Top 10 Best Water Shoes for Hiking 2020

Whether it be for stepping on mossy rocks, treading through slippery clay, or wading through knee-deep water, your big, clunky hiking boots might not just cut it. For certain treks, you need the best water shoes for hiking.

Best Water Shoes for Hiking

On famous hikes like the Zion Narrows and Hawaii’s national parks, or even just on a walk around a soggy lake, water shoes are recommended. Not only do they increase your versatility, but they allow you to tackle multiple terrains and get the most out of your outdoor experience.

Certain hikers may be reluctant to strap on a pair of water shoes. Certain brands can fall apart and leave you wishing that you had left home in something more durable. That’s why it’s vitally important that you find the best brand.

Can Water Shoes be Used for Hiking?

Yes! In fact, on many hikes, experts recommend water shoes instead of boots. That’s because a lot of trails require that you walk through wet environments that would leave some normal boots very soggy, stinky and heavy.

But when you search for water shoes, be very careful. Often, what are marketed as “water shoes” are just sandals. But there are certain brands making high-quality water shoes to carry you seamlessly through a river and up rough mountain terrain.

Can Water Shoes be Used for Hiking

If you will be hiking in a warm climate that requires you to cross bodies of water, navigate slippery, rocky, or muddy terrain, you will need some water shoes.

When it comes to water shoes, don’t sacrifice on quality. Do the research and take the time to find the right fit. If you skip that necessary step, then you might end up buying a pair of hiking shoes that fall apart when the going gets tough.

Every hiker who’s ever had a blister knows how critical it is to care for your feet. Don’t end up with the wrong product!

What Makes the Best Water Shoes for Hiking?

What Makes the Best Water Shoes for Hiking

When you consider which shoes to buy, you should investigate brand, durability, materials, grip, comfort, socks, and size. Here we will explore hiker’s most commonly asked questions about water shoes, and our answers will reveal what makes the best water shoes for hiking.

1. Why use water shoes?

It is critical to consider grip and traction. Most water shoes come with rubber bottoms that are designed to prevent you from slipping. If you’ve ever tried to walk through a river barefoot, you know that those rocks are ridiculously slippery, and they can give you a bad stubbed toe.

Pick a shoe that walks on all sorts of surfaces, from sand, to mud, to rivers, and to oceans. Shoes with a solid traction can grant you versatility.

For the most watery hikes, your big, heavy hiking boots should wait at home. They could get soaking wet, heavy, and even damaged if you try to walk with them through the water.

2. What materials are used in water shoes?

The most common material used on water shoes is neoprene, the soft material used in wet suits. Neoprene is very stretchy, and it will mold to your foot. But it’s not very tough or durable.

More expensive, higher quality water shoes use mesh or other breathable materials that don’t stick to your foot so closely but offer a lot more durable support. A stronger material can be quite useful when going downhill in a wet shoe and you don’t want your toes to push against the front of your boots.

Being comfortable also means that the shoes aren’t too heavy. You want a pair of water shoes that dry quickly so you can move onto different terrains without lugging half of the river with you on your feet.

3. Do you wear socks with water shoes?

Do you wear socks with water shoes

The answer is usually no. Considering that you want to hike in lightweight and dry water shoes, wearing normal hiking socks with water shoes defeats the purpose.

However, there are certain socks that are made out of neoprene, like these ones, which are usually used for water sports like diving and kayaking. They’re made for divers in cold water, so you can use them in conjunction with hiking shoes to keep your feet warm.

4. Should water shoes be tight or loose?

This depends on brand and materials, but often you’ll find that with water shoes made from neoprene, the flexible material will fit to your feet on the top half of the shoe.

Size becomes much more important when you shop for more expensive water shoes that use mesh instead of neoprene. Luckily with these shoes, because they tend to be higher quality, they come in both sizes and half sizes. That way, you can buy exactly your normal size of shoe.

5. Can you hike in Crocs?

Probably not. Crocs are useful at the beach, or as an ironic fashion statement, but they don’t mold to the size of your foot. They become very slippery when wet, and they are far too loose to use on a serious hike.

Especially for a serious river hike or a hike like The Narrows, you need shoes that won’t fall apart, and won’t allow any extra space inside the shoe for pebbles and sticks to slip inside.

Choose some water shoes with high quality material that will keep you light and dry, and fit your foot very snugly.

6. Can you hike in Tevas?

That’s not a good idea. While they protect your feet from sharp rocks, and while they’re better than being barefoot, they just don’t stay firmly on your foot. Oftentimes the strap cuts between your toes, leading to a very uncomfortable hiking experience.

Top 10 Best Water Shoes for Hiking 2020

Astral TR1 Mesh Shoes for Men Review
Adidas Outdoor Men’s Terrex Hydro Lace Review
La Sportiva Men’s Akyra Mountain Running Review
Fabric, Synthetic
The Astral Loyak Review
Vibram KSO EVO-W Review
Dreamcity Water Shoes Review
NeoSport Wetsuits Paddle Low Top Review
Speedo Seaside Lace 5.0 Review
Textile, Neoprene
Salomon Techamphibian 4 Water Shoes for Men Review
Vivobarefoot Primus SWIMRUN FG Review

1. Astral TR1 Mesh Shoes

Astral TR1 Mesh Shoes for Men Review

The customers speak for themselves: these shoes are very highly reviewed on all sites. Hikers are saying that these shoes are durable, lightweight, excellent for multiple terrains, and they dry quickly.

