Hiking through wet conditions and terrains can be a challenge, but, you can be better prepared by getting one of these best water shoes for hiking!
Hiking is an excellent workout that provides a unique opportunity to explore the great outdoors and stunning landscapes, all whilst also helping to clear the mind. In fact, hiking has been proven to be excellent for mindfulness and mental health.
Of course with naturally beautiful surroundings also comes tricky terrains and unstable weather conditions.
To better deal with these conditions, you’ll definitely need to stock up on good-quality gear to keep you safe and prepared as you explore!
Purchasing a pair of good-fitting hiking boots alone can feel like navigating through a minefield, especially if you plan on hiking on wet terrain, and even more so if you are planning an extended multi-day trekking expedition.
For cases such as these, you will need a shoe that is comfortable, supportive, well-draining, quick-drying, easy to slip on and off, and one that offers great grip ability. Overwhelming, right?
That is why we are here to help. Below, we’ve listed the 5 best water shoes for hiking.
Each one has been selected according to its quality, comfortability, materials, protective features, and price tag. To help you cut through the jargon, we’ve also included a handy buyers’ guide consisting of everything you need to know!
What are you waiting for? Let’s find you the best water shoe for hiking so you can enjoy your next hiking adventure!
- Don’t Forget These Hiking Gear Essentials!
- Best Water Shoes For Hiking
- Buyer’s Guide
- Frequently Asked Questions
Don’t Forget These Hiking Gear Essentials!
- A hiking day backpack
- Hiking water bottle for hydration
- A cozy men’s and woman’s windbreaker for those gusty summits
- A set of hiking poles
- Comfortable pair of hiking shorts
Best Water Shoes For Hiking
1. Vivobarefoot Men’s Primus SWIMRUN
- Breathable Mesh Upper - Provides a breathable environment, keeping the wearer cool and dry.
- Moisture Management - Wicks away sweat and moisture to leave you cool, dry and comfortable.
- Water Repellent - Ensures the shoe is ideal in the water.
- Quick Drain Zones - Pumps water out as soon as you hit dry land.
- Neoprene Ankle Fit - Keeps out small, distracting item.
We just had to kick this list off with the Vivobarefoot Men’s Primus SWIMRUN water shoes for hiking. In addition to being of excellent build quality, durable, and comfortable, they are also made from sustainable materials!
The foot-shaped construction of these water shoes allows for unrestricted foot freedom. As such, these shoes provide excellent flexibility and protection when hiking.
Thanks to this feature, they also make for a great option for trail runners!
The Vivibarefoot Men’s Primus SWIMRUN shoes boast water-repellent recycled PET mesh. This mesh is quick-drying and ensures that your feet can breathe, even in particularly wet conditions.
The mesh is also incredibly lightweight, even when wet. Consequently, these water shoes are very lightweight. In fact, we think that they are likely to be the lightest water shoes available.
As such, if you need to pack light, these shoes are a perfect option.
One of the most important features when it comes to water shoes is grip. These shoes have a rubber sole with 3mm lugs. This provides you with great traction on any surface, whether wet or dry.
We love the Vivobarefoot Men’s Primus SWIMRUN shoes. They are super comfortable and work well for pretty much any water activity.
They are a little more expensive than others on this list, but they are definitely worth the price.
- Foot-shaped construction – allows for unrestricted foot freedom.
- Water-repellent mesh – lightweight and quick-drying.
- Good grip – ideal for wet and dry surfaces.
- Price – one of the more expensive options on this list.
2. KEEN Women’s Whisper Sport Sandal
- TRACTION & PROTECTION: Multi-directional lugs help provide superior grip on slippery and wet terrains; High-abrasion rubber tip for added durability and protection
- SUPPORT & COMFORT: Quick-cinch bungee lacing lets you tighten or loosen the fit on the fly; Lightweight midsole cushioning
- FIT & INSOLE: Built on a women-specific foot form that is wider than the industry norm for improved fit and comfort; Non-marking rubber outsoles leave no trace or imprint while indoors
- WATER-READY: Lightweight webbing dries fast so you can go from water-to-trail in no-time flat; Grippy rubber soles reduce slip on slick and loose surfaces
- CARE TIPS: All KEEN water sandals are machine washable; Use a small amount of detergent, wash on gentle cycle and air dry
If you’re looking for a water shoe for hiking throughout the summer, why not consider a sandal? The KEEN Women’s Whisper Sport Sandals, in particular, are great for shorter hikes in wet conditions.
These sandals have multi-directional lugs with razor siping. These features help to provide a superior level of grip on slippery and wet surfaces.
As such, if you plan on hiking along rivers throughout the summer, these sandals are a great option!
