When looking for the best water shoes for hiking there are things you will need to take into consideration. You need to keep in mind that water shoes are not waterproof but the complete opposite. A good pair of water shoes let water into the shoe and drains it right out to prevent the build-up of water making the shoe heavier.
Top 13 Best Water Shoes for Hiking
1. Columbia Drainmaker IV Water Shoe
The Columbia Drainmaker IV Water Shoe is a great option for wet slippery terrain. They are made of a mesh material that makes the shoe very breathable and allows for good drainage. They are fast-drying and provide extra airflow due to the material. The sole of the shoe allows for excellent grip and the shoe also features a removable inner sole as well as a toe cap to provide extra protection against rough terrain.
The shoe’s material also prevents large stones from making their way inside so as to not cause any discomfort on your hike. The footbed and frame of the Columbia Drainmaker IV Water Shoe provide hikers with good cushioning and impact absorption making them extremely comfortable especially on long hikes. The shoe also features adjustable straps making it easier to put on and take off.
Overall these shoes provide excellent features and can be used for everyday activities while being reasonably priced.
Sample Customer Review… I ordered these shoes for summer fishing and love them. I went wading in the river fully submerged for several days and they worked out perfectly. For this use, in particular, I did pair these with some quick-drying Olefin (aka DryMax) socks (item B002ABX4I2) to help with sand and gravel getting into the shoes, which ended up being a smart decision because small pebbles do get inside. I also wore them without socks and they were completely comfortable for all-day use that way too. They’re some of the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever owned and the draining feature works great. I plan to wear these just as regular shoes in the summer because they keep my feet cool and they look like normal shoes.Read more reviews at Amazon.com.
2. Merrell All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoe
The Merrell All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoe is a mix between a sandal and regular hiking shoes. These shoes are very durable and flexible due to their waxy waterproof leather material and feature easy-release laces that allow you to put them off and take off easily.
They are the perfect shoe if you are looking for something that you can break in easily making them comfortable from the start. The soles of the shoe provide great grip making them a great option for long hikes since they have been reviewed as being extremely comfortable. The open heel of the shoe makes them very breathable but would allow small rocks to enter your shoes causing some discomfort. The open-heal also means that they do not provide as much support as other shoes on the market but are still an excellent choice.
Sample Customer Review… I wore these shoes exclusively for 8 days while on a rafting trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. I wore them to hike rocky slopes, wade streams, walk on wet rocks, walk up and down in and out and through fine sand areas, wade the river, and so on. I, and they, were wet probably at least 85% of the time (waking hours). They met all my needs and expectations. They dried quickly. They were easy on and off to wash out sand. Note, I observed my fellow travelers with about every brand imaginable and they all get sand in them and they all have to be rinsed, etc. These were quick and easy to rinse, on or off. This was an extreme situation for such a shoe (I think). I have no complaints. They were stable and secure as could be expected. The rocks in this area were smooth and often wet, but the shoes held just fine. Overall, if you want a water shoe that is comfortable, stable, wearable, and so on, these will do the job.Read more reviews at Amazon.com.
3. Teva Evo Water Shoe
The Teva Evo Water Shoe is an excellent choice for rocky trails and canyoning since they provide good support and have a toe cap helping to prevent any injuries such as stubbed toes. These shoes have a sole with a good grip which allows you to move through watery terrain without the fear of any slips or falls but they are not the most durable.
Since the shoes are closed off they will not provide as much ventilation but will offer protection from any stones that may want to enter your shoes. The material also allows these shoes to be rather breathable and help with drainage although they will do so at a slower pace than other shoes on the market.
Overall these shoes are good for those hikers who will not encounter too much water and would like more toe protection on their journey.
Sample Customer Review… I bought these for a trip to Bali, wanting something that would be multi-purpose, from getting on-off boats in water/sand to exploring the market in Ubud to hiking on narrow little walls between rice patties. Great traction and I loved keeping the shoes wet as it helped to cool me down in intense heat! A very versatile all-purpose shoe that kept out dirt and pebbles and even protected my foot from a large tack that went through the sole!Read more reviews at Amazon.com.
4. Keen Terradora Ethos Water Shoes
The Keen Terradora Ethos Water Shoes are excellent shoes and specially designed for women. They are very lightweight and dry quickly due to their material.
