Last summer, we traveled to Croatia with friends and family. But they arrived ahead of me and sent a warning: “There’re Sea urchins, so bring some water shoes for swimming since you don’t want to get spines in your feet!”
I sent a baffled reply, not understanding what they meant.
Or I thought it was a joke, at least. After all, if your mom made you wear water shoes at the beach when you were a kid, you know they conjure images of “ugly,” mesh, flexible footwear in flexible neon colors.
Wouldn’t flip-flops do the trick?
But I quickly shelved the idea remembering how my feet once landed on a rock, and a jagged edge tore through my skin. I even had to get a tetanus jab, not to mention that sharp, stinging pain that ruined my entire trip.
So, half-heartedly, I went online and ordered a pair of water shoes, and I must admit I was impressed by what I saw.
Water shoes have gotten a major makeover in recent times. They’re no longer clunky as they used to be, and from the look of things, they can now even vie for the hearts of fashionistas everywhere.
Their style transforms their feel and look, and today, anything from high-ankle boots, magnificent sandals to colorful sneakers can double up as the ideal water shoe.
But more importantly, they remain functional, and for me at least, I was grateful for the generic pair I brought on the trip on the rocky beaches of Orebic, Croatia.
Not only did they protect me from potential sea creatures, but it was easier to walk on the hot and jagged slippery rocks that would have otherwise been impossible when wearing flip flops or shoes.
Plus, they were breathable, and while not the most comfortable footwear I own, I loved the free flow of air around my soggy feet. I didn’t even have to worry about my smelly feet anymore.
Overall, the experience with these water shoes was awesome. And from there and on, I started bringing these shoes with me on all my water-bound trips.
While they may not be practical in all situations and water sports, they’ve literally saved my soul in some of the darndest conditions I’ve been through.
And today, I’ll share with you some of the best water shoes, perfect for those heading to the rocky beaches, soggy terrains, light hikes, or even in muddy trails, and want to avoid scrapy or burnt feet.
Table of Contents
The Best Water Shoes For The Money
#1 Astral Brewer 2.0 sneakers - EDITOR'S CHOICE
When I think of water shoes, I picture some clunky, silly-looking footwear that slips on some elastic and has a neoprene shell.
Or worse. A pair of crocs.
So, when I came across the Astra Brewer 2.0, I was pleasantly surprised that it could be an aqua shoe.
I mean, it’s stylish enough for casual wear and an option I would rock, even for a party or for home use.
Still, I had my reservations and certainly didn’t get excited. After all, you can’t be good at everything.
A shoe can’t be good for city use, hiking trails, boat use, or kayaking, right?
Well, actually, it can… pretty much.
And the Astra Brewer 2.0 is one such shoe.
It looks like a casual streetwear shoe but performs like hybrid hiking sandals and water footwear.
I’ve worn my Astra Brewer 2.0 while canoeing, slogging over the muddy fields and bounding around town, and so far, so good.
It’s the ultimate all-around aqua shoe.
Sure, they may not be supportive and comfy as my favorite boots. They’re not stylish as my Air Jordan , either, but getting a B+ in multiple water sports categories adds up to the overall grade.
I love how they transition to and from the water without missing a beat, drying quickly and keeping my feet healthy and happy the entire time.
In the water, Astra Brewer 2.0 doesn’t fail.
The water-resistant nylon uppers win over the splashes and drizzles.
Meanwhile, the breathable mesh upper panels help the sweat and moisture that builds up in your shoe evaporate quickly, so you won’t have to worry about foot odor or bacterial growth.
My favorite feature, though, is the drainage holes in-built into the toe and heel.
The discreet little drainage holes let the water flow out of the shoe, so even if you step into a puddle or stream during skiing or overboard plunging, your foot will dry quickly, even after submersion.
Astra’s tread pattern is far from aggressive, but this doesn’t make them less for hiking and casual use.
There’s enough texture to grip on the dirt, rock and even allow you to stand on the moderately slick surfaces.
But just don’t mistake the Astral for rock climbing or trailing running; they’re ideal for long walks.
