The 11 Best Women’s Water Shoes for All Your Outdoor Activities

The Astral Loyak Sneakers are top choice for water sports

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Best Women’s Water Shoes

Verywell Fit / Chloe Jeong

Water shoes can benefit anyone from casual beach walkers to competitive water sports athletes. They protect feet from unpredictable impact and abrasion, as well as harsh temperatures like hot sand or cold lakes. A pair of water shoes adds a layer of cushion, providing comfort and absorption of impact.

Reviewed & Approved

We selected the Astral Loyak Sneakers as our best overall pick for their versatility, low profile, and light weight. The Columbia Women's Drainmaker IV Water shoe provides excellent traction for a good non-slip pick.

Water shoes have evolved to incorporate a range of features, from water drainage and thermal protection to arch support and underfoot traction. Not to mention, today's styles are much sleeker and are often designed to resemble a running or cross-training shoe. When reviewing water shoes, we evaluated each pick for drainage and breathability, traction, and overall foot protection.

Here are the best women's water shoes on the market.

Best Overall: Astral Loyak Sneakers

4.8
Astral Loyak Sneakers

Courtesy of Amazon

the Astral Loyak is our best overall pick for being an attractive and versatile shoe that caters to an aquatic lifestyle. Astral’s line of high-performance, technical footwear is designed to withstand constant soaking and wetness. From water sports to river walks,

This lightweight, low-profile shoe is highly flexible and performs well on both land and water with incredible traction. The Flex-Grip outsole is crafted from high-friction, sticky rubber that adheres to any surface. Drainage ports at the heel and toe prevent water from weighing down the shoe. The Loyak features a durable hydrophobic canvas upper, water-resistant laces, and a stretchy Airmesh vamp and tongue for ventilation and a secure fit.

Astral shoes deliver a barefoot, minimalist feel, with a level footbed and medium arch support. The removable EVA foam midsole provides the perfect balance of support and flexibility for a comfortable, stable walk, no matter the surface. This water shoe comes in a range of colors in women’s sizes 6 through 11.

Best Budget: EVERNOVEL Water Shoes

EVERNOVEL Water Shoes

Courtesy of Amazon

Want to test the waters with a pair of water shoes but not quite ready to take the financial plunge? See what all the hype is about with this affordable pair by EVERNOVEL. Suitable for any water, boat, or sand activity, EVERNOVEL Water Shoes offer protection and comfort wrapped in a sleek and sporty shoe.

These water shoes fit like a sock and are constructed from a breathable stretch mesh with a durable anti-slip rubber sole. Built-in drainage ports and shock absorption add an extra layer of comfort and lighten the load. This compact shoe is extremely lightweight and foldable for easy travel and storage.

Notably, these water shoes come in a wide range of sizes—women’s 4.5 through 12.5—and are available in six color combinations. EVERNOVEL suggests sizing up.

Best Non-Slip: Columbia Women’s Drainmaker IV Water Shoe

Columbia Drainmaker IV Shoes

Courtesy of Columbia

From soaking pool decks to slippery slopes, the Columbia Drainmaker IV Water Shoe provides the traction needed to keep one safe and feeling confident during outdoor activities

Resembling a running shoe, the Drainmaker IV provides both cushion and stability for maximum comfort. This model is well-suited for wet and dry conditions, from hiking and sailing to wading in the ocean and water fitness classes. 

This shoe provides excellent traction on slippery surfaces, utilizing Columbia's Omni-Grip technology with a non-marking wet grip outsole and razor siping for no-slip wear. The open mesh upper provides a quick-drying, breathable fit, while midsole ports enhance airflow and allow water to drain from the shoe.

The Drainmaker IV is available in various neutral-based color combinations in women’s sizes 5 through 12, including in half sizes. 

Best Sandal: KEEN Women's Newport H2 Sandals

4.9
Keen Newport

Zappos

The KEEN Newport H2 combines the breathability of a sandal with the durability and protection of a closed-toe shoe. KEEN’s patented toe guard wraps up and over the toes for full protection during aquatic adventures. The contoured footbed provides optimal arch support and eliminates foot odor through prebiotic technology, which naturally breaks down odor found in sweat. 

KEEN’s signature lace capture system provides a secure, adjustable fit. The hydrophobic, quick-dry lining is breathable and won't absorb water or weigh down the shoe. The razor-siped rubber outsole provides maximum traction on wet and dry terrain. 

This sandal is available in various colors and prints in women's sizes 5 through 11, including in half sizes. KEEN suggests ordering a half size up as this style runs small.