The shoes are water repellent and have quick-release laces that make them very easy to put on and take off. The soles of these shoes are made to provide extra support and have excellent grip assuring that they are suitable for wet terrain reducing any possibility of injury.
Another great feature is the soft stretchy fabric these shoes are made of which helps avoid blisters which is a big concern when you are walking in damp shoes for an extended period of time. They are pretty pricey but many people say they are worth it due to all the amazing benefits they provide.
Sample Customer Review… I wore this for water hiking in Havasupai in grand canyon for 4 days. I chose to wear a low hiking sock with it to avoid blisters from sand and rocks rubbing my skin. I never got a single blister and my feet were very comfortable. Good support. I will stick with this water shoe for hiking rivers and streams. My friend bought a cheap pair and they threw her back out due to no foot support to where she couldn’t hike out.Read more reviews at Amazon.com.
5. Salomon Crossamphibian Swift Trail Running Shoe
The Crossamphibian Swift Trail Running Shoe is a very comfortable option for any hike and can easily be slipped on and off. The shoe is quick-drying and is made from a lightweight mesh material making it a breathable option for any hiker. The mesh material allows for water to drain quickly from the shoe and protects against any loose small rocks that may try to enter.
The shoe also features soles with a good grip making it the perfect option for wet slippery terrain and has a two-year warranty making its price tag rather reasonable. The shoes are said to be narrow in size so it is recommended that you size up at least one shoe size or half a size. The Crossamphibian Swift Trail Running Shoe also has toe caps in order to protect the buyer from any toe injuries while on their journey.
Sample Customer Review… Great product. Light-weight. Sturdy. Comfortable. Well-made. Took me to the summit of Mt. Batur volcano across rocks, pebbles, mud, and dusty winding trails of varying gradients (and there many times I had to dig in for traction to help other trekkers and experienced no slippage, discomfort, or doubt). Great no-brainer product where you’re never left worrying or thinking about whether it will work for you.Read more reviews at Amazon.com.
6. Chaco Outcross Evo 2 Hiking Shoe
The Chaco Outcross Evo 2 Hiking Shoe is a very lightweight shoe that provides comfort while hiking. The shoe has excellent water drainage and quick release laces which make them very easy to both put on and take off. They also have a sole with a good grip which helps prevent any falls or slips. The soles are also made from 25% recycled material for those who want to reduce their impact on the environment.
The Chaco Outcross Evo 2 Hiking Shoe also features a toe cap to help prevent any injuries such as stubbed toes. Although they do provide good support on the arch of your foot they do not provide as much support around your ankles making them less adequate for those who are looking for overall support on their hike.
Sample Customer Review… These are the cutest and most comfortable shoes. They work for slot canyon water hiking, but also just regular hiking and kicking around town. I wear the blue ones almost every day! They’re super cute and come in amazing colors. I have two pairs and would get more.Read more reviews at Amazon.com.
7. OluKai ‘Eleu Trainer Water Shoes
The Eleu Trainer Water Shoe is an excellent option for people who want to help the environment since they are vegan-friendly. These shoes are lightweight and very breathable making them an excellent choice for any hike. Their sole has really great grip making them a perfect choice for both dry and wet terrains. The sole is also very flexible due to its rounded edges so as to not restrict your movement while on your hike.
These shoes provide the user with a barefoot feel and feature molded toe-caps for protection as well as reinforced heels to provide protection from any obstacles or rocks that may be in your path. Their removable footbed allows for great drainage so you are not walking in a puddle of water on your trip and also provide great airflow.
The Eleu Trainer Water Shoe is a bit pricey compared to other shoes on the market but with all its features they may be exactly what you are looking for in your next pair of hiking water shoes.
Sample Customer Review… I needed some good water shoes for hiking the Grand Canyon. I tried these on at the store and they felt really comfortable compared to a few others. I wore them twice before the hike to break them in but was still worried about getting blisters. I ended up bringing only these shoes. I hiked over 25 miles in these, half of that with a 50 lb pack on. I didn’t get one blister and my feet were great the entire trip. I constantly got them wet crossing the river on the hike and they still felt great. My friend got a different brand and got very bad blisters. Highly recommend.Read more reviews at Amazon.com.
