10 Best Women’s Water Shoes for All Your Outdoor Activities

The Astral Loyak Sneakers are lightweight and versatile for all 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, absorption of impact, and traction.

Reviewed & Approved

We selected the Astral Loyak Sneakers as our best overall pick for their durable canvas, versatility, low profile, and light weight. We also like Zhuanglin Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes, which are quick-drying, lightweight, and budget-friendly.

Water shoes have evolved to incorporate a range of features, from water drainage and thermal protection to arch support and underfoot traction. Most water shoes are designed to handle a variety of water sports, but you should consider what you need them for most when shopping. For example, "For kayaking, low profile footwear that has traction for muddy shores, stays on swimming or wading, and won't catch on anything inside the kayak is ideal," Sunny Pitcher, Founder of Potomac Paddlesports and ACA-Certified Instructor, says.

When selecting the best water shoes for women, we evaluated each pick based on drainage, breathability, traction, and overall foot protection.

Based on our research, here are the best women's water shoes on the market.

Best Overall: Astral Loyak Sneakers

4.8
Astral Loyak Sneakers

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Lightweight and flexible

  • Vegan materials

  • Wide toe box for stability

Cons
  • Some find them difficult to get on and off

  • Expensive

Who else recommends it? Wirecutter also picked Astral Loyak Sneakers.

Who else recommends it? 89% of 150+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.

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

Astral shoes deliver a barefoot, minimalist feel, with a level footbed and medium arch support. This lightweight, low-profile shoe is highly flexible and performs well on both land and water with incredible traction. The removable EVA foam midsole provides the perfect balance of support and flexibility for a comfortable, stable walk, no matter the surface. The Flex-Grip outsole is crafted from high-friction, sticky rubber that adheres to any surface. It also has drainage ports at the heel and toe to prevent water from weighing down the shoe. 

The Astral Loyak features a durable, hydrophobic canvas upper, water-resistant laces, and a stretchy mesh vamp and tongue for ventilation and a secure fit. They come in a range of colors in women’s sizes 6 through 11.

Materials: Canvas, Rubber | Closure: Lace-up | Sizes: Women's 6-11 | Toe Coverage: Closed-toe

Best Budget: Zhuanglin Women's Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes

Zhuanglin Women's Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes

Amazon

Pros
  • Great traction

  • Open mesh is breathable and quick-drying

  • Adjustable shoelaces

Cons
  • Sole may not be stiff enough for walking on rough terrain

Test the waters with these lightweight, stylish, and affordable shoes. This pair offers great traction for walking in the water or along the shore, plus adjustable shoelaces so you can find the perfect fit. The breathable mesh upper dries quickly, so you won't have to wait to use these for hiking or walking on your next trip.

We also like that these water shoes feature plenty of cushioning. The durable, supportive midsole is both soft and durable for a sneaker-like shoe that's comfortable to wear and can withstand off-road adventures. A sockliner ensures that your feet stay cool and dry all day long.

Choose from over 25 bright color combinations in standard and some half sizes between 6 and 11.

Materials: Fabric mesh, Rubber | Closure: Elastic lace-up | Sizes: Women's 6-11, including some half sizes | Toe Coverage: Closed-toe

Best Sandal: KEEN Women's Newport H2 Sandals

4.9
Keen Newport

Zappos

Pros
  • Machine washable

  • Wrap-around toe guard

  • Anti-odor technology

Cons
  • Not very breathable

  • Runs small

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. 

We like that KEEN’s signature lace capture system provides a secure, adjustable fit and that the razor-siped rubber outsole provides maximum traction on wet and dry terrain. It has a hydrophobic, quick-dry lining that is breathable and won't absorb water or weigh down the shoe. This shoe features a contoured footbed that provides optimal arch support and eliminates foot odor through prebiotic technology, which naturally breaks down odor found in sweat. 

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.

