13 min. read

The Best Water Shoes for 2023

We look at the best water shoes designed for use in and around bodies of water.

There are numerous reasons to purchase water shoes if you are going to be near water. This is your cue to remember that if you don’t bring water shoes, you might not get the most out of your much-anticipated seaside vacation.

Water shoes, just like normal shoes, are made for protecting your feet and exuding some style. In the water, the protection aspect is very important because you have several things to keep your feet safe from. 

They also come in different shapes, sizes, and forms, so you can pick from slides, sandals, socks, slippers, etc., but we will focus specifically on the shoes.

How We Picked

  • Water Protection

    You'll need shoes that protect you from water and the uneven terrain around water. As a result, you'll need shoes that don't hold water to keep you dry. As a result, you'll need shoes that don't hold water to keep you dry.

  • Fit + Comfort

    Water bodies are always found close to sands, rocks, hills, and, of course, water. In these different topologies, you need a shoe that is both comfortable and fits your legs.

  • Design/Style

    The design and style are also important because they set you apart from the crowds who will be congregating near the water. Let's just say you don't want to be lacking.

  • Price

    While price is always an indication of value, sometimes the manufacturer has an inflated view of their product, and you don't want to be the one who suffers as a result.

Our Top Picks

Best Pick

Body Glove Dynamo Rapid Water Shoe

Multi-purpose and extremely effective footwear for the fashion-conscious.

Depending on the occasion and your mood, you can wear them as running shoes, pair them with cool-fitting jeans, or use them as they were originally meant – as water shoes. You might think that the lateral marks on it would be the classiest thing until you see the sole and the markings that connote your feet's structure. Like the name - glove - implies, it works just like a glove, but this time it covers your feet.

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The sole has an ultra-grip design that provides excellent traction on wet and sandy surfaces.

Runner Up

Zhuanglin Quick Dry

Unique, lightweight, and designed specifically for water use.

If you have ever used a water shoe that is not Zhuanglin, once you use this in or near the water, you will notice the difference between this and most of the other water shoes. It is virtually perfect on all counts you might consider. The crisscrossing adjustable shoelace makes it easy to fit in your legs, while the mesh material used as the material does not look like most water shoes but drains water just as well.

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These shoes dry quickly, and the soles also have good anti-shock properties for use in water.

Most cost-effective

Simari Quick Dry Water Shoes

Highly protective shoes with numerous sports-related modifications that almost serve as a canvas when needed.

The sole is specifically made for this as it's rugged enough for any sports activity you might want to do near water, e.g., tennis, hiking, or boat peddling. It comes in over 40 shades of color, giving you as many options as possible.

Buy Now for $28.98

Budget-friendly and highly protective shoes.

Almost made the cut

Vivobarefoot Ultra Bloom III

Weightless shoes that are easy and comfy on your feet

Digging your feet into the sand and wet earth can make your feet drag, heavy, and tiresome after a few steps, but the VivoBarefoot is light and the opposite of a heavy footstep. It makes it look like you are floating on the sand. It’s the perfect picture of what a water shoe would look like as it has the semblance of a fishing net

Buy Now

Light and water-guarding water shoes for everybody who loves to be free.

Everything We Recommend

Best Pick

Body Glove Dynamo Rapid Water Shoe

Multi-purpose and extremely effective footwear for the fashion-conscious.

Buy Now

Runner Up

Zhuanglin Quick Dry

Unique, lightweight, and designed specifically for water use.

Buy Now

Most cost-effective

Simari Quick Dry Water Shoes

Highly protective shoes with numerous sports-related modifications that almost serve as a canvas when needed.

$28.98

Buy Now

Almost made the cut

Vivobarefoot Ultra Bloom III

Weightless shoes that are easy and comfy on your feet

Buy Now

Who This Is For

If you don’t live in a coastal city or somewhere with any water body, the idea of getting a specific kind of shoe for going near the water might seem foreign, but you need one if you are going to be doing anything that might affect your feet. This includes walking anywhere that water and land meet.

A water shoe is especially needed for vacations and sports-like activities such as hiking, swimming, scuba diving, and snorkeling, among others. Like every other piece of clothing, it also adds some fashion panache to the person wearing it.

Water shoes vs water sandals

Water shoes and water sandals are obviously used in or near water, and some seem to prefer water sandals, but there is a difference, and that is primarily in the purpose for each of them. Sandals have open toes and different openings at different places, but water shoes have their toe section closed.

Water sandals are more free-use; used while walking, swimming, or wading fishing. They allow your feet to breathe and take in air. Water shoes, on the other hand, are more protective and engaging. They are better if you want to participate in rock climbing, hiking, cycling, or jogging near water.

Do you need water socks as well?

While it’s not a must, you might find a water sock necessary to be paired with a water shoe. Water socks are wearable alone, and this is worn by people snorkeling in the water. They can also be paired with a water shoe if the sand or water in the area keeps entering your shoe and discomforting you. In this case, the socks will act as a second barrier.