8. Astral Brewess 2.0 Water Shoes
The Astral Brewess 2.0 Water Shoes are said to be a stylish option for hiking water shoes and provide both comfort and support for any hike. They are made with a mesh panel that allows water to drain out so it will not accumulate and cause discomfort on your journey, but they do this at a slower pace than other water shoes.
The soles of these shoes are good for light terrains such as river crossings and light hiking but are not good options for more extreme terrains such as climbing or trail running. They are reasonably priced and if you are looking for an everyday shoe for light hikes then this is the pair for you!
Sample Customer Review… These were pricey but well worth the money. I’m a casual kayaker and was visiting friends on the rocky Maine coast. These shoes were perfect for launching and landing on the small islands, as well as doing shoreline exploration. The soles are super sticky! Shoes drained and dried quickly, and didn’t allow much sand in. They look fairly cute for what they are. The wide toebox is comfy, but also streamlined enough to be fine in the cockpit. As for sizing, I’m usually a 9.5, but these were fine in a 9. I would also say I think they stretched a little after a couple of days of use. Worth the $ to feel secure on the rocks.Read more reviews at Amazon.com.
9. Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Swimrun
The Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Swimrun water shoes perform very well on a wide range of terrains. They are easily transferable from wet to dry paths and do not weigh down your feet.
These shoes are also made from recycled materials so they are an excellent choice if you want something more sustainable and good for the environment. The mesh material on the side of the shoe makes it very breathable and drains water rather quickly to ensure you are not walking in a puddle of water on your hike.
The Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Swimrun water shoes are also very lightweight compared to many shoes on the market so are an excellent choice for those hikers who do not want to feel weighed down.
Sample Customer Review… This was my first pair of true barefoot shoes and therefore the first pair of Vivos. I now own I think 5 pairs of Vivos and strictly wear barefoot shoes. I bought these in May of 2019 and wore them as a full-time nurse, walking about 6 miles a day in them. Additionally, I used them for all of my backpacking and hiking trips (approx 100 miles of use) plus all trail runs and workouts and a trip to the boundary waters, which were probably the best shoe I could have had for that trip. The non-absorptive material was perfect for going in and out of the water without weighing me down and the tread pattern was perfect for grip on rocks in and out of the water. I basically abused them are they are just now starting to give out. The sole material is ever so soft and so I did notice a good amount of wear over time from hard hospital floors. I usually wear around a 10.5 depending on the company and I have found the 11s are pretty much perfect..maybe a tad long but nothing substantial. Overall I love these shoes and am actually buying a replacement pair. For $70 I think these are fantastic shoes for just about any outdoor activity.Read more reviews at Amazon.com.
10. Clorts Water Shoe
The Clorts Closed-Toe Water Shoe is an excellent choice if you will be hiking on a watery terrain due to its breathability and quick water drainage. The shoe has soles that are shock absorbent and have excellent grip due to the octopus suction they are made with, which limits the possibility of injury especially when moving through very wet terrain.
The Clorts Closed-Toe Water Shoes also feature a removable innersole which helps prevent odor as well as side drainage holes to help with limiting the accumulation of water. They also feature a fast lacing buckle making them very easy to slip on and off on your adventure.
Sample Customer Review… They fit great, very supportive, and comfortable. Stood up to whitewater rafting and climbing in waterfalls. I have very bad, painful feet and these were great for a light hike in the woods to a waterfall.Read more reviews at Amazon.com.
11. Clorts Lightweight Walking Sneaker Sandal
The Clorts Lightweight Walking Sneaker Sandal is a great option for any hiker for both dry and wet terrains. Many have said that the shoe is very versatile and can be used from anything such as water sports to camping.
The manufacturers designed the shoe with screened drainage ports on the outsole of the shoe in order to make them more breathable and quick drying. Since this is a sandal design, water can also drain out of the lower ankle, and the mesh material it is made of makes this extremely easy. The shoe is very easy to both put on and takes off due to the bungee laces and adjustable lace locks that come with it.
The Clorts Lightweight Walking Sneaker Sandal also has a built-in sock liner to not only provide comfort but give you the option of wearing it with or without socks. This shoe is a great option for hikers and can make your experience even better. Make sure you look at all the advantages and disadvantages to make the best decision for yourself.
