The coming of summer means many things to many people, including taking part in activities such as swimming, hanging out at the beach, kayaking, and more.
Wearing proper footwear is essential for making the most of these activities, and that’s where water shoes come into play.
We’ll review the best water shoes for men and women in this post, including the Merrell All Out Blaze Sieve water shoe – while considering other factors, such as buying tips and what types of shoes work best for different activities.
Let’s begin with some water shoe buying tips.
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|Merrell All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoe (Men’s)||Check on Amazon →|
|Zhuanglin Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes (Women’s)||Check on Amazon →|
|L-Run Barefoot Skin Shoes (Unisex)||Check on Amazon →|
|Ryka Hydro Sport Cross-Training Shoe (Women’s)||Check on Amazon →|
|Mishansha Quick-Dry Water Shoes (Men’s)||Check on Amazon →|
|Aleader Mesh Slip On Water Shoes (Men’s)||Check on Amazon →|
|Easy Usa Aqua Wave Water Shoes (Women’s)||Check on Amazon →|
|Barerun Barefoot Quick-Dry Water Sports Shoes (Unisex)||Check on Amazon →|
|Keen Whisper Sandal (Women’s)||Check on Amazon →|
|Clapzovr Water Shoes (Men’s)||Check on Amazon →|
|Aleader Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes (Women’s)||Check on Amazon →|
|Crocs Swiftwater Mesh Deck Sandal (Men's)||Check on Amazon →|
|Merrell Waterpro Maipo 2 Water Shoe (Women's)||Check on Amazon →|
Before you buy: 6 Things to consider when purchasing water shoes
Not all water shoes are built the same, but the best ones share the same characteristics regarding overall quality. Keep the following attributes in mind as you search for the best water shoes.
No matter what type of footwear you choose, overall comfort is a must. After all, who wants to wear a pair of shoes that don’t fit properly or cause foot fatigue, pinching and rubbing, and even pain?
While the fit is the most obvious factor for finding the most comfortable pair of water shoes, you should consider other characteristics as well, including the shoe’s cushioning and shock absorption. The best water shoes typically have padding built into them and enough shock absorption to provide overall comfort on any terrain.
Water shoes should also be flexible and feel comfortable and non-restricting as you move around and change directions.
The type of material of which a water shoe consists ties in closely with comfort because specific materials used in shoe construction feel good to some people and not so good to others. But no matter what type of material you choose, it’s important that it’s quick drying. Synthetic fabrics help your feet to dry quicker, while water-absorbent materials such as cotton will make your shoe feel heavier and retain water for a longer period.
You’ll encounter some slippery surfaces along the way as you participate in water activities. Choosing a shoe with superior traction is crucial because traction determines how well the shoe grips the surface (while keeping you upright).
You should look for shoes with extra grip if you’re swimming or participating in other water-related activities near rocky shores.
The shoe’s ability to drain water quickly is another important factor to consider when purchasing water shoes. A shoe that retains water becomes too heavy and may even pull off of your foot. Fortunately, most companies deal with this issue by adding drain holes to their shoe’s design, including holes in the shoe’s sole.
Many shoes also consist of material that wicks water away from the foot and shoe.
There’s no reason to buy a pair of water shoes that will wear out too quickly and force you to buy a new pair every several months. In many cases, a shoe’s durability relates to its price because more expensive shoes – in general, mind you – tend to be a bit more durable.
That’s also why it’s often worth it to spend more of your hard-earned cash on a pair of shoes that will last you a long time. It’s not cost efficient to frequently replace your shoes because they wear out too quickly.
6. Type of Activity
Finding the right shoe for your type of water activity is crucial. Just because a water shoe is good for, say, kayaking, doesn’t mean it’s good for fishing or swimming.
For instance, a shoe that’s great for fishing should have plenty of traction with tackier rubber for superior grip on slippery surfaces. If you fish in a rocky river, choose shoes with the right amount of traction and, preferably, a lacing system that keeps the shoe secure on your foot.
Water sandals are excellent for beachwear because they have a more “open” design than sneaker-style water shoes. You’ll also want to choose a shoe that protects you against sharp rocks, broken shells, and the many other hard-edged objects you might find on a beach.
