The 10 Best Shoes For Beach Walking, According To An Expert

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by Alexa Vazquez
Bustle / Amazon

Shoes on the beach are essential for protecting your feet against hot sand, pesky insects, sharp rocks or glass, and foot injuries. “The goal of beach footwear is to provide a well-ventilated, comfortable experience while offering the most protection possible for your feet,” says Ashley Wood, R.N., B.S.N., a registered nurse, whom Bustle spoke to for this article. According to Wood, the best shoes for beach walking are water-resistant (or even waterproof) to keep your feet dry, and have lots of foot support and traction for grip and stability.

The Expert

Ashley Wood, R.N., B.S.N., is an Atlanta-based registered nurse with 13 years of experience in hospitals and emergency rooms. She has made it her mission to shed light on common medical questions through her website, Demystifying Your Health.

What To Look For When Shopping For The Best Shoes For Beach Walking

The best shoes for the beach do a lot more than just protect your feet — they also make it more enjoyable to log some serious miles on the sand. Let’s break down a few key shopping considerations, including Wood’s advice.

  • Support: To avoid pain and injury, arch support is essential, especially if you have foot conditions like plantar fasciitis or flat feet. Look for molded EVA footbeds and contoured midsoles. Cushioned soles also make walking long distances more bearable.
  • Waterproofing: If the thought of wet shoes gives you the ick, take Wood’s suggestion and opt for water shoes “made of porous material, allowing water to evaporate easily and your feet to dry quickly if they’re sweaty.” Look for shoes made of rubber, or synthetic materials like nylon or polyester, which are lightweight and quick-drying. Drainage holes or breathable mesh are other features to consider.
  • Traction: Seek anti-slip properties to help avoid falls — which, if there’s water involved, is highly likely without the right footwear. Keep an eye out for deep grooves, high-traction soles, and gripping materials that can prevent slipping.
  • Style: Wood says the style of your shoe is dependent on what activities you have planned for the day. Generally speaking, the more open the shoe, the less support and protection it’ll provide from the elements. Slides or flip flops are easy to slip on and off, but they tend to have minimal support. A step up from a flip flop would be a sandal with “a strap around the heel for extra support, meaning they won’t slip off when wet or while you’re moving,” Wood says. And for high-impact activities like walking along rocky terrain or water aerobics, Wood prefers closed-toe water shoes that “fully cover your feet but are flexible and lightweight with supportive soles and exceptional traction.”

Whether you’re taking casual, relaxing stroll along a rocky shoreline or just need to protect your feet from burning hot sand, scroll on to shop the best shoes for beach walking.


These Classic TEVA Sandals With Molded Footbeds

TEVAs are a classic for a reason — they’re not only utilitarian, but, as one reviewer put it, they’re also “ridiculously comfortable,” and these Hurricane Drift sandals are no different. Featuring molded EVA footbeds that provide coveted arch support, along with grooved, grippy rubber soles, these water-friendly sandals are perfect for beach walks (and so much more). They have a hook-and-loop closure that can be adjusted for that perfect fit. Since they’re made from 100% synthetic materials, they’ll not only dry quickly, but are also incredibly lightweight and easy to clean. Choose from 19 island-inspired shades, like ‘Mango,’ ‘Aloe’ (pictured), or ‘Beach Sand.’

Helpful review: “These shoes are just perfect. They're super comfortable. I've worn them solidly every day- like slippers around the house, out and about in the sun as sandals, and they've been a great alternative to those awful toe post flipflops at the beach. Can wear them in the sea for a paddle too. Dry quick, seem totally unbreakable.”

  • Available sizes: 5 — 12
  • Available colors: 19


A Pair Of Strappy & Supportive Sandals That Are Approved By The APMA

You can’t go wrong with a pair of these water-resistant sandals from Chaco, which are recommended by the American Podiatric Medical Association. They feature Chaco’s proprietary LUVSEAT footbed with contoured arch support made from sturdy PU, along with adjustable polyester straps that dry quickly to prevent chafing. Plus, you won’t have to worry about accidental slips thanks to a rubber sole with deep lugs. A textured footbed offers added grip to keep you standing tall in running water. The sandals’ durable construction will last through years of adventures.

