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Best Overall: Merrell Men’s Blaze Sieve Water Shoes at Amazon "Perfect for hiking in and out of the water over all kinds of terrain."
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Speedo Men’s Hydro Water Shoes at Amazon "Their mesh and synthetic uppers dry quickly and offer great ventilation."
Best Budget: Dreamcity Men’s Water Shoes at Amazon "The uppers are made from breathable, quick-drying air mesh while the rubber outsole gives good traction on wet surfaces."
Best Comfort: Aleader Men’s Xdrain Water Shoes at Amazon "Best for multi-purpose summer use — on rainforest hikes, river adventures, kayaking trips, and snorkeling sessions."
Best Technical: Salomon Men’s Water Shoes at Amazon "Redesigned with a sleeker profile and a more cushioned midsole."
Best Lace-Up: Columbia Men’s Water Shoes at Amazon "One of the few true lace-up options on the market."
Best Eco-Friendly: Adidas Terrex Parley Shoes at Amazon "The real highlight of these shoes is their environmentally friendly construction."
Best Sandals: Keen Men’s Newport Hydro-M Sandals at Amazon "Sturdy enough for hiking and specially-designed for repeated submersion."
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Merrell Men’s All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoes
A sturdy option from top brand Merrell, the Men’s All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoes are perfect for hiking in and out of the water over all kinds of terrain. The UniFly midsole offers an extra layer of protection from sharp rocks and reef, while the textured outsole has a three-millimeter lug depth for excellent stability even on wet surfaces. The uppers are crafted from waxy leather and have large holes that allow sand and pebbles to escape. Because the soles are made of rubber, you can also wear them on boats without marking the deck.
No matter how often the shoes are submerged, antimicrobial agents help to reduce shoe odor. They’re quick to dry and require very little breaking in, and we love them for their truly amphibious nature. Slip them on and off using the Lycra neoprene stretch collar, then ensure a secure fit using the toggled lace system. The shoes are available in a full range of sizes from 6.5 to 14 and come in five colors. Options include light brown, brindle/butterscotch, and black/wild dove.
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Speedo Men’s Hydro Comfort 4.0 Water Shoes
The rugged Speedo Men’s Hydro Comfort 4.0 Water Shoes are also meant for active use on the trail and in the water. Their mesh and synthetic uppers dry quickly and offer great ventilation (a plus for your comfort in hot weather and for reducing unpleasant odors). The lightweight midsole protects your feet from rocky terrain and has built-in drainage ports. Made of rubber, the non-marking outsole is grippy enough to provide stability on the smoothest underwater surfaces. Color options include black/sulfur spring and gray/blue.
Some say that these shoes afford better arch support than most water shoes, and they've used them on strenuous hikes and for rock climbing and scrambling as well as for more casual fun at the beach. The shoes have a pre-tied lace system that eliminates the chance of tripping over untied laces. You can tighten them by pulling the integrated drawstring toggle, but it's worth noting that the fully enclosed uppers can sometimes trap grit and debris.
Best Budget: Dreamcity Men’s Water Shoes
If cost is a concern, consider the Dreamcity Men’s Water Shoes. We particularly like that although the shoes feel lightweight, a well-cushioned insole makes walking comfortable no matter what kind of terrain you’re tackling. The uppers are made from breathable, quick-drying air mesh while the rubber outsole gives good traction on wet surfaces.
Ports in the sole help the shoes to drain quickly and keep your feet cool in tropical climates. Use the finger loop on the heel to slip the shoes on and off quickly even when they’re wet. The elastic laces on the front are there for aesthetic reasons only and cannot be tightened — although some claim that they’re easy to replace with traditional laces if you want a more secure fit. Sizes range from 7 to 14 and there are a variety of color combinations to choose from, including black/black, blue/white, and dark gray/white.
Best Comfort: Aleader Men’s Xdrain Cruz 1.0 Water Shoes
Comfort is subjective, of course, but many praise the Aleader Men’s Xdrain Cruz 1.0 Water Shoes for their snug feel and incredible cushioning. Lateral contrast stitching provides a cradling support system for your feet while the EVA foam midsole promises excellent bounce-back to defend against fatigue. The soft interior means that even if you choose not to wear socks, you’re unlikely to suffer from blisters. These shoes are best for multi-purpose summer use — on rainforest hikes, river adventures, kayaking trips, and snorkeling sessions.
