Water shoes are designed to keep you stable on wet surfaces and to protect your feet from pebbles and other hazards when walking on the beach. Of course, you will be able to practice many water activities, but do you think you’ll be able to walk long distances on trails or walk through rivers with your water shoes? The answer is no for the simple reason that they don’t provide enough support and traction on most surfaces.

To cross waterfalls, streams, or walk on uneven terrains, you need footwear that enables you to do so – meaning, water shoes that give you excellent traction, protection, and comfort so you can have the most pleasant hiking adventure. In this article, you will find the best water shoes for hiking and a buying guide to help you make the right choice!


1. Merrell Men’s All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoe

The Merrell All Out Blaze Sieve is the type of shoes that will make you feel invincible no matter where you go. Whether it is for boating, camping, hiking, climbing or walking across rivers, they check all the boxes! Thanks to its Waxy Waterproof Leather Fabric Lycra, they are super water resistant, souple and durable.

Getting foot blisters after a long walk is quite common, especially when the shoes are still brand new. The Merrel All Out Blaze has a soft heel neoprene stretch collar that grabs your foot nicely and prevents blister problems. It also enables you to slip them on and off easily and to walk in comfortably.

The sandals fit perfectly to the feet – they neither run too big nor too small. Although they aren’t much fashionable, they are functional, comfortable and they give you an outdoorsy look! The Vibram sole offers excellent traction both on wet and dry surfaces.

For such rugged and durable pair of shoes, they weigh almost nothing (1lb), making your hiking excursion much lighter. The closed toes protect your feet from hazards on the trails, and the openings on the side help drain water out quickly.

Sand or pebbles may get inside, but that’s something you can’t avoid with open shoes design. If you are looking for a breathable and lightweight summer footwear that support your feet like a sneaker, then you can be sure that the Merrell will meet all your expectations!

Average Rank: 4.6 out of 5 

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Pros
  • Easy to slip on and off
  • Comfortable
  • Durable
  • Lightweight
  • Breathable

 

Cons
  • Poor traction on slippery terrains
  • Almost no arch support

Weight: 1lb
Material: Leather
Sole Vibram: Synthetic


2. The KEEN Men’s Newport H2 Sandal

The KEEN Men’s Newport H2 Sandal is an exceptional pair of water shoes. They are comfortable, very supportive and fit like a glove. The Metatomical EVA footbed adopts the shape of your feet and keeps them in place without irritating the bottoms while walking.

One of the best features of the Keen sandals is its non-marking rubber outsole, they don’t leave any trace on boat decks, and they grip well on both wet and dry surfaces. The closed toe area is more spacious than the Merrell sandals, making them very comfortable especially for those who have wide feet. It also adds plenty of protection and blocks any hits on your toes when crossing streams or hiking on gravel paths.

The Newport feel great on the feet on the first try, and they require no break-in period. These sandals are made of polyester and padded with a squishy neoprene, which adds softness, and comfort to your feet. The leather version of Newport is much rugged and durable than the synthetic model, but they dry much slower.

You will hardly or never find an open shoe design that doesn’t allow sand and pebbles get inside. It will happen, occasionally and you should be aware of this. Since they run a bit small, it would be best to go in half size up. These water shoes not only provide excellent arch support, but also fantastic drainage, and they are durable. In other words, the perfect shoes for your outdoor adventure!

Average Rank: 4.4 out of 5 

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Pros
  • Breathable
  • Comfortable
  • Dry fast
  • Grip well
Cons
  • Collect gravel and sand like any open design shoes
  • The seams tend to detach from the heel strap

Weight: 0.88 lb
Material: Polyester
Outsole: Non-marking rubber


3. KEEN Women’s Whisper Sandal

Keen has made these fantastic sandals with women in mind. From hiking, sailing, swimming, camping you name it, the Keen Whisper will do the trick! The Whisper and the Newport look very much alike, but if you pay close attention, you will notice some differences.

For example, the Whisper’s toe guard is shorter and wider, offering more space. The sole is a bit thinner, so you are more likely to feel the ground. The webbings are slimmer, too, which render them a lot cooler. That being said; the Wishper turns out to be less rugged but more flexible and versatile since they are less bulky, which allows you to move more freely!

Many people fall in love with Keen Sandals due to its Metatomical EVA footbed. It provides excellent arch support as well as embrace the shape of your feet, making them remarkably comfortable to walk in. Since these are made of polyester material, they are super lightweight, and they dry very quickly. Thanks to its Cleansport NXT ™, they emit no odor, even if your feet sweat into the shoes or they get wet.