Astral Brewer’s performance is amazing both on land and in the water.
But for me, I find using them more as specialty casual outdoor sneakers more than water shoes. This is because I love having a shoe that I know can get wet and dirty without running my footwear.
Plus, it comes with a built-in sock liner that keeps me free from wet, soggy feet for the entire day. I can always enjoy a comfortable experience, in case the weather turns foul and rains. Or make an impromptu venture into the wild, with my son Jerry, down into the pond near our home. I don’t have to worry about ruining my pair of water shoes.
Overall, the Astra Brewer is a great pair of water shoes to have. I care about them but don’t have to treat them with care. Whether it’s rainy, muddy, or sunny, I’m all set with the Astral Brewer on my feet.
#2 Adidas Terrex Water Shoe - Ultimate Outdoor Summer Water Shoes
Versatility sometimes beats variety.
Picking the right shoe can save you from lugging half a dozen other shoes and paying for a checked bag.
Let me share my story.
I recently took a trip to Mexico, and being a heavy packer; I took several pairs of shoes with me. Despite having more than I needed, I ended up wearing only one pair for the entire trip, the Adidas Terrex Climacool Shoe.
The Terrex is lightweight and breathable hiking water shoes that drain water as fast as it goes in, so they’re perfect on dry land and for water sports.
But what caught my eye with these water shoes is their construction.
They’re ecologically made with “Parley Ocean Plastic” recycled from ocean and beach plastic cleanups. Anything that can help rid our oceans of plastics and other debris is an environmental plus in my books.
That’s not all!
The Adidas Terrex, with their lightweight but thick midsoles and chunky rubber soles are versatile, and function on dry land and in the water.
During my trip to Mexico, I wore them for hiking, beach walks, swimming in the water-filled sinkholes, navigating the caves, and ATVing to different water sports.
They’re functional in whatever conditions you put them through and far more durable than the $10 you might buy a day before your trip. They exceeded my expectations for an aqua shoe.
They don’t disappoint either when used for beach walks and mild trailing.
The stealth, tough rubber soles have immense traction, enough for me to use them for stand-up paddleboarding. They don’t slip, and I hardly get washed out by the waves.
I’ve even taken the shoes hiking in locations with mossy stones, and the thread keeps you standing and upright.
However, they’re not any different than a regular sneaker on wet and slippery surfaces. But they work well for the fine rocks and in caves.
Adidas also prioritize safety as they happened to be my perfect shoe when getting in the water. They keep your feet from the rocks on the trails and any sharp objects in the water.
Support is also awesome, and instead of the squishy sensation you get with non-water shoes, Adidas quickly drains the water. Plus, it has a nice cushion and support, similar to those of my favorite tennis shoes. I’ve flat feet, and they did great.
Of course, even after the water drained out, my feet were still wet. But not for long.
The Climacool material dries super-fast, and they don’t even need a whole day in the sun. Instead, after 15 minutes of leaving the water, I was riding my ATV, and my shoes and feet felt almost completely dry.
Regarding fit, I would recommend you choose a shoe that runs true to size. Fortunately, there’re numerous sizes to pick from, so you can never miss your size.
Plus, it comes with a four-eyelet lacing system that will help with a secure fit- no need to worry about the shoe coming off when swimming.
If you’re wondering whether you need water socks, it’ll all depend on your preference. I used mine without socks, and I imagine that’s how Adidas intends them to be worn, especially if you’ll indulge in water activities. You don’t want to be left with wet socks.
Overall, the Adidas Terrex is a solid pair of water shoes that will handle your summer water and dry land adventures like a champ.
It has plenty to offer and won’t disappoint.
#3 Speedo Women's Surf Knit Shoe - Best Water Shoes for Women (Swimming)
Third on our list of the best water shoes are the perfect options for women who plan to indulge in water sports, especially swimming.
I love them because they’re about as good-looking as you can hope for in an aqua shoe.
Sure, they’re not as hearty as my Jordan sneakers and may not even be suited for going out for a nice dinner. But they’re fine for grabbing burgers after a day at the lake.
