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The 9 best water shoes for women in 2024

From rugged options for rocky beaches to cute, quick-drying espadrilles, these are the best women's water shoes, according to experts.

collage with five different water shoes
Dive into summer with these expert-approved water shoes. (Amazon, Backcountry)

If you love to partake in aquatic adventures during the summer like kayaking, beachcombing or snorkeling, you probably already know the importance of water shoes. The innovative footwear is specially designed to give you the traction, grip and protection your feet need for wet environments. Like most footwear options, there’s an overwhelming number of water shoes for women available, and seasoned outdoor enthusiasts have probably found out the hard way that many don’t live up to their claims.

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So to find the best water shoes for women, we tapped a team of footwear experts, podiatrists and our own shopping editors to find out exactly how to shop for the ideal pair and which ones they wear themselves. Ready to dive into water sports and seaside activities alike? Check out the nine best water shoes for women below.

Sizes: 6 to 11 | Colors: 27 options | Materials: Rubber, mesh fabric | Closure style: Quick-lace | Care instructions: Machine-washable

These may look like your average sneaker, but they are equipped with a quick-drying mesh upper and a grippy outsole that provides ample traction in wet and slippery conditions. Our Deputy Commerce Editor, Izabella Zaydenberg, owns a pair and says they have consistently proved "Comfortable for several hours of wear," adding that they have never caused irritating rubbing or blisters.

Zaydenberg swears by these grippy lace-ups to prevent slipping and sliding on wet surfaces and praises them for their excellent foot protection, "They prevented my feet from getting hurt on shells and rocks."

While they drain extremely well, she did note that the shoe itself did take longer than expected to fully dry, but they were still comfortable when damp and didn’t make weird noises. And she's not the only one who is a fan — over 15,500 Amazon shoppers have given the cute water shoes their seal of approval too.

Pros
  • Drain quickly
  • Comfortable
  • Supportive
  • Very protective
  • Good traction
Cons
  • Some shoppers said they took longer than expected to fully dry
$24 at Amazon

Sizes: 6 to 11 | Colors: 2 options | Materials: Synthetic materials | Closure style: Quick-lace | Care instructions: Hand-wash

"The Techamphibian 5s are awesome slip-on water shoes that drain and dry extremely fast and have Salomon’s signature Contagrip outsole that grips rocks and slippery surfaces really well," Ashleigh McClary, a Gearhead at Backcountry, tells us. 

They have an adjustable heel and speed laces, so they are easy to pull on and adjust to a superb fit — and they are just as easy to take off. Plus, their ultra-rugged sole makes them a highly protective option for rocky beaches or ones known to have sharp objects. Their quick-drying upper makes them an ideal choice for water sports and for scrambling along rocky river beds and shorelines. 

“Your foot stays protected, but they are so ventilated that you will barely notice you’re wearing shoes as opposed to flip-flops,” says McClary. 

One five-star reviewer raves: “I got these specifically for canyoning, and they were just perfect. They fit well, have a good grip and hold on to little water despite swimming and diving in them. Used them for kayaking as well — absolutely worth it.”

Pros
  • Grippy soles
  • Dry quickly
  • Thick bottoms for protection
  • Easy to slip on and off
  • Numerous adjustment points for fit
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Limited colors
$110 at Backcountry
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$110 at Zappos$110 at Salomon

Sizes: 5.5 to 15.5 | Colors: 5 options | Materials: Rubber, polyester, elastic | Closure style: Quick-lace | Care instructions: Hand-wash

This pair by Racqua proves you don’t need to spend a ton of money on a high-quality pair of water shoes. Our Gift Guide Editor, Amanda Garrity, wore them for up to five hours at a time on a tubing trip and had no issues whatsoever. "They were comfortable the whole time," she says. "They have a decent amount of cushioning, but I could feel larger rocks and roots through them. I found them comfortable in the water, but less so when I was walking on land." While she felt like she could conquer just about anything in the water when wearing them, she does note that she "had to be more careful walking on land when wet, especially on rocks and uneven ground. All that considered, I didn't slip — or almost slip — once while wearing them!" The water shoes are breathable, lightweight and have a quick-lace system that keeps them secure on your foot.

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Great traction
  • Good grip
  • Cushioned
  • Super affordable
Cons
  • Not the most comfortable outside of water
$16 at Amazon

Sizes: 4 to 13.5 | Colors: 44 options | Materials: Rubber, polyester | Closure style: Slip-on | Care instructions: Machine-washable

A whopping 92,500 Amazon shoppers are fans of these affordable water shoes, as is our Executive Editor, Nicole Sforza. She recently discovered them while on vacation in Barbados. “I didn't even think to bring water shoes, and some of the beaches had lots of coral right near the shore, along with rocks and shells galore. The house we stayed at provided a few pairs of water shoes, and I was excited to try these because I knew that they were a Yahoo reader favorite. Now I can see why! They slipped right onto my feet and made me feel confident and not as dorky as you'd expect — my pair was a chic all-black,” she reports. 

