15 Best Water Shoes For Men, Women, Kids & Toddlers in 2018

best shoes for ankle support

Water shoes are invaluable when taking part in outdoor activities. There are many styles of water footwear to choose from so many people tend to have a hard time deciding what’s best for their particular needs.

With our extensive guide to the best water shoes, everyone in the family should be able to find a pair that will work for them.

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Product Name
Type of Shoe
Colour Options
Price Guide & Amazon Rating
View Product
KEEN Men's Newport H2 Sandal

KEEN Men's Newport H2 Sandal

Sandal

23 Options

$$

Merrell Men's All Out Blaze Aero Sport Hiking Water Shoe

Merrell Men's All Out Blaze Aero Sport Hiking Water Shoe

Hiking Water Shoe

Black/Red, Khaki, Black

$$$

Columbia Men's Drainmaker III Water Shoe

Columbia Men's Drainmaker III Water Shoe

Water Shoe

Green Mambo/White, Zinc Voltage, Collegiate Navy/Green Mamba, Black/ Columbia Gray, Columbia Gray/Orange Blast

$$

ALEADER Men's Mesh Slip-On Water Shoe

ALEADER Men's Mesh Slip On Water Shoes

Water Shoe

17 Options

$

ALEADER Women's Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes

ALEADER Women's Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes

Water Shoe

16 Options

$

KEEN Women's Whisper Sandal

​KEEN Women's Whisper Sandal

Sandal

18 Options

$

RYKA Women's Hydro Sport Water Shoe Cross-Training Shoe

RYKA Women's Hydro Sport Water Shoe Cross-Training Shoe

Cross Training Shoe

6 Options

$

L-RUN Unisex Water Shoes

L-RUN Unisex Water Shoes Barefoot Skin Shoes

Water Shoe

31 Options

$

Stride Rite Made 2 Play Phibian Sneaker Sandal Water Shoe

Stride Rite Made 2 Play Phibian Sneaker Sandal Water Shoe

Sandal

20 Options

$

Teva Tidepool Sport Sandal

Teva Tidepool Sport Sandal 

Sandal

10 Options

$


What are Water Shoes?


Water shoes are a popular style of footwear that’s used outdoors when the feet could get wet. Contrary to popular belief, water shoes won’t actually keep your feet dry as they aren’t waterproof.

They do, however, offer proper ventilation and drainage so the feet aren’t sitting in water. Most often they are used during activities such as kayaking, swimming, hiking or white water rafting.

Most water shoes feature a mesh material and a hard sole. This prevents abrasions or cuts on your feet while walking in rocky or wet conditions.

Water shoes also offer a layer of protection between you and the jagged items on the bottom of the body of water you’re standing in.


Different Types of Water Footwear


There are several varieties of water shoes and each style has its own unique purpose or activity it’s designed for.

Sandal-Style Water Shoes

You’ll find this shoe features a thicker sole than some others and an open-toe design with straps. There could be a mesh lining surrounding the shoe or it might just be a sandal design that is sturdier than most. 

This variety offers superior cushioning and more support than you would find in a typical sandal. They also feature exceptional amounts of ventilation and the ability to breathe. Most times, a sandal style will not adequately support or protect you during rigorous adventures such as hiking or trekking.

Hiking or Active Water Shoes

For extreme sports or athletic activities, you need a water shoe that can handle the event. There are designated shoes made for running, hiking, backpacking and trekking

They offer durability similar to what you would find in a typical athletic or hiking shoe but also have drainage holes so water runs out with ease. 

You’ll find that they are heavier than normal water shoes so they protect your feet from rocks or rough terrain with ease. Not only can you wear them in the water but they also work great on land.

Closed-Toe Water Shoes

This shoe looks like a mix of your sandal and running shoes. The sandal design offers straps that cross over or around the foot. In addition, they’ll feature a lacing system, mesh lining and padded collar. 

With superior ventilation, drainage ability and comfort, you’ll find them to be supportive and protective during your water activities.

Barefoot Water Shoes

You might know these better by the brand name Vibram as they’ve become the leader in minimalist shoes designed for use in the water.

They feature a durable rubber material and no outsole. This keeps them lightweight while still providing maximum ventilation and drainage.

Barefoot runners and those who enjoy water sports find that the flexibility they offer can be used by anyone. Even surfers say they’re some of the best water shoes around. 

Aqua Socks

Despite the name, these aren’t actually socks but they do tend to look like a pair. They offer traction built-in to the sole and a thick rubber material which provides support and cushion. They are a cross between a sock and a flip-flop. Many people find them to be ideal for use at the pool or beach.


