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The 8 Best Water Shoes for Hiking

Are you looking for a pair of water shoes that you can wear hiking? If your hiking plans include water activities like kayaking or river crossings, a good pair of water shoes for hiking can make the trip more comfortable and protect your feet better than sandals or regular water shoes.

Hiking through a stream

Keep reading for the best water shoes for hiking including men’s, women’s, kid’s, and unisex options.


Best Overall Water Shoes for Hiking

Xero Shoes Aqua X Sport Water Shoes

Xero Shoes Women's Aqua X Sport Water Shoe - Lightweight Zero Drop Shoe, Sparrow, 9

The Aqua X Sport water shoes from Xero Shoes for both men and women get the designation of best water shoes for hiking overall.

These shoes are designed for use in the water and on the trail. They are lightweight even when wet and shed water quickly so you won’t feel like you’re walking around with puddles in your shoes. They are fully enclosed to protect your entire foot from sharp objects and rough terrain.

Adjustable laces give you a secure fit and a removable insert allows you to get a more barefoot feel if you want it. The rubber soles provide good quality traction even on slippery surfaces and uneven terrain.

Pros:

  • Comes in both men’s and women’s sizes
  • Sheds water quickly
  • Adjustable laces keep feet secure
  • Closed toe and heel protect your feet on the trail

Cons:

  • Sand and dirt can get in through the breathable mesh
  • Somewhat pricey

Best Water Shoes for Hiking on a Budget

SOBASO Unisex Adults Aqua Shoes

Women's Aqua Water Shoes Men Quick-Drying Water Hiking Beach Sports Shoes for Pool Surf Swim Yoga Grey Black

The best water shoes for hiking don’t have to break the bank. The SOBASO unisex adults aqua shoes come in a range of sizes and colors. They are comfortable to wear for long periods and have good traction for walking on both dry surfaces and slippery terrain.

The shoes are lightweight and breathable while still offering excellent protection for your feet. They are easy to put on and take off and the elastic laces are easy to adjust by sliding the lace clip. The shoes come in a range of colors so you’re sure to find one you like.

Pros:

  • Comes in a wide range of sizes and colors
  • Affordable
  • Easy on and off

Cons:

  • Not good for narrow feet
  • Takes longer to dry than some other options

Best Water Shoes for Hiking with the Family

Chaco Odyssey Sandals

Chaco Men's Odyssey Sport Sandal, Navy, 8 M US

If you’re looking for the best water shoes for hiking to wear on an easy trail with a lot of water play, the Chaco Odyssey Sandals are a great option.

The closed-toe front offers good protection for feet while you’re walking on the trail while the open strap back on the adult sandals allows water, dirt, and sand to run out freely. The kid’s sandals provide even more protection with a fully closed front and back.

These water sandals do offer decent traction but they’re not as protective for long hikes on intense trails. The openings on the adult sandals sometimes let small sticks and rocks in.

They are perfect for short or relatively easy trails where you don’t need as much protection and you plan to spend a lot of time playing in the water like in a river or lake.

Pros:

  • Comes in sizes for men, women, and kids
  • Perfect for playing in rivers and streams
  • Has adjustable straps for a personalized fit

Cons:

  • Open back isn’t as good for more intense activities
  • Front strap is long and has nowhere to tuck in so it dangles on top

Best Water Shoes for Hiking and Trail Running

Salomon Crossamphibian Swift 2 Water Shoes

Salomon Women's Crossamphibian Swift 2 Athletic Water Shoes, Navy Blazer/Malaga/Ebony, 10

If you want shoes that are good for water, hiking, and trail running, check out the Salomon Crossamphibian Swift 2 water shoes.

With sizes for both men and women, these shoes provide fast water drainage and give you a firm grip with good quality traction on both dry and wet surfaces. The breathable construction keeps your feet cool and dries quickly. They have regular tie laces for a comfortable and adjustable fit.

These water hiking shoes don’t have a ton of support which may or may not be a bad thing, depending on your preference. The shoes run big, especially in women’s sizing so order a 1/2 size down.

Pros:

  • Has great traction
  • Lightweight
  • Comes in both men’s and women’s sizes

Cons:

  • Runs big
  • Has minimal support

Best Eco-Friendly Water Shoes for Hiking

JBU Bubbles Eco Vegan Shoes

JBU by Jambu womens Bubbles Water Shoe, Tan, 9.5 US

The JBU Bubbles Eco Vegan Shoes are incredibly breathable with cutouts on the side and back. Made from partially recycled materials and 100% vegan, you can feel good about wearing these shoes on your hike.

Water sheds quickly and easily to keep your feet comfortable when you get back on dry land. They are easy and fast to put on and take off with a comfortable and adjustable back strap.

With all of the cutouts, they are not the most protective water hiking shoes. They are a good option for easy trails and a lot of time in the water. The sizing is a bit narrow so they may not work for you if you have wide feet.

Pros:

  • Made from partially recycled materials
  • Lightweight and flexible
  • Attractive design
  • Very breathable

Cons:

  • Only comes in women’s sizes
  • Not as protective as other styles
  • Not good for wide feet

Best Water Shoes for Hiking for Women

Jambu Tahoe Water-Ready Shoes

JSport by Jambu womens Tahoe Water Ready Flats Sneaker, Dark Lavender/Brick, 7.5 US

The Jambu Tahoe Water-Ready Shoes for women are breathable and comfortable. They’re high-quality with durable and sturdy construction that holds up to a lot of wear and tear on the trail.

