How To Choose A Great Pair Of Water Shoes?

Water shoes are a kind of footwear made for men and women who are into outdoor activities. They are excellent for activities like kayaking, white water rafting, hiking, trekking, running and many more.

Water shoes are not only used by the adventurous but also by the practical among us. They are perfect for those rainy days or if you require to work in wet conditions.

General Considerations:

  • Fit
  • Materials
  • Purpose

The present article will further discuss what you need to know about picking a great pair of water shoes.

Consideration 1: Secure Grip Even Under Water

One of those essentials you need to consider is a secure grip even under the water. You will discover that a pair of shoes will have excellent grip on a variety of surfaces if the soles are made from a quality rubber material.

However, you should also know that soles made from rubber without a surface designed to grip and not slip might not keep you from falling.

If you want to find more about the slip resistance properties of shoes please read our article on Are Water Shoes Slip Resistant.

Consideration 2: Protection

Another important aspect you need to remember is the level of protection that the shoes can provide you with. Remember to check the type of material used on the shoes.

Getting the right kind of material for water shoes may entail you to spend some time searching but your time invested will be worth it.

One popular type of material used for water shoes is mesh. Many sport enthusiasts often choose this material because it helps with water drainage from the shoe.

It is particularly helpful with preventing hiking with wet shoes, reducing or even eliminating discomfort of wearing a wet pair of shoes which could be very annoying.

However, keep in mind the purpose of your water shoes – if you need extra durability for those hard and unforgiving terrains then mesh might not be the right choice.

Consideration 3: Maintenance

Selecting the right kind of material makes maintenance much easier.

Water shoes are designed to be used in wet locations but also on dry terrain, therefore they could go through a lot of damage from the different types of surfaces they are used on.

Maintenance and cleaning after every use is recommended to extend the life of your water shoes.

Read more about how to properly maintain and clean your water shoes here: How To Clean Your Water Shoes

Consideration 4: Snuggle Fit

In terms of fit, make sure that you have an easy time slipping the shoes on and off but without compromising on a good snuggle fit.

Consideration 5: Waterproof or water resistant

There are many different types of water shoes but the great choice sometimes leads to confusion. Do you choose a water resistant or waterproof pair of shoes?

What is waterproof?

Simply put, waterproof fabrics are treated using different methods to become resistant to penetration by water. In other words, if your shoes were waterproof your feet would not get wet.

One method used for waterproofing shoes is the use of coating materials such as rubber, PVC, silicon and wax.

The treatment can be applied as part of the manufacturing process or applied separately. Some people use waterproofing spray to protect their shoes from water.

Waterproof choice considerations

When you are choosing your waterproof pair of shoes, it is important to assess their breathability rating. Their breathability rating is measured by how quickly water evaporates from the material, abbreviated by the letter ‘g’.

Usually, a 5,000 mm of water resistance and 5,000 g of breathability would give you a good level of protection. The higher the rating the better – usually the 20,000 mm and 20,000 g tend to provide the best possible protection.

However, do not get too obsessed by these ratings. It does depend on what you want to use your shoes for.

You also need to look at the overall completeness of the product.  Some fabrics offering a 20,000 mm of protection would leak through other places such as zips, seams and buttons.  In addition, how effective the breathability of the material is also depending on how extreme the conditions are such as temperature, humidity and wind.

Another important feature to consider when choosing your waterproof shoes is the actual fabric construction.

Some fabrics have an embedded functionality to direct water away from your feet rather than stopping it to enter in your shoes. Examples of these fabrics are: Nikwax Analogy and FurTech.

What is water resistant?

Contrary to a waterproof material, water resistance provides some form of protection but does not entirely block the penetration of water in your shoes.

Water resistance is measured in mm of water a fabric can suspend before allowing water to seep through.

This somehow causes confusion among many people who believe that by buying water resistant shoes this guarantees dry feet. However, this is wrong, only waterproof shoes can guarantee this but not always as already explained.

Water resistant shoes are made with different types of materials than the waterproof shoes.

For example, a common material is full grain leather or action leather, which is used to resist certain amount of water penetration.

Some other fabrics, which are often used for water resistance, are nylon, polyurethane and neoprene.

Water resistant materials are not less efficient than waterproof fabrics. They simply cannot sustain the same level of water pressure over longer period.

Water resistant shoes are perfect for protection from the occasional splash but are likely to fail in cases of constant contact with water.

So how do you choose a great pair of water proof or water-resistant shoes?