How to Find the Best Water Shoes for Your Needs


When you’re in search of the best water shoes that fit your needs, there are several factors you want to consider.

Material

 

Synthetic materials are your best option because they are lightweight. They also tend to dry quicker than a natural fabric or cloth would.


Avoid anything leather as this gets heavy when wet. Even a synthetic leather is a better option as it doesn’t get damaged easily and is lighter in weight.

Sole

 

When hiking or walking, opt for a thick-soled water shoe. This gives better traction, durability and protection from the elements. On the beach or in the water, you’d only need a thin sole.

Ventilation & Drainage

 

You don’t want to walk around with wet feet all day. That’s why you need a pair of water shoes that features breathable mesh design offering proper ventilation.


Another aspect to this is the drainage properties of the shoe. When water becomes trapped inside the shoe, your feet remain wet and it can lead to health issues.


Look for a pair of water shoes that feature vents and holes so the water drains from the shoe.

Toe Guard

 

Especially when hiking, you can find yourself in situations where falling objects pose a risk to your feet. Toe guards protect your toes from these dangers. It’s also wise when you’re swimming and could face water obstructions.

Lacing

 

When participating in active sports, you’ll want a design that features a lacing system which grips your feet securely. For casual use, it would be acceptable to choose a slip-on design or sandal style.

Heel Support

 

Some people struggle with chafing issues in their water shoes. Having a pair that’s reinforced and padded can reduce blisters or hot spots you might experience.


A good material for this is neoprene because it’s flexible, provides proper insulation and is also soft.

Stability

 

At all times, it’s important that the water shoe provides a stable platform for your feet.


You don’t want to deal with foot injuries as a result of not getting the support required to participate in the activities you love.

Activity

 

Overall, it would be most important to purchase your water shoe based on the activity you’re engaging in. If you’re hiking, you need a sturdy and strong pair of water shoes.


While running, you need a soft and supportive pair. To hang out at the pool, a slip-on pair that’s comfortable will be all that’s necessary.


15 Best Water Shoes Reviewed


To make it easy for you, we’ve picked out 15 of the best water shoes to choose from. Find detailed reviews below.

Best Water Shoes For Swimming

Speedo Men's Seaside Lace 4.0 Water Shoe

With the easy pull on and off design of this Speedo shoe, these are the best water shoes for swimming.

They have synthetic soles and are reasonably priced as well. There’s also an adjustable bungee system designed to help keep the shoe snug to your feet at all times.

The lightweight mesh offers superior drainage plus the material is quick drying so you won’t be walking around with wet feet all day.

There are three colors to choose from, but you might want to order a size up. Many people have said they tend to run on the small side.

Speedo Men's Seaside Lace 4

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

66%
 Chance of Success

Pros

  • Low cost
  • Easy to put on and take off
  • Adjustable bungee system to keep foot secure
  • Lightweight mesh
  • Quick drying material

Cons

  • Run small
  • Mesh can be chaffing to feet

Best Men’s Water Shoes

KEEN Men's Newport H2 Sandal

Our Rating

KEEN Men's Newport H2 Sandal 

This is an all-around great choice for the best men’s water shoes. It’s ideal to wear while hiking, playing sports or just hanging at the beach. KEEN is known for its durable shoes and this pair is no exception.

They’re sturdy, supportive and flexible. With the leather upper, your feet receive full protection but they still allow all the water to properly drain.

The lacing system features a bungee cord which keeps the sandals firmly on your feet. The best part is that there’s no worry about noxious odors when you remove them thanks to the Aegis Microbe Shield.

This pair of water shoes is going to cost you a good amount of money, but they’re built to last. In addition, there are tons of styles to choose from, but it would be wise to order a size up since many people say they’re snug.

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

80%
 Chance of Success

Pros

  • Can be used during any activity
  • Durable
  • Flexible
  • Aegis Microbe Shield
  • Drains properly

Cons

  • High cost
  • Difficult to put on and off

Best Water Shoes For Hiking

Merrell Men's All Out Blaze Aero Sport Hiking Water Shoe

The best water shoes for hiking must be supportive and tough which is exactly what you’ll find in this pair of Merrell water shoes.

Whether it's muddy, rocky or just plain rough, this shoe is going to protect your feet. Don’t just consider this for hiking as they are great for kayaking or boating as well.

The breathable mesh design and Vibram soles make this an all-around great choice for drainage, breathability and to reduce discomfort.

