Best Water Shoes | Diving, Snorkeling & Outdoor Activities


Me walking on rocks as water shoe test

If you’re a lover of the outdoors you may want to consider water shoes as part of your essential gear.

Water shoes provide protection, prevent sand friction, and keep your feet safe from sea urchins. Combat wet and slippery surfaces, stay safe from sharp rocks and enjoy pure comfort whilst you’re out at sea, hiking or walking the beach with shoes made specifically for water sports.

I look at the best water shoes – find out everything you need to know and how to pick the exact type of water shoe you need for your hobby.

Discover the pair of water shoes sure to make your life easier – step confidently on wet rocks, on the beach or enjoy them on the boat before a dive.

Here’s a quick look at list of the best water shoes:

    1. Crocs Swiftwater Mesh – Best Water Shoes Overall

    2. Fourth Element Rock Hopper – Best for Scuba Divers

    3. Tusa Sport Aqua – Best for Snorkeling

    4. Merrell All Out Blaze Sieve – Best for wet rocks

    5. Lakeland Active – Best for budget

    6. Vivo Esc Tempest – Best for barefoot style

    7. Speedo Surfwalker 3.0 – Minimalistic & great value

    8. Astral Loyak Water Shoes – Best arch support

    9. Adidas Terrex – Most Recognised brand

    10. Vibram Signa – Most versatile & Barefoot style

Best Water Shoes for Snorkeling

The best water shoe for snorkeling are the Tusa Sport Aqua shoes- that’s because they are lightweight, easy to pull on and off and have a rubber outsole to protect your feet from sea urchins.

Best Water Shoes for Sea Urchins

Check out the diving shoes and the snorkeling shoes – both of them have been designed to help you avoid standing on any unwanted danger sure to cause pain, and that includes sea urchins. Use the Tusa Sport shoes or the Fourth Element Rock Hoppers for protection.

Stepping on sea urchins is never fun, take it from me – I have seen firsthand how damaging it can be if not treated and I have also experienced the pain of standing on one, although mine healed fast.

Best Water Shoes for Diving

There are a number of great water shoes for diving – this entire list is made up of shoes compatible for diving. The best water shoes for scuba diving are the Fourth Element shoes, you can easily jump in the water and change into your fins before descending.

They work when walking the beach, sometimes, the water entry varies and you will want protection from the beach rocks, the heat of the sand and urchins.

Best Water Shoes for Men

Most handpicked water shoes are unisex, but the Crocs Swiftwater shoes are the best choice for men due to their fit and compatibility for wide feet. With that said, women can enjoy these shoes too – just be sure to check the sizing.

Best Water Shoes for Women

In terms of look, weight and overall feel – the best water shoes for women are the Lakeland Active shoes. They come with a beautiful design and are super comfortable. I do believe that the Crocs Swiftwaters can also be used by women too.

The Lakeland Active pair comes with a great price tag too – they are cheap, comfortable and easy to slip on.

Best Water Shoes #1
Crocs Swiftwater Shoes
5.0
£43.33
Pros:
  • Lightweight (Only weighs 20.5 grams approx)
  • Easy to slip on
  • Quick drying, durable and specialist comfort
Cons:
  • Not a style for everybody
  • They need wearing in and aren't comfortable on first wear
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08/17/2022 12:01 am GMT

Crocs are renowned for their comfort and long-lasting quality, but these shoes have been expertly designed for outdoor activities, making them the choice to combat slippery rocks.

You can walk comfortably to the boat before scuba diving or use them for hiking in warm weather – they’re versatile and are not only waterproof but come with lots of protection.

A breathable mesh upper, a rubber sole and a lightweight design make these water shoes a fantastic pick for all types of adventures; they’re easy to slip on and off before diving and are resilient to weather, surfaces and overall wear and tear.

Many have used the Crocs Men’s Swiftwater Mesh slip on shoes for paddleboarding and other water sports, which confirms how durable and waterproof these textile shoes can be.

Keep your feet safe from blisters and cuts with complete functionality. Something you’ll notice is that they are simple, but they do specialise in quality, you feel this from the moment you pull them on.

Not only are they waterproof and provide ample protection from beach rocks, but they are lightweight too – a rare combination. You will feel as though you’re walking on clouds with this pick.

It says they’re for men – if you can get your size, I urge you to try them.