Many water shoes are excellent for kayaking; a primary consideration is to choose a shoe that’s lightweight and sheds water easily and efficiently, and that fits comfortably over your foot and has enough of a secure fit that keeps it firmly on your foot as you navigate your favorite body of water.
Let’s move on to our water shoes reviews.
The 13 best water shoes for men & women
Merrell started as a company that made high-performance hiking boots but then expanded into manufacturing footwear for a wide range of activities – from work to walking to water wear. That’s good news for customers who enjoy outdoor adventures.
Merrell’s All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoe for men reflects the company’s commitment to versatility in that it’s suitable for a variety of activities. Whether you’re a boater, kayaker, walker, or anyone who enjoys outdoor activities, the All Out Blaze has you covered.
The All Out Blaze includes a leather neoprene upper that’s waterproof and provides a secure yet lightweight fit that’s adjustable thanks to its lace-up design. The upper neoprene repels water and dries very quickly, while also helping to keep the shoe’s interior dry even when you walk in the most watery places.
Even if a bit of water – or moisture from sweat – ends up in the inside of the shoe, Merrell’s M Select material will help keep your feet free from bacteria and foot odor.
Traction, as mentioned earlier, is an important attribute of any water shoe and the All Out Blaze’s synthetic outsole supplies plenty of it, as well as excellent stability. The sole also consists of lugs that ensure traction on any terrain. That helps make them among the best water shoes for hiking.
Another nice feature of the outsole is drainage holes that help get rid of any water that gets inside the shoe. The outsole is durable and built to last.
The All Out Blaze’s insole also earns high marks for comfort and cushioning thanks to a Uni-Fly material that makes it possible to wear the shoe on long hikes. It includes water drainage that helps the shoe from becoming too heavy even when it’s waterlogged.
The shoe’s drainage holes also help to make the shoe more breathable while providing plenty of air circulation. Finally, the All Out Blaze has a toe bumper that protects your foot against bumps and other potential mishaps.
- Excellent grip on slippery surfaces
- Secure lacing system
- Helps keep feet fresh and dry
- Very comfortable
- The soles are a bit stiff for some wearers
The versatile Merrell All Out blaze has all the necessary attributes that go into the making of a quality water shoe. They help keep your feet dry, comfortable, and well-protected.
There’s nothing wrong with wearing a water shoe for other activities, such as walking around town or aerobic sports if they’re comfortable and durable enough. The Zhuanglin Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoe is just that: a versatile, comfortable water shoe that’s suitable for many uses.
Made from a lightweight mesh material, the Aqua Shoe is breathable, lightweight, and durable. A midfoot webbing system helps keep your foot cool and comfortable and provides a supportive fit that adapts to your foot’s contours.
Mesh located at the bottom and sides of the shoes contributes to the shoe’s overall breathability while also aiding in water removal. And there’s plenty of other things to like about this shoe:
- The shoe’s Solyte midsole is lightweight and responsive and cushions your foot with every stride.
- A ComforDry sock liner enhances the shoe’s overall cushioning and keeps your feet dry, cool, and free from excess bacteria build-up.
- The Aqua Shoe features a rubber sole that’s durable yet soft enough to provide a comfortable texture. Articulated flex grooves allow for a wide range of motion.
- A water grip outsole provides superior traction even on the slipperiest of surfaces.
- The shoe’s slip-on design is easy to take on and off while also providing an attractive look.
While this shoe features plenty of attributes it also delivers where it matters most, i.e., performance. It’s up to the task for a variety of activities.
- Lightweight, breathable midsole
- Excellent traction
- Responsive, breathable midsole
- The drainage holes may allow pebbles and other small rocks to enter the shoe
The Aqua Shoe is an example of excellent all-around footwear and will keep your foot comfortable during a wide range of activities.
L-RUN specializes in barefoot water and fitness shoes that are lightweight and multi-functional. Their Unisex Water shoes are no exception.
Women and men benefit from L-RUN’s technology, which includes a 720-degree mesh design that, among other things, provide superior breathability and allows the shoe to dry quickly – always an attribute for any footwear that’s suitable for water activities.
Further comfort from a 3D ventilation system that helps keep your free dry and comfortable, while form-fitting construction makes them comfortable for extended use and for a variety of activities, whether it’s dance, yoga, a day the beach, surfing, etc.
