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Not all water shoes are created equal. Our guide will help you decide what's right for your needs and budget. Here are our top 3 water shoes picks:
Water shoes are specially designed for water-based activities. A pair of water shoes can save you from painfully stumbling over rocky beaches, provide you support while walking in between spots, and give you added grip with the rubber outsole on slippery surfaces.
Below we have chosen some of the best aquatic shoes on the market this year that are perfect for stand up paddle boarding and water sports and outdoor adventures.
Finding the best water shoe for you is based on some specific attributes of the shoe. When shopping, you should consider:
Carefully considering the above features will keep your feet safe while on the SUP, hitting a watery trail, or simply enjoying an afternoon on a beach.
Unlike regular shoes, water shoes do need to be a tight and snug fit. This is because when they hit the water they give a little and you don’t want them falling off or rubbing. If possible, it is recommended you try before you buy. But if you cannot, do check the manufacturer’s size guides. It’s not unusual to go down one size for the perfect fit since you won’t be wearing any socks.
It is important to remember that water shoes are not designed to be waterproof. Instead, they allow water to pass in and out. This means the insoles need to be flexible and breathable to move in sync with the shoe and provide enough cushion for comfort. For optimal drying time look for removable insoles to speed up the process.
The best water shoes fit like a sock but allow you to walk over rocks and reef pain-free. Make sure you get a sole that matches up with your intended activity. A thin sole is perfect for completely watery adventures. Whereas, a thicker sole with added grip and holes allows water to drain while you explore the rough and wet ground.
The best shoes for water are made from either neoprene or mesh. The material is specifically chosen for the intended activity. Neoprene is perfect for water enthusiasts who are paddle boarding, surfing, open water swimming, or scuba diving. The best thing about neoprene is you get an extra added level of thermal comfort, ideal for keeping your toes warm in the cooler months.
If you are after shoes for the water and a spot of trekking in between, then check out those made up of mesh. With these, you get the breathability, ventilation, and water flow perfect for boating, paddle sports, and general beach use.
This goes without saying. To get the best out of your water shoe, you need to have maximum comfort and this comes from perfect sizing and quality materials. There are certain features that you can look for in the designs that provide added comfort and ease to your shoes. Look for easy-pull tabs, elasticated bands, padded heel and toe areas, rubber outsoles, and draining capabilities.
Even though water shoes are lightweight, this does not mean that you need to compromise on durability. Each water shoe is designed with specific activities in mind. With care and proper use, there is no reason why your pair of water shoes shouldn’t last for multiple seasons. Remember to wash your shoes after each session, especially after exposure to salt water, and allow for proper drying.
Most water shoes offer fantastic breathability with the mesh materials, keeping your feet cool and allowing for fast drying. More heavy-duty water shoes often have ventilation holes in the sole or upper panels to give better results when fully submerged in water.
For comfort, breathability, and durability, there are no better men’s water shoes than the Zhuanglin Quick Drying Aqua Shoes. Customer reviews rate this product to tick every box.
The mesh upper panels provide excellent ventilation and allow water to pass through no matter where your adventure takes you.
ComforDry sockliner insoles give firm yet comfortable support and the rubber outsole gives superb grip for all surfaces while keeping the shoe lightweight.
If you are going to be hitting the water on your paddleboard and are after the best quality water shoes, then you have to get your hands on a pair of Adidas Outdoor Jawpaw 2.
The design is a combination of textile and rubber, designed as an easy slip-on shoe with a simple pull tab for ease of use.
Are you looking for the best bang for your buck? The Wave Runner Aqua Jet’s are where you would put your money.
These are the ultimate choice for water sport enthusiasts for their quick-dry and slip-free designs.
These booties are designed for paddle sports in mind. Whether you are in a kayak or on a SUP, the NRS Paddle Wetshoe is a great choice for the added traction and warmth factor.
The stretchy neoprene material gives a sock-like feel and sensitivity when wearing in the water.
Merrell’s All Out Blaze shoe is a bit more heavy-duty than others which makes it a great men’s water shoe as an option for wet land-based adventures.
The sandal like design keeps your feet cool but you also have extra traction with the thicker base sole.