KEEN Women's Newport H2 Sandals

Verywell Fit / Stephanie Vermillion

What Our Testers Say

“These shoes have a closed-toe design. This is especially important for hiking because it keeps me from nicking my toes while rock scrambling. Plus, weighing just 10.5 ounces, I was shocked by how lightweight and bouncy these shoes felt for the entirety of my three-mile hike.” Stephanie Vermillion, Verywell writer and product tester 

Best for Water Aerobics: Ryka Hydro Sport Water Shoe

Water Shoe

Searching for a supportive shoe tailored to water fitness classes? The Ryka Hydro Sport is a durable and waterproof option, perfect for the aquatic demands of water aerobics. With a cross-trainer build, it provides the ideal mix of stability and comfort.

Designed with a compression-molded EVA midsole and a sturdy rubber foam outsole, this shoe delivers excellent traction and cushioning for all pool and water activities. The Ryka Hydro Sport also includes a removable cushioned insole for maximum comfort.

This quick-drying water shoe is built to last, using chlorine-friendly, breathable materials. Drainage ports throughout the midsole eliminate water from pooling inside, keeping athletes light on their feet. A lightly padded tongue, heel collar, and extra-long laces keep the shoe secure on the foot during exercise.

The Ryka Hydro Sport is available in various color combinations in women’s sizes 5 through 12. 

Best for Hiking: Chaco Odyssey Hiking Shoe

ChacoOdyssey Sandal - Women's

Courtesy of Backcountry

From land to sea adventures, the durable Chaco Odyssey delivers maximum stability and protection. This closed-toe sandal features Chaco's beloved contoured LUVSEAT Footbed with an antimicrobial layer for all-day, odor-free comfort. The non-marking ChacoGrip rubber outsole ensures all-terrain wet traction, well-suited for hikes, rivers, and slippery surfaces.

This lightweight, pull-on style features a quick-drying, breathable mesh upper that secures an adjustable ladder lock buckle. The shoe is available in a variety of color combinations in women’s sizes 5 through 12. For half sizes, it's recommended to size up.

Best Slip-On: Aleader Women's Mesh Slip-On Water Shoes

Aleader Women's Mesh Slip-On Water Shoes

Courtesy of Amazon

Slip on a pair of Aleader water shoes and conquer the great outdoors! These lightweight shoes are durable, offering stellar grip and protection. Rubber pods are strategically positioned in high-wear areas for greater traction. 

Constructed using a soft, breathable mesh, Aleader shoes offer superior drainage, eliminating unwanted drag. The cushioned EVA midsole is comfortable and responsive, adding an airy bounce to one's step. Designed using Xdrain technology, the insole absorbs nearly 50-percent of water, enabling the shoe to dry faster. Additional holes in the outsole allow for maximum water drainage. 

These slip-on shoes include a pull loop for easy on and off, with some styles featuring an adjustable elastic lacing system. This water shoe comes in various bright and neutral color combinations, in women's sizes 5 through 11.

Best Aqua Socks: NeoSport 2mm Neoprene Water Sock

NeoSport 2mm Neoprene Water Sock

Courtesy of Walmart

NeoSport, known for its thermal protective water sports gear collection, offers a line of neoprene socks—commonly known as aqua or water socks. Aqua socks are popular among snorkelers and divers, protecting bare skin from rubbing against their fins. Ocean swimmers also wear aqua socks for an extra layer of warmth and protection, especially from jellyfish stings and unexpected sharp objects. 

This aqua sock is constructed from soft four-way stretch neoprene, delivering a shield of protection for ankles and feet. A durable traction sole adds grip to slippery decks and surfaces, preventing slips and falls.

These socks are available in both high and low-top styles. High-top socks are commonly worn in addition to wetsuit boots or water shoes for warmth.

For a bonus, one can use these versatile aqua socks in the wintertime to keep toes toasty. NeoSport's 2mm Neoprene Water Sock comes in black in unisex sizes 4 to 16.

Best Dressy: Sea Star Beachwear Espadrille Water Shoe

Sea Star Beachwear Espadrille Water Shoe

Courtesy of Amazon

Effortlessly transition from the beach to dinner with these classic espadrilles that double as water shoes—talk about a double threat! Made from a water-friendly, quick-drying neoprene, these shoes are light and breathable, drying in only 15 minutes.

The Sea Star Beachwear Beachcomber Espadrille Water Shoe provides ample cushioning and protection with a non-marking, non-skid rubber boat shoe sole. Designed for a snug fit, the shoes stay secure, even while swimming.

They're available in a variety of colors and prints in women’s sizes 6 through 11. For half sizes, it's recommended to size up.

