Best Water Shoes – Reviews & Buying Guide
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Best Water Shoes – Reviews & Buying Guide (July 2019)

Updated: June 28, 2019

Merrell All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoes

After 41 hours spent researching the best water shoes, we think Merrell All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoes is the best for most people.

This choice is based on several criteria: brand, size, type, color, upper , upper material, midsole material, outsole material, durable, breathable, water resistant, comfortable, lightweight, quick dry, and best use, among other things.

 ProductPriceOverall RatingQualityDurabilityAppearanceComfortValue for Moneybrandsizetypecolorupper upper materialmidsole materialoutsole materialdurablebreathablewater resistantcomfortablelightweightquick drybest use
Merrell All Out Blaze Sieve Water ShoesMerrell All Out Blaze Sieve Water ShoesCheck Price4.95.05.04.55.05.0Merrell6.5 to 15Slip on5 colorsLeatherLeatherUniFlyTC5+ VibramYesYesYesYesYesNoBeach, lake, camping, fishing, hiking
Zhuanglin Quick Drying Aqua Water ShoesZhuanglin Quick Drying Aqua Water ShoesCheck Price4.85.05.04.54.55.0Zhuanglin7 to 14Slip on22 colorsMeshSyntheticSolyteRB / EVAYesYesYesYesYesYesBeach, lake, camping, fishing, hiking
Aleader Unisex Mesh Slip On Water ShoesAleader Unisex Mesh Slip On Water ShoesCheck Price4.34.54.04.04.54.5Aleader5.5 to 11Slip on21 colorsMeshSyntheticSolyteRubberYesYesYesYesYesYesBeach, lake, camping, fishing, hiking
Eyeones Quick Drying Aqua Water ShoesEyeones Quick Drying Aqua Water ShoesCheck Price4.65.04.54.05.04.5Eyeones5 to 8.5Slip on8 colorsMeshSyntheticEVARB / EVAYesYesYesYesYesYesBeach, lake, camping, fishing, hiking
Barerun Barefoot Quick-Dry Water ShoesBarerun Barefoot Quick-Dry Water ShoesCheck Price4.14.04.54.04.04.0Barerun4.5 to 11Slip on45 colorsMeshNeopreneNot specifiedRubberYesYesYesYesYesYesBeach, lake, camping, fishing, hiking
Best Water Shoes

If you enjoy water activities, finding the best water shoes for you and your family is important.

Whether you like wading in the ocean looking for shells, swimming, fishing in a mountain stream or kayaking, shoes designed for your favorite water activity will make the outing safer and more enjoyable.

Spending time at the beach is a favorite pastime around the world and can be a great way to have fun with friends and family. Thinking about what you’ll need to bring beforehand adds to the anticipation and excitement as well as assures a relaxing and care-free day or two (or more!).

Check your beach table, and beach chair to make sure they’re clean and be sure your beach cooler is in good shape to help keep your food and beverages sand-free. Roll up your beach mat and your beach towel and stuff them in your beach bag with sunscreen, hand sanitizer, insect repellant, and other necessities.

A beach umbrella with a beach umbrella anchor and a small beach tent are always useful to help manage sun exposure and create some shade. Don’t forget your sun hat!

Beach toys and a beach ball for games don’t take up much room and add to the fun. And to get all your stuff from the car to the actual beach, a beach cart really does the trick.

Pay attention to your footwear. Beach sandals and flip flops are common, but if you really want to take care of your feet and enjoy the water, having a good pair of water shoes is a must.

Selection Of The Best Water Shoes

Merrell All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoes

Merrell All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoes
(rated 4.9 / 5)
Quality
Durability
Appearance
Comfort
Value for Money
Check Price

Zhuanglin Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes

Zhuanglin Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes
(rated 4.8 / 5)
Quality
Durability
Appearance
Comfort
Value for Money
Check Price

Aleader Unisex Mesh Slip On Water Shoes

Aleader Unisex Mesh Slip On Water Shoes
(rated 4.3 / 5)
Quality
Durability
Appearance
Comfort
Value for Money
Check Price

Eyeones Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes

Eyeones Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes
(rated 4.6 / 5)
Quality
Durability
Appearance
Comfort
Value for Money
Check Price

Barerun Barefoot Quick-Dry Water Shoes

Barerun Barefoot Quick-Dry Water Shoes
(rated 4.1 / 5)
Quality
Durability
Appearance
Comfort
Value for Money
Check Price

Best Water Shoes Buying Guide

How will you use your water shoes?

