10 Best Water Shoes Reviewed
So you like to hit the water, doing different water-related sports activities, relaxing at the pool, or you simply like to enjoy your spare time slipping through streams? Then, you must have come to a conclusion that regular sports shoes or everyday footwear will not fit your needs when they get waterlogged.
When spending a lot of time on the water it is inevitable that your feet will get wet, regular shoes, no matter the quality or brand, will get wet in no time, this will not only significantly shorten the lifespan of your shoes but will also be harmful to your feet. Water shoes are specifically designed for these kinds of activities, as they do not absorb and enclose the water, rather letting it freely flow, not absorbing the moisture and keeping your feet safe from moisture damage.
First, let’s make clear the difference between water shoes and water sandals as these two have a different purpose. Water sandals, in general, have the same properties as a water shoe – they are designed for on-water activities, however, while water sandals offer you the same comfort and protection, they are only meant to protect the bottom of your feet, the toes are not enclosed and therefore these will not be appropriate choice when you are doing more than just an easy boat trip. Water shoes have the toe section closed off making them more like the ordinary sports shoe, enabling the wearer to endure rougher terrain as you go in and out of the water.
10 Best Water Shoes
1. Merrell All Out Blaze Sieve
This water resistant upper will allow the feet to dry very quickly and no water will be enclosed within the shoe, allowing the wearer to avoid unpleasant feeling or wet feet, which also might result in sore and rubbed feet and painful blisters.
This midsole is shaped so that it efficiently activates the whole foot, distributing the workload of the feet, its design will minimize the terrain’s roughness and, at the same time, will provide strong support for your feet. This midsole also offer supplementary agility thanks to the circular slugs.
Cost and Value
It would be a difficult task to find another pair of shoes that would provide the same amount of comfort and protection as these shoes provide for the price you can have them.
- Waterproof leather fabric upper
- Stretch collar for easy on and off
- Hollowed lugs for lightness and agility
- Very light
- No blisters thanks to built-in pad ankle protection
- Size not always matches the description
- Narrow middle part of the shoe
2. Zhuanglin Quick Drying Aqua
The most important aspect of this shoe is its admirable ability to stay put on slippery and wet surfaces, this has been achieved with the Water Grip outsole of the shoe, providing the wearer security and stability during hikes.
Breathability and drying
As your feet will get wet no matter what, this shoe will provide the necessary protection against both - insufficient ventilation and moisture. The open mesh of this shoe upper guarantees good ventilation of the feet, and the holes in the sole will allow the water to leave the shoe as quickly, as it came in.
Cost and Value
This is one of the cheapest options you can have, and, to be honest, the price of this shoe is really underestimated comparing to the benefits it can offer in terms of comfort and everyday use.
- Extremely light
- Very breathable
- Holes in the sole - letting the water escape from the shoe
- Equally comfortable on water and on the ground
- Dry quickly
- Size does not mach the fit
3. Ryka Hydro Sport
The water drainage system in this shoe is designed so that the water can flow out of t as soon as it got in, this is achieved with placing hole sin the sole for water to flow out.
Designed for women only
This shoe has a narrower heel section, roomier forefoot section, increased instep volume and more secure footbed that makes it the top choice for water shoes designed for women.
Cost and Value
The cost of this shoe can really variate a lot, and you can hit a really good discount price that will leave you with a feeling that you got it virtually free of charge, however, even the highest price would not be overpaid for this one.
- Sticky rubber sole averts slipping on wet surfaces
- Increased durability - chlorine resistant material
- Removable insole
- Designed for narrower foot
- Laces are getting untied during workouts
4. Adidas Outdoor Climacool Boat Lace
This technology is designed to provide you with the best possible ventilation and moisture control and will increase breathability around the foot providing you far better comfort than most other shoes.
Unique drainage system
The unique drainage system implemented in this shoe consists of perforated textile footbed and perforated outsole that will shed the water from the shoe at a maximum speed, keeping the inside of the shoe as dry as possible.
Cost and Value
Although this is a very well-known brand this shoe will not cost a lot for you, and, considering the brand, the low price will not result in a bad quality shoe, this would cost a bit less than the average water shoe on the market.
