We Tested 17 Pairs of Women's Water Shoes—Here Are Our Favorites

The DLGJPA Quick Drying Water Shoes topped our list

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

TRIPSAVVY-best-womens-water-shoes

TripSavvy / Chloe Jeong

TripSavvy's Picks

Our top pick is the Women's Water Shoe from DLGJPA for its overall traction, protection, drying, and drainage performance. Lands' End's Women's Water Shoe came in a close second. And the Aleader Women's Mesh Slip-On Shoes are our pick for the best budget option.

When you begin looking for the best women's water shoes to buy, you want to be sure you're getting a pair that's suited to your activities and preferences, whether you need a sleek pair for going from boat to bar; a rugged, sturdy option for crossing rocky, raging rivers; or something with grippy soles for paddleboarding. Luckily, the design and function of water shoes have moved beyond the mesh-topped, slip-on ones of your camp days as a kid to come in multiple styles and price points. 

To make the search as easy as possible, we researched the best options based on specific styles, activities, and key features. We then sent our 17 top picks to our network of testers, who rated them based on comfort, drainage, durability, traction, and overall value. Based on their testing insights, these are the best water shoes for women.

Best Overall: DLGJPA Women’s Quick-drying Water Shoes

5
DLGJPA Women’s Quick Drying Water Shoes

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Comfort
    5/5
  • Drainage
    5/5
  • Protection and Durability
    5/5
  • Traction
    5/5
  • Value
    5/5
What We Like
  • Very comfortable and snug

  • They dry extremely fast

  • Excellent traction, would work on many terrains

What We Don't Like
  • Nothing yet

Earning top marks from our testers are the DLGJPA Quick Drying Water Shoes. Two factors are crucial to a good pair of water shoes—protective traction and quick drying and draining. This shoe excelled at both. The shoe's quick drying ability comes from a hydrophobic engineered mesh upper and fluid-flow technology, which releases water from the upper to the outsole.

Our testers wore this shoe for swimming, and from totally submerged out to sand and concrete, there were no issues. Anti-slip outsole technology helps boost traction on slick surfaces. "These shoes protect your feet on sand, concrete, and any terrain, really," a tester concluded. "They dry fast and feel like normal sneakers."

DLGJPA Water Shoes

TripSavvy / Monica Aguinaga

Best Overall, Runner-Up: Lands' End Women's Water Shoes

5
Lands' End Women's Water Shoes

Lands' End

Our Ratings
  • Comfort
    5/5
  • Drainage
    5/5
  • Protection and Durability
    5/5
  • Traction
    5/5
  • Value
    5/5
What We Like
  • Comfortable and straps make it easy to put the shoes on and off

  • Water drains quickly

  • Excellent traction, soles are thick

What We Don't Like
  • Nothing yet

Like the DLGJPA shoes above, the Lands' End Water Shoes check the two major boxes for quality water shoes—they have excellent traction and protection on many types of terrain and drain quickly. Lands' End's Water Shoes have outsole and footbed drainage holes, and a mesh upper to help increase draining and drying. A bonus anti-odor finish helps keep the stink away.

"These shoes protect your feet on any kind of terrain," one tester reported. "They're strong and feel like they can endure any kind of environment. These shoes are for anybody who wants to go to the beach or rivers and wants a water shoe that offers great traction and is easy to slip on and off."

Lands' End Women's Water Shoes

TripSavvy / Monica Aguinaga

Best Budget: Aleader Women's Mesh Slip-On Water Shoes

4.4
Aleader Women's Mesh Slip-On Water Shoes

Courtesy of Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Comfort
    5/5
  • Drainage
    3/5
  • Protection and Durability
    5/5
  • Traction
    5/5
  • Value
    4/5
What We Like
  • Very comfortable, fits like an athletic shoe

  • Performed very well walking on pavement and sand

What We Don't Like
  • Felt like it was holding more water compared to other shoes tested

Aleader is a California-based shoe brand founded in 2013. And their budget water shoes impressed our testers, especially with their athletic fit and feel. The Mesh Slip-On Water Shoes have a hydrophobic mesh upper, adjustable laces (no tying!), and a water drain outsole. "These fit like an athletic shoe and were great for walking on pavement and sand," one tester reported. "If I needed to run or move swiftly, this shoe would be able to provide the proper support."

The one drawback to these shoes is our testers didn't think they drained as well as other shoes. "Despite the shoe holding onto the water and not drying as quickly, the price is great," one tester concluded.

Aleader Mesh Slip-On Water Shoes

TripSavvy / Izzy Seely

Best Hiking: Keen Women’s SOLR High-Performance Sport Sandals

4.8
KEEN Women’s SOLR High-Performance Sport Sandals

KEEN Footwear

Our Ratings
  • Comfort
    5/5
  • Drainage
    5/5
  • Protection and Durability
    5/5
  • Traction
    4/5
  • Value
    5/5
What We Like
  • Very comfortable, felt similar to walking in hiking boots

  • Good traction for multiple surfaces

  • Quick drying

What We Don't Like
  • Some sand and small pebbles got stuck inside

Keen is known for supportive shoes that give wearers excellent traction on surfaces that might not offer a ton of grip on their own—and this hiking sandal gets top marks from the outdoor experts. "I love that this shoe is lightweight, and it gives good traction to help you keep your balance on wet, slippery surfaces," says Lauren Gay, founder of Outdoorsy Diva. "It also has a closed, reinforced toe that prevents you from stubbing your toes on rocks or tree roots."

