The Best Water Shoes of the Summer Will Save Your Sole

From rocky beaches to scaling telephone poles, the best water shoes from Teva, Vibram, and others will give you the comfort and grip you need.

We like your feet. Hell, we love them. And as a wise person once said, “feet are the hands of the legs,” so you best treat them well wherever they go, from land to sea and beyond. In terms of the more wet and wild terrain, water shoes are a must-have piece of equipment for staying limber and comfortable. “Oh my god, why wouldn’t I like water shoes?” said one of my most stylish friends—and a self-professed lover of water shoes. “When I put on water shoes I transform into the amphibious, genderless bean that I was mean to be.” 

They’re not wrong. These days, water shoes vary in design from aquatic penny loafers and Vans to jelly slip-ons, mesh shoes, and more. They’re footwear that isn’t afraid to hug the groove of your sole—embrace those curves!—and flaunt a little toe cleavage; they’re somehow both post- and proto-Hobbit-core. 

And, aside from all the ways in which they have helped us sartorially, the best water shoes have also helped us practically. Have you ever tried to emerge from a rocky Italian beach (or literally any dumpster) in regular shoes? Of course not. Hit the water park in heels? Absolutely not. Traversed a wide creek in Chuck Taylors? Don’t even think about it. Water shoes are so smart and popular (and useful in a billion different outdoorsy scenarios) because they’re light as a feather, durable, drainable, and down to take you from the rapids of a river to the shores of a pebble-filled playa. We’re not saying Waterworld would have solved all of its problems with some water shoes, but Kevin Costner sure could have made his life easier with the right pair of Tevas. 

Throw some more shrimp on the George Foreman, and let's find the best men’s and women’s water shoes for every need and budget this summer. 

These water shoes have 16,000 reviews on Amazon

“I bought these to wear on my 5k Mud Run this weekend and let me tell you, they were perfection!!” writes one Amazon reviewer of Zhuanglin’s water shoes. “While everyone else was losing their shoes in the mud and having trouble getting water out of their shoes, mine were draining by themselves and feeling light as a feather!!” They’re made up of 90% extra-aerated mesh fabric, come in over 24 colors, and have earned an impressive 4.6-star average rating from over 16,000 reviews, making them one of the best must-have items on Amazon in the realm of water shoes.  

Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes

$21.99 at Amazon

Show some skin

You came all the way to Nice to peel off those workhorse clothes, drizzle yourself in olive oil, and soak up the sun. Don’t let bulky shoes kill your breezy beach vibe; opt for these slick Cressi water shoes once you hit la plage instead. “[I] prefer clear water shoes as they don't compete/clash with one's beautiful swim and coverup attire,” writes one Amazon reviewer. “These are neat looking on the foot and not clunky.” They come in nine different colors, but we’re partial to this one, which we’ll call “newborn jellyfish.” 

Adult Swimming Beach Shoes

$30.68 at Amazon

Remember: Crocs are amphibious

They don’t call ‘em Crocs for nothing. The iconic shoe has been rocking our world for 20 years now, from the high fashion runways of Balenciaga to the looks our uncles turn out at Midwestern state fairs, and we can’t get enough of it. They’re made out of a waterproof (and technically edible) foam called Croslite that provides a solid but springy layer between your feet and the ground, is extremely lightweight, and dries quickly. Catch us in the brand’s signature clog, which comes in over two dozen colors, and this cheery, banana-inspired pair this summer. 

Classic Clog
$29.24 at Amazon

$49.99 at Crocs

Classic Translucent Clog

$59.95$47.99 at Zappos

The best toe-hugging water shoes

We’re pretty sure Maison Margiela doesn’t make a water shoe version of its iconic Tabi boot, but these puppies from Vibram bring the same energy. They come in earthy gray and classic black colorways, and have earned a 4.5-star average rating on Amazon for their ability to transform folks into nimble, svelte spider monkeys. “They are by far my favorite shoes,” writes one reviewer. “Hiking, swimming, daily around the house. Nothing gives more versatility and balance.” 

Five Fingers V-Aqua Water Shoe
$94.95 at Amazon

$95 at Zappos

Teva’s lightest shoe yet

Not only is Teva’s Hurricane Drift sandal one of the best brand clout water shoes on our list, but it’s also one of the lightest, thanks to its fully injection-molded form. That weight matters, especially when you’re schlepping goods deep into nature for a hike or a swim. Plus, they’re made out of other deceased recycled Tevas from the TevaForever recycling program, which accepts any style of your well-worn Tevas so they’ll never see a landfill. 

Hurricane Drift

$40 at Teva

Between two blunts

Bring a bit of color to your toesies with these marbled water shoe slides by Merrell, which look like the more unbuttoned, microdosing cousin of Yeezys and have a 4.5-star average rating on Amazon. If you’re looking for a Technicolor water shoe that fastens onto your feets, REI is also slinging a pair of used Newport H2 water shoes for 55% off the OG price. 

Newport H2 Sandals

$129.95$58.47 at REI
Hydro Moc Water Shoe

$31.50 at Amazon

Yes, even UGG makes water shoes now

Who said capitalism doesn’t breed innovation? UGG boots have been a surf staple since 1978, and though the brand’s water shoe slides might look laid-back, the removable hook-and-loop back strap provides an adjustable and secure fit. They might not be your go-to water shoes for white water rafting, but they’re perfect for taking you to the bodega, the beach, and beyond. 

Sport Yeah Water Shoe

$59.95 at Backcountry

You’re coming straight from Warped Tour

Underneath those dark, side-swept bangs, there’s a person begging to go frolic at a pebble-filled beach. Van’s rubber slip-ons are waterproof, easily cleaned with a quick rinse, and have a tire-esque traction on the sole to get you where you’re going—and keep your regular Vans out of the sand.  

Slip-On Trk

$55 at Vans

See you at the lake. We’ll be the ones in the inflatable Cadillac.

The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals? Sign up for our newsletter.


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