Best Water Shoes for Men That Dry Quick & Won’t SlipWe may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn More.
In A Hurry? These 3 are the best men's water shoes in 2020:
Whether you are going to a rocky beach, white water rafting for the first time in your life, kayaking, snorkeling, or are simply going for a hike where wet conditions may be in store, then having a quality constructed and comfortable water shoe will be an important item to bring with you.
However, not all water shoes are created equally.
In this guide we not only review the best water shoes for men in 2020 ready for a multitude of different occasions, but we also share with you some key considerations to think about before making your purchase.
In addition to our expert reviews, we also answer several questions men have when buying (and wearing) water shoes along with looking at a few worthy alternatives to water shoes.
Let’s dive in:
To Help You Decide we have researched and reviewed the best men's water shoes in 2020. Here’s our top picks:
Croc’s Swiftwater Men’s Water Shoe
Adidas Climacool Jawpaw Watershoe for Men
Best for Rocky Beaches
Merrell Men’s Blaze Water Shoe
Best for Hiking
NRS Kicker Remix Wetshoes
Best for Kayaking / White Water Rafting
O’Neill Reactor Men’s Reef Water Boot
Best for Snorkeling
Speedo Surfwalker 3.0 Men’s Water Shoe
Best (Cheap) Affordable
The Best Water Shoes for Men of 2020 Reviewed
1 Best Overall: Croc’s Swiftwater Men’s Water Shoe
Coming from the brand that gave the world one of the most loved (and hated) unique shoe styles, the Swiftwater shoe from Crocs are built as an all-purpose water shoe. Lightweight yet sturdy, they’re one of the best water shoes for muddy or rough terrain on the market, and they’re lightweight as well.
The Swiftwater shoe is a sandal style, which means it’s open on the sides. This can be a huge plus, and the drainage holes on the sides of the shoes are the ultimate drainage system. With these, you can rest easy knowing that your foot won’t be sitting in a pool of water all day.
Grab a pair of these if you’re looking for some casual shoes for the beach or some versatile sports shoes. The Swiftwater can pretty much do it all, and they’re one of our favorites on the market. Men get durability, traction, and stellar drainage all at an affordable price with the Crocs Swiftwater.
The velcro closure style is fitting for the all-purpose utility that the Swiftwater shoe provides, and the minimalistic shoe design means they’re less likely to fall apart.
- Extremely versatile
- Great drainage system
- Excellent traction
- Minimalistic construction and sandal design may be uncomfortable for some
- Not the best shoe for one single purpose
2 Best for Rocky Beaches: Adidas Climacool Jawpaw Watershoe for Men
The Adidas Climacool Jawpaw water shoe is a slip-on water shoe that guarantees you’ll be enjoying your water activities with comfort and style. They’re the best water shoes for rocky beaches on the market, but they’re also perfect for casual walking applications.
The shoes feature Climacool technology alongside breathable mesh, resulting in a lightweight water shoe that allows your feet to breathe. Adidas has equipped these shoes with a lightweight rubber sole that’s designed to provide your foot protection without weighing you down.
The shoes use a nylon mesh, making them a supremely comfortable option. Adidas hit it out of the park with the Climacool Jawpaw shoes, and they’re one of our favorites on the market.
- Great for walking around on rough terrain
- Excellent traction
- Perfect for the beach
- Not much foot support
- Aren’t very sturdy
3 Best for Hiking: Merrell Men’s Blaze Water Shoe
Complete with synthetic Vibram soles and a built-to-last design, Merell’s Blaze water shoes are perfect for the avid hiker. The shoe is constructed with sturdy foot and ankle support, and men can feel comfortable hiking miles in these. Traction is a top priority with these, and the synthetic sole grips all terrain types. These are, without a doubt, the best men’s hiking water shoes.