The best water shoes for the beach are not necessarily the best water shoes for rocks. And, if you’ll be leaving the beach and going straight to the grocery store to pick up a few things, you may want shoes that are not only functional but good looking, too.

Shoes for swimming, canoeing, stand-up paddle boarding, and kayaking have a lot of common elements. But the best shoes for fishing or hiking mountain streams require other features. Consider where you will wear your shoes before making a purchase.

Outsoles and traction

Some models have flexible outsoles with a sock-like fit which may be all you need if you’re in the water most of the time. If, however, you will be walking across rocky shores, you should consider a stronger, thicker sole with grip points or studs to minimize slipping or falling.

The best water shoes for walking, in particular, should have excellent traction as you move in and out of the water on a lake shore, on the beach, or on a trail to get to the water.

Insoles

As the name suggests, water shoes were not created to be waterproof. Well-manufactured insoles let water in, but they also let water out quickly and efficiently. Insoles are usually quite flexible and provide cushioning that keeps your feet comfortable as long as you’re wearing the shoes.

However, some shoes have fixed insoles which make them sturdier for out-of-water activities. Fixed insoles can be slower to dry, but some shoes have removable insoles which can help speed up the drying process.

Drainage

As mentioned above, the best shoes shed water quickly. Styles made with drainage holes on the lower portion of the shoe are very effective at emptying out.

More drainage ports allow easier and faster release of water. Be sure that the ports are distributed around the shoe and not clumped together. Drainage speed isn’t critical for light water activity but if your sport calls for repeated getting in and out of the water, you will want your shoes to empty fast.

Breathability

Just because you’re close to the ocean (or lake or river) doesn’t mean your feet won’t get hot. And don’t depend on getting your feet wet to stay cool. Drainage and breathability go together – a shoe that drains well likely breathes well, too.

Mesh uppers in shoes that have them play a big role in breathability; because the upper is usually the biggest portion of a shoe, a closed upper greatly reduces the flow of air getting through to your feet.

Size and Fit

Ill-fitting shoes can be painful, a nuisance and even cause accidents. Some will give when they are wet, but the best water shoes fit snugly, which means they won’t slide or slip off. Well-fitting shoes also minimize chafing and rubbing. Shoe fit is influenced by type – some slip-on shoes are less snug than those with straps or ties.

Check size charts before you buy. Standard sizes are widely available. Some manufacturers offer narrow, wide and half-sizes.

Material

Water shoes are most commonly made from synthetic mesh and/or neoprene with rubber soles. Shoes comprised of mostly mesh are usually fine for swimming, walking, and pool time. For more rigorous activities, reinforced mesh and thicker, heavier-duty rubber outsoles may be advisable.

Note that not all water shoes are beach water shoes. Some materials do better in fresh water and don’t hold up well in salt water. If appropriate, be sure the materials in the shoes you’re considering are suitable for ocean exposure.

Durability

Both materials used and the actual construction of the shoe figure heavily into durability. Owner care is also influential. For example, leaving your shoes to dry out in the sun over and over again could affect a material’s properties and trigger premature breakdown or failure.

Name brands aren’t immune to inadvertent defects. Before you complete a shoe purchase or when they’re delivered to your doorstep, be sure to examine them closely for stitching or gluing problems.

Flexibility

For most purposes, good shoes, including water shoes, must have some flexibility in the sole construction or the foot will not bend and flex naturally as you walk. Without natural foot movement within the shoe, arches will be stressed.

Thicker soles can add padding for toes, heels, and soles, but if the additional padding limits flexibility that causes foot discomfort, the additional padding may not be a good choice. Try them on and walk in them to be sure they feel right on your foot.

Thermal Protection

Will you be in northern waters, spring fed streams or deep mountain lakes fed by melting snow? Or will you be in the warm water off the Florida coast or the Mediterranean? In colder water, you may want a water shoe without mesh and instead made of neoprene (think wetsuits) that is insulating and waterproof.

In warmer climates, you may prefer a lightweight, mostly mesh shoe that allows water to flow in and out easily but still provides protection for the soles of your feet.

Fasteners

Some shoes designed for light activities such as swimming can be pulled on and provide a snug fit that works well. Others, such as the best water shoes for rocky beaches and shoes intended for other rigorous uses, have fasteners such as Velcro straps or Bungee cord pulls or laces.

If you want extra assurance that your shoes will stay on your feet, or stay on your kids’ feet, be sure to check out styles with some kind of fastening mechanism rather than slip-ons.

Comfort

Comfort depends on how the entire shoe is made. The thickness of the rubber outsole, the amount of padding for toes and heels, and whether or not there is arch support are factors contributing to comfort.

