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Are you looking for the best water shoes on the market today? You’ve come to the right place. Whether you’re going kayaking, paddle boarding, or simply a stroll on the beach, water shoes play an important role in providing comfort and protection for your feet. With no shortage of products available today, we wanted to help narrow your search and have gathered 12 of the best water adventure footwear on the market.
Not only are water shoes designed to protect your feet from debris or rough terrain in and out of the water, they’re also made to provide comfort while on the go. Depending on your needs as an adventurer, there are shoes to meet the needs of everyone. From features like thermal heating, water drainage, underfoot traction and more, different designs will meet the needs of different environments and activities. To help you find which pair best suits your needs, check out our buyer’s guide below!
How to Choose the Right Water Shoes: Buyers Guide
There are many factors to consider when investing in a pair of shoes to ensure they’re an ideal pair for your needs on the water. There are also several key features to keep an eye out for when choosing which is right for you, here are some:
The sole of your water shoes will determine the type of grip you’ll have on surfaces. With many different shoe bottoms to choose from, understand that some have holes for water drainage, while others have studs to offer the ultimate grip. While a good gripping sole may not be necessary while walking on the beach, it is essential to keeping you on your feet while exploring rocky shores or enjoying ocean sports like kayaking.
Whether you’re going out for a casual stroll on the beach, or planning for a deep water adventure, your water shoes should have appropriate drainage. A crucial feature, water needs to be able to escape the shoe. When water is trapped in the shoe, your feet will be heavy and may even be pulled out of the shoe. This is alleviated through the addition of drain holes to the design, whether in the material or the soles of the shoes.
Since the majority of time spent using your water shoes will be in wet conditions, it’s important to choose a pair with a quick dry material. Many synthetic fabrics on the market today do not retain water, and are designed to ensure your feet dry quickly. Absorbent materials, like cotton, will weigh you down in water and retain water for longer, and should be avoided for wet adventures.
Shoes designed for water use should be comfortable for use throughout the day. Ideally, a padded and shock absorbing sole that won’t come loose is perfect for adventuring on coastal or aquatic terrains. This is especially important when exploring rocky shores where there’s bound to be lots of sharp edges.
Most water shoes feature ease in ability to take on and off, whether by an easy to use zipper or pull tab at the heel. Getting in and out of your shoes quickly and without struggle is ideal while on the water.
If you’re planning to use your water shoes in colder water conditions, you’ll want to avoid a full mesh shoe and opt for added insulation. Additional padding between your feet and the elements will prove invaluable during cold water adventures. Materials like neoprene are ideal for this type of gear.
When adventuring in warmer water conditions, opt for mesh shoes that focus on breathability and quick drying for your feet. This material allows warm water to flow freely on feet while still protecting feet from the terrain.
Aside from these key features to watch for when choosing the best pair of water shoes for your feet, you should also consider the activity you’ll be participating in. Rocky shore hikes will require a different type of water shoe than a leisurely coastal paddle board adventure. Understanding your goals on the water will help you select the shoe that is right for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are water shoes an important piece of ocean sport gear?
Above all else, water shoes are used for protection of feet. Additionally, they provide warmth in colder waters and the ability to explore rough terrain without injury. Ideally, water shoes offer ample protection of feet, while remaining lightweight, comfortable and high draining to direct water away from feet.
What should I consider before choosing the right water shoes for me?
Before trying to decide which aqua footwear is right for you, consider what type of environment you’ll be exploring. For example, for rough terrain exploring you’ll want shoes that offer ample protection through the soles of the shoes. While with cold water sports you’ll want to choose shoes with plenty of insulation to retain warmth for your feet. Understanding what environment you’ll be using your shoes in is the best way to ensure you get the most bang for your buck.
Best Water Shoes Reviewed
1. UBFEN Aqua Shoes
The UBFEN aqua shoes are made of stretchy materials and a rubber sole, making them ideal for water sport adventures. The flexible soles are made of a durable rubber material which is great for breathability and non-slip resistance.
