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Rinsing off after a good workout or dip in the pool is supposed to get you clean. But the reality of many public showers can make you feel even grimier. Fact: the hot, wet shared floor is a breeding ground for bacteria and fungus, which can lead to painful infections like athlete’s foot, staph and plantar warts.
However, it’s easy to stay safe with a simple pair of shower shoes.
“You don’t know what type of sanitary conditions are in shared locker rooms or around pools,” says Dr. Saylee Tulpule, a DPM based in Maryland and Washington, D.C. “Fungi and bacteria love warm, moist environments like an enclosed shoe, locker room, gym or pool.”
Infections occur when germs enter the body through breaks in the skin (these can be easy to miss, such as small cracks on your feet due to calluses or dry skin). And any one who has experienced a foot infection knows they’re no fun. According to Dr. Tulpule, itchy skin and scaly rashes are a telltale sign you may have an infection.
There are many shower sandals and slides to choose from for every scenario. There’s the classic dorm room flip-flop —something cheap and easy to clean, like a style from Old Navy or ShowaFlops. There’s the shoe you want to wear to the beach but also to the outdoor shower to rinse off after — something a little more stylish and substantial, like Adidas or Nike slides. And there’s the post-workout, function-first shower shoe that’s mold-resistant and super grippy — like a pair of Crocs.
No matter which style you choose, look for shower shoes that are waterproof and made with EVA, a cushiony but quick-drying material. Also, opt for pairs with antimicrobial properties, a detail you may have seen on some of your workout clothes.
To ensure proper safety, Dr. Tulpule recommends cleaning your shower shoes daily, or as often as you can. (Soak them in a bleach and water for eight to 10 minutes and let them air dry.) And, you should replace them every few weeks.
“Get a bunch of cheap flip-flops and keep them for traveling or stashed in your gym bag,” says Dr. Tulpule.
To narrow down your choices, we compiled the 15 best shower shoes for men and women. Shop them ahead.
AquaFlops Shower Slides
Besides safeguarding feet from fungus and bacteria, shower shoes also ensure there’s no slippage happening during your rinse. These AquaFlops have a textured surface and slip-resistant sole that are made to keep your feet steady. The slip-on shape makes it easy to take each foot out for washing while keeping your balance, and those drainage holes help prevent any on-shoe bacteria growth.
Oofos Ooahh Luxe
If you’re looking for a shower shoe upgrade, consider these unisex shoes. They’re made for post-workout recovery with a bit of bounce and a ton of support. They’re moisture- and odor-resistant, so they’ll work just as well at keeping sweat off you as they will on shower floors. Plus, they’ve gotten the American Podiatric Medical Association’s stamp of approval for promoting quality foot health.
Crocs Classic Slides
People love their Crocs and swear by their ability to keep feet comfortable and supported all day long. These sandals are a great addition to add to that lineup. Not only can you wear them in the shower —they’re made with EVA — but they’re also solid enough of a shoe to wear outside, too. The wide strap up top is ventilated, which helps feet cool.
Room Essentials Flip-Flops
College dorm room shopping would not be complete without communal shower preparations. Target’s in-house brand makes a cheap pair of flip-flops with a perforated footbed so the shoes won’t get gross too fast. You should be able to get away with replacing these once a semester.
Adidas Adilette Slide
The Adidas Adilette is the slide of all slides. It’s easy to slip on, dries quickly and takes up next to no room in a packed bag. Get these for when you need your shower shoes to complement your style, not distract from it. They also great to wear for quick trips outside, too, like walking the dog or taking out the trash shoes.
Showaflops Water Sandals
Showaflops are made with drainage holes and antimicrobial layers, both of which are key to a quality pair of shower shoes. They also feature slip-resistant soles to keep you upright on slippery floors.
Cross Band Shower Shoes
In a reliable shower shoe, look for EVA soles. The material is super lightweight but has some bounce to it. These water-resistant cross band slides fit the bill. They’re just as great for padding around the house as they are for wearing in gym locker rooms. Just make sure you clean them in between use.
Old Navy Classic Flip-Flops
For emergency situations, get a cheap pair of flip-flops that you can keep in your car or gym bag. These Old Navy flip-flops don’t have all of the details the other pairs on our list have, but they are waterproof and under $5.
Viyear Shower Sandals
For anyone worried about slipping in the shower, these shoes are made to get even grippier when wet. They’re a top-rated shower shoe on Amazon, noted especially for their comfy feel. The shoes are slide shaped but feel almost like slippers. Pack ‘em for trips.
Under Armour Locker Slide
The Under Armour slides are super easy to clean and stash in your gym bag’s side pocket. The rubber shoes have strategically placed holes to improve airflow and prevent bacteria buildup.
Showaflops Antimicrobial Sandals
Showaflops are another crowd favorite, and these sandals really do double duty. They look like a beach- and pool-ready shoe from the top, but the drainage holes mean they’re functional for the outdoor shower, too. Plus, they come in fun colors and patterns, so they won’t feel clunky or out of place with the rest of your outfit.
Nike Victori One
Nike makes a shoe for every workout or casual need, and the brand’s signature pool slides are a favorite. They’re waterproof, making them a great shower shoe.They’re also comfortable enough to wear post-workout or around the house. We’d get a pair in every color.
Luffymomo Shower Slippers
These foamy sandals are like plush slippers for the shower. Bring these to your gym sauna or the next time you go to a spa. Underfoot, they include plenty of perforations to keep them dried out and smelling fresh.
Clootess Shower Shoes
If you plan to walk around in your shower sandals after rinsing off, choose a style with a more solid outsole. These quick-drying ones should look and fit like your standard slides. But the non-slip grip on the sole and PVC material make them ideal for public shower wearing. According to Amazon reviews, these also make good gardening shoes.
Shower Shoez Water Sandals
Some of the best shower sandals are ones that dry quickly. Shower Shoez’ water sandals are winners in this category. They’ll dry before you even have to put them away, which means they’re super easy to pack when you’re on the go. Get a pair for each travel bag, just in case.