Important Equipment for Waterfall and Seascape Photography

Barbara Merkley

I love to photograph waterfalls, rivers, and seascapes. These topics make up approximately 50% of my portfolio. And when photographing those, I require to have appropriate footing to go close to freely and concentrate on the topic and composition. So the matter of this short article is suitable h2o sneakers that I last but not least identified after tests a number of makes more than the many years.

I’m conscious that this is not the regular machines critique you would hope right here simply because it can be not about a new digital camera, some extravagant lens, a tripod, or a camera bag. But for me, water shoes also fall underneath the group of critical photography machines. With no those people, it would be challenging to choose some of the photographs, for which I have to get into the water.

Consider this image of the La Fortuna waterfall in Costa Rica. I was standing ideal in the middle of the river on a combine of sharp and slippery rocks when I took this photograph. I have finished these photoshoots barefoot, but it was never ever a pleasant expertise. In the conclude, I’d be targeted so substantially on in which to put my toes that the images I might acquire would ordinarily be missing.

Prerequisites for Water Footwear

To obtain the suitable h2o shoes, I experienced to established some demands:

  • As with all shoes, they need to be at ease to dress in. It is a thing wherever my former water footwear were being missing. I made use of a pair of Vibram FiveFinger sneakers with seams within, which slice into my toes when sand and water acquired into the shoes.

  • They ought to be easy to place on and off for the reason that I typically have my water shoes in my backpack when I do a longer hike to a image place. At the time I am on area, I really don’t want to be fumbling with my drinking water sneakers. I want to slip in and head into the drinking water.

  • Water footwear want to sit company. If the shoes slip off though wading as a result of a rushing river, they’re misplaced. This requirement stands in distinction to the former a person. Often, if footwear are uncomplicated to place on, they never sit especially organization. For my Vibram footwear, the reverse was real: They sat incredibly business but had been a inconvenience to put on.

  • I want lightweight footwear for my travels, and I identified that barefoot sneakers with a slim sole are normally the greatest bet with their small excess weight and small packing measurement. In the past, I even utilised socks produced from Dyneema substance. Those were from FYF and a bit as well minimalistic for my style.

  • Water footwear have to dry immediately. If I set them in a heat place right away, they must be dry on the adhering to early morning.

  • A excellent grip is vital. But there is ordinarily a compromise to be designed. Some sneakers use difficult rubber for a strong sole, which lasts for a very long time. Individuals slip less complicated on soaked surfaces. On the other hand, there are shoes with a softer sole. While such a sole wears off a lot more quickly, it frequently offers greater friction. For me, the sweet place lies somewhere in the center. Preferably, I can use my drinking water shoes also for short to medium hikes, so they require a good profile and strong sole.

Now that appears to be like like really a listing. Until eventually not long ago, I wasn’t absolutely sure if I’d find sneakers that would fulfill all of individuals needs. I ordered a few of distinctive sneakers for tests, just one pair refreshing from a Kickstarter campaign. None of them felt appropriate. But immediately after I returned from Costa Rica a few of weeks in the past, I last but not least found a very good answer.

Xero Sneakers Aqua X Sport

Just after some investigation, I finished up on the Xero Shoes homepage where by I observed a big range of barefoot footwear, which include the Aqua X Activity, a shoe manufactured for water routines.

What I Like

By likely with the grey model, I now have h2o sneakers, which glance like casual sneakers. And they are super relaxed to use. I wore them through a journey to Venice, the place I walked far more than 10 kilometers every single working day. In addition to that, I had them on some trails, wherever they held up nicely.

The sneakers have numerous very small holes in the higher cloth to permit drinking water movement out swiftly. Those people holes also offer air flow on warm times when I use them for functions outdoors the drinking water.

The elastic laces let me to set the shoes on and off rapidly, and I can secure them appropriately for pursuits in the drinking water. After the laces are restricted, I will not will need to fret about shedding them to a hurrying river. They also sit restricted all over the heel, which provides more security. For a excellent in good shape, I observed that heading with my usual shoe dimension labored quite properly.

Weighing just 7.5 ounces for every shoe for a dimension 10, the Aqua X Activity is also very light-weight. That’s why, bringing them along on my travels won’t insert a great deal excess weight to my luggage.

And what about their quick-dry abilities? They appear with a detachable internal sole that dries promptly, as does the thin, breathable mesh that will make up most of the shoe. Only at the padded heel did I obtain the shoes to however be a bit damp immediately after obtaining them sit during the night time — but a handful of minutes in the sunlight should really typically address that.

Now let’s speak about the grip. Initially of all, the footwear have really an aggressive sole profile, which provides them superior traction on trails. But how do they fare on damp rocks? I examined them for the duration of a day of waterfall images with a great deal of different surfaces, and they gave me good footing in most scenarios. Clean, moist rocks are problematic nevertheless, and I get extra friction when barefoot. As I wrote above, there is always a compromise. But for me, the Aqua X Activity still hits the sweet location.

In addition to all of that, I can use skinny neoprene socks with the Aqua X Activity if I take away the internal sole. And this is a activity-changer for me simply because I can endure freezing drinking water for substantially for a longer period now and take my time composing my photos.

What Could Be Improved

It would be nice to have a version with a various sole profile to boost the area area with which the sole connects to the floor. It could improve the friction. On the other hand, it could possibly arrive at the price tag of the shoes’ abilities on trails.


With a value tag of 130$, the Xero Sneakers Aqua X Sport are some of the much more expensive drinking water footwear you can acquire. But taking into consideration their functions and versatility, I believe they are truly worth the funds since they are a lot more than a h2o shoe. I will also use them to check out cities, for quick to medium hikes in a warm local climate, and even when likely to places to eat for the duration of my travels. Also, with the capability to use them jointly with neoprene socks, photographing in cold water is now substantially extra nice.

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