When you leave the house, it’s unlikely that you’ll be doing so without any shoes on. Day-to-day activities would all of a sudden become more complicated, and considerably more dangerous.
But on the converse, you probably go swimming, kayaking or surfboarding without them.
If it does, then it’s probably because you’re just doing what the majority of people are taught to do. However, we have plenty of options to make your water-based activities easier, and they’re called water shoes.
Water shoes are particularly useful because you’re able to protect your feet against the environment. The best water shoes for men will prevent you from injuring yourself, getting bitten, stung, and just generally feeling uncomfortable.
We know what you’re thinking, surely they look lame? But that’s not particularly true. This pair ALEADER Men’s Slip-on Athletic Water Shoes has an incredibly stylish upper reminiscent of a pair of sneakers you’d find on the streets.
So if you’re usually getting involved in water activities without a pair of shoes on your feet, then maybe we can help to change your mind. In this article, we’ll be discussing the 7 best men’s water shoes. We’ll also explain the different types of water shoes and give you an indication into what to look out for when choosing them.
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Before you buy: 5 Things to consider when purchasing water shoes
When buying anything you always expect the highest quality. The last thing you need is to get to the water and realize that your shoes with an in-built ‘drainage system’ are no longer working as they should.
Speaking of which, an efficient draining system is what really makes a water shoe a water shoe. Really, this means that your shoes can get rid of the water that it’s absorbing super quick.
To illustrate, if you get in the water with regular sneakers, they get heavy as the water doesn’t go anywhere other than around your feet. With water sneakers, the water will be constantly draining out, providing you with the freedom that bare feet have whilst protecting them simultaneously.
Some other things to look out for when purchasing your water shoes include the grip of the outsole, level of breathability and ease of putting on.
We feel like this could be quite obvious, but you need your water shoes to be incredibly comfortable.
Because when you’re in the water, or on the boat, comfort is a necessity. Unlike when you’re on land and can just put up with a pair of poor comfort shoes for the sake of fashion, it’s not quite the same when you’re participating in water activities because it can really put you in danger or at least impact your safety.
The materials will go a long way towards the comfort you feel in your water shoe. The best men’s beach shoes will be made of synthetic, rubber and textile materials as they hug the feet and act as a lightweight layer that just become part of your consciousness. The closer they feel to bare feet the more natural they’ll feel as you move about.
Most of the best men’s water shoes will be flexible. After all, if you’re maneuvering around a boat or around the water, then you’ll be needing to move and change directions at a moment’s notice. Having lightweight and flexible shoes will make it much easier for you to move around and feel comfortable whilst doing so.
It’s very important to make sure that your water shoes will be durable.
As men, we all rate convenience very highly. Convenience is buying a pair of shoes that will last us years without worrying about having to buy another pair. A pair of shoes that are not durable will just fall apart and require you to go ahead and buy more.
Durability is closely tied in with price, and if you can go ahead and spend an amount of money that gets you a durable pair of water shoes, then you can bet that you won’t have to spend any more money on buying replacements. On the other hand, if you get yourself a cheap pair in a rush without thinking, then they’ll probably let you down and require you to go and get the credit card out once again.
4. Brand Name
When you think of sneakers, you probably think of Nike. When you think of heavy duty boots, you probably think of Timberland or Dr Martens. Similarly, when you think of water shoes, you should be thinking of some high-quality brands that go out of their way to produce the best on the market.
However, you may be someone that ranks style above other factors. And in that case, you’ll be pleased to hear that you can still stick to the old fashioned favorites when it comes to water footwear. Nike and Adidas both have water shoes available to purchase, and that just goes to prove that they really aren’t a stupid idea.
Water activity covers a huge abyss of scenarios. Whether you are just a beach runner, a swimmer, a surfer or a kayaker, then you need your water shoes for a different purpose.
One thing to keep in mind is the particular purpose you’re thinking about. Perhaps you’re just looking for a pair of shoes that will keep you safe whilst having a little dip on holiday, or perhaps you’re an athlete looking to step-up a level by keeping your feet safe.
Either way, you’ll want to ensure that you get a pair of water shoes that will suit your purpose – it’s no use being a surfboarder and getting a pair of water running shoes.