Are they worth splurging on?

Definitely. The good thing is that they are not as pricey as they might sound or like their normal land competitors. Even if you will use them only once a year, the price is not a barrier to buying them.

Why You Should Trust Us

We are an independent, trust-conscious organization without any affiliation with or partnership with any brand, so we have no reason to give undue favoritism to any product mentioned here. This article is the result of an honest review and investigation carried out by our team with the intent of bringing you a water shoe you can trust and that will serve you well.

How We Picked

To publish this article, we had to go through a list of features in the shoes tested. We started with the level of water protection offered by these shoes. While they are not water-resistant, they have the obligation of protecting your feet not just from sharp and strong things that can hurt your feet but also from water, keeping you away from them as much as possible. This is highly dependent on the material used. Their non-sole parts are made mostly from a mesh material. Mesh is used because of its breathability, allowing for good drainage methods.

The fittings in the upper part also help with water protection by not allowing water to enter from the ankle section of the shoe. Fitting also matters in the design and style of a shoe because what would a great-looking, well-styled shoe look like if it did not fit your feet while subtly showcasing and accommodating the contours of your feet? Some of the shoes that did not make this list were uncomfortable, ratty, or even off the land. We also checked their feel and fit across different surfaces, rocks, and water bodies.

We also check their ability to last for as long as possible. We did this by reviewing existing users who have had it for a reasonable amount of time.

Another worthy feature is the rate at which they dry at normal room temperature after being submerged in water. This is important not just after washing but when you are using it actively in water. It is meant to keep your feet as dry as possible, though not perfectly dry.

 

Lastly, we also made sure to get the best within a good price range. None of the shoes listed here is above what they are deserving. We believe that part of making a good shoe is being able to accurately price it at the listed price in the market.

Our Picks For You

Best Pick - Body Glove Dynamo Rapid Water Shoe

Best Pick

Body Glove Dynamo Rapid Water Shoe

Multi-purpose and extremely effective footwear for the fashion-conscious.

Depending on the occasion and your mood, you can wear them as running shoes, pair them with cool-fitting jeans, or use them as they were originally meant – as water shoes. You might think that the lateral marks on it would be the classiest thing until you see the sole and the markings that connote your feet's structure. Like the name - glove - implies, it works just like a glove, but this time it covers your feet.

Buy Now

Who it is for

They are made for people who are fashion-minded and want to get the most utility from their water shoes. It is a great combination of form and functionality for people who want the best of both worlds

Why it is great

These shoes are cool enough and functional enough for normal people. You can use it for sporting activities, hanging out with friends, and heading to the office. It also does not compromise on its main purpose by adapting, making land use one of the best all-around water-purpose shoes you can find.

Potential flaws

They have reported mentions of it smelling after a couple of uses, so if you are sweaty or can't afford to wash them often, then it might not be for you. In trying to keep water from entering, the manufacturers came out with an upper fitting that is too narrow for some people.

Other features

The primary use of a water shoe is determined by its ability to drain away water seamlessly, and the Body Glove Dynamo Rapid Water Shoes do this perfectly with their trademark Integrated Drainage System that pulls water from the upper side to the lower sole section. It makes it low on water retention and gives it an improved airflow mechanism. The only part is easy to put on and is stretchy, so you don’t have to fight while putting on or taking off the shoes. The materials are not only stretchy but also skin-friendly, so you won't feel anything harsh. This is in addition to their excellent grip and fit.

Product Specifications

Fabric Material: Mesh
Sole Material: Rubber
Item Dimension: 12.6 x 7.6 x 4.7 inches
Item Weight: 20 ounces

Runner Up - Zhuanglin Quick Dry

Runner Up

Zhuanglin Quick Dry

Unique, lightweight, and designed specifically for water use.

If you have ever used a water shoe that is not Zhuanglin, once you use this in or near the water, you will notice the difference between this and most of the other water shoes. It is virtually perfect on all counts you might consider. The crisscrossing adjustable shoelace makes it easy to fit in your legs, while the mesh material used as the material does not look like most water shoes but drains water just as well.

Buy Now

Who it is for

Made perfectly for water lovers or people using them in and around different water bodies.

Why it is great

It is great for water sports activities and for people who have to use water shoes often or for long periods of time. They are budget-friendly and come with great drainage systems that make water sip out just as soon as it enters.

Potential flaws

As they are great for use in water, they are not modified for use in any other terrain. For longer use, do not use around rocks or stones. Not only because the sole is not made for such, but also because the holes also allow easy entrance for these but not easy exit as they do for water.

Other features

Their major selling point is the quick-drying and lightweight nature of the shoe. The polyester material and holes make it easy and not heavy so that you can breathe and float while having them on. The sockliners have great cushions and are extra fortified with antimicrobial properties so that you don’t have to worry about water-living bodies or brash feelings while in use.