More importantly, their stitching, quality, and material are top-shelf, and I think they offer a good balance of comfort, quality feel, and simplicity.
My first impressions with the Speedo Women’s Surf Knit Water Shoe were like, “this is what a swimming shoe should look like!”
I mean, I’ve used and reviewed many water shoes before, but most of them are more like hiking boots or sneakers than water shoes.
But the Surf Knit Pro shoe is different.
Its design speaks to its primary use as a swimming shoe. It’s perfect for use in the ocean and at the beach for all sorts of swimming activities.
These Speedo Surf Knit Pro Shoes are also light. Not as light as most comparable swim shoes, but they feel lighter than any full shoes I’ve worn, for me at least. For example, they’re considerably lighter than my canvas slip-on water shoes, and this is a great thing because they don’t drag me while I’m swimming. Plus, I find it much easier to pack them in my backpack.
While remaining light, the stickiness and durability of the non-slip rubber outsole impress me a lot.
For one, the rubber soles do a great job of keeping me upright in the hard-packed sands as well as on the softer sugar sand. They don’t “sink” in the loose sand as most shoes do.
The sticky, tough rubber sole with Speedo’s S-TRAC design is also grippy, even in wet and slippery conditions, and will keep you on hold even against the slightly powerful currents in the river.
But more importantly, I felt confident that the shoe would protect me from the rocky environment. For me, at least, they held up great when going on a camping trip last weekend and were a lifesaver. The shoes never budge, even when going from dirt to rocks, shell fragments to land.
Plus, they hardly fill with sand on the beach. Of course, tiny debris will make it through the knit material (as expected), but not as much as I thought it would.
The right-sizing is key to keeping sand out and keeping the shoes from slipping off in the water.
Worried about getting blisters?
These shoes are fairly soft and stretchy and wear more like a sock. You get no blisters on your feet and are comfortable to wear.
Speedo’s material doesn’t absorb any water and will try to repel it at every point. The patented drainage system has extensive capacity to drain water quickly and efficiently, keeping the shoes from becoming heavy or waterlogged when moving through the water.
While the Surf Knit Pro excels in the water, they had some issues in a hiking environment. Not a surprise, though.
The non-slip rubber sole is thicker than most swim shoes but considerably thinner than you would want in a hiking water shoe.
It’s like they give a barefoot feeling on the trail, for me at least. There’s definitely some discomfort as you can feel the sticks and rocks straight through the rubber sole.
We don’t anticipate the Knit Pro Water Shoes to work well for hiking, and so should you. Of course, they work if you need to take a small hike through the rough terrain to get you to the beach.
On the upside, these shoes have a quick drying time. While not as fast as the Adidas Terrex, the 2 ½ hours is definitely faster than most shoes.
It may seem like a while, but it’s enough time for the shoes to be dry enough after a quick morning dip on your way back to the city after lunch.
#4 Merrell Men's All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoes - Best Hiking Water Shoe
Speedo Surf was a great swimming shoe, but it didn’t excel well as a hiking shoe.
The Merrell Men’s Water Shoes does.
It’s an excellent compromise of a sandal and a shoe, combining the best of both worlds into one smart design.
While these water shoes for men are less cushy than my typical walking shoe, they offer much more than a regular sandal or river shoe.
When I tried the All-Out Blaze Sieve men’s water shoes, the first thing I noticed was how light they were that climbing and hiking became easier. In fact, they feel as light as sandals.
I’ve used Blaze Sieve Water Shoe for four consecutive days hiking, covering anywhere from five to eight miles a day, and yet, I don’t feel any rubbing or any issues with the shoe.
My trails included going up and down the rocky trail surface, and these hiking shoes offer awesome protection to my feet from stones and sticks in the path.
Sieve men’s water shoes for men are quite sturdy, and walking on rocks and trials is these solid shoes. You’ll barely feel the trail hazards.
Additionally, a 3-mm lug depth Vibram water grip outsole has an exceptional grip that allowed me to easily tread concrete surfaces and rocks.
