Water socks are the versatile gear that you didn’t know you needed in your outdoor tool kit. Think about it: with a good pair of water socks you can avoid athlete’s foot at the pool, walk over hot sand and rocks at the beach, and, if you get a really comfortable pair, use them as insulation with water shoes or hiking boots.
But in order to reap all the benefits of water socks, you need a good pair. In this list, we’ll look at the best water socks this year specifically for versatility. That means that whatever your sport, whatever your outdoor interest, these socks will accommodate your needs.
Let’s first look at the criteria we considered when assembling this list.
How to Choose the Best Water Socks
Depending on your needs, you’ll want to look for different levels of thickness and different materials.
You don’t want the socks to be so thick that they don’t stretch, and you can’t fit them inside your scuba fins, but you also want them to be thick enough that they keep you warm.
The ideal thickness is usually around 3mm, but sometimes you can go down to 2mm if you’ll be swimming in warm water.
Insulation also means that a strong glue holds the stitches tight and prevents water from getting in. Usually water socks blend stitching and glue for ideal insulation.
This may sound like it would be more relevant for hiking boots or water shoes, but you can’t forget traction on your water socks either.
The water sock should have some sort of glue or webbing on its sole that sticks to the ground. This is especially important if you plan on surfing or paddle boarding.
A good water sock will have a blind stitch that doesn’t press up against your feet. A common problem is that some socks are so thick around the ankle that you can’t slip your foot in, and if you can, then it could rub up against your ankle and leave you with nasty blisters.
Insulation is also relevant for comfort, because if sand can get into the sock, it will bother your feet sooner or later. For this reason, most water socks are made with lycra or neoprene, both of which are well-insulated, light materials.
An excellent water sock will be so comfortable that you can even use it for hiking or skiing as an extra layer of insulation under your boot.
4. Quick Dry
A normal sock made of cotton or wool will saturate with water and become cold and heavy.
For a quick dry, opt for synthetic materials. Most water socks are made of neoprene, the thick cloth used for scuba suits. These are great for insulation and swimming or wading in cold water.
If your needs include beach sports like volleyball, soccer, or running in the hot sand, a light material like lycra or a mesh top of the shoe will protect the soles of your feet while allowing ultimate breathability.
Top 8 Best Water Socks on the Market 2020
These are some of the only water socks out there that cover your ankles. Often, when you wear water socks along with scuba diving or snorkeling fins, the entrance to the fins rubs up against your ankles and causes chaffing. With these socks, you don’t need to worry about that.
You may be thinking, but water socks are often so tight, how can I fit my foot into a high-top entrance? The designers thought of that, and these socks come with an adjustable strap to keep them tight around the top. They also come in many sizes.
These socks are made for beach sports. They’re very effective at keeping sand out, and they’re ideal for beach running, yoga, volleyball, or even just protecting you from the hot sand. They have an extra cap of fabric on the heel and toe, for added durability.
- High top; They cover your ankles
- Great for snorkeling, scuba diving, or anything that requires fins
- Adjustable strap and many size options
- Perfect for beach sports
- Extra durability on heel and toe
- Some user complained about an uncomfortable stitch in the middle of your toe
- They won’t last if you walk all day on rocks, concrete, or pavement
These water socks have been highly reviewed this year by experts, especially for certain water sports like surfing, scuba diving, and snorkeling. These socks have the perfect thickness for scuba diving. They’re 3mm, which means they’ll keep you insulated in cold water, but they still fit inside fins.
They’re designed with effective traction, which makes them ideal for sports like surfing and paddle boarding as well. They aren’t too expensive, and they’re quite well-made, so they should last you for a few seasons at least.
They’re made with Tilos’ ‘X-foam,’ which is super stretchy and hypoallergenic. Tilos is a great brand if you have sensitive skin.
These socks effectively drain water, but sand does not enter due to their high-quality design. They transfer seamlessly from sand to water, and they’re machine washable.
- Excellent if you have sensitive skin
- Not too expensive
- Well-insulated. Perfect for scuba diving or snorkeling in cold water
- Traction makes them good for surfing and paddle-boarding
- Holes for water draining
- Don’t cover your ankles
- Can be very tight and may lead to blisters, especially if you plan on using fins
These are the highest-reviewed water socks on Amazon. Users consistently say these socks are comfortable, breathable, lightweight, and quick drying.
Unlike other water socks which are made with neoprene, these socks are made with polyester on the top, plus rubber soles on the bottom. The rubber soles prevent you from slipping and they’re effective in protecting your feet from sharp objects and hot sand.
These socks can be extremely light and perfect for a beach day. But, if you want something more durable, they come with a removeable shoe pad. With that shoe pad in place, you can take these socks out even on more difficult terrain. That makes these socks great for the pool side and water parks.
- Quick drying
- Rubber soles prevent you from slipping and make them much more durable on hard surfaces
- Removable shoe pad
- Great for pool side and water parks
- A detailed size chart is available
- Quite affordable
- They use polyester instead of neoprene, which might not be as durable
- Don’t offer as much insulation as deep-diving water socks
These socks are the safest choice. They’re affordable, there is a detailed size chart on Amazon, and Torotto has excellent customer service. These shoes are elastic but with a protective rubber bottom, so they’re great for the swimming, surfing, beach yoga, and more.
These shoes come with a wide variety of colors and styles for you to express yourself. They’re quite cute and stylish.
These shoes are very small, and some users complain that they are very tight around the ankle. But if you follow the size chart, you will find that they’re snug, and quite easy to slip on and off.
These shoes are a good choice for parents. They come in many small sizes, fun colors, they’re lightweight and easy to transport, and they’re machine washable.
