Kathleen PurvisUpdated: May 22, 2023
Make walking in water safe and easy with the best water shoes for beach days and outdoor adventures.
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“Water” and “shoes” are two words that don’t sound like they belong together. Shoes are supposed to keep your feet dry, aren’t they? But if you spend a lot of time around the water, walking on the beach, clamoring over river rocks, strolling on a boat dock or doing water aerobics, there are advantages to having feet protection and support.
The best water shoes offer functionality with designs and materials that drain well and dry quickly. They provide a fit that’s easy to pull on but not so loose they’ll slip off, plus arch support to protect your feet. The bottoms should be skid-proof to keep you safe on wet surfaces, especially around pools, rocks and water equipment. Some are even stylish enough to go from the beach straight into a cafe for lunch. So, let’s dive in (pun intended)!
6 Best Water Shoes
- Best Overall: Quick Drying Water Shoes
- Best Bargain: Barefoot Sock-Style Slip-Ons
- Best for Water Aerobics: Speedo Women’s Tidal Cruiser
- Best for Outdoor Adventures: Keen Newport H2 Water Sandals
- Best for Kids: Bigib Non-Slip Water Shoes
- Most Stylish: Sea Star Beachcomber Espradrilles
Best Overall Water Shoes
Quick Drying Water Shoes
These quick-drying water shoes have it all. The breathability of the ultra-light mesh fabric and the holes designed into the soles allow these aqua water shoes to drain easily and dry quickly. The rubber soles are flexible and anti-slip and the elastic straps tighten with a cord clip. And since they’re full shoes instead of sandals, they offer more protection for your feet.
Five-star reviewer Tyler writes, “Bought two pairs for a trip to Cozumel (beaches have a lot of reef rock there). We had no issues walking on the uneven rocks. On top of that, these shoes are comfortable enough to wear all day, even when you’re not in the water. They look just like regular sneakers, so you won’t feel dorky walking around in them. Highly recommended!”
- Mesh fabric uppers dry quickly
- Anti-slip soles with holes
- Flexible soles for easy movement
- Thick enough to protect against jagged rocks and broken shells
- Holes in the soles can catch sand and small rocks
Best Bargain Water Shoes
Barefoot Sock-Style Slip-Ons
Coming in under $20, these quick-dry sock-style slip-ons are cheap enough to buy several pairs. And since the foot opening is snug but comfortable, it doesn’t cause chafing. Additionally, the soles have a pebble design perfect for water sports like surfing or paddle boarding. The stretchy fabric uppers are flexible and come in 44 styles and sizes for men, women and kids.
- Affordable price
- Lightweight and flexible
- Stretchy uppers made from quick-drying fabric
- Available in various color options and sizes
- Not durable enough for rocky terrain
Best Water Shoes for Water Aerobics
Speedo Women’s Tidal Cruiser
Water athletics classes are very popular at aquatic centers and gyms with pools. In shallow-water classes, you need arch support and a sole with a good grip so you don’t slip, just like any athletic shoe. These tidal cruisers have a neoprene collar around the opening for a good fit, quick-drying mesh uppers and non-skid rubber soles.
- Hold up well against chlorine
- Loops on both sides of the collar to pull them when wet
- Ventilating mesh for faster drying time
- Securely stitched neoprene collar keeps them snug
- Not available in half sizes or wide sizes
Best Water Shoes for Outdoor Adventures
Keen Newport H2 Water Sandals
If you cross a hiking shoe with a water shoe, you’ll get water sandals. Heavy-duty with adjustable straps, these closed-toe water sandals are built to handle terrain that’s wet and rocky while protecting and ventilating your feet. Keen’s sturdy version features a tough rubber toe covering, strong straps, bungee laces for a tight fit and multi-directional grooves that cut into the rubber soles for added stability.
