You will need snorkeling shoes for those rocky beach water entrances. But if you have full foot fins, what do you do with them once you are snorkeling? We will share with you our solution and give you footwear options if you wear either full foot or open heel fins on this page.
Snorkeling Shoes and Full Foot Fins
Since we wear full foot fins, we will start with the footwear options you have if you wear the same. We prefer full foot fins because they are lightweight for travel and they are more efficient in the water. But because this type of fin is made to fit your foot snugly, there is no room for booties or water shoes.
So, the solution is to wear a pair of sturdy flip flops or water shoes that have a loop on the heel. You wear these shoes when entering the water until you are deep enough to float and change from your snorkeling shoes to your fins.
Now, what do you do with your shoes? We made belts that we wear while snorkeling that have carabiners for attaching shoes. (It will also hold your waterproof valuables box and your camera if you need to have your hands free.) So, you strap your flip flops or water shoes to your belt and off you go for your snorkel. You can find out how we made our belts on this page. You could also add an attachment to your weight belt for your shoes, if you wear one.
Note: Our suggestions come from hands-on experience. We hope you find them helpful. You can help us if you purchase from the links below. We may make a small commission, from Amazon or other companies, at no extra cost to you.
Here is what to look for in a good flip flop for snorkeling. You want the sole to have good rubbery tread for gripping wet rocks. The foot bed should be a closed cell type foam, not leather. Avoid the open cell neoprene type materials on the sole because they turn into wet sponges and become slippery in the water. The foot bed should also have some depth or texture so your foot does not slip in the shoe easily. Finally, the straps should be snug but comfortable and capable of getting wet, so avoid leather. Neoprene is a good fabric for the straps.
One downside to the flip flop option is that in some situations, no matter how good your shoes are, you slip around and bang your foot into a rock and cut your foot.
Water shoes may provide more foot protection from cuts. They would have to be made of a sturdy fabric to prevent cuts from rocks and they must have a loop on the heel so you can hook them to your belt, if you are using full foot fins. A good-looking option is the Speedo Surfwalker water shoe, available for women here, and for men here. Make sure your water shoes have some traction on the sole too. We have also used the Fourth Element Rock Hopper boot mentioned below.
A downside we have experienced with water shoes is that they tend to get sand in them and it is hard to get out and makes walking any distance uncomfortable.
Snorkeling Shoes and Open Heel Fins
For those of you who choose to wear open heel fins, you have another option. You can buy booties that have soles on them that are made to be worn with your fins. Then, you don’t have to deal with belting separate shoes to you while you snorkel. Remember, you may have to size up your fins to fit you with booties on.
Many boots designed for this purpose will be too hot for tropical situations, with 5-6mm of neoprene. Look instead for boots made with 3mm or less.
We have tried the Fourth Element Rock Hopper boots and liked them very much. They are very lightweight, with 3mm neoprene, and well made. And they have loop on the back that you can use to put them on a belt if you want. They have small drain holes as well, and a removable insole to help drying speeds.
Another good option are the Cressi Ibiza boots. They are also made of 3mm neoprene, with more traction on the sole, but no loop on the back, so you can’t hang them from a snorkel belt.
There are many other 3mm dive boot options here.
Great for One-Way Snorkels Too
The next time you are confronted with a rocky entry, don’t try walking in with your fins on. Try wearing some shoes you take with you on your snorkel. The snorkeling shoes give you more freedom for one-way snorkels too, allowing you to exit the water at a different location and walk back on the shore or on a road in the comfort of your shoes.