The lace-lock bungee capture system provides a super-secure fit. You really don’t need to worry about these becoming loose or uncomfortable as you walk!
However, don’t let this feature fool you into believing that these sandals are a pain to take off and put on.
In fact, thanks to the bungee capture system, these sandals are very easy to take off and put on. This is very important, especially for those who will need to change their shoes when hiking over varying terrain.
Even though these are sandals, and thus, they offer less protection than regular shoes, they still boast a number of protective features. For instance, the KEEN toe bumper offers additional safety and helps to prevent injury.
We really love the KEEN Women’s Whisper Sport Sandal. They are very comfortable and they allow for total freedom of movement.
We also appreciate the fact that they are machine washable!
- Good grip – ideal for use on slippery surfaces.
- Lace-lock bungee capture system – provides a secure fit and is easy to release.
- Toe-bumper – provides extra protection.
- Sandals – won’t be protective enough for everyone.
3. Merrell Women’s All Out Blaze Sieve Low Rise Hiking Shoes
- Full grain leather upper
- Integrated lacing system for a glove-like fit
- Neoprene stretch collar for easy on and off
- Protective toe cap
- Kinetic Fit BASE removable contoured insole for flexible support
If you’re looking for a pair of water hiking shoes from a reputable company, look no further than the Merrell Women’s All Out Blaze Sieve Low Rise Hiking Shoes. Merrell has a great reputation for producing top-quality outdoor gear.
These shoes sit somewhere between a hiking shoe and a sandal. They are very practical and perfect for hiking in wet or slippery conditions. In fact, they are made from a combination of waterproof synthetic leather and stretchy Lycra neoprene.
As such, these shoes are incredibly durable and flexible enough to ensure complete freedom of movement. Thanks to the stretchy collar, these shoes are also very easy to take on and off, making them a very practical option.
These Merrell hiking shoes are perfect for tricky terrain. They boast a Vibram outsole with 3mm lugs. Whether you’re hiking, scrambling, or trying to make your way up-river, these shoes provide an adequate amount of grip.
These shoes have an open-heel design. Even though this means that they may be less protective than other shoes on this list, it does also mean that they allow for water to drain away from your feet quickly, ensuring maximum breathability.
We really like the sandal/shoe hybrid design of these shoes. If you would like a pair of hiking sandals for comfort but are concerned about the level of protection they offer, these shoes are an ideal compromise.
- Shoe/sandal hybrid – very practical and protective.
- Waterproof & stretchy Lycra neoprene construction – durable and flexible.
- Stretchy collar – easy to take off and put on.
- Open heel design – might not be protective enough for some.
4. Columbia Men’s Drainmaker IV Boat Shoe
- ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY: Columbia Men's Wayfinder 2 Strap Sandal features our signature Techlite footbed and frame for superior cushioning and impact absorption.
- ADJUSTABLE FEATURES: The adjustable straps across the instep and the convertible heel make this sandal versatile and customizable.
- MATERIAL: A synthetic upper and a non-marking wet traction rubber outsole make this sandal durable and comfortable from wet rocks to boat decks.
- HIGH-TRACTION GRIP: Our signature high-traction grip helps prevent slipping on wet and dry surfaces.
- OMNI-GRIP: This multi-terrain traction system matches specially formulated compounds and treads to specific environments. A dual-zone winter tread pattern ensures solid footing on surfaces such as ice and snow.
Columbia is a tried-and-tested brand with an incredible reputation for producing top-quality outdoor gear, and their Drainmaker IV Boat Shoes are absolutely no exception.
If you’re looking for a long-lasting pair of water shoes, check these ones out!
These shoes boast a synthetic upper construction. As such, they are an incredibly durable pair of shoes with a particularly flexible fit. These shoes should allow for comfort and complete freedom of movement as you explore.
The open mesh design makes these shoes incredibly breathable and comfortable. It is a super-fast drying material that will ensure that your feet are kept as dry as possible, even when walking on wet terrains.
The Columbia Men’s Drainmaker IV Boat Shoes also feature an Omni-grip rubber sole. In turn, this provides an exceptional amount of grip and traction, regardless of the terrain.
Whether you’re hiking on dry land or wading through rivers, these shoes will do the job.
Finally, it is worth noting that, unlike many others on this list, these shoes have a completely closed design. Even though this means that water may remain in the shoe for longer, it also ensures as much protection as possible from debris.
We love pretty much everything that Colombia produces, and the Drainmaker IV Boat Shoes are no exception.
When wearing these, you’ll no doubt feel very protected by the closed style, but this doesn’t come at the cost of comfort or flexibility.
- Mesh design – makes these shoes very breathable and flexible.
- Omni-grip rubber sole – provides excellent grip.