Product specifications

Material: 90% Fabric
Sole Material: Rubber
Item Dimension: 10.3 x 4.6 x 3.5 inches
Item Weight: 8.16 Ounces

Most cost-effective - Simari Quick Dry Water Shoes

Most cost-effective

Simari Quick Dry Water Shoes

Highly protective shoes with numerous sports-related modifications that almost serve as a canvas when needed.

The sole is specifically made for this as it's rugged enough for any sports activity you might want to do near water, e.g., tennis, hiking, or boat peddling. It comes in over 40 shades of color, giving you as many options as possible.

Buy Now for $28.98

Who it is for

If the Zhuanglin Quick Dry is too water-specific and you are looking for something that is as good on land as it is in water, then the Simari Quick Dry is the one for you.

Why it is great

It is perfect for water, sand, stones, rocks, or any kind of surface you will find yourself on. Don’t let the price fool you; you’ll most likely prefer it to the highest-priced water shoes on the market. It is also light and comfortable, so you are not substituting functionality for comfort.

Potential flaws

The low-cut nature of the ankle spot has been observed to be a bit harsh on the ankle, sometimes causing blisters and small wounds, especially if you use it for high-intensity activities. The soles are also very thin and almost nonexistent, and the front comes with no toe guards to protect your toe in case of a hard hit while being used.

Other features

The first thing you might notice is the price, which is just plain amazing, but when you finally buy it, you will have other reasons to love it above the price. It has great eight-holed sole drainage for dripping water away from the shoe. You also do not need to worry about it taking up much space or weighing much on the airport scale. The shoes are very convenient and safe. You just start enjoying it once you put your legs inside, and the experience is very unique.

Product specifications

Material: 92% Polyester
Sole Material: Rubber
Item Dimension: 10.6 x 3.6 x 2.3 inches
Item Weight: 9.59 Ounces

Almost made the cut - Vivobarefoot Ultra Bloom III

Almost made the cut

Vivobarefoot Ultra Bloom III

Weightless shoes that are easy and comfy on your feet

Digging your feet into the sand and wet earth can make your feet drag, heavy, and tiresome after a few steps, but the VivoBarefoot is light and the opposite of a heavy footstep. It makes it look like you are floating on the sand. It’s the perfect picture of what a water shoe would look like as it has the semblance of a fishing net

Buy Now

Who it is for

It was made for people who love nature and how nature can be modified for protection and comfort. This would also serve you if you don’t want any hindrance or burden holding you back.

Why it is great

These are almost fishlike both in design and functionality. They are the best for swimming and for activities requiring speed, like running. It is great because of its unique hole-filled and amphibious design, which is very lightweight and comfortable.

Potential flaws

In the bid to create something light and comfortable, they had to make a sole that is not quite strong enough for hard work and strenuous activities like hill climbing and hiking. Also, because the toe protective session does not come with holes, it might retain water, thus making it a bit uncomfortable.

Lastly, the price can be a turnoff, especially when compared with other options on this list. Otherwise, it’s a very great shoe.

Other features

The patterned honeycomb-like holes all around the shoe are more thoughtful than most think, as they come with a good mixture of both grip and traction when used in a myriad of places. It enhances not just the quick draining of water but also, surprisingly, helps in stability and support. Unfortunately, it’s a bit more than the average, and you wear it for hours and hours with, e.g., flopping "stay legs" instead of cramps and bruises.
It has a nice protective cover over the toe area, and the lace tightens up and gets loose with just a touch, all of which combine to give you a quick protective shoe on the move.
The sole has a PRO5-patented puncture-resistant structure that is extra strong, although very thin. It arches and curves following the shape of your leg. All around, it is a great, highly functional shoe.

Product specifications

Material: 53% bloom foam rubber (made of algae) / 47% EVA (foam rubber)
Sole Material: Rubber
Item Dimension: 14.96 x 9.84 x 5.51 inches
Item Weight: 26 ounces

Care and maintenance

Although they are made for water, water shoes can smell, emit an odor, and get utterly stained after some time of use. To get rid of the odor, remove the shoes after use and immerse them in clean water for a few minutes. Afterward, use a wetsuit shampoo or soap and baking soda wash, coupled with a sponge.

Use the sponge to wash the interior and exterior parts of the shoe to make sure you get every part of it. Rinse after this, and then use another dry sponge or foam to dry off the water as much as you can.

If the smell persists, you can put some deodorizer solution or apply baking soda in the places where it still stinks.

After washing, dry them under the sun, and don’t let them remain damp. Drying is also necessary immediately after use, but some people still leave them in a bag or damp area. This only goes on to breed the bacteria that make them stink.

Wash as often as you can but when not engaged in very rigorous activities that have stained it, you can apply baking powder and leave it to air dry after use.