Merrell men’s hiking shoes are well-known worldwide, so it comes as no surprise that these are the best men’s water shoes when it comes to hiking. The specialized, waxy leather material on the upper portion of the shoe makes forging creeks a breeze, and the shoe’s drainage holes make sure that you won’t be slogging around with water in your shoes all day. The shoes protect your feet while hiking, which is something that any hiker knows is crucially important.
The Blaze shoes weigh in at just over a pound, and for hikers this is the perfect weight: not so light that the shoes compromise quality, and not so heavy that they slow you down. Advanced Unifly technology on the midsole of the shoe is soft to the ground, allowing for terrain absorption while hiking. If you like hiking with sturdiness and
- Designed for hiking and built to last
- Trusted brand with a track record in hiking footwear
- Specialized leather for fording rivers and creeks
- On the upper end of the price range
- Not as versatile as other options
- Not extremely lightweight
4 Best for Kayaking / White Water Rafting: NRS Kicker Remix Wetshoes
Markedly different than most of the other water shoes on this list, the NRS Kicker Remix Wetshoe are flexible and lightweight, designed for kayaking and white water rafting. They’re both affordable and effective, and the neoprene fabric makes them feel more like aqua socks than water shoes.
Designed for water sports like kayaking but equally great as a swim shoe, the NRS Kicker remix aims to provide both protection and comfort. They’re also popular as river shoes, and 2mm plastic shims on the outsoles are designed to keep feet protected from sharp rocks and other unfortunate objects on river and lake bottoms.
These shoes rock a simple yet effective lacing system – they’re slip on with adjustable shoe-top drawcords that keep your feet snug and make sure the shoes don’t fall off while you’re having fun. Because of their simple and compact design, they’re one of the best men’s beach shoes on this list, perfect for a dip in the ocean and long walks on the sand. Additionally, the flexible slip-on design makes them one of the best kayaking water shoes on the market.
- Lightweight, flexible, and compact
- Ideal for water sports
- Very affordable
- Not very sturdy
- Reviews complain of drainage issues
5 Best for Snorkeling: O’Neill Reactor Men’s Reef Water Boot
Men who love to snorkel will fall in love with the affordable-yet-effective O’Neill Reactor water shoe. Like the NRS Kicker Remix, these are another pair of shoes that feel like a blend between aqua socks and a true water shoe, making them ideal for beaches, swimming, and snorkeling.
The upper portion of the shoe is constructed with 2mm synthetic neoprene, manufactured to keep your feet insulated and warm even in cold ocean waters. Side mesh panels on the shoes provide excellent drainage, and these can transition from being a water shoe to a casual beach shoe in a matter of seconds.
Whether you’re looking for a great shoe for the beach or a technical snorkeling shoe, O’Neill has got you covered with the Reactor water shoe. They’re simple, comfortable, and make use of a slip-on style that’s characteristic of this style of water shoe.
- Highly affordable
- Great for the beach and ocean
- Minimal foot or ankle support
6 Best (Cheap) Affordable: Speedo Surfwalker 3.0 Men’s Water Shoe
The Speedo Men’s Surfwalker shoe, contrary to their name, aren’t just great for traversing the surf – they’re a great all-around water shoe at a remarkably low price point. Breathable mesh in the slip-on upper is flexible and great for water sports, and the outsole design functions to provide better traction and grip.
Lightweight and equipped with a beautifully simple lacing system, Speedo delivers men a well-constructed water shoe with the Surfwalker. These keep your feet warm, and the simple drainage system makes them a great shoe for beach activities. Though they’re not ideal for hiking or running due to a lack of comprehensive foot support, the rubber sole protects from sharp rocks and makes them a great option for all kinds of water sports.
The traction and slip resistance on these shoes is impressive given the low price point, and they’re great for wet surfaces and dry land alike.
- Most affordable shoe on this list
- Great for water activities, particularly on the beach
- Lower price point means they’re more prone to quality-related issues
- Lack of support means these aren’t great for hiking
The Columbia Men’s Drainmaker water shoes are an all-purpose, versatile water shoes perfect for men who want a sturdy, take-it-anywhere water shoe. Featuring a traditional lacing system that hikers will love, this water shoe ensures a secure and snug fit.