Suitable for swimming, surfing, boating, snorkeling, kayaking and more, these shoes are a great versatile shoe for any adventurer. The upper material offers plenty of stretch, making the shoes easy to take on and off even when wet. Additionally, the shoes have a fit similar to socks, but a thick and durable rubber sole to protect your feet while exploring.
Unlike a normal shoe, these aqua shoes are designed specifically for use in water. Highly rated and reviewed by customers around the world, they fit and walk like a normal shoe, but allow water to drain out of holes that are small enough to also keep sand and rocks out.
2. Speedo Surfwalker 3.0
This company is well known for it’s ocean sport gear, and the Speedo Surfwalker water shoes are no exception. Allowing wearers to explore sea to shore in total comfort, these shoes feature a stretchy pull-on fit for ease, and quick-dry breathability for comfort. They offer a snug fit to feet, with a cushioned insole to provide additional protection for your feet.
These shoes are designed for a range of water activities, and feature a unique sole design which streams water away from the shoe and feet. This feature enhances wearers direct contact with surfaces, making for even better traction and slip resistance. The materials and design allow for breathability and a secure fit while adventuring in or around marine environments.
Although highly rated and reviewed by customers, the shoes seem best suited for lighter marine activities as the upper materials aren’t designed for rugged durability.
3. ALEADER Quick Dry Aqua Shoes
The ALEADER quick dry aqua shoes are ideal for traction while exploring wet environments, featuring excellent drainage and durability. Along with a thoughtful design and quality materials, these aqua shoes feature rubber pods which are strategically placed in high wear areas for added protection, durability and traction.
The materials used in the design of these shoes are perfect for rugged exploring oceanside. The upper is made from a breathable and durable synthetic mesh, allowing feet to breathe throughout the day. The midsole in these shoes is lightweight, and made to offer bounce-back and added protection of your feet. Lastly, a cushioned sockliner for comfort, and a water draining outsole, make for great traction in wet and slippery conditions.
Although customers around the world give these shoes high ratings, some suggest sand and rocks are able to permeate the mesh and make it inside the shoe. Something to consider when investing in the ideal pair of shoes for your next adventure.
4. DOUSSPRT Quick Dry Water Sport Shoes
The DOUSSPRT company creates gear for water sport enthusiasts, with a focus on useability. These quick dry water sport shoes are great for the leisurely adventure on the beach, or more rugged marine activities like exploring rocky shores by kayak or paddle board.
Made of a breathable and durable upper mesh polyester material, your feet will stay plenty cool and comfortable throughout the day. Additionally, these shoes are designed specifically for use in the water, while retaining the advantages of sport shoes. This makes these shoes ideal for both a stylish and casual shoe for leisurely strolling on the beach, or ocean sports of any kind.
These lightweight shoes are designed to be flexible and comfortable, with superior drainage efficiency and slip resistance. Other than the shoes being challenging to get the size right, this product is highly rated and reviewed. They’re used by many happy customers in rugged rocky terrain, for adventures sports and more.
5. Hiitave Barefoot Aqua Socks
The Hiitave barefoot aqua socks are versatile enough for a variety of activities, from ocean sports to climbing sports and more. They’re made of a breathable polyester fabric upper, and a durable rubber and non-slip sole for ultimate durability and comfort on the water.
Featuring a wide five toe box design to help feet stay relaxed and comfortable throughout the day, these aqua shoes also have an elastic band with removable shoelaces for east in adjusting and taking on and off. Additionally, the soles of these shoes have drainage holes to ensure quick water release to keep feet warm and dry.
Ideal for exploring rocky coastal terrains, surf training, and other recreational activities like snorkeling or scuba diving, these water shoes are great for a variety of adventures seaside. The design features a breathable and durable air mesh upper for air flow and quick drying, while the water drain sole is strong enough to protect feet from harsh terrains.
These barefoot water shoes are highly rated and reviewed by customers, and are noted by reviewers to run slightly large- something to keep in mind when ordering.