The Vibram rubber sole is quite grippy, and when crossing the creeks and stream with large slippery surfaces and rounded stepping stones, I didn’t feel like I would lose my footing.
Meanwhile, the firm and soft UniFly mid rubber soles will absorb shock. This helps maintain stability, especially in tough challenges that need your balance.
My only concern was with the arch support. There’s a large amount of arch support, but there’s some. I’ve done a great deal of walking, and the arch is better than my first impressions.
Of course, not the best, but if you need more support, you can always slide them easily.
But overall, the Merrell Men’s Water Shoes will serve you well both in short trails and rough terrain, especially those with tall grasses, rocks, mud, or tarmac.
If you also have problems with sweating, blisters, chafing while walking, these water shoes for men are for you.
The M Select Fresh technology prevents moisture and sweat build-up, keeping my feet fresh, free from smell.
Yet, the shoe won’t comprise breathability and comfort, especially in complex terrains.
A Nubuck leather and neoprene quick-drying textile upper help with the free flow of air while ensuring the men’s water shoes dry quickly after a dip in the water.
I could use these hiking shoes for a quick dip in the ocean as they’ve enough drainage holes on the side and dry fast.
I also found water shoes for men to be genuinely comfy to wear, whether with water socks or not. It’s not a surprise they’re the preferred outwear for outdoor enthusiasts.
Plus, the fit for these men’s water shoes is amazing and is easy on the foot, courtesy of the adjustable bungee lacing system. It helps you achieve a customized and secure fit.
The only niggle I had with these outdoor shoes was the construction, particularly the stitching details. The leather starts to fray over time, especially if you often use it over rough terrain.
#5 Body Gloves Men’s 3T Barefoot Cinch Water Shoes - Best Boat Shoe (Ideal for Paddleboarders and Sailors)
The Body Gloves Men’s Water Shoes- that’s a mouthful of a name for a shoe. But the name describes exactly what it is and what it’s for.
It’s not your typical aqua shoe, and it’s intended to appeal to surfers and water sports enthusiasts.
Plus, it ranks high in protecting your feet from different terrain hazards while providing comfort and ensuring performance.
During my first contact with the Body Glove Water Shoes, I’ve to admit they reminded me of the awful lot of the five-finger shoes that were the rage a few years ago.
Both shoes share the same design, with each toe with a designated slot.
But the Body Glove 3T, as its name suggests, has three toe pockets, granting the smallest three toes a single pocket and the biggest two toes a pocket a piece.
Does the design make sense?
For me, it does because it increases my toe’s articulation. This helps with better protection of my toes while outdoors. It prevents injuries, letting me brave my activities in and out of the water.
Secondly, it has the dual effect of making it much easier to get on the shoe than the five-finger design.
Toe design isn’t the only selling point of these shoes.
These affordable water shoes have a lower-profile rubber outsole.
I’m a big fan of this unique design as it allows me to maintain a natural balance as if you’re barefoot- it’s something that lacks in most shoes of this kind.
The low-profile design is most noticeable while stand-up paddleboarding, an activity that is hard to maintain balance when wearing pretty much any type of footwear.
With the Body Glove, you feel in control at all times, and you’ll never find yourself wiping out or falling.
Plus, the rubber sole is grippy, which is helpful when shuffling on the wet board when adjusting my stance and position.
The solid traction is also quite helpful for other water activities such as kayaking and whitewater canoeing. It’s easier to get on and off the boat while offering solid protection against sharp objects such as rocks and branches.
3T’s base is solid and might be a great purchase for kayakers, paddle boarders, and sailors who need to tread through water and over rocky beaches once in a while.
Another unique feature of the 3T Body Glove is the Integrated Drainage System, popularly known as the IDS. It’s a system allowing water to quickly filter into the shoe and then quickly drain back out again.
Your pair of shoes won’t get overly happy from soaking too much water and will speed up the drying time.
The system, mainly consisting of breathable mesh upper positioned in drainage holes in the rubber sole, also has the added benefit of keeping your feet cool when you’re out of the water.
