Though they’re new for 2012, I’ve been calling them my “Biblical sandals.” The Kiota H2O sandals from Lizard have a modern outsole but a strap-heavy look that I swear Saul of Tarsus could’ve rocked.
Maybe I’m looking too far back. But these made-in-Italy sandals are certainly old-school. (Perhaps “proto-Teva” could be more in line.) Thick nylon climbing webbing secures them onto the foot. You cinch them tight with cordage and a tab of Velcro on the heel.
Lizard is an Italian brand that’s made sandals since 1992. The Kiota H2O model was built for water, as the name hints. Fording rivers or even swimming rapids in the tight-fitting sandals is not a problem.
On land, they have a treaded outsole that grips dirt trails or mud. The midsole is a solid slab of a rubbery material that cradles the foot.
All the straps on top give the sandals their old-world look and make for a fit that’s so secure even whitewater will not pull them off. There are six anchor points where the straps attach to the footbed, wrapping your foot tight.
But all the straps can be finicky. If not positioned correctly, the webbing will wear into the foot, causing hotspots on a hike. A quick adjustment took care of ill-fit issues for me.
They weigh about 9 ounces a foot, which is lightweight but not in the “minimal shoe” realm. Indeed, I found the sandals to be supportive and protective enough to hike five miles on a rough mountain trail.
The Kiota H2O comes in men’s and women’s models for $99. The construction is solid and these sandals are built to last for years of use, in the water or out, or perhaps trekking through a desert just like Saul.
—Stephen Regenold is founder and editor of www.gearjunkie.com.