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7 Best Water Shoes for Hiking and River Adventures in 2024

Discover the best hiking water shoes, perfect for river hiking, including toed water shoes, sandals, aqua shoes, recommendations, features, and most common questions answered.

best waters hoes for hiking
Photo Credit helivideo @ istockphoto.com

While hiking the wet terrain is an exceptional adventure, you need footwear that is more than just protection – shoes that are lightweight, breathable, comfortable, durable, and has fast drying material.

As a seasoned outdoor enthusiast with extensive knowledge of hiking gear and equipment, I can assure you that hiking with wet and uncomfortable feet can ruin the entire experience.

That’s why, based on my expertise and experience, I’ve compiled a list of the 7 best water shoes for hiking in 2024 with a detailed analysis of their primary features, along with their pros and cons, to help you make an informed and intelligent decision.

Best for Men
Salomon Crossamphibian Swift 2 Hiking Shoes for Men Sneaker, Aqua Gray/Urban Chic/Vanilla Ice, 7
Title
Salomon Men's Crossamphibian Swift 2 Hiking Shoes
Material
100% Rubber
Perfect for
into trail running, hiking, backpacking, or mountaineering
Features
Water grip, Soft, flexible, Breathable
Best for Men
Salomon Crossamphibian Swift 2 Hiking Shoes for Men Sneaker, Aqua Gray/Urban Chic/Vanilla Ice, 7
Title
Salomon Men's Crossamphibian Swift 2 Hiking Shoes
Material
100% Rubber
Perfect for
into trail running, hiking, backpacking, or mountaineering
Features
Water grip, Soft, flexible, Breathable

7. Keen Hiking Water Sandals

“Best water sandals for women”

KEEN SOLR
KEEN Women's SOLR High Performance Sport Closed Toe

Men’s | Women’s

Hiking on varied terrains is a combination of dry and wet conditions. Keen sandals are comfortable, quick-drying, anti-slip, and traction-compatible lightweight hiking shoes.

It offers a lace-lock bungee capture system that provides a secured grip and minimal heel slippage. These are easy-for-care, machine-washable footwear that comes with eco-anti-odor and probiotic-based technology to eliminate sweat stench.

According to our expertise, this model has extra arch support making it relaxing to walk on longer terrains. This water footwear has toe bumpers for extra safety from abrasion and injury.

You get EVA midsoles for added cushioning and the upper material is made for the SOLR (sea, ocean, lake, river) conditions.

Let’s read the prime features of the chosen KEEN footwear for your adventure trip.  

Features

  • SOLR sandal – Sea, Ocean, Lake, and River
  • Keen Aqua grip
  • Rubber sole and water-resistant upper material
  • Keen Konnectkit heel-capture system
  • Lace-lock bungee capture system
  • Easy machine washable 
  • Includes Eco Anti-odor

What we like

Multi-terrain compatible

No heel slippage

Massive color options

True to size with EVA midsole

Toe protection for extra safety

Quick-dry lining for indoor and outdoor use

What we don’t like

× Not great for wide feet

× Squeaky shoes


6. Camel Crown Breathable Walking Sandals

“Best cheap hiking shoes”

No products found.

Men’s | Women’s

On your spring and summer adventures, you seek open footwear that is not crowding your feet and let your toes enjoy the fresh breeze.

The Camel Crown Hawaii hiking sandals are lightweight, easy to carry, dry fast, and give you great arch support.

You get versatile strappy design water sandals that look very sporty and promise great grip.

After putting this product to the test, we noticed that the triangle pattern jacquard straps come with a soft lining that does not cause blisters. 

The toe area is wide, and the outsole has a smart design to guide water and dirt off your feet. It is one of the bargain range footwear.

Know about these ergonomic designs of men’s and women’s hiking sandals via their prime features and their pros/cons.

