The ALEADER Water Shoes, officially dubbed “quick drying aqua shoes,” is a budget-friendly water shoe option. However, regardless of the price point, these are an ideal mix of function, style and value. They were one of the standout performers in our research for our ultimate water shoe guide.
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ALEADER styled their water shoes in a fairly conventional sports shoe style. They have a cushioned heel and reasonably thick outsole. They are no frills, without the bells and whistles of some more expensive choices. Instead, they made from minimalist, breathable mesh uppers and lightweight rubber outsoles that allow water to drain easily.
This shoe will let you go wherever you want: scrambling over rocks, running on the shore, or hiking through trails with water features. They can transition from dry to fully submerged and back again without trouble. Additionally, their high-quality rubber sole provides some impressive grip and traction while moving across slippery surfaces.
With all of this, the quick-drying mesh upper and insole liner in the ALEADER water shoes works remarkably well. There is also an internal cushioning system, keeping your feet comfortable and allowing them to dry quickly once you’re out of the water. Also, added sections for lateral support ensure your they remain snuggly fitted to your feet when submerged. One thing to note: the lacing that you see do not tighten, rather they are elastic and allow the upper to conform to your forefoot.
Initial Thoughts on Unboxing the ALEADER Water Shoes
These initially look a lot like sneakers. They have laces, and a thick sole with a slight raised heel, much like athletic shoes. Once you take a closer look, there are some differences. They have a mesh upper with relatively large holes, and the sole of the shoe is not solid, but has holes in it allowing water to drain quickly.
When first putting them on they feel quite a lot like any other athletic shoe. They are more breathable because of the mesh uppers and quick draining sole, and the laces are elastic rather than tie laces that you can tighten.
Putting Them Through Their Paces
We spent a lot of time testing the ALEADER shoes in the elements at Little Talbot Island State Park in Jacksonville, Florida. Our tests included each of the following.
- An ocean test: sugar sand, waves, and hard packed sand.
- Next, a river test: rocky creek beds, sandy shorelines, flowing water.
- Finally, a hiking test: over pine needles, sand, puddles, and standard trail surfaces.
Here is how they fared.
The Ocean Test
These shoes did well in the ocean test. They were solid while splashing through the waves, when walking on hard packed sand, and in the shell covered sand as well. However, there was a bit of a struggle with sand getting into the shoes when walking in sugar sand.
As you can see in the photos, the mesh upper has much larger holes than most mesh. This is great for drying and breathability, but means finer sand can get through the mesh with no problem. If you’ll be spending a lot of time walking on soft sand, you’ll need to rinse them out frequently. If that’s a major problem, we recommend something like the Speedo Surf Knit Pro.
The River Test
The ALEADER water shoes performed great in the river bed. The sticky nature of the rubber soles proved highly effective when walking across slippery, rocky surfaces. They also held up well in the rush waters of Simpson Creek.
The Hiking Test
The lightweight nature of these shoes comes from the minimalistic rubber soles. As such, they did not perform as well as we hoped in the hiking test, and are not ideal for extensive hikes.
Despite the fact that the sole is thick and cushioned, the holes in the sole for draining water are quite large, and allow brush or sticks to get through at times. This made hiking in scrub or brush areas difficult.
Advantages and Disadvantages
While the performance of the ALEADER quick drying aqua water shoes was solid overall, with features such as FluidFlow, contrast stitching for support, ComforDry sock lines and more, there were upsides and downsides, as with all shoes we review.
Below are some of the advantages and disadvantages we found while testing these out.
Advantages of the ALEADER Water Shoes
- These are by far some of the strongest function-to-weight water shoes that we tested throughout our processes.
- They are incredibly lightweight (so perfect for traveling), inconspicuous as a water shoe, very versatile, and dry rapidly for easy transition to land-based activities.
- The extremely strong grip power of the rubber soles make this an ideal option for moving, slippery surfaces such as boat decks.
- The water draining from the outsole via holes in the bottom of the sole was some of the fastest we experienced in testing processes.
Disadvantages of the ALEADER Water Shoes
- The uppers of these shoes have far larger mesh holes than standard. This can be problematic when walking in sand.
- When we were hiking, we noticed that the shoes worked great for the short testing period, however would likely falter in longer hikes support and comfort wise.
Our Final Thoughts
At the price point they are at, it will be difficult to find a water shoe that beats the ALEADER Water Shoes. This option is a perfect blend of style, price and function. The ALEADER option is also very inconspicuous. This means that you won’t feel self-conscious when wearing them out and about. Buyer remorse is not a thing with these water shoes!
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