The stylish answer to waterproof beach shoes

Classic espadrilles – but made of neoprene

In theory, I am all for sensible water shoes. I make my kids wear them on rocky shorelines and I have been known to slip on a rubberised pair while walking on shell-lined beaches. The issue is that they almost always look hideous; they certainly aren’t the kind of shoes you want to pitch up wearing at a chic, thatched-roof restaurant on St Barths or Nantucket.

Well, the gap in the market has now been filled by Libby Fitzgerald (a former marketing executive at Hermès) and her creative director partner Michael Leva, whose stylish Beachcomber espadrilles are my favourite functional find for summer. They’ve reimagined the classic espadrille using a fitted, quick-drying neoprene upper and a durable rubber deck sole that protects against sharp objects, stinging sea creatures and hot sand. The result is a comfortable, supportive shoe suitable for boating, biking and even strolling the streets of Manhattan.

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The men’s and women’s Beachcomber espadrilles ($78) are available in black, white and navy, as well as vibrant shades such as Marine Blue (first picture) and Lighthouse Red (second picture). There’s a striped version too. There are also children’s espadrilles ($68). My navy pair look just like the ones sourced in the south of France, and they go beautifully with crisp white trousers. For a casual holiday I could pack just this one pair of shoes. I think I hear Harbour Island calling my name…

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