If you wear running shoes for running, tennis shoes on the court, and hiking boots in the backcountry, it makes sense that you should water shoes when you are likely to be in or around water, right?
As a lightweight, practical, and affordable alternative to sneakers or sandals, water shoes will protect your feet while still enabling you to safely enjoy wet conditions and full submersions. Impressive designs, non-slip soles, and state of the art fabrics mean modern water shoes are now a desirable addition to your wardrobe.
Table of contents
- The Benefits of Water Shoes
- Things to Consider With Water Shoes
- The Best Water Shoes for Women
- The Best Water Shoes for Men
- Final Thoughts
Table of Contents
- The Benefits of Water Shoes
- Things to Consider With Water Shoes
- The Best Water Shoes for Women
- The Best Water Shoes for Men
- Final Thoughts
The Benefits of Water Shoes
If you are planning on heading out into the great outdoors, you want to be sure that your footwear is perfectly suited to the adventures you’ve got planned. While walking over hot sand in bare feet can just be plain uncomfortable, there are some instances where having the wrong type of footwear can be downright dangerous.
Water shoes offer a wide range of benefits over and above just wearing flip flops or sandals in or around the water, and they offer breathable, practical, easy to wear protection from hot sand and sharp rocks and stones.
For hiking trips, cycling, trail walking, and other outdoor adventures, a shoe that offers a rugged sole, quick-drying qualities, and easy drainage will fare far better than regular hiking shoes or sneakers.
With non-slip soles, elastics that can easily be adjusted on the go, and a breathable design, water shoes will help you travel harder for longer, even over rough terrain and uneven surfaces.
If you enjoy indulging in water sports, you will want shoes that stay on your feet even under the water. Investing in shoes that are guaranteed to remain lightweight and stay firmly on your feet will prevent blisters and waterlogging and keep you upright to avoid slips or nasty falls.
Things to Consider With Water Shoes
Size and Fit
Water shoes should fit snugly enough to stop your feet from sloshing around inside of them, but not so tight that they rub your feet. More expensive water shoes may come in half sizes, making it easier to find the perfect fit, whereas cheaper ones may not. Some manufacturers will specify if you need to size up or down, so do your research.
Designed to be worn without a sock, your water shoes should fit your bare feet exactly. Your foot’s length should sit well on the base of the shoe, and the thick rubber should fully cover your toes at the front of the shoe if the design incorporates a toe guard.
Made from a breathable material, water shoes are designed to help keep your feet comfortable, even in hot conditions. The breathable design also allows for better water flow when submerged and ensures that the water drains quickly out of them back on dry land.
If you are out in the ocean or somewhere chilly, specially-designed water shoes will also help to keep feet warm in cold water.
Freezing feet can lead to poor circulation, which will reduce your overall performance, so make sure that your water shoes offer the right level of warmth and comfort if you are planning on working them harder than just styling them out around the pool.
Wet surfaces are usually slippery, so choosing a pair of water shoes that offer optimal traction is important for staying safe. On boat decks, over slippery rocks, or when using water sports equipment, you want a pair of shoes that will stop embarrassing slips and potentially dangerous falls.
For more extreme adventures, the amount of traction your shoes offer can be the difference between sliding down dangerous canyons or hitting the floor face first when running and enjoying the confidence to tackle any terrain knowing that the soles on your shoes offer plenty of grip.
If you are only planning on wearing your water shoes at the beach or around the pool, most brands and models will be durable enough to last you through many trips.
But suppose you are planning on more extreme activities. In that case, you need to look for a pair that offers tough fabric uppers like leather or neoprene that can withstand salt water and regular soakings, as well as rugged leather soles that are flexible enough to bend over uneven terrain.
When taking your water shoes out hiking or trekking over rough terrain, you will want them to provide an element of stability to support your feet on the go. Shoes that have arch support built into their design will help you find the most effective stance while walking, and models that offer higher cuff or straps may add additional support around the ankle.
Hot Tip: Non-slip soles and quick drainage systems will also help you to remain stable, as they are far less likely to slip and tumble on wet terrain.
Water shoes are often made using mesh materials to help your feet cool and allow wet shoes to dry super quickly. Some water shoes offer drainage holes, too, which help the water flow through your shoe when submerged and then flood back out on dry land.