Overall, the Body Glove 3T is a nice, ultra-lightweight and versatile shoe.
While Body Glove 3T may prove to be the performance panacea for athletes, especially runners, boaters, paddle boarders, kayakers, and sailors, will love everything about this shoe.
#6 Merrell Little Kid's Bare Steps H2O Sneakers - Best Water Shoe for Kids
Kids are attracted to water in all forms.
My daughter, in particular, likes to take off whatever footwear I put on her on-socks included, which makes me crazy.
It’s fine while she’s playing in the puddle in our home compound. But I don’t usually grant this privilege when she’s running outside on the beach.
I mean, letting her run barefoot can bring a host of problems from unnecessary slips, cuts, and scrapes on their little feet.
Water shoes are the perfect footwear to protect their feet while letting them splash around and get wet.
Which is why I’m thrilled I got her the Merrell’s Little Kid’s Bare Steps sneakers.
I love these shoes because they don’t come off. See, my daughter always gets her shoes off, but on this, she can’t pull the snug water shoes even when they’re wet. So, I’m always confident she’s protected at all times.
Snugness doesn’t mean sacrificing comfort.
Thanks to their flexible mesh upper and soft soles, Merrell’s Kids Wet Shoes require no breaking-in comfort. It’s not a surprise they’re dubbed as the “Bare steps.”
While I’m personally not a big fan of barefoot shoes, my daughter seems to like them. It’s a great design for kids still mastering their balance.
They’re designed with the natural shape and flex of your kid’s foot, with an extra-wide toe box, rounded edges, and deep grooves for extra flexibility.
The flexible upper conforms to my kid’s little foot, while the rubber sole provides cushioning and flexibility.
And the good thing is she can use the shoe in our backyard, on the beach, and in the street. They’re versatile, all-purpose shoes, perfect for any condition.
My only quibble with the shoe is they lack an arch- not one that I can tell. It’s not a surprise considering they’re more of a barefoot-style shoe.
But the good thing is they come with a flexible rubber sole, like a minimalist shoe. Plus, they’re light, so they’ll be super easy and soft for your kids to use.
Fit is probably the biggest selling point for me.
See, we had tried every brand of toddler shoe out there in every size and widest width available, and nothing worked.
While our daughter doesn’t have the widest foot out there, she still has a big fat pad on top of her foot. This makes us feel like we’re shoving every shoe on.
Most of our shoes were long, but they came in tight and left marks on her feet.
But everything changed with the Merrell Kids Shoes.
First, they look and feel like tennis shoes, so they work well and are comfortable for him.
The top fully opens up, allowing the entire foot to slide with no resistance.
Plus, I can always secure and adjust their fit with the broad Velcro strap.
The wide toe-box also comes in handy, eliminating the pinching feeling of most kids’ shoes. It also provides more room for growth.
The Merrell Kids Water Shoes are also super practical as they dry fast, while the bottom rubber sole has decent traction, so they never have to lose a footing even in the slippery ground.
Best Water Shoes Buying Guide
Selecting the best water shoes can be challenging, especially if you don’t know what to look for.
But it doesn’t always need to be hard. I’ll share everything you need to know about selecting the best water shoes in the guide below.
But first, let’s learn the benefits of water shoes and why you need them.
Benefits of Water Shoes
Here’re some of the reasons we think you should have a pair of water shoes:
Protection and Safety
Most water shoes cover your entire foot and feature thick soles.
These are essential shoe features for protecting your feet from the sharpies like rocks and shells.
I prefer water shoes with a built-in toe shield to prevent stubbed toes. These shoes come in handy, especially when wading through water with unpredictable and rocky terrains such as riverbeds and ocean floors.
The full-coverage, slip-on style is also quite handy for shielding your skin from the sun while keeping sand off your feet.
Traction and Support: Excellent Stability on Wet Surfaces
Water shoes feature a specially designed read for optimal traction on slippery surfaces, including decks, boat docks, wet floors, and water equipment.
