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The 10 Best Water Shoes Reviews – [2018]

Water Shoes For All Of Your Outdoor Water Adventures

Here, we’ll review the Best Water Shoes for men and women and also focus in on hiking and kayaking water shoes.  These products go well beyond standard waterproof shoes using wicking technology that will aerate and dry in minimal time.

Walking in wet shoes for hours can be not only uncomfortable, but also dangerous and unhealthy. Normal sneakers and hiking shoes won’t shed water and dry out fast enough to give you the most comfort and usability is wet or submerged conditions.

Quick Answer: What Are The Best Water Shoes?

Best Men’s Water Shoes

  1. adidas outdoor Men’s Terrex
  2. Speedo Men’s Hybrid Watercross

Best Women’s Water Shoes

  1. Teva Women’s Evo Water Shoe
  2. adidas outdoor Women’s Terrex

Best Water Shoes for Kids and Toddlers

  1. Crocs Kids’ Swiftwater Sandal
  2. NIKE Kids’ Sunray

Best Water Shoes for Hiking

  1. Merrell Men’s Capra Rapid Hiking Water Shoe
  2. Merrell Women’s Capra Rapid Water-Friendly Hiking Shoe

Best Water Shoes for Kayaking

  1. adidas outdoor Men’s Terrex Climacool
  2. Speedo Men’s Seaside Lace 5.0

Best Water Shoes

 Best Men’s Water ShoesBest Women’s Water Shoes
Best Water Shoes for Kids and Toddlers
Best Water Shoes for Hiking
Best Water Shoes for Kayaking
adidas outdoor Men’s Terrex
Teva Women’s Evo Water ShoeCrocs Kids’ Swiftwater Sandal
Merrell Men’s Capra Rapid Hiking Water Shoe
adidas outdoor Men’s Terrex Climacool
MaterialsNylon Mesh and Rubber SoleTeva-proprietary Synthetic fabric and Rubber OutsoleTextile mesh upper with synthetic croslite baseTextile cloth upper, rubber outsole and foam / mesh liningTextile mesh upper and rubber sole
Available in Mens or Womens Style & SizesMen's and Women'sMen's and Women'sUnisex Kids SizesMen's and Women'sMen's and Women's
Special FeaturesTRAXION outsole for superior tractionComfort inner and Lace-up fasteningKid- friendly velcro faster, lots of colorsQuick-drying hiking shoe featuring cord-and-lock lacingMidsole/ outsole: climacool tooling construction for enhanced breathability
Customer Ratings4.3 / 5.0 Stars4.2 / 5.0 Stars4.2 / 5.0 Stars4.2 / 5.0 Stars4.3 / 5.0 Stars
Price$80.00from $39.99$34.99from $73.20$62.99

 Best Water Shoes Reviews

Best Men’s Water Shoes

#1 adidas outdoor Men’s Terrex

This modern adaptation of a water shoe looks and feels more like a sports shoe or a runner than a clunky water shoe. I love the athletic look and all around feel of this shoe because it’s at home with more than one activity!

Features of the adidas outdoor Men’s Terrex

  • Mesh shoe to drain water
  • Aggressive lugs on the sole
  • Lace up tying system
Like a standard tennis shoe, the lacing system on this shoe is familiar. I prefer lacing on water shoes, though it’s rare to find, because of the snug fit.

adidas outdoor Men's Terrex

Keep in mind, however, that with a mesh shoe and lacing this will become quickly uncomfortable in sandy situations. If sand works its way into the shoe it may become trapped against your foot and the tight athletic fit of this shoe.

With a rubber toe cap and aggressive lugs on the sole, this shoe is at home in slick muddy conditions. This is ideal for multi-sport activities such as kayaking or river walking.

adidas outdoor Men's Terrex Climacool Voyager Water Shoe

Best for demanding athletic activities in or around the water.


#2 Speedo Men’s Hybrid Watercross

Another lace up water shoe, this time with a more relaxed feel. While it’s still more active than a water sandal, these shoes are more like loafers than the athletic feel of the adidas Terrex shoes.

Features of the Speedo Men’s Hybrid Watercross

  • Speed lace system
  • Casual profile and design
  • Full mesh drainage
Like any water shoe worth wearing, these shoes are designed to dump water out as soon as you hit land. With fully mesh uppers the water can quickly drain out of the shoe so you can start to dry out immediately.

Speedo-Hybrid-Watercross-Water-White - bottom

There is a low profile toe cap but it’s not nearly as encompassing as the Terrex shoe. Plus, the more casual sole and profile of the shoe make it more of a casual feel altogether. This shoe is probably best suited for a more relaxed environment like the beach or campground where water might be in the picture.

