For any person who loves playing around on or in the water, they will know how hard it is to prevent things from sticking in the bottom of your feet.
Flip flops don’t do much good when you are kayaking or walking around the coast where there is rocky terrain. With this in mind, we will take a look at the best shoes that fill the need and can double as water hiking shoes.
Water shoes need to fill specific roles while remaining comfortable to wear for long periods, they also need to perform as regular shoes when away from the water, so it reduces the need to take an extra pair of shoes while you are out on your waterborne adventures.
What are Water Shoes?
A regular running shoe or sneakers are no good when they get wet, they can make the feet rub more and are unhealthy for the feet because of the duration they would be on the feet. It was because of these limitations water shoes were developed as an alternative.
- What are Water Shoes?
- Top Water Shoes Reviews
- 1. Merrell Men’s All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoe
- 2. KEEN Women’s Whisper Sandal
- 3. Sloggers Women’s Waterproof Rain and Garden Shoe with Comfort Insole
- 4. The Wave Easy USA Women’s Water Shoes
- 5. Womens and Mens Kids Water Shoes Barefoot Quick-Dry Aqua Socks for Beach Swim Surf Yoga Exercise
- What to Look For When Buying Water Shoes
- What are your water shoes for?
- Final Verdict
These are purpose made to eliminate all the downsides of wearing other forms of shoes when around water. Hiking water shoes fill two needs, and as the name suggests, they can double for walking while away from water.
These water shoes are generally made from mesh and come with a durable sole to prevent cuts from rocks or other sharp objects such as sharp mussel shells.
When these shoes are wet, they can drain water quickly and won’t remain water-logged as other shoe types do, so they dry out much quicker and more naturally. One place these types of footwear are beneficial is when used as kayaking water shoes.
You can get in and out of the water quickly, and there will be no need to remove your footwear so they can dry out. This means they can be worn for most of the day with no chafing or rubbing on your feet.
Top Water Shoes Reviews
1. Merrell Men’s All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoe
The Merrell men’s water shoes are equally at home on the beach, out in a kayak or hiking where you might come up against a stream or two.
The upper part is constructed from a highly flexible Lycra and waxy leather fabric that is both flexible and waterproof.
They offer plenty of range in foot movement, so tackling the most difficult terrains is easy, and with a high degree of comfort, they are the best men’s water shoes on offer.
The Merrell Blaze Sieve is lightweight, and with a lug depth of 3mm there is plenty of traction available on any terrain, be it on dry land or in the water.
Pulling on the shoes is easy with their stretch Neoprene collar, and for anyone looking for the best water shoes for men, there isn’t much need to look any further.
- Comfortable to wear
- Easy to put on and take off
- Quick drying
- High levels of grip in wet conditions
- Efficient lacing system
- Hiking easy with thick, durable soles
- Ankle protection
- Soles might wear quickly with a lot of use
- Shoe openings can let in small rocks and sticks
- Narrow fit
- Leather and fabric construction
- Synthetic sole
- Weight: 1lb 5oz
- Unifly midsole
- Lug depth 3mm
- Vibram TC5 outsole
The Merrell closed toe water shoes can be the only best water shoes for hiking you could ask for in many situations.
It is highly comfortable and helps prevent sweat building up through there being lots of ventilation. With a guide price starting at around $70, the shoes are available in a wide range of colors and sizes.
The only downsides with these water toe shoes for men being the ventilation holes in the side that might allow small rocks inside, and narrow fitting.
The upsides though do outweigh the downsides quite considerably, so for hiking or kayaking and anything in between, these might be the best men’s hiking water shoes available from a leading brand.
2. KEEN Women’s Whisper Sandal
These women’s water shoes are designed to make sure feet stay as dry and fresh as possible while partaking in water sports or the odd bit of hiking and backpacking. The Cleansport NXT system prevents the buildup of odor that is a problem with wet shoes.
Although they are of an open sandal type design, the foot is securely held via the bungee strap laces.
The water shoes with arch support are well taken care of by the molded EVA midsole that will naturally adjust to the contours of the feet.
There is also a TPU shank that gives the entire foot support while walking on uneven terrain, this means they can be the best women’s water shoes for hiking.
- Fast drying
- Insole contours to foot shape
- Closed toe protection
- Easy to adjust
- Narrow fitting in the toe (order half size bigger)
- Open strap design might let small rocks inside
- Weight 8.7oz per shoe
- Machine washable
- Polyester upper
- Rubber soles
- Odor-reducing Aegis Microbe Shield (Cleansport NXT)
- Molded EVA midsole
The Keen Whisper Sandal comes in a vast range of colors so they can match any other clothing you might be wearing, and for water shoes, it isn’t often they can be seen as a high performing fashion statement.