Their rubber outsoles are necessary for a greater grip on wet conditions.
While the slip-on water shoes are perfect for beachwear and underwater use, they don’t provide the same ankle support as the lace-up counterparts, which are more suitable for trekking through creek beds.
Lightweight and Quick Drying
Non-water shoes usually are bulky, especially when waterlogged.
Bulkiness disrupts the smooth and fluid movements you critically need underwater.
On the other hand, water shoes drain the excess water and remain light even in and out of the water.
They don’t absorb or retain water, so users won’t experience squishiness and discomfort out of the water.
The water shoes will keep you away from blisters, unwanted odor, and mold growth with no discomfort.
Quick-drying shoes also won’t take long to get dry after a dip in the water.
Comfort and Warmth
Water shoes are flexible, thanks to the mesh construction.
The mesh enhances the overall breathability, helping to keep your feet cool.
More importantly, the mesh allows improved water flow when submerged and better drainage out of the water.
The third benefit of the mesh is insulation, keeping your feet warm in cold water. Remember, regulating your body temperature in underwear is important as poor circulation and oldness could affect performance and safety.
Modern water shoes are also great if you need to up your style.
They come in different styles, colors designs, and color options, so they might be a perfect fit even for poolside or beach use.
The other benefit I like with water shoes is they can be worn in different environments.
So, having an aqua shoe will not only save you the need to constantly change your footwear throughout the day but help to keep your land-specific footwear in better shape.
To expound more on the versatility of the water shoes, here’re seven activities for a typical water shoe.
Seven Activities for a Water Shoe
Water shoes can be used for a variety of outdoor activities such as:
1) Enjoying a weekend on a boat or yacht. A water shoe will protect your feet while getting on and off the boat while rigging the sail. Or even when you get caught in a squall.
2) Outdoor activities. Beach shoes are perfect for fishing, relaxing on the beach, or a trail walk.
3) Underwater activities. Whether you enjoy water rafting, snorkeling, surfing, scuba diving, or windsurfing, beach shoes will protect your feet from sharp rock or rocks submerged underwater.
4) Water sports. Water shoes will also protect you from stubbing your toes and get better traction on a slippery surface when rafting or windsurfing.
5) Hiking. Some beach shoes have similar treads to hiking shoes, offering excellent traction on uneven terrain or climbing slippery surfaces.
6) Protect your kid’s feet. Water shoes come in handy in protecting your kid’s feet when they’re building castles, sloshing water, or exploring rock pools. You may never know what’s hidden underneath.
7) Washing your car. Yes, having a pair of water shoes protects your feet if you drop anything on them or even slip.
Types of Water Shoes: How to Choose the Right Pair
Now that we know the benefits of beach shoes let’s look at the different types of shoes.
Water shoe types ranged from boots, water socks, bare feet, and closed-toes shoes.
Here’s a guide on how to choose the right type:
Flip Flop (Not Recommended)
Flip flops are common at the beach and most popular in the water shoe world. But only comfortable for short distances.
During a walk in the sand, your feet will get tired easily because every time you press down on the sand, it requires an extra effort to move sand away from your feet.
They also have a loose grip, so they are challenging to use long distances.
Flip-flop’s protection is also not the best because sand easily gets in between your feet. They’ll not protect you from the hot sand in summer, insect bites, and skin cuts.
But they can be quite comfortable to use at home because of their lightness, flexibility, and ease of putting on and taking off.
Water Sandals (Substitute)
Water sandals or slip-on beach shoes are a great pick when you want your feet to feel comfortable in a hot weather vacation.
Slip-on shoes are lightweight and flexible for all movements.
And unlike flip-flops, they offer a secure grip and are more supportive.
Unfortunately, affordable beach shoes/sandals also allow pebbles to get stuck between your foot and shoes and don’t eliminate the risk of an insect bite.
Water shoes are flexible, lightweight, and supportive, so perfect for different uses.
They cover your feet entirely, eliminating the risk of an insect bite or skin cuts.
Their porous breathable fabric also allows water to evaporate, so your feet dry quickly and easily in case of sweating.