Beware of highly sandy environments, however, as the full mesh shoe will trap and retain large amounts of sand.

Best for recreational water use where physical demands are moderate.


Best Women’s Water Shoes

#1 Teva Women’s Evo Water Shoe

Women, if you’re looking for a hybrid athletic water shoe that brings a dose of casual this is the one. The design and styling are between athletic and relaxed while keeping with the mesh water shoe styling we’ve seen before.

Features of the Teva Women’s Evo Water Shoe

  • Available in 3 colors
  • Gentle rubber sole
  • Athletic lacing
I have to admit I wish this shoe had a bit more aggressive sole but that’s okay because not every water shoe has to be rugged. With a more moderate sole, this shoe has the relaxed feel of a summer cottage with a kayaking trip thrown in.

Teva-Womens-Water-Shoe-Black-bottom

Thanks to the mesh uppers any water is guaranteed to immediately run out when you get on to land. Again, as with any fully closed water shoe, sand and debris trapped in the shoe will require you to fully remove the shoe and empty it out before you go on.

There’s a moderate toe cap to protect you from bumping into submerged logs, rocks, and debris.

Best for casual summer use with the occasional foray into the water.


#2 adidas outdoor Women’s Terrex

I have to admit, of all the shoes on our list so far, this one is one of my favorite designs.

Features of the adidas outdoor Women’s Terrex

  • Unique water shedding sole design
  • Classic casual adidas look
  • TRAXION outsole material
Both the mesh uppers and the mesh holes in the sole of this shoe are meant to get rid of water fast! In the sole of the shoe are rows of holes that open outward to dump excess water back out of the shoe at the lowest possible point. It’s ingenious!

adidas-Outdoor-Womens-Terrex-Climacool4 bottom

While I love the ingenious water shedding design, I still wish they would have made this shoe as athletic as the men’s Terrex shoe. There is a lightly adjustable lacing system but the low profile and stretchy heel mitigate this shoe’s ability to keep up with high demand water sports.

Don’t be fooled, however, as this is a great option for summer kayaking, swimming, or beach wear.

Best for ultimate water shedding capabilities and a great classic adidas look.


Best Water Shoes for Kids and Toddlers

#1 Crocs Kids’ Swiftwater Sandal

This simple design is effective and affordable – both critical factors in kids’ water shoes! I love that they’re available in tons of colors that should appeal to any kid, too.

Features of the Crocs Kids’ Swiftwater Sandal

  • 8 colors to pick from
  • Adjustable heel
  • Simple rubber sole
When it comes to kids gear, simple is better. Not only does that make the gear more affordable, it also makes it less likely to get destroyed by a whirlwind of kids!

Crocs-Kids-Swiftwater-Sandal-Little-bottom

These shoes feature a protective toe cap which wraps fully around to protect the kids when they stub their toes into rocks and debris. The uppers are made from mesh with several large openings near the bottom where mud, dirt, and sand can escape back into the wild.

At the back of the shoe is a velcro closure that has quite a bit of adjustability. This leaves room for a season’s worth of growth or two. That way you can keep these water shoes going for as long as possible before you need a bigger size for this kids.

Best for an inexpensive and effective kids’ water shoe with great toe protection.


#2 NIKE Kids’ Sunray

Want a kids’ water sandal available in tons of colors and styles and ready to grow with your children? This is it. It also happens to be quite affordable!

Features of the NIKE Kids’ Sunray

  • Adjustable toes and heel
  • Open toe design
  • Tons of colors
The open toe design of this sandal is both good and bad. On the plus side, it allows room for growth without a toe cap getting in the way. On the bad side, we all know how prone kids are to stubbing their toes. Having a toe cap can be a real “toe saver” in a lot of situations.

NIKE-Sunray-Adjustable-Girls-Sandals-bottom

Out of the kids water shoes we’ve reviewed this one has by far the best adjustability. If you want to be sure to dial in the fit of the water sandal to your toddlers or kids, this is the one for you. It’s also available in 0-12 month model, 1-4 year old model, 4-8 years old, and 8-12 years old.

Be sure to double check the sizing chart with the manufacturer if you’re not sure it will fit your kids.

Best for full customizability and adjustability in an open toe water sandal for kids.


Best Water Shoes for Hiking

#1 Merrell Men’s Capra Rapid Hiking Water Shoe

Merrell is well known for making high quality outdoor footwear. These athletic hiking water shoes are definitely no exception! They also happen to just look sleek.