The outsoles consist of durable rubber and provide plenty of slip and water-resistance. The soles represent an upgraded version that helps make them more skid-proof. Another excellent and protective feature is a double-padded toe box that’s comfortable and resistant to a variety of hazards.
It’s also hard to beat the L-RUN Barefoot shoe’s flexibility; you should never feel that your shoes are too stiff and don’t adapt to your stride.
The shoe’s convenient slip-on design is enhanced by a pull-on tab at the back which makes it easy to take them on and off.
- Top-of-the-line mesh design
- Padded toe box helps to protect your feet
- Excellent drainage
- Slip-resistant outsoles
- Check sizing carefully
The L-RUN Water Shoe is an excellent choice for men and women who prefer a versatile shoe that serves them well for a variety of activities. You’ll love its comfortable, lightweight feel and design.
Ryka specializes in athletic footwear for women, including excellent water shoes. Their Hydro Sport cross-trainer is no exception.
If you’re looking for a shoe that’s good for many water fitness activities, such as water aerobics, then you owe it to yourself to consider the Hydro Sport shoe. After all, it has many foot-friendly features including a synthetic and mesh upper that’s quick-drying and chlorine friendly.
Round laces secured by a toggle system help keep the shoe from coming undone during your water activities – and during dry land activities if you so choose – while a webbed midfoot cage offers excellent lateral support.
The Hydro Sport’s midsole consists of a lightweight foam material that’s lightweight-yet-durable, and that offers superior shock absorption. The midsole design also utilizes drainage ports to ensure that no water becomes trapped inside the shoe.
We also like the Hydro Sport’s sticky rubber insole that helps give it excellent traction even on the wettest of surfaces. It’s durable, resilient, and flexible, and adapts to your foot’s contours and movements during any activity.
Synthetic overlays reinforce the shoe’s toe box and heel area while lessening the impact of each stride. Meanwhile, a padded tongue and collar help keep the foot secure during water aerobic activities.
- Adjustable lacing system.
- Rubber sole provides ideal traction.
- Breathable mesh upper.
- Roomy forefoot.
- Some say the shoe’s overall support could be improved.
Ryka’s commitment to creating the best in athletic and water footwear shows with its excellent Hydro Sport shoe. It has everything you need in a shoe that can handle a variety of activities.
Water shoes don’t have to have a daunting price tag to be effective. That’s the case with the Mishansha Quick Dry Water Shoes, at least.
Decidedly affordable, this shoe has all the features and comforts of more expensive shoes without sacrificing overall quality. It’s also suitable for a variety of activities – from swimming, to hanging out at the pool or beach, boating, kayaking, beach volleyball, windsurfing and more.
What makes this shoe so good? Let’s take a look:
- A spandex fabric upper is lightweight and breathable and allows for fast drainage to help keep your feet comfortable. It also provides cross ventilation and is very flexible while enhancing its overall comfort level.
- The anti-slip sole includes drainage holes to ensure that water flows efficiently out of the shoe while creating an overall healthier environment in the insole. The sole consists of rubber and helps to protect your feet on a variety of terrain.
- The EVA insole is soft, comfortable, breathable, and quick to dry.
- The shoe’s upgraded toe design provides excellent protection.
- Another new feature is the shoe’s elastic strap and lock lace that provides a custom fit and makes it easier to take the shoe on and off.
While the Mishansha Water Shoes are excellent for men, they’re also well-suited for women, as well.
- Enhanced outsole design.
- Breathable upper that’s very lightweight.
- Good drainage.
- Not as good on rocky surfaces as some other water shoes.
The Mishansha water shoe design is ideal for men and women who demand a comfortable, protective shoe for a variety of activities. And they’re available at a budget-friendly price.
The Aleader Mesh Slip On water shoes look like a conventional shoe but have all of the necessary characteristics of a water shoe. The result is a shoe that’s versatile enough for use during a variety of activities and occasions.
Are you planning to go on a cruise? Then these shoes – the best water shoes for cruising – are for you. But you can also use them on the beach, for walking, and more.
There’s a lot to love about the Aleader Mesh Slip On, including a durable mesh fabric construction that allows easy air flow to keep feet from becoming overly hot. Strategically-placed holes in the Mesh Slip On’s soles provide excellent water drainage.
