The 7 Best Women’s Water Shoes of 2022, Tested and Reviewed

DLGJPA Women's Water Shoes are the best pair our travel experts tested.

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Best Women’s Water Shoes

TRAVEL AND LEISURE / LINDSEY SWEENEY

Whether you're whitewater rafting or taking a stroll along the beach, a pair of water shoes will protect your feet and keep them cool so you can enjoy the outdoors. The best women’s water shoes provide all-day comfort, fit snug enough to prevent blisters, and dry out quickly.

We sent our expert product testers to beaches, rivers, and lakes to test 17 pairs of women’s water shoes. They carefully considered which ones performed the best while being worn for a variety of activities like walking, hiking, and swimming. Additionally, we received expert industry tips on finding the best women’s water shoes from Merrell product manager Jon Sanregret and designer Drew Engle.

Our top pick for the best women’s water shoes overall are the DLGJPA Women's Water Shoes. These sneaker-like water shoes provide the same support and comfort as standard athletic footwear but dry out quickly thanks to their lightweight mesh material and foam soles with drainage holes. We loved a pair of espadrille-style water shoes and some sporty Keen sandals, too.

Here are the best women’s water shoes for all water activities:

Best Overall: DLGJPA Women’s Quick-drying Water Shoes

5
DLGJPA Women's Quick Drying Water Shoes for Beach

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Comfort
    5/5
  • Drainage
    5/5
  • Protection and Durability
    5/5
  • Traction
    5/5
  • Value
    5/5

Why We Love It: They feel like a regular pair of sneakers. 

What to Consider: The fit is on the narrower side.

The DLGJPA Women's Water Shoes provide the same style and support as running sneakers, but they’re lightweight and have quick-drying abilities that make them the perfect shoe for any water sport. They’re made with a hydrophobic mesh upper, and the material is breathable to keep your feet cool whether you’re in the water or walking. The RB/EVA foam outsole adds to the lightweight feel, and thanks to tiny drainage holes at the bottom of the soles, these water shoes dried “extremely fast,” according to our tester who wore them while swimming and walking on concrete and sand. These water shoes are equipped for handling all types of terrain due to their anti-slip rubber sole that delivers traction and a strong grip for walking on wet surfaces.  

The shoe has a toggle shoelace to adjust the fit of the upper, and our tester loved how easy it was to tighten up the slip-on sneakers with one quick pull. Notable for having a comfortable and snug fit, the sneaker has a mesh midfoot webbing system that tightens around the middle of the foot to reinforce arch support and prevent the shoe from moving around and causing blistering. 

Price at time of publish: $35

Sizes available: 6-11 | Color options: 30

DLGJPA Women's Quick Drying Water Shoes for Beach

TRAVEL AND LEISURE / MONICA AGUINAGA

Best Overall, Runner-up: Lands' End Women's Water Shoes

5
Lands' End Women's Water Shoes

Lands' End

Our Ratings
  • Comfort
    5/5
  • Drainage
    5/5
  • Protection and Durability
    5/5
  • Traction
    5/5
  • Value
    5/5

Why We Love It: The shoes feel secure to wear because they’re bolstered by Velcro straps. 

What to Consider: Velcro can wear out over time.

These colorful water shoes will stay securely on your foot no matter how intense your water activity gets. They have Velcro straps that fasten across the top of the foot three times, starting from the top of the foot to the base of the toes. When the Velcro straps aren’t tightened, the shoes are easy to slip on and off via a pull tab on the top of the tongue. Our tester loved how fast water drains from the “thick and resistant” sole of the Lands’ End shoes, which are outfitted with tiny filtering holes. The shoe has a sturdy rubber base, and, according to our tester, they are “strong and feel like they can endure any kind of environment.” Along with an odor-control finish, the mesh and spandex exterior materials prevent the shoes from drying with a mildew smell. 

These water shoes come in Lands' End's signature nautical-themed designs and colors. The shoes are available in five different color patterns, including three blue designs, a purple shade, and silver metallic color. In addition to whole sizes, there are also half sizes available ranging from 6 to 11 in a regular or wide fit. 

