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an underwater photo of the salomon techamphibian 5 water shoes walking on some rocks

The rugged outsole of the Salomon Techamphibian 5 made navigating rocky coastlines a breeze. Photo: Steve Andrews/The Inertia

The Inertia

When searching for an ideal pair of water shoes, several factors are non-negotiable. They have to work well underwater, of course. They should dry out in a reasonable time. They need to be comfortable to wear without socks. But there is another important consideration, one where many water shoes fall short: They should also work well on land. Luckily, we have the Salomon Techamphibian 5.

While compiling The Inertia’s guide for The Best Water Shoes, I sampled dozens of contenders. But Salomon’s Techamphibian 5 rose to the top. I’ve been testing these shoes since last summer through the trails, waterways, and rocky coastlines of British Columbia and Washington State. Read on to discover why they were my all-around top pick.

Pros Cons
Quick-drying Heel strap can get loose
Grippy sole Narrow heel
Collapsible heel Debris can get caught inside
Good on both land and water

Salomon Techamphibian 5 Water Shoes: First Impressions

Weight (Pair): 21 oz. a product photo of the salomon techamphibian water shoes, which won our pick for the best overall water shoe.
Upper Material: Synthetic
Sole: Rubber
Closure: Quick-pull lace
Best For: Active adventurers who need a performance-oriented shoe in and out of water
Maybe not for: People who just want to take it easy at the beach, or who don’t spend much time in the water

The first thing I noticed when pulling these shoes out was how light they were. At just over 21 ounces for the pair, they rival sandals in their lightness but provide closed-toe protection. Pretty impressive. Their outsole also seemed impressively grippy, thanks to Salomon’s many decades of research and development into some of the world’s best hiking boots and shoes.

I expected these shoes to serve me well while hiking and traversing sketchy terrain. And in the water, I wanted sure purchase on slippery coastlines and transitions from waves to beach. So, how did they perform?

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Notable Features of Salomon Techamphibian 5

Grippy Outsole

As I mentioned, the outsole is what sets these water shoes apart. The grippy rubber and efficient tread pattern allowed me to tackle tough terrain both in and out of the water without fear of losing balance or traction.

Of course, this comes with the disclaimer that you must always use caution. Accidents are a numbers game, and we all fall from time to time. But chances are it’ll be less often in these shoes compared to a pair of flip-flops — and many other water shoes I’ve tested.

The Salomon Techamphibian 5: Quick-Drying Properties

After a trip down to the river, the Techamphibian 5s dried out in a matter of minutes while riding my bike home. This was on a day that wasn’t too hot, either. To top it off, I tested these shoes in an area of the world known for its wet and humid climate.

Poor drying time is a significant drawback of other fully enclosed water shoes. The quick-drying prowess on display here is a result of material choice and thoughtfully constructed ventilation.

Athletic Design

These shoes are awesome at moving fast over uneven surfaces. Running, jumping, and general tomfoolery were not only doable, they were a lot of fun in the Salomon Techamphibians.

A closeup of the Salomon Techamphibian 5 water shoes to showcase the contragrip outsole

The well-dialed outsole makes walking in rocky terrain underwater a breeze. Photo Steve Andrews/The Inertia

Drawbacks to the Salomon Techamphibian 5

The main drawback, performance-wise, concerns the collapsible heel and the accompanying heel strap. The design is meant to make slipping the shoes on and off easier when you are in a hurry. I wasn’t really a fan. I didn’t feel a lot of stability with the heel folded down, especially in the water.

So, for the most part, I kept the heel up. But putting Salomon Techamphibian 5s on and off in the heel-up mode isn’t a simple maneuver. The accompanying strap must be manipulated each time to keep a snug fit. When it’s engaged, it leaves a bit of a tail that can get in the way. This is true as well for the quick-pull lace, so be aware of this when trodding through sticks and branches either by or in the river.

The other drawback is that the upper material is synthetic (read: oil-based). In this day and age, we consumers have a choice in products that are sourced responsibly. Salomon makes no mention of either recycled/bio-based materials or fair trade construction with regard to these shoes.

To some people, this may not be an issue; to others, it is. For me, it’s important to care about the supply chain that we spend our hard-earned money on. The Inertia has reached out to Salomon concerning the supply chain utilized in making the Techamphibians, and I’ll update this story when I hear back.

Putting on the Salomon Techamphibian 5 water shoes by a river

While the shoes provide a good fit, they aren’t something you can just pull on and off with ease if you have the heel up. Thankfully, the heel collapses if you need an easier entry. But that mode comes at the cost of stability, especially while in the water. Photo: Steve Andrews/The Inertia

Final Thoughts on the Salomon Techamphibian 5

Salomon’s Techamphibian 5 water shoes are lightweight, achieve a tight fit, dry out quickly, and boast traction for days. That’s a good set of boxes to check when it comes to water-borne adventures.

Their (assumed) lack of sustainable materials might be a dealbreaker to some. And while the heels are in collapsed mode, the shoes don’t provide as much stability as I’d like. When in heel-up mode, they are tough to get in and out of.

So, if you want more casual, less technical water shoes, it’s probably best to find something a little more simplistic.

But for good traction and a shoe that won’t fall off during high-output activity yet still drains and dries quickly, this is a top pick.

Buy Men's on REI Buy Women's on REI

Editor’s Note: Looking for a more casual water shoe option? Check out our review of the Astral Brewess 2.0. For more gear reviews and features on The Inertia, click here.

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