Over the past few years, water shoes have undergone a staggering evolution. The constant design innovations coupled with the fact that a number of footwear heavyweights have decided to enter this niche has resulted in the massive expansion of the market. Thanks to this relatively recent development, you are no longer forced to sift through hundreds of bland and generically designed models just to find the best water shoes for your needs.
You are now presented with a wide range of great options to choose from and the overall quality has never been higher. To help you navigate this booming market, we have reviewed some of the best options you can possibly buy today.
Best Water Shoes buying guide
Picking water shoes for you is predicated on identifying your needs first. The market is filled with a plethora of options, and not all of them are ideal for you. For example, the shoes that might be perfect for beach activities might not be suited for the wet and rocky terrains that you encounter on a hiking trip. However, there are some universal characteristics that should be present in any good pair of water shoes. Below is a brief overview of some of them:
This is the main quality that you should be looking for in water shoes. While the majority of manufacturers market their shoes as completely waterproof, a significant percentage of them fail to deliver on that commitment. Quick-drying water shoes are easily recognized by their well-made and rugged soles that attach firmly to the upper.
Quality of the stitching
Good stitching is one of the basic characteristics of a well-made shoe, especially when it comes to the sole. Durable water shoes have well-made soles that are firmly connected to the upper. On the other hand, cheap shoes often have low-quality glued soles that aren’t sturdy enough to handle the rough elements of the outdoors.
A significant number of manufacturers tend to neglect comfort and only focus on durability and performance. This results in a rugged shoe that can be used in a wide range of terrains but also in a low level of comfort and support for your foot. High-quality water shoes have ample padding and cushioning around the sensitive spots.
The materials used in making the shoes
You will generally be presented with two options, leather or synthetic fabric. Each has a set of advantages and particularities that make it an interesting choice. Leather is highly durable and easy to clean, while synthetic materials are often lighter and provide better air circulation and breathability.
The traction that is offered by the shoe is a very important factor that you need to take into consideration. This quality is valuable for activities that involve standing on rocky or solid surfaces for long periods of time. Kayaking and fishing are two activities where shoes with good traction are extremely valuable.
Best water shoes in 2023
Aleader Mesh Slip-On Water Shoes
- Breathable and durable air mesh upper allow the foot to breathe
- Solyte midsole provides an exceptionally lightweight midsole with excellent...
- Water Drain outsole provides exceptional traction in wet and slippery...
- ComforDry sockliner provides the optimum cushioning performance that...
They are ideal for a wide array of activities ranging from a simple walk near the lake to hiking rough terrains. They are designed in a unique way that enables you to keep your feet cool and dry when the temperature is high and their durable air mesh upper allows your foot to breathe during prolonged wearing.
As far as comfort is concerned, this pair from Aleader gets a full mark. The Solyte midsole used in these shoes is remarkably light and flexible, allowing for easy movement and exceptional bounce-back. Furthermore, the ComforDry sockliner provides ample cushioning to the foot and helps maintain tendons and ligaments so it means that it can be the best water shoes for rocky beaches as well.
- Superb bounce back
- Great for hiking
- Suited for a wide range of activities
- ComforDry sockliner provides great cushioning
- The rubber pods generate good traction
- FluidFlow Technology provides excellent drainage
- Small rocks can embed themselves into the outer sole
- The holes in the bottom are large enough to let in a significant amount of dirt and sand
|1||Merrell Men's Moab 3 Hiking Shoe, Walnut, 11||1,638 Reviews||$59.00||Buy on Amazon|
|2||Merrell Women's Moab 2 Vent Hiking Shoe, Smoke, 9 M US||9,700 Reviews||$57.89||Buy on Amazon|
Merrell has amassed a significant amount of experience when it comes to designing multi-purpose waterproof shoes, and this particular model is a fine example of the company’s unwavering commitment to quality. These water shoes are made from a combination of leather and high-quality fabric and are highly effective in handling all types of hiking trails. They are designed in a way that guarantees good support for the foot and helps reduce strain on it.
