The best water shoes 2024: tested for traction and protection in the water

When it comes to amphibious adventures, the best water shoes have no competition. Designed to be fast drying, protective and uber-grippy, they're simply a no brainer for so many watery activities.

If you enjoy any of the following – kayaking, coasteering, canyoning, exploring waterfalls, wild swimming, SUP-ing or simply exploring your local beach and its rock pools, the best water shoes are the footwear for you. 

From neoprene booties that are basically an extension of your wetsuit, to synthetic shoes that share features with the best hiking shoes, water shoes come in many shapes and styles. The former are perhaps best for SUP-ing and kayaking, while the latter are a great option for beach walks and the cocktail bar.

We've taken to the water for a variety of activities and many different settings to collate this guide to the very best water shoes in 2024. We rate the Helly Hansen Ahiga V4 HP Sneakers as the best overall, thanks to its stylish aesthetic, eco-creds and breathability. However, every pair in the guide is included on merit and does its specific job to a high standard.

The quick list

The best water shoes we recommend in 2024

You can trust Advnture Our expert reviewers spend days testing and comparing gear so you know how it will perform out in the real world. Find out more about how we test and compare products.

The best water shoes overall

Helly Hansen Ahiga V4 HP Sneakers

The Helly Hansen Ahiga is a handsome-looking and highly practical lightweight quick-drying deck sneaker that walks the talk (Image credit: Pat Kinsella)
Best water shoes overall


Weight (per shoe, men’s size 11): 310g / 11oz
Sizes: Men's 7-14
Materials: Lightweight synthetic textile and mesh upper, EVA midsole, siped HellyGrip rubber outsole

Reasons to buy

Super breathable
Quick drying
Stylish and versatile
Lots of recycled content

Reasons to avoid

Not especially warm 
Not much toe protection
Women’s equivalent is more expensive

This nice-looking ultralight deck sneaker is supremely comfortable and nimble, ideal for wearing on yachts and other boats, as well as being versatile enough to be at home on the beach and in the bar. We found that the mesh-dominated upper is highly breathable and lets water in and out like a sieve, but it dries very quickly. Due to this, the Ahiga are best worn sans socks (an antimicrobial treatment helps prevent the build up of odor). 

EVA midsole supplies support to the foot, and we found the outsoles to be impressively grippy on all sorts of surfaces. The lace eyelets extend right to the top of the tongue, so you can be sure to get a really secure and tight fit. The Ahiga are marketed for men, and for some reason the closest women’s equivalent, the Skagen F-1 Offshore, which are very similar in terms of construction and design, are significantly more expensive. The Ahiga and Skagen are both PVC free, and they are made with a significant amount of recycled material.

Read our full Helly Hansen Ahiga V4 HP Sneakers review

The best water shoes for SUP-ing

best water shoes: Lomo 3mm Wetsuit Booties

Attractively priced, no-frills but very functional wetsuit-style booties for three-season-plus coastal capers and paddling adventures on SUPs, and in kayaks and canoes  (Image credit: Pat Kinsella)
Best water shoes for SUP-ing


Gender specificity: Unisex
Weight (per shoe, men’s size 11): 350g
Materials: 3mm Neoprene upper; moulded rubber sole
Colors: Black
Compatibility: Exploring coasts, wild swimming, stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking and canoeing almost all year round

Reasons to buy

Highly protective
Very warm
Excellent grip
Tough and long lasting
Easy (and quick) to put on and take off
Bargain price compared to similar products

Reasons to avoid

No straps or laces to tighten 
Don’t drain
Can get stinky
No recycled content used

We found these no-nonsense watershoes from Lomo are ideal for use on the coast and along riverbanks and lake shores as the summer heat wanes and swimmers, beach explorers and paddlers start to look for a bit more coverage and thermal protection for their feet. 

Although extremely attractively priced (less than half the cost, for example, of the far more minimalist Helly Hansen Crest Watermoc), these mid-height booties supply really comprehensive coverage, with a very sturdy outsole that protected us against puncture wounds from sharp shells, sticks and stones submerged in the shallows. Bristling with a series of pronounced ridges, this outsole has absolutely fantastic grip, capable of keeping you upright on the slimiest of slipways and slickest rocks during put-ins and take-outs. The outsole also extends up the back of the heel and over the front of the toes, to guard against stubs and other knocks. And, although it’s not as tall as the chunkier Gill Marine Edge Boots, this bootie does just about cover the ankle, offering some padding to that delicate area too. 

