The 12 Best Water Shoes for Men, Tested by Style and Gear Editors |

The 12 Best Water Shoes for Men, Tested by Style and Gear Editors

ROCKING THE RIGHT water shoes prevents soggy feet when exploring the ocean. That’s because these specially designed sneakers and slip-ons use materials that don’t absorb moisture and incorporate features that allow water to escape. Think: Strategically placed holes, mesh fabrics, and drainage channels that stop your dogs from getting waterlogged.

The best water shoes will also keep your feet protected in wet conditions, whether you’re kayaking, hiking, or boating. It may feel nice to go barefoot when you hit the water, but there are plenty of hazards that could lead to bruising, cuts, scrapes, and slips. Flip-flops handle moisture well, but the best water shoes are more secure on your feet and provide additional coverage, especially around your toes.

Best Water Shoes


What to Consider


Water shoes are often made with a mesh/textile upper and a rubber outsole. The upper should be durable and quick-drying—not only for the sake of dryness but also for combatting odor. Breathable fabrics, as such, make the best uppers, especially if they’re perforated. Plus, they should survive in water, so ditch your cotton or leather, or suede, and opt for any outdoor-friendly materials.

The rubber outsole, on the other hand, is just that—meaning that any water shoes should have a rubber outsole since the material is waterproof and durable. But there is a rubber-like alternative worth highlighting: EVA, a plastic foam polymer that is lighter and more flexible than rubber. EVA can be better than rubber since its lightweight qualities make it excellent for walking with water shoes.


Water shoes should get wet, but shouldn’t stay wet. Having a drainage mechanism helps water shoes—specifically the upper—stay dry, therefore keeping your feet dry in the meantime. Most of the time, the drainage comes from perforation—often in the form of holes and ports—at the upper or outsole. These holes or ports channel the water inside the shoe out, even when your feet are in the water. A great example of water shoes with drainage is Crocs’ slogs—those holes!

Of course, for sandal-style water shoes, the drainage is almost a given—since there’s barely any upper and the water touches your feet and toes directly.


Water shoes are designed to walk on slippery, wet, slick surfaces—sometimes even under water. Hence, getting the right traction—i.e., how grippy the outsole is to the surface—is important. The best water shoes often have specifically designed outsoles (razor-siped, lugged, grooved, deeply ridged, etc.) to increase friction and therefore traction. An outsole with deep-cut teeth, for instance, can really grip on sand or wet rocks. Grippy outsoles also make water shoes better for hiking or on any gnarly terrains.

How We Selected

To review and curate the best water shoes for men, our style and gear editors have put on a dozen water shoes and tested them on water grounds. For instance, we washed Reef’s Water Coast with a shower head to test its waterproofness, wore Astral Loyak to the beach and submerged them in shallow water, or went for some light hiking on slippery, muddy roads in Columbia’s Drainmaker XTR. From there, we made our picks of the best water shoes for men based on price, style, durability, comfort, materials, and how water-ready they are—how fast they dry, what water activities they are good for, and what the traction feels like in wet conditions. Below, the 12 best water shoes for men we’ve tested will put you in good shape whenever your feet get wet.

Drainmaker XTR


Columbia Drainmaker XTR


  • Athletic outsole
  • Vented footbed
  • Heavy when under water

Sporting these Columbia sneakers kept our feet comfortable and dry, even after hours of trail hiking. Made with a full mesh panel, the Drainmaster XTR easily allows water to escape and fresh air to come in. Through a clever drainage system, moisture and air slip through a perforated footbed that connects to ports running across the midsole. The rubber cleated outsole, which is similar to a golf shoe, kept us sure footed even on rocky terrain.

Although it was designed for hiking, we found that this water shoe works great as an every-day warm weather sneaker. If you’re headed out in a summer rain, don’t worry about soggy socks and slippery surfaces. The mesh upper and perforated footbed also provide exceptional breathability for your dogs on sweltering days.

Read more: Most Comfortable Sneakers

MaterialMesh and polyester upper/EVA sole
DrainageVented footbed and midsole channels
TractionRubber cleated outsole

Unisex Riptide Sandal


Xtratuf Unisex Riptide Sandal


  • Strong grip
  • Very breathable
  • Heel strap is fixed
  • Not many color options

The Riptide Sandal is a slip-on with a perforated upper for easy drying and wide drainage holes along the base of the foot. Since each shoe is a solid piece of injection-molded resin, moisture rolls right off, and there are no cracks for it to seep into.

Where this water shoe really shined in our testing is the sole, both inside and out. The insole is covered in a fine texture that is comfortably squishy, allows dampness to drain out, and keeps your foot securely in place. Underneath, the outsole boasts slip-resistant traction that never lost its grip in wet conditions.

