Whether it’s for hiking on trails, walking through rivers, or participating to water sports activities, you need a good pair of water shoes to protect your feet from hazards, and to keep you safe on slippery grounds, and that dry fast! Some water shoes are versatile and can be worn for diverse outdoor activities while others are designed for water sports only. With the proper pair, you’ll be able to enjoy your activities without fear of hurting your feet or slipping on the floor. They are many types of water shoes on the market and choosing the right pair can be difficult if you don’t know what to look for. Here is a list of the best breathable water shoes for men and a buying guide so you can pick the right pair. Check out my top list!
Table of Content
- 1 1. KEEN Men’s Newport H2 Sandal
- 2 Best Rated
- 3 2. Crocs Men’s Swiftwater Mesh Sandal
- 4 Top Pick
- 5 3. ALEADER Men’s Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes
- 6 4. KEEN Men’s Clearwater CNX Sandal
- 7 5. Merrell All Out Blaze Sieve
- 8 6. Fila Men’s Skeletoes EZ Slide Drainage
- 9 7 .Speedo Men’s Seaside Lace Athletic Water Shoe
- 10 8. Columbia Men’s Drainmaker III Water Shoe
- 11 9. Vibram Men’s Signa Athletic Boating Shoe
- 12 10. Adidas Outdoor Men’s Terrex Climacool Boat Water Shoe
- 13 Guide to Choosing the Best Water Shoes & FAQ
- 14 Type of Water Shoes
- 15 Frequently Ask Questions
- 16 What are Water Shoes?
- 18 Wear Water Shoes, With or Without Socks?
- 20 Can You Hike With Water Shoes?
- 22 Why Wear Water Shoes?
- 23 How to Look After Water Shoes?
- 24 Advantages of Wearing Water Shoes
- 25 The Downsides of Water Shoes.
- 27 Final Words
1. KEEN Men’s Newport H2 Sandal
Average Rank: 4.3 out of 5/ 6686 reviewers
Keen Newport is a pair of sandals that everyone should get without hesitation because they have all the features any outdoor adventurer would ever dream of. These are the type of sandals you can wear everywhere and for any water activity such as boating, kayaking, fishing, hiking, etc. The Keen has a solid grip, they will keep your feet well stable on both wet and dry surfaces thanks to its outsole with wave-siping patterns. Since these sandals are an open type of shoes, they drain water extremely well, but they also trap sand and pebbles, which can be annoying sometimes. Yes, this is the only downside of the open sandals, but on the other hand, they are easy to slip on and off, and they get cleaned very quickly. With the Keen, you can walk wherever you want without fears of stubbing your toe against something hard thanks to its rugged rubber toe front protection. These sandals are comfortable and breathable, and there is no doubt they will keep your feet cool the whole day while enjoying your outdoor activity. The Keen features an elastic lace capture system that slides down, this allows you to tighten or lose the sandals as you wish. All in all, these are the perfect shoes for you if you plan to hike a lot on trails or in towns. Note that they are waterproof, so you can walk in the water as much as you want without worrying about wearing them out quickly.
- Super comfortable
- Fit great
- Dry quickly
- Easy to clean
- Require a breaking period
- Sand and pebble can get trapped due to open design
2. Crocs Men’s Swiftwater Mesh Sandal
Average Rank: 4.6 out of 5/ 2329 reviewers
As you may already know, Crocks are unbeatable when it comes to water shoes.
The Swiftwater sandals are perfect for water sports and for walking on rocky rivers as well as on dry land. They are lightweight, breathable, and comfortable. The sole of the sandals is thicker and stiffer than other classic Crocks. It features velcro on the top, allowing you to have the sandals as tight or as loose as you wish. Thanks to its upper mesh material, they dry super fast, and even when they get wet, they still feel lightweight on the feet. The rubber toe is rugged and it will protect your feet from any hazards on the road. The Swiftwater are so comfy and lightweight that you might even forget that you have shoes on. Not only do they keep your foot well secure and cool. but they also provide excellent traction on wet and dry surfaces. If you are looking for durable pair of sandals, at a great price and super comfy, then look no further than the Swiftwater!
- Super comfortable
- Provide great cushion
- Sand and pebbles can get inside sometimes like any other open sandals.