These water shoes are effective at keeping your feet protected both in and out of the water. Non-slip traction keeps you safe on wet rocks and slippery ground and the fully enclosed shoe keeps your feet protected from loose rocks and sticks.

The shoes have a slip-on design for quick on and off. Bungee cord laces keep your feet securely in the shoes.

Pros:

  • Easy on and off
  • Durable
  • Offers excellent protection for your feet

Cons:

  • Not very adjustable

Best Water Shoes for Hiking for Men

Merrell Men’s All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoes

Merrell Men's All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoe, Castle Rock/Green Oasis, 14 M US

The Merrell Men’s All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoes are comfortable with or without socks so you can wear them for hiking both in and out of the water. They provide good support for all-day comfort. If you prefer less support you can take out the insert.

The shoes hold up well in different conditions and shed water fast. The stretchy construction is easy to pull on and off and conforms to fit your foot like a glove. Adjustable bungee laces give you an even more personalized fit.

Pros:

  • Easy on and off
  • Removable insert for customized support
  • Easy to clean

Cons:

  • Don’t dry very quickly
  • Sand gets in easily

Best Water Shoes for Hiking for Kids

FIVESTORECITY Kids Water Shoes

FIVESTORECITY Boys Girls Water Shoes Kids Lightweight Aqua Socks Barefoot Quick Dry Hiking Walking Sneakers Slip On Sandals for Beach Pool Swim 3-Green 2 Big Kid

If you’re looking for the best water shoes for hiking for your kids, check out the FIVESTORECITY Kids Water Shoes. These shoes are fully enclosed to protect little feet on the trail. An adjustable top strap provides a secure and comfortable fit. The rubber sole has good quality traction and the breathable construction sheds water quickly to keep feet comfortable.

They are lightweight and flexible for a more barefoot feel than a lot of kid’s hiking shoes. They come in a range of colors and patterns so you’re sure to find a design your kids will like.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Comes in a range of colors
  • Fully enclosed

Cons:

  • Somewhat thin
  • Not a lot of support

What are Water Shoes?

Traditional hiking shoes are designed to provide support, protect your feet from sharp objects like rocks and sticks, and keep your footing steady on rough or uneven terrain.

The best water shoes for hiking are designed to do all of those things while being worn in and out of the water. If you’re going to be crossing streams or rivers, hiking under a waterfall, or kayaking along with your hike, you may want a pair of the best water shoes for hiking to keep your feet both protected and comfortable.

Water Shoes vs Waterproof Shoes

Though the names are similar, water shoes and waterproof shoes are actually two different things that are used for different purposes.

Waterproof Shoes

Waterproof shoes are designed to keep water out and your feet dry. They work well for hiking in damp or rainy conditions and splashing through shallow puddles but they aren’t designed to be submerged in water. If you try crossing a river in waterproof hiking boots, water will get in and stay in, making for a very uncomfortable hike.

Water Shoes

Water shoes are made to be worn in the water. They are specially designed to shed excess water rather than keep water out completely. When submerged in water the best water shoes for hiking won’t absorb water and get heavy, they will stay lightweight and comfortable.

When you get back on dry land, water will quickly drain from water hiking shoes to keep your feet comfortable and help them dry faster.

People hiking through water

Why Use Water Shoes for Hiking?

Water shoes aren’t necessary on every hiking trip, but there are certain times when they make things easier and more comfortable. The best water shoes for hiking are versatile and work well for a variety of situations, especially when you’re being active in and around water.

If you’re going to be crossing a lot of streams or a river, water shoes for hiking are beneficial because they protect your feet like regular hiking shoes while also working well in the water. If you want to hike under a waterfall without taking your shoes off, you’ll definitely want a good pair of water shoes and not your regular hiking boots.

If you want to combine kayaking, canoeing, or paddle boarding with a hiking trip, water hiking shoes are ideal because they are comfortable and effective for both purposes.

How to Choose the Best Water Shoes for Hiking

When you’re looking for water shoes to go hiking in, there are a few main things to think about. First, what do you plan on using the shoes for? If you’re going to be hiking on a lot of challenging trails with difficult and rocky terrain you’ll want durable water hiking shoes that will protect your feet and hold up to a lot of wear and tear.

If you’re planning on hiking easy, relatively flat trails a spending a lot of time in the water, a lightweight hiking sandal may be ideal for you.

Keep in mind that the best water shoes for hiking will work for multiple purposes. You don’t want to have to buy multiple pairs of shoes for each hiking trip, so choose something that will work for all of the activities you’d like to do when hiking around the water.

Second, you’ll want to think about how much traction the shoes have. Hiking in and around water can be very slippery so good traction is a must when choosing the best water shoes for hiking.

Last but not least, comfort and style are also important things to think about. You want to be comfortable on your hike so pay attention to sizing guides and make sure the shoes fit well and work for the shape of your foot. An attractive design that you like and want to wear is also a plus.

Time to Own the Best Water Shoes for Hiking

Keep your feet happy on your next wet hike with a pair of the best water shoes for hiking. If you’re looking for a trail with water to try out your new hiking shoes, check out 13 of the Best Waterfalls in Minnesota. For even more places to hike check out the 14 Best Hiking Trails in Minnesota.