A Primer on Water Shoes

A water shoe is a kind of footwear that was designed to be used for water-related activities or sports; its purpose is to keep you from slipping. Water shoes are also designed to protect the wearer’s feet from sharp items underwater like rocks and shells.

Usually, this footwear comes with a hard, sturdy sole and mesh upper material. The outer sole is designed to stop you from getting scratched or cut when walking on slick, craggy terrain.

The best water shoes protect the feet not only on dangerous surfaces underwater but also in dry areas such as beaches and river beds. They will also provide a firm and steady grip if you use them in a pool for water aerobics.

The first water shoes were sandals that were made to be worn in the water, and with improvements and upgrades, they have become more functional and are able to accommodate the needs of the wearer in whatever water activity is undertaken. They now come in a good variety of styles and colors and are better designed so that users can wear them with confidence.

Wearing water shoes is ideal for activities like snorkeling, kayaking, boating, angling, paddle boarding, wind sailing, and more. This footwear is for individuals who are frequently in and out of the water. The majority of water shoes are made from durable materials like rubber and nylon, plus a variety of treads based on their proposed usage.

The tread aids in providing steadier footing when in the water. This makes water shoes safer compared to other footwear when walking in spots that have a tendency to become wet. Water shoes also have appropriate venting and drainage systems to drain water quickly from the shoe once out of the water.

While water shoes are appropriate in most water situations, you may feel more comfortable in sandals or flip flops on hotter days when you do not really need the complete protection of a closed toe shoe. For colder weather when you know your feet will get wet, boots are the more appropriate footwear because you will want your feet to remain dry and warm.

The purpose of a water shoe is to protect the feet and to allow for water drainage when the shoes get wet, not necessarily to keep the feet warm; in cold weather, cold and wet feet is a recipe for frostbite. In addition, although water shoes are great on land, they are not designed to give you the support or protection required for lengthy, multi-day hikes.

Are you looking for a good pair of water shoes? This article will help you to select the best water shoes by listing a number of factors that make for a great product. Below are some of the essentials you should remember when shopping for water shoes.

Selecting the best water shoes

When purchasing this type of footwear, there are several features you want to pay attention to.

Check that the shoes are made from high-quality materials

When choosing water shoes, you have to examine the pair to make sure that they are made from prime materials. The material must be capable of drying quickly while at the same time stabilizing the temperature of the wearer’s feet so they can stay warm and comfortable. Look for products that prioritize comfort, temperature balance, and durability and come with materials that allow for a faster drying time.

Look for shoes with toe guards

Toe guards are a regular feature in many models of water shoes, and those with this detail will help you immensely. A toe guard is a factor that distinguishes a water shoe from other kinds of footwear designed for sports. While toe guards are common, there are also manufacturers who do not provide their products with this helpful feature.

Look for shoes with thicker soles

If you are looking for the best water shoes, always check the soles and see if they are thick enough. Thicker soles mean you will be sufficiently protected, no matter where your feet land.

Furthermore, thickness means durability; thus, a thick sole can withstand the impact of sharp rocks or craggy terrain. Shoes with thick soles are also known to provide excellent traction to prevent you from slipping and falling when tackling wet, slick surfaces or getting on and off water equipment.

Other considerations

When selecting water shoes, it is recommended that you try them on to guarantee a good and appropriate fit. You should also buy a pair with a style based on its planned usage. If you want to wear the shoes for intense water activities like white water rafting, then you should opt for ones that fit securely on your feet so you will avoid losing them while in action.

For arduous, action-packed water sports like rafting, look for shoes with additional slip protection. For those who just want to use water shoes while lounging about the pool deck, you can make do with a pair of affordable, beach-type shoes.

If you want to engage in water sports in colder waters, boots are a better option. You may be able to find water shoes geared toward cold weather, but the price will likely put them out of range for many buyers. A boot would be a less expensive option; your feet will stay dry, and you will not have to worry about draining water and maintaining the temperature of your feet.

There are lots of places where you can buy water shoes. You can purchase water shoes in brick-and-mortar stores and through online e-tailers. You can look for them in sporting gear shops, water sports stores, or recreational stores. A number of department stores also have them.

