Whether you’re scaling the cliffs at the beach, hiking by your favorite river, or just enjoying a leisurely boat day, a sturdy pair of water shoes keep you safe. The best water shoes for women have added traction on non-slip soles and are made from a quick-drying material that keeps you comfortable and prevents blisters. But not all water shoes are the same. Here are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for a quality pair of water shoes.
The first thing to consider is what you plan to do while wearing your water shoes. If you’re someone who prefers not to get into the lake or ocean without something to protect your feet from rocks or slimy lake bottoms, a basic pair of water socks made from a quick-drying synthetic fabric blend with non-slip soles can do the trick. If you’re looking to hike or walk for long periods of time, you’ll want to opt for a pair with more arch support and a sturdier mix of leather and fabric uppers. Other great features to look for in a pair of water shoes include a mesh upper to keep the shoes light, breathable, and easy to tread water in.
A rubber or durable synthetic sole with traction will keep you from slipping when you're in action. Most water shoes are designed to wear without socks, but you’ll want to look for flexible materials that won’t rub on your feet. A pair for sports should feature elastic shoelaces that lock so that they stay secure on your feet.
Many water shoes feature small drainage holes to keep you as dry as possible. This is especially nice for shoes you plan to wear both in the water and around town or while taking a lunch break. You'll find shoes on this list that range from laidback sandals and trendy mesh shoes to sturdy hiking water shoes for trekking up hills and through caves.
Whether you're exploring a new coastal city or doing water aerobics, these are the best water shoes that will keep you safe and comfortable all day.
1. A Pair Of Water Socks With A Cult Following
This traditional-style water shoe fits like a sock to protect your feet while you explore the shoreline and ocean. Designed from a lightweight, stretchy, and flexible polyester and spandex blend, they slip on and fit snug around your foot, staying in place as you explore and swim. The smooth material is designed to protect your feet from blisters and chafing, and the rubber sole features traction to create a barrier between sharp rocks, slimy ocean floors, or grainy sand. This highly rated and affordable shoe has more than 12,000 reviews, with many praising its slim style and quick-drying properties. They're available in more than 40 colors that range from solid neutrals to fun rainbow and flamingo prints.
Helpful Review: I really can't say enough about these shoes. I was skeptical, which is why I only purchased one pair for myself and not my entire family but as soon as I got them and used them at the beach, I totally regretted not having purchased some for all of us. These work AMAZINGLY for the beach. I hate going in the ocean without something on my feet, but other water shoes, sandals, flip flops etc always left me with painful feet because shells and grainy sand would still fill them and tear up my feet. NOTHING but tiny specs of the "fine" sand got into these shoes at the beach. I was shocked and SO happy.
- Available Sizes: 5.5 — 15
2. Some Ultra-Grippy Water Shoes For Hiking
If you're planning to hike a trail by a water source or in wet conditions, these Merrell water shoes are for you. They're made from a blend of leather and fast-drying Lycra Neoprene and have a waxy waterproof layer that wicks water away quickly to keep your feet dry and comfortable. The open design offers air circulation as well as water drainage for any terrain you may come across. They have thick, rubber non-slip soles with traction and reviewers say they don't need to be broken in and can go from the box straight to the trail. Some reviewers suggest sizing up half a size for the best fit. They have more than 1,000 reviews and come in eight colors.
Helpful Review: “These shoes exceeded all of my expectations. [...] I purchased these shoes to take to Hawaii for hiking and walking on rocks through waterfalls and they were absolutely perfect. They are incredibly comfortable, dry very quickly, and provide perfect support for me to feel stable hiking through bamboo forests and rocky streams. I can't recommend these shoes highly enough! I'm so glad I have them, and will probably wear them at home a bunch as well.”
- Available Sizes: 6 —11
3. These Breathable Water Shoes With Arch Support
While most water shoes are not known for providing arch support, many reviewers say these fabric water shoes feel as close to your favorite pair of supportive running shoes as possible. The rubber sole has non-slip traction, and its lightweight midsole paired with a cushioned sockliner provides support and a cushiony feeling. They have a drawstring tie and easy, slip-on style, with a breathable mesh upper that dries quickly between dips into the water. Small, discrete holes in the sole allow water to easily drain after a swim. With more than 7,000 reviews, these shoes pass the test for comfort, style, and support — and they're available in 18 colors like light grey, purple, and blue.
