Make Money Selling Water Shoes All Summer

Water shoes and sandals continue to grow in popularity and are an easy sell in summer.

Make Money Selling Water Shoes All Summer

istock photo

It’s hard to believe, but there seems to be nearly as many types of water shoes as there are hiking boots, and nearly as many different styles. From the ubiquitous Croc to more specialized types of water shoes with a plethora of features costing up to hundreds of dollars, these shoes are wildly popular with young and old alike.

A little research reveals that one Croc model, the Bistro Clog, generates more than $3 million in monthly revenue on Amazon. And dozens of other models of Crocs sold on Amazon produce more than $500,000 each on a monthly basis.

And it’s not just Crocs that rack up high sales numbers. More specialized water shoes from companies like ALEDER Gear, ATIKA, Dreamcity and VIFUUR all have monthly Amazon sales of more than $1 million.

Fact is, there’s money to be made selling water shoes and related footwear. And sporting goods retailers not adding to their bottom line with this product category are making a big misstep.

Let’s take a quick look at what you need to know to cash in.

The Croc Craze

Our discussion of Crocs will focus largely on the foam clog shoes made by Crocs Inc., based in Niwot, Colorado. These shoes are so popular that there are even internet sites just for people to show off their “Croc Tans,” the phenomena where their white feet are polka-dotted with tan spots where their crocs allow the sun to shine through.

In this day and age when fashion is highly prized, for a shoe that is arguably not all that attractive to be popular with so many people, it must have a lot going for it. And, in fact, the Croc does.

Originally designed as boating shoes, the easy-drying material Crocs are constructed from and slip-resistant soles made them perfect for that purpose. Additionally, they’re extremely easy to put on and take off, and they feel great to many people’s feet, so their popularity for other activities has boomed. Made of a foam-like material called Croslite, the shoes will eventually mold to the shape of the wearer’s feet, giving him or her somewhat of a custom fit.

Crocs’ non-marking, non-slip soles also make them popular for people who spend a lot of time on their feet at various jobs. And they’re quite easy to clean with just water and a brush. Crocs are also odor and bacteria resistant, making them ideal for people who often get their feet wet in outdoor situations.

Note that a number of companies make Croc-like shoes that are similar to the original Crocs. While some are made of different materials, they are all designed mostly for casual daily wear and outside chores rather than more serious activities.

That’s not to suggest that many people don’t take their Crocs quite seriously. For some, their Crocs have the comfort, stability and support that is perfect for their foot type and they use them for hiking and other similar activities. But that’s not the case for everyone who tries them.

Let’s look at a few top options:

Crocs’ Bistro Clog was designed with food service, hospitality and healthcare workers in mind. Touted as light and supportive enough to get through even the longest of shifts, these shoes feature Crocs’ slip-resistant tread and a closed-toe design. A contoured footbed adds to their comfort.

Another good seller is Crocs’ Classic Clog which started the so-called “Croc Revolution.” This shoe is available in a wide range of colors, is quite lightweight and is water-friendly enough that it floats. It has a pivoting heel strap for a secure fit, and ventilation ports in the forefoot for breathability and to help shed water and debris.

Crocs’ Specialist II Clog is made for those who want to use their Crocs on the job. This style includes thicker construction at the toes and metatarsal areas, increased arch support and nubbed, Croslite foam footbeds for a massage-like experience. The enclosed toe on the Specialist II protects feet from spills, while the higher heels meet workplace standards and protect feet.

An alternative to original Crocs, the Anywhere company’s Zone line of clogs is very similar to Crocs but with a few differences. The shoes feature slip-resistant rubber outsoles and removable EVA insoles with ventilation holes. Their lightweight upper and midsole construction provides exceptional cushioning, shock absorption and all-day comfort. Heel height on the Zone clogs is 1.5 inches, and they are available in more than 20 different colors/patterns.