Try them on and walk around the store before you make a purchase. If you’re buying online, open the shipping box carefully and walk around your home for the same test. Don’t buy them or keep them if they aren’t comfortable.

Light Activity Water Shoes

Water shoes and sandals come in many styles and types. A sandal water shoe is perfect for getting around on a beach or at a pool. It has a thicker sole than flip flops, thus providing decent protection for short distances on level ground.

Aqua socks are comfortable and versatile and good at protecting feet on hot sand or decking around a pool. They also can fit inside swim fins to minimize blisters if you are snorkeling or scuba diving.

Moderate Activity Water Shoes

The best water shoes for walking would have to include closed toe water shoes, which are a cross between running shoes and sandals. Great all-around shoes, they have fasteners to hold them in place and offer excellent ventilation and drainage.

The best water shoes for sand, alternatively, include barefoot water shoes. Your foot is encased in protective rubber where each toe has its own space. They’re lightweight, durable and drain well. Some surfers use them for better control of their board.

Heavy activity options

With active water shoes, you can tackle just about any activity where and when you’d like – lake or beach, sand or mountain trail. Run, hike, backpack, walk the surf or dip in the lake – any of these is fair game with a good shoe.

Made from lightweight (but heavy duty) materials, they are as comfortable as running shoes. Designed so that water will drain from them, some of the best water shoes even float should one accidentally fall out of your raft!

Merrell All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoes
Our pick for the best water shoes is: Merrell All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoes. This choice was made after spending 39 hours researching water shoes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the big deal about water shoes?

Some people rely on flip flops or old sneakers when in and around water. But flip flops can tear and come apart with the added stress of water resistance or hard objects. Sneakers fill up with water that won’t drain out.

Good water shoes are designed specifically to provide traction, protection, and support whether on land or in the water. And when you get out of the wet stuff, the water drains out quickly so you’re not sloshing around in soaked shoes.

Why do my kids need water shoes for a weekend at the beach?

The short answer is to keep their feet safe. The best water shoes for kids have rubber soles that protect their feet from rocks and sharp objects both on the beach and while wading in the water where you can’t really see where you’re stepping.

In addition to protection from hot, burning sand, some styles also protect the tops of feet from sunburn. Running from sand to surf is a breeze. Water shoes are good protection for parents’ feet, too!

Can I use water shoes on dry land?

Absolutely. Some of the best water shoes for men and best water shoes for women are designed to go from water to land and back again. They’re good for fishing as well as for hiking, including wet conditions.

They are well-built in order to provide protection and traction on sand and rocks as well as on slippery, wet surfaces. Shallow creek in your path? No worries – just wade on through. The water will drain out as you continue on the trail.

Is it easy to take care of them?

Because they are made of waterproof materials, they’re easy to clean. Clean them after each use by washing off any debris to keep them in top shape. If they are really dirty or have been in salt water, soak them in warm water with a little soap, then rinse in clean warm water.

After rinsing, be sure that you let them completely dry before wearing them again. If you’re in a hurry, you could use a hairdryer to speed things up.

Will water shoes keep me from slipping?

Nothing is foolproof, but good water shoes are designed with grip and traction in mind. A water shoe’s outsole keeps the wearer connected to the ground or surface, an important feature in minimizing slips and falls.

Look for styles with stronger rubber soles that have built-in grip points or studs. Those extra grips can provide helpful traction on slippery surfaces such as boat decks, creek beds, pool ladders, and docks. Some of the slipperiest places around are right by the pool.

Merrell All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoes
Our pick for the best water shoes is: Merrell All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoes. This choice was made after spending 39 hours researching water shoes.

Sources

  1. Use of Beach Shoes for Foot Protection during the Bangkok Flood of 2011, National Institutes of Health, Mar 7, 2013
  2. H&M Announces Recall of Girl's Water Shoes for Fall Hazard, United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, Jun 13, 2006
  3. Cutaneous larva migrans associated with water shoe use, National Institutes of Health, May 10. 1998
  4. One Man's Shoes Help NASA Explain Water Clarity, Nasa, Jun 6, 2017
  5. Water shoe, Wikipedia
  6. Pack the right summer shoe for your summer vacation, Baylor College of Medicine, Jun 19, 2018
  7. Students plan service trip to help supply shoes and clean water to Haiti, UMW Report, Jul 19, 2018
  8. Water Shoes, REI Co-op
  9. Water Shoes & Swim Shoes, Dick's Sporting Goods
  10. Water Shoes and Swim Shoes, Crocs

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