Features

  • Ergonomic design for foot support
  • Water-resistant and anti-slip insoles
  • Jacquard strap design 
  • Hook and Loop closures
  • Cushion MD midsoles 
  • Scratch-proof textile lining

What we like

Soft and pull-resistant straps

Quick-dry triangle pattern

Adjustable straps for added comfort 

Excellent fit and colors

No fading or blooming

Bargain option

What we don’t like

× Poor Velcro

× Larger than the size


5. Skechers Stylish Water Shoes

“Best trail shoes for hiking in water”

Sale
Skechers Sandals
Skechers Men's Slip on Tresmen Outseen Slip-On Canvas Fisherman Sandal

Men’s | Women’s

Skechers is not only popular for arch support, flat feet hiking boots, and hiking shoes for wide feet, but also as cute water shoes for hiking – stylish, durable, and come in vivid colors. It has a luxe cushioned footbed for an absolutely relaxing feel during long hikes.

The flexible rubber traction outsole of this shoe gives additional grip and makes it anti-slip.

Upon conducting experiments with it, we observed that the foot remains dry due to cross-ventilation facilitated by the breathable mesh outer layer.

The men’s fisherman design looks brilliant, and the slip-on pattern makes it quick to wear. Skechers women’s water shoe offers half-inch sizes for ladies with wider feet.

Let’s take a peek at the primary features of two Skechers waterproof walking shoes – one for him and one for her. 

Features

  • Luxe foam
  • Relaxed fit with rubber sole
  • Skech knit sport design with mesh upper
  • Rubber traction outsole

What we like

Available in half-inch sizes

Machine washable – easy to clean and care

Comfortable and durable

Lightweight and quick-dry upper lining

Massive price range

Slip-on pattern

What we don’t like

× Not true to size


4. Columbia Mesh Water Shoes

“Best hiking shoes on wet rocks”

Columbia Summertide Water Shoe
Columbia Women's Summertide Water Shoe

Men’s | Women’s

Columbia multi-terrain water shoes for hiking are eco-friendly footwear manufactured from recycled materials.

These aqua shoes take care of small but significant features like the weight of the shoe, durability, breathability, and comfortable midsoles.

The midsoles come with discreet vents for continuous airflow making it all-day wear. 

Additionally, we saw that these shoes offer half-inch addition in both men’s and women’s hiking and water hiking shoes so, if you have wide feet then opt for the extra toe-box space.

It comes with signature non-marking outsoles in rubber for maximum grip on wet surfaces. Know the details of this premium brand shoe to match your requirement through the primary features. 

Features 

  • Bloom foam midsole
  • Rubber sole for added grip
  • Non-marking outsole
  • Suitable for varied terrains 
  • Neoprene collar with mesh overlay
  • Scuff-free Omni grip for wet traction

What we like

Available in half inch sizes

Recycled material 

Discreet vents for airflow

Lightweight and durable

Quick-dry outer mesh 

What we don’t like

× Poor toe box sole

× Not true to size


3. Racqua Slip On Hiking Shoes

“Best summer hiking shoes”

Racqua Hiking Water Shoes
Racqua Men's Women's Hiking Water Shoes Quick Drying Breathable Aqua Shoes Outdoor Sport Climbing Shoes

Men’s | Women’s

When it comes to hiking, having water shoes is essential rather than a luxury. If you are in search of breathable, flexible, non-slippery water shoes for adults that also fit your budget, Racqua offers a single pair of shoes that possess all these qualities.

It comes with a quick-dry membrane, and anti-slip sole and is quite lightweight. 

The bottom sole has a concave and convex pattern that gives excellent stability.

You have massive color options, and these are cheap water hiking shoes that shall fit your hiking gear budget.

Let’s explore this non-popular brand of water footwear and what it is offering – pros/cons.

