If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, we may receive an affiliate commission.
It’s important to be prepared with a proper pair of water shoes when engaging in outdoor adventures such as tubing, kayaking or wading through riverbeds, which often feature unpredictable and rocky terrain. Water shoes can even come in handy when walking on hot sand.
These styles are typically made with quick-drying nylon and breathable mesh to prevent moisture buildup (which can not only make shoes feel heavy but also lead to rubbing that causes blisters). Underfoot, they feature thick rubber outsoles with sturdy tread, and sometimes even drainage ports that allow water to more easily escape from the shoe. Additionally, nylon water shoes can also provide insulation for feet while wading in cold water.
Nowadays, there are a variety of options on the market to consider, from slip-on styles to five-toe designs and athletic-inspired silhouettes that look more like a sporty sneaker than a water shoe. No matter the silhouette you choose, however, the best water shoes for men and women should be lightweight, flexible and snug, so you can focus more on having fun.
Here, we curated an array of great water shoes for men and women from popular brands like Merrell, Speedo and more. Keep reading to shop them.
Speedo Tidal Cruiser
Speedo’s Tidal Cruiser has a quick-drying mesh upper to promote breathability and seamless water drainage, a soft neoprene collar that secures the fit and lightly padded footbeds. Underfoot, the shoe has sturdy treads that will keep you sure-footed on a range of surfaces.
To buy: Speedo Tidal Cruiser Water Shoes for Men, $28; zappos.com
To buy: Women’s Speedo Tidal Cruiser Water Shoes for Women, $28; zappos.com
Body Glove 3T Barefoot Cinch Water Shoe
The Body Glove 3T Barefoot Cinch Water Shoes are made using flexible, quick-drying materials and an Integrated Drainage System (IDS) that allows water to flow from the upper through the outsole and increase airflow. The style is set on an ultra-grip outsole to keep feet safely grounded and also has an adjustable shocklace mechanism that tightens the fit with one pull.
To buy: Body Glove 3T Barefoot Cinch Water Shoes for Men, $35-$56; amazon.com
To buy: Body Glove 3T Barefoot Cinch Water Shoes for Women, $72; amazon.com
The North Face Skagit Water Shoe
Sleek, sporty and versatile, The North Face’s Skagit Water Shoes have a quick-drying mesh upper with an antimicrobial finish to combat odors and a toggle closure for easy on and off. A mono-mesh screen design also prevents debris from entering the shoe while allowing water to drain from the footbed. What’s more, the pair has a removable, perforated footbed, an EVA midsole drainage system and siped outsoles with traction.
To buy: The North Face Skagit Water Shoes for Men; $95; thenorthface.com
To buy: The North Face Skagit Water Shoes for Women; $95; thenorthface.com
Merrell Hydro Moc
Done in lightweight EVA material from heel to toe, Merrell’s Hydro Moc features oversized portholes on the upper for breathability and water drainage, plus an articulated heel design and ankle strap for a secure fit. Inside is a lightweight cushioned footbed with contoured arch support. Additionally, molded EVA outsoles featuring 2-millimeter lugs should provide stability and traction.
To buy: Merrell Hydro Moc Water Shoes for Men, $50; zappos.com
To buy: Merrell Hydro Moc Water Shoes for Women, $50; DSW.com
Vibram Five Fingers V-Aqua Water Shoe
Vibram’s Five Fingers V-Aqua Water Shoes feature a special design that mimics the foot’s natural shape and two secure hook-and-loop straps to promote a custom fit. The five-toe style also has a silicone print within the lining to prevent internal slippage and Megagrip outsoles with drainage perforations for enhanced water release.
To buy: Vibram Five Fingers V-Aqua Water Shoes for Men, $90; zappos.com
To buy: Vibram Five Fingers V-Aqua Water Shoes for Women, $90; zappos.com
Aleader Slip On Mesh Water Shoe
Thanks to an all-over mesh design and supportive cross-stitching, Aleader’s Slip On Mesh Water Shoes should be airy and stay comfortably on your feet. Underfoot, they include EVA barefoot soles with a fast water drain design. And the outsoles are designed with rubber grip pads to increase stability.
To buy: Aleader Slip-On Mesh Water Shoes for Men, $27-$33; amazon.com
To buy: Aleader Slip-On Mesh Water Shoes for Women, $27-$33; amazon.com
Xero Colorado Water Shoes
Ready to take on rivers and trails, the Xero Colorado Water Shoes incorporate BareFoam footbed that flexes as you walk and FeelTrue rubber outsoles with a tread pattern inspired by tires. Meanwhile, the zero-drop heel allows for proper posture and the low-to-the-ground design boosts balance and agility. The buoyant style also has a protective toe bumper, quick-release closure and stay-on heel strap. You can even roll these up for super easy packing.
To buy: Xero Colorado Sandal Water Shoes for Men, $100-$105; amazon.com
To buy: Xero Colorado Sandal Water Shoes for Women, $100-$105; amazon.com
Columbia Drainmaker IV Water Shoe
Columbia’s Drainmaker IV Water Shoes are made with breathable, quick-drying mesh and cushioned Techlite midsoles featuring drainage ports. Underfoot, they have Omni-Grip non-marking outsoles with razor siping to provide sure footing on wet and dry terrain.
To buy: Columbia Drainmaker IV Water Shoes for Men, $85; backcountry.com
To buy: Columbia Drainmaker IV Water Shoes for Women, $85; DSW.com