Think about the purpose of your water shoes.

Waterproof shoe does guarantee no water leaking through but they may also restrict water coming out of your shoes.

This is the reason why, sweat and vapour would be blocked inside your shoe and may result in an excessive level of moist. This can even make your feet slip inside your actual shoe which can be unpleasant.

If your job requires you to operate in water for a long period then maybe you need to consider a pair of waterproof shoes.

If you are looking to use shoes for sports in wet conditions then you may need to consider shoes made of water resistant materials.

If you a runner or looking to do some hiking, think about your trail. Are you crossing a river, is it likely to rain and if it is then how heavily? Although we cannot be always certain of these conditions, we can still plan for the most of our trip.

Water shoes are not only designed for use in the water; they are also fully adaptable to land. They typically fit like a pair of athletic sneakers. They are versatile and are recommended for individuals who love participating in water sports. But what some other uses for your water shoes:

Swimming in rocky and diverse terrain

Those who like discovering a wider variety of terrain will have to climb in and out of the boat frequently. Their feet will need protection for rocky locations especially, so water shoes are ideal for these kinds of areas. They can help protect from abrasions, cuts, and torn nails.

Overnight swimming

The water shoe is the recommended footwear for overnight swimming excursions. Swimmers will be provided with excellent traction and protection, and users won’t have to bring another pair of footwear to adjust to land.

If you want to find more about this topic please read this article: Can You Swim With Shoes?

Combined hiking and swimming trips

Because they are designed to be used both on land and in water, water shoes are perfect for this combination of outdoor activities.

Day hikes in wet terrain

Water shoes are known to work exceptionally on land, so they can be employed for use in short or moderate-length day hikes in locations that have a good number of streams or puddles one should cross or wade through.

There are also water shoes that were not exactly intended to be used for athletic or active reasons. You will find clogs that are designed for activities that call for minimal water exposure.

These shoes can be used for simple backyard tasks like gardening or walking the streets on rainy days.

Several models are also specifically designed to accommodate the individual’s requirements and preferences of men, women, and children.

The ones designed for children are obviously different in terms of size, but they are usually made from the same materials used for adult designs.

Water shoes for ladies are also lighter compared to the ones used by men or models that are unisex. However, they often provide the same level of protection and comfort.

Water shoes made for men tend to have a chunkier or more masculine design, and they are designed with intense outdoor activities in mind.

Pick insulated models if you plan on using them in locations or for activities that will leave you exposed to cooler waters.

Test the grip of the shoes and guarantee that you will be comfortable while wearing the pair so your feet will still be able to breathe.

Make sure that the shoes have working locks and clasps as well.

Water shoes vs water sandals

You should note that in addition to water shoes you can also go for a pair of water sandals. Water sandals offer a range of different benefits and are more suitable for many different situations – hiking, river crossing and light trekking could be some of those.

To find out more about how to choose between water shoes or water sandals visit: Water Shoes Vs Water Sandals.

Affordable Water Shoes

One of the things people always ask us is, “Will I have to spend a fortune on water shoes?” Well, the answer is: potentially. It all depends on what you are looking for.

The price for water shoes varies from an affordable $10 to $100 based on the brand, design, and material. However, there are plenty of water shoes that are well over $100 as they come with fantastic features and are made by high-end brands.

If you have the money and want the best of the best, then we recommend you look around toward these.

However, many of us don’t want to spend a lot of money on water shoes, as they are not going to be used every day.

Where to look?

To be honest, the place to find the most affordable water shoes is Amazon. As with many other products, they offer a wide range of selection at prices that are incredible.

When looking for affordable water shoes always ensure that they are made from a durable material. Yes, you will be saving money up front, but if your shoe breaks within the first month, costs will certainly pile up.


Q: What do I need to consider when choosing a good pair of water shoes?

A: Materials, fit, durability, grip, comfort and purpose are among the main considerations when choosing a good pair of water shoes.

Q: Are waterproof or water-resistant shoes better?

A: It depends on the purpose; waterproof shoes do not allow any water entering in your shoes where is water resistant provided good drainage.

Q: What activities are water shoes suitable for?

A: Swimming, hiking, running, trekking, river crossing and rocky beach strolling are some of the many activities you can enjoy with a good pair of water shoes.

Q: How affordable is a good pair of water shoes?

A: Premium brands would be more expensive as they offer durability and great comfort. However, you can still find some great deals on Amazon.

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