Features of the Merrell Men’s Capra Rapid Hiking Water Shoe

  • 5 modern styles
  • Aggressive trail runner style soles
  • Speed lacing
You either love or hate speed lacing. Personally, I prefer traditional laces but speed laces make a nice touch on a water shoe. Why? Because you can more easily pop the shoes off, dump out mud or sand, and pop them back on.

I love that the mesh on these shoes is protected by a unique outer synthetic material with a good looking pattern. This allows the shoes to still dump out water while protecting the sides of your feet from sticks and rocks poking through the mesh.

Merrell-Capra-Rapid-Hiking-Bottom

A must-have on hiking shoes, the toe cap on these is minimal but effective. I hate large toe caps on hiking shoes anyways, so they strike a great balance.

Best for hiking and athletic activities that involve water segments.


#2 Merrell Women’s Capra Rapid Water-Friendly Hiking Shoe

I like the quick and simple design of these hiking water shoes. They strike a balance between casual and trail worthy that’s a happy middle ground for most users in my view.

Features of the Merrell Women’s Capra Rapid Water-Friendly Hiking Shoe

  • Adjustable shock cord lacing
  • Aggressive soles
  • Toe cap
While it is a bit odd for hiking shoes to feature shock cord lacing, it’s not all bad. As we’ve mentioned before with athletic water shoes, taking them off to dump out sand and muck is common. So, not having to re-lace them is honestly quite a nice feature.

Merrell-Womens-Capra-Rapid-Hiking Water Shoe Bottom

To balance that out, the shoes do have protective synthetic lowers that cover the sides of the shoe. Like the men’s Capra, this prevents sticks and debris from stabbing into your feet through the mesh.

With a moderate toe cap on the front this shoe really brings together everything that is a hiking and water shoe. These are ideal for multi-sport adventures that involve a mixture of time in the water and time on the land.

Best for high demand women’s multi-sport activities.


Best Water Shoes for Kayaking

#1 adidas outdoor Men’s Terrex Climacool

We’re choosing a casual but effective water shoe for kayaking that will keep you cool, dry, and comfortable. This lightweight shoe has a slim profile and a good look that balance boating and water use.

Features of the adidas outdoor Men’s Terrex Climacool

  • Casual, flat profile
  • Adidas look and styling
  • Lacing system
For kayaking it’s not really necessary to have the most athletic shoe available. You want something that’s comfortable in the boat and has the features to help you launch and land your kayak.

adidas-Outdoor-Terrex-Climacool-Water Shoe Bottom

Mesh around the uppers and a very light toe cap keep this shoe airy in the boat. It’s also rocking a fully adjustable manual lacing that allows you to cinch it down or loosen it up. For lounging in the kayak on long trips I’d loosen up and relax!

Overall it’s not a particularly aggressive athletic shoe, but instead a more relaxed loafer feel. I don’t mind this at all for a shoe that’s meant primarily to live on your feet in the boat.

Best for longer boating excursions where comfort is key and performance takes a back seat.


#2 Speedo Men’s Seaside Lace 5.0

While it’s still no running shoe, the Men’s Seaside is a touch more athletic than the Terrex while maintaining a casual balance for kayaking. If you’re going to be entering and exiting your boat in precarious situations, the shoe steps up to the plate.

Features of the Speedo Men’s Seaside Lace 5.0

  • Adjustable shock cord lacing
  • No-slip grip
  • Mesh uppers
Speedo has included the S-TRAC soles on these which are meant specifically to provide a no-slip grip in the water. That means despite the relatively casual look, they’re still meant to grab on to the slippery surfaces under the water while launching your kayak.

I would have liked to see a bit more toe cap protection and upper protection. The mesh of this water shoe remains a bit exposed and taking a sharp submerged stick to the side of the foot never feels good. However, since it’s meant primarily to spend time in the kayak, this isn’t a deal breaker.

Best for spending most of your time in the boat and keeping it on lock down when it’s time to beach.



Guide To Choosing The Best Water Shoes For You

It’s amazing that today we have shoes for every activity; shoes for tennis, shoes for basketball, and shoes for water. Of course, water shoes have to serve a very specific purpose and help us enjoy the water to make it worth our time to buy them, right? If you’re like me you carefully analyze every buck you spend.

Guide to choosing the best water shoes

Today we’re going to take a look at the best water shoes for everyone in the family. My goal is to help you find the best water shoes for kids, as well as adults. To make sure you end up with the right ones, I’m going to walk you through a step by step process to help you choose the right water shoes.