The hydrophobic mesh upper sheds water quickly dries well, and encourages airflow to keep your feet cool. Rubber pods on the high wear areas of the Xdrain sole make for enviable traction on all kinds of slippery surfaces, while drainage ports prevent water from pooling inside. The shoes are lace-free and slip on easily with the help of a finger pull sewn into the heel. Choose from 11 sizes (7 to 14) and four colors (including light blue/white and navy/white/rainbow). Best of all, these water shoes are also amazingly affordable.
Best Technical: Salomon Men’s Techamphibian 4 Water Shoes
While lightweight water shoes are great for casual hikes, you’ll need something sturdier if you’re drawn to more challenging trails. The Salomon Men’s Techamphibian 4 Water Shoes are the newest version of a favorite that has been redesigned with a sleeker profile and a more cushioned midsole. The non-marking Contragrip outsole provides increased ground contact for unparalleled traction on all surfaces, and the mesh upper lets water drain out while preventing debris from entering.
A protective toe cap saves you from stubbed toes while the neoprene inner lining makes for a comfortable, supportive fit. The shoes’ breakaway Quicklace system is another highlight. Although they’re pre-laced for convenience, they can be tightened and won’t lose tension no matter how active you are. When you’re hanging by the pool, make use of the collapsible heel and buckle system to transform the sneakers into more relaxed slip-ons. Sizes range from 7 to 13.
Best Lace-Up: Columbia Men’s Drainmaker IV Water Shoes
The stylish, non-marking Columbia Men’s Drainmaker IV Water Shoes are one of the few true lace-up options on the market. This can be a pro or a con, depending on your personal preferences. Some users like the traditional look and customizable fit provided by laces while others worry that they will come undone mid-hike or swim. Either way, these shoes have open mesh uppers that are breathable and quick to dry while ports in the midsole increase airflow. This keeps you cool on the trail and increases water drainage so your feet can dry quickly after forging a creek.
We especially like the superior cushioning provided by the Techlite midsole while the Omni-Grip outsole features razor striping for sure-footedness in all environments. For us, the shoes’ only drawback is that there are no venting holes in the upper, so sand can get trapped and cause rubbing. For that reason, these shoes are perhaps best on rocky or muddy terrain. Sizes range from 7 to 15 and colors include black/lux and city gray/mountain red.
Best Eco-Friendly: Adidas Terrex Climacool Voyager Parley Shoes
The Adidas Terrex Climacool Voyager Parley Shoes are meant for the trail and specially-designed to get wet — on river crossings, waterfall traverses and during tropical rainstorms. They boast Climacool technology for 360-degree cooling and a breathable mesh upper for rapid drying and fewer damp odors. The middle section of the EVA footbed is comfortably soft whereas the edges are more rigid, providing increased stability on uneven ground. Built-in drainage ports and wet-grip traction are equally important features of the Stealth rubber outsole.
For the eco-conscious hiker, the real highlight of these shoes is their environmentally friendly construction. They are made in collaboration with Parley for the Oceans, an organization that uses recycled plastic waste to create a special kind of yarn that is integrated into the shoes’ uppers. By collecting the plastic from beaches and coastal communities, Parley for the Oceans is helping to reduce ocean pollution — and now you can too. Sizes range from 8 to 14.
Best Sandals: Keen Men’s Newport Hydro-M Sandals
Sandal-style water shoes have their own unique set of pros and cons. On the downside, they offer less protection and limited insulation. On the upside, they are cooler in hot climates and their open construction allows trapped stones and other debris to wash away easily without you having to remove your shoes. The Keen Men’s Newport Hydro-M Sandals are sturdy enough for hiking and specially-designed for repeated submersion. They have water-repellent, polyester webbing uppers, a quick-dry lining, and Cleansport NXT technology for odor control.
The anatomically engineered footbed cradles the natural contour of your feet and has a reinforced shank for reliable arch support. The midsole is made from cushioning EVA foam and the non-marking rubber outsole guarantees traction with a multi-directional lug pattern. Use the toggle on the integrated lace-capture system to tighten the sandals securely across the top and sides of your feet. Sizes range from 7 to 17.