Average Rank: 4.6 out of 5 

Top Pick!

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Pros
  • Breathable
  • Comfortable
  • Super lightweight
  • Don’t release bad odors
  • Dry fast
Cons
  • Not as rugged as the other brands listed in the article

Weight: 0.54 lb
Material: Polyester
Outsole: Rubber


4. Teva Men’s Omnium Closed-Toe Sandal

In term of performance for crossing streams rivers, mud and hiking on trails, the Teva water shoes are one of the best you can find on the market. They are smartly designed, lightweight and comfortable. The shoes are made of leather and synthetic material, making them easy to dry. What sets them apart from other water shoes is that they feature an upper buckle for quick release and adjustable heel straps that enable you to slip them on and off with ease.

The Teva sandals fit right out of the box and hold well the ankle, keeping your feet stable in the sandals even in wet condition. The Teva suits various types of conditions, whether you go hiking on slippery rocks or wet trails, or on dry paths, the grip of these sandals is exceptional and will surely meet your expectations. At the first try, they are a bit tough, so yes, these require a short break- in period.

Since the straps are adjustable, they can easily be adapted to each foot with individual requirements. The opening on the sides helps drain water out quickly and keep your feet aerated all day in the summer. The rubber toe guard provides excellent protection against hazards on trails. Also, they offer more arch support than many other sandals, which happen to be too flat for longer walks. That being said, This is the perfect sandals for just about any activity to do on land as well as off shore.

Average Rank: 4.3 out of 5 

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Pros
  • Comfy
  • Easy to put on and off
  • Fit well
  • Lightweight
  • Provide great traction

 

Cons
  • Pricey, but worth every penny!
  • The shoes are a bit tough when new, require a break in period

Weight: 1.58 lb
Material: Leather/ Textile
Outsole: Rubber


5. Northside Women’s Burke II Sandal

The Northside Women’s Burke is a great pair of water shoes at a reasonable price. Its low cost may make you skeptical about its quality, but so far they have surprised thousands of
customers on Amazon. The sole provides excellent traction; they grip fantastically on rough terrains and sharp rocks.

The footbed is cushioned, which add softness and flexibility, but if you have high arches or flat feet, you may find them less comfortable as they lack arch support. But like many other people, you may want to insert an insole to make them more supportive. If you have narrow feet, you should look for a smaller size as they run a bit large. They hold up very well while walking on trails and in rivers, and they dry relatively fast compared to other water shoes.

The only disadvantage of these sandals is that they come only in full sizes, which can make it harder to find the right fit. They are lightweight, breathable and comfortable.
Overall, the quality is good, yet they feel cheaper than the other water shoes. However, for the price, they are worth it!

Average Rank: 4.2 out of 5 

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Pros
  • Comfortable
  • Grip well
  • Soft on the feet
  • Lightweight

 

Cons
  • Lack of arch support
  • Don’t come in half sizes

Weight: 0.60 lb
Material: Synthetic
Outsole: Synthetic


6. Clarks Women’s Tuvia Melon Fisherman Sandal

The Clarks Women’s Tuvia water shoes are padded with neoprene fabric, making them soft to the touch and comfortable to wear, but like the one above” the Northside Burke,” they lack arch support. However, as I mentioned in the previous paragraph, many people have found a solution to this by simply adding orthotic insoles to add more comfort. These features a neoprene lining that embraces the shape of your feet and prevents rubbing issues.

The Clark Women Teva has an adjustable velcro heel strap that enables you to secure the sandals easily. When they get wet, the inside dries very quickly whereas the upper part dries slower. There are small bumps on the footbed that massage your feet, which feels very pleasant when walking and they have openings on the side that keep your feet aerate and also drains the water out.

The toes box is roomy and provides exceptional comfort, especially for those who have wide feet. Even though they don’t have a lot of arch support, they are still very comfortable to wear all day. They fit great and don’t require any break- in period. To sum up, these sandals are great for light hiking and water sport but don’t expect them to be as rugged and durable as the other brands!

Average Rank: 4.5 out of 5 

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Pros
  • Ultra lightweight
  • Very comfortable
  • Slip on and off easily
  • Breathable

 

Cons
  • Lack arch support
  • The upper part of the shoes dry slower

Weight: 0.56 lb
Material: Synthetic
Outsole: synthetic


In Conclusion

The quality of your water shoes will without a doubt have a big impact on your hiking excursion. With so many options on the market, it can be a tricky task to find the right pair that suits your activity. The water shoes that are listed in the article are the best rated and will help you make the right choice! If you want more tips on how to buy the proper water shoes for hiking, see the buying advice below.