The KEEN Evofit acts as second-skin for protecting your feet on wild, outdoor adventures. With a PU midsole you gain an added spring in your step that makes tackling most terrain a breeze.
The specially designed Evofit fabric is moisture wicking to give you excellent breathability results and long lasting durability.
These are the ultimate lightweight shoes for in the water. Run, fish, leap, and paddle. These Barerun Barefoot Shoes won’t weigh you down.
The outer soles are not compromised either. You will have excellent rubber bottoms suitable for most activities. When you’re done, simply fold them up and pack them away.
Do you ever find yourself in need of an extra pocket? Well these water shoes from FEETCITY fit the bill.
Slip these on your feet and stash away some cash for a paddle boarding stop, or tuck your keys in for safe keeping.
Change your perception of Croc’s right now. They have evolved and developed some great footwear that rightfully deserve their place as one of the best aquatic shoes on the market.
The Shiftwater Mesh Water Shoe is tough, fast-drying, lightweight, and quick to dry, making this a great option for SUP fishing or other similar activities. And most importantly, they will not be confused with the originally designed clown shoes from Croc!
Do you want to look stylish but be prepared for the water? Hands down, the Astral Loyak are the most stylish water shoe for men out there.
As well as top marks for design, this shoe is high-performing in traction, drainage, breathability, and flexibility.
The ALEADER Mesh Slip-On water shoes tick almost every box, making them the best overall option for women.
The exceptional lightweight feel will have you leaping through rivers, hopping on rocks, and paddling your way to victory in no time.
Some people do need to shop on a shoestring and this is where the NRS Kicker Remix comes in. These womens shoes for water are a great option to keep the toes toasty in cooler waters but maintain a certain degree of traction.
If you are searching for the best lightweight water shoes for women, then look no further than the Easy USA Aqua Wave. The thick rubber sole is capable of handling most terrains, but the mesh material allows drainage and flexibility.
Soft soled and plenty of flexibility. These water boots from Roxy are the best for surfing and other water sports. You won’t run the risk of damaging your boards but you will be giving your toes that extra layer of protection.
The DLGJPA shoes look more like sneakers but still provide all the needed features of a water shoe. The extra support you get from these make them perfect for wading through water while fishing or exploring.
All the water simply drains out through the sole which has an excellently designed drainage system that helps with quick drying post-adventure.
Is it a shoe? Is it a sandal? The Merrell Hydrotrekker is the best of both! Enjoy this hybrid on land or at sea, the possibilities are endless.
This is a highly rated water shoe for women kayakers and outdoor enthusiasts.
A fantastic design using the combination of mesh and neoprene gives the JBU Mermaid III top marks as a water shoe. These are lightweight but have a protective rubber sole so you won’t have to dash across hot sand again.
We recommend this one for anyone wanting to try snorkelling with their paddleboarding.
Do you struggle finding the right fitting shoe? This option from Merrell is designed for wider feet in mind. The toe box is roomier and the insole can be removed for even more space if required. And the best thing is, they look great as well.
Are you looking for something to have the “wow-factor” when you hit the beach? This pair of Jefferson Bloom’s from Native Shoes will definitely do the trick.
This pair of perforated, lightweight slip-on’s will take you from beach to street, turning heads every time.
If you are after something a bit more feminine and chic then this is the shoe for you. The DBX water shoes are cute, subtle, and quite frankly super pretty shoes that you could run errands in after the beach.
What could be better? They are also super comfortable!
Are you wanting to take the kids out for an adventure with you? The Stride Rite Made 2 Play Water Shoes offer fantastic protection for their little feet to give you the peace of mind while exploring the wilderness.
If you are planning a day out on the water or at the beach, then it is essential that you kit your kid out with a pair of these from L-RUN.
The sock-like design provides ultimate comfort and protects the little feet from hot sand and sharp rocks while exploring.
The comfort of a water shoe really depends on your feet and what activity you intend to be doing. Make sure you do your research carefully, check the size charts, and purchase the correct shoe for you.
We recommend you look for a hybrid with perforated panels to allow sand to escape if you are going to be spending a lot of time on the beach.
Yes! Neoprene water shoes are designed with swimming in mind. Make sure you get that snug fit so you don’t lose them in the water.
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