They’re also easy to take off and put on your feet.
Here are some of my recommendations for water shoes:
Boots are aqua footwear that goes beyond protecting your feet.
They also keep your feet warm in deep cold water.
A good number of booties come with ankle and shin straps for warmth and additional stability.
Aqua socks are meant to make your life more comfortable.
As with regular socks, the best water socks are also lightweight, typically made out of neoprene.
Some can be worn on their own, while others with shoes or fins.
Beach socks aren’t as protective as beach boots, but they’re perfect for those who intend to indulge in calm, light, and short-term beach activities.
3) Closed Toe Water Shoes
The close-to-water shoes are normal shoes, with or without laces, except they’re built for use around water.
The majority of the closed-toe water shoes utilize a proper lacing system, a mesh lining, and a padded collar. They also have excellent ventilation and drainage.
Compared to other options, they’re the most supportive and offer excellent protection from the sun and sharp rocks.
4) Active Water Shoes/ Running shoes
The active water shoes are ideal for handling vigorous activities, ranging from beach running and hiking to backpacking.
These water shoes are usually light and specially created with a breathable fabric to drain through them.
How to Choose the Best Water Shoes
The material you choose for your water boot should be rugged and tough enough to withstand outdoor and wet conditions.
On the other end, the rubber outsole should be made out of rubber because it’s naturally adhesive and provides flex and agility.
EVA or Ethylene Vinyl Acetate midsoles are known for absorbing shock and pressure better, so they’re perfect for protecting your feet from pain and strain, even after wearing your shoes for long.
EVA is also known for being flexible, so it easily conforms to the shape of your foot.
Another common material is Neoprene. It’s durable and stretchy and commonly used in the making of wetsuits.
It’s known for its insulation properties and will retain warmth while protecting you from cuts and abrasions.
You also want your choice of material to have waterproofing properties to prevent absorption.
Thick Sole, Traction, and Support
Having thick soles on your water shoes is necessary, especially when walking over uneven terrain or standing for extended periods.
Solid tread on your water shoes will give you a good grip and traction on slippery and wet surfaces, such as the moss-covered rocks in rock pools.
Most water shoes are ultra-light as they’re designed to drain away water efficiently.
Plus, if you’re a backpacker, you don’t want to be bogged down by waterlogged and bulky shoes.
Water shoes resembling hiking shoes feature toe guards made out of thick rubber.
They’re handy in protecting your feet and toes from falling objects or abrasions.
If you’ve ever stepped on a sea urchin or sharp rock, you know how painful and sore it can get.
But the best water shoes will take the pain out of the equation.
These shoes are designed to help you stand on anything without shedding a little man’s tears.
Water shoes, especially river shoes, should have durability in mind.
They should allow you to hike through rivers, large puddles, and whenever you’re spending time in the water.
Of course, you can’t say the same thing about your regular shoes because they can’t handle getting water and will quickly wear if exposed to water and other conditions.
The best water shoes will last for a long time, though, unless you misuse and abuse them.
Comfort is necessary for water shoes.
You don’t want to wear a shoe that will leave you with huge blisters on your feet all the time.
You would probably end up jumping in the water wearing nothing on your feet, and this will expose you to the possibility of all sorts of trouble.
But the best water shoe keeps you relaxed, comfortable and will leave you feeling like you’re getting massaged.
Choosing shoes with antimicrobials is not always necessary, but it’s a crucial feature for hiking water shoes.
Antimicrobial treatment ensures your feet breathe and are free from odor.
Preventing bacterial and fungal build-up ensures your feet stay healthy for long and aren’t exposed to mold growth or bacterial infections.
A lace-up system for water shoes is important as they determine the fit and security of your feet in the shoe.
Most water shoes have a bungee or traditional lace-up system, while the lighter and barefoot design inclined more towards the drawstrings with toggles.
While the drawstrings are great, I prefer the bungee lacing system because of its ease of adjustability.
But again, it all depends on your preferences, and provided the shoe fits, go for the comfortable and secure system for you.
