Best Water Shoes for Women

Updated October 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

20 Models Considered
7 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
203 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

Buying guide for best water shoes for women

Last Updated October 2019

Kayaking, swimming, and boating are all great ways to stay fit and have fun, but they can also lead to injured feet. You can wear your regular shoes into the water, but these get waterlogged quickly and that can lead to blisters and unpleasant odors. Fortunately, there are water shoes for women that are specially designed to provide traction and foot protection without these unpleasant side effects.

Choosing a water shoe for women is similar to choosing a regular shoe, but there are also some special considerations you must think about. Use the guide below to help you find the best water shoes for you so you can enjoy your water activities in comfort, and don’t forget to check out our top five picks.

Some water shoes appear to have laces that are actually only decorative and cannot be used to tighten the shoes. Read through the manufacturer's information and customer reviews carefully to see if this is the case for the water shoes you're interested in.

Key considerations

The two most important considerations when choosing a pair of women's water shoes are style and size. Taking the time to get it right will be worth it, and not only for your comfort.

Style

Traditional water shoes slip on like a sock and hug your feet snugly. These shoes should stay on during most activities, assuming you've purchased the right size, but in muddy areas or rougher waters, they could still slip off. If this is a concern, you may prefer lace-up water shoes. These are constructed more like tennis shoes and include laces so you can adjust the tightness of the shoe. Lace-up water shoes also provide more ankle support, so they're the better choice if you're going to be using your water shoes on land as well as in the water.

Size

Choosing the right size is important because it will prevent the shoe from rubbing against your foot uncomfortably or falling off in the water. Water shoes are sized the same way as regular shoes, so you shouldn't have too much trouble finding some that fit you perfectly. Some water shoe manufacturers may also have special sizes designed for people with wide or narrow feet. You'll see these denoted with a "W" or "N" after the size.

EXPERT TIP

Always check the size chart before purchasing water shoes. Some have a tendency to run small while others may run large.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

Here are some other factors to keep in mind when choosing the right water shoes for you:

Durability

Your water shoes should be made of a durable fabric that won't rip or tear easily if you catch on a rock. Water shoes that aren't durable will wear out quickly, forcing you to buy a new pair. You can develop a sense for how well the water shoes hold up over time by reading through customer reviews online.

Breathability

It's important that the water shoe is made from breathable fabrics that let water in and out easily. This helps the shoes to drain and dry out more quickly than traditional athletic shoes, preventing the buildup of mold and unpleasant odors. The upper part of a water shoe is usually made of a lightweight mesh material, but this can vary from one manufacturer to another.

Drying time

All water shoes will dry out more quickly than traditional athletic shoes, but some may take longer than others. To find out how long it will take for the water shoes you’re considering to dry out after they've been submerged, check out customer reviews. You're better off going with a faster-drying shoe if you're uncomfortable walking around in wet shoes on land.

Soles

Some water shoes have thicker outsoles than others. A thinner sole is fine if you're mostly going to be in the water or on soft terrain, but if you're trekking over rocky ground, you'll prefer a shoe with a thicker outsole to better protect your feet. You'll also want to pay attention to how much traction the outsole gives you if you're going to be traveling over slippery terrain.

Water shoe insoles may be fixed to the shoe or detachable. Detachable insoles can speed up drying time, but they may also be prone to slipping out of the shoes and may not hold up as well over time as those that are attached. It may take a little longer for water shoes with fixed insoles to dry out, but they tend to hold up better over the long term.

Water shoes can also help to shield your feet from the sun's harsh rays, preventing sunburns.

Toe and heel protection

Your water shoes may provide additional protection around the toe and the heel. Extra toe protection can help reduce pain if you accidentally stub your toe on a rock while heel cushioning can make the shoe more comfortable and help prevent blisters. Not all water shoes offer these features, though, so you may need to do a little more research if you're interested in them.

Insulation

Water shoes are not meant to keep out water entirely, but they can provide some insulation when you're in cold water. This isn't a necessary feature for most people, but it's worth thinking about if you intend to spend a lot of time in the water, especially during spring or fall. Read through customer reviews to see how well the water shoes you're interested in protect against the cold.

Color

Most women's water shoes are available in a variety of colors and patterns so you can choose the ones that best reflect your style. If you're concerned about how dirty they may get from being in the water, go with a darker color that won’t show dirt and mud as easily.

Price

Most water shoes for women cost under $25, but some high-end models go for as much as $50 or more. A higher price tag isn't always an indicator of better quality, though, so you should base your decision on the features, materials, and customer reviews of the shoes instead.

Tips

  • Allow your water shoes to dry out fully after wearing them in the water to prevent odors and mold growth.
  • If your water shoes have laces, always check them before going in the water to be sure that they are tied snugly so the shoe will not slip off.
  • Walk around in the shoes on land for a while after you buy them to make sure they’re comfortable before you take them in the water.
  • If small pebbles get stuck in the fabric of the shoe, rinse them out gently so they don't tear the mesh.
  • Err on the side of too small rather than too large if you're choosing a women's water shoe that doesn't have any laces or way to tighten them. Water shoes are usually made from stretchy fabrics, and if you choose a pair that's too loose, they could easily fall off your feet in the water.
EXPERT TIP

Go with a water shoe that offers solid ankle support if you intend to wear them while hiking.


Staff  | BestReviews

Other products we considered

The RYKA Women's Hydro Sport Water Cross-Training Shoe is a great option for those who want a versatile tennis shoe that works as well in the water as it does on land. It has a durable rubber outsole that provides excellent traction and has drainage ports to help release the water. The mesh upper is available in five colors and is chlorine-resistant. Users are surprised by how much support these water shoes provide and how lightweight they are, but they're also a little pricey, so they may not be worth the investment if you don't intend to use your water shoes often.

WateLves Women's Water Shoes are lightweight and flexible with a sturdy rubber outsole to provide traction on slippery surfaces. They're available in an impressive 44 designs and patterns, so you shouldn't have any trouble finding one that fits your style. Users love how comfortable they are, but if you intend to wear the shoes in rough, rocky terrain or while hiking, you may prefer something a little more rugged. Some customers have noted that these water shoes tend to run a little small, so consider ordering a size up. 

Water shoes are lightweight and breathable, which helps water drain from the shoes more quickly, eliminating that heavy, waterlogged feeling you get when you wear regular shoes in the water.

FAQ

Q. What are the benefits of water shoes?
A.
Water shoes protect your feet and provide traction and support just like regular shoes do, while also drying much faster and minimizing the risk of mold and odors.

Q. Can I wear water shoes on land?
A.
Yes, you can, but depending on what you're doing, you may want a shoe that offers a thicker outsole or better ankle support for use on land.

Q. What can you use water shoes for?
A.
Water shoes can be used for kayaking, canoeing, boating, swimming, fishing, and even hiking in wet areas. They're also a great choice for wearing to waterparks if you're concerned about the possible bacteria that could be lurking on wet floors.

The team that worked on this review
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Jennifer
    Jennifer
    Writer
  • Kailey
    Kailey
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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