The thick, wet traction rubber outsole is built for a variety of surface conditions, and these water shoes are good for anything from hiking to kayaking. More than anything else, the Columbia Drainmaker shoes protect your feet. These shoes are made for durability and versatility, and true to their name, the drainage features are excellent.
Columbia’s signature techlite footbed is implemented on the outsole and is designed to absorb impact. Whether you’re running on the beach or trekking through the wilderness, impact absorption makes any activity easier on your feet and your body. Unparalleled traction and grip on wet surfaces make these a water shoe to remember.
- Great traction, excellent support
- Sturdy and well-designed lacing system
- On the upper end of the price range
- Not ideal for some water sports
- Heavier than other options on the market
Aleader really knocked it out of the park with the Aleader men’s water shoes. They’re stylish, slip-on, and affordable – what more is there to say?
Though they might not protect your feet like some of the other options on the market, they do still have a rubber sole to protect from sharp objects, and they’re great for a number of water activity applications. These are more sports shoes than hiking shoes; surfers, kayakers, and water athletes love these.
These shoes from Aleader are no-frills and lightweight. Grab a pair if you like casual and comfortable.
- Lighweight and comfortable
- Simple slip-on lacing system
- Great for any water activity
- Not the most durable shoe on the market
- Traction isn’t superb
When Salomon makes a shoe, you can be confident it’ll be high-quality. As one of the most popular men’s hiking shoe brands in the world, Salomon is a household name, and their Amphib shoes certainly do not disappoint. These aren’t for the casual beachgoer – Salomon went all-out with these shoes, combining a traditional lacing system with flexible and breathable mesh to create an all-around stud of a water shoe.
The synthetic rubber sole uses Salomon’s Contragrip technology for superior traction, and these shoes deliver excellent grip on wet and dry surfaces alike. The lacing technology is traditional, but Salomon implements a quick lacing technology that requires just a single pull for a snug fit.
- High-end and durable
- Great for hiking, running, and uneven surfaces
- Excellent drainage system
- Higher price point than most water shoes
- Not ideal for casual applications
Merrell gets two entries on this list for good reason: they make excellent water shoes, and the Choprock shoes are no exception. The sandal design makes these great for both water activities and hiking, and these are worth a look for men who like open, sandal-style designs.
These shoes are equipped with a Vibram rubber sole for maximum traction, and the outsole has a 5mm lug depth, great for absorbing impact. For having such a durable outsole and a sturdy construction, these shoes are surprisingly lightweight and men love these for everything from kayaking to hiking.
- Great for men who love sturdiness and a snug fit
- All-purpose application, great for water activities
- Open hole system makes for easy drainage
- Open hole design sacrifices foot protection
- Like most Merrell shoes, these shoes are not extremely affordable
7 Tips on Finding Great Water Shoes
1. Intended Use
There are pros and cons to each category of water shoe, and knowing your intended use makes settling on the perfect shoe a lot easier. If you’re planning on using your water shoes for swimming or casual walks on the beach, buying a water shoe that’s designed for hiking will compromise both performance and comfort.
Simply put, you’re going to have a lot better results if you pick a shoe that’s built for your purpose. There are four main categories that water shoes are designed for, and chances are, you’ll know right away which category is right for you.
Men who love water sports will have no problem finding a variety of great, comfortable options. Whether you’re looking for the best shoes for white water rafting or you’re more interested in casual boating shoes, there are plenty of options for everyone.
A good shoe for water sports will be sturdy and protective, built with durable rubber soles and fast drying capabilities. The soles on shoes for water sports are also designed to provide excellent traction to grip terrain and prevent you from slipping.
Water shoes built for hiking are designed to help you deal with puddles, river crossings, and muddy stretches of trail without skipping a beat. High-quality hiking shoes dry quickly and are well ventilated, meaning you won’t be trekking around in soggy shoes all day.
