These are some of the most minimalist shoes we have ever seen, bar none. However, regardless of the minimalist appearance, these were definitely what we were expecting when we heard the term “water shoes”. Lightweight, thin-soled and extremely breathable, with minimal pieces and no frills, the L-Run Unisex Barefoot Skin Shoes ended up having some very impressive results through our testing.
Featuring a stretchable and breathable mesh upper made from ultra-lightweight fabric, these L-Run Unisex Barefoot Skin Shoes provided incredible fast draining, impressive moisture wicking, and stellar cross ventilation. This all led to great flexibility, the ability to roll up into a small volume for travel, and surprising comfort levels on some of our testing criteria.
Initial Thoughts on Unboxing
These are some of the most simple shoes we have ever experienced in our lives. They didn’t even come in a show box, but instead a simple clear plastic bag. They were tied with a plastic style zip tie. Once cut, we truly got the taste for the L-Run Unisex Barefoot Skin Shoes.
We aren’t going to mess around or beat around the bush with these water shoes. They are closer to socks than they are to actual shoes. Picture if you will the bottom of a full-body wet suit. Now cut off the rest of it at the ankle. Now replace the neoprene commonly found in a wet suit with a lightweight breathable mesh. Now put a few ringlets for easy application and removal. The end result is pretty close to the L-Run water shoes.
As expected with the lightweight materials, inexpensive build, and extremely thin soles, these were also the least expensive water shoes on our testing list. Don’t let this deter you, though, as they did quite well for some of our testing, and would make perfect shoe options for a variety of water sports and activities taking place in and around water. But how was their performance in this wide variety of terrains and testing areas? Let’s dig in and tease out more.
Putting Them Through Their Paces
We spent extensive time testing the L-Run water shoes in the elements at Little Talbot Island State Park in Jacksonville, Florida. Our tests included:
- An ocean test: Sugar sand, waves, and hard packed sand.
- A river test: Rocky creek beds, sandy shorelines, flowing water.
- A hiking test: Over pine needles, sand, puddles, and standard trail surfaces.
Here is how they fared.
The Ocean Test
There is no question at all, these were the absolute best water shoes in our ocean testing processes, hands down. They performed admirably in the sugar sand, and the small holes in the mesh were fine enough to keep out the sand. The soles, while very thin, were thick enough to keep the sharp edges of the seashells in the hard packed sand from causing issues. And the water shoes acting as socks allowed us to roam freely in the waves of the Atlantic Ocean, and swim effortlessly with zero drag or pulling.
The River Test
The performance of the L-Run Unisex Barefoot Skin Shoes in Simpson Creek’s slippery stones and surprisingly rushing water was average. We weren’t expecting much, due to the lack of grip on the thin soles of these water shoes. However, there was a good bit of grip that allowed us to at least maintain our balance in the water, although there were a couple close calls.
The Hiking Test
Don’t use these water shoes for any type of hiking in the woods, period. This should go without saying. These are by far the thinnest soled water shoes that we tested in our research, and the result was the equivalent of wandering around in sticks, leaves, dirt and sharp rocks as if we were barefoot. We barely made it the 250 paces that we set out to achieve before we switched out for the next pair of water shoes. We repeat: Do not take the L-Run Unisex Barefoot Skin Shoes if you plan on doing any extensive hiking through woods or brush.
Advantages and Disadvantages
As is to be expected with any shoe whatsoever, or any water shoe for that matter, there will be advantages and disadvantages that are apparent with how the shoe is built and how it performs. The L-Run Unisex Barefoot Skin Shoes is no exception to this. Even with solid features and some of the lightest weight, most breathable uppers on the market, we found points of concern that counteracted points of strength.
Below are some of the pros and cons that we found in our research into the L-Run Unisex Barefoot Skin Shoes.
Advantages of the L-Run Unisex Water Shoe
- The L-Run Unisex were by far the lightest, most minimal of the nine water shoes we put through their paces, and the dozens of water shoes we initially looked into. For this reason, they were also the most affordable water shoes from our testing, and some of the cheapest shoes on the market.
- The performance of the L-Run Unisex Barefoot Skin Shoes in the ocean was incredible. As such, these shoes are perfect at the beach, in pools, or even on the top of boats that won’t be too slippery.
- While the outsole was thin and seemed very flimsy (Made in China was stamped directly on the bottom in large writing), they were surprisingly grippy when traversing the river beds.
Disadvantages of the L-Run Unisex Water Shoe
- The shoes fit the price tag, simply put. They are inexpensively made, and while we did not experience any breakdown in the shoes, we suspect due to wear and due to reviews that they would fall apart much faster than water shoes ten times the cost (like the KEEN option).
- With a lack of a thick outsole compared to other water shoes, the L-Run Unisex Barefoot Skin Shoes did not fare extraordinarily well in the river, and did terribly when walking in the looser sea shells and when hiking in the woods near the beach.
- With extraneous movement, these water shoes often felt as if they were going to fall off, especially when dealing with rushing water and waves. While they remained sturdy and attached to our foot, the feeling left us uneasy often.
Our Final Thoughts
For being the most minimal water shoe in our testing by a mile, as well as the least expensive, we were impressed with the performance of the L-Run Unisex in our ocean and river testing. Overall, if you are on the hunt for an inexpensive and quick to dry water shoe, you can’t go wrong with this choice!
For more water shoe options, check out our comprehensive guide to the best water shoes.