man wearing black long-sleeved shirt carrying shoes on water

The Best Water Shoes for Hiking: Men’s and Women’s

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Hikes that involve water are some of the best and most rewarding adventures to embark on. Having the payoff of a waterfall at the end of the hike, a serene alpine lake to take a dip in, or a shallow river crossing makes for some of the most memorable hikes. That being said, walking around with wet socks and puddles of water squishing as you take each step sucks.

Experienced hikers understand the importance of finding the best water shoes for hiking through watery locations. It eliminates wet shoe syndrome, which often ends in blisters and generally uncomfortable conditions.

Water shoes have come a long way in recent years with constant innovation in the industry. We sifted through the good, the bad, and the ugly to find the best water shoes for hiking and the outdoors, so you don’t have to.

The Best Men’s Water Shoes

Croc Men’s Swift Water Shoes

Croc’s have been around since 2002 where they premiered at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show and sold out of 200 pairs nearly immediately. Since 2003, they have sold hundreds of millions of pairs around the world and been the butt of an equal amount of jokes about their look and design.

The Croc Men’s Swift Water shoe was designed as an alternative to the standard look of croc’s to be more stylish and functional. While this particular water shoe is more of a sandal, with openings near the front and on the sides of the sandal, it performs just like a shoe.

The hook and loop design around the ankle gives you the flexibility to adjust the fit and snugness around the ankle, which is particularly helpful after they naturally loosen after wearing them in and out of the water. The large rubber toe and heel offer excellent protection from debris and the mesh upper gives the shoe breathability and ensures they dry quickly.

Pros:

  • Lightweight with thick soles which protect your feet
  • Comfortable when wet
  • Adjustable over ankle strap

Cons:

  • Holes on the side can let small pieces of debris inside
  • When underwater they create drag
  • The inside of the sole may cause blisters
Sale
Merrell Women's All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoe
2,718 Reviews
Merrell Women's All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoe
  • LIGHTWEIGHT, SPORTY AND ADVENTUROUS: The Swiftwater sandals for men are all about comfort and functionality; The sporty and minimal design allows you to move through life swiftly
  • WATER FRIENDLY: The sandal slides for men are water friendly and designed to channel water away; These water shoes for men are great for rocky beaches or mucky lake bottoms
  • ICONIC COMFORT: From water relaxation to land exploration, these mesh men's sandals are flexible and made of Croslite material for Iconic Crocs Comfort; Mesh upper offers an adjustable strap for best fit
  • LIGHTWEIGHT: These Crocs shoes for men are incredibly lightweight and fun to wear; The flexible material and toe coverage are perfect for when you're on the go or just hangin' out

Aleader Men’s Water Shoes

The Aleader Men’s Water Shoes resemble a stylish tennis shoe, however, they perform like a well-designed water shoe. They offer a variety of colors to choose from, with over 15 color designs, there’s a good chance you’ll find one that you like.

The sole of these shoes are made of rubber and they’ve reinforced the areas that receive the most abuse with large rubber pods for increased traction. The upper portion is made of a fabric mesh which is light and breathable, two of the most important factors in any water shoe.

The inside of this water shoe comes with a ComfortDry sock liner that gives you extra cushioning while keeping the shoe a little less smelly. The outsole is designed for water to drain freely, making sure that your feet don’t get waterlogged.

Pros:

  • Breathable air mesh upper
  • Extremely comfortable fit
  • Water drains quickly

Cons:

  • Small pieces of debris can get inside
  • Takes hours to completely dry out
  • Lining on top of footbed comes off too easily
Sale
Aleader Men's Water Shoes
1,995 Reviews
Aleader Men's Water Shoes
  • Breathable and durable air mesh upper allow the foot to breathe
  • Solyte midsole provides an exceptionally lightweight midsole with excellent bounce-back and durability
  • Water Drain outsole provides exceptional traction in wet and slippery conditions
  • ComforDry sockliner provides the optimum cushioning performance that creates a cooler, drier and healthier shoe environment.

Merrell Men’s All Out Blaze Aero Sport

Merrell has been around since 1981 making hiking shoes and publicly stating that they want to make the “best hiking boots ever made”. You’ll find their shoes on hiking trails all over the planet and the All Out Blaze Aero Sport doesn’t disappoint.

The Merrell All Out Blaze Aero Sport is billed as a hiking water shoe and built with similar features found in the Merrell All Out Peak. The way the shoe was designed it has the exceptional ability to let water drain out and is popular among paddleboarders, that alone says it all.

They come with a molded TPU counter, breathable mesh material along with odor preventing M select FRESH technologies. The Vibram outsole has a 5mm lug depth making easy work of any and all rocks on the trail. This lace up water hiking shoe is perfect for the trail to the sea.