Hiking water shoes are also crafted with comfort and foot support in mind. As with any good hiking shoe, ankle support and comfortability are of the utmost importance, particularly for men who like to do ambitious, strenuous hiking. These shoes are particularly protective at the toe and the heel, preventing blisters and other uncomfortable chafing. A rubber sole that grips the terrain well is another focus, and all water shoes designed for hiking provide unmatched grip.
When it comes to active and physical water sports, men need shoes that can adapt to a variety of conditions and provide protection without being cumbersome. Water shoes for swimming, paddling, and surfing do just that, providing a lightweight and flexible option built for performance.
Water shoes in this category will also keep your feet warm and provide adequate drainage, making sure you can stay light on your feet and be your best.
Men who run know just how important a good running shoe is, and that level of importance doesn’t drop at all when it comes to water shoes. An excellent water shoe for running needs to be lightweight and secure while also providing robust underfoot protection and support.
Water shoes built for running also provide a secure fit, which is necessary for a healthy run that won’t result in blisters.
The closure style on your water shoe will determine what you can and can’t do with it. For example, a water shoe with a loose closure system could fall off during white water rafting, while a secure closure isn’t always necessary for a casual beach shoe.
There are three main types of closure systems on water shoes, each with specific applications in mind.
Lace-style water shoes are similar to your typical shoe closure system. These shoes have normal shoelaces (though some styles have stretchy shoelaces), and bungee closure is a feature that you’ll see on these shoes.
Lace up shoes allow you to adjust the tightness of your shoe for a secure fit, and laces are a tried-and-true closure style that works well for most applications.
Slip on water shoes are the perfect casual water shoe. These shoes offer an easy option for men who aren’t planning to use their water shoes for anything too intense. This style of shoe usually includes a pull tab in the back for easy tightening. Slip on water shoes are generally extremely comfortable, and men love them for walking around and non-sports applications.
The main drawback of water shoes with a slip on style is that, while they’re easy to slip on, they also slip off in a similar fashion. The more you use slip on water shoes, the looser the fabric becomes – this means that over time, they gradually slip off easier.
A strap-style water shoe is a happy medium between lace and slip on options. The velcro closure that’s typically associated with strap closure systems is very easy to use and, like slip on shoes, is also great for casual applications. Because you get to adjust the velcro, you can get a pretty snug and secure fit with this style of water shoe.
If you want a water shoe that’s all-purpose, take a look at some strap-style water shoes. The main downside here is that the velcro can sometimes catch onto things, which some men may consider a problem.
Just like with any popular product, there are plenty of brands for water shoes out there. If you take a quick look at any large online retailer, you’ll see hundreds upon hundreds of different options, some from brands you know and some from brands you’ve never heard of.
We’d recommend you go with a respected brand for your water shoe. This can include the following:
While there are certainly other great options out there that aren’t from these brands, you’re reaching into a mixed bag with some of the more unknown brands. It’s better to be safe than sorry, especially with water shoes.
Respected brands like those listed above generally offer generous warranties, performance guarantees, and have top-notch customer service. Unfortunately, many men have had to experience the difficulties associated with contacting a lower-quality or unknown knockoff brand – our advice is to stay away.
As a final bonus, bigger brands also have bigger budget for research and development of their shoes, which means they generally offer better performance.
Depending on your use, the weight of your water shoes might not be an issue. However, many active water sports activities and hiking are easier without the added weight of a heavy shoe, and weight can be an important factor for men to consider. On average, most water shoes weigh between 0.5 and 1.5 pounds. There are exceptions on both sides of that range, though – hikers and runners will sometimes look for shoes that are even lighter than half a pound.
Some pairs of water shoes approach the 1.5-pound mark, and while this is heavy, you probably won’t notice it if you wear the shoes infrequently. Water shoes aren’t usually heavy for no reason, and heavier shoes might have a sturdier rubber sole or a thicker insole. As with anything, there are pros and cons to the weight of your water shoe.