At a reasonable price, you’re getting a high-quality shoe. These are durable enough to last for years, and the thick sole with a strong grip can take you both through rivers and up mountainsides. They’re especially popular on white water rafting trips.

You can even take these shoes apart, remove the sole, and wash the whole shoe easily. They’re easy to take care of, and designed to last.

These shoes are also known for their comfort. They’re specifically designed to let water drain and to dry quickly while remaining lightweight. They also come in various colors and styles.


  • Excellent price considering quality
  • Extremely comfortable
  • Well-made drainage system keeps shoes dry for long periods of time
  • Durable
  • Can easily be disassembled and cleaned
  • Dry very quickly
  • Lightweight


  • Only available in size six or larger

2. Adidas Outdoor Men’s Terrex Hydro Lace

Adidas Outdoor Men's Terrex Hydro Lace Review

These shoes are made for canyoneering, which involves swimming, climbing, running, and hiking through canyons. They’re made for versatility. If you’re looking for water shoes for navigating Zion National Park or the Grand Canyon, these are your best bet.

They have a high collar, which protects you from rolling your ankles in rocky terrain. But they’re made from neoprene and relatively lightweight. These boots are at home in a very difficult terrain, with mud, rocks, rain, and even snow.

Be careful about the size. Some hikers have criticized this boot for being too big and clunky, too narrow, or not fitting just right.

Consider buying a size smaller (they run large) or buying this product in a store where you can try it on.


  • Perfect for canyoneering
  • Master of many rugged terrains
  • Extreme durability
  • Neoprene fits to foot
  • Tight fit
  • Adapt to any terrain or weather, including snow


  • More expensive than other options
  • Very big and somewhat cumbersome

3. La Sportiva Men’s Akyra Mountain Running Shoe

La Sportiva Men's Akyra Mountain Running Shoe Review

These shoes will take you through water, but they aren’t specifically designed and marketed as water shoes.

This shoe is designed for trail runners, who sometimes jog for weeks or even months along some of the most difficult trails in the world. For that reason, this shoe is excellent for all types of terrain, and it can last for hundreds of miles without getting damaged or worn.

These shoes are most known for their grip and durability. You certainly won’t need to worry about slippery and mossy rocks.

They’re designed to lift you heel and fit perfectly to your foot, but some reviewers warn that the fit is somewhat narrow, so be careful if you have particularly wide feet.


  • Great for mountain or trail running
  • Excellent grip
  • Innovative and modern design
  • Extreme durability- will last you for years
  • Mesh top with breathability
  • Lightweight
  • Tight fit
  • Strong, thick sole to protect from difficult terrain


  • More expensive than other options
  • Designed more for trail running than specifically for water, but they still work for wading in all types of water

4. The Astral Loyak Water Shoes

The Astral Loyak Water Shoes Review

The Loyak water shoes are another great shoe from Astral. They have a beautiful design that comes in various shades of blue, navy, white and khaki.

These shoes have drainage holes for water located near the toe and heel, so your feet remain dry for longer. The mesh design is also very comfortable, and it fits to your foot size.

These shoes are recommended for kayaking, but because of the style, durability, and comfort, they can be worn nearly anywhere. If they get dirty, toss them in the washing machine and they come out good as new.

Astrals make shoes with a very grippy bottom, so while these are recommended for kayaking and canoeing, you can also throw them on for a hiking trip.


  • Extremely comfortable
  • Reasonable price
  • Perfect for kayaking and canoeing
  • Light
  • Long-lasting
  • Machine-washable
  • Effective on all sorts of walks and in water
  • Dry very quickly
  • Stylish and available in many colors


  • Difficult to put on due to a very narrow opening

5. Vibram KSO EVO-W

Vibram KSO EVO-W Review

The KSO Evo’s are the top-recommended brand for hiking and swimming trips to Hawaii. Some people think the five-fingered style is strange, but others swear by it.

Truthfully, the shoes will take some time to break in, so don’t wear them for the first time on a hiking trip. But once you do grow accustomed to the fit, the shoes are excellent.

They’re very light, very durable, and perfect for beach or island trips. You can take them in boats, on hikes, over rocks, and in the sand.

Some users reported that the KSO Evo’s show signs of wear and tear after only a few uses. This can be quite frustrating, especially considering that the shoes are pricey.

If you’re worried about the shoes becoming damages, then use our link and order them directly from the retailer. Vibram has very good customer service, and after explaining your situation, they’ll often set you up with a new pair.