Pros:

  • Very comfortable on your feet
  • Excellent grip on wet surfaces
  • Lightweight and breathable

Cons:

  • Fine grain sand find a way into the shoe
  • Sizes tend to run a little large
  • Heel edge has a low cut which can cause a loose fit for certain individuals
Sale
Merrell Men's All Out Blaze Aero Sport
818 Reviews
Merrell Men's All Out Blaze Aero Sport
  • Lace-up hiking shoe with branding details featuring breathable mesh and durable synthetic upper
  • Omni-Fit lacing system
  • Molded TPU heel counter, Breathable mesh lining with odor-preventing M Select FRESH technologies
  • Cushioned and protective UniFly midsole

Zhuanglin Men’s Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes

Zhuanglin Men’s quick drying water shoes are everyday use water shoe with an upper mesh layer and rubber soles. The price point in this shoe is on the low end of the spectrum, however, the performance is that of a high end water shoe.

The rubber soles are soft and give you great traction on the trail and while they may not be the best for a thru hike, they’re a perfect day hiking shoe. These shoes shed water quickly and the breathable mesh uppers mean that they dry out on the go. The elastic cuff that wraps around the ankle keeps larger rocks and other debris out of the shoe.

The sizing on these do run a little small, so it’s best to move up about half a size. While the mesh uppers are great, we are seeing a theme with most water shoes, fine grain sand has a tendency to get inside.

Pros:

  • Ankle cuff keeps debris out
  • Breathable upper mesh layer keeps the shoe breathable
  • Insole is removable

Cons:

  • Fine grain sand gets in the shoe
  • Lacing mechanism is more for looks than the fit
  • Small rocks have a tendency to get stuck in the soles
Sale
Zhuanglin Men's Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes
2,840 Reviews
Zhuanglin Men's Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes
  • Attention:For these shoes,US 7=40 EU,US 8=41 EU,US 8.5=42 EU,US 9.5=43 EU,US 10=44 EU,US 10.5=44 EU,US 11=45 EU,US 12=46 EU,US 13=47 EU,US 14=48 EU
  • Breathable and durable air mesh upper allow the foot to breathe
  • Solyte midsole provides an exceptionally lightweight midsole with excellent bounce-back and durability
  • ComforDry sockliner provides the optimum cushioning performance that creates a cooler, drier and healthier shoe environment.

ATIKA Men’s Sports Sandals

Don’t let the name fool you, just because it has “sports sandals” in the title doesn’t mean they don’t make awesome water shoes for hiking. ATIKA Men’s Sports Sandals are made of the same high quality and durable materials found in your everyday hiking shoe.

They have synthetic fabric uppers with holes on the sides and the heel for excellent breathability. The sole of this water shoe is thick rubber and the toe has a multi-layered toe guard, basically thick rubber stoppers to protect your toes. The elastic “lace” on the top can be adjusted to the fit of your foot, however, it acts more as a bungee than actual laces.

Overall these shoes are a comfortable fit and the durable materials last. They are light and give your feet room to breathe, for the price, they’re an excellent water shoe for hiking.

Pros:

  • Comfortable fit
  • Large toe guard
  • Low price point

Cons:

  • The heel sits high in the back
  • Can blister your feet after they get wet
  • Sized small, go up a half size
Sale
ATIKA Men's Sports Sandals
254 Reviews
ATIKA Men's Sports Sandals
  • 3-Layer Front Toe Protection : Multi Layer Toecap protection (Not* Single-Layer Outsole)
  • Mid hybrid Toecap(PU)
  • Inner Layer (Synthetic upper)
  • Outer rubber guard (Outsole-Covers only the bottom portion)

The Best Women’s Water Shoes

Merrell Women’s All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoe

Merrell’s Women All Out Blaze Sieve’s are a sturdy water-ready hiking shoe. They are made of waxy waterproof leather combined with stretchy Lycra® neoprene upper section. The lacing system is designed so you can quickly adjust the shoes on the go as the fit loosens from constantly dipping in and out of the water.

The outsole is made of TC5+ Vibram material that gives you traction on rugged terrains. There are 3mm parts on the outside of the sole that gives you added grip and stability. The drainage holes on the sides of this shoe give the water a place to escape and air in to dry quickly.

The lack of ankle support and holes on the sides mean this is not the best shoe on an intense hike. However, for water-crossings, puddles, and torrential downpours on moderately difficult hiking trails this shoe performs wonderfully.