As we’ve mentioned, it’s crucial to keep your intended use in mind. Common sense is usually a good bet here, and you shouldn’t have too many problems deciding whether your desired activity would be best approached with a heavy or light water shoe.
Water shoe prices vary wildly, and men can expect to pay anywhere between $20 and $200. That’s a big range, and in our research, we found that there generally aren’t any huge benefits to buying a shoe over $100. Though buying a high-end water shoe will certainly have added benefits, you’re not missing out on a completely different experience if you opt for something more affordable.
Shoes under $20 are extremely cheap and are bound to rip at some point. If you’re purchasing for a one-time use, these shoes are perfect, but if not, we’d recommend staying away. Even shoes under $50 sometimes have tendencies to fall apart quickly, and shoes in that price range are good for mostly occasional use.
If you’re serious about your water shoes, purchasing high-quality shoes is normally an investment that will pay off. Make sure to check warranties on water shoes before you buy them: often, more expensive pairs of shoes will have better warranties and customer service guarantees.
Water shoes pack all different types of technology, and brands are continuously innovating to create better water shoe technology.
Rubber Outsoles: Most of the best water shoes available today use Vibram outsoles. What this means is that the water shoes are equipped with rubber outsoles from Vibram, a trusted and well-known outsole company that’s known for high-quality soles with excellent grip.
Cooling Technology: This is another feature often touted by bigger brands. Cooling technology like COOLMAX and Climacool make use of special fabrics that increase breathability and cool your foot down. Water shoes with this technology are perfect for hot climates, and the added ventilation reduces the chance of foot odor being an issue.
Drainage: Drainage technology is yet another critical component to a good water shoe. Different shoes use different systems, but high-end drainage technology will make sure your foot isn’t sitting in a pool of water all day.
Quick Drying: Some water shoes may contain proprietary quick drying material. Like a moisture wicking material found in compression sleeves, quick drying material help to pull the water to the surface so it can quickly evaporate.
The material a water shoe is built with says a lot about what it’s designed for. The two main components of a water shoe are the outsole and the upper section, both of which have multiple material options to choose from.
Outsole material is usually one of two things: rubber or EVA foam. Rubber outsoles are the most common type of outsole for a water shoe, as they’re durable and water proof. However, EVA foam does have its benefits. It’s often more comfortable than a rubber outsole, it’s lighter weight, and EVA foam also has antimicrobial properties.
The upper section of your water shoe – essentially, the part of the shoe that’s not the outsole – is likely going to be made of either nylon or neoprene. Nylon is comfortable and stretches well, but it doesn’t dry as quickly as neoprene. On the other hand, neoprene is a synthetic rubber material that dries quickly and is self insulating, but isn’t quite as stretchy or comfortable as nylon.
A mesh upper on a water shoe will bend to the natural contours of your ankle and foot much easier. Not only will this ensure a closer grip – espeically important for slip on water shoes, but will also typically be paired with a highly breathable mesh for fast drying.
Men’s Water Shoes: Must Have Accessories
Shoe bags are something you may not have heard about until reading this, but they really come in handy when traveling. A shoe bag allows you to separate your water shoes from clothing and other items while traveling, and make sure you get a waterproof shoe bag – these are water shoes, after all.
It’s unpleasant, but water shoes are particularly prone to odors and bacteria. Warm, wet environments are breeding grounds for all kinds of smells, and that’s where shoe deodorizers come in. A good shoe deodorizer will absorb musty, damp smells, and if you’re like most men, you don’t want your entire car smelling like musty water shoe.
An added bonus of a shoe deodorizer is that you may be able to prolong the life of your water shoes. The longer you can keep them free of bacteria and unpleasant smells, the longer you’ll be able to wear them, hence a longer lifespan of your water shoes.