- Perfect for boating trips
- Quickly drying
- Equally good on dry surface as on water
- Good traction on wet surface
- Not suitable for longer hikes
- Not suitable for rough terrains
5. Columbia Drainmaker III
In this model the drainage points have been made bigger and increased in numbers, therefore increasing the speed of water drainage by 33%.
Razor siping outsole
The outsole is made of non-marking Omni grip with razor siping, therefore allowing the shoe to get a grip on wet and slippery surfaces.
Cost and Value
Although this shoe is at the (considerably) upper side of the pricing tab, you would not regret spending extra dollar on the reinforced cushioning and protection of your feet, if you enjoy active water sport.
- Super-sharp grip
- Added cushioning
- Faster water drainage
- Not for walking on beaches due to sand
6. Aleader Mesh Slip On
The FluidFlow technology of this shoe will make sure, that the water drains from the inside of the shoe as quickly as possible - through the outsole.
The Water Grain outsole will provide a superb traction and control on wet and slippery surfaces, and allow you to conquer places no other slip on water shoes would dare tackling.
Cost and Value
The average price for these shoes feels a lot less than they would deserve, judging by the customers reviews. Even more so - if you catch them on a discount you would regret not giving this model a chance to prove itself. Possibly one of the best in terms of value against the price.
- No insoles required
- Soft and cushy bottom
- Perfect, snug fit
- Minimal arch support
- Not intended for longer hikes
7. Keen Whisper
EVA metatomical footbed makes for the best support of the feet making this shoe on the top list for hiking water shoes, along with the EVA midsole that provides great cushioning and rebound.
Lug pattern sole and lacing
The lug pattern sole will provide the best grip with wet and slippery surfaces, and the secure fit lacing system will provide an easy on and off slip function of the shoe and an efficient securing of the shoe.
Cost and Value
This shoe, although lightweight and not very complicated by the looks, and falling within the same price level as the rest of the models mentioned above, does provide a great value for the price as they can be worn during your daily activities, too.
- Specifically designed for women
- Very light
- Good arch support
- Not fit for a rough terrain
- Stretching out over time
8. Cudas Shasta
Protective toe and heel bumper on this sock - like embracing slip on shoe will protect the most vulnerable parts of your feet, not making them a great hiking shoes, but perfect for boat trips and scaling rivers and waterfalls.
Anti-slip and non-marking grippy outsole
Anti-slip and non-marking grippy outsole is one of the most important aspects of every water shoe, and this will make it an excellent choice in order to feel secure on a wet or slippery surface.
Cost and Value
This shoe may not survive many seasons or super long hikes, however, it offer good protection and are very comfortable, and with the price tag hanging quite low, you would not regret this choice after they have served their time.
- Very light
- Extra toe and heel protection
- Comfortable for short hiking distances
- Strechy upper
- You can easily swim wearing these
- Slow to dry
9. Speedo Surfwalker 3.0
S-TRAC TPR technology streamlines water away from the bottom of the outsole, providing better grip with the surface and more safety for the wearer on wet and slippery surfaces.
Air mesh upper
Air mesh upper is what can be held accountable for the quick drying property of this shoe and the weight, making this shoe comfortable and allowing you to keep them on even when swimming.
Cost and Value
Another one of those lightweight, slip on shoes that does not seem much, but provides you with a proper protection, are light and easy to put on and can be taken everywhere, for the price you can have them and the purpose - these are a good choice.
- Stretchy upper adding more comfort
- Can be taken with you swimming
- Enduring sole - can be worn on a rougher terrain
- Quickly drains and dries
- Not true to size
- Not suitable for hiking
10. Mohem Poseidon
These shoes are made of the well known air mesh upper that allows the feet to be well ventilated, super light and comfortable.
In many cases, when considering to purchase water shoes, you will have only the aspect of usability of these shoes, with these, however, you do not get only the practicality of water shoes, you also get style and good look of a casual fashion sneaker with a sporty look.
Cost and Value
Falling in the same price level as a few other shoes mentioned above in this list, this shoe is surely within the lower price corner, although last, but hardly the least - they do look great and for the price you can have them - it is a bargain.