- Some reviewers find them not attractive.
3. ALEADER Men’s Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes
Average Rank: 4.4 out of 5/ 2078 reviewers
The Aleader shoes are designed mainly for water sports activities, but many users wore them for hiking on trails and they were happily surprised to see how well they performed. Of course, these won’t climb on slick and high rocks as solid water shoes would, but they get the job done! They look really nice, and you can style them in multiple outfits. With traditional water shoes, you usually need to take them off to empty the water. This is not the case with the Aleader since they have holes in the sole, they automatically drain out as you walk. Sand can be a minor issue when strolling on the beach as it sometimes gets stuck inside the shoes. But they are very easy to clean, and they dry super quickly due to their mesh upper material. The Aleader features Solyte Midsole, making them lightweight, durable, and absorbs shock incredibly well. The rubber sole gives exceptional traction on wet and dry surfaces. The Aleader water shoes are extremely comfortable and breathable. You can be sure your feet will stay comfortable and cool all day long.
- Well made
- Drain water out
- Sands can get stuck inside
4. KEEN Men’s Clearwater CNX Sandal
Average Rank: 4.1 out of 5/ 1569 reviewers
They are so many good things to say about the KEEN Clearwater that it’s hard to know where to begin. These perform fantastically on hiking trails as well as on wet and slick terrains. Its rubber sole with razor siping provides excellent traction, these will keep your feet well stable on any surface. The midsole is thick, meaning if you hike on uneven terrains, you won’t feel any unwanted debris. The toe guard prevents you from hurting your feet against hard rocks, or whatever might be on the way. Some Amazon reviewers stated that the Keen fit snugly, but that it felt more secure on the feet. Although if you have large feet, you may consider going half size up. The Keen features a bungee lacing system with a small catch to secure the shoes so that the laces don’t untighten when walking. These sandals will make flat feet very happy since they provide great support and comfort. Once you put the KEEN sandals on, you’ll get hooked on them as they provide all the features you need for enjoying any outdoor activities or water sports.
- Super comfortable
- Dry quickly
- Fit snug
- Pebble and sand can get trapped inside
5. Merrell All Out Blaze Sieve
Average Rank: 4.6 out of 5/ 966 reviewers
Whether it’s for hiking on challenging terrains, walking through streams, go on a long canoe trip, or boating trip, the Merrell, will exceed all your expectations! It’s hard to say negative things about these shoes because they are fantastic! First off, they provide exceptional grip on wet and dry surfaces and handle remarkably well on slick rocks, and this is due to their anti-slip outsole. Its Vibram sole absorbs shocks fantastically, making the shoes comfortable while walking. The toe push at the back allows you to take them on and off easily in every situation. They fit great with or without socks. Some reviewers stated that the toe front protection is a little large and that the sole is thinner than the Keen sandals. There is a padded neoprene part at the back that holds the ankle and provides your feet great control on the ground. They fit right out of the box and if you seek high-quality and versatile sandals for any outdoor trip or water activity, then you should definitely give the Merrell a try, you’ll be glad you did!
- Well made
- Dries quickly
- Easy to slip on and off
- Fit great
- Have little arch support
- Sand and pebbles tend to get trapped due to open design
6. Fila Men’s Skeletoes EZ Slide Drainage
Average Rank: 3.9 out of 5/ 657 reviewers
The Fila is one of the lightest and most comfortable water shoes on the list. These shoes are meant to fit snugly, so make sure to pick the right size. They are small drainage holes in the shoes where water runs out when submerged. If it’s the first time you wear finger shoes, you will have to get used to them because the fingers are separated. It may be uncomfortable at first but after walking a few hours, your feet will fall in love with them. The Fila shoes are fantastic for any water sports activities, but since they lack arch support, it’s highly recommended not to wear them for running or walking long hours. There is a strap that comes across the foot and at the heel, making it easier to secure the shoes on your feet. You can wear them almost everywhere, whether, for camping, fishing, sailing, kayaking, or swimming, they tick all the boxes! The rubber outsoles are anti-slip, they grip fantastically on wet and dry surfaces, which increase foot stability. Thanks to the holes, they are breathable and they dry fast too. With the Fila, you can be sure your feet will stay cool and comfortable all day long.
