Here at the Strategist, we like to think of ourselves as crazy (in the good way) about the stuff we buy, but as much as we’d like to, we can’t try everything. Which is why we have People’s Choice, in which we find the best-reviewed products and single out the most convincing ones. (You can learn more about our rating system and how we pick each item here.)
While we’ve written here before about the best sandals for women, the best rain boots for women, and the best workout shoes for women, we’re going deep on the best water shoes for women on Amazon, according to the people.
Best-rated water shoes
Reviewers rave about how comfortable and versatile these water shoes are and how they can wear them anywhere. “We traversed lava tubes and lava fields and waterfalls, explored beaches, snorkeled, and walked miles on sidewalks in towns and had not one single problem with these shoes,” writes one reviewer. “After 10 days of vacationing, they still look brand new. I washed and dried them in our washer and dryer, and they came out perfectly.” Another says the shoes have “a nice amount of support for walking around, great protection from burning your feet on hot pavement around the hotel pool and hot sand as well as from any sharp shells … I wore them while using a boogie board and swimming in the ocean as well as in the pool and hot tub.” Others found them useful for exercise classes. “I take a water-aerobics class six days a week and have gone through many pairs of water shoes,” says one. “I purchased these shoes recently and I have to say I am AMAZED! The level of cushion on the soles and the grip of the bottom have completely changed my workout. My feet don’t hurt, and I don’t slip all over the bottom of the pool. These shoes are awesome!”
Best-rated (less expensive) water shoes
At less than $15, these water shoes proved to be of much higher quality than reviewers expected. “The rubber sole was heavy duty and protected my feet and I probably did 3 miles through rocky springs and dirt/gravel roads and they’re undamaged,” says one reviewer. “I expected them to fall apart at this price point, but they survived all that and survived additional kayaking, etc., since being home as well. Shoppers also loved that these shoes are lightweight — “You forget you are wearing them,” says one — and dry quickly. One reviewer describes them as “like a light slipper.” And, like the best-rated Aleader mesh slip-ons, these can be worn comfortably anywhere: “The beach? yes! The pool? Also yes! Backyard water-balloon fight? Double yes!”
And now for some micro-picks of every type of women’s water shoe you might be looking for.
Best water shoes for hiking
“Recently hiked 17 water miles in one day and my feet hardly hurt at the end of the day (my feet always hurt at about 10 miles in my regular hiking boots)!” writes one reviewer. “I was concerned about them letting too many rocks and sand in, but my friend I was hiking with was complaining about rocks and sand in her shoes and I didn’t have that problem at all.” Shoppers found these shoes did not take much, if any, breaking in: “It only took me about 3 days to get comfortable in them,” one comments. Another says, “I have NEVER bought a pair of hiking shoes that didn’t give me blisters. Out of the box, these never have given me even one blister. I hiked the Grand Canyon, rim to rim, 24 miles without a single blister.”
Best water shoes for sailing
Shoppers praise these shoes for their looks and practicality. “I have worn them sailing numerous times now and they have worked like a champ. They are grippy, dry quickly, are easy to kick on and off, and I am very happy with my purchase,” comments one reviewer. Another says, “I just bought these to take on a sailing trip because I didn’t want traditional ugly boat shoes. These are absolutely adorable shoes!” “They are a happy medium for when you don’t want to bring multiple shoes everywhere you go,” says another.
Best water shoes for water aerobics
“I have worn the shoes for my hi-intensity water-aerobics class. I love the fact that each shoe has built in ‘drainage holes’ in its sole. There apparently is a gap between the layers of the sole, because when you step onto the bottom of the pool, air bubbles are released from the soles of the shoes. I feel like I am bouncing on air cushions rather than a concrete pool bottom,” says one shopper. Those with foot issues also praise this pair: “I have plantar fasciitis and a heel bone spur. These shoes give me that extra heel cushion that I need when performing water exercises, and I do not have to use my orthotic inserts. Believe me, after having left and right foot surgery I can testify that these shoes perform great.” Reviewers note that the spring laces are better than shoes that can come untied: “The laces are no-tie. They have the little spring lock that secures them.”
