Needless to say, regular shoes won’t suffice for water activities. You need a special kind of shoes that would allow you to stay comfortable in the water and not worry about getting wet.
Well, such shoes are quite straightforwardly called water shoes. Contrary to what you may think, these shoes aren’t designed to keep water out – rather, they are designed to safely take in water while making sure that you stay comfortable.
Wearing a good pair of shoes that would perfectly satisfy your needs is obviously important. However, how do you choose a good shoe from the wide array of water shoe models available out there? Most importantly, what makes a good water shoe in the first place?
To help you with answering these important questions, we have picked 10 water shoes to showcase, each with its own unique features and advantages. Out of those 10 water shoe pairs, 3 particularly stood out:
Up first on our review of the best water shoes for men is the ALEADER Men’s Aqua water shoes. These shoes offer a lightweight and breathable design paired with good food support.
The breathability in these shoes is ensured by the mesh upper with a coarse design, i.e. with larger openings.
The SIMARI unisex quick-dry water shoes drastically differ from the ALEADER shoes. Namely, they have their focus on lightness and protection from sand rather than breathability and foot support.
Well, just a glance at these shoes is enough to get a good idea of what kind of performance they are going to offer.
As SIMARI claims, its goal in making these shoes was to maximize the sensation of bare feet. These definitely aren’t the thinnest water shoes out there, but they are pretty darn lightweight and flexible. These basically are sock-like shoes, if we were to go by SIMARI’s wording.
With their soft yet quite tough upper and outsole, the SIMARI shoes allow for a barefoot feel that is unparalleled by many other water shoes. The snug fit further contributes to the comfort of these shoes.
On the other hand, these water shoes aren’t going to protect your feet from rougher grounds and beaches. They have very thin outsoles which, albeit durable, will make your feet feel every unevenness and roughness beneath.
Aside from lightness and flexibility, these shoes appear to be very resistant to sand, let alone small stones. They have no drains in the outsole, and their upper isn’t mesh, so these shoes are going to stay comfy on a wide range of surfaces. On the other hand, the closed design of the SIMARI shoes may make them stay wet for a longer time.
So all in all, the SIMARI shoes may be the best water shoes for those men who value lightness and closeness to the ground most of all.
The UBFEN water shoes pretty much occupy the middle ground between SIMARI and ALEADER shoes. This applies to protection, drying, and comfort. It is one of best water shoes for men
First comes protection. The UBFEN water shoes aren’t as flexible and sock-like as the SIMARI shoes, but their outsole also isn’t as thick as in the ALEADER water shoes. As a result, you get a shoe that has a decent amount of protection on rougher surfaces.
In terms of drying, the UBFEN shoes appear to be better than the SIMARI shoes but again not as good as the shoes by ALEADER. The UBFEN water shoes don’t have the coarse mesh upper of the ALEADER shoes, but they do have outsole drainage holes unlike the SIMARI shoes.
The comfort is again somewhere in the middle since the UBFEN shoes are a little more rigid than the SIMARI shoes, but far from being as tough as the ALEADER pair.
The fit, however, is a whole another deal. The nice thing about the UBFEN shoes is that theyhave laces for fit adjustment. If you didn’t notice, the SIMARI shoes had no laces, while ALEADER shoes had faux laces, which means that their fit cannot be adjusted.
Overall, while not offering anything extra, the UBFEN water shoes are probably going to be perfect for people who want some protection under their feet but don’t want too bulky water shoes.
The Crocs Swiftwater is quite the eye catcher. While marketed as sandals, the Swiftwaters don’t differ too much in general design from other water shoes on our list.
The three main features of the Swiftwater sandals is their great breathability, fit, and protection from the bottom.
The breathability in these sandals is allowed by the fine mesh upper, as well as by the large openings on the sides. These two combined should allow excellent breathability, maybe even better than in the ALEADER shoes with their coarse mesh upper.
In terms of fit, these shoes are great as well since they feature straps that allow for fit adjustment. As mundane as a strap may seem on a shoe, it isn’t a too common thing in water shoes.