6. Crocs Swiftwater Wave Sandal
If you’re looking for an amphibious adventure shoe designed for leisure activities on the water, the Crocs Swiftwater Wave Sandal is a great option. Designed for ultimate comfort, these are the most-active and water-friendly of the Croc shoes. A unique design, these shoes are highly rated and reviewed by customers around the world.
These water shoes are made of a durable but soft upper for comfort and breathability, outsoles designed to channel water away from feet, and slip-resistant bottoms for traction and drainage. Additionally, you’ll love the fixed heel strap to keep shoes snug and comfortable throughout the day.
Although these comfort water shoes are designed for a variety of casual marine adventures, they may not be best suited for rugged adventure ocean sports.
7. Mishansha Quick Dry Barefoot Shoe
The Mishansha quick dry barefoot shoes are ideal foot protection for use in coastal and wet environments. Featuring a spandex fabric upper for comfort and breathability, this material is also salt resistant, wear resistant, stretchy and ultra lightweight. Additionally, the durable rubber soles have drainage holes making them great for quick drying and providing excellent traction while exploring marine environments. The proper flow of water out of the shoe is used to keep a cool and healthy shoe environment for feet.
These shoes are made easy to take on and off because of the pull tabs at the heels of the shoes. With a snug fit and stretchy materials, these shoes are made to stay snug and comfortable throughout the day. Additionally, the feature elastic straps to adjust the width on the shoe depending on the user's foot size and comfort level. This also takes away the hassle of having to tie shoelaces.
These shoes are unisex, and a great chioce for exploring on the beach, swimming, surfing, boating, beach yoga and more. Made with breathable and lightweight materials, these shoes are highly rated and reviewed for comfort in walking in and out of water, swimming and more. Another noted feature from happy customers in the thickened toe to protect feet on high wear areas.
Although these shoes are ideal in many ways, the pull tabs should be used carefully. Some reviews suggest that the stitching for the heel pull tabs comes loose after heavy use.
8. Body Glove Barefoot Water Shoe
A highly reviewed product on the market today, the Body Glove barefoot water shoe is great for feeling barefoot while still protecting your feet. These shoes are designed to slip on with ease, and feature a three-toed barefoot design that’s suitable for many different activities.
These zero heel lift shoes are low profile, and feature a gripping outsole for superior traction and grounding. They’re made of flexible and quick drying materials, and an integrated drainage system which allows water and air to flow freely through the shoe. Additionally, the three toe design is used for maximum dexterity and protection for your feet throughout exploring different terrains. This patented design creates the natural feel of being barefoot, while still protecting feet from the elements.
The unique design of this shoe creates ultimate air flow and breathability, while decreasing drying time. With the added reduced sole heights and low profile soles, this footwear is ideal for many ocean and marine sports and activities.
Although these shoes are a great choice for water sport enthusiasts of many kinds, the sizing can be tricky- so pay close attention to the sizing chart. This prevents having to exchange for a different size, and decreases time until you hit get seaside next!
9. Speedo Surf Knit Athletic Water Shoe
If you’re searching for a great water shoe that’s ideal for causal water activities like aerobics, paddle boarding and more, this product is a great choice. A highly reviewed option on the market, this surf knit water shoe keeps feet comfortable and quickly dries after use in marine environments.
Featuring an easy slip on design, heel pull loop for extra ease, and draining and traction sole, these water shoes are great for exploring. Additionally, weighing only 7 ounces each, they’re ultra lightweight for comfort throughout the day.
While these aqua shoes are great for leisure ocean and water activities, they aren’t designed for rugged ocean sports. Another thing to keep in mind with these shoes is that the sizing can reportedly be tricky, so pay attention to provided sizing charts.
10. SIMARI Barefoot Diving and Swim Shoe
The SIMARI barefoot diving and swim shoe is a quality pair of shoes, versatile enough for a variety of marine environments and adventures. Featuring a comfortable polyester upper, these shoes are breathable, lightweight, stretchy for a snug fit, and quick drying. Additionally, the unique sole design is ergonomically molded for cushioned comfort to protect your feet from shock on impact. The soles also feature 8 drainage holes to direct water away from the feet and help dry faster.