By the time you’re done with this article you should fully understand what to look for and what to avoid in a good pair of water shoes. I’m also going to recommend a few specific brands like Columbia water shoes and Merrell water shoes to help you get started picking out the best ones for you.

Since my goal is to help you pick out water shoes for yourself, the kids, and the rest of the family we’ll cover a few tips here. To be confident you’re ordering the right water shoes for you make sure to read this section carefully.

Types of Water Shoes

When it comes to water footwear there are more options now than ever. In fact, many summertime shoes are adaptations of water shoes these days.

Closed toe shoes are any water shoes that wrap around and cover the toes. Close toe shoes are sometimes required at workplaces such as waterfront safety workers and summer camps. These shoes usually have open sides or mesh drainage.

Closed Toe Water Shoe
Merrell Women’s Capra Rapid Water-Friendly Hiking Shoe

 

Sandals, as you probably know, leave the toes open. Water sandals usually have some type of sturdy retention. Flip flops, or thongs, are just not sturdy enough to stay on the foot as you explore the water and you’ll rapidly lose them. Instead look for sandals with webbing or velcro retention.

Keen Mens Newport Water Sandal
Keen Mens Newport Water Sandal

 

Wet shoes are usually made from neoprene. They’re warm, comfortable, and ideal for prolonged or water specific use. They’re not comfy or good looking outside the water, however. These are ideal if your needs are specific and prolonged water use only.

Neoprene Water Shoe
ALEADER Women’s Mesh Slip on Water Shoes

Where Are You Going?

This is a big question that will determine the right type of water shoes for you or your family. If you’re heading to the beach in Florida on vacation then the best water shoes might be sandals. They’re comfy and they look good!

If, however, you’re walking a 5 mile stretch of river on a wildlife rescue mission, you may want wet shoes. The prolonged water specific use and unpredictable river bottom conditions demand something more purposeful.

Clean beaches are a great place for open toe sandals. There’s little danger of objects stabbing your toes and the sand can escape from your footwear before your toes turn into pearls.

Rivers are a good place for close toed water shoes or wet shoes. Submerged branches, litter, rocks and other debris can stab or cut your toes so the added protection is necessary. The water is often murky and cloudy making it impossible to see what’s below.

Campgrounds are a good place for a hybrid water shoe. Closed toe water shoes are ideal because they’re good in the water, walking around camp, or riding bicycles down to the beach. They cover a range of activities well.

Hiking is often required to get to remote waterfalls and rivers. The best water shoes for hiking need to be comfortable on the trail and in the water. Due to rocks and sticks on the trail, it’s probably best to go with a closed toe water shoe.

Of course, there are many other situations I haven’t covered here. These are just a few scenarios to get you thinking about what type of water shoes are ideal for you.

Water Shoes for Kids

This is a tricky one that just doesn’t have a great answer. Kids outgrow shoes like there’s no tomorrow and it gets expensive buying new shoes, let alone buying new water shoes for the kids, too!

Keen Newport H2O Sandal
Keen Newport H2O Sandal

The best advice I can give you is to look for used water shoes for kids. Hand me downs are always a solid option and usually kids don’t even use them long enough to wear them out. You can get a totally great pair of kids’ water shoes free or cheap!

Another trick is to buy a size larger than their real size for your kids. With water shoes this trick can help extend the amount of time the water shoes will fit. Be careful going too big, however, as loose or ill-fitting water shoes can be more dangerous than helpful in some situations.

Conclusion

There are so many different designs and styles of water shoes out there that it’s impossible to put them all in a single article. Instead I’ve tried to compose some of the best examples of each class into one place for you.

By now you’ve seen some of the pros and cons of each type of water shoe. When it’s time to look for the perfect one, you know where to go. We’ve outlined a handful of the best picks for each situation in the list of best water shoes above.

Remember to think critically about how and where you’ll use your water shoes before you buy. These are the most important factors in making sure that you get the best water shoes for you!a

Last update on 2018-05-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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R. L. Moore "El Tigre"

Richard M. aka El Tigre is an avid adventure traveler with extensive trekking experience throughout Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean. In 1998 he weathered category 5 Hurricane Mitch on the northern coast of Honduras. He has mountain-biked, hiked and 4x4 toured extensively in Central America, Puerto Rico, Cuba and Mexico. In the summer of 2004 he lived among the Kuna Indians of the San Blas islands in Panama. Today, he manages a real estate investments company based in San Jose, Costa Rica and organizes adventure travel excursions to Costa Rica. He is a motorcycle enthusiast and enjoys sport touring and dual-sport riding. Richard lives in Arizona.

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