The 7 best water shoes for men 2019
This water shoe is made by Crocs. As an iconic and famous brand, they will be putting their neck on the line and making it suit expectation will be one of their top priority. This shoe has the iconic crocs comfort and the outsole grip confirms that it’s an ideal water shoe.
The fact that it is officially a water sandal makes it perfect as a pair of beach shoes. You can walk around the local shops before dipping into the sea and the transition is made seamless by the type of shoe.
In terms of style, they’re Crocs, so it’s a controversial choice, but it’s made easier by the fact that they’ve gone out and given a decent selection of colors. You’re avoiding the classic Crocs look, and they’ve stuck to the basics, only adding one additional funky blue color, and that means that you’re probably going to get away with it. You’re not getting quality and comfort in place of style, they do genuinely complement each other quite nicely.
- Iconic Crocs comfort
- Good looking shoe
- Sandal design
- Sand can get caught in the straps
Don’t let the brand name put you off, these water shoes are perfect for basic water activities and they come at an excellent price point.
This synthetic shoe makes the most of an EVA rubber sole providing cushioning and exceptional traction in wet and slippery conditions.
It also deals with its purpose pretty well. It’s perfect for walking and water aerobics and it’s ultra-lightweight meaning that you can go from shore to surf in complete comfort. On top of that, there’s a completely functional water drain upper.
Even though the photo may suggest otherwise, reviewers are genuinely serious when they say that it’s stylish and classy water shoe. They think that it looks good, and who are we to disagree? If we combine that with the fact that they’re incredibly practical, we can’t lose. If you’re really that bothered by the looks, then maybe consider buying them for a shower shoe.
- Hydrophobic and lightweight
- Cushioned outsole
- Sizes run a bit big
Even though they may not be the best looking, they are perfectly functional and would be a suitable purchase for anyone looking for an excellent all-rounder.
These are actually unisex, but that’s not to undermine them at all. After all, if the wife can go out in them, then you probably can too – women tend to have a higher standard of fashion to uphold. But in all seriousness, you’ve got over 15 choices of color to choose from, and most are definitely manly.
They are made from what they describe as the ‘perfect’ material for water footwear. It’s got a stretchy and breathable upper that has fast draining and cross ventilation. Not only that, but they’re made to be pulled on and off in a matter of seconds. You don’t have to mess around because they’ve included a pull tab on the back that just makes it easy for you.
In terms of purpose, they are ideal for any activity. From showering to windsurfing, these will have you feeling comfortable and well-equipped. In fact, we’d actually describe these as the best water shoes for rocky beaches, since the rubber sole provides some protection and the barefoot style gives you full movement and flexibility.
- Ideal for any activity
- Huge color selection
- Perfect material choices
- The grip can wear out
These water shoes are very well-made and suitable for any water activity. With these, you’ll find that you always be comfortable and you’ll always look good.
Carrying the iconic Speedo brand name, these water shoes are an updated and innovative design. Speedo footwear is made to change the way you can play and train in and near the water. They are made with one goal in mind and that is to be suitable for any form of water activity.
The Surfwalker 3.0 water shoe has a S-Trac outsole, automatically dispersing water and increasing performance with thanks to its no-slip grip. For that reason, we’d be inclined to recommend this in a list of men’s hiking water shoes. On the inside, you have a 4-way stretch that is lightweight and provides breathability and ventilation, and the airmesh insert panel gives you the ultimate comfort that you can expect from a Speedo shoe.
- Innovative Speedo design
- Improved performance
- Perfect for hiking
- Runs slightly small
If you’re at all interested in choosing a brand that is iconic in the water shoe game, then you need to look no further. This updated design from Speedo ties together all of their innovative features, making it a perfect choice for any water activity.
This is a water sneaker that looks exceptionally good. With a choice of colors including black and gray you wouldn’t be out of place wearing these around the house or at the store, and that is rare for a water shoe.
What really brings the plaudits to this shoe is how comfortable it is. With an impressive list of features including a fully cushioned EVA insole, FluidFlow technology, breathable lining and slip resistant cushioning, you can see why people love it.
Inevitably, they’re still laceless, and they benefit from a flexible material that make them easy to slide on and off.
Without a doubt, this is a true all-purpose amphibious shoe that can allow you to go anywhere and do anything. If you’re looking for the best kayaking water shoes, then this is a truly excellent water shoe that’ll please you.