Overall, these Lomo watershoes are a really good choice for people who like to play in and around the water for most of the year. 

The best water shoes for protection

Person's feet wearing Gill Marine Edge Boots

The Gill Marine Edge Boots are warm, protective, over-the-ankle booties with excellent grip for all kinds of aquatic adventures (Image credit: Pat Kinsella)
Warm, tough and protective made for salty shenanigans at sea


Weight (per shoe, men’s size 11): 620g / 22oz
Sizes: Men's 7-15
Materials: Neoprene, nylon

Reasons to buy

Excellent sole and upper foot protection
Very secure fit
Good foot support
Robust build

Reasons to avoid

Crazy long laces 
Heavy at 620g each
Too hot in summer

Made almost entirely from 4mm-thick neoprene, the Edge boots are flexible, warm and tough footwear for all manner of marine adventures throughout the entire year. We thought that the protection and grip offered by the sturdy outsoles was superb, and beyond beaches, boats and boards they are also ideal for inland outdoor activities around waterways, including all forms of kayaking and canoeing, plus canyoning and gorge scrambling.

Extending right up and over the ankle, to the lower shin, our entire foot was shielded from knocks and scrapes from sharp rocks and other obstacles. With reinforced heel, toe and bridge support built into the sole, they’re comfortable as well as protective. The boots are secured and tightened with a dual system of laces and a wide wrap-around band with Velcro fasteners – which certainly works, but we thought seemed a little over-the-top, especially as the laces are ridiculously long and end up tied in huge hoops (but you can tuck them under the Velcro band). Overall, though, these boots are great, and while they are a fairly pricey investment, the excellent construction quality means they should last for quite a few years, even if you subject them to some serious salty shenanigans.

Read our full Gill Marine Edge Boots review

The best water shoes for scrambling

Man's feet wearing Helly Hansen Crest Watermoc shoes

Sturdy, light, and super-fast to dry, there’s more to the Crest Watermoc than meets the eye (Image credit: Helly Hansen)
Great protection from seaside hazards like rocks and molluscs


Weight (per shoe): 153g / 5.4oz
Sizes: Men's 6.5-12.5 , women's 5.5-10
Materials: Polyester upper, polyester/polyurethane liner, EVA insole, rubber outsole

Reasons to buy

Superb grip on slippery decks
Highly packable
Easy to take on and off

Reasons to avoid

Runs large
Not as versatile as some other water shoes

Sturdy, light, and super-fast to dry, there’s more to the Crest than meets the eye. This slipper-style water shoe has an EVA midsole and a flexible rubber outsole under a breathable mesh upper that’s tight-knit to keep out sand and debris. It’s also overprinted on the outside to protect the mesh from abrasion. 

The low-cut Crest is free of Velcro, laces, and straps that could get caught in windsurfer rigging, paddleboard bungies, or cause pressure points in foot harnesses of any kind. The sole is siped for superb traction on wet and slippery surfaces like rocks or boat decks. And it protects from hazards like Zebra mussels, coral, and submerged junk. We advise going a half size smaller than you would normally wear for a snug fit.

Read our full Helly Hanson Crest Watermoc review

The best water shoes for hybrid sports

Woman wearing Olukai Ki’ihele water shoes in black

A cross between a meshy espadrille and a sneaker, OluKai Ki‘ihele water shoes are breathable, easy to get into and ready for summer fun (Image credit: Olukai)
Plush enough for long waterside walks thanks to a soft gel insole


Weight: 312g/11oz
Sizes: Women's 5- 11
Materials: Polyurethane and canvas upper, EVA midsole, rubber outsole

Reasons to buy

Morphs from shoe to slide
Comfortable with or without socks

Reasons to avoid

Not suitable for hardcore adventures
Women's sizes only

A cross between a meshy espadrille and a sneaker, the breathable, easy-to-get-into Ki’ihele is a shoe that’s ready for summer fun. The upper is breathable lined mesh, designed to keep out sand and to give feet some protection, with a drop heel that folds down, turning the shoe into a slide. The mesh pairs with lightweight canvas and sueded microfiber. Stretchy elastic panels on both sides make getting it on and off a hands-free affair.