Features

  • 90% soft fabric
  • Non-slip rubber sole
  • Fine stretch mesh upper layer
  • Unisex designs and colors
  • Fluid flow technology 
  • Breathable, flexible, and featherweight 

What we like

Suitable for water hikes, traveling, boating, and many indoor and outdoor activities

Elastic lock for closure 

Concave bottom and convex design 

Skin-friendly mesh material

Bargain water shoe

What we don’t like

× Not suitable for hard hiking


2. Nortiv 8 Barefoot Water Shoes

NORTIV 8 Quick Dry Water Shoes
NORTIV 8 Women's Quick Dry Water Shoes Barefoot Sports Aqua Beach Pool Swim Surf Running Shoes

Men’s | Women’s

During a hiking trip that involves water elements like waterfalls, streams, or lakes, having durable, stylish, and ultra-lightweight swimming shoes is necessary. Nortiv 8 barefoot shoes offer a solution that meets all these requirements.

As demonstrated by our tests, this model has strong soles for additional stability and balance.

They fit comfortably for normal to XL feet because it offers an extra half-inch in both men’s and women’s range. It comes with adjustable bungee laces with a pull tab for fastening. 

It has an exclusive sole with 65 drainage holes to let the outflow of water, hence keeping your feet dry and fresh throughout.

Check out the primary features of these river shoes that come with many reasons to make this list of the best water hiking shoes.

Features

  • Water shoe 100% synthetic material
  • Non-slip rubber sole
  • Quick-dry design with 65 drainage holes
  • Adjustable hook and loop
  • TPU design for side support
  • Pull-on elastic laces

What we like

Breathable and lightweight mesh

Protective toe cap

Massive color options

Supportive heel for extra ankle protection

Perfect with socks and barefoot 

Available in half-inch sizes

What we don’t like

× Not true to size

× Not the best for long hikes


1. Salomon Water Hiking Shoes

“Best shoes for hiking in water”

Salomon Hiking Shoes
Salomon Men's Crossamphibian Swift 2 Hiking Shoes

Men’s | Women’s

Salomon is not only making the best hiking boots for plantar fasciitis, but provides any kind of hiking shoes.

Salomon Crossamphibian Swift 2 is nr.#1 on our list and some of the best water hiking shoes that offer cross-amphibian technology so, you can wear them in both wet and dry conditions.

They are made from quick-dry material, a breathable outer layer, and odor-free technology that is beyond regular protection.

The Salomon water hiking shoes possess a lightweight and soft design that offers flexibility. Additionally, the cushioned innersoles make them comfortable to wear even without socks.

You can even check for half-inch size range for extra roomy shoes.

Features

  • Cross amphibian swift technology
  • Contagrip outsole and EVA foam
  • EnergyCell midsole
  • Sensifit and Quicklace system
  • 100% rubber and mesh for the outer lining

What we like

Sustainable shoes – one pair includes 1.75 plastic bottles, 2 ears of corn, and 10 grams of bamboo

Outstanding grip for slippery rocky terrain

Soft and flexible

Breathable and comfortable barefoot

Multiactivity with collapsible heels

Offers shock attenuation

What we don’t like

× Longer dry time

× Not true to size


What to Look for When Buying Hiking Water Shoes?

best waterproof hiking shoes
Photo Credit Grigorev_Vladimir @ istockphoto.com

Grip

When you are buying an aqua shoe, the grip is a crucial feature. You don’t want to feel like walking on a soap bar after crossing the creek.

River shoes offer good grip soles that help you navigate through slippery surfaces and mushy and muddy terrains. Always ensure to get rubber grips that are perfect for varied surfaces.

Ease of wearing

Based on our direct experience, hiking water shoes are generally worn for a shorter span than normal hiking footwear so, ease of wearing and removing is an important feature.

Quick laces, Velcro, slip-on, and straps are some of the best closure options for water hiking shoes.

Water drainage

One of the excellent features you can find in shoes for water hiking is the perforation for water drainage.

Most river shoes have a mesh upper or side that has small holes for letting the water drain out to ensure that your feet are dry and not soaking.

