Water Shoes Review: Top 8 Water Shoes 2019


Best Water Shoes Review

Water shoes are footwear that provides grip and protection for the feet during water-related sports and activities.

Anyone who takes up active water sports should be equipped with the right attire, starting with footwear. 

We have done LOTS of research and we listed the BEST water shoes based on their grip, protection, drainage, and breathability. 

Let’s take a quick look at what we recommend before we go into details: 

Mike's Top Choice

(The one we like the best)

Merrell All Out Blaze Aero Sport Hiking Water Shoe

Great for Hiking

Breathable

Dries quickly

Light

Cheapest Option

(Check current price down below)

Aleader Mesh Slip on Water Shoes

Airy

Light

Drains well

Amphibious

Do you want to learn more about water shoes? 

Down below you can learn:

Or, you can just simply read the full reviews:


 8 Best  Water Shoes 

Mike’s Gear Reviews has listed seven of the best water shoes that you can buy online. Each style has an option for men and for women. The specs and the prices are lifted from Amazon unless otherwise specified.

ALEADER Men’s Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes

ALEADER Men’s Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes

With its perforated form, you wouldn’t mistake these with any other type of shoes.

From the Chinese manufacturer ALEADER, these Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes are the definition of breathable and lightweight. The air mesh upper and rubber outsole make these perfect for both water and land wear.

Here are the pros and cons of these water shoes.

Pros Cons
Light Has large holes
Breathable
Good drainage
Amphibious

The specs:

  • Fabric
  • Rubber sole
  • Breathable and durable air mesh upper allow the foot to breathe
  • Solyte midsole provides an exceptionally lightweight midsole with excellent bounce-back and durability
  • Water Grip and cushion outsole provides exceptional traction in wet and slippery conditions, offer you good performance on your water aerobic activities.
  • ComforDry sockliner and arch support insole provides the optimum cushioning performance that creates a cooler, drier and healthier shoe environment
  • Open mesh on the upper and hole on the sole provides for superior breathability and quick drying

Many water shoes reviews online are in agreement that a pair of these Quick Dry Aqua Shoes are indeed quick-drying.

They have a mesh upper and easily removable insole, so they drain fast and dry quickly. Their outsole is strong enough to be used on land, making these a perfect amphibious footwear.

Their main draw is their airiness, and that’s obvious by how these look. Their bigger than average mesh holes in the upper and outsole make these a truly breathable footwear. However, you might find them a disadvantage as well if you are on a beach, where there are sands and tiny rocks that can easily penetrate the inside of the shoes. That’s why many consider these suited more as deck shoes or for used on clean and even flooring.

These may be the best water shoes for men that you are looking for. It can’t double as hiking shoes, but it is ideal to use on poolside and decks.


ALEADER Women’s Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes

ALEADER Women’s Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes

The women’s version of the ALEADER variant above, these quick-drying aqua shoes could be one of the best women’s water shoes that you can find. They are light, airy and comfortable. Their mesh upper and the holes on its outsoles provide excellent drainage.

Here are the pros and cons of owning a pair:

Pros Cons
Light Mesh holes not suitable for feet protection
Breathable
Good drainage
Amphibious

The specs are the same as the men version’s specs.

  • All-purpose amphibious shoe
  • Lateral contrast stitching support system offers secure fit
  • Quick-dry, breathable mesh
  • FluidFlow technology helps water drain faster

Just like the ALEADER Men’s Quick Drying Aqua Shoes, the women’s version is as lightweight and breathable as well. It also has the same technology that allows water to quickly enter and exit.

It also comes with the same disadvantage of having larger than normal mesh holes, which means it’s not ideal to use on beaches. And because it has a mesh upper, it doesn’t offer toes and the feet much protection from rocks and other sharp objects that can cut and puncture. But its outer soles are thick and good enough for protection. It’s probably not the best water shoes for hiking, but it’s suitable for wear on land.


