12 Best Water Shoes in 2018

Walking through rocky riverbeds or across sandy beaches filled with seashells can be rough on your feet, but not if you have a pair of water shoes on them.

Many opt for cheap shoes that fall apart at the seams or wear down after just a few uses, but when you know what to look for as you shop, you can avoid these problems.

Continue reading if you would like to know who makes the best water shoes and to see what our experts have to say about the top five pairs. Whether you are headed out in the kayak for some lake paddling or hiking through riverbeds in search of some epic water holes, these tips will help you find shoes that won’t waterlog your adventures.

Top 12 Water Shoes Comparison Table

DesignNameGenderToe ProtectionRating (1-5)
  1. Crocs Men’s Swiftwater Sandal Men Yes 4.6
  2. Zhuanglin Women’s Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes Women No 4.6
  3. Merrell Men’s All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoe Men Yes 4.5
  4. Vibram Women’s VI-B Fitness Yoga Shoe Women No 4.5
  5. Mohem Men’s Poseidon Mesh Walking Shoes Casual Water Shoes Men No 4.4
6. Aleader Women’s Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes Women No 4.3
7. CIOR Men Women Kid’s Barefoot Quick-Dry Water Sports Aqua Shoes Men & Women No 4.3
8. Aleader Men’s Pull-On Water Shoes Men No 4.3
  9. Northside Men’s Brille II Water Shoe Men No 4.1
  10. Speedo Men’s Surfwalker 3.0 Water Shoe Men No 4.1
  11. Norty – Women Quick Drying Aqua Shoes Water Sports Shoes Women Yes 4.0
  12. Easy USA Women’s Wave Water Shoes Women No 3.9

When Water Shoes Come in Handy

The point of wearing water shoes is to protect your feet from sharp objects and to provide you with traction on slippery surfaces.

They come in very handy for:

  • Hiking
  • Water Parks
  • fishing
  • Camping
  • Snorkeling
  • Kayaking
  • Water Sports
  • Boating
  • Theme Parks
  • Tubing or
  • Swimming Pools.

Regular flip-flops just can’t hack it when you are walking over rocks covered in algae or a boat with puddles of water everywhere. The traction isn’t adequate.

The Definition of Great Water Shoes

  • Construction – The seams between the rubber sole and the neoprene or mesh uppers should be sturdy. Your feet will move around as you walk in them and that can put a lot of strain on those seams. The same is true every time you put on or take off the shoes since you will stretch them slightly.

If you see stitching along these seams, this is a good sign that the shoe will last.

  • Heel Tab – Good water shoes are always equipped with a handy pull-tab on the back of the heel to make it easier for you to slip them on your feet. While we wouldn’t eliminate a shoe from the “maybe” list because it doesn’t have one, it is something to consider as you compare shoes.
  • Traction. One of the main reasons to use a water shoe is to prevent you from slipping on slick surfaces, which is why they have rubber soles.

Tread patterns vary, but so do the tips of the shoes since some soles wrap around the top of the toe for added protection.

  • Thin Material and Drainage – These shoes are designed to drain water, not retain it. Unlike regular shoes, water shoes are made of thin material that absorb very little water. They also have drainage holes to prevent your feet from getting waterlogged as you walk.
  • Flexible – Good water shoes act as a protective glove for your feet, and as such, they should feel natural when you are wearing them.

Water Shoes for Hiking

When you’re out hiking through streams, rivers or wherever there are rocks, the best water shoes will provide you with extra protection in the toe area.

You are more likely to bump your feet into heavy rocks as you make your way through the terrain, so specialty hiking shoes like the Merrell All Out Blaze Sieves or the Merrell Waterpro Maipos will keep your toes safe.

At the Pool

You don’t need shoes that are as bulky as the Merrells when walking around the pool. Opt for something light and simple like the Vibram VI-B Fitness Yoga Shoe or Aleader Pull-On Water Shoes.

They both drain water quickly, and the uppers of the Aleaders won’t absorb any water since they aren’t made of neoprene or fabric.

Top 5 Best Water Shoes Reviews

1. Crocs Swiftwater Sandals

Crocs brand uses their unique CrosliteTM material on the footbed, the midsole and the outsole of the Swiftwater Sandals. It isn’t plastic, and it isn’t rubber, but rather a closed cell resin that won’t cause and odors and helps cushion your feet as you walk. The toe is also covered with this material, providing you with cushion and protection in this area.