Comfort and support

Shoes are more than protective gear and wearing the right fit comfortable shoes is important. The fabric of the shoe, the material of the sole, and the fastening make a huge difference in the support you receive from the footbed.

Ensure that your water shoe has great insoles and outsoles for comfort and support. Or you can buy separate hiking insoles for your shoes.

Protection

Your outdoor adventures call for extra protection from harsh weather, pointy rocks, and slippery surfaces – your shoe must give complete protection. Check for a strong toe box and sturdy side soles that help with abrasion and collision.

Quick-dry

You may or may not decide to wear socks with water hiking shoes however, the quick-dry feature is essential for any situation. You cannot walk with soggy and squeaking wet shoes for the rest of the hiking.

A good water hiking shoe must have a quick-dry membrane that keeps your foot dry as, the dampness results in blisters and infections.

Traction

The bottom sole of any shoe defines its traction capacity. Always look for shoes that provide excellent traction and are not restricting you to dry or wet surfaces.

Not all shoemakers offer this feature but, several brands cater to wet, dry, muddy and deep-sea conditions.

Multifunctional

Compatibility with different terrains and weather conditions is one of the necessary features of hiking shoes. Look for brands and types of footwear that are ideal for both dry and wet surfaces so, you do not have to backpack too much footwear.

If water shoes are not something you particularly like, check our selection of the most comfortable waterproof hiking boots.

Types of Water Shoes 

Water shoes for hiking have a massive range – barefoot water shoes, booties, socks, closed-toe shoes, slippers, sandals, and active aqua shoes.

Barefoot Water ShoesRacqua Water Shoes Quick Dry Barefoot Beach Aqua Sport Swim Surf Pool Hiking Diving Walking for Men Women

These are flexible, lightweight, and very comfortable footwear options that can cradle your feet without socks or any lining.

You can also opt for five-finger barefoot shoes that separate all your toes and keep them cozy and fresh during hikes.

Quick recommendation: Racqua Water Shoes

BootiesFROGG TOGGS Men's Pilot II Wading Boot, Available in Felt or Cleated

These are ideal for colder hikes when you want not only better toe protection, but complete foot protection.

You have two options – aqua booties for diving and hardcore water activities or else, lightweight swim booties for swimming and snorkeling.

Quick recommendation: Frogg Toggs men’s wading boots

Closed-toe shoesSkechers Men's Slip on Tresmen Outseen Slip-On Canvas Fisherman Sandal

When you want normal shoes (with or without laces) that are compatible with wet areas then go for toe protection shoes with a waterproof upper layer or quick-dry lining.

These are excellent shoes for multi-weather conditions.

Quick recommendation: Skechers Stylish Water ShoesMen’s | Women’s

SandalsCAMEL CROWN Mens Hiking Sandals Waterproof with Arch Support Open Toe Summer Outdoor Comfort Beach Water Sport Sandals

Footwear that holds your feet partially and also gives loads of ventilation. These are perfect for light hikes, summer walks, and light water activities.

The straps and Velcro are the two popular options for fastening.

Quick recommendation: Camel Crown SandalsMen’s | Women’s

Active water footwearSalomon Crossamphibian Swift 2 Hiking ShoesSalomon Crossamphibian Swift 2 Hiking Shoes

When you are an avid hiker then active water footwear is perfect as these cater to all types of hiking, aqua sports, and backpacking activities.

The fabric is lightweight but durable and lets the water seep through to keep your foot dry. 

Quick recommendation: Salomon Water Hiking Shoes – Men’s | Women’s

Recommendations when Hiking with Water Shoes

river water shoes
Photo Credit Subbotsky @ istockphoto.com

Don’t Hesitate to Get Wet

The whole idea of wearing water shoes is getting the feet wet so, why shy away from this incredible experience? Check the depth of water before submerging your foot if you are wearing boots then ankle-length water bodies will also not soak your feet.