It’s also hard to beat this shoe’s thick rubber sole that enables wearers to navigate all kinds of terrain, including uneven surfaces in which superior traction is imperative. Rubber pods place on the shoe’s high-wear areas contributes to its overall traction.
The midsole includes Solyte – which is half the weight of traditional EVA midsole materials – and is incredibly lightweight while still providing excellent shock absorption. Moreover, it’s just as durable as midsoles made from other materials.
A ComforDry sockliner offers additional cushioning while helping to create a drier, cooler, and healthier shoe environment.
In addition, a hydrophobic engineered mesh upper offers quick-drying breathability.
- Sturdy traction and stability
- Lightweight midsole design
- They don’t dry as quickly as some other water shoes
You’ll find the Aleader Mesh Slip-On mentioned in a multitude of best water shoes reviews, and with good reason. Superior construction and design help them rank among the best water shoes available.
Actually, these aqua shoes are also known as water socks, which gives you an idea of their minimalist look and feel. But here’s the thing: they’re as durable and sturdy as conventional water shoes.
The Easy USA Aqua Wave Water shoes are an excellent choice for many water-related activities, whether those include sailing, kayaking, rafting, boating, etc. They’re also an excellent choice if you’re planning a day at the beach; for one, you can fold them up and carry them around in your backpack, purse, or whatever.
The Aqua Wave water shoes consist of a neoprene upper and a rubber sole. The latter offers protection from rocks, sea glass, seashells, and other debris that you may encounter while barefoot.
As you’d expect from a water sock, the Aqua Wave is extremely lightweight and gives you the feel of walking around barefoot but, again, provide plenty of sole protection.
There’s a lot else to like about these shoes, including that they come in a variety of sizes to fit many foot shapes. As a result, they’re among the best water shoes for wide feet. As one Amazon reviewer put it: “I’m normally a size 10, that’s what I got, and I still had room in them.”
The Aqua Wave water shoe’s convenient slip-on design comes in various bright colors and has a stylish, sporty look that’s second-to-none. They slide on and off your feet easily and grip the ankle with just the right amount of pressure.
- Lightweight feel and design
- Sporty, colorful look
- Suitable for a variety of water-related activities
- Not as supportive as some other water shoes
The Aqua Wave water socks are for you if you prefer a minimalist shoe that’s still sturdy enough for use in plenty of activities. They’re extremely portable and come in a variety of sizes.
Another quality entry in the water socks category is the Barerun Quick-Dry Water Sports shoe, which has a 4.5 Amazon rating with nearly 1,000 reviews. The Barerun brand must be doing something right.
Then again, that’s not a surprise when you consider that Barerun specializes in water shoes and has a long line of ultra-lightweight footwear for water activities. Their Quick-Dry Water Sports Shoes for men are lightweight yet with a durable, foot-supportive design that makes them ideal for a full range of activities, from water sports to yoga to walking.
The Quick-Dry Water Sports shoes also have the kind of support your feet demand during the wide range of activities for which they’re suitable and offer protection against things such as sharp objects in the water.
They also have a smooth design that prevents chafing, and their slip-on style makes them easy to take on and off. They’re also ultra-convenient for packing and take up little space in your suitcase or rolling bag.
A good portion of this shoe consists of a breathable, textile fabric that helps keep your feet fresh while offering the necessary breathability for extended wear and on the warmest of days. They’re also flexible and never feel stiff or overly-constricting.
Something else to like about Barerun is that they offer more than 40 patterns in a variety of styles. Finding a pair to fit your preferred style shouldn’t be an issue.
- Supportive, sturdy soles
- Fit and feel of socks
- Some reviewers say the shoe’s material is too thin
Water socks and “barefoot” shoes may feature a minimalist design, but that doesn’t mean they’re not suitable for a variety of activities. Barerun’s Barefoot Quick-Dry Water Sports Shoes are a prime example of that.
Superior swim shoes aren’t always that easy to find but the Keen Whisper Sandal fits the bill while also being an excellent choice for many other activities.
You can swim while wearing the Keen Whisper Sandal, but also hike, camp, go boating – the list is long, indeed. That’s no surprise when you consider everything this shoe has to offer, however.
- The Whisper Sandal has a metatomical footbed that provides superior arch support and cradles the natural contours of your foot.
- Keen’s Cleansport NXT technology helps control foot odor, while its hydrophobic mesh lining lets your foot breathe while keeping it dry.