Breathability is key if your want to avoid damp, smelly footwear that won’t feel pleasant on your feet, and whether you opt for neoprene, leather, mesh, or even PVA uppers, research how breathable they are before you buy.
The Best Water Shoes for Women
Our “Quick Picks”
Best for a Sock-Like Comfort
VIFUUR Water Sports Shoes Barefoot Quick-Dry Aqua Yoga Socks
Made from extremely stretchable material, these super comfortable aqua shoes offer breathable barefoot protection for trips to the beach, the pool, sailing, boating, kayaking, windsurfing, fishing, and so much more. With a rubber sole for increased traction and protection from pain, these are an awesome pair of aqua socks for almost any occasion.
The smooth neck design makes these easy to wear and take off, while still being able to prevent chaffing or blisters. The non-slip rubber sole will protect your feet from the discomfort of gravel, stone, and rough ground, while the quick-drying, soft fabric uppers are made with elastic to help them remain flexible and comfortable all day long.
Available in a wide range of solid colors and bright, bold designs, you can easily find the right pair to suit both your lifestyle and your personality. For your ongoing comfort, buy a size up from your usual size to ensure your feet love them as much as we do.
Best for Rough Terrain
Merrell Women’s All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoe
These good looking sports shoes offer the perfect compromise between a shoe and a sandal and are designed to perform brilliantly on any surface, whether it is wet or dry. Incredibly comfortable to wear, these are excellent hiking shoes that can also be worn straight out of the water.
The tough rubber soles are solid enough to protect your feet from rocks and sharp objects while still remaining supple and flexible on uneven terrains. They also work really well in the water should your adventures lead you through lakes and streams. The UniFly midsole provides all-day cushioned comfort, and the TC5+Vibram outsole with 3-millimeter lugs offers superior traction.
With uppers made from waterproof leather with a waxy finish and super stretchy neoprene, these shoes are quick drying and easy to wear. With an antimicrobial treatment to keep unwanted odors at bay and a bungee lacing system that makes it easy to adjust them even on the go, these are an awesome pair of outdoor shoes, both on land and in water.
Best for a Natural, Barefoot Feel
Native Shoes, Jefferson
These fabulous slip-on sneakers are water-friendly, shock-absorbent, ultra-lightweight, and odor-resistant, making them an awesome choice for anyone looking for lightweight shoes that can handle the perils of the great outdoors.
Available in a wide range of colors, these shoes are made from EVA uppers and synthetic soles, ensuring they work well on the beach, at the swimming pool, or even for day-to-day use. The perforations help control temperature and let feet breathe, while the antimicrobial treatment helps prevent unwanted odors.
You can slip these little beauties on and off in an instant, and the durable rubber toe cap offers extra protection for your feet wherever you are headed. Washable, wearable, and highly capable, these Native Shoes are also a PETA-certified approved vegan brand.
Best for the Beach
EOMTAM Water Shoes, Water Socks for Barefoot Quick-Dry Aqua Yoga Socks
Perfect for wearing at the beach, by the lake, on a boat, or anywhere else where your feet need to feel free around the water, these awesome little shoes are made from super-soft, fast-drying, super stretchy material, making them easy to wear all day long.
With hardwearing non-slip soles, your feet will be protected against stones, rubble, rocks, and rough terrain, while the heavyweight stitching will prevent water from rushing in. Available in a wide range of bright colors and bold patterns, these shoes look as good on dry land as they do in the water.
For increased comfort, remember to size up with these sock-style shoes, and for your added convenience, each pair comes with a super fancy universal waterproof case for keeping your cell phone or other essentials items safe from the water while you paddle, play, or practice.
Hot Tip: Before you head to the beach, check out our printable beach vacation packing checklist and tips.
Best for Everyday Wear
Barerun Barefoot Quick-Dry Water Sports Shoes Aqua Socks
Let your feet feel free, even with shoes on, with these incredibly lightweight and super flexible sports socks with soles. Made from quick-drying and stretchy polyester, these water shoes offer all the comfort and flexibility of a pair of socks, with the additional benefit of thick soles for added protection.