- Closed design – very protective.
- Color options – only two available.
5. Astral Women’s Brewess 2.0 Everyday Minimalist Outdoor Sneakers
- GRANITE GRIP 2.0: Made for surfaces smooth, wet and rocky; Allows excellent flex and sensory feedback for enhanced grip and balance; With razor-siping, divided lugs and a maximized surface area
- EXTRA GRIPPY: High performance G.15 rubber outsole is extra grippy and sticky like tar; Low durometer construction conforms to the ground and provides excellent abrasion resistance EXTRA GRIPPY: High performance G.15 rubber outsole is extra grippy and sticky like tar; Low durometer construction conforms to the ground and provides excellent abrasion resistance
- WATER READY: Built-in Polygiene treated sockliner to eliminate odor, holes in the front and back to drain water, and mesh to vent hot air; Hydrophobic, quick-dry canvas and water resistant laces
- BALANCED FEEL: Level footbed promotes balance and agility; Wider toe box lets your feet and toes spread out for stability; Lightweight enough to believe you're actually barefoot (199g/shoe)
- NATURE FIRST: All Astral shoes are vegan; We use recycled polyester and source materials as sustainably as possible and we always promise to put nature first
We couldn’t end this list without including the Astral Women’s Brewess 2.0 Everyday Minimalist Outdoor Sneakers. Whilst these may not be appropriate for avid hikers, these sneaker-style shoes are ideal for people looking to occasionally dip their toe into the activity.
Unlike many outdoor-style boots, these have a distinctively cool style. The sneaker-like design means that these could be worn whilst engaging in everyday activities, in addition to outdoor sports.
Whether you’re going scrambling or to Walmart, these are perfect.
These shoes are made for a range of surfaces, including wet and rocky terrains. The rubber sole allows for a great range of movement, and thanks to the razor siping, divided lugs, it also provides excellent grip and stability.
These shoes have a built-in Polygiene treated sock liner that works to eliminate odors, and water draining holes both in the front and back. The mesh vent works to make the shoe breathable, and the hydrophobic, quick-dry canvas ensures that your feet stay as dry as possible.
Finally, it is worth noting that all of Astral’s shoes are vegan. In fact, they use recycled polyester and make sure to source all of their materials as sustainably as possible.
Their promise “to put nature first” makes this brand a good choice for environmentally-conscious consumers.
We love the style of these shoes. They are just so versatile as they can be worn everywhere!
However, it is worth mentioning that these probably aren’t the best choice for avid, experienced hikers and outdoor sports enthusiasts, especially for more arduous hikes or treks.
- Sneaker style – very versatile.
- Rubber sole – provides good grip and flexibility.
- Quick-drying & breathable – ideal for outdoor activities.
- Sneaker style – not ideal for everyone.
Buyer’s Guide – Best Shoes For Hiking In Water
Hiking is a really great activity to engage in. It is fun, refreshing, an excellent workout, and it has been proven to be excellent for our mental health!
Purchasing the right gear can be confusing and expensive – especially when it comes to shoes. Hiking shoes can boast a range of different features, materials, and uses.
As such, it can be hard to figure out exactly what you need from a pair of hiking shoes, especially if you’re a beginner!
That’s why we’ve created this handy buyer’s guide. This consists of everything you need to consider and understand before purchasing a pair of water shoes for hiking. From quick-drying materials to protective features, we cover it all! Check it out below.
What Are Water Shoes?
If you’ve found your way to this article, it is likely that you already know what water shoes are. However, to ensure that we avoid any unnecessary confusion, we figured that we would start at the very beginning.
Water shoes are essentially shoes that perform well in the water in addition to on dry land. Contrary to popular belief, water shoes are not waterproof.
In fact, they actively let water into the shoe. The point of water shoes is that they work well in water, and they dry very quickly, making them the perfect hiking and water shoes combo!
When Are Water Shoes Used?
Water shoes are used in a multitude of situations. Obviously, they are popular footwear for watersports such as canoeing, kayaking, standup paddleboarding, sailing, coasteering, snorkeling, etc.
However, they are also popular for sports such as hiking. This is because, when hiking, you frequently may need to cross rivers or hike along creeks or wet valleys. In cases such as these, you will need quick-drying shoes that also work well in water.
Features of Water Shoes
Ok, now that we’ve covered the basics, we can get into the good stuff. There are a number of integral features that you will need to look out for if you want to buy a good quality pair of water shoes. Check them out below!
Like any kind of hiking shoe, it is very important that water shoes have a good grip. In fact, you need water shoes to have a better grip than your regular hiking shoes, as they will have to provide stability when used in water.