- Its sturdy, non-marking rubber sole offers plenty of support and features a multi-directional lug pattern for increased traction.
- A bungee lace capture system helps provide a secure fit. You won’t have to worry about these sandals falling off, including while in the water.
- The Whisper Sandal includes a thick toe cap that offers additional protection.
- They’re lightweight yet still offer plenty of support, even when you’re hiking on uneven or rocky terrain.
While the Keen Whisper Sandal is a bit on the pricier side of things, it’s worth the investment when you consider all that it has to offer.
- Offers excellent arch support
- Sturdy rubber sole that holds up well for most outdoor activities
- Secure lacing system
- Check sizing carefully
The Keen Whisper Sandal is an all-around water shoe that looks good, feels good, and provides plenty of support to keep your feet protected and comfortable.
Clapzovr’s Water Shoes feature a clog design, a comfortable fit, and the versatility that makes them useful for many outdoor adventures, even if it involves simply taking a leisurely stroll in nature.
But, hey, if you’re up for more “active” fun, you can easily wear the Clapzovr shoes in the pool, travel hiking, and even while driving, while they also serve as excellent river shoes.
And what’s not to like? The Clapzovr Water Shoes have many desirable features, including a lightweight, non-slip EVA outsole that provides the grip and traction you need, whether you’re on slippery surfaces, pavement, or uneven hiking terrain.
They’re also quick drying and feature plenty of drainage, while their removable footbed is easy to clean and protects well against perspiration.
The Clapzovr slip-on design offers a secure fit, which is always helpful when river hiking, while also making them easy to take on and off.
- Lightweight-yet-sturdy outsole
- Closed-toe design offers additional protection
- May fit a bit tight at first but they do stretch out
Many men – and women – prefer a clog-style design and Clapzovr has them covered with their water shoes. They’re lightweight yet sturdy enough to serve you well for a variety of activities.
The folks at Aleader have another hit on their hands with their Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes for women. Like their men’s Mesh Slip-On listed earlier, the Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes have many features that help send them to the front of the line.
Among those is Solyte midsole technology that’s exceptionally lightweight and provides superior bounce-back and durability. When you combine that with Aleader’s ComforDry sock liner, the result is a shoe that offers optimal cushioning and a cooler and drier shoe environment.
The shoe’s FluidFlow technology prevents waterlogging by allowing easy drainage, which is a must if you spend a lot of time in and by water. An open mesh upper, meanwhile, is breathable and helps hasten the drying process.
Superior traction comes from a sole that features rubber pods placed in high-wear areas to offer extra grip and stability on wet and slippery surfaces.
Something else to appreciate about the Quick Drying Aqua Water shoes is their fashionable look. That helps make for a versatile shoe that pairs well with denim, leggings, and even dresses.
- Comfortable Solyte midsole
- Drain and dry quickly
- Extra traction in high-wear areas of the shoe
- Some wearers say the seams may become uncomfortable
It’s hard to go wrong with a quality water shoe like the Aleader Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes. From comfort to cushioning to quick-drying capability, they have a lot to offer.
The Swiftwater Mesh Deck Sandal is a fantastic choice for men looking for a truly versatile water shoe.
The CrosliteTM outsoles are made with herringbone and give you plenty of traction for navigating water, as well as a cushion for tougher surfaces, which makes these great for any kind of outdoor adventure – from hiking in hot climes to chilling on the beach.
They also shed water quickly and dry very quickly, so you can definitely use them for water sports.
The fit is at once relaxed and secure – there are massage pods on the footbeds, which is great if you’re exercising and your feet are liable to tense up. And the adjustable straps and mesh uppers give you plenty of breathability and freedom without risking slipping off or rubbing you the wrong way.
They are also exceptional light, which helps give you that extra bit of freedom, and makes them ideal for exercise and long days. Plus there’s extended toe room, to avoid any blisters or bumps.
The stitching is also very high quality, and they are made out of very resistant, tough synthetic material. The result is a really strong and durable – a solid investment.
It’s also important to note that some reviewers discuss a slight sizing issue, so it will likely be best for you to consult sizing charts before purchasing online.
