Vivobarefoot Esc Tempest review: excellent aquatic trainers for fast-paced adventures

An excellent trainer-water hybrid shoe, the Vivobarefoot Esc Tempest is ideal for swim runners, athletes and explorers

Vivobarefoot Esc Tempest
(Image: © Vibrafoot)

Advnture Verdict

Swim runners, racers and anyone working long days in and out of water should splash the cash on these excellent aquatic trainers, suitable for fast-paced adventures and challenging shoreline exploring.


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    Excellent grip

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    Good protection

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    Double up as running trainers

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    Recycled materials used

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    Excellent environmental standards employed


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    Relatively expensive

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First impressions

In or out of the water, the Vivobarefoot Esc Tempest impresses. They are our top pick of the best water shoes for serious water babies athletes, racers and outdoor instructors who regularly work in the water. They could even change your opinion about what are water shoes exactly.


RRP: $143 (US) / £170 (UK)
Weight: 342g  / 12oz
Sizes: Women’s 3–9 Men’s 6–14
Colors: Obsidian & Orange / Zinc / Obsidian & Neon Coral
Compatibility: Perfect for swim runners, triathletes, kayakers and coasteering fans

Like all of Vivobarefoot’s designs, the Esc Tempest features a flexible but tough sole – this one is made by Michelin, technology that is usually applied to vehicle tires and hiking boots rather than water shoes – and it makes this shoe brilliantly grippy even on muddy trails or wet submerged rock.

On the trails

The Esc Tempest feels like a hybrid of a running trainer and wetsuit bootie – which is essentially what it is – and it is designed to help you move fast and feel protected in and out of the water.

When you’re in the water, the Esc Tempests feel light and buoyant, and back on land the shoes dry quickly and are comfortable to run in. We especially like the snug sock-like ankle opening.

The Tempest is perfect for the swim run racers it was designed for, but also makes a great choice for coasteering, canyoning and wild swimming in all sorts of outdoor environments, from lakes and ricers to the ocean.

And, if all that weren’t enough, Vivobarefoot have also used innovative, eco-friendly build materials to make these shoes – the Esc Tempests are constructed using an algae that is a sustainably harvested alternative to petrochemical EVA foam.

They are also incredibly flexible and will comfortably fold up and fit into any one of our best dry bags without taking up much room.

Sian Lewis

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,, champions accessible adventures.