The 10 Best Women’s Water Shoes of 2020

Essential protective footwear for summer

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Our Top Picks
"These lightweight, abrasion-resistant sneakers work just as well for water adventures as they do for daily errands."
"Feel like you're wearing a favorite pair of socks, with an anti-slip and shock-absorbing design, as you tackle swimming or yoga."
"Though they may look like everyday sneakers, this hybrid shoe features a quick-drying mesh upper and water-draining midsole ports."
"The sporty design is complete with multi-directional lugs to keep you steady on the most slippery trails and terrain."
Best for Water Aerobics:
Ryka Hydro Sport Water Shoe at Amazon
"Take your water fitness class to new levels with Ryka's chlorine-friendly water shoe, designed with drainage ports."
"Prevent abrasion and keep your feet ready for all kinds of temperatures with Chaco's hiking sneaker as you go from water to land."
"Its anti-slip outsole provides traction while its open mesh design allows water to flow out quickly so you can dry ASAP."
"Pick from a high or low-top design and stay safe with its anti-chafing features as you take on snorkeling, kayaking, or diving."
"Protect your feet from hot sand or sharp shells on casual beach days in Speedo's Tidal Cruiser."
"Easily elevate your look from day to evening with these slip-on, quick-drying espadrilles, which provide nonskid security."

Water shoes can benefit anyone from casual beach walkers to competitive water sports athletes, protecting feet from unpredictable impact and abrasion, as well as from harsh temperatures—think burning hot sand or freezing cold lakes. Furthermore, slipping on a pair of water shoes adds a layer of cushion, providing comfort and absorption of impact.

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.

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

Best Overall: Astral Loyak Sneakers

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

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, delivering a smooth and stable stride. Drainage ports are placed at the heel and toe, preventing water from weighing down the shoe. For a secure fit, the Loyak features a durable hydrophobic canvas upper, water-resistant laces, and a stretchy Airmesh vamp and tongue for ventilation.

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

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

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 both 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 a variety of neutral-based color combinations in women’s sizes 5 through 12, including in half sizes. 

Best Sandal: KEEN Women's Newport H2 Sandal

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 a variety of 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.

Best for Water Aerobics: Ryka Hydro Sport 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 a variety of color combinations in women’s sizes 5 through 12. 

Best for Hiking: Chaco Odyssey Hiking Shoe

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 with 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

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. 

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

Best Aqua Socks: NeoSport 2mm Neoprene Water Sock

NeoSport, known for its collection of thermal protective water sports gear, 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 an added bonus, these versatile aqua socks can also be used in the wintertime to keep toes toasty. NeoSport's 2mm Neoprene Water Sock comes in black in unisex sizes 4 to 16.

Best for Beach: Speedo Tidal Cruiser

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.

Best Dressy: Sea Star Beachwear Espadrille Water Shoe

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.

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 a Women’s Water Shoe

Traction

For hiking and river activities, finding a shoe with extra grip and traction is critical. Durable outsoles with razor siping offer superior traction, helping one 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 mesh material, keeping feet cool and quick drying. 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.

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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