MaterialInjection molded EVA
DrainageHoles and drainage cut-outs
TractionNon-slip outsole

Water Coast


Reef Water Coast


  • Waterproof, breathable upper
  • Molded footbeds for comfort
  • Lightweight and versatile
  • Only three colors available

No quick-drying needed here: Reef’s water shoes are almost entirely waterproof—only the mesh lining and laces get wet. The upper is perforated for max breathability as well as drainage, and the bouncy EVA insole and outsole keep you sure-footed. Overall, these shoes are ready for the waves to wash all over them.

From a styling perspective, we love these water shoes because they don’t look like water shoes. This moc toe slip-on design is great for casual summer attire. That means you can rock these seamlessly from the beach to a night out on the boardwalk.

MaterialsTPU upper, EVA insole, EVA outsole
DrainagePerforated heel, toe, sides
TractionLightweight EVA

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Swiftwater Wave Sandal


Crocs Swiftwater Wave Sandal

Now 23% Off


  • Super light weight
  • Flexible outsole
  • Easy to clean
  • Thin sole
  • Narrow fit

Crocs were originally designed for boating. While the Classic Clog is still great with water activities, the Swiftwater Wave Sandal has a few improvements over the original. The upper is more snug than the Classic Clog, with a fixed heel strap that creates a more secure fit. A slimmed down sole provides more flexibility, while retaining the same slip-resistant outsole tread.

Above all else, Crocs are known for comfort, and the Swiftwater is no exception. It is made from the same CrocLite material—a proprietary foam rubber blend invented when Crocs was founded—as all of the brand’s clogs, which we could feel in the testing. Each step is a little bouncy as the material compresses under your weight, then springs back. Anyone who wears Crocs already will find the feel familiar, despite a slightly tighter fit.

MaterialCrocLite foam rubber
DrainageSide and heel cutouts
TractionNon-slip outsole

Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes


Zhuanglin Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes


  • Good traction even on slippery surfaces
  • Drainage holes at the outsole
  • Versatile for lots of water activities
  • Gimmicky-looking

This kick is simple but effective. It’s made from mostly fabric with a rubber role, and it provides breathability, excellent grip, nice bounce, and effective water drainage. These features make for a great budget-friendly shoe for beach vacations.

Speaking of travel, the Zhuanglin was the best shoe we tested for packability. Not only is it super light weight, it flattens out to take up minimal space in a suitcase or bag. Yeah, it looks a bit gimmicky, but we think the price point more than makes up for its less-than-stelar looks.

MaterialsTextile upper, Solyte midsole, rubber outsole
DrainageFull mesh upper
TractionNo-slip outsole

Techamphibian 5 Water Shoe


Salomon Techamphibian 5 Water Shoe


  • Excellent traction
  • Drop down heel
  • Adjustable heel strap
  • Water can get trapped in the toe box
  • Tricky to clean

We wore the Techanphibian 5 through the wettest trails with ease. That’s mostly because of its wide mesh upper, which allows water to flow in and out without a problem. We also like its tire-like outsole that has deep tread and kept us from slipping when walking through streams. A firm toe cap helped prevent any stubbing.

Going sockless in hiking shoes may sound like a recipe for blisters, but these water-friendly kicks have a soft interior with a water resistant foam footbed that prevents chafing. We took it paddle boarding and kayaking, sans socks, and never had an issue. Thanks to a step-down heel, you can even convert it into a slip-on for more casual activities.

MaterialSynthetic mesh and nylon upper, rubber outsole
DrainageMesh panels, open heel
TractionMultidirectional rubber lugged outsole

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Hoka Hopara

Now 45% Off


  • Super responsive sole
  • Great traction
  • Quick adjust drawstring lace
  • Have to lift to foot to drain
  • Not the most breathable upper

The Hopara is a hiking sandal/water shoe hybrid from Hoka. It manages moisture with a series of vents along the upper and drainage spouts at the heel for water to roll right out of the insole. The thick midsole is borrowed from the brand’s popular running shoes, providing a light and springy step. For improved traction, the outsole has been beefed up with a thick 4mm lug tread.

In our testing, this water shoe really shined on the hiking trail. Rough terrain is easy on the feet thanks to the cushioned sole. Our favorite feature: the soft gusseted collar and elastic drawstring lace system work together for an easy slide-in fit that can be tightened up on the fly for better agility and response.

Read more: Best Hoka Shoes for Walking

MaterialsNeoprene upper/EVA sole
DrainageSide vented upper
TractionRubber lugged outsole

Swim Fins


Nike Swim Fins


  • Helps produce propulsion and faster kicks
  • Slip-on design
  • Tested in and out of water
  • Not for everyday use
  • Low in stock

This Nike water shoe turns your feet into flippers with a fin blade that helps you glide through the water as you swim. There’s an open-toe box with grooves that keep your feet comfortable, and the balance of rigid and flexible pieces ensures a great fit.

You can probably guess just from looking at it, but as helpful as this kicks is in the water, it slows you down on land. From our testing, we found you can do a steady walk in it, but only on flat terrain. That said, it is very easy to slip on and off.