- Super comfortable, breathable design is very easy on the feet
- High sole traction makes them very sturdy and safe
- Very quick drying
- Aesthetic won’t be to everyone’s taste
Most people have strong feelings about Crocs, and if you don’t like ‘em these won’t change your mind. But if you can look past that, these are super water shoes with a smart design that will leave your feet very happy indeed.
Merrell’s Women’s Waterpro Maipo 2 Water Shoe are a curious item: whilst they are a wonderful water shoe, what is most striking about them is their comfort.
They are great for lakes or streams – they drain and dry extremely quickly through the micro mesh ports. You can wear them without socks with great comfort, because of the comfortable, secure EVA insole and water friendly top cover.
But they are particularly brilliant for hiking – particularly in areas where there is a chance of wet and generally tough terrain. That’s not to say you couldn’t kayak in them – it’s just not what they’re designed for, and this list features more specifically suited shoes for such activities.
Part of this is because they combine lightweight materials with good durability and toughness as well as providing plenty of security and traction with the Vibram Waterpro Plus sole.
They also have a ton of breathability and air, which is brilliant for warmer or more challenging climates and will keep your feet healthy. And the moulded nylon arch shank and synthetic leather toe bumper make sure your feet are always safe and secure.
They are easy to look after, and seem to last for at least as long as other shoes in the category.
It is worth noting that the sizing should be carefully checked: some reviewers report the sizing being bigger than they are used to.
- Micro mesh ports drain and dry quickly
- Great traction and ankle security
- Relatively affordable
- Some reviewers report difficulty with sizing
Merrell’s Waterpro Maipo 2s are a brilliant choice for any woman who loves to explore tough, watery terrains and needs a shoe that will keep her safe and secure without breaking the bank.
5 Tips for getting the most from your water shoes
Not to beat the drum too continuously, but it’s worth another mention: not all water shoes are good for every type of activity. True, some are more versatile than others – including many that we list in our reviews above – but getting the most from your water shoes means using a bit of forethought before determining how to wear them.
1. Choose the right shoes for the right activity
We talked about this tip when discussing criteria to keep in mind while purchasing water shoes but deserves some re-emphasis. For example, the best water shoes for fishing don’t need to be fancy, but they need to be comfortable whether you’re standing or sitting in the boat. If you fish while standing, then traction must be a priority.
Water sandal-type shoes are excellent for the beach because they have a less closed-in style than sneaker style water shoes. But make sure that they provide adequate protection against sharp and slippery objects you may encounter at the beach and other outdoor settings.
Most water shoes are suitable for kayaking, although footwear with an athletic-shoe design is a good choice. In any case, choose a shoe that’s lightweight, sheds water, and has enough traction and stability to support you when you portage and move about on uneven terrain.
In any case, you shouldn’t have much problem finding appropriate shoes for water and land.
Perhaps the best reason to wear water shoes is that they provide protection. While going barefoot is a rite of passage during warmer months, and there’s nothing at all wrong with doing so, it’s always a good idea to keep your feet protected during activities such as water aerobics, hiking, fishing, etc.
Even driving a car while barefoot can easily become uncomfortable, and even a bit dangerous, but many of the best water shoes are excellent for tooling around in your favorite car.
Here’s the other thing: it’s always a good thing to protect your feet in a public shower considering all of the germs and bacteria that live there despite the best efforts of the maintenance crew.
3. Bring water shoes to the waterpark
Heading out to a water park this summer? If so, water shoes can be your best friend for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that they’re a great all-around shoe that provide excellent convenience.
True, you can always take your conventional shoes off when you head off to the water slide, lazy river, or wave pool, but why not wear shoes that can handle wet or dry conditions? A good pair of water shoes serves you well whether you’re taking part in a waterpark’s many activities or just walking around the park.
4. Water shoes, not flip-flops
Water shoes are an excellent substitute for flip-flops, Crocs, sandals, and other types of footwear that can place excessive strain on your feet if worn for long periods.
5. Water shoes and fashion
Water shoes have come a long way and many of today’s models come in a variety of styles that fit well with any summer casual clothing style. Today water’s shoes often resemble typical sneakers and running shoes, and even stylish sandals. So, if you’re doing some sightseeing away from the beach during vacation, don’t be afraid to step out onto the town while wearing water shoes.
The different types of water shoes & their many uses
Like conventional shoes, water shoes come in several styles. What style you choose should largely depend on the type of activity for which you’ll use them, but also overall comfort as it relates to your feet.