Best mesh water sneaker
Shoppers wore these shoes while hiking, zip-lining, swimming in caves, jumping off cliffs, and visiting water parks and found that they held up in every activity. One writes, “My ankle was hurting from my hiking boots, so I figured I would at least try to wear these water shoes (with socks) on the hike. I wore them the whole way! This is a 10-mile hike, and I was carrying a 30-pound pack.” Another says, “I knew I was going to need a good pair of water shoes for a shore excursion we had purchased on our cruise, but also needed comfortable tennis shoes for when we were not doing the water activities. These were perfect, since they are built like tennis shoes but are made to get wet. And they’re cute, too.”
Best (less expensive) mesh water sneaker
If you’re looking to travel light, these might be the water shoes for you. One reviewer writes, “I traveled to Fiji from Florida wearing these shoes on the plane(s). I was able to easily slide them off on the 10-plus-hour flight to Fiji and slide them back on quickly. From the air to the water, I snorkeled in them and they truly were an awesome, lightweight aquatic shoe. Instead of having to pack two pairs of shoes, one for travel and one for swimming, I wore these throughout the entire trip without having to add them to my luggage.” Multiple commenters note how soft the mesh of the shoe feels. “I was afraid of getting blisters if we walked around without socks, but the shoe does not fit tight enough to rub and irritate your skin,” says one shopper. Another writes, “I wore these to Disneyland earlier this month because I got tired of my other shoes getting soaked on water rides and causing blisters when I had to walk 10 miles around the parks and back to the hotel. These shoes were great! I had no blisters at the end of the week.”
Best water sandals
Reviewers love these sandals so much they don’t want to take them off — one even describes them as “basically a second pair of feet.” She also writes, “I am in love with these shoes. I bought them for a study-abroad tour in Europe, and they were the only shoes I wore the entire month we were there. We walked upwards of 10 miles a day in all sorts of weather conditions. They were warm enough to comfortably wear in chilly Germany and ventilated enough to handle the heat in Italy. I still wear them all the time … They are the comfiest shoes I own.” For another shopper, these were the answer to a long hunt for the perfect pair of water sandals: “I have tried six pairs of water sandals in an effort to find an acceptable pair for an upcoming trip to Galapagos. This is THE first and only pair that fits my crazy feet (bunions, hammer toe, and a recently broken second toe that is still sore and swollen) … They are light, waterproof, and lined with neoprene, making them surprisingly comfortable. Also have toe guards for protection from rocks, are priced fairly, and are nice looking.”
Best plastic water shoes
Reviewers find the plastic material of the shoes makes them a practical choice for water activities. One shopper notes that they have “no cloth to sour or mildew,” while another writes, “The best part about these shoes was that, being rubbery plastic, they didn’t need time to dry out after being wet. While my friends had to plan time to wash out and dry their soggy cloth water shoes, these just needed a quick rinse and I was ready to go.” One commenter calls them “cuter and less obvious than Crocs.” Just be sure to wear them with sunscreen: “A note — these give your feet a VERY strange tan pattern, like giraffe spots. LOL.”
Best quick-drying water shoes
“I have lived on an island a few blocks from the beach for over 20 years, so I have owned more water shoes in my life than I can possibly count. These are literally THE BEST water shoes I have EVER owned, which is a huge compliment, seeing as I have owned so many!” writes one satisfied shopper. Others like the removable inner sole. As one reviewer says, “They dry super quick” and “drain and dry nicely without having to take them off.”
Best slip-on water shoes
“Easy on and easy off,” writes one reviewer — and ease is a theme among these shoppers, with another writing, “A big plus for me is the pull-on tab at the top of heel that allows for help in getting shoe on a wet or dry foot, yay!” These slip-on shoes boast all the best qualities of the other water shoes on this list. “They’re breathable, extremely comfy, grip well, don’t rub and cause blisters, hose off quickly and easily, dry fast, and look great. They’re also lightweight and perfect for compact packing and travel,” says a commenter. “The real test was being on my feet for eight hours doing heavy muddy lifting under the hot Florida sun. Not once did my feet bother me. Best shoe purchase ever.”
Get the Strategist in your inbox.
The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best women’s jeans, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, ultraflattering pants, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.
Every editorial product is independently selected. If you buy something through our links, New York may earn an affiliate commission.