However, reviewers have noted that it’s not the perfect choice for a pair of river shoes, since the rocks will find themselves jammed in the outsole and causing discomfort.
- Great looking shoe
- Very comfortable
- Not a great river shoe
Combining fashion with usefulness, this shoe is all-purpose, comfortable and a leader in style, making it a great choice for anyone looking to upgrade their water shoe game.
We couldn’t leave this article without including this pair of Nike aqua socks because they look beautiful and still serve a purpose.
Described as the perfect shoe for your “land meets water” adventure, the Nike Aqua Sock 360 is made with a lightweight, fashionable upper, and with an outsole that has been designed with durability, grip and flexibility in mind. And speaking of grip, the fit is perfect. It’s tight around your foot, form-fitting and will not lose its elasticity.
As you may have expected, you’ll be paying a bit more for this shoe, and that’s largely down to the brand name. However, it is a great choice and it looks the real deal.
- Typical Nike style and quality
- Great traction and flexibility
If you want to stick with one of the most famous brand names in the world, then this aqua sock can combine purpose with style at a slightly above average price point.
This textile water shoe is imprinted with the iconic three-stripes Adidas logo, making them stand out at first glance. As one of the only Adidas water specific shoes, you’ll feel like a graceful swan owning the place with them on.
They are comfortable thanks to the nylon mesh upper and rubber sole. The midsole drainage system ensures that they will clear of water quickly and dry fast.
From the reviews, we can see that they probably aren’t the best shoe for high paced sports, as they’ve included a side wall for comfort purposes that makes it difficult to change direction quickly.
- Comfortable to wear indoors or outdoors
- Great looking shoe with Adidas three stripes
- Not great for people with high arches
- Side wall would impact sport performance
Investing in these would be a great choice if you want to look stylish every time you go near the water. However, if you’ve got existing foot problems, then these may not be a great choice for you.
Types of water shoes
Regardless of whether you’re in the water for a casual dip, or in the water because you’re an experienced kayaker, then you may be thinking about investing in some water shoes.
Because they are specifically designed to keep your feet safe and secure whilst going in and out of the water.
Assuming that most of the men reading this article are already experienced in being in the water, you’ll know exactly what we mean when we say that if you aren’t being careful and taking preventative measures, then you could easily slip on a slimy rock underneath the surface and injure yourself. It’s surprisingly easy to do, so water shoes should be looked into, even if you’re only in the water whilst on vacation in the Bahamas.
We remember being surprised finding out that there are multiple types of water shoe, so we will now list as many as we can so that you can learn more and be up to date.
They’re potentially one of the least alpha male things on the planet, but aqua socks are truly underrated if you’re in and out of water regularly. As we just mentioned above, you don’t want to hurt yourself just because you were too arrogant to put on a pair of water shoes.
Aqua socks are clean in design, particularly inoffensive and just all-round useful. They are warm when you’re in the water, but not to an uncomfortable level. They feel like they’re not on your feet, and they’re typically 100% waterproof.
It probably goes without saying, but you want to ensure that you get a pair of aqua socks that have a great grip and made from durable material. The last thing you need is to still slip on that slimy rock and rip the sock up in the process.
Typically used as a hiking boot, but also relevant for swimming, running and biking, barefoot shoes mimic the freedom your unrestricted feet can give you without giving you the damaged toes that these activities can bring. After all, you can’t really continue running if you land barefoot on an upwards facing rock and piece your foot.
The best barefoot shoes will be made to survive the most treacherous and dangerous weather conditions that nature can throw, and they’ll be completely waterproof, meeting the only prerequisite of making them a useful water shoe.
Not only are barefoot shoes great for moving around in wet surfaces, they also allow for excellent performance levels because you’re not limited by the shape, style or weight of the shoe. By that same token, you haven’t got any cushioning or arch support, so if you’re someone that needs it, these won’t be for you.
We wanted to give an honorable mention to boat shoes since they do, in effect, count as being used in a type of water activity. The difference is, you won’t be wearing your boat shoes in the water, unless you fancy just throwing them in the bin afterwards.
They did actually start off as an important water shoe because they would help fishermen and sailors to improve their grip. These sports contain a lot of risk, and even though they seem like they’re just sat there all day breathing in the sea air, they are typically only a good slip away from being plunged underwater.