Price at time of publish: $63

Sizes available: 6-11, regular and wide | Color options: 5

Lands' End Women's Water Shoes

TRAVEL AND LEISURE / MONICA AGUINAGA

Best Budget: Aleader Women's Mesh Slip-on Water Shoes

4.4
Aleader Women's Mesh Slip-on Water Shoes

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Comfort
    5/5
  • Drainage
    3/5
  • Protection and Durability
    5/5
  • Traction
    5/5
  • Value
    4/5

Why We Love It: The materials and build of the shoe feel well-made for water activities.  

What to Consider: They didn’t dry as fast as other water shoes we tested.

For budget-friendly travelers, the Aleader Women's Mesh Slip-on Water Shoes offer a comfortable fit and sturdy construction. Our tester wore the shoes at the beach and noted the excellent quality of the sole that could be worn on all types of terrain comfortably, from sand to pavement. This pair of Aleader shoes resembles the style of slip-on sneakers and feels like a sporty option with support and durability. Our tester raved about the athletic construction of the mesh upper and nonslip sole and noted that “if I needed to run or move swiftly, this shoe would be able to provide the proper support.” While the shoe didn’t dry as quickly as other water shoes we tried, our tester liked that it has a versatile design that doesn’t look like a regular water sock and makes these sneakers ideal for a variety of outdoor activities.

Price at time of publish: $30

Sizes available: 6-11 | Color options: 13

Aleader Women's Mesh Slip-on Water Shoes

Lindsay Boyers

Related: The Best Waterproof Walking Shoes for Women

Best Style: Sea Star Beachwear Espadrille Water Shoe

4.6
Sea Star Beachwear Espadrille Water Shoe

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Comfort
    5/5
  • Drainage
    4/5
  • Protection and Durability
    5/5
  • Traction
    5/5
  • Value
    4/5

Why We Love It: They look like a regular pair of espadrille shoes. 

What to Consider: You’ll want to size up since there aren’t any half sizes.

The best part of the Sea Star Beachwear Espadrille Water Shoe is that you would never know they are a pair of fully functional water shoes. These casual espadrilles have the iconic rope-soled look, but the upper is made of neoprene fabric, making them the perfect water shoe for the fashionable traveler. Our tester wore these slip-ons to the beach and said that it felt like wearing a regular pair of comfy espadrilles on a variety of surfaces. Neoprene is the same soft and lightweight material used to make wetsuits, and it dried quickly while our tester lounged on the sand. They appear to be well-made and durable, so we think these shoes would maintain their quality well into the long term. They also come with a matching neoprene bag to store your shoes and other beach accessories. 

Price at time of publish: $125

Sizes available: 6-12 | Color options: 14

Sea Star Beachwear Espadrille Water Shoe

TRAVEL AND LEISURE / IZZY SEELY

Best Rubber: Merrell Hydro Moc Women's Water Shoe

4.4
Merrell Hydro Moc Women's Water Shoes

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Comfort
    4/5
  • Drainage
    5/5
  • Protection and Durability
    4/5
  • Traction
    4/5
  • Value
    5/5

Why We Love It: They have a strong grip for walking on slippery surfaces.

What to Consider: These aren’t the most comfortable water shoes we tested. 

The Merrell Hydro Moc water shoes are made of an injected EVA foam — also known as expanded rubber or foam rubber — that is commonly used to create sports equipment padding that absorbs shock. These slip-on water shoes have holes on the upper part of the shoe to allow water to filter through the foot and drain out of the sides. Our tester wore the Merrell Hydro Mocs while hiking on a dirt trail and swimming in a lake and a river. Although the water inside the shoe drained out immediately, our tester’s foot felt slightly slippery inside of the shoe. Additionally, the shoe was comfortable to wear during her hike to the river, but it irritated our tester’s heel on her return journey because it hadn’t fully dried. The Merrell Hydro Mocs might not be the best water shoe for hiking, but the bottom of the shoe has circular grooves that provide excellent traction for traversing slippery rocks. Since these water shoes are incredibly lightweight and can float, our tester said that they are perfect slip-ons for swimming in rocky lakes or rivers where a strong grip can prevent slipping or falling. 