Helpful review: “Good quality shoe, comfortable, dries fast, & washes up nicely via washing machine. I was in Playa Del Carmen crystal caves in water walking on nothing but rocky caverns for 3 hours non stop. The soles must be of good quality because I couldn't feel the rocks under my feet. Matter of fact I had pebbles stuck in the bottom of my feet & never knew they were there until I pulled them out of the washer.[...] Good arch support, was walking around all day (9-10hrs) & my feet never hurt or blistered. When I came out off the water I didn't have that wet, sloshing, slipping around like you do with the other water shoes where your feet are wet all day. [...]"
- Available Sizes: 6 —11
4. A Water Sandal With An Anti-Odor Footbed To Keep 'Em Fresh
If you prefer an open shoe design, these Keen water sandals are a highly rated option with more than 1,000 reviews. They're made of a sturdy canvas material with a closed rubber toe to protect you as you walk. The mesh lining and adjustable bungee cord laces make these shoes stretchy, breathable, and customizable. The dual pull-on hooks mean you can slip into these sandals quickly and the anti-odor footbed helps absorb sweat and smells. They have a flexible sole with non-slip traction. They're available in eight colors such as turquoise, grey, and pink.
Helpful Review: “LOVE these sandals!!!! These bad boys took me all around the Costa Rican beach & rainforest while on vacation. My feet are VERY sensitive, easily blister, are easily fatigued, AKA nightmare feet, but I had ZERO issues with these sandals! No rubbing, no blisters, no pain in the heel or arches, no cramping; nothing but pain-free exploring of the Osa Peninsula! These sandals do run a bit small. I am normally a solid size 8 in all shoes (occasionally a 7.5 in some flats) so when I ordered size 8, I ended up exchanging for an 8.5 which fit PERFECT so I do recommend sizing up a half size.”
- Available Sizes: 5 — 10.5
5. These Lightweight Water Shoes For Sports
These water sports shoes can keep up with you through all of your adventures. The ergonomic design offers support and cushion. They're made of sturdy polyester material with a stretchy and breathable mesh upper that give them the fit of snug socks. The elastic shoe laces have a lock mechanism that keep the shoes secure whether you're kayaking, doing water aerobics, sailing, or playing a game of beach volleyball. These shoes have a texturized rubber sole for non-slip traction and eight drainage holes to let water run through and keep your feet cool and dry. These highly rates shoes boast nearly 6,000 reviewers, with many saying they are functional, comfortable, and well-built. Some reviewers do recommend sizing down one size for the best fit. They're available in 29 colors and styles.
Helpful Review: "These water shoes are very comfortable and great for kayaking or any water sport you are using them for. We kayak a lot so we wanted something with a thick bottom, so we don’t step on things in the water or hurt our feet on stones. We bought 2 pairs and family members have bought 5 pairs, very nice shoes!"
- Available Sizes: 5.5 — 15
6. And Some Stylish Water Shoes Available In So Many Colors
With over 5,000 reviews, it's easy to see why reviewers love these quick-drying water shoes so much — they come in more than 30 colors like purple, green, and sandy rose and effortlessly unite sweet style with function. These fabric shoes have a breathable, all-over mesh design that keeps you cool and wicks away moisture in a snap. The sole is designed with a drainage hole and rubber pods that offer stellar anti-slip traction and the lightweight midsole makes these a crowd favorite. The faux laces give these shoes the look of sneakers with the ease of water shoes — just slip them on and hit the beach or pool.
Helpful Review: “Fit is perfect and true to size. They are REALLY cute sneaker type water shoes. The soles do have "holes" in them for water to drain out of, so mud seeps up to your feet, and rocks get stuck. From other reviews, we were well aware and unphased by this, as they served their purpose beautifully for waterfall hikes, etc. They have excellent traction on slippery rocks and dry extremely quickly."
- Available Sizes: 6 — 11