  • Extremely comfortable
  • More expensive
  • Good customer service
  • Perfect for a trip to Hawaii
  • Light
  • Long-lasting
  • Good traction
  • Can be used for hiking


  • Take some time to break in
  • Sometimes become damaged after just a few uses

6. Dreamcity Water Shoes Athletic Sport Lightweight Walking Shoes

Dreamcity Water Shoes Athletic Sport Lightweight Walking Shoes Review

These are a unique and modern shoe with a style that you can’t find anywhere else. The sole of the shoe is full of holes that will allow water to drain easily, so you can wear them in the beach, in the sand, and around the pool.

The Dreamcity water shoes are designed to look like a normal tennis shoe. All customers agree that they are also extremely comfortable. These don’t just have to be for hiking, they could also be a nice addition to your wardrobe for the summer months.

These shoes are easily cleaned, and they dry quickly, especially when left out in the sun.

While these are great for sandy vacations with some hikes, we wouldn’t recommend them for a serious, long-distance trek. The mesh and rubber soles aren’t designed for rough terrain.


  • Very affordable
  • Extremely comfortable
  • Light
  • Strong sole
  • Long-lasting
  • Effective on all sorts of walks and in water
  • Dry very quickly
  • Easy to clean
  • Stylish and modern


  • Not a strong grip
  • Not designed with rough terrain in mind

7. NeoSport Wetsuits Paddle Low Top Boots

NeoSport Wetsuits Paddle Low Top Boots Review

If you plan on kayaking, swimming, boating and wading, these booties are your top choice. Hikers report using these in Florida, Maui, and Hawaii in situations where they jumped from water to dry land and back.

They are very light and made to dry quickly. They will protect your feet from the muddy bottom of a river, or from rocks while walking through sand. They also are available for men, women, and children.

But be wary. The soles are very thin, and there is no ankle support. If you plan on going through very rough terrain, then choose a more durable option.

These are best for kayaking and boating, perhaps in more sandy, warmer environments.


  • Very affordable
  • Perfect for kayaking
  • Great choice for more tropical, sandy environments, or for muddy rivers
  • Available in all sizes and for men and women
  • Neoprene fits to foot
  • Very lightweight
  • Not expensive


  • Very thin sole
  • Will not protect you on long hikes with big rocks or from stepping on glass or other trash

8. Speedo Seaside Lace 5.0 Water Shoe

Speedo Seaside Lace 5.0 Water Shoe Review

This is a shoe that is designed to be used pool side or beach side. It’s made by Speedo, and they know water.

Speedo used the proper materials when making this shoe. They made a design with mesh that dries quickly and that you can tighten or loosen depending on your foot. For the price, it’s a very good, reliable shoe.

But the Speedo Seaside Lace 5.0 is not particularly durable. They might be good to use for a beach vacation or boating trip, but they might only last you two seasons.

The sole is quite thin, which is not ideal for more rigorous hikes.


  • Great for pool side and beach side
  • Good value for a low price
  • Mesh fit is high quality, comfortable, and fits your feet snugly
  • Very lightweight


  • Very thin sole
  • Not durable- might only last one or two seasons of repeated use

9. Salomon Techamphibian 4 Water Shoes

Salomon Techamphibian 4 Water Shoes for Men Review

These shoes win for style on our list today. They have a nice design, and many fashionable colors.

They are specifically made for hiking and camping, so this open, mesh material was made with multiple, difficult terrains in mind.

The rubber sole is thick, so hikers report that they can easily switch from slippery water terrain to difficult and arduous hikes.

However, many hikers report that these shoes have a durability issue. Specifically, the mesh on the side of the shoe sometimes breaks after just a few weeks of wear.

It seems these shoes were designed to look nice more than they were made to last.


  • Masters of multiple terrains
  • Not too pricey
  • Very lightweight
  • Rubber sole is thick enough to carry you through multiple terrains
  • Good grip, even underwater
  • Stylish and available in many colors


  • The mesh is low quality and can tear after only a few weeks of use.
  • Some hikers complain about the laces being far too long and annoying to manage.

10. Vivobarefoot Primus SWIMRUN FG Specialist Firm Ground Trail Running Shoe

Vivobarefoot Primus SWIMRUN FG Specialist Firm Ground Trail Running Shoe Review

These shoes are made for athletes who run on all sorts of difficult terrain. They are excellent for keeping water out, and although they have a thick, durable sole, they are so light and pliable that you can roll them up into a ball.

These are excellent for a traveling runner. But don’t be fooled by their almost-barefoot appearance. These shoes are strong, and you can run with them even on rocky, difficult ground. The design is very technologically advanced in that regard.

These shoes are made to keep water out, so the ankle has a very snug fit.

Some hikers have complained that it’s too tight, because it makes the shoes less breathable, and can even land you with some wicked blisters.


  • Perfect for trail runners
  • Lightweight and very easy to transport
  • Strong sole
  • Solid grip makes them effective on multiple terrains
  • Durable and long-lasting


  • Very tight around the ankle to keep water out- might give you blisters


Whatever your adventure, we hope you find this list helpful when deciding on which water shoes to pack for your next trip. Consider your needs, your location, and your wallet, and use our guide to inform your next purchase. Happy hiking!


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