 Guide to Buying Water Shoes For Hiking

 

Material

Water Sandals are usually made either of synthetic or leather. Both fabrics are excellent, but they are often used for different purpose.

 

Synthetic:

For instance, synthetic water shoes adapt well to wet conditions as synthetic fabric tend to dry out much quicker than leather material. Although they are specially designed to wear in good weather, if you happen to walk through muddy trails or cross stream rivers, you’ll be able to clean them easily and dry them fast. Also, the synthetic fabric withstands humidity and can remove the moisture such as sweat, preventing chaffing. That’s the reason why most sandals comprise a liner made of blended synthetic materials to keep your feet cool and dry when walking all day.

Pros
  • Lighter than leather
  • Dry faster than leather
  • Easier to wash
  • More breathable
Cons
  • Less durable
  • Don’t fit all weather conditions

 

Leather

The most common leather fabrics used in water shoes for hiking are brushed leather, pigskin, and nubuck leather. Those built with leather outers or with leather webbing resist small levels of moisture and help minimize sweat. The leather material provides an excellent level of comfort as well as fit many conditions, but when getting wet, they dry quite slowly. Many leather shoes are made with anti-bacterial treatments to protect your feet against bacteria and also to prevent bad odors.

 

Pros
  • More durable than synthetic
  • Fit all weather conditions
Cons
  • Dry slower
  • Less breathable
  • Heavier than Synthetic

Straps and Closures

Typically, water shoes for hiking feature a strapping system to help slip them on and off comfortably. This also provides more security on flat terrains while walking since the strap hold well the feet.


How Water Shoes Fit Your Feet

Most water shoes have a padded heel strap to protect the back of your foot. Some of them come with hook and loop closures systems while others with elastic heel straps.

Closure systems are usually placed whether at the back of the foot, at the instep, or at the forefoot. Water shoes that feature several closures will provide more support and will hold your feet firmly in place. Some of them are made with removable straps, allowing you to convert them into flip-flops, which comes in handy if you stroll on the beach.


What Do Water Shoes for hiking Offer You

 

Versatility

Since these water shoes are made of lightweight material and are often combined with other features, you can use them in many conditions.

 

Low weight

As I mentioned above, the fabric used in water shoes is lightweight, making them very light on the feet and easy to pack.

 

Aeration

Most water shoes are open design – meaning they have openings on the sides and at the back of the feet. They are extremely pleasant to wear in hot weather as they keep your feet cool, which is a big plus.


KEEN RIALTO from Phillip Mansfield on Vimeo.


Water Shoes Construction

Compare to hiking footwear; water shoes lack arch support because the ankle is less protected. That’s why it’s essential to choose shoes that provide a high level of padding so your feet can be comfortable and also well secured.

The shoes should fit well to the feet – not too big or too small. Some people like to order a half size larger so they can wear socks with, which is very convenient in cold weather. The footbed must be supportive so you can walk comfortably, and the closure system needs to be used for tightening your feet.


Arch Support and Cushioning

 

Footbed and Midsole

It is crucial to choose contoured footbed that embraces the shape of your feet to keep them stable, and well secured so you can walk without worrying about slipping. This is something you should consider, especially if you plan to walk a long distance, or over rocky trails.

It is also important to look for padded or cushioned footbed such as Vibram or Compression-molded Eva. These absorb shock and provides excellent stability on the ground.

Some footbeds are designed deep and padded with a soft and wicking material that absorbs moisture. This provides excellent comfort and it allows to sink your feet in easily, too.

 

Sole

Water shoes have a thin and lightweight sole, which enable you to walk comfortably on trails, but they are not enough rigid to let you to carry a heavy load or to climb on mountains.

Water shoes that provide excellent traction are usually designed with either carbon rubber or with hardwearing lightweight rubber. Some soles can feature a fluid drainage system that helps flow the water out and keep your feet dry all day.


Type of Hiking

As I mentioned above, water shoes sole is usually thinner than hiking footwear, and that’s the reason why they cannot be worn with heavy carry on bag. There is not enough thickness in the sole to cushion the shocks. The weight will put pressure on your feet, and this can hurt them and make your excursion less pleasant. So water shoes are ideal to hike on easy trails, to cross streams, walk around town, to name a few. For serious hiking and climbing on mountains, you would want a real pair of hiking boots.