There are few, if any, situations where you’ll be wearing water shoes indoors. This means sunscreen is a must as long as you’re in the sun longer than a few minutes. It protects your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays and keeps you looking great for years to come.
You can still get a sunburn if it’s cloudy, so make sure to be mindful of SPF. Dermatologists recommend a minimum of at least 15 SPF at all times, even if you don’t think you’ll get burnt. We’ve put together a list of the best sunscreen for men to keep your skin looking healthy, so check that out if you’re not sure what to buy.
Rash guards are yet another way to protect your skin. Particularly if you’re a guy who likes water sports like surfing and kayaking, rash guards prevent chafing and offer addition protection from the sun. If you burn easily, rash guards are extremely helpful.
There are a ton of rash guards on the market, and if you’re not sure what to buy, check out our comprehensive guide to the best rash guards for men.
Water Shoe FAQs
Your purpose for the water shoes will determine which shoes work best in your situation. If you like taking casual walks along the oceanfront, a lightweight and affordable slip-on shoe might be ideal. If you’re doing something that requires more traction, take a look at some of the sturdier shoes on the market.
Yes! Water shoes are designed to be used in the water, and protective rubber soles on water shoes allow you to walk freely without fearing something sharp stabbing you in the foot.
Generally, the most comfortable water shoes are slip-on, lightweight water shoes. Everyone has different opinions, of course, but slip-on water shoes usually have flexible, breathable mesh that doesn’t constrict your foot. This doesn’t mean that this type of water shoe is ideal in every situation, though; a slip-on shoe isn’t a good choice if you like hiking.
The snugness of fit of your water shoe entirely depends on your application. If you’re kayaking or whitewater rafting, you might not need a really tight shoe. If, on the other hand, you’re hiking or running, tighter shoes are better overall.
Water shoes are designed for walking. Different shoes are better in different applications, but yes, walking in water shoes is fulfilling their purpose.
Water shoes are great for all sorts of activities. If your feet will be in the water, then wearing water shoes is probably a good idea as it protects your feet! Some shoes have more traction while others prioritize comfort: in the end, it comes down to your specific intent. So if you are going to a rocky beach, then keeping your feet in a water shoe with a protective outsole might be a good idea.
You absolutely can. Water shoes with a slip-on design are most popular with swimmers, so take a look at those if you’re planning to swim in your water shoes.
You can, but you don’t have to. Wearing aqua socks is sometimes useful if you have a sandal-style shoe and want to avoid rocks scraping your feet.
Water Shoes vs. Water Socks vs. Boat Shoes vs. Sandals/Flip Flops
Water shoes are what we’re covering in this article. There are certainly sub-categories of water shoes, but in essence, a water shoe is just that: a shoe that’s designed to be worn in water. Some water shoes look a lot more like traditional shoes than others, and that’s because shoes are all designed to be used in different situations.
Water socks are also fairly self-explanatory: they are socks meant to be used in water, sometimes in tandem with water shoes. Water socks are generally made of synthetic materials like neoprene, and work to insulate your foot and keep it warm, similar to how a wetsuit functions.
Boat shoes, in a general sense, are not water shoes. They’re usually made out of quality leather with non-marking rubber soles and are made to be worn on the deck of a boat (though plenty of men choose to wear them with streetwear as a stylistic choice).
However, there is definitely crossover between water shoes and boat shoes. Some of the shoes on this list that have great traction and a traditional lacing system work very well if you want to wear them as boat shoes.
If you do want a dedicated boat shoe, we recommend you check out our in-depth guide to the best boat shoes for men.
Our Selection Process
In creating our list of the best water shoes for men, we looked at a wide variety of features. We considered brand, technology, customer reviews, and a number of other factors to settle on our final list.
At the end of the day, your intent is incredibly important to determining what water shoes will be best in your specific case. Take a look at your intent, and deciding on a final pair of shoes will be a lot easier. We’re confident that our list represents an objective look at the most popular and highest-rated options available today, and there’s something for every man here.