With a guide price starting at around $30 depending on size and other options, this woman specific sandal is ideal to keep feet comfortable and dry in the fastest possible time for the most adventurous lady in your life.
They can come with a narrow toe width, but this is pretty common for any type of shoe that has a closed toe design due to the solid construction.
Ordering the next half size up combats this, and with the high levels of adjustability, they can be the best water shoes for rocky beaches.
3. Sloggers Women’s Waterproof Rain and Garden Shoe with Comfort Insole
Although these high top water shoes are not explicitly designed for venturing much further than the extremes of a garden, these sloggers shoes are excellent options to wearing regular shoes around the beach or lake or going all out for a more expensive pair of water shoes.
With a guide price of a little under $30, these shoes can be an excellent option for any woman who does take part in outdoor activities around the water on occasion.
These women’s water shoes with toes can make a great solution to kayaking shoes or a casual pair to be worn around a campsite.
- Sloggers’ All-Day-Comfort insoles
- Heavy duty lug tread for excellent traction on slippery surfaces
- Easy clean
- Made from recyclable materials
- Soak and air dry
- Not really water shoes – actually gardening shoes
- Feet might sweat with extended use
- No water draining
- Doesn’t come in half sizes – half sizer insoles might need to be bought separately on some models
- Comes in 20 designs
- Hose off or wipe clean exterior
- Removable insole
- Weight 13.8 oz.
- Molded arch support on “All day comfort insole.”
With a large tread, these Sloggers give high amounts of grip no matter what terrain they are used on.
For hiking, they might not be suitable because they are a slip on shoe and would have a tendency to flip off the heel of the foot.
For anything else that doesn’t require too much movement, they are a great solution to keeping feet clean and dry in the wettest and muddiest of conditions.
They are super easy to keep clean and make an ideal second pair for any outdoor situation, or for pottering around the garden instead of wearing a full-length pair of gumboots.
4. The Wave Easy USA Women’s Water Shoes
The Wave Easy USA Women’s Water Shoes are a lightweight slip-on water shoes option that is only designed for lightweight use.
Hiking isn’t recommended as they have thin rubber soles and offer no support. This being said, for beach use or around a lake or river, they are a great solution and follow the same sort of design as Speedo women water shoes.
If you are tagging along on a double Kayak, they are a practical solution because they dry quickly without rubbing the feet.
- Highly affordable
- Good for exercise, dance or yoga
- Adjustable heel cord for a snug fit
- No half sizes – select next full size up to fit if a half size needed
- Not suitable for hiking
- Not non-slip
- Can let in sand and small rocks
- Weight 10.1 oz.
- Rubber sole
- Mesh and Neoprene upper
- TPR injection outsole
- Various colors available
For the best kayak shoes, the starting cost of less than $10 makes them worth the small investment to be used in other areas.
Some users have taken to using them in dance, or exercise and even water aerobics to give them more balance. They can also be folded and packed in a gym bag to save on space.
They are also ideal for slipping on around a pool or when walking around the hotel gardens. The most significant reported downsides are, they are labeled as water shoes, but depending on the surface, they can be on the slippery side with the rubber sole.
With a vast number of colors and designs to choose from, they are well worth the cost and offer great value for money when used in the right conditions.
The addition of the drawstring on the rear also gives that little extra assurance the shoe won’t slip off during any water activities.
5. Womens and Mens Kids Water Shoes Barefoot Quick-Dry Aqua Socks for Beach Swim Surf Yoga Exercise
These water shoes might not be durable enough for hiking, but for any other occasion, they are a great solution.
While being flexible and have lots of internal drainage holes, they are suitable for sports or activities that reach way beyond beach activities or kayaking.
The Watelves Aqua socks are durable enough to be used when cycling, and can also be used in a water park, aqua aerobics/ Zumba, windsurfing or wearing on boats or for something comfortable to wear on a cruise ship.
They make it easy to lounge on the beach or around a pool without worrying about getting them wet or needing to change for another pair once you are finished.
The super flexible material will give the entire family plenty of comfort, and with a price range of under $10 to a little under $15, they are affordable enough for everyone to have a pair.
For their quick drying capability and flexibility, they could be the most affordable best shoes for kayaking, and the funkiest water shoes that look like sneakers that will please all the kids.
- Lots of color choices
- Sole is durable and slip resistant on rough terrain
- Draining holes allow for faster drying
- Breathable fabric prevents foot odor
- Soft wraparound fabric feel like socks
- Sand and small rocks can get inside
- Can be slippery on smooth surfaces
- Not a tight snug fit when wet
- Anti-slip outsole
- Rubber sole
- Mesh fabric upper
- 92% polyester + 8% spandex upper
- Lightweight, flexible construction
Because these comfortable water shoes are easy on the feet, they can be used around the home rather than wearing slippers or having the need for a more substantial pair of shoes.