The dual-density polyurethane footbed is built around a shock-absorbing gel insert that runs the length of the insole, and we found it was comfortably squashy during our tests. That insole overlays a fatigue-busting midsole. The Ki’hele’s non-marking wet grip rubber sole won’t slip on boat decks, beach rocks, or anything else. And they’re a shoe that gives back: For every pair purchased, OluKai donates a portion of proceeds to the Ama OluKai foundation honoring those who preserve and celebrate the cultural heritage and Aloha spirit of Hawai’i.

Read our full Olukai Ki'hele review

The best water shoes for paddling

Man wearing Astral Brewer 2.0 water shoes

It looks like a sneaker and is as comfortable as your favorite pair, but it sheds water instantly and is so tenacious on wet rocks (Image credit: Astral)
Water shoes that look like sneakers, but are stable enough for SUP


Weight: 222g/7.8oz
Sizes: Men's 7.5 - 13.5, women's 4 - 8
Materials: Hydrophobic canvas upper, EVA midsole, rubber outsole

Reasons to buy

Super grippy sole 
Built-in sock liner
Treated with anti-stink tech
Waterproof laces

Reasons to avoid

Less convenient than slides

With a grippy rubber sole, a supportive midsole, and quick-dry mesh with hydrophobic canvas in the shoe’s body, the Brewer (male)/ Brewess (female) 2.0 sets the standard for technical footwear for water-based recreation. It looks like a sneaker and is as comfortable as your favorite pair, but it sheds water instantly and is so tenacious on wet rocks, you’ll forget where you’re standing. Even the laces are waterproof. Thanks to a built-in sockliner, you can wear them with or without socks. 

An EVA midsole cushions feet and protects them from pokey rocks, while razor-siped proprietary G.15 rubber gave us a high grip-contact that’s also non-marking. Drainage ports at the arch and outside of the foot help shed water, though most of it squishes out or evaporates through the shoe’s breathable materials. We found them to be ideal for kayaking, canoeing, rafting and SUPing, a slightly rockered sole and a sturdy midsole – combined with the great grip – also make these comfortable and practical for short walks and hikes, and perfect for adventures that involve river crossings or portaging sections. The shoes are treated with silver-based Polygiene, so they never get stinky.

Read our full Astral Brewer 2.0/Brewess 2.0 review

The best water shoes for warm swims

Person's feet wearing Decathlon Aquashoes 500 underwater

Comfy, quick drying and wonderfully affordable, the Aquashoes are a good choice for those on a budget (Image credit: Decathlon)
Comfortable, quick-drying and affordable water shoes perfect for vacations


Weight (per shoe): 250g / 8.8oz
Sizes: 36 - 47 (European)
Materials: PVC, polyester, EVA, polyurethane

Reasons to buy

Cheapest on test

Reasons to avoid

Not much grip
No arch support

Decathlon’s unisex Aquashoes are perfect for warm water swimming, paddling and snorkelling – they’re lightweight and we found that they were quick to dry thanks to their mesh uppers, and their rubber soles offer fair grip and even stopped us from feeling sharp stones underfoot.

Where we think the Aquashoes stand out is that once out of the water this unisex design looks like a casual summer trainer and can be worn with shorts around town or on relaxed walks as well as in the water, which can’t be said for most dedicated water shoes. While the soles are thick and bouncy enough to walk on established paths or stand on the seabed and feel like your feet are protected, there’s no decent grip to speak of.

The Aquashoes offer great value for money, and are a comfortable and fuss-free pair of shoes to pack in your backpack for coastal adventures, or in your suitcase for beachy holidays.

