Anyone that knows us would know that our favorite place in the world is Karijini National Park (Western Australia). So much so, we have visited three times in the past three years, including once on our honeymoon and we even plan to return again this year.
What we love most about Karijini is its adventurous walks and breathtaking scenery. You have to scale rocks, do the spider walk and wade through icy cold water but the views you reach are absolutely incredible. Even if it’s a bit scary getting there – it is so so worth it.
So what’s all this got to do with a pair of shoes? Well, each time we have visited Karijini the two of us have tried to work out the best pair of shoes to wear, and think we finally have the answer! I know right - what a couple, they must have absolutely gripping conversations if they go to one of the most incredible National Parks in the world and then spend the entire time there discussing footwear options! But our reason for this romantic chit chat is warranted. You see, each time we have visited Karijini, we have seen and even attended to accidents. Our last visit (on our honeymoon) was the worst by far with us giving first aid to a young man who had slipped in the water from a 2m height, knocked himself out and fell into the pool of icy cold water below. So yes, while it might not be the most interesting conversation, to us, it’s a conversation worth having.
I’m thinking if I explain our shoe choices for each of our Karijini trips and how we ended up here - writing this blog, you’ll be picturing a really cool image like the evolution one that goes from monkey to man, but from sneakers to … sandals to … well keep reading and you’ll find out.
So, on our first trip to Karijini, we wore our running shoes and decided to take them off before we entered the water each time (if you have been to Karijini you’ll know how many times this is!). The result – we got frustrated having to remove our shoes time and time again and ended up caving and wearing them in the water. Smelly wet shoes – not ideal. Why do sneakers take so long to dry?
On our second trip to Karijini, we bought and wore water sandals. The result – we were much quicker and safer in the water until my sandal slipped off while I was scaling rocks and caused me to slip. The only good to come of it was the bruise on my back was kind of shaped like a pear.
On our third trip, we tried boat shoes. The result – we were the quickest we had been in the water but didn’t feel completely confident as we just couldn’t quite fully grip the rocks. This was demonstrated when James slipped and dropped the entire backpack in the water (WHICH HAD OUR FOOD IN IT).
So of course, we had already started discussing what shoes we would wear for our fourth Karijini trip later this year (because if you missed it – super gripping conversation having couple over here) when a few months ago, a US brand named Aleader got in touch with us and asked if we're interested in collaborating.
Aleader makes these nifty wee shoes that are fit for adventure on land, and you guessed it, adventuring in the water too. In all honesty, the two of us aren’t really big on the whole ‘featured Instagram post’ thing unless we really truly believe in the product. So we sat on the fence for as long as it takes to put the bloody fence up, and after many more conversations on shoes (are we headed for divorce?!) we decided we were keen!
We had the shoes shipped to New Zealand, and I have to say, hand on my heart and in the name of my one true love, Ben Lummis, they have been an absolute godsend. We have worn them so much more than we ever thought we would – while we’re walking to waterfalls, exploring chasms and canyons, and even at the beach when we’re rock hopping. A few hikes we have done have also involved wading through mud and it’s been great to chuck these on and not have to worry about how dirty they’ll get – we just rinse them off and they’re as good as new.
The water shoes are lightweight, look good, have easy elastic laces (which is great as James still believes I learned how to tie my shoelaces the wrong way but that’s a conversation for another day), and the best part – you don’t have to sell any organs to get your hands on them. We can’t wait to get back to Karijini this year and bring our Aleaders – based on how well they have performed here in Aotearoa, we just know they’re going to be a perfect choice.
So if you’re looking for a pair of water shoes that look good, feel good and won’t break the bank go check em’ out!