Materials100% silicon
DrainageOpen toe box
TractionFlat rubber

SeaCycled™ Headsail Sneaker


Sperry SeaCycled™ Headsail Sneaker


  • Adaptive Wave Siping™ technology provides insane grip
  • Drainage ports for quick-drying
  • Great for walking in water
  • Upper is partially made with polyester, which is not breathable

Simple and under $100, this kick is made with a flexible polyester and mesh upper that dries quickly. We found that the foam footbed provided ample comfort on our feet during hour-long walks on the beach. With drainage ports to help disperse water, and a grippy outsole that enhances traction in wet conditions, it’s one of the best water shoes for your sea activities.

Beyond being effective water shoes, we found this to be a great all-around sneaker, especially in the summer heat. The sole is comfortable, the look is easy to style, and the mesh upper provides plenty of fresh air for your piggies on sweltering days.

MaterialsRecycled polyester textile upper, EVA midsole, rubber outsole
DrainageOutsole holes
TractionRubber cleated outsole

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Men's 3T Barefoot Max Water Shoes


Body Glove Store Men’s 3T Barefoot Max Water Shoes

Now 28% Off


  • Barefoot feel
  • Easy slip-on style
  • Quick-dry with drainage and ventilation
  • Very gimmicky-looking

If you want a truly natural feel in the water, opt for a toe shoe like this pair from Body Glove—just make sure the fit is right. It has a three-toe design to maximize comfort and an integrated draining system that takes water out of the shoe as you wade or run through it, and takes the air in to keep the odor at a minimum.

The grippy outsole also provides enough traction for walking and hiking. From out testing, this barefoot shoe really shined during steep hikes. We don’t recommend it for vertical climbs, but the grip is solid for tougher terrain, especially when water is involved.

DrainageOutsole holes
TractionNon-slip outsole

Aqua X Sport


Xero Shoes Aqua X Sport


  • Drain holes quickly shed water
  • Flexible FeelTrue® sole with all-terrain traction chevron lugs
  • Quick-drying, breathable mesh upper
  • Zero-drop heel
  • Not for everyday wear

This zero-drop water shoe is purpose built for water activities. The breathable mesh upper is quick-drying, and perforated with holes for water drainage. Meanwhile the all-terrain outsole keeps you sure-footed.

The zero-drop style, lastly, provides a balance you’ll need in hardcore water activities. We wore it white water rafting and the outsole grip kept us sure footed moving in and out of the raft. It is one time when you really need your feet to feel what you can’t see, which allowed the light outsole to shine.

MaterialPolyester upper, synthetic insole, rubber outsole
DrainageMesh upper
TractionRubber tread

Loyak Water Shoes


Astral Loyak Water Shoes


  • Even the laces are water-resistant
  • Dries fast and drain water
  • Extra grippy outsole that maximizes traction
  • Great for hiking
  • No arch support

When you think of tough-as-hell water shoes, this one has to be top of mind. Astral’s shoe is made from a durable and light canvas upper that dries quickly and also ventilates, as well as rubber Flex-Grip outsoles that will stick to the ground. In the water, the holes in the sole will drain water.

For times when your feet are going to spend more time under water than above it, this is the shoe you want. From our testing, we found the light materials, snug fit, and effective drainage shined best when fully submerged. Of course, it works great back on dry land as well.

MaterialsCanvas upper, rubber outsole
TractionSlip-resistant outsole

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What Else to Consider


Not all water shoes are built equally—some are rugged enough for hiking on watery trails, some are designed to be submerged underwater and walk underwater, some are meant for fishing and canyoneering, and some are good for paddle boarding, kayaking, and even snorkeling/swimming. Water shoes with zero-drop or a barefoot build, for instance, go with water-heavy activities, whereas water shoes with a thick sole are better for walking.

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What Are Water Shoes Recommended for?

Simply put: when you know your feet will get wet. Thus, active guys who spend a lot of time in water sports or near water environments will definitely need water shoes to get their feet protection and traction in, on, or around water.

But out of the water, water shoes make great summer shoes thanks to their breathability, as well as waterproof shoes for surviving rainy days. With better traction than most other shoes, water shoes are also an alternative for hiking and walking on muddy, rocky grounds.

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Are Water Shoes Meant for Swimming?

Professionally and competitively? Let’s pass on water shoes. But casually and recreationally? Yes, you can swim with water shoes—in fact, they’re sometimes worn inside the scuba-diving gear. Water shoes with a zero-drop build or toe-like construction are great for snorkeling and walking on ocean rocks. And if your water shoes are light and fit well enough, you can definitely paddle your legs in them to swim.

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Shop More of Our Summer Essentials

Best Summer Shoes | Best Walking Shoes | Best Swim Trunks | Best Travel Shoes | Best Casual Shoes | Best Boat Shoes

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