The protection in the Swiftwater shoes is also quite good, mainly thanks to the thicker synthetic sole and the toe guard in the front. The Swiftwaters probably aren’t as cushioned and protective as the ALEADER shoes, but they should be better than the UBFEN and SIMARI water shoes.
In terms of drying, the Swiftwaters should be excellent thanks to the abundance of perforations in their upper.
With that being said, the open design of these shoes will probably let in a large amount of sand and stones in, so the Swiftwaters aren’t going to be the best for all beaches. Besides, some people may not like how these shoes look.
The Merrell All Out Blaze Sieve water shoes are designed very differently from everything we’ve seen so far. The previous shoes were more relying on quick-drying materials, while the Merrell water shoes are aimed at not allowing the shoes to get soaked in water.
The upper of this shoe is made from waxy leather that has water-shedding properties. Not allowing water to soak into the leather, this upper is designed to noticeably shorten the amount of time it takes for the shoes to dry
With that being said, you probably shouldn’t expect miracles from this shoe in terms of drying. Its inside material seems to have no water-repellant properties, and this probably will play a larger role than the water-repellant upper.
The fit in these shoes should be quite nice. The shoes aren’t sock-like, but they do have a convenient lacing system to allow for quick fit adjustment while on the go.
In terms of protection, the Merrell shoes seem to be very decent as well. They appear to offer a good balance between protection and closeness to the ground, akin to the UBFEN water shoes we overviewed earlier.
But as remarkable as these water shoes may be, there are two downsides that we would like to note.
First, they are pricier than most other water shoes on our list. If you are on a budget, this may not be the best pair out there.
Aside from that, the Merrell shoes will lack breathability due to the leather upper and the minimal number of perforations which are nonetheless big enough to let in some stones and sand.
The Vibram Signa boating shoes are hands down the most eye-catching water shoes on our list. Well, one could argue that they technically aren’t shoes, but they are marketed as such.
If you are looking for very thin and lightweight shoes that would make you feel almost barefoot, then the Vibram Signa boating shoes may be excellent for you.
The extra-thin design of the Signa shoes allows for a very ground-close feel, more so than what the SIMARI sock-shoes allowed. Not only that, but the Signa boating shoes allow for good freedom of movement in the fingers thanks to the separate finger design.
In spite of its thinness, the rubber outsole in the Signa shoes has a very good grip and is slip-resistant. Paired with the increased mobility of the foot and fingers, this should allow for excellent contact with the ground where it matters.
On the other hand, the Signa water shoes definitely won’t deliver adequate protection for rough and rocky surfaces, so you will need to be careful with where to use them.
Aside from that, while the separate finger design increases the role of your fingers in gripping the ground, they may make choosing the right size more difficult since your fingers should perfectly fit into their place.
The Signa water shoes are also not the cheapest, so if you decide to buy them, make sure to thoroughly research their sizing so that you get the best option for your feet.
The FEETCITY water shoes somewhat resemble the SIMARI sock shoes we reviewed earlier, but there are a couple of differences that set them quite apart.
The FEETCITY water shoes have a very flexible design similar to what the SIMARI shoes had. And needless to say, this is going to allow to a very barefoot-like feel. Plus, the thin material of these shoes makes them exceptionally light.
These water shoes should also sit on the feet very snugly, but maybe not as snugly as the SIMARI shoes. The leather-like material in the heel area of the shoe doesn’t look stretchable, so it may compromise the stretchiness and thus the fit of these water shoes.
These leather-like areas have another use though – they have a zippered pocket in them! To be fair, we think that this pocket is too small to be practical, but it’s a nice addition that may come in handy.
In terms of drying and breathability, the FEELCITY shoes are comparable to SIMARI shoes. These water shoes have a decently breathable upper, but they aren’t going to be as quick-drying as more open-design shoes.
Add to this the absence of drainage holes in the outsole, and you get a shoe that probably won’t be the quickest to dry. Plus, the overall design of these shoes isn’t too breathable.