Imagine your feet feeling air conditioned as you hike the various terrains. On top of that, the Omni Fit lacing design offers a glove-like comfortable fit.

Merrell Men's All Out Blaze Aero Sport Hiking Water Shoe

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

74%
 Chance of Success

Pros

  • Great for any activity
  • Durable
  • Flexible
  • Reduces discomfort
  • Drains properly

Cons

  • High cost
  • Can run on the large side

Best Water Shoes For A Rocky Beach

adidas Outdoor Men's Climacool Jawpaw Slip-On Walking-Shoes

Our Rating

adidas Outdoor Men's Climacool Jawpaw Slip-On Walking-Shoes

When you need traction and protection, this pair of the best water shoes for a rocky beach is an ideal choice. Not just that, they can also be used for hiking in the streams, lounging at the pool or just going for a walk.

The rubber outsole gives you the grip you desire while allowing for a stable and supportive footing at all times.

They’re lightweight and durable plus the toe box is quite roomy. This pair tends to slip on easily and even features an elastic heel insert. With the Adidas Drainage System, you can be sure that the water will not remain inside your shoe.

Pair that with the rubber sole and you know that walking on any terrain isn’t going to be an issue. This shoe is only available in black and white but does feature a low price tag.

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

77%
 Chance of Success

Pros

  • Superior traction
  • Provides stability
  • Lightweight
  • Features Adidas Drainage System
  • Tends to trap sand

Cons

  • Tends to trap sand
  • Runs small

Best Water And Hiking Shoes

Columbia Men's Drainmaker III Water Shoe

When you need all-around support, you need the best water and hiking shoes. This sporty design features drain holes that allow your feet to dry out quickly.

They’re ideal for your day at the beach, hiking the mountain or just lounging by the campsite.

With a tough outsole, you don’t have to worry about the terrain you’re walking on. They’re durable, comfortable and offer superior stability.

Some people find they don’t work quite as well during long-distance hiking as there’s minimal cushioning inside the shoe.

Thanks to the heel pull tab, you can easily slip them on or off as needed. There are five colors available to customize your style, but the prices can be a little high.

Columbia Men's Drainmaker III Water Shoe

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

89%
 Chance of Success

Pros

  • Superior drainage
  • Sporty design
  • Lightweight
  • Tough outsole
  • Pricey

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Lack of cushion

Best Water Shoes For The Beach

ALEADER Men's Mesh Slip-On Water Shoe

Our Rating

ALEADER Men's Mesh Slip-On Water Shoes

This simple pair of water shoes isn’t going to be good for any rigorous activity, but they do make the best water shoes for the beach. This is especially true if you’re just looking to lounge around and enjoy a few dips in the water.

They’re lightweight with a large cushion underfoot and have a great sporty look. The full-foot mesh design offers the protection you need from small pebbles and rocks.

In addition, they won’t retain sand or water, so your feet remain comfortable all day long. This shoe is the best option for a low-cost pair of water shoes, especially since there are tons of colors to choose from.

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

75%
 Chance of Success

Pros

  • Simple
  • Cushion underfoot
  • Lightweight
  • Full-foot mesh design
  • Low cost

Cons

  • Material can be rough
  • Tend to run large

Best Water Shoes For Women

ALEADER Women's Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes

This pair of the best water shoes for women is much like the men’s version. It’s an all-around good water shoe for leisurely activities, but you wouldn’t want to engage in hiking or white water rafting with them on.

They have a solid mesh construction that keeps the debris out plus a fully adjustable lacing fit for your foot.

The sole is cushioned and the grip is surprisingly exceptional. On top of that, the shoe dries out quickly leaving you comfortable all day long.

The low cost of this design means you could purchase several pairs in different colors so you always look sporty.

ALEADER Women's Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

79%
 Chance of Success

Pros

  • Simple
  • Solid mesh construction
  • Lightweight
  • Adjustable lacing design
  • Low cost

Cons

  • Material can be rough
  • Not designed for rigorous activity

Best Water Shoes For Kayaking

Merrell Women's All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoe

Our Rating

Merrell Women's All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoe

Merrell has outdone themselves and made this pair of the best water shoes for kayaking. They would also be good for hiking or just hanging out as they’re extremely versatile.

The elastic strap on the back helps to keep them put while the large holes offer superior breathability functions. With a full toe box, your feet are protected no matter what terrain you’re traveling on.

This pair of shoes is made with a Vibram sole, so it’s designed to last forever. There are also plenty of colors available so you can have your pick of the style you want.