The water shoes are designed to fit snugly without causing chafing or blisters and have a lightly cushioned insole to make them more comfortable. “They weren't like walking on clouds, but they felt supportive and got the job done,” says Sforza. Aside from keeping her feet well-protected from rough terrains, she was also impressed by how quickly they dried. “I left these out in the sun after a dip in the sea and they dried maybe within 10 minutes? Very fast!”

Pros
  • Tons of color options
  • Supportive
  • Affordable
  • Dry super quickly
  • Great traction
Cons
  • Some shoppers said they aren’t the most durable
$8 at Amazon

Sizes: 6 to 11 | Colors: 14 options | Materials: Rubber, nylon | Closure style: Adjustable straps | Care instructions: Hand-wash

If you prefer to wear sandals in the water, McClary recommends this classic pair of Tevas. “They are comfortable, crazy light, quick drying and strap on easily. I live in them all summer long no matter what I’m doing, but my favorite use for them is for stream crossing and camp shoes while backpacking,” she says. 

I’ve also long been a fan of these water-friendly sandals. They are fully adjustable thanks to the hook-and-loop straps, have a plush cushioned footbed for comfort, a durable rubber sole and are quick-drying, so I wear them whenever I hit the beach and pool without worrying about getting them wet. Not only do they check off all the functional boxes you want in a good water shoe, but they are pretty stylish and versatile too.

Pros
  • Comfortable
  • Adjustable
  • Lightweight
  • Dry quickly
Cons
  • No half sizes
  • No toe protection
$55 at Backcountry
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$55 at Amazon

Sizes: 6 to 11 | Colors: 6 options | Materials: Rubber, neoprene | Closure style: Slip-on | Care instructions: Machine-washable

For a more stylish take on water shoes, Commerce Editor Janelle Randazza recommends these sleek espadrilles. These cute shoes have holes built into the rubber bottoms to help with drainage and a water-friendly neoprene upper. They are lightly cushioned and have a slingback design that makes them easy to put on and take off. And you don’t have to worry about unwanted rubbing and blisters. “I do tend to blister a lot and figured there would be a break-in period, but I never got blisters with these,” says Randazza. She also noted they kept her feet well-protected on rocky shorelines but did mention they can make “a symphony of farts noises for the first few moments out of the water.” But the embarrassing sounds ease up within seconds.

Pros
  • Great for land and sea
  • Easy to slip on and off
  • Stylish
  • Very comfortable
  • Versatile
Cons
  • No arch support
  • No half sizes
$75 at Amazon

Sizes: 5 to 12 | Colors: 5 options | Materials: Rubber | Closure style: Slip-on | Care instructions: Machine-washable

These slip-on water shoes from Sperry combine the brand’s signature traction control and nautical styles with performance details like quick-dry capabilities, waterproof materials and enhanced cushioning. In addition to being wonderfully cushioned and lightweight, the water shoes are made with a durable rubber material that molds to my feet and keeps them protected both in and out of the water. They are super easy to slip on and off, and they are comfortable straight out of the box — no blisters or sore feet in sight! 

They are great for walking on rocky beaches, slippery terrains and wet surfaces, and I also like to wear them when kayaking — if I ever get a bit hot while paddling I can just dip my feet in the water to cool off and they will fully drain in seconds and be completely dry in just a few minutes. The only downside is they don’t come in half sizes, but the brand recommends sizing down if in between sizes. They can also be a little bulky-looking when not indulging in water sports.

Pros
  • Dry very quickly
  • Easy to slip on and off
  • Super lightweight
  • Great traction
  • Comfortable
Cons
  • No half sizes
  • Look a little bulky
$55 at Amazon

Sizes: 5 to 11 | Colors: 4 options | Materials: EVA foam | Closure style: Slip-on | Care instructions: Machine-washable

Shoppers love that these sporty water shoes have contoured arches and an articulated heel to give feet ample support. The lightweight kicks have extra-large holes built in to drain water from the shoes quickly, and they are made from a super-durable EVA material. "I bought them to go to the coast. They were comfortable to walk in the sand. They were easy to clean. They are now my permanent beach shoe," said one five-star reviewer. Some shoppers find the water shoes so comfortable they wear them all over on dry land too. These slip-ons don’t come in half sizes, and some shoppers noted they ran big, so you may want to size down.