Zhuanglin Men’s Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes

Zhuanglin Men’s Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes

Another contender for the best water shoes on this list is the Zhuanglin Men’s Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes, which pretty much is all you need for a dependable pair of aqua shoes that doesn’t cost a lot. It is lightweight, breathable and comfortable for use in both in water and on land.

The pros and cons of the Zhuanglin Men’s Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes:

Pros Cons
Lightweight Sizes run large
Breathable
Comfortable
Drains well

The specs:

  • 90% fabric
  • Rubber sole
  • Breathable and durable air mesh upper
  • Solyte midsole
  • ComforDry sockliner
  • Open mesh on the upper and hole on the sole

For a Chinese-made product, this one has sizes that run large. One would expect that Asian products follow Asian sizing, but it’s about half-size bigger than regular. The good news is that it fits just right for wider feet.

If you choose the style that has shoelace, keep in mind that it’s just for aesthetic purposes only. It doesn’t tighten or adjust.

The mesh holes on its upper as well as the holes on its soles give this a very efficient drainage system. Careful on stepping on little rocks and pebbles, though, as they can get stuck in the sole holes. As for the quick-drying claim, it’s not as quick as the ALEADER shoes mentioned above, with some water shoes reviews saying it takes hours for it to dry.


Zhuanglin Women’s Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes

Zhuanglin Women’s Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes

From Chinese company Zhuanglin, this women’s version of the Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes has all the factors that make the men’s version brilliant water shoes. It is also lightweight and airy. It uses a stretchy mesh fabric so it makes for a comfortable wear that drains well.

The pros and cons:

Pros Cons
Lightweight Sizes run large
Breathable
Comfortable
Drains well

Here are the specs:

  • 90% fabric
  • Rubber sole
  • Breathable and durable air mesh
  • Solyte midsole
  • Water Grip outsole
  • ComforDry sockliner
  • Open mesh on the upper and hole on the sole

Wearing these feel wearing next to nothing because they are just that lightweight. And when you are in water, lightweight is what you need. Like the men’s version of these shoes, they are also breathable and have good traction and drainage. You can wear them on land as well, but again, just like the men’s, it’s not meant for long hikes.

Because of the holes on the soles, small pebbles might get stuck in the holes. That’s the downside of it, which means you would want to steer clear away rocky paths. However, the holes are raised up so you won’t feel the rocks that get lodged in them, plus there’s layers of mesh at the top of the holes so the objects don’t get inside the shoes.

Overall, this is definitely one of the best women’s water shoes that you can buy for a low cost.


ALEADER Men’s Mesh Slip On Water Shoes

ALEADER Men’s Mesh Slip On Water Shoes

Unlike the Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes also from ALEADER discussed above, the Mesh Slip On has mesh fabric that has smaller holes, which is on top of a perforated material with bigger holes. This style prevents smaller objects from entering the shoes while at the same time protects the feet from sharp objects.

Here are the pros and cons:

Pros Cons
Airy Holes in the soles collect little stones
Light
Drains well
Amphibious

The specs are the same with the shoes mentioned above:

  • All-purpose amphibious shoe
  • Lateral contrast stitching support system offers secure fit
  • Quick-dry, breathable mesh
  • FluidFlow technology helps water drain faster

The ALEADER Men’s Mesh Slip On has all the pros and even the con of the ALEADER Men’s Quick Drying Aqua Shoes but with one major difference: it has a net fabric with smaller holes over a mesh fabric with bigger holes. The extra fabric makes a whole difference to foot protection.

The water grip rubber sole works so well on both slippery surface and hard terrains. The soles are just the right firmness for use on land, but it’s still not the best water shoes for hiking. It’s perhaps more ideal for short hike and smooth or even grounds.


ALEADER Women’s Mesh Slip On Water Shoes

ALEADER Women’s Mesh Slip On Water Shoes

Another sensible option, the ALEADER Women’s Mesh Slip On is a great find with a lot of designs to choose from. Its lightweight midsole allows for quick-drying and provides comfortable fit.