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

77%
 Chance of Success

Pros

  • Great for multiple activities
  • Strong elastic strap on the back
  • Lightweight
  • Breathable
  • Features a Vibram sole

Cons

  • Open back design isn’t for all people
  • Lack of padding inside

Best Shoes For White Water Rafting

KEEN Women's Whisper Sandal

When you need the best shoes for white water rafting, they must be tough. That’s why I’m happy to see the rugged pair KEEN offers.

They have a protective toe box, rugged sole and waterproof design. They also float if you drop one, so you won’t have to dive deep into the water searching for it.

The lightweight material keeps your foot comfortable plus there is no odor with these shoes. Many people find them to be useful while hiking or performing other rigorous activities.

Did we mention the crazy amount of colors they come in? You won’t have trouble finding a style you like.

KEEN Women's Whisper Sandal

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

76%
 Chance of Success

Pros

  • Tough and rugged
  • Protective toe box
  • Waterproof
  • Breathable
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Arch is uncomfortable for some people
  • Straps can wear out over time

Best Women’s Water Shoes For Hiking

RYKA Women's Hydro Sport Water Shoe Cross-Training Shoe

Our Rating

RYKA Women's Hydro Sport Water Shoe Cross-Training Shoe

RYKA offers the best women’s water shoes for hiking thanks to this strong and sturdy design. It features an adjustable lacing system and thick foam for comfort. The mesh-covered holes drain water easily plus keep the sand and debris out.

You could easily find comfort wearing these while hiking, fishing, kayaking or just hanging out. There are a total of six colors to choose from and some of the prices are exceptionally low.

Keep in mind that this isn’t a slip-on design so they do take longer to put on and take off. Some people also find the full protection to be a little hot after wearing them on a warm day.

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

84%
 Chance of Success

Pros

  • Strong and sturdy
  • Adjustable lacing system
  • Mesh-covered drain holes
  • Great for a multitude of activities
  • Lower cost

Cons

  • Take time to put on and off
  • Design gets warm on hot days

Best Water Shoes For Kayaking

Vibram Women's Signa Water Shoe

Vibram makes the best water shoes for kayaking, but there are so many other activities to use these with.

Their signature FiveFingers design features an ultra-thin, lightweight and flexible feel. Rowers, surfers, kayakers and those who love SUP find this to be a great option.

You’ll find that they offer superior grip plus comfort while out on the water. In addition, they’re small enough that you can pack them away easily in a bag for transport.

You can also trust Vibram to make a shoe that will last for many years to come.

Vibram Women's Signa Water Shoe

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

69%
 Chance of Success

Pros

  • Vibram brand reliability
  • Great for many activities
  • Lightweight and flexible
  • Superior grip
  • Easy to transport

Cons

  • Run small
  • Can be pricey

Best Shoes For Water Aerobics

L-RUN Unisex Water Shoes

Our Rating

L-RUN Unisex Water Shoes

When you need something lightweight, you’ll want the best shoes for water aerobics. While these won’t stand up to rough terrain, they’re excellent when used in the swimming pool.

The slip-on design plus fold-and-go portability make this a great option when on the move.

This shoe features a non-slip rubber outsole which provides complete comfort while the breathable design keeps your feet cool and dry.

You’ll find this ideal for yoga, dance, daily activities and even driving. They’re available in over 30 colors and have an exceptionally low price tag.

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

69%
 Chance of Success

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Slip-on design
  • Breathable
  • Great for light activity
  • Easy to transport

Cons

  • Not designed for heavy activity
  • Tend to run large

Best Water Shoes For Teens

Stride Rite Made 2 Play Phibian Sneaker Sandal Water Shoe

Teens deserve to have the best water shoes as well, so why not look to Stride Rite, the leader in kid's shoes. They’re great for both the splash park or pool and feature an anti-microbial lining.

They have the arch and support of a regular shoe but are made from durable rubber instead.

With the rubber sole and closed toe, you know that the feet and toes will all remain protected. There’s also a huge selection of colors and sizes perfect for customizing just the way you want.

This isn’t the ideal pair of shoes to wear at the beach as it’s easy for the sand to get trapped.

Stride Rite Made 2 Play Phibian Sneaker Sandal Water Shoe

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

77%
 Chance of Success

Pros

  • Great for everyday play
  • Anti-microbial lining
  • Breathable
  • Same support as a regular shoe
  • Durable rubber design

Cons

  • Not designed for heavy activity
  • Tend to run large

Best Water Shoe Sandals For Kids

Teva Tidepool Sport Sandal

Our Rating

Teva Tidepool Sport Sandal

It makes sense that Teva would make the best water shoes for kids since they are a leader in the outerwear market. This blends the comfort of a sandal with some additional water and toe protection. While protecting the toe from damage, your child’s feet can still breathe and remain comfortable.