These water shoes have an elastic neckline to make a snug and comfortable fit around the wearers ankles. Also, they feature drawstring elastic shoelaces which are easy and quick to adjust while on the go. Not only do they provide a snug fit to your feet, but they also have durable rubber and non-slip soles for superior traction and grip, even on wet and slippery terrains. Not only are these features ideal for convenience when adventuring in the water, but they’re great for added safety, too. From protecting toes from sharp rocks, to preventing slipping, good traction is key.These shoes can be used in a variety of ocean sports, from surfing, to kayaking, and more. Additionally, reviewers seem to be fond of their versatility even for household chores like car washing, yoga practice, and more. Although highly rated and reviewed, some say these water shoes run large, so pay close attention to sizing guides.
11. WateLves Quick Dry Aqua Socks
The simple and thoughtful design of these aqua socks are perhaps the best features. The WaveLves quick dry water shoes are ultra lightweight, flexible, and offer superior comfort to the wearer.
Made of a polyester and spandex upper, this product is highly reviewed by customers worldwide for its comfort, convenience and breathability. The smooth neck design prevents rubbing or chafing for a long day of use, and the stretch fit offers comfort throughout the day. Featuring durable rubber soles, these aqua socks also protect feet from sharp rocks and other terrains. Additionally, they have an ergonomically molded, shock absorbing and cushioned toe for ultra protection and comfort while adventuring in the water.
While these water shoes are great for a variety of water adventures, the lightweight materials aren’t ideal for rugged sports or terrains without wear.
12. YALOX Quick Dry Swim Shoes
The YALOX quick dry swim shoes are a fashionable and functional marine footwear for the adventure enthusiast. These water shoes feature a unique and simple design, fitting like aqua socks with a breathable and comfortable upper. These shoes slip on with ease on the go, and when you’re done using them they fold up easily for portability.
Not only do they protect feet from rough terrains, but the tough and durable rubber bases are designed with special grooves to increase traction and slip-resistance on slippery surfaces. Additionally, these swim shoes keep feet feeling light, dry and comfortable, making them a great option for seaside adventures.
These water shoes are designed to keep feet feeling good, and looking good, while providing protection and comfort in the water. Durable and comfortable enough to wear throughout the day's activities, these shoes are then incredibly portable. They can be rolled up and packed in gear or luggage, and are versatile enough to use for a variety of activities. From beach yoga, to paddle boarding, snorkeling and more, these shoes earned their spot on our best water shoes list!
These shoes are rated and reviewed highly by many customers, but are noted to have challenging sizing. Pay close attention to sizing guides to find the best fit for your feet. Additionally, it should be noted that these shoes are designed for more leisurely marine area use. Although they’re versatile and convenient, the longevity can be compromised with too much wear from rugged ocean sports.
If you’re looking for the top water shoes on the market today, you’ve come to the right place. From the materials used in construction, to the breathability and durability in design, there are many features to look for when choosing the best aqua footwear for your needs. Whether you’re planning a kayaking or diving excursion, or are simply planning a stroll through the shallows at the beach, water shoes play an important role in the comfort and protection of your feet.
Not only are these types of shoes designed to keep your feet safe from debris and sharp surfaces, but they’re also made to keep feet comfortable throughout your day spent exploring. Depending on your shoe needs for your adventure, pay special attention to what sort of draining, traction and insulation you’ll need. By understanding what type of shoe is best for you, you’ll set yourself up for ultimate success on the water!
If you’re interested in learning more about other gear that’ll set you up for success while exploring marine environments, or joining fun ocean sports, we’ve got you covered. Check out our waterproof watches buyers guide, best wetsuits for cold water swimming, and best beach towels.
Megan Jones is the lead author of Seaside Planet. She is an avid surfer, scuba diver, and travel enthusiast who takes any opportunity she can to spend time in the ocean. You can learn more about Meg and the rest of the editorial team here.