Serious Water Shoes

I call these serious water shoes because they are made for and marketed to more serious outdoor adventurers who need top-quality footwear that happens to be perfect for using in and around water. All are designed to provide comfort and protection for wearers’ feet when in wet environments, and some are even more sophisticated and suitable for hiking and other activities that require a specialized shoe.

Most have uppers made of lightweight, synthetic materials that are very breathable and allow water to easily flow in and out. Their ability to drain and dry quickly is what keeps wearers from suffering blisters from extended walking in wet shoes. Soles are typically a hard material like rubber or hard plastic, and many have EVA midsoles for support and cushioning.

If customers are looking to just walk along the beach or lounge around the pool, a simple pair of water shoes with a mesh upper and thin sole will suffice at keeping their feet safe from cuts and stab wounds. But for those who plan to use them for hardcore pursuits like hiking, backpacking or canoeing, more specialized water shoes built for such purposes better fit the bill. Such shoes will have high-quality hard soles with some kind of no-slip tread on the bottom. They’ll be made of breathable materials and have plenty of support and structure to support the wearers feet for an extended length of time. Basically, they’re hiking shoes that are made for getting very wet and drying quickly. And they’re nearly always very lightweight.

In the past, most water-shoe makers seemed to either focus on function or fashion. A good pair would often look quite ugly, while an attractive pair might not have the attributes needed to meet the needs of the hardcore adventurer. Fortunately, many companies making water shoes have begun crafting good-looking shoes that are also quite functional and durable.

While it might seem that water shoe sizing isn’t very important since these shoes will often be wet, getting the perfect size is important for avoiding blisters and hotspots. In a nutshell, water shoes should fit snugly, but not so tight that they become uncomfortable during extended wear. Too loose, and they could easily wash away in the surf or slip off when traversing steep or mucky terrain. Too tight, and wearers could get blisters not only on their toes, but also on their heels and the binding around their ankles.

Let’s look at some options in this category.

The ALEADER Gear Barefoot Mesh Water Shoe is made of mesh and has a hard, non-slip rubber sole to prevent cuts and abrasions when walking in wet, rocky environments. An elastic band with removable laces helps adjust the shoe to a perfect fit, and the bottom has drainage holes to ensure quick water outflow, keeping feet as dry as possible. The upper mesh is made of breathable polyester fabric.

For minimalists looking for a simple, lightweight water shoe that is a little more functional than Crocs for walking along the beach or lake shore, the Speedo Surfwalker Pro 2 will fit the bill. This basic water shoe has a rubber outsole to keep the wearer’s feet protected if he or she steps on a sharp shell, glass or any other object around the water. It is breathable, has mesh inserts for quick drying and weighs just 10 ounces for the pair.

Another popular option is the ATIKA Sports Sandal trail and outdoor water shoe. This specialized shoe, rated Number 4 and the Best Value in water sandals by “Best Reviews Guide,” is a step above normal water shoes because it is geared toward hiking, trekking and other strenuous outdoor activities. The sandals have a lightweight EVA midsole for durability and superior cushioning, and their trekking grip provides traction on all surfaces.

The Merrell Aero Hiking Water Shoe is made for heavy-duty applications that might include hiking or even tough portages in canoe country. The shoe features breathable mesh in the upper to allow the wearer’s feet to air out quickly, which helps prevent hotspots and blisters. And its molded TPU outsole increases performance and protects feet even in tough, wet environments, making it possible to wear these shoes in just about any terrain type.

If your store or shop isn’t carrying at least a small selection of both Croc-style shoes and more advanced water shoes, this category is certainly one to consider. Water sports — ranging from swimming and windsurfing to just hanging out at the lake — aren’t exactly falling in popularity. In fact, the global water sports equipment and accessories market is expected to witness a growth of 4.3 percent compound annual growth rate between now and 2026, according to Marketwatch.com. As analysts there reported, “Increasing health benefits associated with water sports is supporting the market growth worldwide.”




Discussion

Comments on this site are submitted by users and are not endorsed by nor do they reflect the views or opinions of COLE Publishing, Inc. Comments are moderated before being posted.