Materials: Polyester mesh, Rubber | Closure: Elastic lace-up | Sizes: Women's 5-11, including half sizes | Toe Coverage: Closed-toe

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 3-mile hike.” —Stephanie Vermillion, Verywell writer and product tester 

Best Dressy: Sea Star Beachwear Espadrille Water Shoe

4.6
Sea Star Beachwear Espadrille Water Shoe

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Quick-drying

  • Non-marking soles

Cons
  • No half sizes available

Effortlessly transition from the beach to dinner with these classic espadrilles that double as water shoes. Made from a water-friendly, quick-drying neoprene, we love that 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, we recommend sizing up.

Materials: Neoprene, Rubber | Closure: Slip-on | Sizes: Women's 6-11 | Toe Coverage: Closed-toe

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

4.4
Aleader Women's Mesh Slip-On Water Shoes

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Lightweight

  • Quick-drying

  • Easy to slip on and off

Cons
  • Sand can get in through the mesh upper

Slip on a pair of Aleader Water Shoes and conquer the great outdoors with stellar grip and protection. We love that these shoes feature rubber pods that are strategically positioned in high-wear areas for greater traction. We also like that the cushioned EVA midsole is comfortable and responsive, adding an airy bounce to your step.  

Constructed using a soft, breathable mesh, Aleader shoes include a network of drainage holes on the outsole and an insole that absorbs nearly 50 percent of the water taken in, enabling the shoe to dry faster.

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.

Materials: Mesh, Rubber | Closure: Slip-on | Sizes: Women's 5-11 | Toe Coverage: Closed-toe

Best for Water Aerobics: Ryka Hydro Sport Water Shoe

4.2
Water Shoe
Pros
  • Removable insole

  • Chlorine-friendly material

Cons
  • Some users report shoe expands in water

Searching for a supportive shoe tailored to water fitness classes? We recommend Ryka's Hydro Sport Water Shoe. It's a durable and waterproof option, perfect for the aquatic demands of water aerobics. 

The cross-trainer build of the Ryka Hydro Sport shoe 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 types of water activities and also includes a removable cushioned insole for maximum comfort. 

We love that the 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.

This quick-drying water shoe is built to last, using chlorine-friendly, breathable materials. The Ryka Hydro Sport is available in various color combinations in women’s sizes 5 through 12.

Materials: Mesh, Synthetic leather, Rubber | Closure: Lace-up | Sizes: Women's 5-12 | Toe Coverage: Closed-toe

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

Columbia Drainmaker IV Shoes

Courtesy of Columbia

Pros
  • Supportive

  • Quick-drying

  • Non-marking sole

Cons
  • May need a break-in period

From soaked pool decks to slippery slopes, we love that Columbia's Drainmaker IV Water Shoe provides the traction needed to keep you safe and feeling confident during outdoor activities

Resembling a running shoe, the Drainmaker IV provides both cushion and stability for maximum comfort, making it well-suited for wet and dry conditions. This shoe provides excellent traction on slippery surfaces by utilizing Columbia's multi-terrain traction system with a non-marking wet grip outsole and razor siping for no-slip wear. We appreciate that the open mesh upper sole provides a quick-drying, breathable fit, while midsole ports enhance airflow and allow water to drain from the shoe.

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

Materials: Mesh, Rubber | Closure: Lace-up | Sizes: Women's 5-12 | Toe Coverage: Closed-toe

Best Aqua Socks: NeoSport 2mm Neoprene Water Sock

NeoSport 2mm Neoprene Water Sock

Courtesy of Walmart

Pros
  • High and low-top options

  • Thermal protection

Cons
  • Not well-cushioned

NeoSport, known for its thermal protective water sports gear collection, offers a line of neoprene socks—commonly known as aqua or water socks. These socks are popular among snorkelers and divers to help protect bare skin from rubbing against their fins. Ocean swimmers also wear high-top aqua socks in addition to wetsuit boots or water shoes for an extra layer of warmth and protection, especially from jellyfish stings and unexpected sharp objects. We also recommend using these versatile aqua socks in the wintertime to keep toes toasty.