Helpful review: “I’m really happy with these sandals! They’re my first Chaco pair and certainly won’t be my last cause I’m HOOKED.I tried to do my research on a good sturdy and comfortable sandal before my trip and landed upon these. The arch support is nice - reminds me of my HOKA running shoes. I walked all around Maui on top of volcanoes, rainforests, and even swam with them in large bodies of water where lots of rocks surrounded the area. No soreness whatsoever and still wearing them even after the trip.”

  • Available sizes: 5 — 12 (select sizes offered in Wide)
  • Available colors: 38


These Fan-Favorite Quick-Dry Sneakers With Drainage Holes

Say goodbye to your weathered water shoes and say hello to this pair that’s actually supportive (not to mention a fan-favorite, with over 10,000 five-star ratings on Amazon). Equipped with anti-slip rubber soles, a flexible and cushioned footbed, and adjustable bungee laces, these sneaker-inspired water shoes offer traction, comfort, and ease. Stretchy and breathable quick-drying mesh uppers and outsoles with convenient drainage holes means you won’t be walking around with soaking wet shoes all day.

Helpful review: “These water shoes are super comfortable. I had no problems with wearing these all day. The treads are durable enough to walk over rocks, sticks and other debris without feeling it on your feet. They are extremely light weight - barely felt them on my feet while swimming, but glad to have them when stepping on a mucky bottom or hiking through trails. I have the "stretchy neoprene sock" kind of water shoes as well, but these are my go to for when I will be doing any extended wear or walking.”

  • Available sizes: 6 — 11
  • Available colors: 29


Some Popular Closed-Toe Water Sandals With Natural Anti-Odor Tech

Can’t decide between a sandal or a sneaker? With over 16,000 five-star ratings, these popular closed-toe water sandals offer you the best of both worlds. The webbed design is made from quick-dry polyester lined with water-repellant mesh, and it incorporates a pesticide-free, probiotic-based odor-reducing technology that breaks down smells. Lugged soles offer for maximum grip, and the molded EVA midsoles are equipped with cushioned arch support. Adjustable bungee laces keep your feet secure. And when you’re all done with your beach walk, simply throw these in the washing machine and voilà...good as new!

Helpful review: “I used [these] for 2 weeks straight in Costa Rica - lots of daily walking on broken concrete, also took it to the beach, coffee and sugar cane plantations, rainforest for zip lining, and white water rafting. I couldn’t have brought a better shoe for all the activities I did! It held up really well and I didn’t need a break in period at all and no blisters. I loved how it dried pretty quickly and the traction was helpful for slippery activities - I didn’t fall off the raft because of them.”

  • Available sizes: 5 — 12
  • Available colors: 26


A Pair Of Cult-Favorite Classic Crocs Clogs

No list of the best shoes for beach walking would be complete without Crocs Classic Clogs. The cult-favorite shoes (with well over 345,000 ratings on Amazon, and a 4.8-star rating overall) have almost all the necessary features for a solid beach shoe. The EVA sole offers ample arch support and traction; the brand’s Croslite material is waterproof, durable, and easy to clean; and the signature drainage holes allow for ventilation, keeping your feet dry and comfortable. The back strap offers more security, though you can pivot it to the front if you prefer to wear them as slip-on mules. Take your pick from 33 colors, including brights, pastels, and neutrals.

Helpful review: “[...] I love my crocs. Perfect for every day wear, and even better to wear at the beach. The holes around the toes allow a lot of ventilation, and easy to shake out the sand. They’re lightweight and extremely easy to clean. They are also able to withstand different environments, whether you’re walking on sharp surfaces such as rocks or glass. I’ve also tested them on slippery surfaces, surprisingly haven’t fallen yet!”

  • Available sizes: 4 Women/2 Men — 19 Women/17 Men
  • Available colors: 33


These Supportive Flip Flops From A Podiatrist-Approved Brand

Made from waterproof neoprene and nylon, these sturdy flip flops from the podiatrist-approved brand Vionic feature shock-absorbing, cushioned EVA footbeds that offer much more arch support and stability than you’d get from your typical flip flop. The textured footbed and lugged rubber soles help prevent slips and falls that can cause foot injuries. If you typically wear a half size, the brand recommends sizing down.

