If you are a keen swimmer in all seasons and conditions, Speedo’s Zanpa AM is a great water-only shoe that offers warmth as well as extra protection from the elements, and it is available for a bargain price.
Only offer light grip
Can be a pain to pull on and off
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Speedo Zanpa AM: design
If you’re a dedicated swimmer on a budget, the Speedo Zanpa AM is one of our best water shoes choices if you need a water-only shoe to wear for training sessions rather than a hybrid sandal for general use (see what are water shoes for more about the advantages these specialist shoes offer).
• RRP: $29 (US) / £21 (UK)
• Weight: 300g / 10.5oz
• Sizes: Women’s 3–8 Men’s 6–12
• Colors: Black
• Compatibility: Great for year-round wild swimming
These close-fitting rubber booties are specifically designed to protect feet once you are in the water, with a thick rubber outer material and light soles that are springy, but still tough enough to stop you feeling any sharp protrusions on the ground beneath your feet.
Speedo Zanpa AM: in the field
While they are excellent in the water, we didn’t find that the Zanpas gripped the ground well enough to work very well for activities such as coasteering, where you’re clambering over rocks and need sticky grip.
They are much better suited for swimming in lakes and rivers where you aren’t sure what’s underfoot, when you want added protection for getting in and out of the water on a beach or lake shore, or just for tackling slippery poolside tiles at your local lido.
The Zanpas also trap in heat nicely, rather like wetsuit boots, adding a bit of warmth and comfort in cold water year-round. While there are tabs on the heels to help pull the snug Zanpas on and off, they can take a minute or two to get on properly (and getting them off again can also be a bit of a saga). These water shoes are very good value for money, too.
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.