How to Fit Your Water Shoes for Hiking

To protect your feet from knocks and debris, it is crucial that you have enough rim at the front of the shoes. The space between your toes and the front edge of the shoes should be the width of a thumb.

Since water shoes are open design, they are breathable, thus can be worn without socks, but also with socks in the winter time. However, if you plan to wear socks, you should consider trying them on first or pick a larger size.


Open vs. Close Toe Shoe

There are two styles of water shoes, open-toe, and closed toe. The one that offers more protection is, of course, the closed-toes as it prevents debris from getting inside and hurting your feet against rocks. The open shoes don’t provide any protection on trails, they are mainly used for walking on beaches, and on smooth terrains, but not on uneven paths.


When to Wear Water Shoes for Hiking

Unlike hiking boot, water shoes are lightweight, breathable and dry quickly; thus, they are perfect to wear in good weather. These also can be worn with socks for better protection against blisters and cold. So, spring, summer, and fall are the best time to enjoy your water shoes for hiking!


Where to Use Water Shoes for Hiking

You can wear them almost everywhere, meaning around town, on trails, rocks, beaches, in the water, to name a few. But I wouldn’t recommend wearing them on rocky mountains, or off trails, as they don’t provide as much protection and support as the hiking boots. Some terrains are wilder than other, making hiking more challenging. Thus, require more protection. Just be aware of this!


Why Wear Water Shoes for Hiking

Well, there are many reasons for this. Let’s see what they are.

  • They offer excellent support which allows you to walk long distances comfortably.
  • They are aerated, and this will keep your feet cool on a hot summer day.
  • They are extra lightweight, making your hiking excursion more pleasant.
  • They provide excellent traction, keeping you stable on slippery surfaces.
  • They dry fast!

Who Should Wear Water Shoes for Hiking

Anyone who plans to practice water activity or to hike through rivers and on trails. Women, men, children, everyone can wear them to have a comfortable hiking experience. So, if you want to preserve your feet and keep them cool while walking, then you should consider wearing water shoes for hiking.


What about you? Is there a pair of water shoe for hiking you want to add to this list? If so, you are welcome to share it in the comments below.

 

 

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REVIEW OVERVIEW
Merrell Men’s All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoe
KEEN Men's Newport H2 Sandal
KEEN Women’s Whisper Sandal
Teva Men's Omnium Closed-Toe Sandal
Northside Women's Burke II Sandal
Clarks Women's Tuvia Melon Fisherman Sandal
Previous articleCrocs Classic Review – Best All Day Shoes!
Next article9 Best Women Water Shoes – Make Your Feet Happy!
Daniella has been passionate about travel and nature for many years. As a child, she frequently traveled throughout the Mediterranean and continued with her journeys throughout her adult life. Her experiences have created the desire within her to share her love for travel with other passionate and adventurers who want to discover beautiful horizons and new cultures.

20 COMMENTS

  1. Daniella this is a very informative article you got here! So many times we struggle to find that perfect shoes for that particular occasion and here they are in one article. i have friends who love going hiking ever so often and one of these shoes would definitely be good for them rather than regular sneakers. will recommend! Love this

    • Hi Shaneek,

      I am glad you found this article useful! Yes, finding a good pair of water shoes that allow you to go hiking too is not always as easy. So here is a list of the best water shoes to help you make the right decision. 

      Thank you for the comment and wish you a wonderful day!

  2. I had recently bought a pair of the Newport H2 Sandals.
    I just wanted to let you know that I love them. The grip is pretty amazing, even when wet.

    What I love the most is just how comfortable they are. I live in a warm climate and wear them all day! I just wanted to say thanks for the recommendation!
    Brendon

    • Hi Brendon,

      You are very welcome and thank you for sharing your experience with the Newport H2, I really appreciate!
      My husband and I also own a pair of Newport for years now and love them too! These water shoes are extremely comfortable and versatile, you can wear them almost everywhere. Not to mention, they are cute!

      Thank you again for the comment and wish you a fantastic day!

  3. Hi Daniella,

    Can you recommend one pair above the others specifically for swimming? I know this article is about hiking, but my battle scars have come from swimming.

    I’ve been to plenty of beaches where boulders with razor sharp edges are lurking under water just waiting to bite you!

    Thanks.

    • Hi Paul,

      Thank you for the comment!

      All the water shoes that are listed in the article are designed for water activity as well as for hiking. They will protect your feet from sharp rocks and other hards on trails and they grip wet and dry surfaces fantastically. You should try one of them, I am sure you’ll love it!

      Thank you for the comment and wish you a great day!