Price at time of publish: $55

Sizes available: 5-11 | Color options: 15

Merrell Hydro Moc Women's Water Shoes

TRAVEL AND LEISURE / LINDSEY SWEENEY

 Related: The Most Comfortable Walking Shoes for Travel

Best Splurge: Ryka Women's Hydro Sport Water Shoe

4.2
Ryka Women's Hydro Sport Water Shoe

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Comfort
    4/5
  • Drainage
    4/5
  • Protection and Durability
    5/5
  • Traction
    4/5
  • Value
    4/5

Why We Love It: They are supportive and provide good foot protection while walking in water. 

What to Consider: Our tester’s heel was slightly irritated after wearing them while wet.  

We love how supportive the Ryka Hydro Sport Water Shoes are for hiking on a trail and swimming in a river. “They are very supportive [and] felt like walking in water in regular sneakers with a good water sole,” our tester said. The sneaker-style water shoe looks identical to regular athletic footwear but has water shoe-specific features like a thick rubber outsole with drainage holes and a breathable mesh upper. Ryka Hydro Sport Water Shoes are designed for high-intensity water activities like aerobics or kayaking. They offer foot protection in the water, and the bottom of the shoe has a solid grip for walking on slippery surfaces in a lake or river. Although there are holes in the bottom of the shoe for draining water, our tester said that no rocks or pebbles snuck in through them, and the shoe dried after about 20 minutes out of the water. The tester also shared that the shoes were comfortable to wear in and out of the river, but after walking in them while they were wet, their heels were slightly irritated. Nonetheless, the shoe provided excellent support and comfort during our tester’s water activities, and we think travelers who value a stylish design and durability would be satisfied with this choice. 

Price at time of publish: $100

Sizes available: 5-12, regular and wide | Color options: 8

Ryka Women's Hydro Sport Water Shoes

TRAVEL AND LEISURE / LINDSEY SWEENEY

Related: The Best Water Shoes for Men of 2022

Best Hiking: Keen Women’s SOLR High-Performance Sport Sandals

4.8
KEEN Women's SOLR High-Performance Sport Sandals

KEEN Footwear

Our Ratings
  • Comfort
    5/5
  • Drainage
    5/5
  • Protection and Durability
    5/5
  • Traction
    4/5
  • Value
    5/5

Why We Love It: They offer excellent support while walking or hiking long distances. 

What to Consider: Small pebbles can get through the openings. 

According to our tester, the Keen Solr Sandals are comfortable and “felt similar to walking in any hiking shoe” while they wore the water shoes on a trail. Wet or dry, the shoes remained comfortable to wear, draining water easily out of the side and heel holes and drying out completely after 15 minutes. The rubber toe and sole of the sandals provided support and protection while our tester wore the shoes on a rocky riverbed. Although small pebbles can get into the side holes, it didn’t bother our tester enough to take the shoes off. And with a toggle shoelace to tighten the sandals, it’s easy to slip the shoe on and off if needed. Our tester said the textured bottom of the sandals “gripped well enough to feel like I could walk confidently on wet rocks” when they got in and out of the water. If you’re planning to hike and swim, these Keen Solr Sandals are an excellent choice for a supportive and comfortable water shoe. 

Price at time of publish: $130

Sizes available: 5-11 | Color options: 4

KEEN Women's SOLR High-Performance Sport Sandals

TRAVEL AND LEISURE / LINDSEY SWEENEY

Our Testing Process

Our testers were tasked with heading to a river, lake, or beach to judge 17 pairs of water shoes from leading sportswear brands like Keen, Merrell, and Chaco, as well as sellers from Amazon. Each tester evaluated their water shoes’ comfort, drainage, protection, durability, traction, and value. The water shoes were tested on a variety of different terrains, with some testers hiking on trails and others swimming in rivers with slippery rocks.

