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Best Overall: Aleader Women's Aqua Water Shoes at Amazon
"You can do basic hikes in these durable shoes and they'll last beyond a single season."
Best Budget: SIMARI Quick-Dry Water Shoes at Amazon
"These water shoes are a cinch to pack because they’re lightweight and compressible."
Best Quick Drying: Clapzovr Water Shoes at Amazon
"Water passes through them easily so they feel light and streamlined."
Most Versatile: Astral Loyak Water Shoe at REI
"The shoe looks like a chic sneaker, so it's stylish enough to wear out of the water."
Best for the Pool: Sea Star Beachcomber Espadrille Water Shoe at Zappos
"The fit is comfortable but snug, so they won't slip off in the pool."
Best for Hiking: Keen Whisper Sandals at L.L. Bean
"Elastic laces help hikers get these shoes on easily and cord locks keep them on securely."
Best for Snorkeling: Barerun Barefoot Water Sports Shoes at Amazon
"It has a rubber sole to protect feet but can fold easily to fit into your swim fins."
Best for the Beach: WateLves Water Shoes at Amazon
"A breathable spandex fabric lets only the finest of sand grains pass through."
Best Sandal: Teva Original Universal Maressa Sandal at Nordstrom
"The adjustable hook-and-loop straps are made from 100 percent recycled plastic."
Best High Performance: Speedo Surf Knit at Amazon
"The hydrophobic insole absorbs less water, while the outsole provides solid traction."
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Aleader Women's Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes
Aleader’s water shoes are made of a breathable open-mesh upper and have a lining that both serves to cushion the feet and speeds up drying. A draining outsole also helps maximize traction in wet and slippery conditions. Reviewers note how the water passes quickly through these, without any sense of drag—or that squishing sound you might find with some other shoes. The midsole is lightweight, making them great for packing. They're also durable—so you can manage basic hiking in these sneaker-style shoes, and you can expect to hold onto these long beyond a single season or vacation.
Best Budget: SIMARI Quick-Dry Water Shoes
These water shoes from SIMARI are a budget-friendly pick with many more appealing options beyond just their affordable price point. They’re unisex and simple enough to be completely versatile. The stretchy sock-like upper is breathable and fully flexible. These water shoes are also a cinch to pack because they’re very lightweight and compressible, so they take up little space—even in a carry-on. The non-slip soles mean these shoes are ready for swimming or water sports, and they can protect your feet from hot sand when you're on the beach. These come in a huge range of color options—from neon pink or green to neutral black or grey—and the size range accommodates everyone.
Best Quick Drying: Clapzovr Water Shoes
Many water shoes claim to be quick drying—and some actually are. But no matter the high-tech patented materials, not much can beat the instant-drying properties of good old plastic, so it's your best option if you want a shoe with zero drying time. This version from Clapzovr is made of breathable PVC with draining holes covering the entire surface. These flat sandals have a rubber sole, with solid cushioning and grip. Despite the material, reviewers appreciate that these water shoes don’t get too slippery when wet, and the ease with which the water passes through them keeps them feeling light and streamlined. These clog-like water shoes come in a range of colors, including bright options, like purple or neon green, to more versatile options like neutral black.
Most Versatile: Astral Loyak Water Shoe
Astral’s Loyak water shoe is our pick for most versatile, given both its functionality and its appearance. The streamlined shoe looks like it could be a chic European sneaker, so it's stylish enough to wear out of the water. In terms of performance, it has drainage holes at the toes and heels to let water out, and keep sand from entering. The stretch-mesh shoe fits snugly, so you won't have to worry about losing your shoes in the water. It's made from hydrophobic canvas uppers which are attached to a non-marking rubber sole for a low-profile fit that provides an impressive grip.
Best for the Pool: Sea Star Beachcomber Espadrille Water Shoe
At first glance, you’d never guess that these elegant-looking Beachcomber espadrilles from Sea Star Beachwear are actually water shoes. They look polished enough to wear to a poolside party, and far too dainty to actually survive a jaunt in the pool—but they’re actually meant for just that. While it looks like it could be canvas from afar, the shoe’s upper is actually made from breathable, quick-drying neoprene. The rubber boat shoe sole is non-marking and non-skid. The fit is comfortable but snug, so you won’t have to worry about these shoes slipping off during swimming or other water sports. And after 15 minutes in the sun, these espadrilles are completely dry and ready for a stylish saunter right back into the resort lobby.
Best for Hiking: Keen Whisper Sandals
Even the flimsiest water socks should do the trick for a beach stroll—but if you’re going to be doing any serious hiking, you’re going to need a water shoe that’s substantial and durable. Keen’s Whisper Sandals have non-marking carbon rubber outsoles to maximize traction and durability. Plus, polyester webbing uppers help them fit comfortably and securely. These shoes dry quickly, with nylon mesh linings to best control moisture. Keen’s patented rubber toe guards protect feet in hiking environments with rocky or uneven terrain, and midsoles are meant to absorb shock and also support and cushion the feet. Elastic laces help hikers get these shoes on easily—even in wet conditions—and cord locks keep them on securely, so you won't have to worry about losing them when the trail becomes a water crossing.
Best for Snorkeling: Barerun Barefoot Water Sports Shoes
If you’re going to be snorkeling, you’re going to want a pair of water shoes that are versatile enough to be worn in various ways. They should be slim enough to wear under your fins to prevent chafing and keep the fins in place, or flexible enough to wear alone for entering the water via a rocky or jagged shoreline. They should also be streamlined for swimming. This version by Barerun is flexible, lightweight, and wears like socks. It has a rubber sole to protect feet but can fold easily to fit into your swim fins. Reviewers also noted that they had an excellent grip when treading on slippery surfaces. These are available in multiple color options and styles—including neutrals, bold colors, and prints.
Best for the Beach: WateLves Water Shoes
If you're going to be doing a lot of walking on the beach, you’re going to want a water shoe that won’t fill with sand. This one keeps the sand out very effectively—letting only the finest grains pass into the polyester and spandex upper. The breathable fabric is light and stretchy, so it’s flexible, comfortable, and compressible for packing. These come in a range of sizes for the whole family—so these are not only for women, but are also available for kids and men (up to extended size 13.5). Go for a versatile solid color (like black or grey), or up your visibility at the beach with bright colors (pink, green) or prints (including a starry sky or vibrant rainbow).
Best Sandal: Teva Original Universal Maressa Sandal
If you love the timeless Tiva sandal, you'll love this version of the classic that's been updated in festival-ready prints. The iconic style (which goes back over three decades) features an open toe and adjustable hook-and-loop straps that are made from 100 percent recycled plastic. It also has a foam-cushioned footbed that provides both arch support and traction. The textile upper and lining do just fine in the water, so the shoe goes from the campsite shower to the festival grounds effortlessly.
Best High Performance: Speedo Surf Knit
Speedo’s Surf Knit water shoe is an ideal pick if you do various water sports and need a high-performance option. This shoe is quite supportive and comfortable, but it’s also lightweight and made to max out drainage and dry quickly. The hydrophobic insole absorbs less water, and the outsole provides solid traction so you’re good to go when out of the water, too. The look is sporty and lace free. It comes in multiple color options including a green that pops and a more neutral grey.
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.