The breathable and super smooth fabric feels lovely on your bare feet, and the high-quality rubber soles will protect them from the pain of hot sand, rocks, and rough terrain. These super cool little water shoes can also fold up easily, making them perfect for throwing in your beach bag or keeping in the car.
Available in a wide range of colorways, these shoes have a high-quality look and feel, and they are so comfortable they could even be used as indoor slippers or walking shoes.
Best for Water Sports
Aleader Women’s Mesh Slip On Water Shoes
Designed with outdoor adventurers and water sports fanatics in mind, these slip-on shoes come complete with rubber pods strategically placed in high wear areas for additional traction. Combined with the Water Grain outsoles, these shoes are able to excel in wet and slippery conditions.
Perfect for hikers, bikers, and anyone whose adventures take them to the water, these shoes feature engineered mesh uppers that offer quick-drying breathability to ensure that a quick soaking won’t weigh you down for long.
For even more comfort on the go, the Solyte midsole is incredibly lightweight and provides excellent bounce back, meaning these shoes feel as good as new for so much longer. Perfect for use when snorkeling, boating, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, sailing, and even when out camping, they are versatile and practical alternatives to heavy sneakers.
Best for Comfort
Zhuanglin Women’s Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes Casual Walking Shoes
Offering a lightweight sneaker’s classic good looks, these casual walking shoes are quick-drying and perfect for use at the beach, around the pool, or while taking part in water sport activities. Made from a super breathable material, your feet will stay cool and dry, whatever life throws at you.
The flexible yet durable rubber sole makes for a comfortable walk, while still being strong enough to protect from the lumps and bumps of uneven terrain. Air mesh uppers help your feet breathe, and the ComfortDry sock liner offers excellent cushioning levels to enhance comfort.
With high-quality rubber soles and a Water Grip outsole, these shoes offer a really good level of traction in wet and slippery conditions, keeping you upright and allowing you to perform better at all times. Enjoy the water more, while still keeping your feet well-protected, with these awesome water sneakers, suitable for all kinds of activities.
Best for Style-Conscious Adventurers
Mishansha Women’s Water Shoes
With sleek, contemporary looks, and offering exceptional performance, these sports water shoes feature breathable Lycra uppers that allow the shoes to dry off super-fast. Their construction also ensures a high level of breathability and cross-ventilation to keep your feet cool, while the fast-draining materials mean they never stay wet for long.
To keep you upright on the go, the anti-slip rubber sole offers a good traction level, while the cleverly-designed drainage holes will help the water flow out of them in really wet conditions.
Not only do these shoes look brilliant, but they also fit really well, too. With a pull tap at the heel to help you pull them on and off in an instant, as well as elastic closures that can adjust to fit the width of your foot, these are a great pair of shoes for outdoor adventures.
Best Water Sandal
KEEN Women’s Whisper Sandal
They are available in a selection of eye-catching colorways and pretty patterns, these sandals are not just great-looking — they are also supremely practical and comfortable. Easy to adjust and comfortable to wear, both in and out of the water, buyers love the excellent arch support and breathability that these sandals offer.
Constructed using a quick-drying polyester webbing material, these sandals can are quick-drying, making them perfect for wet weather and outdoor activities. To help your feet feel fresher for longer, they also feature a lining that wicks away sweat to prevent odors, and the cushioning of the EVA midsole helps to absorb shock and improve your gait while walking.
With non-marking soles that offer excellent traction and grip, these sandals are perfect for everyday wear in all conditions. Washable uppers make for easy cleaning, and the cushioned footbed helps you stay comfortable on the go.
Stay Protected in the Water
Speedo Women’s Surfwalker 3.0 Water Shoe
Protect your feet from shrapnel, rocks, and sharp sea beds with these great-looking and incredibly practical water shoes from Speedo. The Surfwalker Pro 3.0 shoe is perfect for water sports such as surfing, kayaking, canoeing, sailing, and scuba diving, as well as being a great choice for those who enjoy water aerobics and aqua fitness classes in the cool waves of the ocean.
Made from 100 percent neoprene uppers, these little beauties will dry fast, meaning you can wear them for longer. They also offer exceptional breathability to help prevent odors, and the textile footbed is comfortable without weighing you down when wet.
The S-TRAC outsole offers superb traction both in the water and on dry land and is designed for super-fast drainage after submersion in water.