The pros and cons:

Pros Cons
Dries quickly Holes in the soles collect little stones
Comfortable
Lightweight
Breathable

The specifications:

  • Fabric
  • EVA/RB sole
  • Supper soft mesh/fabric upper sole
  • With slip-ons and pull tap at the heel
  • Lightweight and compressible for easy packing
  • With hydro-grip outsole
  • Shock absorption and cushioned EVA barefoot sole with fast water drain design

According to some water shoes reviews, you should get half-size smaller than your normal. It’s not because its sizes run large, but because the shoes are wide. It wouldn’t be a problem with people with wider feet, though.

Just like the men’s version, this also has the disadvantage of having large holes in the soles, which means it collects small pebbles when you walk on grainy grounds. But again, the Mesh Slip On Aqua Shoes are great for both slippery surfaces and rough grounds, in both water and land. You can use this during short hikes, but it’s not meant as hiking shoes.

And as it is one disadvantage off from the first ALEADER women’s aqua shoes on this list, it is perhaps the best choice of the two.


Dreamcity Men’s Water Shoes

Dreamcity Men's Water Shoes

This China-made water shoes from Dreamcity is another versatile find that can be used for walking as well as for swimming. Like the ALEADER Men’s Quick Drying shoes, this also has a tennis shoe design, but this one has a fully functioning lace adjustment. It has a removable liner, which makes it easier and quicker to dry after use.

Pros and cons:

Pros Cons
Dries quickly Sizes run large
Breathable
Light
Amphibious

The specs are, again, the same with the others above in this list. But that is expected, considering the Dreamcity brand is part of the ALEADER family.

  • 90% fabric
  • Rubber sole
  • Breathable and durable air mesh upper
  • Solyte midsole
  • Water Grip outsole
  • ComforDry sockliner
  • Open mesh on the upper and hole on the sole

If you want to order a pair of these, better order a size smaller than your normal because these run large. You can adjust the fit using the shoelaces, though.

The removable liner also makes it more hygienic, preventing mildew to grow. Some users complain about the smell after a few uses, though. You can avoid that by removing the liner and drying it separately from the shoes.

Some users also consider these as the best river shoes because they seamlessly transition between water and the riverbank, or any solid ground for that matter.


Dreamcity Women’s Water Shoes

Dreamcity Women’s Water Shoes

Like the men’s version, the women’s version also looks like an ordinary tennis shoes at first glance. It might not be real tennis shoes, but it’s one of the best water shoes you will ever use.

The advantages of using the shoes:

Pros Cons
Dries quickly
Breathable
Lightweight
Amphibious

The specs:

  • 90% fabric
  • Rubber sole
  • Breathable and durable air mesh upper
  • Solyte midsole
  • Water Grip outsole
  • ComforDry sockliner
  • Open mesh on the upper nad hole on the sole

For the ladies, this could be the best women’s water shoes that you can buy in this price range. It just ticks off all the boxes without the disadvantage found in the men’s version. Unlike its male counterpart, it runs true to size.

It is also amphibious like the others on this list. It means that while it is intended primarily for use in the water, it can still perform light walking duties on dry land. It dries quickly, especially when you take out the removable liner.


Merrell Men’s All Out Blaze Aero Sport Hiking Water Shoe

Merrell Men’s All Out Blaze Aero Sport Hiking Water Shoe

When Merrell, the US household name in hiking boots, say it’s an “all out” shoe, it is indeed an all-out shoe. The All Out Blaze Aero Sport is truly the shoes you need for an outdoor adventure. These are first and foremost hiking shoes, but they can be the best water shoes you’d ever wear.

The pros and cons:

Pros Cons
Great for hiking Expensive
Breathable Narrow fit
Dries quickly
Light

The specs (from the Merrell official website):

  • Synthetic
  • Vibram sole
  • Lace-up hiking shoe with branding details featuring breathable mesh and durable synthetic upper
  • Omni-Fit lacing system
  • Molded TPU heel counter, breathable mesh lining with odor-preventing M Select FRESH technologies
  • Cushioned and protective UniFly midsole
  • TC5+ Vibram outsole with 5 mm lug depth
  • Weight: 1lb 6oz

If you need heavy-duty hiking shoes that can also be used for swimming, the Merrell All Out Blaze Aero Sport is a good bet. It one of the best water shoes for hiking; you can truly use it during long and arduous hikes and then cross rivers and even swim in them.