- Super comfortable
- Drain water out
- Grip exceptionally well.
- Need to get used to them
- Sand and pebbles can get trapped in the holes.
7 .Speedo Men’s Seaside Lace Athletic Water Shoe
Average Rank: 4.2 out of 5/ 338 reviewers
The Speedo Seaside are excellent shoes for low-impact activities in the water or for strolling on the beach, but not really for walking long distances as they have no arch support. The upper part of the shoe is made of mesh fabric, which explains why they are so breathable, lightweight, and dry quickly. This updated version of Speedo shoes features an S-Track TPR outsole that helps evacuates water as you walk. This protects your feet from slipping when they get wet. They come with a removable inner sole, meaning you can wear them without socks or insert your own orthotics sole. Its grippy rubber sole provides exceptional traction on wet and dry surfaces as well as on boat decks. They are very easy to slip on and off thanks to the heel tab. They have a bungee lacing system, allowing you to secure the shoes with ease. These water shoes are great for the price, they hold the feet well and handle much better than flip flops. Not to mention, they are very comfortable and super grippy!
- Excellent traction on wet and dry surfaces
- Removable sole
- Dry Quickly
- Easy to clean
- Not much arch support
8. Columbia Men’s Drainmaker III Water Shoe
Average Rank: 4.5 out of 5/ 136 reviewers
The Columbia Drainmaker comes in several different colors and sizes. If you seek breathable water shoes, then look no further. The upper mesh and the open weave on the top make the shoes remarkably breathable even in high temperatures. With or without socks, they are comfortable to wear. The Columbia shoes are designed especially for water activities, but they can be worn for light hiking too since they have relatively good arch support. There are holes in the insole that drain water through the side of the sole, this helps water flow freely while walking. They feature a padded collar that offers comfort around the ankle and a heel pull tab allowing you to take the shoes on and off easily. If you are looking for versatile water shoes that enable you to do all sorts of outdoor and water activities then you can count on the Columbia Drainmaker to do so.
- Drys quickly
- Drain water
- Provide great traction on wet and dry surfaces
- Pick up sand and pebbles
9. Vibram Men’s Signa Athletic Boating Shoe
Average Rank: 4.5 out of 5/ 136 reviewers
The Vibram FiveFingers water shoes are made of thin neoprene material, hence they are more suitable for water activities or for walking on flat floors. If you like the feeling of walking barefoot, then this is the type of shoes you should look for! With these, you can walk on hot sand without feeling burning pains in your feet. These feature a Vibram wave grip compound, providing excellent traction on wet and dry surfaces. They provide good protection against shells, pebbles, and hot sand, but if you step on a stone or a rock, you may feel it. Since these provide zero arch support, it wouldn’t be a good idea to use them for hiking or running, it could hurt your feet and your back. They are very flexible and the holes throughout the shoes allow water to drain freely. The upper part is made of stretch polyester mesh material, keeping sand and pebble out of the shoes. Fine sand can get inside though, but when you get in the water, it automatically washes out. Some reviewers stated that they squeeze a bit when putting them on, but once they got inside, they fit like a glove. They do require a break-in period though and you might need a little time to get used to them. The Vibram Signa Fivefingers shoes are excellent for the beach, swimming, snorkeling, or for any flat ground such as boat decks, pool, grass, and sand. If you want to protect your feet while going barefoot, then this is the right shoe for you!
- Easy to clean
- Need to get used to them
- The strap on the top is not stretchable
10. Adidas Outdoor Men’s Terrex Climacool Boat Water Shoe
Average Rank: 4.4 out of 5/ 239 reviewers
The Adidas Outdoor is a stylish pair of water shoes specially designed for water activities such as fishing, sailing, swimming, and even light hiking. They feature holes on the sole, which help drain water quickly if they get wet. Its perforated Eva’s tongue makes the shoes breathable and extremely comfortable. These are the kind of sneakers you can wear with or without socks without getting any blisters. The Adidas Outdoor offers incredible traction on wet and dry surfaces thanks to its anti-slip rubber outsole. They handle heat, water, they dry quickly, and are super lightweight – plus, they are extra comfortable. In other words, these are the perfect stylish shoes for the summer! Adidas Outdoor did an excellent job, these cute water shoes will give you a nice look and will make your water activities more enjoyable than ever!
