After 25 hours of research evaluating 100 products, we picked ALEADER Men's Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes as our top choice.
If you need some ideas on what to pack for your next adventure, author Alastair Humphreys shares what equipment he brings for his outdoor expeditions. But whether you’re headed out the Caribbean or a nearby beach or pool, a pair of the best water shoes for men will bring you happiness.
Water shoes, including aqua socks, are wonderfully useful. They protect your feet from broken glass, sharp rocks, hot surfaces, fish hooks (yikes), coral reefs, and even parasites. Also known as beach shoes or water socks, they can literally save your entire vacation from a foot tragedy.
Water shoes are also important for the non-slip factor on boats and wet rocks. Aqua shoes are similar to aqua socks, but you can use them for hiking through the streams dotting your favorite mountain pass. (To understand the in-depth differences between water shoes, water socks and aqua socks, check out our tips section below).
Because we at Faveable believe that your safety is paramount, we’ve spent hours testing and researching hundreds of water shoe styles for you rugged men. As a result, we picked the best water shoes for men on the market.
Note: Water socks, also known as aqua socks, are socks intended to be worn in shoes that will get wet/waterlogged. Water shoes are shoes that can be worn (barefoot or with socks) in wet conditions: beach, river hiking, rafting, sailing, etc.
Here's a list of the best water-friendly footwear that will protect your feet without looking like a dork.
These water socks are perfect for swimming, scuba diving, snorkeling, walking, or any other leisurely pool or beach activity. As an added bonus, the thin material makes them ideal for wearing under fins. They're lightweight, super comfortable, and great for all water sports!
Sizes tend to run small, removable insoles may shift/slip around.
The polyester-spandex blend fits and feels exactly like Neoprene. And, these water socks are much thicker than others on the market. So, you can expect them to last the whole summer, depending on how often you are on the beach or in the water. Although these water socks do not have rubber soles, they do have grips on the bottom which make them great for slick surfaces, such as around the pool.
When wearing these water socks, it feels as if you're barefoot. However, the sizes on these shoes tend to run a bit small. At the same time, that means the material around the ankle is nice and tight, ensuring that no tiny rocks or pebbles get inside.
For an inexpensive water shoe, you can't really expect all of the bells and whistles. In fact, these babies are about as simple as water shoes get. However, they are made in three unisex colors (black, blue, and pink) and come with a transparent zipper bag for easy storage.
At rougly $10, these are one of the cheapest water shoes around. They are useful for those who spend a lot of time in the water, but who want a little protection from sand or slick surfaces. Don't expect years of wear; these are a simple, practical budget option.
Low profile and sleek design, solid sole, lightweight upper, breathable, quick-drying, active design, good traction, internal cushioning, compact enough to fit in any luggage, durable, high-quality product, and great price.
May be difficult pull on over big, wide feet; additionally, the sizes run small.
Though these shoes look lightweight at first, you'll find they are surprisingly comfortable and durable when you put them on. The quick-drying mesh upper offers breathability and will help to keep your feet comfy as you walk around poolside or stroll on the beach. However, the thick sole provides good cushioning and arch support, with surprisingly good traction for scrambling over rocks or walking on wet tile/concrete floors.
The shoes are intended to be easy to slip on, though men with larger, wider feet may have a hard time pulling them on. The shoes also tend to be a bit snug, so you should buy at least one size larger than you're used to wearing.
The shoes have a loop on the ankle to help you tug them on with ease. The thick bands running across the forefoot of the shoes' upper gives you better durability than you'd get with pure mesh, but more breathability than pure neoprene. There's even a bit of a toe cap to protect your toes as you walk.
These are a fairly well-priced pair of shoes, and they're lightweight and compact enough you can bring them with you on any beach vacation. They're the perfect shoes for hanging around the pool or strolling on the beach.
Amazing traction, excellent for hiking, built for active wear, comfortable, won't slip off, and doesn't hold water. The Keen H2 water sandal has a multi directional pattern on the sole for improved traction on wet surfaces. As an added bonus, they keep your feet smelling nice and fresh wear after wear.
Difficult to put on.
For those who intend to explore tropical islands, play beach volleyball, or do some hiking, these are the sandals you want. They're built to be aggressive, with a sturdy sole that offers excellent traction and support without sacrificing comfort or flexibility.