  4. Hey Daniella!

    I got a pair of Merrells to go hiking and they’re awesome! They keep your feet warm and dry in the winter and super ventilated in the summer. Just perfect!

    These shoes are really for all-terrains, they provide great grip and protection. One thing is for sure is that I will never give up on them for any other shoes! I just wanted to share this with everyone who read this article!

    Thanks a lot for the thorough review. 

    Cheers! 😉

    • Hi Israel,

      Thank you for sharing your experience with the Merrell shoes, I am sure readers will appreciate it very much!

      Thank you again for the useful comment and wish you a lovely day!

  5. I don’t like open shoes. I always go to the beach with my pair of athletic shoes and while it feels great, I probably shouldn’t go to the beach with a 120$ pair of shoes. That is why I would go for the Teva Men’s Omnium Closed-Toe Sandal. They easily dry, they are comfortable and the fact that they can be adapted to each food individually makes them a must for me as I have very flat feet. Hiking is not on my list of activities yet but I will do that surely in the future.

    • Hi John,

      Yes, I totally agree that it’s not a good idea to go in the water or on uneven trails with your athletic shoes as they are not designed for this. If you have flat feet, the Teva is the perfect pair shoes for you as they have great arch support. I am sure you will love them!

      Thank you for the comment and wish you a nice day!

  6. I like the recommendations you have given. I do not have any pair of water shoes nor do I hike but after reading your article I think is time to get me a pair of water shoes. I have being going to the beach and walking through rivers with lots of pebbles and rocks with the wrong shoes. The good thing about these water shoes is that they are comfortable. Thank you for the information.

    • Hi Stella,

      I am glad you like the shoes, thank you!
      If you go often to the beach, then it’s highly recommended to wear a pair of water so you can protect your feet from pebble and shells. It’s important if you want to keep your feet in a good condition:)

      Thank you again for the comment and wish you all the best!

  7. This is definitely an informative post, Daniella! I like how you compare different types of water shoes and provide the pros and cons so it is easier for me to visualize the effectiveness. I am glad I came across your post as I am looking at good water shoes to buy for my dad as he is into hiking currently and I want a suitable shoes that ensures his safety. I do not mind paying more as long as the quality is good! 🙂

    • Hi there,

      These water shoes are great for hiking, they are light on the feet and breathable, which really make the hiking excursion more pleasant. Your dad will love wearing them, especially if does hiking in the summer:)

      Thank you for the comment and wish you a great day!

  8. I’m glad I came across your article. If someone was looking for well made outdoor shoe, these would be them. The shoes look very comfortable, versatile, well made and functional. Their light weight and open slit design makes them very desirable for long hikes while keeping your feet cooler than a closed design.
    Just a thought but do you think adding some type of webbing would help keep pebbles out while maintaining breathability?

    • Hi there,

      Yes, open design is much more comfortable on the feet than a closed model, especially in the summer when it’s hot. What’s gets inside easily, gets out quickly. So I don’t really see the point of adding webbing. Although, there are water shoes made of breathable mesh material and these are only designed for water sports and not for hiking. 

      Thank you for the comment and wish you a great day!

  9. Thanks for some great reviews. I’m starting to look for a pair of water shoes for the upcoming summer so I found your reviews particularly helpful. Although I have had a pair of Keen’s before (they finally died after a LOT of wear) I didn’t know that it was best to leave a thumb width between the shoe and your toes. I’ll definitely keep that in mind when I’m fitting them on. I also appreciated the information with regards to the footbed with each shoe. As someone who needs good arch support, this is most helpful.
    Cheers
    Margaret

    • Hi Margaret,

      I am glad you found this article useful! I am sure you will find a good water shoe for hiking as they are all wonderful! I also own keen shoes for years now and they sill great on my feet!

      Thank you for the comment and wish you a lovely day!

  10. Hey Daniella, I really enjoyed reading your review about The best water shoes for hiking. I was looking for shoes like this because I go to Croatia for the summer and they have super sharp stones at the beaches and those shoes are perfect for that. I really like the Teva men’s omnium shoes because they seem very robust and still have enough free spaces to let the water to my feed. Awesome thank you. 🙂

    • Hi Aaron,

      I am glad you enjoyed the review, thank you! 
      Indeed, Croatia is quite rocky, and a good pair of water shoes for hiking will be useful, there:) 
      The Teva men’s Omnium is a fantastic shoe, it provides excellent traction and they drain water incredibly well!
      With the Teva, you can be sure to enjoy your trip to Croatia!

      Thank you for the comment and wish you a fantastic sojourn in Croatia!

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