By SCOTT DOGGETT (PRODUCT PHOTO) NRS ATTACK: This shoe didn't live up to the manufacturer's claim that its rubber sole provides superior traction. To the contrary, a banana peel on a greasy driveway might equal its poor grip on a submerged rock. And once water entered the shoes, I sloshed around due to poor drainage. I did however like the user-friendly Velcro strap. $70. (800) 635-5202, www.nrsweb.com.ID
(PRODUCT PHOTO) SPERRY FIGAWI SURGE: The internal midsole of these lookers provided excellent arch support, and the mesh fabric top kept my feet comfortable. The Surge was second only to the Water Tennie for good traction on wet rocks (albeit a distant second), but the drainage ports let in lots of sand and pebbles. $80. (800) 617-2239, www.sperrytopsider.com.
(PRODUCT PHOTO) SALOMON TECHAMPHIBIAN: The wide mesh siding permitted a small playground's worth of sand to enter the shoes, adding to discomfort I was already experiencing from the abrasive external frame. The soles offered only moderate traction on wet rocks. Salomon makes some fine products, but the Techamphibian isn't one of them. $75. (800) 225-6850, www.salomonoutdoor.com.
(PRODUCT PHOTO) FIVE TEN WATER TENNIE: These shoes performed amazingly well in and around water. The rubber soles allowed me to leap from one wet river rock to another without fear of slipping. The heel support was divine, and water exited quickly from the shoes. My only complaint: The shoes are a few ounces heavier than the others. $89. (909) 798-4222, www.fiveten.com.