Read our full Decathlon Aquashoes 500 review

The best water shoes for rock pooling

Man and woman wearing Keen Astoria West water shoes

One of the finest 'shandals' in town, it's the Keen Astoria West (Image credit: Keen)
Part shoe, part sandal, and incredibly comfortable and protective


Weight (per shoe): 400g / 14oz
Sizes: Women’s 2.5 - 9
Materials: Recycled PET upper, EVA insole, rubber outsole

Reasons to buy

Great grip in water
Protective toe box
Robust and long lasting

Reasons to avoid

Narrow fit
Relatively heavy

Keen’s hiking sandals are deservedly popular with walkers, and we’ve yet to review one of their summer shoes we didn’t like. One of our top picks is the female-specific Astoria West (men after a similar style will get on with the Clearwater Shandal).

Designed to go from trail to town to waterfront, for us the Astoria Wests stood out on test for the walking comfort they offer – oversized but very cushioned soles make these sandals feel barely there despite their middling 400g weight, and we liked the close-fitting but comfortable webbing straps, designed to let your feet breathe and quick to dry once wet. The Astoria Wests have a wide protective rubber toe box (something Keen is known for) that’s brilliant if you encounter rocks both under the water and on shore, and their ‘Aquagrip’ soles are designed to be superbly sticky even on wet surfaces. A good do-it-all summer shandal. This design fits on the narrow side – if you have wide feet they may not suit you.

Read our full Keen Astoria West review

The best water shoes for pebbly shores

Teva Hurricane XLT 2 water sandal

Teva's Hurricane is a sandal we find ourselves reaching for again and again for summer days out and travelling in hot climates (Image credit: Teva)
Serious hiking sandals that deliver great grip when things get wet


Weight: 450g / 16oz
Sizes: Men’s 6-13, women's 3-9
Materials: Recycled polyester upper, nylon shank, EVA footbed, rubber outsole

Reasons to buy

Good grip
Comfortable when walking

Reasons to avoid

No toe protection
Not lightweight

Teva sandals are a bit of a classic in the outdoor world, and the brand’s more technical Hurricane design is one we find ourselves reaching for again and again for summer days out and travelling in hot climates. We’ve tested these walking sandals out everywhere from river crossings in the Himalayas to hiking the South West Coast Path – they’re definitely built to last. The Hurricane’s tough, adjustable straps sit in a T-shape around the foot and are easily adjusted for a snug fit around the ankle and across the toes.

The moulded rubber sole gives good ankle support and has reliable grip even on wet slippy ground. This is more of a walking sandal you can take into water than an aquatic-specific sandal, but it’s quick to dry if you do venture into water – the only downside in water is that your toes aren’t covered. The Hurricanes also aren’t super lightweight, so you will feel you have them on when you swim. These smart sandals come in a range of bright patterned and retro designed straps as well as more subtle colorways.

Read our full Teva Hurricane XLT2 review

The best water shoes for the beach

Man's feet wearing Chaco Classic Flip water shoes

The Chaco Classic Flip is a great vegan-friendly option for beach walks (Image credit: Chaco)
Comfortable slip-ons for kayaking or a casual seaside paddle


Weight (women’s US size 10): 187g / 6.6oz
Sizes: Men's 3-14, women's 3-10
Materials: Polyester upper, EVA midsole, rubber outsole

Reasons to buy

Supportive (for flips)
Quick drying

Reasons to avoid

Not available in custom colors

An update to a Chaco heritage product, the Classic Flips feature the brand’s signature ultra-durable and mega-comfortable polyurethane construction with an arch-supportive footbed, jacquard straps, and a reinforced toe post. The wave fin is the big upgrade to these flips. We found Its rubber ridges bite into slippery surfaces and gave us extra traction in all sorts of slippery conditions, and even though the sole is black, it’s non-marking and also long lasting.

Our tester found these slips to be a super-versatile summer all-round adventure shoe, perfect for everything from playing around in rivers to jumping in a kayak for a casual paddle on non-technical water. Unsurprisingly, they are extremely breathable, quick to dry and easily washable. They’re also excellent as a recovery shoe, after you’ve been pounding the trails in a hot and heavy hiking boot.