Pros
  • Contoured arches
  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Drain and dry quickly
Cons
  • No half sizes
$60 at REI
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$60 at Amazon$60 at Zappos

Sizes: 6 to 10 | Colors: 3 options | Materials: Rubber, hydrophobic canvas, Airmesh | Closure style: Lace-up | Care instructions: Hand-wash

McClary has been wearing these Astral Brewess water shoes for five years now and praises them for being a hard-working, versatile shoe that stands up to a wide array of activities (while also looking cool). "They are one of the most popular water shoes and for good reason. They drain and dry super quickly, provide protection for your feet from rocks, tree limbs and anything else in the bottom of rivers and lakes, plus they provide grip for slick rocks that doesn’t damage or mark your boat." 

The performance rubber sole gives you excellent traction on slippery surfaces, and even the laces are water-resistant. "I wear them whitewater kayaking and paddleboarding or any time I need foot and toe protection in the water or water approaches. I’ve sold so many to happy customers over the years who love them," adds McClary.

Pros
  • Great toe protection
  • Drain and dry quickly
  • Cute enough to wear out of water
  • Good traction
  • Breathable
Cons
  • Expensive
$125 at Backcountry
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$125 at L.L.Bean$125 at Nordstrom

The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.

To figure out which water shoes are actually worth the money, we consulted a mix of shoe experts, outdoor enthusiasts, podiatrists and our own shopping editors. They weighed in on what to look for when picking the best water shoes for women. We also polled this crew to find out which water shoes are their favorites — because there's nothing like a recommendation from someone who has bought and tried them.

"Water shoes are designed to offer protection, traction and durability in wet conditions," podiatrist Dr. Gregory Alvarez, at the Ankle & Foot Centers of America, tells us. Typically used for water activities like kayaking, paddleboarding, beachcombing and stream crossing, these sporty shoes are designed to dry quickly and prevent cuts and abrasions on your feet. "Almost all will have a grippy, non-marking bottom, quick-draining mesh uppers and will provide foot protection from rocks and sharp objects. They work by quickly draining the water out of the shoes with mesh fabric but providing grip on the bottom," adds McClary.

No matter what water activities you are participating in, you want to find a pair of water shoes that are comfortable, supportive, protective and quick-drying. To find the option that best suits your needs, there are a number of factors to consider:

Materials: The soles of water shoes should be made from a durable rubber to add "a layer of protection to the feet," says Ellen Lynch, footwear and accessories design professor at FIT. The upper portion of the shoe can also be made from rubber or you want to find an option made from "a breathable fast-drying material like neoprene or mesh," says podiatrist Dr. Hillary Brenner, of NYC Private Medical.

Traction: When walking in wet conditions, traction is key! The sole should be "constructed to provide significant grip on slippery surfaces, often made of rubber with a herringbone or similar pattern for enhanced traction," says Alvarez. "Many models include a reinforced toe area to protect against rocks and other sharp objects. The combination of these features ensures the feet are protected from physical injuries and conditions that could arise from prolonged exposure to water, such as fungal infections," he adds.

Silhouette: There are a few different water shoe styles to choose from, so you’ll want to consider where you’ll be using them when selecting the right one for you. There are classic mesh slip-ons that are ideal for beachgoers and swimmers. "These offer excellent breathability, quick drying times and ease of use. Their lightweight design makes them perfect for casual water activities," says Alvarez. Amphibious sneakers offer more foot protection and stability for activities like hiking and beachcombing, while a quick-drying sandal might be the best option for a light beach walk or stream crossing.

Drainage: Drainage is essential to water shoes, otherwise you’ll be walking around in soggy shoes all day. "Look for drainage features like perforations or channels that allow water to escape," says Brenner.

While you could technically wear socks with the amphibious sneakers or chunkier rubber styles of water shoes, it is not recommended. The shoes are designed to be worn without socks, so you don’t have to worry about unwanted chaffing or blisters. Plus, once the sock gets wet, it would be quite uncomfortable because they wouldn’t dry as quickly as the shoe itself.

"In essence, they should feel like a second skin," says Lynch. "They should fit snugly but not tight and have a great amount of flexibility. The shoes should not be heavy or bulky." Alvarez agrees telling us, "Too loose and they risk slipping off or allowing debris inside; too tight and they can cause blisters or restrict blood circulation. An optimal fit also supports the natural movement of the foot, enhancing both safety and efficiency in water-based activities."

You can wear water shoes during any activity where your feet may get wet or where your feet may be exposed to rocky, slippery surfaces. Think, kayaking, canoeing, stand-up paddleboarding, snorkeling, hiking through wet trails, stream crossing, beachcombing and more.