With an easy slip-on design and a heel pull loop for quick on and offs, these are a great alternative to heavy sneakers or restrictive sandals. Great-looking and super-practical, these are an awesome option for those who like to have fun, both in and out of the water.
The Best Water Shoes for Men
Our “Quick Picks”
Best for Water Sports
Speedo Men’s Water Shoe Surfwalker Pro 3.0
With sharp looks and a big brand logo, these Speedo Surfwalker shoes are perfect for men who like to enjoy scuba diving, kayaking, canoeing, surfing, swimming, sailing, and other water sports or outdoor adventures.
With a neoprene upper, they are able to dry out super quickly when they get wet, and the high stretch material makes them easy to get on and off. Incredibly comfortable, no matter how hard you work them, they have been designed to offer a secure fit without rubbing your feet or causing blisters.
The S-TRAC sole is strong and durable, and the non-slip grip will help keep you upright on dry land, no matter how wet your feet get. The breathable material also helps prevent sweaty feet and stinky odors. As an updated design on a previous version, these Surfwalker shoes are an excellent choice for men on the go.
Best Looking Sports Water Shoes
Mishansha Mens Water Shoes Quick-Dry Barefoot
With their incredibly sporty look and feel, these quick-dry water shoes will help to enhance your performance, both in and out of the water. Made from stretchy and breathable lycra, these shoes are easy to get on and off, and the fabric uppers are able to dry out quickly, even after being fully submerged in water.
Designed to offer an exceptional level of cross-ventilation, your feet will feel sweat-free, and odors will be minimized, while the fast-draining material means that they won’t feel waterlogged, no matter how hard you work them. For your ongoing comfort, the elastic closures help you find the perfect fit for your foot’s width.
Because water sports also involve traversing across dry land, the anti-slip soles of these shoes offer excellent traction to ensure that you stay upright when you need to.
Best for a Natural, Barefoot Feel
Barerun Barefoot Quick-Dry Water Sports Shoes for Men
Lightweight and incredibly flexible, these sports shoes feel as comfortable as a pair of socks with the added benefits of a super-strong sole and quick-drying capabilities. Made from lightweight fabric, they allow your feet to breathe, letting you enjoy a full range of water sports and outdoor activities without your feet feeling sweaty.
The thick rubber soles are flexible enough to bend with your foot while still offering a superior protection level against sharp objects and rough or sandy terrain. Non-slip for greater traction, you can even walk on wet floors without worrying.
Available in a wide range of colors and designs, the awesome little sports shoes are perfect for long days on the water, at the beach, or around the pool, as well as keeping your feet comfy during more land-based adventures.
For Those Who Want a Sporty Look
DOUSSPRT Men’s Water Shoes Quick Drying Sports Aqua Shoes
Made from breathable and lightweight polyester mesh for superior flexibility and comfort, these shoes offer fast draining and increased breathability to keep your feet fresh and dry.
Incredibly fast drying even after being fully submerged, you can use these for a wide range of water sports, including scuba diving, kayaking, canoeing, sailing, swimming, and more land-based activities, too.
For added comfort on the go, these shoes feature elastic rubber shoelaces that are easy to adjust while helping to ensure that the shoes stay on your feet even in the water. With stylish looks and a relaxed sports sneaker design, they as just as well-suited to lunch on the boat as they are on your next big dive.
With a strong and durable rubber sole and featuring small holes for easier drainage, these are a brilliant alternative for men who don’t want to wear flip flops or sandals in or near the water.
Speedo Men’s Water Shoe Tidal Cruiser
Sporting good looks and the Speedo logo make these a top choice for serious adventurers. Designed to be just as comfortable both on land and in the water, these water shoes offer the superior comfort of a sneaker with the additional benefits of a water shoe.
These shoes will efficiently drain any water out and then dry super quickly with soft and comfortable mesh uppers. The slip-on design with a neoprene collar offers a secure fit that will ensure your shoes stay on your foot, even in the water, whilst remaining comfortable enough to wear all day.
With a padded footbed and a rubber outsole, you can walk easily over long distances in these shoes, while the wider fit makes these suitable for a variety of shapes and sizes.