On the other hand, these water shoes certainly won’t be letting stones or sand in. Well, it may let in some sand, but definitely not too much. And if this does matter to you, then the FEELCITY shoes may be the best for you out there.
The Barerun shoes likewise have a rather snug and tight fit thanks to their flexible upper material. The outsole in these water shoes is also flexible, allowing for a barefoot-like feel that should be close to that of the SIMARI shoes.
Needless to say, while you are getting some spectacular lightness from these shoes, you won’t be getting a good amount of support from them for safe and painless walking on rougher surfaces.
The front part of these shoes’ upper features a rather coarse-looking mesh which should deliver quite a good amount of breathability. The breathability in these shoes overall appears to be better than in the SIMARI, especially since the latter’s upper wasn’t mesh.
On the other hand, the SIMARI shoes didn’t have any polyester covering some of the shoes’ upper. The polyester may compromise the breathability of the shoes a bit, but it does make them look cool.
In terms of sand and stones, the Barerun shoes don’t have any openings that would easily let in those. The mesh upper should also be fine enough not to allow any sand in.
On the other hand, the closer the shoe design, the slower it dries out, which means that the Barerun shoes aren’t the quickest-drying shoes out there.
If you absolutely need water shoes that dry quickly, then maybe this model by clapzovr will be to your taste. These shoes may look a bit weird, but they actually have a pretty efficient design drying-wise. That’s why I pick it as one of the best water shoes for men.
The perforated uppers of these shoes offer excellent breathability, as well as allow water to easily drain out.The material of these shoes is moisture-proof as well. Designed not to allow water to soak in, the clapzovr shoes make the drying process much quicker.
Obviously, such an open upper design is very welcoming to sand and smaller stones, which is an important thing to keep in mind.
Another remarkable feature of the clapzovr shoes is their easiness of cleaning. The thing is that you can actually remove the outsole from the shoes. When “disassembled”, these shoes have no nooks and crannies for sand to stay in, which makes cleaning a breeze.
The outsole in these shoes, by the way, is quite a flexible and soft one. It should have a decent amount of grip in it as well thanks to its texture. On the other hand, it certainly won’t provide much protection from pointy rocks that may lie around on the beach.
These NeoSport low-top boots have a little different purpose than all the other shoes we overviewed. These shoes are designed to be used in water, but they work in a different way.
First of all, these shoes are made to keep your feet warm when in the water. In fact, these shoes aren’t designed for preventing water from making it in. On the contrary, they seem to operate on the same logic as wetsuits – they let a little amount of water through so that it forms an insulation layer to keep you warm.
So needless to say, these shoes are designed for colder water conditions. They have very little breathability, so they may not be the best for warmer days.
The outsole in these shoes is made puncture-resistant yet soft. It should allow a decent level of mobility in the feet but, on the other hand, won’t protect from rough surfaces too well.
These shoes are also designed to fit snugly on the feet. And while the neoprene upper in the NeoSport shoeshas little flexibility, the adjustment strap and the shock cord around the ankle allow for a tight fit.
In the end, with their quite different design, the NeoSport water shoes are suitable for those who are looking for shoes to use in colder water.
Things to look for in the best water shoes for men
The 10 water shoes we overviewed do seem great, but how do you pick the best one from them? Well, let’s talk about the features that you should consider in water shoes and that would determine the right kind of shoe for you.
Arguably the most important thing in water shoes is protection.
How much protection you will actually need mainly depends on the kind of terrain you will be traversing. For rougher terrains, you would want to get water shoes with thicker and more durable outsoles.
If the outsole is too thin, your feet will feel all the coarseness of the ground beneath. And if it isn’t durable, then the shoes obviously won’t serve you long.
Aside from that, consider the amount of protection the upper provides for your feet. If it matters, go for a pair of shoes whose uppers don’t have any perforations in them that would expose your skin to pointy rocks or whatnot.
Keep in mind that increased protection means decreased flexibility and increased weight. Protection and lightness are competing qualities, so you can’t have both.
Foot support may also be a thing that will matter to you in your water shoes.
