Are Vibrams Good Water Shoes? (Pros and Cons)

In short: Vibram FiveFingers that have secure hook-and-loop closure on the instep (like the V-Aqua) are appropriate for a variety of water sports and activities in fast-moving water.

However, can you actually swim in Vibram FiveFingers? Do they feel comfortable or awkward inside the water? In this article, you’ll learn whether Vibrams are good water shoes or not.

Can you swim in Vibram FiveFingers?

You can swim in Vibram FiveFingers. They are much better than wearing aqua socks and provide a little extra paddle, but they do feel awkward. I’d opt to swim barefoot, though.

However, only Vibram FiveFingers that have secure hook-and-loop closure on the instep, like the V-Aqua water shoe, are appropriate for a variety of water sports and activities.

The glove-like fit keeps them from filling with water and becoming too heavy, but I also found that Vibrams loosen in the water, so you may need to tighten the strap after a while.

I personally prefer swimming barefoot, but if you are swimming in lakes with unpleasantly rocky shores, you should protect the bottom of your feet by wearing Vibrams FiveFingers.

Pros of wearing Vibrams as water shoes

Assuming you have learned how to walk and run in Vibrams, you can navigate bodies of water comfortably in them. Here are some of the pros of wearing Vibrams as water shoes:

1. Protect the bottom of your feet

What I liked best about wearing the Vibrams in the water was that I didn’t need to be constantly aware of where I was stepping. This is important when there are a lot of rocks on the shoreline. 

I try to be aware of where I’m stepping in the water because I’ve hurt myself in the past stepping on coral and rocks. The further you go out, the more activity there is under the water. 

With FiveFingers on, however, I almost felt invincible. The V-Aqua shoes have thick soles, so I was fairly confident that I could put my foot wherever I wanted in the water.

For most beach and water activities, going barefoot is no problem. However, if you need protection, Vibram FiveFingers will do a great job protecting the bottom of your feet.

2. Provide good traction on wet and slippery surfaces

In addition to protection, Vibram shoes, especially the V-Aqua water shoes, also provide good traction on both dry and wet terrains while maintaining a high level of durability.

We all expect good traction from Vibrams, and they don’t disappoint in the water. Most water shoe soles almost seem like an afterthought, but that isn’t the case with VFFs.

This is why Vibram FiveFingers are also great for hiking in the great outdoors, especially if you encounter river beds and bodies of water in your adventure. They provide great grip.

3. Easy to clean and wash

Finally, Vibrams are easy to clean. I just took them into the shower with me, rinsed them with a bit of soap, made sure all the sand was out, and let them air dry in a well-ventilated area.

As long as you get as much of the sand out, you can pretty much use any FiveFinger cleaning method you fancy. But if you want to be through, learn how to wash them here.

Cons of wearing Vibrams as water shoes

While Vibrams have plenty of benefits as water shoes, they also have some cons. Here are some of the things to look out for when wearing Vibram FiveFingers as water shoes:

1. Water and sand can get inside the shoes

After wearing Vibrams in the water for some time, the biggest drawback is the sand and water that have made their way inside. It was uncomfortable but tolerable.

However, you may need some time to get used to it. I think this would be the case for any water shoes that were cut at the ankle. You probably need water boots to keep the sand out.

2. Vibrams are heavy when wet

Because of the sand and water, Vibram shoes become heavy when they are wet. This is particularly noticeable when you are used to being barefoot in the water. 

The water really feels like it’s holding your feet down with a weight, especially when you’re swimming. This is why I would prefer to swim barefoot when given the choice.

One of the great things about FiveFingers is how much protection they provide with such little weight. However, when these things are holding water, they feel heavy. 

Should you wear Vibram FiveFingers as water shoes?

Now you know whether Vibrams are good water shoes or not. If you already own FiveFingers, it makes sense to wear them in the water rather than buy a new pair of water shoes.

I think most people would agree that swimming barefoot is the way to go. However, if you really need shoes in the water because of rocks, coral, or creatures, FiveFingers are a good choice.