Closed-Toe Water Shoes
The best type of water shoe for all-around use is the closed-toe shoe. Closed-toe shoes occupy a middle ground between sandals and running shoes and have a one-size-fits-all characteristics that make them suitable for many different activities.
Among the many features of closed-toe water shoes is a proper lacing system – which sets them apart from sandal-type water shoes – as well as mesh lining and a padded collar. Like sandals, they have exceptional ventilation and drainage, and they also have a sandal design thanks to sturdy straps that cross over and around the foot.
Uses: Closed-toe water shoes are good for indoor and outdoor use and, as mentioned, will serve you well for a variety of water-related activities.
Sandal-Type Water Shoes
Sandal-type water shoes are sturdier than flip-flops thanks to a thicker sole, and they usually include a mesh material that helps keep them secure on your foot. The mesh also adapts to unique contours of the wearer’s feet.
Uses: Sandal-type water shoes are excellent for getting you to and from the beach, but also good for water sports and other activities. While they’re suitable for short walks on level ground, sandal-type shoes don’t offer enough protection for hiking.
Active Water Shoes
Active water shoes are nearly as comfortable as running shoes – if not just as comfortable – and typically made from lightweight material while offering plenty of water drainage. As their name suggests, active water shoes are for anyone who doesn’t restrict themselves to just one outdoor activity.
Uses: You name the activity and an active water shoe is likely suitable for it – whether it’s swimming, hanging out at the beach, maneuvering around a boat deck, taking long walks, etc. You can even wear them while hiking.
Barefoot Water Shoes
Barefoot water shoes come in a minimalist design that is exceptionally lightweight and comfortable. They’ve become the favorite water and beach activity wear for many customers.
One of the key features of barefoot water shoes is that they have a space for each toe rather than encasing your toes inside of the shoe. They generally come with rubber soles with plenty of traction; in fact, many surfers wear barefoot water shoes because of their superior grip.
Uses: Barefoot water shoes are good for beach and water sports, and even for runners who feel they’re more comfortable than conventional running shoes.
While they’re not really “socks” in the most technical sense, aqua socks feature another minimalist-like design that provides plenty of comfort and versatility. They’re different from conventional socks because they offer more protection, and usually come with a thick rubber sole that provides good support and stability.
Another plus of aqua socks is that they’re ideal for protecting your feet from hot beach sand as well as other hazards such as pebbles, rocks, and sharp objects.
Uses: Aqua socks are excellent for wearing around the pool, at the beach, and for most water activities, including water aerobics. Many snorkelers and divers wear aqua socks because they lessen the likelihood of blisters when wearing fins.
How we choose these water shoes for our reviews
Given all the types and styles of water shoes, narrowing down a list to only the best of the best is quite a challenge. For our purposes, coming up with a list of 13 superior water shoes came down to a few key criteria, including:
- The type of shoe – Our goal with this article was to include a sampling of the many types of water shoes, from conventional water shoes (closed-toe) to minimalist designs such as aqua socks. As mentioned above, each type is suitable for a variety of activities, although some are good all-around shoes because of their versatility.
- Comfort – Comfort is king when it comes to footwear and we placed an emphasis on finding shoes that consistently deliver the type of cushioning and comfort needed for each type of activity.
- Support – Water shoes generally come in lightweight designs that, at first glance, don’t appear to provide the same level of support of conventional shoes. But water shoes do offer excellent support that make them ideal for activities such as water aerobics, walking, and even hiking, our goal was to choose accordingly.
- Traction – Water shoes must provide traction because they’re meant for use on slippery and sometimes uneven surfaces. The goal is to remain upright – and safe – while engaging in your favorite water-related activities.
- Price – We also considered price when choosing the best water shoes for men and women. In many cases, you get what you pay for, i.e., a cheaply-priced shoe may not have nearly the quality features of more expensive shoes. But that’s not to say you have to break your budget to ensure that you’re getting the highest quality shoe.
It’s safe to say that today’s water shoes are better than ever and designed to be effective for many types of activities. No matter how you intend to use them, you’ll find a water shoe that fits your needs.
Do you wear water shoes? If so, what brand and type do you prefer? Have you tried any of the shoes on our list? We’d love to hear from you, and feel free to comment below.