- Toe bumper prevents injuries
- Machine washable
- Available in 30 color combinations
- Anti-odor technology
- Sizing runs small
Best Water Shoes for Kids
Bigib Non-Slip Water Shoes
Water shoes for kids need to be light enough for splashing and playing but sturdy enough to protect against hot sand and broken shells. These non-slip water shoes are ideal for beach play and come in various fun colors and aquatic designs. Moreover, the smooth neck design also prevents scratching during wear.
“Got these for my grandson to wear on our deck while he plays in the water,” writes verified purchaser Lunice A. Clay. “The deck gets very slippery to bare feet, but these grip very well! Easy to put on, and he loves how colorful they are.”
- Available in infant, toddler and kid sizes
- Fabric uppers fit snugly
- Quick-drying flexible fabric cuts down on smells
- Soles are flexible and skid-resistant
- Soft fit isn’t made for rugged terrain
Most Stylish Water Shoes
Sea Star Beachcomber Espadrilles
You’ve got to come out of the sun sometime, and these Beachcomber espadrilles are designed to go from the water to dry land without issue. They combine the classic rope-edged espadrille design with quick-drying, water-ready neoprene uppers. Furthermore, these espadrilles are snug for swimming or wading in the surf but dry quickly to transition for a beachfront lunch date. We can’t think of a better accessory to pack in your weekend bag.
- Available in multiple colors and designs
- Non-skid rubber soles
- Snug fit for swimming
- Neoprene uppers
- Not as comfortable as typical water shoes
What to Consider When Buying Water Shoes
Fit and arch support are key to any good shoe, but with water shoes, you also need to consider the possible water conditions. For pools and water exercise classes, you’ll want shoes that are light enough that they aren’t cumbersome in the water with a tight fit, so you aren’t fighting to keep them on your feet. If you’re into hiking, fishing and fording rocky rivers, get something that can protect your feet and soles with plenty of grip. As a bonus, consider materials like neoprene that dry quickly or airy designs that let water drain when you step back on land.
Types of Water Shoes
- Shoes: Typically, these look like workout shoes with mesh uppers that drain and dry quickly. Plus, they have rubber soles with plenty of grip for wet and slippery surfaces.
- Socks: Usually made from soft, flexible neoprene fabric, water socks have a sturdy collar around the opening to fit snugly on your foot.
- Sandals: Water sandals are ideal for hiking with a rubber toe cover to protect from rocks. Lighter versions work well on boat decks or water sports equipment like paddle boards.
How We Found the Best Water Shoes
As shopping experts, our only job is to help you find a winning product. We start with the research and reporting basics—what products are made of, what they look like and how much they cost—to ensure that we’re only recommending the buys that are worth your time and money. Then, we research the features that speak to the product’s quality, taking advice from industry insiders and subject-matter experts on what makes a product a smart value (or worthy of a splurge). Finally, we do the work of combing through user reviews to see how real people interact with the product, and if it stands up to the test.
What are water shoes called?
They are sometimes called aqua shoes or aqua socks.
What shoes are good for walking in water?
All water shoes are good for walking in water as long as they have good treads on the soles.
Are water shoes meant for swimming?
Yes, as long as they fit snugly and have flexible soles that allow for good movement. More structured footwear like water sandals might be too heavy for swimming.
Should water shoes be tight or loose?
They should be tight. If they’re too loose, they can cause blisters or let your shoe fill with sand or small rocks.
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Originally Published: May 22, 2023
Kathleen Purvis is a journalist with more than 40 years of experience in food and beverage coverage, recipe testing and product testing. She's a freelance writer based in Charlotte, NC, where she and her husband have overseen many improvements on their vintage, mid-century modern home. Her work has appeared in many magazines, including Southern Living, Garden & Gun and Imbibe. She's the author of three books from University of North Carolina Press, including "Pecans" and "Bourbon" in the Savor the South series, and "Distilling the South," on touring Southern craft distilleries.