The leather upper will protect your feet, but will allow water to drain out. They're a bit heavier than your average sandal, but they're capable of handling heavier wear as well.
The bomber lacing system (tightened via bungee cord) will keep the sandals firmly on your feet, no matter how much you run, jump, and play. They can be a bit of pain to slip on, but once they're on, they're never coming off. You won't have to worry too much about offensive odors coming from these shoes either thanks to it's Aegis Microbe Shield. The Keen H2 water sandals also feature no mark rubber outsoles that dry fast.
At $80, these are a pricey pair of sandals. However, with these bad boys, you won't need to bring hiking or walking shoes when going to the beach town or a tropical island. They're the all-terrain sandals you need for any vacation.
The FiveFingers water shoe is super thin, flexible, and lightweight. An ideal shoe for rowers, surfers, kayakers and SUP fanatics. It provides grip and comfort out on the water and packs easily into a dry bag at the end of the day.
These shoes fit great, however they can be a little hard to put on at first because your toes are not used to being seperated. Also, they run small so buy one size larger.
Vibram is a trusted brand among the outdoor community and you can expect superior quality. These shoes are constructed with a stretch polyester mesh upper that drains out air and water, allowing your foot to breath easily. Vibram® WAVEGRIP is a durable rubber coating on the bottom of the shoe that gives you the best grip on wet surfaces. WAVEGRIP is a non-marking rubber compound which means you can also wear them inside without ruining your floors.
These water shoes fit better than a glove. Your toes will fit perfectly in the sockets and when on, they feel like you're not wearing any shoes. Not only do these water shoes come in half sizes, but they also come in two different colors: black and black/yellow. However, they do run a bit small so be sure to order a half size bigger.
These Vibram FiveFingers water shoes can be used for paddle boarding, surfing or walking along the shore. The split toe design can even help you with swimming, and the vibram rubber outsole will give the best grip imaginable.
These aren't your typical dorky-looking water shoes. The bold, dark industrial design will have you looking and feeling like the rugged man that you are. Another thing guys love about these water shoes is that they drain water quickly. Also, they provide decent protection from hard rocks. However, the middle isn't as protected so don't get too wild in these shoes. These water shoes also feature adjustable velco straps allowing you slip in seamlessly.
The price is somewhat on the expensive side, of course, but these lightweight shoes are definitely worth it. Vibram is best known in the outdoor community for being extremely dependable and made with quality.
A lightweight, waterproof hiking shoe with breathable ventilation that keeps you stable through all terrain.
We honestly could not find any reason not to buy these shoes.
It's hard not to like a shoe that is built for muddy roads, rocky roads, boulder climbing and hiking - we think this is pretty genius and all around pretty awesome. What we really love about these are that they're extremely lightweight for those long hikes, but don't give up on the comfortability. Its not only great for the adventurous man who wants to hike in and out of rivers, but for kayakers as well. Can it get any better?
These waterproof hiking shoes fit true to size, which makes it easy when ordering them. The Omni Fit lacing ensures a glove-like fit.
Because these water shoes were made to accommodate men who like the outdoors, they were designed to get wet. Which is why Merrell included breathable mesh in the upper part of the shoe and Vibram soles underneath. The mesh allows your feet to air out to prevent irritation and blistering. The ventilation feels like air conditioners in your shoes - we're not even kidding. The best part about these shoes though is the Vibram soles. If you haven't heard of them, they're pretty much the greatest feature ever.
Normally these shoes are $110, but you can frequently find them on sale. The price is a little on the high side for some, but these can handle any terrain.
Comfort Dry sockliner cushions your feet as you hike, swim, or boat. Convenient lace lock feature helps you loosen or tighten these shoes quickly.
The liners often fall out when you remove the shoes from your feet. The mesh holes on the upper parts of the shoes don’t always block sand and small rocks very well.
Pretty darn good for a pair of cheap water shoes. These Zhuanglin shoes have their flaws, but you can probably expect them to last all summer. Well, unless you take long hikes or swim multiple times a day on a regular basis.
Men complain it’s difficult to find the right fit if you wear a size 9. Amazon never carries a 9, so you have to cram your feet into an 8.5 or wear a loose-fitting pair of size 9.5 shoes.
