Updated: December 2017
Water Shoe Reviews:
- What are water shoes?
- Benefits of using water shoes
- How much do water shoes cost? Which should I buy?
I was first introduced to water sneakers, or water shoes, about 4 years ago when I took a trip to the Fiji islands and travel sites were loaded with recommendations about buying a quality pair of shoes that you could wear near or in the water. I'm glad I listened since I was in the water all the time along the beautiful beaches of Fiji and having on a pair of water shoes made me very comfortable walking along areas where coral reefs and rocky beaches existed.
I didn't have to watch where I was going or wonder if I would step on a piece of jagged coral and cut my foot open. Since then I've had 2 kids and we have bought them a pair of water shoes to wear around the pool, to the beach, and when we go canoeing. Flip flops are great for lounging around in the summer, but water shoes are more durable and let you do more activities. Crocs have come along as well and they are very popular but I don't feel like they are as durable or as versatile as actual water sneakers or shoes.
The video below shows a basic Guide to Water Shoes:
What to look for in water shoes?
Some of the best water shoe reviews are online at Sierratradingpost.com, Trailspace.com, or even Canoekayak.com where active individuals rates and compare the top water shoes on the market. The cheaper water shoes are only about $15 while the high end water sneakers are closer to $60. The styles have evolved and now you can find a large variety of models for men, women and children.
My kids wear more like water booties or socks with a sturdy base and rough tread on the bottom to prevent slippage around wet pavement such as at pools. I recently bought a pair of men's Speedo Buoy Watershoes that run a little over $30/pair. The new Crocs Hydro is what I would suggest if you are going with Crocs since this water shoe functions better than the traditional Crocs.
I find myself wearing my water sneakers to more places than just water spots. I take them with me when I go camping and even wear them in my backyard when conditions are wet or muddy. They are easy to clean and dry quickly. The insulated shoe styles are best for cold water conditions such as scuba diving or wading through rivers. If you are involved with water sports, get a shoe that fits securely so there is no rubbing or blistering which can offer occur when the interior of a shoe gets wet and your foot continually rubs the surface.
Some of the top brand names are those of Speeo, Teva, Merrell, Keen, Salomon, Crocs, Body Glove, Nike, and Dunham. We found a nice selection online at Campmor.com but suspect you will find many of these shoes at REI, or even retailers like Sports Authority or Target. Water shoes tend to be sold seasonally so be sure to check in spring or early summer to find them in stock. I recently search my local stores and didn't find a thing in early January as we were planning our trip to Hawaii. You can browse the top selling water shoes and sneakers online here.
Best Water Shoes:
Water shoes don't necessarily have an exact definition or style. Essentially they are a shoe that you can wear in water or out. Teva has created sandals and shoes for years that were meant for exposure to water and damp areas, so we were inclined to check out their offerings first. The Teva Sunkosi is priced at about $100 and is the best hybrid water shoe available with the ability to drain quickly, wear without socks, and keep rocks out of the shoe.
Consumers say this water shoe works well on sandy beaches, while snorkeling, or hiking on muddy trails. They are easy to clean, light on your feet, and fit snugly. You can find Teva's entire collection of water shoes - Arenal, Helm 2, P-1, P-2, Proton 3, and Sunkosi on their website at Teva.com. Check out all the top rated water shoes from Teva here.
To check out how to use pick a quality pair of water shoes - click the image below to go to video.
Crocs - Water Shoes for Toddlers:
Crocs have been selling amazingly fast for years now and their line of shoes has recently expanded even more. No longer are they selling just the classic Crocs that look like swiss cheese shoes. The new Crocs Hydro ($50) is a step up in my opinion from their traditional style. It's constructed with waterproof neoprene and they function on land as well as water.
The bottoms are not only slip resistant but the soles are non-marking too. As usual, the Hydro is both anti-microbial and odor resistant. My 3 year old likes his Crocs for comfort, but around the pool I put him in water shoes with better traction on slip surfaces like the Speedo booties. Infants and toddlers are the ones most susceptible to falling around pools or in slippery areas, so that's why buying a pair of water shoes for your youngster is pertinent.
Safety should be your #1 concern around beaches, lakes, or even the local swimming pool. I've seen too many kids run along the waters edge and slip at our community pool. Kids with water shoes on tend to get a better grip on the slick pavement and don't fall. The best brands for kids water shoes are Body Glove, Teva, Speedo, Merrell, and Rafters. You can find all the most popular Crocs for kids online here.
Top Rated Water Sneakers:
There are countless reviews from experts and consumers online and in magazines and we consistently found that the Men's Merrell Waterpro Maipo ($85) rated as one of the best. Merrell is a reputable maker of outdoors and hiking shoes so we can only assume their Waterpro will live up to expectations.
These shoes will function in wet or dry conditions but you will be surprised at how well they do when things do get wet. The mesh upper section will drain easily as the integrated drainage ports guide water out. The razor cut siped sole gives you great stopping power even on wet surfaces. These Merrell water sneakers will let you go mountain biking through streams, hiking up sloppy trails, and explore rocky beaches.
The reviews on Altrec.com are the most compelling as person after person gives positive feedback on these shoes. BEST - It's hard to vote against one of the top sellers on Amazon - the New Balance Men's SM920 Outdoor Water Shoe which rates well with consumers. The shoe works great on wet or drive surfaces and after being in the water it will dry out quickly. Great for traction even on wet surfaces.
More videos and resources are here on our Water Shoes Resource Page.
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