The uppers on the shoe are made of mesh and also have an adjustable strap on the top and large cutouts on the sides to help water drain out quickly.

Another thing we like about these shoes are the stitched seams. Many brands just seal the mesh or neoprene to the rubber sole, and over time, they will eventually separate. Crocs sewed the mesh to the CrosliteTM material to ensure that the two stay attached.

We recommend them for rivers, lakes, light hiking and even around the pool, but didn’t find them to be the best choice in sandy areas. They are super comfortable and come in five other colors if you don’t like the pair featured in our table.

2. Zhuanglin Quick Drying Aqua Shoes

For use around the pool or in a boat, Zhuanglin’s Water Shoes are great. The mesh and fabric uppers are comfortable and are equipped with plenty of small drainage holes while the soles are made of rubber and have two extra grip traction patterns on the front and the heel. We also liked how they added drainage holes across the entire sole, to help prevent water from sitting in the bottom of the shoe.

It was nice that the tongue and the heel had little tabs to help make pulling them on and off a breeze.

These would be great for the beach or other sandy areas since the sand can’t get in as easily, and they are actually quite comfortable. Use them for short walks or around the campground without getting weighed down by water, dirt and debris.

They are also perfect for theme parks, water parks, on boats or at the pool!

3. Merrell All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoes

For hiking, you need something durable that will protect your feet but allow water to drain freely, and Merrell makes some of the best water shoes for hiking on our list.

Don’t expect them to feel as light and airy on your feet as the previous shoes. These are designed for durability and protection, so they weigh a bit more than most other water shoes out there.

They feature waterproof leather uppers, a Lycra neoprene stretch collar and a TC5+ Vibram outsole that is tough enough to handle shoes of those who work in the construction field just to give you an idea of how durable they are.

With these shoes, you also get a nifty lacing system that is easy to adjust thanks to the pull tab. Just cinch it or loosen it to your comfort level.

If you enjoy hiking and know that you’ll be walking through streams, creeks or around lakes, invest in a pair of these shoes! They also make an equally awesome pair for women.

4. Vibram VI-B Fitness Yoga Shoe

Vibram makes some of the most unique shoes on our list that aren’t technically water shoes but just so happen to work well for that purpose.

These minimalist yoga/fitness shoes separate each toe individually and have a sturdy sole that will provide you with superb traction on a variety of surfaces. Whether you’re walking around the boat deck or squishing through muddy river banks as you get ready to depart in your kayak, these shoes keep you on your feet.

They work great for everyday use, as well, so if you’re headed to a yoga class and want something to provide you with traction, slip these on. The mesh uppers allow water to drain if you decide to use them at the pool or a water park, but they don’t provide you with as much protection as the Merrells. If you’re doing some serious hiking through rough terrain, these aren’t a good match.

We were pleasantly surprised by their versatility and comfort. If you have never tried a pair of shoes that separates and surrounds each toe individually, try them!

5. MOHEM Poseidon Water Shoes

MOHEM did something we like with their shoes: they added stitching all the way around the shoe between the upper and the sole. As we mentioned earlier, cheaper shoes tend to fall apart in this area, but not the MOHEMS!

The stitching helps keep the two materials together, and we were glad to find such a stylish pair that didn’t have the typical water shoe look.

Slipping into these is like putting a glove on your feet; they don’t rub and cause chafing as you walk yet they’re flexible. The soles provide you with ample traction on slippery rocks and other surfaces, while the uppers are made from a mixture of mesh and synthetic leather and feature a lacing system just like regular shoes.

We actually didn’t like the laces simply because it is easy for them to get snagged on something and come untied, but if you tuck them under, this most likely won’t be an issue.

They are durable, comfortable, not too expensive and stylish to boot!

Final Thoughts on Water Shoes

Be sure to choose your water shoes based on the area(s) where you will be using them.

For example, when hiking through rough terrain and when you know you’ll be walking through water, it’s best to opt for something like the Merrell All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoes. They offer better foot protection and are more durable than any other type of water shoe.

For the beach, get something like the Zhuanglin Quick Drying Aqua Shoes with drainage holes, but that still cover your feet to prevent sand from accumulating in the sole.

Now that you have a better idea of what to look for when shopping for decent water shoes, compare the 12 featured on our list to see which ones will best suit your water adventures.