The synthetic, waterproof material dries quickly plus the Velcro closure makes it easy to get the best fit possible. They also feature a thick, rubber sole to provide your kids with maximum traction ability. Talk about color options! You’re going to have a hard time deciding which pair to buy.

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

76%
 Chance of Success

Pros

  • Sandal design with protection
  • Waterproof
  • Breathable
  • Adjustable Velcro closure
  • Some styles are costly

Cons

  • Some styles are costly
  • Toes can peek out of the holes

Best Water Shoes For Toddlers

pediped Flex Canyon Water Sandal

Let’s face it – little kids aren’t gentle. That’s why you need a rugged pair of the best water shoes for toddlers before heading outdoors.

Not only do these come in wide sizes, but they also feature a neoprene lining to keep those feet smelling good. In addition, you can expect them to dry in record time leaving your kid’s feet comfortable all day.

This style was approved by the American Podiatric Medical Association to provide healthy foot development. If that isn’t worth spending a little extra money on, I don’t know what is.

On top of that, the rugged, flexible sole is capable of protecting your child’s foot no matter where they venture.

pediped Flex Canyon Water Sandal

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

75%
 Chance of Success

Pros

  • Rugged and tough
  • Available in wide sizes
  • Neoprene lining
  • Approved by the American Pediatric Medical Association
  • Superior foot protection

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Don’t work well with sand

Pros & Cons of Water Shoes


There are many benefits to owning a pair of water shoes, but there are also some downsides. Let’s evaluate both sides.

Benefits of Water Shoes

With a quality pair of water shoes, you receive superior foot protection. Keep in mind that the slide-on pair is really only ideal for lounging at the pool, not really for protecting the foot.

However, a rugged pair of water shoes is going to offer protection against spikes, abrasions, jagged rocks and anything unfriendly lurking in the water.

A rugged pair of water shoes isn’t just meant for the water either. They’re great for hiking, running or camping as well. Let’s face it, all of these activities leave your feet vulnerable to getting wet, so why not protect them properly?

Many water shoes also come with excellent traction. This isn’t just great for slippery areas in the water but also when traveling on various terrains. You need the advantage of having a sturdy grip if you want to protect yourself.

On a final note, water shoes don’t keep your feet from getting wet but they do dry quickly. You can get a waterproof aspect from other shoes such as rubber boots or even Gore-Tex socks. What water shoes are really designed for is to breathe and dry quickly.

Disadvantage of Water Shoes

There are some drawbacks to consider when looking for water shoes.

First, not every style is going to be ideal for your activities. For example, open sandals are more breathable but don’t protect you when hiking. 

In addition, if your feet are going to be wet in cold weather, you won’t be able to expect the water shoe to keep them insulated and warm.

When you’re planning outdoor activities, you’ll want to take your regular pair of shoes with you for afterward.

This increases your cost because you need two pairs of shoes, plus you need the room to transport them.


Other Ways to Stay Safe When Doing Water Sports


Aside from wearing quality foot protection when you’re out in the water, here are some other tips to keep you safe.

  • 1
    Know how to swim.
  • 2
    Wear a life jacket.
  • 3
    Never participate in water sports alone.
  • 4
    Keep a close eye on all children.
  • 5
    Watch the weather forecast and prepare for poor conditions.
  • 6
    Wear sunscreen and protect yourself from sunlight exposure with the proper attire.
  • 7
    Don’t drink alcoholic beverages while participating in outdoor activities.

While this isn’t a comprehensive list of ways to stay safe, many things are common sense. Always be aware of your surroundings and prepare yourself for any emergencies.

question

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should you get water shoes over regular shoes?


Regular shoes aren’t going to offer the breathability of a water shoe so you could be left with wet and stinky feet at the end of the day.

Can you go hiking with water shoes?


Yes, just be sure you purchase a pair that’s designed for hiking so they feature the protection you need.

Can you go swimming with water shoes?


Yes, there are many lightweight options geared toward swimming and water activities.

Where is the best place to buy shoes online?


Amazon offers the best selection at reasonable prices. They also feature a generous return policy.


Conclusion


Finding the best water shoes doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Determine your budget and look for a pair designed for the water activity you’ll be participating in.

Then, your feet will have the protection and comfort they need to keep you going all day long.

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