It doesn’t look anything like the typical aqua shoes. In fact, it looks like regular hiking shoes. But it has breathable mesh upper and is as lightweight as a normal pair of water shoes.

It has a slightly narrow fit, though, but nothing too confining. However, they are on more expensive side and typically go for more than $100, which is average for the price f Merrell hiking shoes.

But if you don’t mind them, then these are perfect for you. Because of its versatility, it is in the running for the best water shoes for men.


Merrell Women’s All Out Blaze Aero Sport Hiking Water Shoe

Merrell Women’s All Out Blaze Aero Sport Hiking Water Shoe

Just as amazing as the All Out Blaze Aero for men, the women’s version is also both dependable as water and hiking shoes. But unlike the men’s version, though, this does not have a narrow fit.

Here are the pros and cons of the All Out Blaze Aero for women:

Pros Cons
Great for hiking Expensive
Breathable
Dries quickly
Light

The specs and price are lifted from the official Merrell website:

  • Merrell Omni-Fit™ lacing System provides a precise, glove-like fit
  • Bellows tongue keeps debris out
  • Molded TPU heel counter for added stability
  • Breathable mesh lining
  • Vibram TC5+ outsole
  • Hollowed lugs for lightness
  • 5mm lug depth
  • Weight: 1lb 6oz

It’s probably the best women’s water shoes if your budget runs upwards. It is versatile and can be used efficiently in both land and water. You can use it on long hikes and in water, and it can function well in both situations.

It’s quick-drying, making the transition from water to land more seamless. It is also breathable and lightweight. Unlike its counterpart for men, though, it doesn’t have a narrow fit, but it’s still comfortable to wear.


Speedo Men’s Hydro Comfort 4.0 Water Shoe

Speedo Men’s Hydro Comfort 4.0 Water Shoe

From the popular manufacturer of swimwear and gears, the Speedo Men’s Hydro Comfort 4.0 is reasonably priced aqua shoes that double as hiking shoes. It does look like hiking shoes, but up close, it the mesh upper is a big giveaway.

The pros and cons:

Pros Cons
Drains well Has long laces
Dries fast Poor traction when wet
Breathable
Comfortable
Light

Amazon doesn’t have a long list of specs for the Speedo Men’s Hydro Comfort 4.0. It doesn’t also have a specific price, although online entries listed it from $30. Shop around to find a good deal!

  • Synthetic
  • Rubber sole
  • Mesh fabric

As online water shoes reviews have noted, this is a better hiking shoes than water shoes.

It’s because it has decent traction on dry land but less grip on wet surfaces. Its long laces can be a distraction. Some people replace them with regular ones so they can be tied instead of pulled up.

Just like many of the best water shoes, it also has a mesh upper for good drainage and breathable wear. The soles are solid rubber that can protect your feet from piercing rocks and other sharp objects.

Speedo Women’s Hydro Comfort 4.0 Water Shoe

Speedo Women’s Hydro Comfort 4.0 Water Shoe

The women’s version for the Hydro Comfort 4.0 is just as good. It is breathable and comfortable, as well as light. Plus, the drainage channels on the sides of the soles provide good drainage while keeping rocks out.

The pros and cons:

Pros Cons
Drains well Has long laces
Dries fast Poor traction when wet
Breathable Sizes run small
Comfortable
Light

The specs:

  • Synthetic
  • Rubber sole
  • Rubber outsole
  • Quick drying, beathable upper
  • Lightweight midsole with side port drainage
  • Safety Note: Always use caution on wet, hard or slippery surfaces

These stylish aqua shoes don’t look as such at first glance. They look more like running shoes because its mesh upper has solid colored trimmings. The holes in the side of the soles are good indications that they are for drainage, though.