It is very important that the soles of water shoes are made from rubber, and have some kind of grip system in place. If you’re unsure as to whether they will be grippy enough for your activities, it is always a good idea to check the customer reviews.
Easy to Put On/Take Off
If you’re hiking a trail with particularly mixed terrain, you may want to carry your water shoes and use them when appropriate.
If this is the case, you will need to opt for a pair of water shoes that are easy to get on and off. Keep an eye out for shoes with quick-release laces or buckles.
It is also worth mentioning that, if this is the case, you will need to opt for a pair of lightweight water shoes. If your water shoes are quite heavy, it will be tricky to carry them around with you as you hike.
If you’re unsure of the weight, we recommend checking the product specifications before you make a purchase.
Quick-Drying & Adequate Drainage
This one seems obvious, but having a pair of water shoes that are quick-drying is an absolute must. If you choose a pair that aren’t quick-drying, they may cause blisters or other uncomfortable conditions.
Look for water shoes equipped with fast-drying mesh, as this allows the water to escape the shoe quickly.
If you plan on using your water shoes for any kind of outdoor activity, it is of the utmost importance that they are supportive. Wearing a pair of unsupportive shoes when hiking, for instance, could result in an unwanted injury.
Keep an eye out for shoes that have good ankle and arch support with a solid structure. Note that sandals will provide you with less support than proper shoes, however, if you only plan on wearing them for short river crossings, this isn’t hugely problematic.
Again, this might seem obvious, but when it comes to any type of hiking shoe, it is absolutely necessary to ensure that they are comfortable. You will be wearing these shoes for hours on end, whilst walking on tricky terrain.
If your shoes aren’t comfortable, you will likely have a miserable time. Additionally, you may get some gnarly blisters in the process, and no one wants that.
If you aren’t sure whether you will find a pair of shoes comfortable, purchase a pair with a good warranty or returns policy.
It is also necessary to discuss protection. When you’re hiking through rivers or along gorges, there is a chance that debris or the terrain could cause some harm to your feet. As such, you should always opt for a pair of water shoes that are protective.
The most protective styles of water shoes are those with a closed style. These prevent any debris from getting into your shoe. They also tend to protect the toes and heal more so than other shoes. However, these shoes may take longer to drain excess water.
If you plan on using your water shoes for a very limited amount of time, a pair of sandals or open shoes will probably do the trick. However, always opt for a sandal that has some kind of protection over the toes.
Finally, we know this might seem a little odd to a lot of you, but style is important to some. If you’re a keen hiker and enthusiastic fashionista, we want to tell you that you don’t have to compromise!
There are a number of different styles of water shoes, so we’re sure that you’ll find one to suit your tastes.
In fact, if you’re not an avid outdoor sportsperson, it is likely that you’re struggling to justify a pair of expensive water shoes that will get very little use.
In cases such as these, we recommend opting for a pair of water shoes that you can wear anywhere. Some water shoes have a casual, sneaker-style appearance that works great for everyday use.
Frequently Asked Questions – Best Water Shoes For Hiking
If you still have some burning water shoe-related questions, not to worry! We answer as many as we can below to ensure that, once you’ve finished reading this article, you’re as well informed as possible.
Can you Swim in Water Shoes?
Water shoes are designed for use during a variety of water spots. As such, they are definitely ok to swim in. However, if you are planning on mostly using your water shoes for swimming, we recommend purchasing a pair that fit you very tightly.
This will aid in preventing losing your shoes or you being exposed to debris and bacteria.
Can you Wear Water Shoes for Climbing?
Technically, yes. You can climb in pretty much any sports shoes, however, that doesn’t mean that it’s easy to climb in any sports shoes. If you’re climbing as a one-off, then water shoes should be fine.
However, if you plan on climbing more frequently, we recommend purchasing a pair of climbing shoes. These have been made specifically to keep you safe and protected as you climb. Climbing in climbing shoes is also far easier thanks to the shape of the shoe.
Are Water Shoes Worth it?
Absolutely! Water shoes work to keep your feet comfortable and safe whilst you engage in water-based activities. They provide a great amount of support, and they dry quickly to aid in preventing any blisters or injuries.
We recognize that water shoes can be expensive, and so many people may not want to purchase them. If you only engage in water-based activities every once in a while, renting a pair may be more appropriate.
Are Crocs Considered Water Shoes?
Technically, Crocs could be used as water shoes. However, they are more appropriate for very low-key activities, such as walking on the beach.
You should not wear Crocs when hiking or taking part in an outdoor sport that requires stability.
Crocs aren’t very secure, don’t have a lot of grips, and don’t provide a lot of stability or support from the sole. As such, they shouldn’t be worn whilst doing sports such as hiking, scrambling, gorge walking, etc.