What is the difference between water socks and water shoes? ›
Water socks have historically been used by snorkelers and surfers for protection and insulation in the water, whereas water shoes tend to be favored for hanging out on a rocky shore or moving between land and water, but increasingly people are using them for wild swimming and kayaking too.Do any water shoes have arch support? ›
What we love about the Hydros is that they have great arch support, and the material makes them easy to clean, no matter what your adventures get you into. These water shoes are designed to dry super quickly with the help of large drainage holes, making them a great choice for the beach or a kayaking trip.Are you supposed to wear socks with water shoes? ›
A: Yes, you can wear these with or without socks.Should you wear water shoes in the ocean? ›
Most water shoes cover the entire foot and have thick soles. These features are essential for protecting your feet from hot surfaces and sharp objects, such as rocks and shells. A quality ocean shoe is essential when treading through ocean floors with unpredictable water and rocky terrain.What do you wear under water shoes? ›
Water shoes can easily convert into a limited version of a "hiking shoe." Just be sure to dry the foot completely (to prevent blisters) and to wear a well-padded hiking sock.Are water shoes good for walking? ›
They are comfortable to wear for long periods and have good traction for walking on both dry surfaces and slippery terrain. The shoes are lightweight and breathable while still offering excellent protection for your feet.Can you wear water shoes as everyday shoes? ›
You can use them to walk almost anywhere you would with a regular shoe, although maybe not as long. They can protect your feet from all sort of sharp and semi-rough terrain. They usually have holes at the bottom of the soles and mesh on the sides, allowing water to escape easily.Why do people wear water shoes? ›
A water shoe is a type of footwear that is typically used for activities where the feet are likely to become wet, such as kayaking. Water shoes are usually made of mesh and have a hard sole used to prevent cuts and abrasions when walking in wet, rocky environments.Is it OK to wear socks with boat shoes? ›
Boat shoes are designed to be comfy and airy without socks, and most people keep their ankles bare for the classic maritime look – preferably with no-show socks. If you're going for an 80s preppy look, however, socks and boat shoes are definitely part of the uniform.Can Crocs be water shoes? ›
Crocs water shoes aren't just functional, but they're fashionable too - perfect for the pool. Whether you're looking for men's and women's water sandals to lounge in on the beach, or kids water clogs to protect their feet as they explore the riverside - we've got water shoes for the whole family for any adventure.
Can you wear water shoes in a public pool? ›
Water shoes are designed to be worn in and around the water, and they are specifically made to get wet whilst providing protection and support in wet environments. They are lightweight, breathable, and quick-drying, making them ideal for swimming in all environments, whether that be the sea, a lake or a swimming pool.When should you wear swim shoes? ›
By design, water shoes are made to go into the water. Meaning that you can wear them in muddy areas, in a pool or beach, or just out in the rain. They dry faster and drain water better, ensuring that if you do walk somewhere wet, you are less likely to get blisters than in a regular shoe.What shoes do Navy SEALs wear in water? ›
In a sleek pair of black chucks, SEALs can easily slide their fins on or off as needed while moving from combat swimming to beach ops. What the SEALs really love about Chucks -- and all other branches of the military, take note -- is that Chucks are lightweight and minimalist.How long do water shoes last? ›
How long do water shoes last? A good quality pair of water shoes could last you from 8 to 12 months, especially if you care for them properly. If you don't wear them frequently, you could get up to 5 years of wear out of them.Are Crocs good for your feet? ›
That said, Crocs lack arch support, so exercising, walking for an extended period of time, or working in them is not recommended by foot specialists. The plastic construction may also lead to sweaty, stinky feet and even blisters.Why should we wear socks under shoes? ›
Socks add an extra layer of protection to your feet. They help wick moisture away from your skin and keep your feet dry. Socks can help regulate the temperature inside your shoes and reduce the amount of sweat your feet produce. They also minimize friction and can prevent blisters and calluses from forming.Why do we wear socks under shoes? ›
They protect our feet from germs, blisters, and conditions like Athlete's Foot. They provide a moisture barrier. They protect shoes from germs, stains and odours. They reduce stress on feet (especially when walking or playing sports).How tight should water shoes be? ›
Water shoes should fit snugly wet or dry. Submersion can do a number on the shoe materials. Water shoes need to fit well through repeated cycles of wetting and drying - that means being made of synthetics that don't absorb much water and don't deform significantly when wet.What size should I get water shoes? ›
When in doubt, we recommend ordering a size down if you are between sizes. Most water shoes tend to run a bit large, and almost all of them will stretch out slightly with use. Try on your shoes on dry land to make sure they fit well without causing you any pain or discomfort.Can you wear water shoes anywhere? ›
You can wear these water shoes for the river, lake, pool, or anywhere near water. They are perfect for kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, fishing, or swimming. In addition, these shoes offer a minimalist yet classy look. They are made with a waterproof fabric that is highly flexible and breathable.