Cleaning your water shoes

You have purchased a great pair and have used them a number of times; however, the time will come when you need to clean them. Water shoes can quickly get smelly because they are made from materials like rubber and neoprene that do not breathe as easily.

Footwear odor is often caused by fungus and bacteria, which can thrive if you do not let your shoes dry thoroughly and do not clean them often; this can lead to foot conditions. To make your water shoes last long and stay bacteria- and fungus-free, here are some of the steps you need to take to clean and maintain them.

You will need a sponge, baking soda, and soap for this procedure. Instructions are described below:

  • If the water shoes have rubber fasteners on them, make sure to loosen them before the cleanup. Position the shoes in the sink or tub. Load the sink with warm water and add a tablespoon of soap to it. You can use dish soap, hand soap, or shampoo.
  • Add ½ cup of baking soda to the water. Wet a sponge and sprinkle a bit more of baking soda on the sponge.
  • Scour the inside and outside parts of the shoes with the sponge. After scrubbing, allow the shoes to remain submerged in the water for 30 minutes.
  • Allow the water to drain. Rinse the shoes under warm water from the faucet.
  • Using a towel, dry the outer and inner surfaces of the shoes. Smell the shoes after drying to guarantee there are no more unwanted odors. If there are still traces of odor on the shoes, sprinkle a few teaspoons of baking soda in every shoe and leave it overnight. Rinse and dry the shoes once again the following day.

Clean your shoes following each use to stop bacteria and fungus from accumulating and causing bad odors. If you do not have enough time to wash your water shoes, sprinkle enough baking soda inside the shoes to absorb the smell. You can also use activated charcoal sachets or discs and leave them inside the shoes overnight.



Price Range

Our Rating

   Columbia Men’s Drainmaker III Water Shoe  $$  4.6/5
   Merrell Waterpro Maipo Women’s Water Shoes  $$$  4.2/5
   Adidas Outdoor Men’s Climacool Jawpaw Slip-on Water Shoe  $$  4.3/5
Dreamcity Women’s Water Shoes  $  4.4/5
   Teva Women’s Evo Water Shoe  $$  4.2/5
   Speedo Men’s Seaside Lace 5.0 Athletic Water Shoe  $ 4.3/5
   Viakix Womens Water Shoes  $  4.6/5
   adidas Outdoor Kids’ Kurobe Water Shoe  $  5.0/5
   Odema Men Ultrathin2.0 Mesh Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes  $  4.5/5
   Zhuanglin Women’s Mesh Slip On Water Shoes Size  $  4.4/5

5 Recommended Pairs of Water Shoes

Proper footwear for certain water-related activities is a must; that is why purchasing the best water shoes should be a priority. There are a number of excellent, quality water shoes available on the market, so this makes buying the best kind of challenge.

To point you in the right direction, we have provided a list of great products that have acquired positive feedback from consumers. Choose from this list of five and you will be on the right track.

Columbia Men’s Drainmaker III Water Shoe

The Drainmaker III from Columbia has fast-drying features and is one of the most versatile pairs in the company’s lineup. This is an ideal shoe designed to accommodate activities done on rough terrain or in water. It comes with a high number of sizable drainage points that are built into the forefoot and the heel segment for faster drainage of water.

The sole is made of non-marking rubber with Omni-grip technology. The outsole is capable of effectively gripping both dry and wet surfaces. If you are the sort of active individual who likes canoeing, fishing, trail hiking, or any kind of water sports, investing in this pair is highly suggested.


  • Comes with razor grip
  • Provides additional cushioning
  • Has fast-drying properties
  • Lightweight at 10.1 ounces


  • Not ideal for beach walking
  • Outsole not effective on wet, algae-covered rocks or surfaces

Read the Full Review


Merrell Women’s Waterpro Maipo Water Shoes

The Women’s Waterpro Maipo from Merrell comes with synthetic leather and mesh plus Lycra and stretch neoprene materials. It also includes a regular lacing enclosure for a fully protected foot. This is an excellent pair that includes an anti-friction lining treated with an antimicrobial solution for a hygienic and fresh use every time.

The shoes have a molded-nylon arc shank, which minimizes impact and stabilizes the foot so you will have a superior takeoff each and every time. The Merrell air cushion within the heel takes in shock like a pro and provides consistency for a safe walk.

