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Which water shoes are best for summer fun

Swimming in lakes, rivers and oceans is great fun until you step on an urchin, slip on wet rocks or have to struggle across a rocky bed. Water shoes protect your feet from unknown hazards below the water and provide traction on slippery surfaces.    

Thanks to their quick-drying materials, you can get them wet and they'll dry out before you know it. Some can even transition from hiking use to water use. 

What are water shoes? 

Water shoes are lightweight shoes made from mesh or other material that dries out quickly after getting wet. The soles are made from rubber to protect the feet and provide grip. They're designed for use in water where it may not be safe or practical to go barefoot — for instance, on rocky beaches or in rivers where there could be sharp debris in the bed. 

They're sturdy enough to walk in, but light enough to swim in. That said, some aren't comfortable to walk in if you'll be going more than short to middle distances.

What to look for in water shoes

Laces vs. no laces

Some versions have laces and some do without, instead fitting tightly to the foot like a sock. 

  • Laces: Shoes with laces can be adjusted to fit more tightly, which is great for use on muddy beds or rough water. They're often slightly bulkier than those without laces, which is good if you also want to walk in them but can make swimming trickier. 
  • No laces: These types are the lightest and least bulky. They're great for swimming in and dry extremely quickly. However, if you don't get a good fit, they're more prone to sliding off than those with laces. 


Since they're sold in standard shoe sizes, it's easy enough to find the right size. The only real difference between water shoes for women and water shoes for men is the size range they're available in. Generally, sizing is accurate, but this can vary between brands, so check reviews to see if other buyers recommend sizing up or down. 

If you wear a half size, it's usually better to size down than up when faced with that decision, especially in the case of water shoes without laces. They're typically made from fairly stretchy material, so they're likely to fit if they're slightly small but may slide off if they're slightly big. 


Think about how much grip the sole provides and how thick it is. Both these factors are important in a water shoe. 

  • Grip: Soles should have treads in them to provide traction. The deeper the treads, the grippier the shoes and the better they'll do on wet rocks and similarly slippery surfaces. 
  • Thickness: Thicker soles offer better protection from underwater hazards, such as sea urchins, sharp stones or broken glass. 

Best water shoes without laces

Barerun Barefoot Quick-Dry Water Sports Shoes

These shoes fit snugly and are comfortable to wear for long periods, so they're great for full days of swimming and exploring. The thick soles provide ample protection from sharp objects as well as plenty of traction.

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Body Glove Men’s 3T Barefoot Cinch Water Shoe

With a three-toe design, these shoes have a barefoot feel, which can help you more easily climb rocks and remain stable on slippery surfaces. They come in men's sizes 7-12, so they won't work for people with small feet.

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Metog Quick-Dry Water Shoes

Thanks to the lightweight design, you'll barely feel like you're wearing water shoes. They aren't the most durable and the sole could be thicker, but they're great for occasional use and extremely reasonably priced.

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Body Glove Women’s Horizon Water Shoes

The Velcro top strap lets you get a snug fit to keep these shoes in place whatever the activity, while the sole is grippy and protective. They're designed for people with feet on the smaller side, coming in women's sizes 7-11.

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Konikit Quick-Dry Aqua Socks

Fitting more like socks than shoes, these are perfect for anyone who wants to be as unencumbered as possible while swimming. They dry extra quickly and the soles offer traction and protection from anything sharp underwater.

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Simari Water Shoes

Lightweight and breathable, your feet won't overheat in these shoes and you can go about your activities feeling like you're practically barefoot. They come in a huge range of colors and designs, from plain black to those with rainbow or palm tree prints.

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Best water shoes with laces

Racqua Water Shoes

Although these shoes have a snug slip-on design, they also feature laces that tighten with a toggle to keep them in place. The non-slip sole offers plenty of grip on wet surfaces, while the mesh material is breathable and quick-drying.

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Simari Lace-Up Water Shoes

The soles of these shoes come further up around the sides than they do on most versions without laces, offering more protection from sharp objects. With drainage holes in the base and a light mesh upper, they dry off quickly.

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Ubfen Swim Shoes

Thanks to slip-resistant and durable soles, you can easily wear these shoes for walking followed by a stint in the water. The toggle laces help get a secure fit for easier swimming.

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Suokeni Women’s Quick-Drying Slip-On Water Shoes

With thick, sturdy soles, these look more like regular sneakers than water shoes, making them great for hiking as well as getting in the water. Although they slip on, they have laces with a toggle to tighten them.

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Seekway Water Shoes

The thick sole is great for protecting your feet in the water and also provides plenty of grip, with a wear-resistant non-slip design. The toggle laces tighten to keep these shoes securely on your feet.

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Maxome Quick-Dry Water Shoes

The lightweight mesh material is breathable and dries quickly, while the rubber soles are flexible yet protective. The honeycomb inner soles and drainage holes help them completely dry out in no time.

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Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.

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