Read our full Chaco Classic Flips review

The best water shoes comparison table

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Shoe / SandalList priceStyleWeight
Helly Hansen Ahiga V4 HP Sneakers$110 / £90 (UK)Water shoe310g / 11oz
Lomo 3mm Wetsuit Booties£17 (UK)Wetsuit Bootie350g / 12oz
Gill Marine Edge Boots$95 (US) / £76 (UK)Water shoe620g / 22oz
Helly Hansen Crest Watermoc$60 (US) / £45 (UK)Water shoe153g / 5.4oz
Olukai Ki’ihele$140 (US)Water shoe312g/11oz
Astral Brewer 2.0/Brewess 2.0$125 (US)Water shoe222g/7.8oz
Chaco Torrent Pro$130 (US)Water shoe213g / 7.5oz
Decathlon Aquashoes 500$20 (US) / £24.99 (UK)Water shoe250g / 8.8oz
Keen Astoria West$130 (US)Sandal / shoe hybrid400g / 14oz
Teva Hurricane XLT2£65 (UK)Sandal450g / 16oz
Chaco Classic Flips$65 (US)Flip-flops187g / 6.6oz

How we test the best water shoes

Our reviewers test water shoes across varied settings and pursuits, such as wild swimming, rock pooling, coasteering and canyoning. Specific features (including comfort, warmth, breathability, grip, materials used and protection) are tested against claims made by the brand, and we assess factors such as durability, environmental impact and value for money.

Meet the testers

best water shoes: Sian wild swim
Sian Lewis

Life as a water loving, wild-swimming adventure-writer has taken Sian around the world, exploring Bolivian jungles, kayaking in Greenland, diving with turtles in Australia and, in Thailand, learning the hard way that peeing on a jellyfish sting doesn’t help. More often than not, she's seeking out a new favorite remote swim, with her wetsuit and water shoes in tow. Her blog,, champions accessible adventures.

inov-8 Elite Base Layer running T
Pat Kinsella

Pat has spent 20 years pursuing adventure stories on both land and sea. En route he’s canoed Canada’s Yukon River and can often be found exploring the English South West Coast by boat, on foot or with an SUP beneath his feet. He’s authored walking guides to Devon and Dorset, and once wrote a whole book about Toilets for Lonely Planet.

Berne Broudy
Berne Broudy

Hardcore, Vermont-based adventurer Berne Broudy knows a thing or two about amphibious adventures and she can often be found scrambling wet rocks with her favorite pair of water shoes. She’s also worked to help brands clean up their materials and manufacturing, and has had guns pulled on her in at least three continents.

How to choose the best water shoes

As you can see, there is quite a degree of variance when it comes to footwear for aquatic adventures, so what are the best water shoes for you? Following are some considerations we’d recommend chewing on before you buy and some frequently asked questions surrounding water shoes.

Water shoe or aquatic sandal?

Our round-up includes two kinds of water-ready footwear – the best water shoes and the best water sandals. The former are snug-fitting pull-on booties designed to be worn only in the water rather than for walking in, and are ideal for swimming and aquatic adventures such as canyoning and coasteering. 

Water-friendly sandals (and ‘shandals’ – sandal/shoe hybrids with more coverage than a sandal) are usually designed to be hiked in but can also be worn in water, and this are great for walking near water, river crossings, rockpooling and wearing on holidays where you might be in and out of the water all day. They’re quick-drying but usually heavier than water shoes. If you do want to the best water shoes for deep water, we recommend picking a design with toe protection rather than open toes. Some even double up as great walking shoes or as some of the best trail running shoes.

As a general rule, both water shoes and sandals are flexible enough to squeeze into a 3 to 5-litre dry bag.


Good grip is essential if you’re planning on wearing your new water shoes or sandals on rocks or wet terrain. Look for a design with a tough rubber sole that has deep ‘lugs’ or indentations that grip the ground as you walk. A solid rubber toe cap is also a good choice for protecting your toes when you’re on rockier ground or when walking immersed in water, such as when coasteering.

best water shoes – Chaco Torrent Pro

Multi-purpose water shoes, like the Chaco Torrent Pros, are at home on a variety of surfaces (Image credit: Chaco)

Fit and looks

Your new shoes or sandals may feel more casual than technical hiking boots, but it’s just as important that they fit you well, to help you walk confidently in and around water and to prevent blisters, avoid chafing and stop discomfort if you’re walking in them. Try on your new shoes or sandals and check they fit snugly, and that if they are adjustable that you can strap or bungee them tightly for a stay-put fit. 