The non-marking Vibram sole, meanwhile, provides the final touch for this particular vegan-friendly pair. It is recommended for hiking and trekking in the tropics.


  • Comes with molded-nylon arc shank
  • Has treated anti-microbial antifriction lining
  • Comes with Merrell air cushion
  • Vegan friendly
  • Durable and sturdy


Rubber material can be felt on the toes and may be uncomfortable for users

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Adidas Outdoor Men’s Climacool Jawpaw Slip-on Water Shoe

The Adidas Outdoor Men’s Climacool Jawpaw Slip-on is designed to be a versatile kind of footwear. It is manufactured to accommodate the demands of the most arduous water sports and a variety of terrains. This is a fast-drying model that comes with the Climacool mesh plus toe protection.

The Climacool also comes with a perforated outsole that delivers quick drainage, while its Traxion grip offers stability and consistency in each and every step you take.

Other than that, it has a nylon mesh upper, which means the shoe has breathable qualities and includes a textile lining as well. For additional comfort and lightweight cushioning, the shoes come with EVA footbeds. Lastly, it comes with the excellent super-high traction outsole made of rubber for a superior grip in both wet and dry locations.


  • Has breathable qualities
  • Durable and made with excellent materials
  • Lightweight
  • Provides a great grip
  • Has loop to fasten shoes to a backpack or harness
  • Has excellent water drainage
  • Affordable


  • Rubber outsole stops sand from draining out
  • Often runs small

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Dreamcity Women’s Water Shoes

Are you tired of your pair of water shoes that lack the features you need? Maybe it’s time to check out new models from brands you have yet to review. Make way for the Dreamcity Women’s Water Shoes and you will know how quality water shoes work.

They feature a fabric and rubber sole that are able to last through hundreds of hours of lively activities. This is a comfortable pair—it has breathable air mesh to maintain coolness inside the shoes. The footwear’s Water Grip outsole plays a big role in delivering superb traction in slick conditions.

Furthermore, the lightweight Solyte midsole offers great bounce-back and durability. It also comes with a ComforDry sock liner, which presents nice cushioning for a better, more hygienic shoe environment. For a faster drying time and excellent breathable qualities, the shoes also include open mesh and a drainage hole on the sole.


  • Lightweight and well-ventilated
  • Provides excellent traction even on wet surfaces
  • Comes with built-in heel loops and elastic laces that make putting shoes on easier
  • Made with quality materials


Does not have arch support

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Teva Women’s Evo Water Shoes

The Teva Women’s Evo Water Shoes is made from quality textile materials. It includes mesh for superior breathable properties and allows comfort throughout hikes or energetic water sports. It comes with a sturdy, durable rubber sole with excellent traction and can accommodate a good number of diverse terrains. This model is vegan-friendly as well.

This pair is made for women who love an active, sporty lifestyle. Other than its removable insole, it also comes with laces that make the shoe easy to put on and take off.

Are you frequently entering and exiting the water? Then a good pair of water shoes is what you need. This Evo pair will accommodate your needs and preferences with its range of features and functionality.


  • Has molded EVA insoles for additional comfort
  • Comes with non-marking spider rubber outsoles for excellent traction
  • Well-constructed from prime materials
  • Has polyester mesh uppers for faster drying time
  • Has uppers with good drainage system


  • Size is not accurate, you have to buy a half-size up
  • Has very little arch support

Read the Full Review


There are many reasons why water sports enthusiasts need to wear water shoes. One of the chief reasons why water shoes are required is for extra protection for the wearer’s feet during water sports and activities that center around the water, such as rivers and streams or lakes and oceans.

What lurks at the bottom of a lake or the ocean cannot always be seen, and water shoes offer protection against cuts and scratches that are caused by rocks, coral, shells, and other items that can prevent you from enjoying your activities.

To make a great investment when purchasing water shoes, it is essential to look for products with features like thicker soles, toe guards, and high-quality, durable materials. You can look for this kind of footwear in a variety of stores, from brick-and-mortar stores to sporting goods stores to recreational stores to online stores.

If you do not have a lot of time to look for a pair in stores, or if your location lacks a store that stocks water shoes, you can make do with online shopping. Purchasing the best water shoes will allow you to enjoy your activities and not worry about accidents.