Aside from that, these shoes generally fit true to size. If you’re torn on which size to buy, choose the smaller one or wear thick socks with the bigger one. Otherwise you may end up with blisters from the material rubbing against your heels.
These Zhuanglin have a surprising number of features for a pair of budget water shoes. For starters, they’ve got Comfort Dry sockliners. These provide light cushioning for your arches while also promoting a breathable environment for your feet.
Solyte midsoles are lightweight yet durable. The outsoles are made from rubber, a slip-reducing material commonly used for water shoes.
Holes on the soles and mesh uppers help water drain quickly. However, they also make it easy for sand and rocks to get into your shoes. You may find yourself frequently emptying out your shoes if you swim somewhere without clear water.
Just $20 to $30, which is a great price for water shoes that aren’t slip-ons or aqua socks.
Cushioned insoles provide comfortable support for your arches. Contemporary style transitions easily from the pool to lunch with friends or a busy day of errands.
These slip-on water shoes run a bit wide, which is a drawback if you have narrow feet.
ALEADER is a trusted brand known for creating durable water shoes, and these slip-ons are no exception. They effectively withstand frequent use, so you can wear them during all your favorite outdoor water activities. Several guys confess they like these fashionable slip-ons enough to rock them after they finish hanging out at the beach or pool.
True to size, unless you’ve got narrow feet. Reviewers say these slip-ons run a bit wide compared to the snug-fitting water shoes from other brands. If you prefer a tight fit, you may prefer aqua socks to these slip-ons.
Many guys choose these slip-ons because of their quick-drying material. They’re made from hydrophobic engineered mesh on the top, with rubber outsoles and cushioned EVA insoles.
ALEADER slip-ons get their quick-drying capabilities from FluidFlow technology. This innovative feature promotes fast drainage from the mesh uppers to the rubber insoles, so you don’t have to walk around in soaked shoes if you hit the beach twice in one day.
Rubber pods on the bottom of each slip-on shoe keep you from falling as you climb slippery rocks or head from your chair to the poolside bar.
Somewhere between $30 to $35 depending on your preferred color and size.
Pairs well with beachwear or casual attire, like shorts and a tee. Not as lightweight as aqua socks, but still fairly comfortable.
Pairs well with beachwear or casual attire, like shorts and a tee. Not as lightweight as aqua socks, but still fairly comfortable.
These water shoes are made well, but they could use more cushioning in their insoles. With that being said, if you’re already used to wearing minimalist footwear, the lack of support isn’t noticeable.
These mesh Mohem shoes fulfill their purpose, which is to protect your feet during outdoor activities. They lack the traction support ALEADER shoes have, but they still offer more protection against slips than aqua socks.
Mohem water shoes generally fit true to size, but you may want to go up half a size or so if you have wide feet. These water shoes hug your ankles snugly yet comfortably, so you don’t have to worry about large rocks or excessive amounts of sand spoiling your outdoor fun.
Slip-resistant outsoles crafted from resilient rubber provide traction on wet surfaces, so you can safely navigate your surroundings. The Lycra uppers are lightweight, breathable, and flexible. Guys loves the lace-up fronts because it makes these shoes look more fashionable than slip-on water shoes.
Each shoe is made by hand, and there are numerous colors available. We’ve found many men prefer the black, brown, and gray options.
A pair of Mohem mesh water shoes costs around $30, which is a reasonable price for what you get.
FluidFlow technology speeds up water drainage so water doesn’t slosh around in your shoes. Rubber pods in high-wear sections improve traction as you walk on slippery surfaces, reducing the risk of falls.
No major cons, though some wearers complain the shoes run big to begin with and then get all stretched out after frequent use.
Surprisingly great, even when compared to pricier water shoes for men. These shoes are built to last no matter what water activities you enjoy, whether you work up a sweat during beachfront hikes or battle rapids while river rafting.
The upper parts are made from breathable hydrophobic engineered mesh, and then you’ve got Solyte midsoles and water-draining outsoles. And yet, these shoes somehow manage to look cool. Several guys say they look like they’re wearing real tennis shoes when they explore the outdoors in their ALEADER water shoes.