Our testers found Keen's SOLR Sport Sandals incredibly comfortable with ample support. "They felt similar to walking in any hiking shoes," one tester said. The open sides helped boost water drainage, and testers reported they took less than 15 minutes to dry fully. "The grip works very well; I could get out of the water on slippery surfaces and walk for a distance on submerged rocks without issue," a tester said. While these sandals are a bit pricier than others on the list, our testers still strongly recommend them.

Keen SOLR Women's Water Shoes

TripSavvy / Lindsey Sweeney

Best Multi-Purpose: Sea Star Beachwear Espadrille Water Shoe

4.6
Sea Star Beachwear Espadrille Water Shoe

Courtesy of Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Comfort
    5/5
  • Drainage
    4/5
  • Protection and Durability
    5/5
  • Traction
    5/5
  • Value
    4/5
What We Like
  • Very comfy, feels like a regular shoe

  • Good for walking on pavement and other surfaces

  • More stylish than the typical water shoe

What We Don't Like
  • A tad bit expensive

These look like your favorite pair of throw-’em-on-and-go espadrilles, but they're water shoes in stylish disguise. Made from quick-drying neoprene uppers, they dry in 15 minutes, giving you enough time to get out of the water, change, and then head up the boardwalk to lunch at the cafe. They go with pretty much anything, and we're fans of having one less soggy thing to carry around in our beach bags.

"The shoe's fabric felt similar to a wet suit and pulled the water away from the skin and dried quickly," one tester said, noting they were also great for walking on pavement and sand and dried quickly. Our testers also enjoyed the shoe's style and construction. And, like the Keens above, while these shoes are a bit pricier, our testers still recommend them for anyone looking for a multi-purpose and fashion-forward water shoe.

Sea Star Beachwater Water Shoe

TripSavvy / Izzy Seely

Best for Draining: Merrell Hydro Moc Women's Water Shoe

4.4
Merrell Hydro Moc Women's Water Shoe

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Comfort
    4/5
  • Drainage
    5/5
  • Protection and Durability
    4/5
  • Traction
    4/5
  • Value
    5/5
What We Like
  • Stayed very comfortable across multiple surfaces, including dirt trails and over rocks

  • Good traction and overall coverage

What We Don't Like
  • Good drainage, but material does not absorb water

We recommend Merrell's Hydro Moc Shoes for all you Crocs-curious ladies who don't actually want Crocs. The EVA-foam-based water shoes weigh about half a pound each and feature 2-millimeter lugs for boosted traction. Our testers really liked how easy these shoes were to walk in, noting they even performed well on trail hikes. The grip worked well both on dry and wet ground. Our testers did note a bit of irritation at the heel after walking in them for a long time. And while the shoes drain very quickly, thanks to all the holes and the EVA material, they did stay a bit slippery on the inside until totally dry.

Merrell Hydro Moc Women's Water Shoe

TripSavvy / Lindsey Sweeney

Best Splurge: Ryka Hydro Sport Water Shoe

4.2
Water Shoe
Our Ratings
  • Comfort
    4/5
  • Drainage
    4/5
  • Protection and Durability
    5/5
  • Traction
    4/5
  • Value
    4/5
What We Like
  • Comfortable on sand, sidewalk, and trail

  • Good protection and support like a regular shoe

  • More stylish than a typical water shoe

What We Don't Like
  • Walking in them while wet irritated heels quicker than other pairs

The Ryka Hydro Sport Water Shoes are for anyone looking for a water shoe that doesn't look like a water shoe. Likewise, these shoes can handle multiple applications, including high-intensity workouts. So if you're looking for a shoe that can double as a practical water shoe and one for Crossfit, HIIT, and gym workouts, this is a solid pick.

Our testers took them on the sand, sidewalks, and dirt trails and reported that the shoes fit and perform like regular sneakers while dry. They offered plenty of support and kept pebbles and sand out, offering just as much protection as normal kicks. One issue our testers did note was experiencing some heel irritation fairly quickly after the shoes became wet.

Ryka Sport Water Shoes

TripSavvy / Lindsey Sweeney

Best Comfort: Chaco Women's Torrent Sport Sandal

3.8
Chaco Women's Torrent Sport Sandal

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Comfort
    4/5
  • Drainage
    4/5
  • Protection and Durability
    4/5
  • Traction
    4/5
  • Value
    3/5
What We Like
  • Excellent protection and traction

  • Good durability

What We Don't Like
  • Didn't drain as well as others tested

This cross-trainer from Chaco was designed with professional whitewater athletes. And our testers found them to be some of the most comfortable they tested—with a caveat. "I wouldn't say they're extremely comfortable in general, but as far as water shoes go, they're up there," a tester noted. While these shoes have excellent protection and traction, our testers didn't think they drained as well as others on the test. "These water shoes had thick treads with a ton of traction and made me feel very secure," one tester reported. "They also felt high-quality and durable, like they would last through many adventures."