Most of the water shoes are either water-resistant or waterproof, on the upper,
But some also come with a waterproof membrane that prevents the shoe from absorbing water, but it may take time to dry, leaving your feet uncomfortable.
The best water shoes should be breathable.
Breathable shoes utilize a mesh lining and mesh panel on the upper to allow a better free flow of air.
Sizing for water shoes is just like other types of footwear.
And like traditional footwear, the water shoes for men differ from those of women. This is because of the physiological differences on their feet.
Generally, women tend to have narrower feet than men, so their shoes are usually narrow.
Apart from that, their basic foot structure differs, so water shoes for men may not be ideal for women.
The type of water shoe will depend on the season and activity you’re planning to indulge in.
For example, water shoes for hiking are built with sieves to provide better breathability and a path to expel large amounts of water.
This means they don’t offer much insulation if used in cold weather but will work great in warmer weather during spring and summer.
Handy Tips for Water Shoes
Here’re some of the tips to consider when purchasing or using water shoes:
1) Water sandals can be used for hiking but are not designed for medium to heavy-grade hiking trails. They wouldn’t last the longer hikes because they lack support and padding.
2) While water sandals are breathable and even with padding, there’s still a risk of blisters in hot weather, especially if your feet swell. If you want to wear your water sandals for a day hike, try to keep your feet dry as possible and consider a well-padded hiking sock.
3) Even if your water shoe has traction, tread with care on the wet, hard or slippery surface.
4) Water shoes fit most feet, but if you’ve narrow or extra wide feet, consider a sizing chart from the manufacturer.
5) A garden hose or water tap is the best way to remove sand stuck in your shoes.
6) Most water shoes can be cleaned in a washing machine, but they may lose some color if they’re brightly colored.
Best Slip-on Water Shoes Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are the benefits of using a water shoe for hiking?
A: There’re numerous benefits of using water shoes for hiking. The most important benefits are:
- Drains excess water fast
- Dries quickly, thus preventing bacterial build-up
- Offer great traction
- Highly breathable
Q: When Should I wear water shoes?
A: Water shoes should be used in activities where your feet are most likely to get wet.
They’re also perfect for use on slippery, wet, and muddy surfaces.
Q: How do I dry my water shoes?
A: You can air-dry the water shoes.
To accelerate the drying process, place pieces of scrunched newspaper inside them to absorb the water. Keep on changing the newspaper as they soak up until your shoe is all dried up.
Q: Should water shoes be tight?
A: Water shoes should fit snugly. They shouldn’t be too tight or too loose that they’re uncomfortable.
Q: What are water shoes called?
A: Water shoes come in different names. They’re also known as water socks, water shoes, or water sandals.
Q; What are Water shoes used for?
A: Generally, water shoes will protect your feet from cuts, abrasions, and cold when swimming, walking, or hiking in wet environments, such as the beach or river.
They’re also perfect for water-based activities such as surfing, fishing, or scuba-diving.
Q: Can I swim in water shoes?
A: Yes, you can swim comfortably while wearing some types of water shoes. The best water shoe for a swimming pool should be lightweight and flexible, with a snug fit.
Wrap Up: Our Choice
We’re through with our review of the best water shoes, and I know you already have an idea of what water shoe to pick.
If you don’t, I would suggest the Astra Brewer 2.0.
There’re numerous reasons why I’m a big fan of this water shoe, but versatility is one of them.
They’re pretty much functional on land as they’re on the water.
They may not be the best option for swimming, but they’ll generally handle most water conditions and let you switch to land use in a beat.
The Astra Brewer 2.0 is a generalist type of water shoe, scoring an average performance in all departments.
But if you need specialized water shoes, you might have to look for other options.
For example, I would recommend the Speedo Women’s Surf Knit Water Shoe for swimming enthusiasts. The shoes are ultra-light, so they don’t drag you in the water and are streamlined for better water performance.
Meanwhile, the Merrell Men’s kind of Water Shoes are tough to last, supportive, and easy on the trail. I would recommend them for backpackers.