Sample Customer Review… Shoes arrived 3 weeks before the expected date! GREAT! Wore shoes for 4 hours for the first time, very comfortable, no problems. Good fit, just about perfect. I definitely would buy them again, AND recommend them to friends. I hope Amazon keeps them available forever!Read more reviews at Amazon.com.
12. RYKA Hydro Sport
Not only is this shoe perfect for wet and rugged terrain, but it is one of the most comfortable water shoes in the market. The RYKA hydro shoe comes with a webbed brace for midfoot support, as well as a removable footbed for ultimate comfort. The shoe itself is made of 100% synthetic and quick-dry mesh to properly drain the shoe of any water. This shoe also has a chlorine-resistant feature, so perfect for pool days as well. The sticky rubber on the bottom of the shoe allows for maximum traction against wet surfaces, along with the overall supportive nature of the shoe. The only thing to note is that it is water-resistant, not waterproof, so if you are planning on using water shoes for extended water exposure, you may want to try another shoe on this list.
Sample Customer Review… I bought these for a trip to Hawaii, and now I wear them for any water activity or hike that might get wet. They’ve survived a 17-mile kayak trip, a muddy 8-mile hike with river crossings, swimming, beach days, etc. no blisters, even when my friends’ feet got destroyed in hiking sandals. I imagine they’d be great for theme parks with water rides. They’re easy to take on and off (even when wet), drain quickly, and dry off pretty fast if you take out the inserts. I’m a size 9, though I usually size up to 9.5 in sneakers. I bought these in a 9 and they were great with or without socks. 9.5 would prob have been fine too. Love them!Read more reviews at Amazon.com
13. Astral TR1 Junction
Need that perfect all-purpose shoe that you can wear for any outdoor occasion? The TR1 Junction has got you covered. The outsoles of this shoe allow for traction in both wet and dry conditions, and the stiff midsole acts as an extra support system for your feet. These shoes are comfortable and stretchy, allowing them to fit on feet without socks or feet with multiple sock layers. The shoe has front and side holes for draining water quickly, but the insulation of this shoe could be a bit better, as they aren’t the warmest shoe you will find. However, if you want a breathable, durable water shoe, the TR1 Junction will get the job done.
Sample Customer Review… I liked this pair so much, I bought two additional pairs. I’ve always been super hard on my footwear and let me tell you that these have stood up to every challenge. They are super lightweight, breathable, and durable. They resist odor because you can spray them out with a hose and they dry very quickly. The only flaw with the otherwise grippy soles is that a couple of small edges have separated from the shoe, but a little gorilla glue and they’re ready to get back out there! As good on the trail as they are in the water, these USA-made shoes will not let you down!Read more reviews at Amazon.com
Buying Guide: Things to Consider When Purchasing Water Shoes
Features in Great Water Shoes
There are many features that you need to look for in water shoes to make them worth the purchase. The following are some of the features to keep in mind:
If you are looking for water shoes, one of the most important qualities they should have is a good grip. The water shoes you choose should provide you with the assurance that you will be safe on slippery surfaces, especially while hiking to avoid any preventable slips and falls.
Easy Removal/ Good Water Drainage
Most hikers use water shoes for a short period of time when their route goes through a wet area but quickly transition back to regular terrain. Due to this change of terrain, water shoes should be very easy to put on and off so that hikers can transition smoothly through the different terrains if they choose to switch their shoes.
Another important feature is water drainage so that the water does not remain in the shoe, making it uncomfortable for hikers. Most water shoes are made of mesh material which helps with water drainage but also keeps dirt and rocks out of your shoes. Having shoes that drain the water is also important since having the water in your shoes rubbing against your bare feet can cause blisters which can prove to be very painful so make sure your shoes are made from materials that dry rather quickly in order to avoid this discomfort.
If you are on a hike you want your shoes to provide support so you are not in pain on your adventure. Good water shoes for hiking will provide support around the ankles and the arch of the foot. You also want to get water shoes that will protect your toes if you are planning to be in rocky terrain. Having shoes that protect your toes will eliminate the possibility of stubbing your toes or enduring any preventable injuries. You need to know what kind of trail you will be hiking so that you find the right shoes for you!
The shoes you wear play a big part in your hiking experience. Make sure you look at all the research and choose the best water shoes for hiking for your needs.
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Written by Paola Valdez and Cassidy Beshel