Speedo's main contender in our water shoe testing is the Speedo Surf Knit Pro Swim Shoe. Speedo designed this for swimming, either in the pool or at the beach, and it's well-equipped to deal with sandy conditions, sharp shells, or other hazards you find underfoot in the ocean or at the pool. It's also budget-friendly, and if you're looking for a strong swim shoe that stays affordable, you can stop looking now.
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Speedo developed the Surf Knit Pro Swim Shoe with a breathable and lightweight upper. They also feature sticky, rubberized outsoles with S-TRAC technology for dispersing water to improve traction and performance. The tight stretching mesh upper that Speedo incorporates into the Surf Knit Pro stays tight on your feet to prevent sand and small pebbles from getting into the shoe. This worked well for us and gave the Surf Knit Pro a serious advantage in sugar sand over some of its competitors.
Initial Thoughts on Unboxing the Speedo Surf Knit Pro Swim Shoes
Pulling these shoes out for the first time, we thought, "This is what a swim shoe should look like!" We've tested many water shoes, and many of them appear more like hiking boots or sneakers than water shoes. Everything about the Speedo Surf Knit Pro speaks to its primary use as a swim shoe. Ideal for use in the ocean and at the beach, they were at the top of our list of best water shoes for these sorts of activities.
While they seemed heavier than some of the swim shoes we tested at similar sizes, the stickiness and durability of the outsoles immediately impresses. Some of the weight comes from this heavier-duty outsole, which allows the Surf Knit Pro to better protect your feet and last longer.
These shoes also look great. The style we reviewed were a sort of grey to black gradient and had a striking red/orange insole. Some of our favorite water shoes for looking good, and we here at ShoeGuide like to look good!
Putting Them Through Their Paces
We spent a lot of time testing the Speedo Surf Knit Pro in the elements at Little Talbot State Park in Jacksonville, Florida. Our tests included the following.
- An ocean test: sugar sand, waves, and hard packed sand.
- Next, a river test: rocky creek beds, sandy shorelines, and flowing water.
- Finally, a hiking test: over pine needles, sand, puddles, and standard trail surfaces.
Read on to find out how they fared.
The Ocean Test
In the ocean test, the Speedo Surf Knit Pro water shoe did quite well. With their lightweight design, they did fine in ocean waves, and didn't create unnecessary drag while we swam. With their sticky outsole, they also did well on the hard-packed sand and dealt with sharp shells and rocks pretty easily. Their performance in softer sugar sand was excellent, keeping sand out admirably to prevent irritation and blisters on our feet.
The River Test
In our river test, the Surf Knit Pro did very well, towards the top end of our water shoe rankings. The rubber, sticky outsoles with Speedo's S-TRAC design to channel water away did great when gripping on wet, slippery rocks, and even against the slightly powerful current in Simpson Creek.
The Hiking Test
Speedo did not design the Surf Knit Pro for hiking, so unsurprisingly these had some issues in a hiking environment. The high-grip, rubberized outsoles are thicker than most swim shoe soles, but are still thin relative to what you want in hiking conditions. This led to a barefoot feeling on the trail, and some discomfort, as we could feel sticks and rocks straight through the sole. We did not anticipate these working well for hiking, and you shouldn't either. They will work if you need to take a small hike through rougher terrain to get to your beach, or to make it to your super-secret secluded beach surf spot or something.
Advantages and Disadvantages
While the Speedo Surf Knit Pro's perform well in a variety of conditions, and their mesh uppers, tight-fitting slip-on design, and S-TRAC rubberized outsole, all lead to dealing with what you throw at them, they still contain some pros and cons.
Below you'll find some of the advantages and disadvantages we ran into during our testing.
Advantages of the Speedo Surf Knit Pro water shoe
- Unlike some of the more common water shoe alternatives, Speedo does not absorb any water at all, and really tries to repel water at every point. As such, they have some of the fastest time-to-dry values of any water shoes we tested.
- As mentioned, these Speedo water shoes have extremely effective traction. They are ideal on water or more slippery surfaces like boats, kayaks, or rocks.
- Speedo's patented drainage systems provide the Surf Knit Pro with an extensive capacity to drain water quickly and efficiently. That kept these water shoes from becoming heavy or waterlogged while moving through the water.
- Breathable mesh uppers and specialty rubberized soles kept these shoes rather lightweight relative to their features. Additionally, while many of the shoes we tested weren't stylish, these were one of the most stylish water shoes we tested.
Disadvantages of the Speedo Surf Knit Pro water shoe
- In our testing process of the Speedo Surf Knit Pro water shoe, we noticed that the soles were thin and relatively soft. As such, while great for for gripping ability and swimming, this prevented them from performing well on rougher terrains that you might find when crossing streams or when hiking.
- In addition to the above, the thinner soles on the Speedo water shoes left them very prone to wear and tear. We noticed a bit of rub-off after wearing them for a bit of time when walking on rougher pavement. These won't last long if you are walking long distances in them.
Our Final Thoughts
The Speedo Surf Knit Pro water shoe is incredibly versatile and stylish. From an overall perspective, they were some of the strongest water shoes that we tested. When coming from a brand that is so well-known in the water sports market, this is not surprising. If you are on the hunt for a budget-friendly water shoe with plenty of features, there is no need to look any further than this Speedo option.
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