Helpful review: “I LOVE these shoes!! Plantar fasciitis is terrible, have already had surgery in one foot, trying to avoid that again. But I'm a beach girl, gotta have my flip-flops!!! And these make that possible. The arch support is great, top notch. They are comfortable and look good, too. This is my 2nd pair, wore my 1st pair for years, until they literally fell apart. Highly recommend.”

  • Available sizes: 6 — 15
  • Available colors: 5


Some Mesh Slip-On Water Shoes With Great Traction

These easy-on, easy-off slip-on water shoes are the best way to keep your feet safe from rocky terrain. Flexible rubber outsoles provide traction and work to drain water, keeping you dry and safe in slippery situations, and bouncy cushioned midsoles offer support and comfort. Breathable mesh uppers dry quickly (and keep your feet cool in hot temperatures), while drainage holes also help get rid of excess water.

Helpful review: “I wore these hiking and swimming in Hawaii. The shoes prevented me from getting injured when I stubbed my toe climbing rocks on the way to the green sand beach. I also wore them snorkeling and to the beach especially the rocky beaches. They protected my feet, were comfy hiking and dried nicely. They’re easy to clean too- I highly recommend these!!!”

  • Available sizes: 6 — 11
  • Available colors: 13


A Pair Of Supportive Sandals With 4 Adjustable Straps

Tired of sandals that don’t quite fit? Look no further than these adjustable, super comfy sandals. The shock-absorbing cushioned EVA footbeds with arch support keep your feet stable and comfortable no matter how far your beach walk takes you, while the thick yet lightweight and water-resistant rubber soles protect your feet from sharp rocks or shells. Both the hook-and-loop ankle strap and three toe straps are adjustable for a truly customizable fit, and reviewers confirm that the PU leather upper is waterproof.

Helpful review: “These are the best sandals ever! I've been wearing them on a six week vacation. I've hiked rocky terrain, cobblestone streets, dirt paths, sidewalks, stairs and wore them as I showered while camping and not once have my feet hurt, I've not slipped. I love the ability to adjust the three straps over my foot as needed for each individual foot. I loved them so much, my friend purchased a pair and loves them too!”

  • Available sizes: 6 — 11
  • Available colors: 7


These Flexible Slip-On Water Shoes In A Wide Range Of Colors & Sizes

These water shoes are as colorful as they are comfortable, thanks to a lightweight cushioned footbed and wide toe box that keeps blisters at bay. They have breathable mesh uppers made from waterproof Lycra that is quick-drying and ventilating. Adjustable no-tie laces keep your feet stable and secure along with grippy anti-slip rubber soles. They’re available in an inclusive size range — from hard-to-find 4.5 to 14.5 — so you’re bound to find one that fits.

Helpful review: “Excellent! Got them for vacation to wear out to the pool and the beach AND on sharp/slippery rocks at a cave pool. GREAT for all! Even feels like there is arch support somehow in that light flexible shoe! I walked in the sand with them and it didn’t even get through. I’ll be taking these kayaking and I think they will even be my new water shoe when river crossing while backpacking!”

  • Available sizes: 4.5 — 14.5
  • Available colors: 33


These Trendy Cloud Slides For Quick Beach Walks

These waterproof slides might not be made for mile-long walks on the beach, but they are the perfect accessory for a quick trip down the sand or to the resort pool bar. The cushioned rubber soles measure nearly 2 inches and are oh-so bouncy, not mention non-slip. These appropriately named Cloud Slides have a flexible molded footbed that makes you feel like you’re walking on air, plus they have two straps each equipped with an adjustable buckle. Choose from an array of neutral and colorful tones, from Barbie pink to muted blush (pictured) and bright lavender.

Helpful review: “I love Cushionaire! They are a favored brand when shopping. I bought these for the beach and so glad! Protects from hot sand and easy to walk along the water. Bonus was ease of cleaning. Love to wear them around house and errands too.”

  • Available sizes: 5 — 12
  • Available colors: 17


Ashley Wood, R.N., B.S.N., registered nurse