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Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Aleader Women's Aqua Water Shoes at Amazon
"Wear these sans socks for a supportive, secure fit in or out of the water."
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Columbia Drainmaker III Trail Shoe at Amazon
"This lightweight shoe looks more like your typical athletic sneaker than a slip-on water shoe."
Best Budget: Easy USA Women’s Wave Water Shoes at Amazon
"These will fair well at the beach or on other travels where you won’t be hiking or stepping on sharp rocks."
Best for Style: Adidas Outdoor Boat Sleek Water Shoe at Amazon
"The traction will keep you on your feet if you are stepping in and out of a boat by the riverbed."
Best Splurge: Merrell All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoe at Amazon
"Easy to get on and off with a pull tab near the heel, and fit snuggly because of the one-pull lacing system."
Best Versatility: Chaco Women’s Hiking Shoe at Amazon
"These shoes have a breathable mesh upper with a large toe cap for protection and adjustable straps."
Best for Cross Training: RYKA Women’s Cross-Training Shoe at Amazon
"The mesh upper is quick-drying and chlorine resistant with a padded tongue and collar."
Best for Paddleboarding: NeoSport Wetsuits Premium Boot at Amazon
"Offers a sticky-soled ankle boot that won’t let cold water in."
Best for Kayaking: Astral Loyak Shoe at Amazon
"The shoes are constructed with durable lacing and stitching that can withstand multiple seasons on the water."
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Aleader Women's Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes
The slip-on Aleader Aqua Water Shoe is the perfect mix between a solid everyday shoe and a breathable, quick-drying water shoe. The upper is mesh that lets water glide through, while the rubber sole offers traction, plus has holes in it to let water out, too. Wear these sans socks for a supportive, secure fit in or out of the water on beach excursions. Colors include blue, green, red, purple, black, pink, white, gray and teal.
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Columbia Drainmaker III Trail Shoe
The Columbia Drainmaker III Trail Shoe has only positive updates from the previous model, including faster water drainage and an added internal frame for support and comfort. The shoe has a lugged outsole for top traction, along with drainable ports and a mesh upper for supreme quick-drying capabilities. With laces and the colored stitching, this lightweight shoe looks more like your typical athletic sneaker than a slip-on water shoe. Sport them at the beach, on the lake or in the river. Colors include gray and red, gray and teal, yellow, turquoise, purple, red, dark blue, black and light blue.
Best Budget: Easy USA Women’s Wave Water Shoes
You can’t beat the price for these comfortable, slip-on water shoes that come in a variety of bright, fun colors. With minimal support, these will fair well at the beach or on other travels where you won’t be hiking or stepping on sharp rocks. Instead, wear these when you need a shoe that offers a quick change with a loop by the heel, plus decent traction underfoot.
Best for Style: Adidas Outdoor Terrex Climacool Boat Sleek Water Shoe
Just by looking, you’d never know that the Terrex Climacool Boat Sleek water shoes by Adidas are indeed made for the water. The sole has drainage holes and the mesh upper is breathable and quick-drying. Plus, the traction will keep you on your feet if you are stepping in and out of a boat by the riverbed or trekking up some slipper rocks on the trail. Wear these from the rafting trip to the restaurant after, from a day kayaking to the cafe for fuel. Colors include black, gray, teal, magenta, lime green and blue, light blue and dark blue.
Best Splurge: Merrell All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoe
Sport these kicks if you are planning on doing some hardcore trekking and need top protection and support for river crossings and wet trails. The Merrell All Out Blaze Sieve water shoe has a waxy leather upper that repels water, plus a Vibram outsole with hollowed, deep lugs for extreme traction. They are easy to get on and off with a pull tab near the heel, and fit snuggly because of the one-pull lacing system and the inner liner. Colors include black and purple, brown and blue, green, black, fuchsia, as well as brown and red.
Best Versatility: Chaco Women’s Outcross Evo MJ Hiking Shoe
The Chaco Outcross Evo MJ hiking shoe offers more support and protection than Chaco’s infamous sandals, but still has the durability the brand is known for. These shoes have a breathable mesh upper with a large toe cap for protection and adjustable straps for a super secure fit. Plus, the rubber sole has two lugs for extra traction—center ones for wet surfaces, and large, deep ones on the outer edge for traction on trails and steep terrain. Colors include black, light blue, pink, orange, purple, gray and teal.
Best for Cross Training: RYKA Women’s Hydro Sport Water Shoe Cross-Training Shoe
With a tight lacing system and a sticky rubber sole, the RYKA Hydro Sport cross-training water shoe will keep you comfortable during a water aerobics class or a run on the beach. The mesh upper is quick-drying and chlorine resistant with a padded tongue and collar, and the sole has extra holes for letting water drain out. There is also a removable footbed for extra cushion. Colors include gray and pink, black and magenta and light blue.
Best for Paddleboarding: NeoSport Wetsuits Premium Boot
When you are on your paddleboard, that last thing you need to worry about is if your feet are slipping and sliding—or freezing. Instead, stay focused on your balance with the durable NeoSport Wetsuits Premium Boot that offers a sticky-soled ankle boot that won’t let cold water in. You’ll get enough support to stay upright along with plenty of flexibility in your feet and ankles to move with the waves. Wear these on your paddleboard, wakeboarding, kiteboarding or diving.
Best for Kayaking: Astral Loyak Shoe
The Astral Loyak Shoes are not only stylish with a skater-shoe vibe, but are also perfect for paddle sports such as kayaking, paddleboarding, canoeing and rafting. Slip these on, lace them up, and hop into the water where you’ll be protected from sharp rocks and slippery boulders. The shoes are constructed with durable lacing and stitching that can withstand multiple seasons on the water and have drainage holes at the toe and heel. Colors include turquoise, plum, black and gray.
Products We Tested
How We Tested
Our reviewers spent 12 hours testing one of the most popular pairs of women’s water shoes out there. To ensure the most comprehensive results, our testers put them on and waded through water themselves. We asked them to consider the shoes’ most important features, including comfort, traction, and style. We’ve outlined the major points here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.
What to Look for in Women’s Water Shoes
Activity As is the case with most recreational gear, different water shoes are built for different purposes. Although the sturdy, rugged pair you wear on the boat might technically work for swimming in the lake, it’s a little more convenient to choose a pair made for the activity you see yourself doing most often.
Style Water shoes are no longer the mesh-topped, squishy affairs you once wore at summer camp. So many of today’s options are so stylish, no one will give them a second look. (Some are so streamlined that they even look like your favorite sneakers.)
Price Cost-per-wear rarely fails as a metric for figuring out how much to spend on a pair of shoes. If you go hiking often, consider spending a bit more for a pair of trail-ready water shoes that dry quickly and avoid the potential for blisters. If you’re only on a boat once a year or so, however, a less expensive pair might be a smart move.
Test Results: Aleader Women's Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes (Best Overall)
A little heavier in water
These shoes were the perfect combination of stylish and functional, according to our testers. “I really liked the way they looked and felt,” one reviewer reported. “I didn't feel — or look — like I was wearing giant sneakers on the beach. I felt comfortable and confident the whole time using them.” None of our testers got blisters from these shoes. One reviewer did notice that they weren’t as lightweight in the water “because water would enter the shoes, weighing them down.” She went on to add, “However, I hardly noticed and I believe that's likely true of most water shoes.”