Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Gear Closet: Five Ten Eddy Water Shoes

One of my favorite pairs of shoes that I've tested this year has been the Five Ten Access approach shoe, which I loved for their light weight, comfort, and durability. Since I reviewed them a month back, those shoes have become a staple in my wardrobe, accompanying me on many outdoor excursions. Because of this, I had high expectation of the new Eddy water shoe from Five Ten as well. The latest edition to the company's catalog brings Five Ten's years of experience to footwear designed to be worn in and around wet environments, delivering a fantastic option for paddlers, boaters, or just about anyone else who spends time out on the water.

Designed to be thin and lightweight, the Eddy was created to provide good protection for your feet, without becoming big and cumbersome. This allows them to fit nicely inside the cockpit of a kayak, including smaller play boats. I came to appreciate this design choice not because I needed the extra room, but because some of my larger water shoes often make it difficult to find the pedals that control the rudder on a sea kayak for instance. With these thin shoes, that wasn't a problem, and as a result I felt more connected with the boat in general.

Of course, that's just one element that I came to appreciate with these shoes. As you would expect, they offer quick-drying synthetic materials on the upper that allow water to pass through without retaining excess moisture, and thereby adding any amount of significant weight. The Eddy is also outfitted with plenty of drainage holes that help with this process too. The results are a shoe that is meant to be used on the water, but can be completely dry in about 15 minutes, allowing you to transition seamlessly back to land as well.


The sole of the shoe is made from Five Ten's Stealth S1 rubber, which was initially designed for use on the company's climbing shoes. This helps to give the Eddy a surprisingly great grip on slick, wet surfaces, making it easier to cross tough portages or to scramble in and out of your boat in rocky environments. That same Stealth S1 rubber extends up and around the toe, allowing the wearer to use it to maintain a grip while climbing in and out of the water. Those materials also provide an added protective barrier that isn't always common in this type of footwear.

All of these nice design elements don't mean much however if the shoe isn't comfortable to wear. Fortunately, Five Ten has us well covered there, as the Eddys feel great on your feet both in and out of the water. Better yet, they don't happen to look like a water shoe at first glance, which means you'll feel at home wearing them hiking to the put-in, during your waterborne adventures, and afterwards when you're grabbing lunch and a beer at the local pub.

As a frequent traveler, I always try to limit the number of pairs of shoes I take with me on my trips to no more than two. But, depending on the type of excursion I'm setting out on, I may need to add another pair or two to my bag. The Eddy is a versatile enough water shoe that I wouldn't hesitate to bring it along on any trip that involves spending time on the water. It is not only lightweight and comfortable, but it is also highly packable too. That means it can slip into your duffle bag or backpack without taking up too much room or adding undue bulk – something that endears me to just about any piece of gear.

Competitively priced at $100, Five Ten brings a lot to the table with the Eddy. While there are plenty of other options for good water shoes that cost less than that – including the 3T Barefoot Warrior from Body Glove that I reviewed back in August – few of those other shoes offer as many technical advantages as Five Ten's offering. While the Barefoot Warrior is a better option for stand-up paddleboarders, I'd recommend the Eddy to anyone who finds themselves scrambling through rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water where the footing isn't always certain. This is a much more substantial shoe, that is only slightly bigger and heavier.

If you're in the market for some new water shoes, the Five Ten Eddy is a great choice. This is particularly true if you find yourself hiking over slick surfaces on your way to and from the water. I think you'll be extremely pleased with what this shoe has to offer, and the grippy rubber outsole will be a welcome option for those who need a little extra security along the way.

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