To test comfort, our testers walked in the water shoes for at least two hours with the shoes both dry and wet. The shoe that scored the highest for comfort had a supportive sole and a snug fit that still left room for toes to wiggle. They also didn’t cause any blisters or chaffing, and our testers’ feet remained cool without feeling chilled. When our testers got out of the water, they noted how effective the drainage was, with the best shoes having quick-dry materials like mesh that help expel water with every step. Then, our testers walked on several different surfaces with textures like sand and rocks to test the protection level and traction of the shoes. Our highest-rated shoes protected the feet from hot sand, sticks, and jagged rocks. The shoes with the best traction had a strong grip that stabilized our testers while walking over slippery surfaces. We only revealed the cost of each water shoe after our testers rated their other attributes. They gave high-value scores to affordable shoes whose impressive quality was surprising given their price and to more expensive pairs whose performance was truly worth an investment. 

Best Women’s Water Shoes

TRAVEL AND LEISURE / LINDSEY SWEENEY

Other Women’s Water Shoes We Tested

Several women’s water shoes performed decently but ultimately had a few weaknesses that prevented us from adding them to our list of the best. 

Chaco Torrent Sport Sandal: These sandals are comfortable to wear, but they hold on to water and don’t drain as well as other sandals we tested. 

Vifuur Water Shoes: These aqua socks have a thick and durable sole, but the upper material is thin and could be less protective than other water shoes we tried. 

Aleader Quick-drying Water Shoes: While another pair of Aleader water shoes made our best list, excellent traction couldn’t make up for the fact that we aren’t confident this material would hold up over time. 

Tips for Buying Women’s Water Shoes

Consider your primary use of water shoes

If you’re planning on hiking in your water shoes, a pair that is comfortable and supportive is a better choice than a pair that might look and feel like a regular shoe. "I would recommend shoppers assess what their day-to-day support and comfort needs are," Sanregret says. "Everyone has different levels of needs when it comes to footwear, so I would warn against 'unstructured' or minimal support in a water shoe if you're going to be on your feet all day and you typically don't wear that type of product in your day-to-day activities." 

Opt for a pair with drainage and quick-drying materials 

Sanregret shared that terms you will often hear when looking at water shoes are “hydrophobic” and “non-wicking,” which refer to materials that repel water. "We've been doing studies around quick-dry and drainage for our performance shoes, and one of the leading features we're focusing on is non-wicking materials [like cotton]," Sanregret says. "It sounds obvious, but if a shoe does a great job of not absorbing water, it often does a great job of drying quickly and staying lightweight after getting wet."

Frequently Asked Questions
  • How do I clean water shoes?

    When shoes get wet, they can often get a mildew smell if they don’t dry properly or get cleaned often. To prevent that smell from lingering, you can place your shoes in warm water with soap or detergent and let them air dry completely. You can also try odor-eliminating sprays or home remedies like vinegar to combat stinky shoes. 

  • When should I wear water shoes?

    Whether you’re in a river, lake, or ocean, there is never a wrong time to wear a pair of water shoes to protect your feet. Water shoes are designed to keep your feet cool and protect them from jagged rocks, hot sand, or other surfaces that may cause damage to the foot. Most water shoes have traction on the bottom of the shoe, which can stabilize you on slippery rocks in a river or lake, too. 

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

Anna Popp is a commerce writer at T+L, where she writes and reviews travel products. She has been travel writing since 2018 and product testing since 2021. Anna worked with travel editors to determine the results for women’s water shoes based on a series of real-world tests during which our testers went to rivers and beaches to hike, walk, and swim with each pair.

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Updated by
Taylor Fox
Taylor Fox, Commerce Updates Writer at Travel + Leisure
Taylor Fox is a Commerce Updates Writer at Travel + Leisure where she tests, researches, and writes about travel products. Taylor holds a Master’s in Geography and has been a writer and editor for over seven years.
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