Otherwise, you’ll be primarily using boat shoes to go out partying or fine dining on a boat, rather than actually in the water. To be fair, you’ll have some excellent grip by wearing boat shoes out for dinner, and at least you won’t embarrass yourself in front of your date by stacking it in front of them after slipping on some water.
Also, because we can’t forget to mention it, they do look great. They’ve come into style over the last 5 years, and we can see why.
Sandals are absolutely perfect for the summer. Once the sun starts to come around and it’s too hot to keep going out in socks and sneakers, it’s acceptable to dust down your sandals and begin walking around with a smile on your face that only breathable feet can achieve. No hypothetical situation gives you this feeling more than imagining yourself on a day trip out on a boat.
Most water sandals are incredibly comfortable and make the most out of memory foam foot beds and foot support that make them ideal for those in and out of the water whilst suffering from foot problems.
As long as you don’t choose a pair that’s made from authentic leather or suede, you’ll be able to pick a pair that has a good level of water resistance, making them a great water shoe for casual and professional use.
One glaring weakness you can see when looking at a pair of sandals is the lack of total-cover. Typically, parts of your feet will remain out in the open when you’re wearing sandals. So, yes, your heels and bottom of your feet won’t slip on that slimy rock, if you do mistime a single step then it can still catch the top of your foot or even cause some damage to an individual toe, and no one needs that when they’re trying to enjoy some time to themselves in the sea.
It is possible to get yourself some sneakers that work just as well on water as they do on land. We call these water sneakers because they will be suitable for water activity. The primary differential factor between these and regular sneakers is that these are resistant to damage and dry quickly, so you’ll be able to dive into the water and have some perfectly healthy sneakers when you get out.
This is ideal for those that decide to do their daily running or activity on a beach, by the pool, etc. Many that do this decide to just run bare feet, but water sneakers provide the opportunity for all the benefits of a running shoe but whilst also benefitting from the waterproofing and general resistance.
These provide the most foot protection out of all of the water shoes, for sure. Aside from the running community, they are also very popular amongst hikers and canoeists because of their natural adaptability.
There are quite a few types of water shoe, and each have their own positives. They are all solid choices for water activity and your choice is largely down to personal preference and situation.
Should you go barefoot or wear water shoes?
If you engage in water based activities, then you’ve only really got two options. You’ll either be putting on some water shoes, or you’ll just be throwing yourself in bare footed. For some reason, when we leave land and go near the water, it all of a sudden becomes much more acceptable to go ahead and participate in every activity bare footed. Surely, though, there must be an argument for going out there with some water shoes on?
In the following section, we’ll have a look at the biggest pros and cons of them both.
Ah, the wonders of going around barefooted. It’s nature at its finest. You don’t have to worry about any laces, discomfort or sizing issues that come with a pair of water shoes. You are able to just walk around connecting with nature one on one.
Walking barefoot actually has a huge list of health benefits that are completely unrelated to this article, but are interesting nonetheless. If you fancy reading about what magic it can supposedly do, including controlling insomnia, then you can click through this link to read it .
If you think about water based activities, you think of swimming, sailing and kayaking, amongst others. Barefoot can be perfect for these as it’s what nature intended. You’re nimble, ready to move and don’t have to worry about how your water shoes are operating. If you think about when you go swimming in a pool, it’s quite liberating to just walk around with bare feet and enjoy yourself.
However, to us it seems like the potential negatives you could run into outweigh the positives by some margin. Let us explain.
First of all, your risk of injury increases by… Well, a lot. If you’re in the water without any foot protection, then you’re always in a bit of a compromised position. Let’s think about that for a minute.
You could just be on a vacation but if you’re looking to walk in the ocean then you’ll probably need to clear some rocks coated in seaweed. The problem here is that they’re all incredibly slippery, and your wet feet probably aren’t naturally that grippy. The result? You’ll most likely slip and either twist your ankle, or even worse.
It’s not only the inanimate objects that are a danger to our bare feet, it’s also the creatures that are habituated to the water. Jellyfish and stingrays really don’t take any prisoners, and if you accidentally kick one in the face whilst swimming, then you can put your mortgage on your foot being in some serious pain within about 5 seconds of making initial contact. We don’t know about you, but we would prefer to wear shoes than be stung by a jellyfish.