- Grip fantastically
- Dry quickly
- Drain water
- Fine sand can get trapped in the shoes
Guide to Choosing the Best Water Shoes & FAQ
As mentioned, most water shoes are made of a lightweight synthetic/ mesh material — others with nylon or leather. The best would be to choose your water shoes according to your activity. Mesh water shoes allow water to enter and provide excellent ventilation, so this fabric is great for boating, swimming, aqua lessons, or strolling on the beach or around the pool. For diving, snorkeling, surfing, or swimming, neoprene water shoes are excellent and provide thermal insulation protection. For hiking on trails and through rivers, open sandals made either of nylon or leather with a close toes box to protect your feet from hazards.
Water shoes need to fit snugly as they are generally stretched out when they get wet. If the shoes are too big, your feet run the risk of slipping and be more susceptible to chafing. One of the best ways to pick the right size is to read reviews. The closure system is also an essential factor to take into consideration. Check if there is a strap, bungee lacing, or velcro so you can adjust them to the right fit.
If you plan to wear shoes for trail, hiking, climbing, or running, you need footwear with a lacing system that secures well your feet. For water activities, you may choose easy slip-on and off shoes.
They are several types of water shoes, and not all of them are constructed equally. Those made of thin material are specially designed for water activities. And those made of sturdy fabric are more versatile as they allow to practice hiking on trails too. Anyway, you should check the material of the shoes according to your activity. For water sports only, you would want to look for lighweight shoes with anti-slip thin soles. For trails and waterfalls, close toes sandals with thicker soles will be perfect.
Comfort is primordial when choosing a pair of water shoes. Check the material, the design, and the cushion before purchasing them. Make sure the shoes feature a heel tab so you can slip them on and off smoothly, a rubber outsole for maximum traction on wet and dry surfaces, and heel padding to protect your feet from chafing.
As mentioned previously, most water shoes are made with mesh material, which ensures excellent ventilation. They will keep your feet cool all day long, and the good thing is that they dry fast. Hiking sandals are also well aerated and provide excellent protection on trails. Nylon water shoes are lightweight and dry quickly. Leather shoes are heavier and take more time to dry.
No matter the activity, an anti-slip outsole is what you need to keep you well stable on any ground. Rubber outsoles will allow you to walk on slippy rocks, and on wet surfaces with confidence. For hiking on rough terrains, you want shoes with thick sole water drainage. For water activities, a thin and flexible outsole will be adequate. However, no matter what shoes you opt for, always make sure the outsole is rubber with drainage holes in it.
Type of Water Shoes
There are many types of water shoes on the market to choose from. Some designs are versatile and can be worn for multiple purposes while others can be used for specific activities. Below you’ll find all the types of water shoes and what they are best for.
These water shoes are open on the side and the front, providing maximum breathability. Some come with velcro straps and others with a lacing system. Open sandals offer great support and cushion, but they don’t protect the feet against hazards like close toes sandals do. These are great for hiking on easy terrains and walking through waterfalls.
Close Toes Sandals
As the name suggests, these sandals feature a toes guard that protects your feet from anything that could hurt them since the toes guard is sturdy rubber. They have all the features to make your feet comfortable such as a padded collar, lacing system, and mesh lining. They provide good drainage, comfort, and excellent ventilation. Not to mention, they are supportive and protective. These are suitable for any type of watersport or outdoor activities such as boating, kayaking, fishing, hiking, climbing, to name a few.
Active Water Shoes
Active water shoes have a similar look as running shoes. In fact, they are great for running, hiking, backpacking, or trekking. They provide as much durability, cushion, and stability as running shoes do. Active water shoes have drainage holes in the sole to let the water run out, and they weigh more than regular sandals. These are fantastic to wear in the water as well as on land.
Aqua shoes are specially designed for water activities such as aqua gym, snorkeling, scuba diving, or for the pool. They are made of neoprene material and provide excellent thermal protection. They look more like socks and they have no arch support.
Five Finger Shoes
These are designed especially for water sports activities such as snorkeling, swimming, surfing, or even for walking or running on the beach. The sole is made of rubber material, but they have zero arch support. They are flexible, breathable, and provide excellent drainage.