Specifications

Best for Scuba Diving
Fourth Element Rock Hopper Water Shoe
4.5
Pros:
  • Heel reinforcement
  • Almost 90% recycled material
  • Fin strap retainer if using them to dive too
  • Good value for money
Cons:
  • Aren't designed long hikes
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Merrell has been a recognised brand in the hiking world for 26 years – and that’s why these water shoes are great for walking. Use on dry land, boat decks, river walking or muddy trails.

They’re a versatile shoe and can combat not only river crossings but rough terrain of mountains too – some reviewers have even talked about walking Ben Nevis in these water shoes. They keep your feet warm and equally keep your feet cool with drainage holes.

These fully-functional shoes work as summer shoes that allow you to hike. They possess Vibram soles TC5, waterproof leather upper, and M-Select Fresh technology that eliminates sweat.

I noticed that they don’t get much sand stuck in the shoes and also have protective toe features with a closed-toe design. The toe also offers drainage ports making it comfortable when sweating.

They have been labelled as Men’s water shoe, but I think these also work fine for women, as long as you like the style.

Specifications

Best for Snorkeling
Tusa Sport Aqua Shoe
4.5
Pros:
  • Easy to get on and off, even when wet
  • Can be tightened with the toggle at the heel
  • Perfect for all ages
Cons:
  • Size can come up a bit big, so downsize if unsurev
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This brand is known for its Tusa masks and other dive ranges. These shoes are probably the most lightweight and fastest-drying water shoe option that can be used in various water-based activities. 

They offer good protection from any cuts and bruises that may be acquired when exploring rock pools and coastal outcrops.

I love the drawstring toggle feature that allows you to tighten the shoe fit a bit more if needed.

These shoes are perfect if you want to budget, lightweight water shoes to avoid hot sand and give you a grip on wet surfaces. They won’t keep you safe against urchin spikes, rocks or muddy trails, but they are great for snorkeling.

Has snorkeling ever piqued your interest? So it should, you can check out the best snorkel fins for beginners.

 

Specifications

Best for Slippery Rocks
Merrell Men's All Out Blaze Sieve Low Rise Hiking Shoes
4.5
£83.66
Pros:
  • Very durable and easily endure the sea and sand
  • Ultra-grip
  • Anti slip and lightweight
  • Premium Neoprene
Cons:
  • It takes over a week to break them in
  • More expensive than most others that I have listed
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08/17/2022 12:02 am GMT

Merrell has been a recognised brand in the hiking world for 26 years – and that’s why these water shoes are great for walking. Use on dry land, boat decks, river walking or muddy trails.

They’re a versatile shoe and can combat not only river crossings but rough terrain of mountains too – some reviewers have even talked about walking Ben Nevis in these water shoes. They keep your feet warm and equally keep your feet cool with drainage holes.

These fully-functional shoes work as summer shoes that allow you to hike. They possess Vibram soles TC5, waterproof leather upper, and M-Select Fresh technology that eliminates sweat.

I noticed that they don’t get much sand stuck in the shoes and also have protective toe features with a closed toe design. The toe also offers drainage ports making it comfortable when sweating.

They have been labelled as Men’s water shoe, but I think these also work fine for women, as long as you like the style.

Specifications

Best on a Budget
Lakeland Active Eden Aquasport Water Shoes
4.0
£9.99
Pros:
  • Cheap & cheerful
  • Easy to pull on
  • Super comfortable
Cons:
  • Won't last longer than a few months
  • Sole wears down quick
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08/17/2022 12:02 am GMT

Lakeland Actives are budget water shoes in sizes for men, women and kids. There are no complex features, they are simple slip-on water shoes.

Lightweight, thin soles and a toggle fastening make these shoe ideal for summer fun. Use them in cold water; they work similar to aqua socks but with more protection. Although this shoe protects feet, it certainly won’t be winning awards for running shoes. They’re a simplistic design.

A criticism of these shoes is that they don’t let your feet breathe, and they do not have full foot protection, but they do work perfectly for some outdoor activities. Cover your entire foot with this snug fit and quick drying mesh fabric.

Specifications

Best for Barefoot Style
Vivo Barefoot Water Shoes
4.0
£174.26
Pros:
  • High quality
  • Secure fit​
  • Water socks cuffs​
  • Can be used as a running shoe​
Cons:
  • Difficult to get on
  • No drainage ports
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Vivo is known for their barefoot designs; they are a good quality pair of water shoes and are there for foot support. The ethos of the brand is to naturally nurture our feet with wide-fit shoes and no drop heel – ensuring the snug fit is as natural as possible.