NeoSport aqua socks are constructed from soft four-way stretch neoprene, delivering a shield of protection for ankles and feet with a durable traction sole that adds grip to slippery decks and surfaces, preventing slips and falls.

NeoSport's 2mm Neoprene Water Socks are available in both high and low-top styles and come in black in unisex sizes 4 to 16.

Materials: Neoprene | Closure: Slip-on | Sizes: Unisex 4-16 | Toe Coverage: Closed-toe

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

Aleader Women's Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Budget-friendly

  • Lightweight

Cons
  • May rust around lace grommets

If you're moving from the water to different terrain, you'll appreciate quick-drying shoes, which is why we like the Aleader Women's Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes. They offer breathability, durability, and ventilated quick-drying fabric. 

The midsole is high-quality and lightweight, offering outstanding bounce-back and durability. The sock liner produces ideal cushioning performance, creating a cooler, drier, healthier shoe. And the air mesh upper and punctuated soles give your feet a chance to breathe.

Users of these 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.

Materials: Mesh, Rubber | Closure: Elastic lace-up | Sizes: Women's 6-11 | Toe Coverage: Closed-toe

Best for Beach: Speedo Tidal Cruiser

Speedo Tidal Cruiser

Courtesy of Speedo

Pros
  • Flexible

  • Quick-drying

Cons
  • Runs small

  • No half sizes available

This lightweight slip-on water shoe is perfect for beach days. Crafted from a quick-drying, ventilated mesh, the Speedo Tidal Cruiser protects feet from hot sand and sharp rocks while also adding an extra layer of comfort. 

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

The Speedo Tidal Cruiser is sleek and flexible, making it easy to pack and carry, and it's available in a range of neutral colors in women's sizes 5 through 11.

Materials: Neoprene, Mesh, Rubber | Closure: Slip-on | Sizes: Women's 5-11 | Toe Coverage: Closed-toe

Final Verdict

Astral's Loyak Sneakers are our top choice for their ability to provide support, protection, and quick drainage for all your water sports needs. With super sticky soles and anti-odor technology, you can wear these shoes all day, whether boating, rafting, paddling, or swimming.

We also like Zhuanglin Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes because they're quick-drying, comfortable, and budget-friendly.

How We Selected the Best Women's Water Shoes

We selected the best women's water shoes by researching and reviewing dozens of shoes from quality athletic apparel and water sports equipment brands. We researched product details and read a range of customer reviews, including good and critical reviews.

In particular, we looked for best-selling products from well-known brands that had a wide range of size availability and included features for many water sports. These included quick-draining features such as mesh fabric and strategically placed drainage ports, a lightweight design to reduce drag, quick-drying materials, and plenty of traction for uneven and slick conditions.

What to Look for in Women's Water Shoes 

Traction

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

Drainage and Breathability

Water shoes need the ability for water to flow in and out freely in order to keep the shoe light and reduce hydrodynamic drag, allowing you to walk in water without feeling like you're feet are being bogged down.

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 water 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. If you plan on hiking or walking on uneven terrain or there is a possibility of rocks or sharp seashells, you'll want thick protection on the bottom of the shoes as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the benefits of wearing 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 help 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 will provide insulation in cold water to 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 of 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 them 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 you 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 is a Chicago-based journalist specializing in fitness and lifestyle content. As a health and wellness writer, she researches and reviews products for Verywell Fit. She has found thick-soled water shoes to be the most comfortable, offering cushion and shock absorption for water fitness and beach days. For cold summer days on Lake Michigan, Emily wears a pair of NeoSport 2mm neoprene water socks (our Best Aqua Socks pick).

1 Source
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. The Best Water Shoes. Wirecutter. https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/reviews/best-water-shoes/