Chaco Women's Torrent Water Shoe

TripSavvy / Lindsay Boyers

Other Water Shoes We Tested

Our testers put 17 shoes to the test. Those tested that did not make the list above include: Astral Women's Loyak Shoe, Racqua Water Shoes, Aleader Women's Quick Drying Water Shoes, Teva Hurricane Drift Sandals, Anluke Water Shoes, Simari Water Shoes, DigiHero Water Shoes, Vifuur Water Sports Shoes, and Mishansha Hiking Shoes.

Keen SOLR Water Shoe Testing

TripSavvy / Lindsey Sweeney

Product Selection

To select the products for this test, we researched highly rated water shoes across multiple retailers and included a variety of styles and price points. We also drew on the expertise of our editors and writers who have experience with several of the brands we tested. For example, some of our editors and writers have been wearing Chacos, Merrells, and Keens for many years.

Lands' End Women's Water Shoes testing

TripSavvy / Monica Aguinaga

How We Tested

Once we selected shoes to test, we sent them to testers around the U.S. Testers rated each shoe on a five-point scale for comfort, drainage, protection and durability, traction, and value. Those scores were averaged for the overall scores for each shoe.

We first asked testers to take at least a 30-minute walk on dry land, which included rocks, sand, and pavement. Testers rated the comfort and traction of the dry land walks. We then asked testers to walk in a body of water for at least 30 minutes, including lakes, the ocean, rivers, creeks, or a pool.

Lastly, we asked testers to take an immediate walk after leaving the water to test for comfort and traction with wet shoes. And then, testers took a final dry land walk after the shoes were fully dry from the wet walk.

Mishansha Webbing Water Shoes testing

TripSavvy / Lindsey Sweeney

What to Look for in Women’s Water Shoes

Breathability

The more breathable the water shoe, the quicker it’ll dry out, allowing you to get on with the rest of your day (and eliminating one more soggy thing from your beach bag). Materials like neoprene let air flow easily, meaning that your shoes dry out quickly as soon as you’re back on land. This material also keeps your feet cool when the sun’s beating down. 

Protection

One of the main reasons to wear water shoes is protection for your feet. It’s not just hot sand to look out for (though there is that!). You also want water shoes with a sturdy enough rubber bottom that you won’t feel the sharp edges of rocks, shells, or twigs on the beach. And, if you’re not going with a sandal style, choose a pair with a top and sides that enclose the rest of your feet to keep them safe.

Traction

Another key feature of a water shoe is solid traction. Rivers, in particular, can be dangerous because of the uneven surfaces and large, slick rocks. Look for shoes with larger lugs (measured in millimeters) and/or anti-slip technology on the outsoles.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • How much should I spend on water shoes?

    The frequency with which you plan to wear water shoes should help you understand the price point you want to aim for. The more you wear them—whether you’re out hiking along rivers a few times a week or always heading to the beach for a morning swim—the more you might want to spend on what’s going to be a frequently worn part of your wardrobe. Remember that higher-quality shoes often cost a little more than budget ones, so even if you’re going on a one-off beach vacation, don’t let yourself compromise too much on what you really need from the shoes. 

  • Should I opt for sneakers, socks, or sandals?

    This really depends on what activity you’ll be doing in these shoes. Sandals might drag you down if you’re doing a water aerobics class; socks would be terrible to hike in. Think carefully about the purposes you intend for these shoes, and then build your choice around that. A snug pair of sneaker-style water shoes might be your best bet if you need something truly all-purpose. Others prefer the airflow that comes with sandals for hiking, though they wouldn’t wear the hiking-style shoes to a bar after a boat ride. If you need to buy multiple pairs for different purposes, consider splashing out a bit more on the ones you wear most often. 

  • Do water shoes keep sand out?

    It depends on the style of water shoe: A pair of chunky hiking sandals? Not so much. But sneakers with lacing uppers or water socks do a great job of forming a barrier between your skin so that grains can’t trickle in. Of course, you might have a bit of sand when taking off the shoes, but a well-fitting pair of water shoes will go a long way toward keeping your feet clean and sand-free.

Why Trust TripSavvy

Nathan Allen is TripSavvy's Outdoor Gear Editor. Born and raised in Missouri, Nathan frequently swam, recreated, and walked in Ozark rivers and streams. Now he lives near the Pacific but still spends plenty of time wading while fly fishing in rivers in streams in California's Sierra Nevada and Colorado's Rocky Mountains. He's taken his fair share of tumbles into the water, and his current go-to water shoes are Chaco's Classic Z sandals and Chillos Clog.

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