In our opinion, water based activities ought to follow land based activities. If you’re just running around or playing football, then most people would choose to wear shoes than go barefoot. We’d apply that logic to the water, too.
Water shoes come in a multitude of different types – barefoot style, and otherwise.
After reflecting on what it’s like to be barefoot, the primary purpose of wearing water footwear is the safety they provide. They give you comfort, grip, traction and durability on wet surfaces. So regardless of whether you’re actually in the ocean or just stood up on a boat, you’re not going to be slipping over and injuring yourself.
You’ll also be getting the benefit of comfort. Bare feet can be incredibly comfortable but at the same time they can be the root cause of some extreme pain if you’re stood on rocks / uneven surfaces. Water shoes help avoid this because you can choose from sneakers, sandals and even boat shoes. You’ll be able to stand on any water based surface without worrying about how your feet are going to react, and trust us, they’ll thank you for it.
When actually participating in activities, shoes will make them considerably easier. If you imagine driving a car bare footed, it’s not a great feeling. You have to re-learn how the clutch feels under your foot and the shape of the pedals press against your skin and cause some mild discomfort. Similarly, in activities like kayaking or pedal boating, you’ll just be in greater discomfort without shoes. For a more visual explanation of the above arguments, check out this video:
If we want to get into the nitty-gritty too, you’ll just be benefitting from an improvement in foot hygiene. If you’re stood in a public shower or at a public beach bare footed, then you’ll be getting all sorts of germs and bacteria in your feet. With some water shoes on, you’re giving yourself some protection that is genuinely much needed – especially in a shower.
Ultimately, there are reasons why you should and shouldn’t wear either of the above. However, it seems to us a no brainer that you should always at least try and wear some suitable water shoes for any type of water based activity, especially when you consider the risks involved with going bare foot.
How we chose the best men’s water shoes
Considering there are so many types of water shoes, you may be wondering how we managed to narrow them down into a shortlist of 7 of the best.
That’s a fair thing to wonder, but we’re prepared to answer that.
First of all, water shoes need to meet their purpose. They need to be comfortable, they need to be waterproof, and they need to make your life easier when on the water. If they don’t meet this criteria, then they’ve already lost, and they weren’t included in our list. That means that the ones we did choose tick all the boxes.
Another key quality for them to have was that they needed to be durable. We’re a huge proponent of return on investment, and we think that if you can get away with just buying water shoes once in a blue moon, then it’s worth whatever you spend. On the other hand, if the shoes are just going to break the day after you’ve bought them, they’re probably not worth the hassle.
This leads nicely into price. Depending on how much you’re in the water and what activities you’re needing your water shoes for, you’ll be expecting to invest a certain amount. We wanted to find shoes across a wide variety of price ranges, meaning that our readers can decide for themselves how much they wish to spend and what’s worth it to them.
We also had to go and choose water shoes that looked good. Yes, this is second to the purpose and quality of the shoe, but it is still greatly important. One of the main drawbacks with water shoes is the aesthetic. They’re known for being hideously ugly and making you look like less like a man with every step. We’ve deliberately gone out there and found the ones that provide a perfect mix of practicality and aesthetic so that we maintain our fashion sense, even on the water.
Next, we wanted to make sure that others loved the shoe too. Of course, everyone’s feet and tastes are different – but on the whole, if the reviews are overwhelmingly positive, then the shoe is too.
We also wanted to take a closer look at the purpose behind the water shoe. To illustrate, we wanted to take a look at water based activities as a whole, and try to find shoes that suit them. For example, we tried really hard to find the best kayaking water shoes, the best men’s hiking water shoes and various beach shoes. Fortunately, a lot of water shoes are pretty good for all-purpose, but we recognize that some people only need water shoes because they specialize in a specific activity, and because of that we wanted to take some extra care when selecting the shoes.
Water shoes get a bad rap, and we think that they are actually highly underrated and serve a real purpose for most men out there. This article has tried to really emphasize that your safety, hygiene and comfort should never be compromised, and that’s why it’s worth injecting some of your hard earned cash into a pair of the best water shoes for men before you next take a beach or kayaking trip.
We’d love to hear some of your opinions. Have you ever worn a pair of water shoes, and did you find them to be beneficial? On the contrary, we’d be interested to hear if they were a waste of time. Either way, please feel free to share this article and give us your comments below.