Make sure there’s no tightness or rubbing, especially around the toes and heels. Hiking sandals come in all kinds of finishes, from smart leather to neoprene, but we recommend picking a fabric or nylon material, as these tend to be tough when walking but quick to dry if you do get them wet. If you’re choosing a water-specific shoe, performance is your only real concern, but if you want a water sandal you can also wear on dry land, it makes sense to pick a style you like the look of, and can wear in town as well as in the great outdoors.

Are water shoes a good idea?

If you're someone who spends a lot of time at the beach or enjoys water sports or pursuits like canyoning or coasteering, water shoes are a great idea. Likewise, they make a great additional to your suitcase on summer vacations.

Water shoes are designed to perform better both when wet and when negotiating wet ground than standard footwear. Their outsoles are specifically tailored to give grip on slippery terrain and some pairs are absolutely ideal for wet, rocky scrambles. A standard pair of water shoes will also be constructed from fast drying materials, unlike a decent pair of hiking shoes which, once wet, will likely hold onto the water for some time, particularly if they've got a Gore-Tex membrane (or similar).

What are the best water shoes for running on the beach?

Of the water shoes featured in our roundup, we'd recommend the Astral Brewer 2.0 as a good option for running on the beach. They're not as supportive as a dedicated running shoe, but their midsole does a decent job and is protective too, while the rubber sole is grippy when moving between sand and rock. Better still, their silver-based Polygiene treatment negates any pongy odors.

Astral Designs Brewer 2.0

The Astral Designs Brewer 2.0 is a decent shout for the odd beach run (Image credit: Astral Designs)

What shoes should you wear to a waterpark?

We've all done it (probably when we were kids). Possessed by the excitement of the wave machine or the swirling slides, we've broke into a run along the poolside concrete at a waterpark. It's not something we'd recommend, as these surfaces can be horrendously slippy and concrete isn't known for its cushioned qualities. Care must be taken even when walking.

Of course, going barefoot is one option. But then, when the midday sun is beating down on said concrete, it can get pretty hot. Plus, no one likes the sharp sensation of stepping on an errant stone.

So, grippy water shoes, shandals and flip flops all make for a great option at a waterpark and, thanks to their fast-drying materials, you can wear them in the water too. Just make sure, whatever you choose, that they're well fastened so you don't lose them on the Lost Canyon ride.

Do people wear water shoes in the pool?

Unlike wild swimming scenarios, there are no spiky rocks or prickly vegetation to contend with at your local pool. So, protection is less of an issue. However, some people choose to wear minimalist water shoes or neoprene socks to shield their feet from chemicals and the like.

Should you size up or down in water shoes?

Water shoes often have a little stretch in their material so, if you're usually in between sizes, it's always worth going down a size. Too big and the shoe won't be snug enough to your foot, which isn't what you want in the water.

What are the best materials for water shoes?

Fast drying, yet strong and protective materials are best for water shoes. 

Neoprene, the standard material used in wetsuits, is common in wetsuit style booties. This synthetic rubber is resistant to temperature changes and, crucially, is totally waterproof.

For more sneaker-like water shoes, synthetic mesh materials make for fast drying pairs that drain effectively but don't let other debris into the shoe. Shoes containing Nylon, polyester, polyurethane, EVA and even PVC all feature in our roundup.

Just like hiking footwear, the outsoles are usually made of one form of rubber or another, to give excellent traction on both wet and dry ground.

Sian Lewis

An award-winning travel and outdoors journalist, presenter and blogger, Sian regularly writes for The Independent, Evening Standard, BBC Countryfile, Coast, Outdoor Enthusiast and Sunday Times Travel. Life as a hiking, camping, wild-swimming adventure-writer has taken her around the world, exploring Bolivian jungles, kayaking in Greenland, diving with turtles in Australia, climbing mountains in Africa and, in Thailand, learning the hard way that peeing on a jellyfish sting doesn’t help. Her blog,, champions accessible adventures.

With contributions from