However, if you are just crossing a shallow creek or encountering puddles then normal water hiking shoes can give the right protection.

Take Lightweight and Breathable Shoes

While hiking in varied terrains you require wet and dry-compatible shoes. Always ensure that the footwear is lightweight, easy to backpack, and has a breathable outer layer.

Prolonged walking can sweat your feet and result in bad odor and blisters.

Carrying a Second Pair

Summer hikes are more fun than autumn ones, but it doesn’t mean you carry/wear only one pair of shoes and manage the entire trip.

Have one extra pair in your backpack – sandals, flip-flops, or maybe crocs for the relaxing evening and camping period. 

Barefoot or Sock

This is an individual choice while wet hiking. You can either go barefoot to enjoy the cool water flowing under your feet or wrinkle your toes.

Or you can wear quick-dry socks to feel the warmth and snuggle of shoes. Read the weather and then make a smart decision. 

When Can You Use Water Shoes?

hiking water shoes for men and women
Photo Credit Obencem @ istockphoto.com

You can wear water hiking shoes for diverse types of outdoor activities – wet slippery surfaces, river crossings, hiking trips, walking, aqua sports, paddle boarding, multi-terrain climbing, and more.

The water shoes are available in a lightweight breathable material that suits dry and wet weather conditions.

If you love aqua sports like scuba diving, kayaking, and river rafting then you surely need one pair of fantastic water shoes. These are more than foot protection gears as; the shoes dry extremely fast and keep the foot clean from mud and debris.

You have a vast range of aqua footwear – shoes, boots, sandals, slip-on, and five-finger shoes. You can team up your fun water shoes with socks or can go without any.

The Verdict

Salomon Water Hiking Shoes

Salomon Hiking Shoes
Best Water Shoes for Hiking

Men’s | Women’s

Water Shoes FAQs

water shoes for hiking and walking
Photo Credit marekuliasz @ istockphoto.com

Can water shoes be used for hiking?

Yes, you can use water shoes for hiking. Water shoes are very versatile footwear that can support loads of outdoor activities like trekking, kayaking, scuba diving, and exploring rock pools. These provide excellent support and protection during harsh weather conditions. 

Can you walk around in water shoes?

Yes! Water shoes are absolutely comfortable for walking. The design of water shoes has all the features for trekking, running, walking, and hiking. These multi-terrain shoes are lightweight and dry faster. 

What is a river sandal?

As the name suggests – river sandals are water/aqua footwear to support comfortable walking on wet and slippery surfaces. You can wear these for both indoor and outdoor activities. These are similar to water hiking shoes. 

Can you use water shoes for rock climbing?

Yes, you can use water shoes for rock climbing that come with a thick sole and high-density fabric for complete protection. However, it is a terrible idea if you intend to wear regular water shoes for hiking rocks.

What do you wear to a waterfall hike?

Waterfall hiking calls for excellent footwear that was not just aqua friendly but also anti-slip and provides excellent grip with comfort. You can try water shoes, sandals, slip-on, and sneakers that are made from breathable material with multi-terrain traction. 

Are water shoes good for walking on the beach?

Yes, you can wear water shoes for beach walks, slippery surfaces, or wet outdoor activities as they are specifically designed to handle the wetness as the material is generally, plastic, rubber, jelly, or Gore-Tex. The tiny hole in the shoes lets the water seep out and keeps your feet dry. 

Can I use water shoes as regular shoes?

Yes! You can use water shoes as regular shoes. Several brands and designs make footwear that is compatible with city and aqua walking. You can enjoy water sandals for city walks as they are lightweight and breathable.

Can you hike in Keen water shoes?

Yes! Keen water shoes are one of the finest footwear ranges in both outdoor and indoor activities. You can wear Keen water shoes for all aqua adventures, hiking, trekking, and simply hanging on the beaches or poolside. 

Last update on 2024-07-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API