Frequently Ask Questions
What are Water Shoes?
Water shoe is a type of footwear designed especially for water activities such as kayaking, sailing, snorkeling, to name a few. Traditional water shoes are typically made of breathable mesh or neoprene material with a grippy rubber outsole for maximum traction on wet and dry surfaces. They usually have drainage holes in the upper and in the sole to allow water to flow out when submerged and cushioned soles to protect your feet against sharp rocks, shells, and other hazards. There are water shoes for hiking made of Nylon or leather material with a thick rubber sole for more protection. They are usually open on the sides and feature a toe box to protect the feet when walking on rough terrain and waterfalls.
Wear Water Shoes, With or Without Socks?
Since water shoes are close fitting and warm enough, there is no need to wear socks with them. But.. some water shoes like open sandal style can be worn with socks to protect the feet from rubbing and blisters when walking on rough terrains. To be honest, there are no rules. If you have enough space in the shoes and you feel like wearing socks, then, go ahead and do so! If your water shoes don’t provide enough thermal protection, then you may consider buying a pair of neoprene socks. These are great for scuba diving or snorkeling.
Can You Hike With Water Shoes?
Yes and no, It depends on the type of water shoes. For instance, five fingers and aqua shoe designs won’t provide enough protection to your feet when walking on terrains because the sole is too thin and they have zero arch support. Water shoes such as Keen, Merrel, and Teva are the best for long distances or hiking on rough terrains since the sole is thick and these support the feet extremely well.
Why Wear Water Shoes?
Regular or sport shoes simply won’t hold up to water activities because they are not designed for it. Water shoes provide excellent traction on wet and dry surfaces; they are lightweight, breathable, and dry quickly. There is no doubt they will make your time in the water and on land, more enjoyable than ever.
How to Look After Water Shoes?
It’s almost inevitable, but most water shoes get stinky after a while due to bacteria that develop in a moist and warm environment of the footwear. If you don’t clean them often, chances are, they will smell awful! Don’t worry; you don’t have to wash them every day with soap. Just rinse them with fresh water after each use and once in a while, leave them overnight in a sink full of warm water with soap or baking soda. That’s it!
Advantages of Wearing Water Shoes
Provide excellent traction: Whether it’s for sailing, hiking, kayaking, or walking, the rubber outsole will always give you the best traction on any terrain.
Offer great protection: Water shoes are designed to protect your feet from sharp rocks, shells, burn, cuts, to name a few when walking either in the water or on land.
Dry Quickly: Water shoes dry quickly, thanks to their breathable material and soles with drainage holes.
Lighweight: Most water shoes are made of mesh/ synthetic material making them extremely lighweight on the feet.
Versatile: Today, water shoes are incredibly versatile, and many of them can be worn for either trekking, hiking, sailing, walking, swimming, etc.. You can undoubtedly use one pair of shoes for multiple outdoor and water activities.
The Downsides of Water Shoes.
Lack of arch support: They don’t provide as much support as regular or sport shoes since the sole is usually thin. Although, water shoes like Keen, Merrel, and Teva have a thicker sole, support better the feet.
Sand and Pebble get trapped in the shoes: Whether it’s open sandal design or mesh water shoes, sand and pebble get often trapped inside. Fortunately, water shoes are easy to slip on and off, making it easy to clean them.
There are all types of water shoes and if you know what features to look for, then it will be easier for you to choose the right pair. If you like to go barefoot, Vibram and Fila finger shoes will be perfect for you. If hiking and trekking are what you plan to do, Keen and Merrell are the most appropriate for these activities. And if it’s for strolling on the beach or do water activities, then you would want flexible and lighweight water shoes such as Speedo, Aleader, or Crocs. Keen is the best rated as it is the best seller on Amazon and there is a reason for this. The top pick is the Crocs Swiftwater water shoes because they are exceptional. They dry very fast, they provide excellent ventilation and drainage. You can not go wrong with these super comfy water shoes!
What are your preferred water shoes? Let me know in the comments below.
Daniella has been passionate about travel, the sea, 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 traveling with other passionate and adventurers who want to discover beautiful horizons and new cultures.