Best Quick-Drying: Aleader Women's Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes

Aleader Women's Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes

Courtesy of Amazon

If you're moving from the water to different terrain, you'll appreciate quick-drying shoes, which is why the Aleader Women's Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes are so popular. The shoes offer breathability, durability, and ventilated quick-drying fabric. The durable air mesh upper and punctuated soles give the foot a chance to breathe. 

The midsole is high-quality and lightweight, offering outstanding bounce-back and durability. The sock liner produces ideal cushioning performance, creating a cooler, drier, and healthier shoe.

Those who have worn the shoes say they dry relatively fast, with the shoes only slightly damp after an hour, and completely dry overnight. This water shoe comes in 24 bright and neutral color combinations in women's sizes 6 through 11.

Best for Beach: Speedo Tidal Cruiser

Speedo Tidal Cruiser

Courtesy of Speedo

This lightweight slip-on water shoe is perfect for beach days, protecting feet from hot sand and sharp rocks, while also adding an extra layer of comfort. Crafted from a quick-drying, ventilated mesh, the Speedo Tidal Cruiser promotes water drainage, keeping the shoe light and secure. This model is sleek and flexible, making it easy to pack and carry.

A neoprene collar and pull tabs make it easy to slip on and off while keeping the shoe secure while in the water. The padded footbed and rubber outsole provide comfort and stability, along with confidence and protection from the elements.

The Speedo Tidal Cruiser is available in a range of neutral colors in women's sizes 5 through 11.

Final Verdict

The Columbia Women’s Drainmaker IV Water Shoe supplies premium support and cushioning with top-quality traction and foot protection. Equipped with a mesh upper and midsole drainage ports, water flows freely through the shoe, keeping feet light and supported during water activities. It is a solid choice for anyone looking for a cushioned, thick-soled water shoe for a variety of terrains and activities. 

What to Look for in Water Shoes 

Traction

For hiking and river activities, finding a shoe with extra grip and traction is critical. Durable outsoles with razor siping (thin slits in the rubber sole) offer superior traction, helping you gain secure footing on slippery surfaces, as well as expel excess water.

Drainage and Breathability

Water shoes require the ability for water to flow in and out freely in order to keep the shoe light and reduce hydrodynamic drag. Many styles are made with a breathable, quick-drying mesh material to keep feet cool. Additional drainage ports are sometimes designed into the sole, providing more efficient drainage.

Protection

A quality water shoe must incorporate top-of-foot and toe protection. Whether it’s a closed-toe shoe or a sandal with a rubber toe guard, be sure to find a style that offers 360-degree protection.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the benefits of water shoes?

    Water shoes provide protection for your feet and can help you perform at your best. They provide protection against hot surfaces and sharp objects, and can help prevent stubbed toes. Full coverage water shoes block damaging UV rays from the sun and prevent sunburn.

    When walking on slippery surfaces like rocks, logs, water equipment, boat decks, and the like, water shoes provide traction and support. Mesh material keeps feet cool, and in cold water will provide insulation and keep feet warm. A water shoe with cushioning will provide comfort for long days on your feet.

  • How do you clean water shoes?

    To clean water shoes, fill a large clean bucket or sink with lukewarm water and 1 tablespoon dish soap, hand soap, shampoo, or laundry detergent. Loosen shoe strings, Velcro, buckles, or any other loose parts of the shoe.

    Add your shoes to the soapy water and allow to soak. Then add a half cup of baking soda to the water. Allow shoes to soak an additional 20 to 30 minutes.

    Using a sponge or toothbrush, thoroughly scrub your shoes inside and out, including the crevices. If the shoes have not come clean, allow them to soak a little longer.

    Rinse the shoes with warm water. It's important to allow the shoes to dry completely. If possible, put them out in the sun to dry. Otherwise, a hair dryer works well.

    If smell persists after shoes are dry, sprinkle some baking soda into the shoes or place a dryer sheet inside to absorb remaining moisture and odor.

  • How long do water shoes last?

    A good quality pair of water shoes could last from 8 to 12 months, especially if you care for them properly. If you don't wear them frequently, you could get up to 5 years of wear out of them.

  • Do water shoes keep sand out?

    Some water shoes do keep sand out. If this is something you need in a water shoe, look for a shoe with fabric that wraps entirely around your feet without breaks or spaces.

Why Trust Verywell Fit

Emily Stone has found thick-soled water shoes to be the most comfortable, offering cushion and shock absorption for water fitness and beach days. Her favorite pair is the Speedo Surf Knit Ultra, and for cold summer days on Lake Michigan, Emily adds a pair of NeoSport 2mm neoprene water socks.

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