Like the men’s version, the women’s is just as quick-drying, breathable, comfortable and light. It unfortunately falls into the same cons as well, including having poorer grip when in contact with wet surfaces.

Here a tip from water shoes reviews users: order a size bigger than your normal because these run small. Once you have the right size for your feet, they will be one of the most comfortable shoes you’ve ever used.


Columbia Men’s Drainmaker IV Water Shoe

Columbia Men’s Drainmaker IV Water Shoe

As already the fourth incarnation in this series, the Columbia Men’s Drainmaker IV has enhanced cushioning and traction, giving users better grip even in slippery conditions. Built for both wet and dry grounds, the airflow and water midsole ports make these shoes drain easily.

The pros and cons:

Pros Cons
Comfortable
Lightweight
Breathable
Drains easily

The specs and price, according to its official website:

  • Upper: Combination mesh and synthetic upper
  • Midsole: Techlite midsole, superior cushion, high energy return. Airflow and water rainable midsole ports
  • Outsole: Omni-Grip non-marking wet grip outsole with razor siping

It’s hard to find fault with what could be the one of the best water shoes for men. It is a little bit on the expensive side—though not as expensive as the higher range shoes—but it’s acceptable considering it’s from the famous Columbia Sportswear Company.

It dries fairly fast, but still slower than other water shoes that aren’t meant to be used for long and arduous walks. It’s probably due to the midsole cushion that it takes longer to dry than normal.

Nevertheless, it is a sturdy piece that you would feel confident wearing while crossing rivers or kayaking.


Columbia Women’s Drainmaker II Water Shoe

Columbia Women’s Drainmaker II Water Shoe

From Columbia, the Drainmaker II for women is one of the best women’s water shoes that you can find without much, if at all, disadvantage. The price may be higher than others, but again, it’s from Columbia, and you are getting a two-in-one pair that is great on land and in water.

Here are the pros and cons:

Pros Cons
Light Takes time to dry
Comfortable
Breathable
Good traction

The specs from its official website:

  • Techlite midsole with drainage ports in heel and forefoot
  • Omni-Grip high traction wet rubber grip
  • Breathable single layer open mesh upper
  • Siped with lugs for extra traction
  • Fully drainable footbed
  • Weight: size 7, ½ pair = 8.4 oz/238.14 g
  • Imported

The major gripe some users have with this is it takes a bit of time to dry… And for water shoes, how fast they dry is a major factor. But just like the Drainmaker IV for men above, it could probably because of its superior cushioning midsole, which makes the wear of this very comfortable in both land and water.

Unlike others that also have holes in the sole, the Drainmaker II for women does not allow small rocks and other grainy objects to get in and get stuck. This makes this perfect for walking on uneven and gravelly roads. And as expected, this has great traction in both wet and dry conditions.


Mike’s Top Choice

Out of the 14 items listed above, Mike’s Gear Reviews think that the Merrell All Out Blaze Aero Sport—both for men and for women— are the best water shoes for men and the best women’s water shoes. They are as excellent as hiking shoes as they are as water shoes. It is the most expensive on the list, though.

Women Men

So if you are on a budget, the ALEADER Mesh Slip On for both men and women is a great value. It doesn’t function as perfectly as Merrell when used as hiking shoes, but it’s the best water shoes that you can find around that price mark.

Women Men

They have hard but flexible sole so they don’t restrict your movements while giving you protection from wet and rocky environments. They don’t necessarily prevent your feet from getting wet. There are some pairs that keep your feet dry, but most don’t because that’s not how they work. There are some that can keep your feet relatively warm, though.


Water shoes: The basics

You can go barefoot, but it’s highly unlikely you will enjoy your activity with cut and bleeding feet. Unless you stay in swimming pools, where the surface is smooth and even, your feet might take a beating on rough terrains where there are sharp rocks and patchy grounds… And so if you are on any body of water other than man-made pools, you need to wear the best water shoes for your activity.

