5 Essential Features to Look for in Reef Shoes for Snorkelling

Snorkelling is an underrated way to incorporate intimate encounters with vibrant underwater life into your recreational activities. While the equipment required for snorkelling is typically less complex than scuba diving, an essential yet often overlooked piece of gear that can enhance both safety and comfort is reef shoes. If you’re unfamiliar with how these shoes work or you’re just not sure what to look for when buying a pair, this article will go over five essential features to consider when investing in reef shoes for snorkelling.

Comfortable Fit

The fit of your reef shoes is crucial not only for comfort, but also safety. A well-fitted pair should feel secure but not overly constrictive on your feet, allowing for natural foot movement. The material should also be flexible enough to adapt to your foot’s shape, ensuring comfort during extended periods of wear. Ideally, look for shoes that are easy to put on and remove, making the transition between water and land easier.

Non-Slip Soles

Reef environments can be slippery, making non-slip soles a must-have feature for any snorkelling shoe. Hard rubber soles are often the best choice, as they provide excellent traction and reduce the risk of slips or falls on slick underwater surfaces.


Durability is a key factor to consider when choosing reef shoes. Look for shoes made from high-grade materials like neoprene or synthetic mesh, which offer resistance to wear and tear while maintaining breathability. Pay special attention to the quality of the stitching of your shoes as well. Double-stitched seams generally outlast single-stitched ones, ensuring a longer lifespan for your shoes and better overall performance.

Protection Against Sharp Objects

Reef shoes should offer sufficient protection against sharp objects such as rocks and coral, which can cause injuries during snorkelling. Shoes with thick yet flexible soles are ideal, as they provide a barrier against potential punctures without compromising on comfort or mobility.

Quick-Drying Material

After a day of snorkelling, the last thing you want is to walk around in waterlogged shoes. Opt for shoes made from quick-drying materials to ensure they dry rapidly once you’re back on land. This not only enhances comfort, but also prevents bacterial growth, which can lead to unpleasant odours or even foot infections.

Additional Benefits of Reef Shoes

Beyond some of the features listed, there are several additional benefits to wearing reef shoes while snorkelling. For instance, they can protect your feet from sunburn, which is a common issue when spending extended periods in the water. They also provide comfort when walking on hot surfaces like sand or bricks, which can be particularly useful if your snorkelling trip also includes a beach hike. Reef shoes can additionally enhance your grip, making it easier to navigate slippery or rocky underwater terrains.


When selecting reef shoes for snorkelling, prioritise a comfortable fit, non-slip soles, durability, protection against sharp objects and quick-drying materials. These features can significantly enhance your safety and comfort, allowing you to fully enjoy the experience of snorkelling. Remember, the right pair of reef shoes can make a substantial difference in your snorkelling experience, so take the time to find the right shoes for your needs.

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