Most water shoes out there aren’t that much focused on support. They either have very thin midsoles – the area between the insole and the outsole where most of the cushioning is –or have none.
You don’t necessarily need to get shoes that provide good cushioning and foot support. However, if your activity implies impacts with the ground and shock on the joints – for example, when running – then you should get a pair of shoes that have cushioning in their midsoles.
Foot support is a good thing to have in water shoes anyway no matter the activity. But if you are particularly concerned with the flexibility and the weight of the shoes, you may dislike shoes with extra support since they tend to be heavier and more rigid.
Lightness & flexibility
Most water shoes out there are pretty light and flexible, but some more than others. If you have very specific needs, then you will have to pay close attention to the amount of flex and the weight that the desired shoes have.
As you could have noticed from our review, the most lightweight and flexible water shoes have very thin soles. Their soles may be so thin that the shoes feel like socks. In some activities, the increased flexibility and decreased weight of thin shoes may really come in handy.
On the other hand, the more flexible and light water shoes are, the less protection and support they will have. This especially applies to the outsole – a thin outsole most probably won’t deliver good protection and support on rougher grounds.
Quite an important thing to consider in regard to the comfort of water shoes is how they deal with draining water. After all, it probably wouldn’t be pleasant for you if your water shoes retained water in them.
Water shoes typically drain water through perforations either in the outsoles or in the upper. In some cases, water shoes have perforations both in the outsole and in the upper.
The effectiveness of water draining depends not only on the presence of perforations but also their size or/and number. The larger the perforations/the higher their number, the quicker the water will drain from the shoes.
On the other hand, larger perforations will readily allow in sand and stones, which probably isn’t a thing that you want. This means that you will need to carefully pick the spot where to wear perforated water shoes.
Aside from comfort, water draining impacts the quickness of shoes’ drying. Needless to say, if you drain all the water from your shoes, they are going to dry quicker. However, there is a little more to the quickness of drying, which we want to talk about below.
Quickness of drying
The quickness of drying is quite an important thing to consider in water shoes, but we think that it is less important than comfort and protection. You may have the quickest-drying water shoes in the world, but if they don’t provide you with the required support and comfort, its quick drying won’t matter too much.
However, once you have determined the kind of support and protection you need from your shoes, you may start considering their quickness of drying.
The quickness of drying is mainly impacted by the kind of materials the shoes are using. Manufacturers have two main approaches:
They use materials that soak in water but then quickly let it out.
They use materials that are moisture-proof.
Either approach can work really well. However, the bad thing about moisture-proof materials is that they tend to be less breathable than those materials that get soaked. This may be important for you if you plan to wear the shoes outside of the water.
Easiness of cleaning
Easiness of cleaning should also be considered in water shoes. After all, it is highly likely that sand and dirt will get in the shoes while you are in the water, and you need to somehow deal with it, right?
Well, the simpler the shoes’ design, the easier to clean they will be. The presence of nooks and crannies will make keeping the shoes clean much more difficult. So if easiness of cleaning is of utmost importance to you, go for s hoes that have a more seamless design.
Some shoes –like the clapzovr water shoes –allow you to remove the outsole from the shoe for easier cleaning. These shoes are already very simple, and their two-piece design makes cleaning even easier.
Water shoe manufacturers won’t necessarily employ this design, but you should nonetheless look for similar things that could make cleaning easier and quicker.
Fit is obviously important in water shoes. However, things go beyond the mundane “pick whichever shoes fit you the best.”
What we would like to draw your attention towards instead is whether the shoes’ fit can be adjusted or not. As we’ve mentioned in our review, some shoes rely on a stretchy upper to ensure a snug fit, while others come with laces or Velcro straps to allow you to adjust how the shoes sit on your feet.
We’d say that if you don’t really care about weight and design, go for shoes with some kind of an adjustment mechanism that would allow you to regulate the fit of your shoes on the go. With sock-like shoes that rely on the stretchiness of the fabric, you’d need to pick the perfect size for them to be snug.
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