Water shoes are footwear that provides grip and protection for the feet during water-related sports and activities.

They have hard but flexible sole so they don’t restrict your movements while giving you protection from wet and rocky environments. They don’t necessarily prevent your feet from getting wet. There are some pairs that keep your feet dry, but most don’t because that’s not how they work.

There are some that can keep your feet relatively warm, though.

Best Water Shoes Review

Best Water Shoes Review

Unlike hiking shoes that are waterproof, which prevent water from seeping through, and therefore keeping the feet dry, water shoes are meant to get wet. Hiking shoes aren’t meant to be used during water sports activities as well, no matter how good they are.

That said, there are water or aqua shoes that are used for specific sports or functions depending on their styles. Some are so durable that they can also be used for off-road hiking, while some are used for basic water activities, like a walk on the beach or a dip in the lake. Some styles are good for kayaking, while the best river shoes often have sturdier soles. So consider what water sports or activity you need the shoes first before buying a pair.

Are water shoes necessary?

If you like outdoor water activities, or even like swimming in lakes and frolicking in rocky beaches, you need the best water shoes that you can get your hands on. You need footwear that can protect your toes and your whole feet from scrapes and cuts without restricting your movement and limberness as hiking shoes would.

Best Water Shoes Review

Best Water Shoes Review

And depending on the type of pair you get, some of the best water shoes for hiking have dual function: as water shoes and as hiking shoes. So if you are about to embark on a short hiking trip before you can reach your water destination, choose a pair that is sturdy enough for hiking as well.

What to look for in water shoes?

There are a few things you should be checking when looking for the best water shoes. Check if your pair has great grip, superb protection, efficient drainage and excellent breathability. Find out the country where it’s manufactured as well.

Best Water Shoes Review

Best Water Shoes Review

Grip

As you are dealing with wet and slippery grounds, you need your shoes to have dependable traction. The external soles of the shoes are designed to provide solid rubber grip even while in the water. If your shoes cannot give you this, then they are not doing their job well.

Protection

The biggest point of wearing footwear while swimming is to protect your feet from injuries. Hence, your aqua shoes must protect your feet from getting cuts and scrapes. Your toes are the most vulnerable because you often use them to find purchase on the ground. They can be crushed between rocks or cut from sharp edges.

Nevertheless, the best water shoes can protect the whole feet, not just the toes. Even if shoes have different styles and designs, they should still be able to protect the top of your feet, which is often neglected.

Drainage

As water shoes aren’t waterproof, they should also not be absorbent. Imagine if your shoes absorb water while your feet are submerged in the sea. How uncomfortable and heavy your shoes will be. That will restrict your movement as well. No matter how your aqua shoes are constructed, they should have effective drainage so water won’t stay inside your shoes.

Don’t expect your shoes to be air-dried immediately, but at least they won’t store water. Water should be able to escape the shoes as fast as it enters them.

Breathability

Any good shoes should be breathable, that includes aqua shoes. Breathability is not always considered a factor when looking for the best water shoes simply because people think that the feet will be cool under the water anyway. But your feet won’t be submerged all the time. No matter what activity you are doing, your feet are bound to leave the water some time.

Your body heat, including your feet, increases during a physical activity, and it won’t go down immediately after. While under water, your feet won’t become overheated, but when they leave the water, that’s when they need to cool down. Therefore, you need to consider breathability when buying water shoes, just as you would consider it when buying any other type of shoes.

Where It’s Made

While it’s not the first and foremost thing you need to know about your footwear, you would still want to know where it is manufactured. It’s not as crucial as the other four criteria, but the country of manufacture could indicate if the pair that you got is authentic from the brand.


Are you getting ready to start a new adventure? Mike’sGearReviews will help you with your check list: Do you have an EDC Flashlight? Did you get your hiking pants? How about the fire starter?…and you can also read our Zombie Survival Guide, because… you never know!