This can be even more beneficial where children are involved, and they want to run around in bare feet.
This can be a welcomed solution when they are on the beach, and the odd stray sharp object might be waiting in the sand.
For usefulness, it might be hard to find another pair of aqua socks that can be worn, yet feel like you are wearing nothing on the feet at all.
What to Look For When Buying Water Shoes
When you are looking for water shoes, there are different criteria that you need to check to make sure you have the right pair for you.
Although many shoes are marketed as water shoes, this doesn’t make them ideal for every scenario.
Most of all, a good pair of water shoes need to provide comfort, stability, protection and are able to dry quickly and to stop odor building up due to wet feet.
Here are most of the common things you need to look for when buying water shoes, and once you understand what you need to look for, you can see how the above reviews compare.
This is the most important thing any water shoe needs. When surfaces are slippery and wet a shoe needs to be able to help the wearer keep their footing.
It might only sound as if this is walking around, but in the case of kayaking, it can mean standing in a kayak or pedaling if it is a pedal kayak. These need a force from the feet, and if there is little traction, it can quickly ruin the experience.
Out of water functionality
This follows on from water shoe traction because in most cases, carrying an extra pair of shoes for out of water is just a burden. With the right water shoes, there only needs to be one pair because of their durability, traction and sturdy soles and support.
The best water shoes can easily be used for hiking or long walks to and from a stretch of water, and this they do without feet becoming sweaty and rubbing.
Top of foot and toe protection
The top water shoes offer closed designs to protect your feet on the top. They might have plenty of ventilation or drainage holes, but they will make sure there is lots of protection.
This also makes sure the foot is held tight and can’t move around while walking on uneven surfaces.
Sock design water shoes will fail in this department because nothing is stopping the foot from moving around inside, and if there is uneven terrain, it can easily result in a twisted ankle.
There is also accidentally stubbing your toe on a hidden rock, or a heavy kayak slipping from your fingers and landing on your foot.
Water shoe drainage
One of the most significant areas where feet can slide around is when the insole becomes wet. Depending on the material, it can be more slippery than the surface you might be walking on.
These drainage holes make sure there is no accumulated water while allowing the shoes to dry faster, and maintaining the comfort, with no odor build up.
There are many materials in use, and most do allow water to pass through. When it is something such as Neoprene, there should also be a material that is robust and allows some rigidity in the design.
These materials should also be able to withstand the rigors of saltwater exposure because the salt can corrode stitching and weaken certain fabrics.
For many people, this can be the deciding factor, and it happens to be the one area that leads people to make the most significant mistake when buying water shoes.
Because these shoes are specialized for their primary function, they do look a certain way.
Now with the newer fabrics coming to the market, the number of designs has increased no end. This, however, doesn’t mean a nice looking water shoe is good for what you want.
With a lot of designs, these are still limited compared to many other types of shoes like athletic footwear.
Rather than making a mistake when purchasing water shoes, they should be ideal for the activity you will be performing.
What are your water shoes for?
Beaches with no rocks
Open sandal types of water shoes are one of the most common for this type of water shoe. They allow plenty of air in and many do come with durable soles in case of sharp objects, and closed toes in case there is a hard object you might walk into.
The ventilation and drainage holes might let sand in, but they can also let sand out just as fast.
Rivers and lakes
These areas will need something more robust than sandals or the sock type. Sticks or branches can catch you out, and there could be many small boulders waiting for you to kick.
Plus, if you are in these areas, you might be venturing in and out of the water more often once you know your water shoes are suitable.
If you are paddle kayaking, you might get away with a sock type of water shoe. But as soon as you begin fishing and there is a possibility of standing, you need something reliable and non-slip under you.
Pedal kayaks also need a solid sole so you can get the force required to pedal. Soft soles not only hurt your feet, but they are also more prone to slipping against the wet kayak pedals.
Kayaking water shoes without an intentional design, are also the best for hiking. There is all around foot support, durability and there is plenty of ventilation. These closed toe water shoes also perform best when hiking.
You can quickly see, there are lots of types of water shoes available. We listed varying types so you could see the difference between the types and where they fall short or areas where they excel.
Although it wasn’t fair to do a cost performance review due to the difference, we did decide on the best all-rounder of water and hiking shoes.
We took into consideration all the circumstance where anyone could need a water shoe, and what type would be sufficient, and where they were let down.
This included both wet and dry usage. With all this in mind, there was only one option, and that was to choose water shoes and hiking shoes which can fulfill lots of different areas.
Out of all of the above reviews, there were only two models that fit this criterion. One was the top of the list of shoes for men, and the second was a slight variation of this and was the sandal type of women’s water shoe.
Both were ideal in wet conditions while offering plenty of support and comfort the others didn’t provide in the correct amount.