These shoes and the brand have been used for running and are super-flexible. It has a breathable upper and only weighs 342 grams.

There’s lots of grip that can be used on wet surfaces, wet rock and uneven terrain. Another bonus is that these eco-friendly shoes are made from recycled materials.

They offer thermal protection, are quick drying and are famous as technical footwear – but they do not come cheap. These are for those that have already heard of Vivo and barefoot running/walking, if not, these could be overkill for what’s required.

Specifications

Easy to Travel
Speedo Men's Surfwalker Pro Mesh Water Shoe
4.0
£44.03
Pros:
  • Super comfortable for beach days
  • Great for snorkeling or boat decks
Cons:
  • For slender feet
  • Not the fastest at drying
  • Won't last as long as others
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Effortlessly slip on these minimalistic water shoes by Speedo. 

They’re another experienced brand that knows how to protect you on sandy beache. These water shoes have lots of colour options for both men and women. 

They dry super-quick and also let no sand in at all. These shoes are breathable, fitted and expand with stretchy material and breathable mesh. 

The downfall of these shoes has to be in relation to the sole, it’s solid enough, but it isn’t a tough rubber sole. With that said, they do have sticky rubber to offer enough grip for beaches and slippery surfaces. These will be a great option for a few months, but if you’re wearing them daily, then you won’t get much longer out of them.

It’s a good job that they are affordable for a great price at Amazon. Click the button above and find out more about these ideal aqua shoes for the wet and dry.

Specifications

Best Arch Support
Astral Loyak Sports Shoes
4.0
£84.95
Pros:
  • Very comfortable for walking
  • Stylish
  • Great quality
Cons:
  • I don't understand laces on water shoes
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08/17/2022 12:00 am GMT

Astral Loyak water shoes stand out from the crowd and are the best choice of water shoes with arch support.

They have a rubber sole that protects you from slippery surfaces and can also give you foot protection during your favourite water sports.

These technical shoes are famous for being versatile with the specialised Flex-Grip™ outsole that makes them comfortable for all outdoor activities. Embrace these stylish water shoes – that showcase a minimalistic design and can be enjoyed as everyday wear.

Despite the look, they do come with a breathable mesh upper and have quick drying technology. 

Specifications

Most Recognised Brand
Adidas Men's Terrex Climacool Water Shoes
3.5
£51.57
Pros:
  • Perfect fit and very comfortable​
  • Understated and stylish​
  • Flexible and durable
Cons:
  • Not the best drainage
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Is there anything Adidas can’t do? They seem to have footwear in every sport..

These water shoes are similar to the Speedo Surfwalkers and look more like sports shoes. You can make the most of the slip on style, allowing you easily slip them on and off when needed. This has been perfect for me on the beach or before setting off for a dive.

They’re compact, lightweight and fit nicely. These Adidas shoes prevent any sand getting in and also boast ‘effective moisture management’- in other words they dry quick and are resistant to salt water.

If you want breathable, comfy and lightweight shoes then check out these Adidas water shoes at Amazon. 

Specifications

Most Versatile Barefoot Shoe
Vibram Signa Water Shoes
4.0
£58.20
Pros:
  • Flexible Sole​
  • Good for overall health & versatile use
  • Abrasion resistant
Cons:
  • Although I get the idealogy, I'm not a fan of the look
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Vibram are known for its attention to detail. This pair of Athletic Water Shoe have been innovatively designed for boats and to keep water at bay. 

They will dry quick, prevent friction burns and are super-comfortable. This famous brand are renowned for foot health. They make it so that your feet can thrive, rather than heel striking, they create a “bare-foot” style

Get all the benefits of barefoot walking with the added protection. These are stylish and also great for walks, runs and even the gym too. 

Sure to last and withstand all weather with quick dry features. You will be using these for more than the boat.

Specifications

Can Water Shoes Be Used for Walking?

Water shoes can also be used for walking, although if you’re taking on a vigorous hike then be sure to pick out the right pair of water shoes – such as the Merrell All Out Blaze or Crocs Swiftwater sandals that I’ve listed.