- Very light
- Handy lacing system
- Can be used as everyday walking shoes
- Could not use them on rough terrain
- Low support for your arch
How to Find the Best Water Shoes
By now you should understand the importance of choosing the right water shoe model and type for your preferences and your needs. There are many types of water shoes, there are also water shoes and water sandals, and there is a big difference between them, although some water shoes can be called sandals, you can easily spot the difference, as water shoes have the toe section closed off, therefore providing more protection for your toes, and making this type of shoe more suitable for sporting activities, while the toe section for water sandals is open making this type of shoe more appropriate for simple walks or fishing by the lake.
Water shoe price tags can vary, highly, along with their general performance or functionality. You need to know what kind of activities you will be getting yourself into, before actually buying any water shoes, this article contains the advice and best-use tips you will need to make an educated decision, so you can find the right shoes for your adventures, or the pool.
Criteria for Evaluation of the Best Water Shoes
Lightweight & Flexible
The purpose of having water shoes is to be out of your shoes, while still keeping your feet protected. This means the material used and the overall density of the shoe will be at a minimum, to ensure you can enjoy the comfort of being barefoot, without having to completely be. You will typically find water shoes with bungee lace systems and thin mesh uppers, with a relatively thin sole typically comprised of EVA rubber. Some of the more favored designs mimic the feel of a sock, but companies are also making water shoes that have more of a build to them, closing in on the style and protective capabilities a shoe might have. Of course, the more material used to build the shoe, the heavier it will be, but since water shoes are not full shoes, they don’t have every protective property and even the heaviest of them are more lightweight or flexible in comparison. Water shoes that can be used for hiking may be more thick and less flexible in comparison to what is known as a “wet shoe”, but all maintain that level of flexibility that you wont have in a full blown shoe.
Underfoot Protection & Traction
Think; walking through water unknowing of what you will be stepping on next whether it be through rough rocks or other external hazards. Your feet are fragile and susceptible to a number of injuries and ways to become damaged if barefoot. Even navigating through a beach has it’s hazards. People have been known to step on left behind objects, even needles, which has been reported washed up on beaches which is best avoided, to say the least. Not saying you will likely step onto anything in particular, but there’s plenty of things you can step on that you would be best to have a protective layer between your feet and it while doing so. With an adequately designed, quality water shoe, you can enjoy a barefoot feel with proper drainage without the exposing your feet to the jagged surfaces of rocks and hazardous materials the bottom of your feet may come into contact with. Soles of water shoes may be made from rubber and EVA material. You will also find Vibram soles on some, which are very protective yet cushioned and flexible.
Note: Some water shoes may also blend the line between aqua socks, in which case are usually not as protective as one with a sole, but are typically more flexible, with a more accommodating fit. They aren’t quite socks, as they are thick, and not made to wear under other footwear.
Traction goes hand-in-hand with the protection that the sole provides as it is generated by the very material used in the outsole, which is the bottom-most portion of the shoe that comes into contact with the ground. Vibram soles, as mentioned prior, provide very good traction, but the material itself isn’t enough to provide the grip needed. The tread profile is critical, and need to be designed where water cannot be trapped underneath, but rather have outlets to be forced outward from the bottom of the shoe with each step. This is especially important as water shoes are used on boats regularly, where the floor is almost always wet and slippery.
Drainage & Ventilation
Just like with most shoes, you don’t want your feet bathing in its own perspiration. The same can be said for the water that will inevitably find its way inside your shoe easily if you completely submerge them, which is what happens in any instance you are playing in the water. For this reason, a water-sealed shoe will not work for the situations in which you would find yourself using a proper water shoe for. Let’s say you find yourself an adequately lightweight shoe that is extremely flexible. but the material that the upper is made of does not let the moisture from the inside escape effectively. You will find yourself walking in a shoe filled with water, which is very inconvenient at the very least. This is why a water wicking or breathable shoe is just not good enough. You need ventilation and drainage. Let’s face it; if you submerge your feet in water, there’s no way you’re going to keep water out of your footwear. You may as well allow if to escape easily when it does. Your feet will absorb water, and letting your feet bath in your shoe will cause them to swell and lead to discomfort.
What to look for in a shoe made to allow proper drainage and fast drying
- Drainage Ports – These are holes either on the side of the sole or the bottom that allows water to flush out from the inside of the shoe.
- Made of open mesh primarily – This means you will have a sole (preferably with drainage ports), but the rest of the shoe would be comprised of a permeable synthetic mesh upper to allow water to pass through.