A major selling point of these shoes is their abilities to retain their shape and grip on a multitude of terrains. Whether it is muddy trails, rocky hills, or gravel roads, the feel of the shoes remains consistent. Additionally, they are fairly low maintenance and are easy to clean and it makes them one of the best mens water shoes.
- They are easy to clean
- They are versatile
- The quality of the leather
- The effective lacing system
- They provide good support for the foot
- The synthetic sole doesn’t feel sturdy enough
- The design is a little bit outdated
|1||Teva Men's Hurricane XLT2 Sandal, Black, 10||8,391 Reviews||$54.85||Buy on Amazon|
|2||Teva Women's Voya Infinity Sandal, Black, 8||3,282 Reviews||$42.00||Buy on Amazon|
The closed-toe sandal design has witnessed a surge in popularity in recent years. This model from Teva is one of the best on the market and boasts all the features that you would like to see in a great pair of water shoes. Besides their intended use for a wide range of outdoor activities, their minimalistic and seamless design makes them ideal for everyday use.
These shoes are made from synthetic fabric and rubber and are highly sturdy. As it is the case with most products from Teva, the emphasis on comfort is high. The cushioned Shoc-pads are well-placed on the heels of the shoes for maximum comfort and the rubber toe bumper allows you to walk in water or in rocky terrains without worrying about hurting your foot.
- The dry very easily
- They are ideal for everyday use
- The toe bumper is soft and sturdy
- Great support and comfort
- Stylish design
- The sole can be slippery on wet rock
- The synthetic mesh is prone to shrinkage overtime
|1||adidas Women's Puremotion-Adapt Running Shoe, Core Black/Footwear White/Grey Five, 9||19,062 Reviews||$34.99||Buy on Amazon|
|2||adidas Unisex Adilette Clog Slide Sandal, Footwear White/Core Black/Footwear White, 9 US Men||8,276 Reviews||$44.90||Buy on Amazon|
This pair from industry-giants Adidas boasts a stylish and hip design that sets it apart from the vast majority of options on the market. Their ability to dry quickly while keeping sand, dirt and other small particles from getting in makes these shoes perfect for a number of water-bound activities. They are great for beach sports such as volleyball and sand soccer. More importantly, the Cilmacool tooling construction that was used in these shoes ensures that your feet will stay cool and dry even after wearing the pair for an extended period of time. They also feature specially designed inserts that are malleable and fully adaptable to the shape of your feet and an EVA tongue top that provides tremendous support and comfort.
- The design is modern and stylish
- The climacool construction offers great breathability
- They are light and compact
- They are Quick drying
- Can be used for a wide array of outdoor activities
- This pair is one of the best womens water shoes on the market
- They are not ideal for rocky surfaces
- The bottom of the shoes tends to collect a lot of sand
|1||Sperry mens Leeward 2-eye Boat Shoe, Sahara, 10.5 US||2,791 Reviews||$89.40||Buy on Amazon|
|2||Sperry Womens Crest Vibe Linen Sneaker, Oat, 8||14,501 Reviews||$48.88||Buy on Amazon|
This is another option that is geared toward people who are not willing to sacrifice style for the sake of practicality. This stylish pair of shoes from Sperry is reasonably priced options and offers a great value for your buck.
It features an incredibly light and breathable quick-dry mesh upper that provides great comfort and good support for your feet. This is further enhanced thanks to Sperry’s uniquely-designed removable compression molded EVA foot bed that maximizes the foot’s natural range of motion while protecting it with ample cushioning. Another feature that is unique to these shoes is a patented and proprietary technology that ensures a natural sensory feedback and greater stability with an innovative outsole design.
- Affordable price
- Good design
- Very comfortable
- Outsole design guarantees more agility and stability and reduces slippage
- The side rubber trim doesn’t look durable
- These shoes make a squeaky noise when you are walking
There are a lot of variables involved when it comes to choosing the best water shoes. Your choice will have to depend on the type of activity that you plan on undertaking. While some of the options reviewed here are versatile enough to be used in a multitude of activities, it is still advisable to have a clear idea of what their intended use is if you want to get the most out of them.
Also, we recommend you to read our waterproof backpack reviews and about the best travel umbrella you may need for your trips.