Lightweight and comfortable; you won’t feel like you’re bringing half the beach home with you. The mesh uppers encourage air flow so your feet don’t feel cramped or overly hot, and the outsoles are durable yet light. A Comfort Dry sockliner cushions your arches as you walk, so you don’t feel like you’re rubbing your feet against rocks and branches.
It’s worth noting that these shoes run big, so you may want to order a smaller size than you usually get.
ALEADER water shoes are packed with features, including some that we’ve already mentioned. They’ve got Comfort Dry sockliners to protect your arches, water-draining, traction-supporting outsoles that reduce slippage, and FluidFlow technology from the mesh uppers to the outsoles.
The FluidFlow technology is what keeps your feet from sitting in puddles of water when you wear these quick-drying shoes. Water rolls right off these all-purpose bad boys instead of saturating them.
Around $30 for shoes that look just as good during a rainy-day jog around the block as they do at the beach.
Water shoes are intended for use with water-related activities. They are intended to both keep your feet safe and provide comfort while walking, hiking, or running around water (lakes, ocean, rivers, streams, etc.).
However, they are NOT intended to keep your feet dry. They are not waterproof shoes (like hiking boots). Instead, they are made with quick-drying synthetic materials that offer ventilation and drainage. They can be worn with or without socks, and are useful for a broad range of outdoor recreational activities:
Seeing as the shoes can get wet without being damaged, they are great for use in wet conditions. Their thick rubber outsole will protect the bottom of your feet, while the sandal or shoe-style shell will prevent toe, heel, and forefoot injuries.
Aqua socks are usually made of latex, and they differ from water shoes in that they don't have a thick sole or sturdy upper. They are designed to be worn in low-impact, low-intensity situations, such as:
They can be worn on the beach, but their lightweight sole won't provide cushioning or protection against rocks. They are mainly intended to prevent bacterial foot infections rather than serve as a durable pair of shoes to use in wet environments.
Planning on buying water shoes? Here are the most important features to consider:
Water shoes come in a few different styles. Each style offers a benefit for different purposes and activities.
Sandal-Type Water Shoes – These shoes tend to come with a thick sole, open toe, and strap lacing system. They may have a mesh lining around the shoe or simply feature a sturdy sandal. They're almost considered sandals thanks to their open-toe design. However, they wrap around the heels and offer better cushioning and support than regular sandals. These offer superior ventilation and breathability, but they're not the most protective for use while hiking or trekking.
Closed-Toe Water Shoes – Think of a shoe that's a cross between a sandal and a pair of running shoes. They feature the sandal design (sturdy straps crossing over and around the foot), but with a proper lacing system, padded collar, and mesh lining. They offer good ventilation, comfort, and drainage, and tend to be more supportive and protective than sandal-type water shoes.
Hiking/Active Water Shoes – These are water shoes intended for runners, hikers, backpackers, or trekkers. They're built with the same durability, cushioning, and stability as running or hiking shoes, but they feature drainage holes around the sole to allow water to run out of the shoe. They're heavier than other water shoes, making them ideal for anyone who wants a sturdy pair of shoes that perform as well in the water as they do on dry land.
Barefoot Water Shoes – Brands like Vibram and Vivobarefoot have designed minimalist running shoes specifically for use in water. They're made of durable rubber, have no outsole, but are lightweight and offer excellent drainage and ventilation. They're good for barefoot runners, beach sports, and water sports. The fact that they're flexible means they can be used by surfers who need a good pair of water shoes.
Aqua Socks – Aqua socks aren't always technically socks. While many are designed as socks with a bit of traction on the sole, some use thick rubber to provide cushioning and support. Think of them as half-socks, half-flip flops. They're ideal for use by the pool, on the beach, or in calm waters.
When buying water shoes, here are the three most important elements to consider:
These three features are the most important! Everything else—style, comfort, colors, etc.—are of secondary concern.
Why use water shoes?
If you're going to be spending time around water—at the beach, riverside, lake, resort, or water park—you'd do well to consider water shoes.
Water shoes aren't perfect. There are a few limitations and drawbacks to these shoes:
They're not perfect, but they serve a very specific purpose. If you need shoes that can handle wet and dry terrain, they may be just what you need.