Best for Epic Adventures
Merrell Men’s All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoes
Part sneaker, part water shoe, always awesome — these shoes are perfect for when your hiking, biking, and running adventures meet creeks and lakes, keeping your feet comfortable at all times. With waxy leather uppers and neoprene stretch collars for easy on and off, these awesome hybrid sneakers are perfect on all terrains.
With Merrell’s patented M Select FRESH antimicrobial agents on the inside, you can reduce unwanted foot odors no matter how often you wear them, and the breathable design helps to keep your feet sweat-free for hours on end.
With a UniFly midsole that offers enough traction to keep you connected to the trail and a TC5+Vibram outsole with a 3-millimeter lug depth, the soles are made from high-performance climbing rubber that offers excellent grip on smooth or wet rock without weighing you down in the water.
Best for Hiking
L-RUN Athletic Hiking Water Shoes Men’s
Available in a wide range of colorways and designs, these water shoes are made from super stretchy and breathable fabric that offers lightweight yet durable protection in wet conditions.
With fast-draining capabilities, even after being submerged in the water, as well as the ability to dry quickly when back on land, these are an excellent choice for water sports enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers.
Designed to fit your bare foot perfectly, the elastic band with removable shoe laces offers a comfortable yet secure closure that will ensure that these shoes stay firmly on your feet, even in the water. They are also easily adjustable to fit your foot’s size and shape, and so lightweight that they feel no different from wearing your favorite pair of socks.
The thick outsole offers a high degree of traction, even in slippery conditions, and the durable rubber sole with structured honeycomb insoles will protect your feet from sharp rocks and stones on the go.
Best for the Beach
Crocs Men’s Swiftwater Mesh Wave Sandal
Designed by the experts who brought you the Crocs clogs, these water shoes are made from 100% breathable synthetic material, making them perfect for water sports, beaches, outdoor activities, and so much more. With their sporty yet minimalist design, they can be used both in the water and back on dry land.
With outsoles that have been designed specifically to channel water away from your feet incredibly quickly, they are perfect for wearing in shallow water. With fast-drying mesh uppers that allow your feet to breathe and an adjustable strap for a better fit, you can be sure of increased comfort every time you wear them.
These Crocs men’s sandals also feature flex grooves on the outsole to ensure increased traction even on wet ground, and the sporty design makes them the perfect choice for the fashion-conscious adventurer who likes to hit the water.
The Barely-There Water Shoe
Body Glove Men’s 3T Barefoot Cinch Water Shoe
Let your feet feel really free with these Barefoot water shoes from Body Glove. With their patented 3-toe pocket system that has been designed to offer easier entry while reducing the potential for injury to your smaller toes, these shoes offer innovative design and incredible comfort.
With super stretchy fabric uppers, your feet will feel cool and sweat-free no matter what you get up to, and the adjustable fit will help you to remain comfortable on the go. Designed to enhance the popular barefoot feel, these shoes have reduced sole heights to create the natural balance and grip of being barefoot while still providing protection from the elements.
The ergonomic profile reinforces your natural stability and body posture, even on the water, while the ultra-grip sole design adds traction and stability, meaning you can take wet surfaces in stride, every time.
Best Out of the Water
Crocs Classic Clog – Water Comfortable Slip-on Shoes
This iconic clog from Crocs has a reputation for being hard-wearing, durable, and incredibly comfortable — even if they may divide opinion when it comes to looks. Made from soft, synthetic materials, these clogs come in a huge range of colors and patterns and are as comfortable to wear on the beach as they are on city streets.
Lightweight and easy to slip on and off, they come complete with pivoting straps at the back for a more secure fit when you need it. With ventilation ports to help your feet breathe and allow water and debris to pour out in harsh or wet conditions, these clogs are incredibly practical in various environments.
Perfect for use at the pool, in the gym, in the great outdoors or even just in the garden, these clogs can easily be cleaned using just soap and water, making them a popular choice with healthcare workers and anyone who needs to be concerned about hygiene. Classic looks and fun accessories make Crocs clogs some of the best wet weather shoes the world over.
Whether you plan to swim in the ocean, run through a stream, jump off a sailboat, or simply hang around at the beach, water shoes are designed to maximize your comfort without reducing your fun.
Invest in the right pair of water shoes that offer breathability, comfort, and added traction, and your feet will certainly thank you for it.