If you are participating in a thrilling water activity, chances are you are going to be walking, jumping, hiking, running, climbing, etc. Therefore, a good pair of water shoes is a big game changer and will help you get your feet to where your heart seeks to go.
We have created a list of top 10 best water shoes. To determine this 10 Best list we looked at durability, value, grip, fit, breathability, and customer reviews. When looking at our list make sure you keep in mind what kinds of activities you will be using your water shoes for in order to pick the best one for your personal adventures!
At one point in time, water shoes were actually considered to be less than stylish and fashionable and were definitely an accessory that many would rather avoid. However, they have now evolved into something that most can’t do without if they plan on any kind of water activity including boating and kayaking.
The Pros and Cons of Water Shoes
A good pair of water shoes awards the wearer with some serious foot protection in case they encounter sharp or rocky terrain, turbulent water, or any other area that may provide your delicate feet with some type of abrasion, scratch, or puncture.
Water shoes also provide improved traction and can help prevent slippery footing by providing a grippy sole to give you a much-needed advantage in slippery locations.
Remember, a water shoe will not keep your feet dry. Also, water shoes may become very hot and sometimes even uncomfortable to wear and may not be as breathable as you would want them to be on a very hot day.
Which Water Shoes Should I Choose?
For kayaking, you will want to find a water shoe that will stay securely in place and provide you with both protection and traction when you are in the river.
For fishing, you will want a comfortable water shoe that provides some traction while you stand inside your boat. You will also want to consider a lacing system that helps keep the water shoes securely on your feet.
If you are planning a hiking trip, then water shoes with quick-drying properties may be ideal as long as they are also breathable with a rugged sole for added protection. You will also want to make sure that the shoes will stay securely in place and will not slip off, especially when you are hiking some treacherous or rocky terrain.
1. Astral Loyak
Astral is known best for their magical soles. They use the rubber design they call Flex-Grip™ making you able to grip and walk (or run!) along slippery rocks or other surfaces confidently. There are a number of Astral styles that have this sole but we like the Loyak because of their low profile and snug fit.
Combination of drainage holes in the front and laces designed to constantly be wet, this is our top pick for the best water shoe. Look no further if you’re trying to find a shoe that fits adventuring along rivers by day and socializing in town by night!
These water shoes offer maximum flexibility, great grip, and drainage in the sole at the toe and heel.
2. Columbia Drainmaker
The name of this shoes best describes what it is great at! A very popular and well-loved shoe for you fishermen because of the Omni-Grip™ traction rubber and Blood ‘n Guts™ water and stain resistant treatment (both Columbia specific features).
With the look and support of a tennis shoe it is still lightweight, not getting weighed down when wet. Here’s a shoe that surely won’t hold you back! They also feature air-flow and water-drainable midsoles and are also suitable for hiking and crossing over rivers, streams, lakes, etc.
3. NRS Kicker
These water shoes are high on our ranking list because when you close your eyes and think of a water shoe, this is probably the shoe you picture. They are made from 3mm neoprene to keep your feet warm even when they are wet while not being bulky.
There are extra reinforcements where it is needed—at the toe to minimize stubs and on either side of the arch for that secure fit. The inclusion of the armored patches adds improved abrasion resistance to these water shoes, and the stretchy rubber bands help keep the water shoes securely and snugly in place for better lateral stability. They are ideal for boating and kayaking because of the insulation, traction, and protection they offer.
4. Adidas Terrex Climacool Boat
If you are in a warm area, trying to keep your toes not so “toe”-sty, the Terrex Climacool is an ideal option. Ventilation all throughout the shoe reduces unnecessary heat build up and makes it a highly breathable water shoe.
The soles don’t only have drains but also Adidas TRAXION® technology for stability and grip for all your water endeavors. The stretchable heel insert allows for a better fit while also providing increased friction and grip with the non-marking traxion outsoles.
5. Keen UNEEK
Keen in general isknown to be unexplainably comfortable right out of the box, then they go step it up with the UNEEK! The combination of strong two-cord construction and a free-moving cord design makes a water shoe that is basically custom fit and very durable.
There is also razor siping on the rubber sole making it a non-marking bottom with good traction.
These water shoes offer all the support of a sneaker and are suitable for a variety of activities including trekking the beach or walking along city streets. The cushioned straps will help provide your ankle with some much-needed support, and the design offers the flexibility and freedom you want.
Pro Tip: UNEEK tends to run small, go a half size bigger than what you usually wear.
6. Chaco Outcross
If you are looking for a shoe for the trail to water to trail to water and on and on, the Outcross is a smart choice! These water shoes provide enough support to be a trail shoe, but also EcoTread™ outsole to help with grip.
Mesh meets neoprene to make a warm shoe that is still breathable and easy to put on and take off. Not the best option for a lightweight water shoe but great for multi-use. The perforated neoprene with lycra collar lining and the synthetic rubber toe caps and heel risers allow for the ultimate protection you need while providing you with full traction capabilities on wet surfaces.
7. Aleader Mesh Slip-on
The value is what makes the Aleader Meshe Slip-on a top pick. If you are on a budget, then these water shoes are a good option because they are lightweight and also offer a secure fit and drains well.
With loops on the front and back of these water shoes, it is easy to slip into and get going! Because they are so lightweight, they are the ideal choice for swimming, while still providing excellent coverage, not letting sand or rocks in.
8. Vibram Signa
Despite looking a little silly, the Signas are a terrific, flexible, and lightweight water shoe. Some reviews say they aren’t ideal for sandy environment, however. As once sand gets in, it is really hard to get out.
Because of the flex and extra control you get with individual toe use, you get a shockingly great grip and traction on various water sports surfaces. Don’t get discouraged when you are trying on these shoes; they are difficult to put on. Put your toes in their proper toe pocket—big toe to little—then slide your heel in.
9. Speedo Surfwalker Pro 3.0
The Surfwalker is Speedo’s best-selling water shoe because it is a great value, while being durable, and providing a snug and secure fit. These water shoes are built to fit securely, making them a great for swimming in and wearing on long trips.
The four-way stretch and heel loop makes it easy to get on and stay on. Speedo makes these in Men’s, Women’s and Kid’s so you can get a pair for the whole family!
10. Teva Original
These water shoes will give you the least amount of protection when compared to the others listed because they are sandals. These Tevas made the top 10 list because of their amazing versatility.
They will keep up with you even if you don’t know what activity you will be doing! You can wear this sandal out and about, and they are made with polyester webbing to be durable and dry quickly. Adjustable, Velcro straps ensure a custom, secure fit that are quick and easy to get on and take off. If your toes are chilly, help socks and sandals make a comeback with Tevas!
Take some time to consider the activities you are more likely to engage in so that you can find the perfect water shoes for your lifestyle.
We cannot emphasize enough how important reliable footwear is. Adding water into adventurous endeavors also adds risk because landscape gets slick and where you step becomes more prominent. The last thing you want to worry about is if your footwear is going to hold up against the elements. Have fun out there but don’t forget, safety first!