet they have a relatively slim profile, which looks great but made us wonder whether they would really be able to cut it when it came to serious aquatic adventures on the wet side. Would they make it into our list of best water shoes?
• RRP: $90 (US) / £65 (UK)
• Weight: 200g / 7oz
• Sizes: Women’s 3–10 Men’s 6–12
• Colors: Women’s Grey Ice & Red Coral / Black & Ti Grey Steel / Shark & Ti Titanium Men’s Oxford Tan & Red Jasper / Ti Grey Steel & Steam / Black & Red Element
• Compatibility: Ideal for walking, beachside adventures and travelling
Columbia Sandal: on the trails
After testing these water shoes we’d agree that this is a great go-everywhere aquatic sandal designed to do it all. When you’re in or near water the grippy rubber sole gives great confidence, and the hydrophobic webbing straps hug your foot underwater and dry quickly when you get out.
The only downside for water adventures is that there’s no toe protection in this design, so it’s not really suitable for more intense activities such as coasteering. Back on land, the sandal boasts great arch support (which we don’t see in all the outdoor sandals we test), and the cross-foot straps and adjustable ankle strap stay put when you’re walking. (See what are water shoes? for more tips.)
Again, the open toes make this design better suited for groomed paths rather than rocky mountain scrambles. The sandals’ look really stood out on test – the slim straps look smart and the sole doesn’t feel to chunky or heavy underfoot, making this model ideal for wearing in the city, too – a great quiver-of-one travel sandal when you’re packing light and want to take just a few footwear options.
We’d recommend picking the black or grey colorways over the white versions, which will look grimy fast.
An award-winning travel and outdoors journalist, presenter and blogger, Sian regularly writes for The Independent, Evening Standard, BBC Countryfile, Coast, Outdoor Enthusiast and Sunday Times Travel. Life as a hiking, camping, wild-swimming adventure-writer has taken her around the world, exploring Bolivian jungles, kayaking in Greenland, diving with turtles in Australia, climbing mountains in Africa and, in Thailand, learning the hard way that peeing on a jellyfish sting doesn’t help. Her blog, thegirloutdoors.co.uk, champions accessible adventures.