Pros:

  • Easy slip on design
  • Quick lacing system
  • Fast drying
  • Comfortable

Cons:

  • Holes on the side can let debris inside
  • Wiggle room in the heel and toes
Sale
Merrell Women's All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoe
544 Reviews
Merrell Women's All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoe
  • When adventure leads you over land and through steams, be ready by gearing up in the Merrell All Out Blaze Sieve water-ready hiking shoe.
  • Merrell
  • 6 Women/4 Men
  • Black

KEEN Women’s Whisper Sandal

Keen’s Women Whisper Sandal is a lower profile version of the wildly popular Newport Hiking Sandal. Keen designed these sandals to be lightweight, durable, comfortable, and stylish. This shoe was specifically designed with a women’s foot in mind.

The top material is made of a polyester material which can be easily cleaned with wet wipes or water. They use Aegis Microbe Shield® on the upper portion which works to control the odor after long days and lots of sweat. The quick draw elastic lacing system is quick and efficient, allowing for easy on and off comfort during a wide range of outdoor activities.

The various elements on these outdoor hiking shoes deliver a functional water hiking shoe. They dry quickly, the sides are open for ventilation and water run off, and the compression molded EVA footbed adds durability.

Pros:

  • Multi directional lug pattern for increased traction
  • TPU stability shank
  • Women’s specific fit
  • Odor control

Cons:

  • Sizing is inconsistent
  • Rare quality control issues
Sale
KEEN Women's Whisper Sandal
8,466 Reviews
KEEN Women's Whisper Sandal
  • Bungee lace capture system
  • Features elastic cording which gives this sandal a secure fit
  • Hydrophobic mesh lining. Non-marking rubber outsole. Compression molded EVA midsole
  • METATOMICAL FOOTBED DESIGN. This internal support mechanism is anatomically engineered to provide excellent arch support and cradle the natural contours of the foot.

Merrell Women’s Waterpro Maipo Water Shoe

The women’s Waterpro Maipo Water Shoe from Merrell is a full coverage water shoe with a mesh body, synthetic leather, and a neoprene stretch collar. The upper mesh portion allows water to quickly drain from the shoe and provides ventilation to keep your feet cool on hot days.

The lightweight mesh design covers all of your foot, so there’s no chance of any debris getting inside the shoe in a river crossing. The upper portion of the heel has an adjustment strap to help avoid getting blisters on your heel, this is especially important if your feet get wet and begin to slip. The Vibram outsole offers durable protection on tough surfaces and the lugs have a depth of 3.5mm.

Pros:

  • Vibram outsole
  • Neoprene stretch collar
  • Heel has Merrell air cushioning

Cons:

  • Seam on the pinky toe causes friction
  • Rubber toe area is hard on some
Merrell Women's Waterpro Maipo Water Shoe
168 Reviews
Merrell Women's Waterpro Maipo Water Shoe
  • Ideal for those who need high-function footwear that can stand up to the rinse cycle, the 'Waterpro Maipo' from Merrell runs fast wet or dry.

Dreamcity Women’s Water Shoes

Dreamcity’s women’s water shoes are a stylish pair of water shoes that come in a variety of colors. These shoes are actually a product from Aleader which is a manufacturer known for making high quality water footwear and it shows here. While they walk the walk in terms of looks, they also perform well on the trail and in the water, a win win.

Comfort and water shoes aren’t necessarily complimentary, however, these shoes have a balance of both. The Solyte midsole on this pair of water shoes give them some extra spring and the arch support is decent but can be supplemented by grabbing an insert if you have high arches.

There is a ComfortDry sock liner inside the shoe which gives your foot extra cushioning while giving your feet room to breath. They dry quickly after they’ve been completely submerged and can be taken from the beach to a restaurant and you won’t get any sideways looks.

Pros:

  • Breathable and durable air mesh upper
  • ComfortDry sock liner
  • No squishy feeling when wet

Cons:

  • The ComfortDry sock liner comes out too easily
  • Lack arch support
  • These shoes fit large
Sale
Dreamcity Women's Water Shoes
1,848 Reviews
Dreamcity Women's Water Shoes
  • Breathable and durable air mesh upper allow the foot to breathe
  • Solyte midsole provides an exceptionally lightweight midsole with excellent bounce-back and durability
  • Water Grip outsole provides exceptional traction in wet and slippery conditions
  • ComforDry sockliner provides the optimum cushioning performance that creates a cooler, drier and healthier shoe environment.

Aleader Women’s Water Shoes

Aleader’s women’s slip on water shoes are a stylish pair of water shoes that come in a wide variety of styles to match any outfit. This slip on stylish water shoe will take you anywhere that a tennis shoe will with the same amount of traction, if not more. There are rubber pods that are placed in the parts of the sole that get the most wear and tear for the best possible grip.