- Stay away from Leather – Leather naturally has water resistant properties, which will trap moisture inside the shoe. The only “water shoes” you should consider that are comprised of leather are those with a sandal design. Yes, there are some.
- Moisture Wicking – This goes hand-in-hand with drainage and breathability, but is independent as wicking materials work by effectively pulling moisture away from the skin, outward. Even with proper drainage, your foot’s surface will still hold moisture. This is where wicking material comes into play. Fleece works well for moisture wicking, but materials such as cotton or wool are not effective in this regard as they hold water in, and do not allow it to evaporate easily.
Different Types of Water Shoes
Not all water shoes are created equally. In fact, there are several different types of water shoes, and it may be a bit confusing to differentiate between each as the line between each is a bit blurred. Although the terms used for any given water shoe depends on who you’re asking, there are some clear lines between a few types. The most notable being those made for hiking, those made for boat use, those made for swimming pool use, rafting, etc, and those made for the beach or light land use. Although, all offer the general aspects and capabilities mentioned above (just to different degrees catered to their specific usage), and some are diverse enough to be used in any way. Let’s take a look at the water shoe types available and the specific occasions where each excels.
Note: Water shoes are not to be mistaken for aqua socks. Aqua socks are made to be worn inside shoes that are susceptible to becoming water-logged and act as a protective layer. Water shoes, on the other hand, are completely independent.
Some common water shoe terms
- Aqua Shoes – This is a broad category, still, but people use the term to refer to water shoes that are made mainly for high-performance purposes, and doing such things as hiking where the user can step through rivers, but maintain the safety of their feet as they generally incorporate the most underfoot protection. They are usually worn without socks, however, some people wear socks with them. In short, they do well in and out of water.
- Wet Shoes – These are not very versatile, and are specific to in water use. Try to venture with them on land and you’re going to have a problem. The material composition is that of a wet-suit.
- Water Sandal – Although the term “sandal” is used, these are more or less a shoe, with benefits of a sandal. They are similar to the typical aqua shoe, but without the toe protection.
- Boat Shoes – Also known as deck shoes, these are what you will find, as the name suggests, people using on boats, and they are typically slip-resistant and not very efficient to swim in. They are made to walk on hard, wet surfaces without slipping. Some are made of oil coated leather, and they are usually worn without socks.
- Fivefingers – Fivefingers are made by a few brands, but the most notable are by Vibram. These are highly versatile shoes that can be used in many instances, from a boat deck to the beach, to the backyard pool.
- Beach Shoes – Beach shoes is another broad term that some companies use to market sandals, slippers and other types of water-use footwear. There really is no absolute beach shoe, but if any type would be the owner of the term, the typical aqua shoe would make the cut.
Q: Why use water shoes instead of being barefoot, or using regular shoes?
A: As mentioned previously, water shoes not only provide a safe barrier between rocks and other objects, they also provide slip protection, are much more comfortable than regular shoes, are much lighter in weight (not to mention practical), and easily drain. A quality water shoe won’t break down due or fall apart due to moisture damage, and you won’t need to worry about mold either. What are water shoes used for? Well, in short, to walk through water effectively, with a degree of protection.
Q: How many different types of water shoes are there?
A: This was also covered previously, but if you missed it, there are four main types, but countless terms are used and sometimes the line between each is blurred. The main types with easily distinguishable differences are boat shoes, water sandals, wet shoes, and aqua shoes.
Q: What’s the best place to buy water shoes?
A: Well, if you’re looking for convenience, online is the way to go. But, there are pros and cons to buying online and buying in-store. If you buy in store, you can get a better perspective of any particular water shoe you are interested in. If you buy online, you will need to utilize reviews as we provide in order to know what to get. Luckily for those who don’t have the time to make it to the store, we have you covered!
Q: Will water ruin my standard shoes?
A: The easy answer is, absolutely! But, certain materials break down due to moisture more easily than others. Don’t ruin your walking shoes. Water shoes are crafted to withstand water, with material and seams that do not fall apart due to constantly being wet. That’s what they’re made for.
Q: Are water shoes good for hiking?
A: Some are. You need to make sure to get the right type. You also need to be aware that any strenuous hikes may render any water shoes useless, so we recommend easy hikes if you use a water shoe. A perfect water shoe for hiking would be the Merrell All Out Blaze Sieve, and similar types would suffice.