- Great customer service
- Detailed size chart available
- Elastic with rubber bottom makes them good for many different surfaces
- Good for kids
- Many sizes and fun colors and patterns
- The rubber bottom is somewhat thin
- Run small and can feel very tight around the ankle
These socks probably win for comfort. They have a very grippy inside and a soft neck for slipping them on and off. They’re so comfortable, in fact, that these socks are the best choice for wearing along with hiking boots or water shoes for extra insulation.
These socks are made from polyester instead of neoprene, which means they’re quite lightweight and easy to wash, but they’re less durable. The sole is somewhat thin, and if you’re going to be walking around a waterpark all day or on rough terrain, you need something else along with these socks, like a boot or water shoe.
- Incredibly comfortable
- Can be worn with hiking boots or water shoes for extra insulation
- Machine washable
- Quick dry
- Grippy inside and soft neck for slipping on and off
- Not as durable as other options
- They are thin, and maybe best used for light activity or in conjunction with another shoe or boot
These socks have been impressing divers lately because they’re thick (3mm of neoprene) they’re great for diving in cool waters.
You may worry about the strong material, but truthfully these socks are very stretchy and comfortable. They are also very durable, so you can expect to be using these socks for at least a few years.
These come with a dotted silkscreen sole that give them good traction for diving, snorkeling, or walking on the ocean floor.
These are great socks if you’re sliding fins on an off a lot. They have a solid protective layer, so you don’t need to worry about sharp coral, hot sand, or pointy shells.
Remember that cutting your foot, or even just getting blisters, while diving or snorkeling can be dangerous. That wound can get infected very easily. A durable water sock offers you an extra layer of protection so you can swim without worry.
- Very thick and great for cold water diving
- Stretchy and comfortable
- Traction on the sole makes them great for water sports
- An extra layer protects your feet
- Ideal for using with fins
- Run big, and for that reason they can become slippery and uncomfortable after extensive use
These socks are slightly less thick at 2mm. That means that they are made for warmer water, like snorkeling in Hawaii or Mexico. Because they’re thin, they can fit quite comfortably inside your water fins.
These are a cheaper option, if you don’t want to break the bank buying water socks.
- Made for fitting inside water fins
- The most affordable option
- Good to use on a snorkeling trip to a warmer climate
- Run small
- Thin (2mm). Made for swimming in warm water
These socks get some extra points for being environmentally friendly. The material is polyester that comes from recycled plastic bottles.
Because this is Tilos, they use hypoallergenic X-foam, which is always a good choice for sensitive skin. They’re also quite breathable and they wash well in the washing machine just like other socks.
These are good for the beach, and they also have traction for things like kayaking and jet skiing.
- Made from recycled materials
- Tilos makes great products for sensitive skin
- Machine washable
- Good for the beach
- Some traction for sports like jet skiing and kayaking
- Become loose after extensive use, even with the adjustable ankle strap
- No returns
Water Socks FAQ’s
1. What’s the difference between water socks and water shoes?
Both are designed to be used in water and on land, but water shoes are much more durable and with a thicker sole.
A good pair of water shoes can be used for hiking, trail running, and boating. Water shoes are also designed to carry you through the water and back onto land easily, draining the water and drying quickly. They’re perfect if you’re going on a very wet river hike in which you need to be able to wade across pointy river rocks.
Water socks, on the other hand, are much lighter and not as durable. You couldn’t wear a pair of water socks on a rigorous day hike. Water socks are made for beach sports, like running in the sand, beach soccer, beach yoga, or just for protecting your feet from hot sand.
Some people recommend using water socks when swimming at a public pool in order to avoid bacteria that can lead to athlete’s foot.
They are also a very popular tool among scuba divers and snorkelers. They provide a lot of insulation against the water, and they can be sued in conjunction with water shoes or with hiking boots for an extra layer of comfortable protection.
2. Can you swim in aqua socks?
Yes, you can. Aqua socks are designed to transfer easily from the water to land. With a good pair of water socks, you should have no trouble coming in and out of water.
Just remember that if you’re at a water park or walking through pavement for the whole day, you might want to invest in water shoes instead of water socks, because, as water socks are designed for swimming, they’re often quite light-weight without a thick sole.
3. Should water socks be tight or loose?
The answer is neither.
- Don’t buy water socks a size down because a tough neoprene material can hold onto your ankle and cause blistering
- Don’t buy water socks a size up because they could easily slide around on your feet when you try to walk on sand or a pool bottom
It’s better to choose a water sock with a convenient sizing chart so you know exactly what you’re getting. There are also many water socks that come with an adjustable strap so that you can change the size to fit your foot.
4. Do water socks keep your feet dry?
While there are waterproof water socks, the majority keep your feet insulated and warm without necessarily keeping them completely dry. Water socks are instead designed to let the water drain so the socks don’t get clogged, and dry very quickly.
In the sense that they drain and dry quickly, water socks will keep your feet much more comfortable and drier than normal socks or normal shoes.
The best water socks for you depend on your needs. Ask yourself what you need water shoes for. Do they need to be well-insulated against the cold? Do they need a strong rubber sole, or is it better if they’re light and breathable? Are my needs better suited for water socks or water shoes?
Most water socks are made for beach sports in the hot sand or for scuba diving. If you want very comfortable, well-insulated socks for cold scuba diving, go for Tilos 3mm water socks.
If you want some beach socks so you can enjoy some time in the sand, try the Seavenger high-top water socks or, for a more economically-friendly option, the Seekway quick-dry barefoot aqua socks.
Whatever choice you decide to make, we hope your water socks take you on breathtaking outdoor adventures.