What is another name for water shoes? ›
synonyms for galoshes
On this page you'll find 9 synonyms, antonyms, and words related to galoshes, such as: footwear, brogan, oxford, waders, waters, and mukluk.
If you are walking 30 minutes a day or an average of three to four hours a week, replace your shoes every six months. If you are walking 60 minutes a day or an average of seven hours a week, replace your shoes every three months. Plan on replacing your fitness walking shoes every three to six months, or by 500 miles.What can wet shoes do to your feet? ›
Wearing wet shoes can lead to bacterial or fungal infections such as athlete's foot or fungal nail infections from the dark, warm and moist conditions. Wet feet can also result in cracked feet and painful blisters.What shoes are you not supposed to wear socks with? ›
Boat shoes are one of the best shoes to wear without socks. They normally fit like a slip-on and they are meant to be used sockless. But not all of them are breathable and appropriate for the more warm weather, especially the leather ones, which might get too sweaty with skin.What are socks for boat shoes called? ›
No-Show Socks for Boat Shoes
They are soft and breathable to ensure your feet stay dry, comfortable and healthy. These are a low-cut style of men's sock that is intended to be “invisible” when worn with boat shoes, loafers, sneakers and any other type of casual footwear.
Boat shoes shouldn't fit too differently from normal shoes, but you want to go for a little snugger fit than you usually would because they will stretch out and get looser as you wear them; you'll often need to go a half size down from your normal size, and if you're between sizes, go with the smaller of the two.Do you need water shoes in Hawaii? ›
So, with that said, what are the best shoes for Hawaii? Pack a pair of water hiking shoes, flip flops, flat sandals, sneakers, and water shoes. You should bring water shoes if you don't plan on doing extensive hiking and therefore, don't need to pack of pair of water hiking shoes.Is it okay to shower in Crocs? ›
Whether you're on vacation or running errands, Crocs are a great option for any activity — even keeping feet safe and slip-free in the shower. Made from foamy thermoplastic with a ventilation system on the upper portion, these fun shoes actually make for really great shower shoes since they're non-skid and dry quickly.Can you pour boiling water on Crocs? ›
Boiling water shrinks Crocs quickly without causing damage.
Use your tongs to gently stir the Crocs in the water so that both shoes get even coverage. If your Crocs can't both fit into the pot at the same time, boil them one at a time or place them on a sink with the boiling water.
Street clothes (especially those made of cotton) can transport air and waterborne contaminants to the pool. Absorbent materials such as cotton can break down in the water. These fibers can clog pool filters and create the need for expensive repairs. Lycra and Nylon are the best non-absorbent materials for swimwear.