The hydrophobic mesh gives you a lightweight shoe and provides excellent breathability at the same time. Running down the foot is a cross lateral cross stitching support system that keeps the shoe from slipping and offers a secure fit.

The upper layer is made of double knit fabric and the EVA insole gives your feet an extra cushioning. Aleader’s FluidFlow technology ensures excellent drainage so your feet don’t stay wet.

Pros:

  • Excellent drainage and dry quickly
  • Great for walking around and short hikes
  • Good traction on slippery rocks

Cons:

  • No adjustment to make the shoe fit tighter
  • Lacking in cushioning and support
  • Sizes run large, go for 1/2 size smaller

Water shoe buyer’s guide and FAQ’s

We put together a list of things to look for and answers to the most common questions to make your search a little bit easier.

Criteria used for choosing the best water shoes

To eliminate the water shoes that aren’t worth your time we sifted through the masses and found the best water shoes using a few critical considerations.

  • Overall quality
  • User reviews
  • Ratings
  • First hand experience
  • Brand history
  • Value
Man stepping on water

How to choose the best water shoes

While style is typically the leading decision factor in a tennis shoe, water shoes are designed to be multi purpose and there are a few extra things to take into account.

Traction

The whole idea of water shoes is taking them in and out of the water as much as your heart desired. There is a reason that every pool has a no running policy, your feet are slippery when wet. Any water shoe that’s worth your investment will have excellent traction and made of slip resistant materials.

Quick drying

Since we are talking about water shoes, an important consideration is how quick they dry off after getting completely submerged. Not all water shoes are created equal and one of the best ways to get an idea of how well they dry is to take a look at actual user reviews. It’s difficult to quantify exactly what makes a shoe quick drying since there are so many factors that come into play, however, material and design go a long way in the overall performance.

Size

Water shoes should have a snug fit that forms to your foot since they are going to get wet. A snug fit is going to ensure that the shoe doesn’t slip off when the shoe gets wet and isn’t too tight that there is rubbing on your toes and heels. Manufacturers sizing systems vary, so make sure to take a look at the sizing chart and read come reviews to see if they fit large or smaller than standard size.

Material

The material that the shoes are made of is directly proportional to performance and comfort. Most water shoes are made of neoprene, synthetic mesh, or a blend of the two. Mesh shoes allow for more breathability and water drainage and are great for hiking, boating, and paddle sports. Neoprene water shoes are best for scuba diving, surfing, and swimming since they offer more mobility and are less bulky.

Comfort

Comfort is always a concern and with shoes that are made to get wet, blisters and sores are your feet will ruin your day. Things like a rubber outsole, snug fit, easy on and off, are all important aspect to consider. A lightweight and quick draining shoe that fits comfortably is the ultimate goal.

Durability

While finding a shoe that’s lightweight and breathable is important, having a shoe that lasts is more important. Water shoes with a thick sole and quality materials are going to last the longest. Look for a shoe that is made from high quality material and is reinforced in all the right places.

Breathability

Water shoes should be made of breathable material which keeps your feet cool and makes your shoes dry quickly. Some shoes are made with small holes for ventilation which let the water easily run out and others are made of extremely lightweight material that dries quickly. Either way, breathability is an important factor when looking for the best water shoe.

Water shoe FAQ’s

What are water shoes?

Just as the name implies, water shoes are shoes designed for use in and around water. One of the big problems with standard shoes is that once they get wet, they cause blisters, get slippery, and take forever to dry. Water shoes, in theory, should eliminate all three of these major drawbacks.

Are water shoes slippery when wet?

Being that they’re designed to get wet, one of the main features to look for is slip resistant materials. Bearly every manufacturer is going to say they’re shoes have great traction when wet, however, we know the best place to look is user reviews. This is where you can get the most honest assessment from people who have used the shoes before.

Are water shoes supposed to be tight?

No, tight water shoes will cause friction on your feet which will cause sores and blisters to form. Water shoes should fit snug to the foot, without being too tight. The upper portion around the ankles should be tight enough that debris doesn’t get in and they don’t fall off when wet.

Can you swim in water shoes?

Technically, yes.

Water shoes, like any other shoe, are going to get heavier when wet and will weigh you down and cause drag in the water. The best way to swim is in bare feet, however, water shoes will dry faster and are made of lighter material, so if you do have to swim in shoes, water shoes are your best option.

Can you hike in water shoes?

Yes, you absolutely can hike in water shoes and as long as your not bush wacking, they can be a better option. For multi day hikes or long distance thru hiking they are not the best option, however, for a day hike to the lake they’re a great choice.

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