It’s vital to have a solid grip, rubber outsole tough enough to take on sharp rocks and toe protection.

Then participating in outdoor sports such as hiking, diving, swimming or snorkelling, you will want to ensure that your feet are protected. 

Here are sports or activities that require water shoes:

  • Snorkeling

  • Kayaking

  • Scuba diving 

  • Wild Swimming

  • Walking

  • Hiking

  • Days at the beach

If you do enjoy lots of outdoor water sports then you may also want to check out the best waterproof changing robes, I’ve found them super useful and versatile.

What I Look For in Water Shoes

Water shoes should offer ample protection against the elements and all surfaces. Water shoes in my opinion should remain versatile and be perfect for what you need them for.

Here are features that you should be looking for when buying water shoes.

Sole Protection

Most water shoes come with a rubber outsole, that’s because rubber soles offer protection against the sand, sharp rocks, pebbles and sea urchins.

Be sure to check the grip of the water shoe before you purchase, you will want it to suit your adventures. If you’re going to be hiking across precarious land then you’ll want something sustainable and durable.

Quick Drying

Having quick drying material is a must – although all water shoes should be quick drying, you’ll want to check my review. Some shoes dry quicker than others, the Crocs tend to drain fast and are dry before you know it!

Comfort

Again, comfort should not be compromised. These shoes are all about comfort, you want something easy to slip on and they should be able to be used for either snorkeling, walking or scuba diving.

Comfort comes down to preference, do you want a flat water shoe? Maybe you want a bare foot style with a wide fit? There are also bulky shoes with openings that keep your feet cool, you name it, it’s out there.

Slip On Water Shoes

Speaking of comfort, slip on water shoes are great. You can easily slip them on and off making it easy when on the beach or wild swimming.

Most water shoe options come with stretchy material that snaps back and remains snug. They offer the same convenience as flip flops but with added protection and quality.

Toggle Fastenings

Choose the fastening that best suits you, I believe the toggle fastenings are best. They make it easy to quickly fasten on the move and toggles are unintrusive.

Breathable

Shoes can keep your feet warm and equally keep them cool – they won’t ever meet the breathability of flip flops but they’re a lot cooler than other shoes.

Can You Swim with Water Shoes?

You can swim in water shoes but it’s best to ensure that you have a water show with an integrated drainage system, that they’re quick-drying and are a tight fit.

Something I’d like to bring to your ATTENTION –  It’s great to feel comfortable in water shoes, but not enough so, that you walk on coral and disturb other marine life, please be mindful when in snorkeling water sites or any other spot 🙂

Why Get Water Shoes?

Water shoes are ideal for lots of water sports because they protect your feet from hot sand, sharp rocks and wet, blisters and slippery conditions. They’re also comfortable and save you constantly putting your shoes back on, instead enjoy water shoes with a slip on design, making your life easier.

They will also help protect you from stings from sand dwelling creatures like sea urchins.  Sea urchin stings are extremely common, but by wearing water shoes, you lessen the amount of damage that could be caused to your foot!  For more information on sea urchins and what to look out form make sure you read my blog – sea urchin sting in foot – what you should know.

Don’t buy any old shoes, instead get your hands on a water shoe that will serve you. You want a rubber durable sole, a slip-on design and water drainage that allows your feet to dry quickly in between snorkeling, dives or other water activities. 

Whether you are chilling at the beach or taking on dream scuba diving sites, be sure to be prepared. 

Do Water Shoes Have Good Grip?

Yes – water shoes offer extra grip for the beach, boat or on rocks.

The whole point of having water shoes is to protect your feet, allow them to dry quick and also offer extra grip. Find rubber outsoles and sturdy designs, as you can see from our top choice – crocs men’s swiftwater mesh, there are lots of grippy water shoe options.

My Verdict

By no means are these essential. I wouldn’t put them in my top 10 dive essentials, nonetheless, they are useful and comfortable. There are lots of pros to having good water shoes, including all that we have mentioned above. If you’re on a budget, then I would say leave these for now and buy your dive boots and other gear.

If you are looking for other products that I find invaluable for dive trips, check out my trial and review of the best water backpacks!

Katy Jane

Thank you for reading. I started KatyJaneDives.com to share my passion for diving. I am an environmental educator, scientist and now an MSDT diver. This platform has been made to create, connect and share my knowledge in the world of diving.

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