Can I wear flip-flops to the swimming pool? ›
Chlorine resistance is another plus. At the pool you generally need more grip than stability, so slides and thongs (also called flip-flops), which are easy to slip on and off, tend to be the most popular styles of pool sandals.Should I wear flip-flops at the pool? ›
The best situations to wear flip-flops are at the beach, around swimming pools, in public change rooms, and around the house. You should never wear flip-flops during activities that involve running and hiking, and even walking or standing for prolonged periods of time.Should swimming dress be tight or loose? ›
Generally, a swimsuit should be tight enough to help contain your breasts and minimize unwanted movement. If you're spilling out or not contained, your swimsuit might be too tight, too loose, or entirely the wrong fit for your shape.Do you wear a bra under a swim top? ›
No, almost all bathing suits have built in bras, specifically so women do not have to wear underwear in addition to the swimsuit. No. If you have need of a lot of support, you simply buy a swimsuit with a lot of support built into it.Which month are not recommended for swimming in the beach? ›
July is when disease outbreaks most likely to occur in lakes and oceans.What is the point of water socks? ›
Water socks－Maintains the feeling of being barefoot when engaging in water activities. Ideal for swimming and can sometimes be worn inside scuba gear. Water shoe－The most common type and can be worn casually in and out of water because it functions as a normal shoe.What are the benefits of water socks? ›
In conclusion, wearing waterproof socks with sandals can provide many benefits for outdoor enthusiasts. They provide protection from water and moisture, are comfortable and breathable, versatile, offer protection from debris and insects, and can prevent blisters and foot problems.Can you swim with water socks? ›
Water socks are great when swimming, playing on the beach or when you're wearing dive fins or snorkel fins. They'll provide comfort and a bit of extra insulation.Do water socks work? ›
A good pair of 100% waterproof socks can keep your feet dry and comfortable even if you don't plan on being in a wet environment. Most waterproof outdoor socks are moisture wicking too, which helps to keep harmful bacteria from growing once your feet get sweaty. Waterproof socks should be in any outdoor adventure kit.Do waterproof socks keep your feet dry? ›
Since socks were invented, they have worked to absorb perspiration and keep feet warm in cold conditions. An invention of the 21st century, Waterproof Socks keep your feet warm and dry thanks to a waterproof breathable membrane that is protected by 2 knit sock layers.
Do wet socks insulate your feet? ›
The reason cotton socks are absolutely terrible choices for winter weather is because they have little insulation value and because they absorb and hold moisture. Worse yet, once a cotton sock is wet, it loses all insulation value.What are the cons of wet socks? ›
Standing in wet socks and shoes for a long period of time tends to make it worse compared to other activities, such as swimming with water shoes. With prolonged cold and wetness, your feet can lose circulation and nerve function. They are also deprived of the oxygen and nutrients that your blood normally provides.Why wearing socks to bed is good? ›
Research suggests that wearing socks to bed can help people not only fall asleep faster, but sleep longer and wake up fewer times throughout the night. One study found that young men wearing socks fell asleep 7.5 minutes faster, slept 32 minutes longer, and woke up 7.5 times less often than those not wearing socks.What are the benefits of wearing socks every night? ›
Other than helping your body stay warm, wearing socks at night also has extra benefits: Prevent hot flashes: Some women find wearing socks helpful for cooling their core body temperature. Improve cracked heels: Wearing cotton socks after you moisturize can help keep your heels from drying out.Are socks good or bad for your feet? ›
Socks provide your feet with protection, moisture control, temperature regulation, and comfort. Socks provide protection by adding a layer between the shoe and your foot, easing friction and preventing blisters. Modern socks also have cushioned soles and padding to provide even more comfort.Is it OK to sleep with wet socks? ›
As said above, wearing wet socks to bed can help keep your feet colder, which can really help you feel fresh and cool on stuffy nights, or if your bedclothes are especially heavy. It is an extremely cost-effective way to tackle a cold, as you only need two pairs of socks and some warm and cold water.Should you take off wet socks? ›
If your feet do get wet
It is likely your socks are wet too, and these should be taken off and put to one side, you can dry them later. If you do not have spare socks, then I typically go without, until my sole pair is dry (aerobar ends make great socks driers).
Compression socks – or compression stockings – are specialized socks that apply gentle pressure to your legs and ankles. They can help improve blood flow from your legs to your heart.Can you reuse water socks? ›
Its polypropylene skin and filler will resist the growth of mildew, and the sock can be air-dried and reused up to three times.Why do you need water shoes? ›
Water shoes are flexible and made with mesh material for enhanced breathability, which helps keep feet cool. This also allows for improved water flow when submerged and better drainage when out of the water. They also provide insulation, keeping feet warm in cold water.