Along with the joy of our beloved water activities comes some pesky frustrations: sand between your toes, jagged rocks, and frozen feet when you step out onto the shore. Water shoes are an easy solution, especially for activities like wild swimming where you find yourself scrambling over rocks and jumping between land and water.
Activities such as kayaking, sailing and paddleboarding can all be made a little more enjoyable with the help of a pair of water shoes. They’re also perfect for the beach, whether you’re exploring the Cornish Rock Pools or crossing the road for an ice cream.
In our roundup of the best water shoes, we’ve included a mix of styles – for men and women – with some resembling a sturdy shoe, and others offering a lightweight fit you can wear while swimming.
Take a look at our beginner’s guide to wild swimming, the best wild swimming spots in Britain and the best wild swimming spots near London.
Best Water Shoes for 2022
Helly Hansen Hurricane Water Shoes
If you find yourself scrambling over rocks and vegetation on your wild swimming adventures, you’ll probably need a pretty sturdy sole. These Helly Hansen water shoes feature a rubber sole for comfort and grip, so they shouldn’t feel too lumpy, while still providing protection in rockier terrain. A nice balance for many water activities.
Their slip-on nature makes them a no-brainer choice, ideal for family beach outings. Designed for women and recommended for coastal sailing, slip them on when you go around the boat and avoid annoying splinters.
The lightest and most flexible option on our list, ideal for wild swimmers who like the freedom to move naturally through the water. The fun pattern of these water shoes makes them a fun choice, and they feature thin soles and drainage holes.
They are also perfect for aquafitness or water aerobics classes. Although we tend to leave our shoes by the pool when participating in a class, the movement of jumping on the tiles can be hard on the feet. These water shoes are an affordable and simple solution, just put them on before your class.
These water shoes also need to be grippy enough for pool floors, so you can use them as an alternative to flip flops in the locker room.
Speedo Sport Water Shoes
Featuring Speedo’s surf knit technology for a breathable design, these water shoes should offer a comfortable fit. Like the Helly Hansen water shoes listed above, this style of water shoe works well for wild swimming in rough terrain, where stepping over rocks is part of the fun.
They’re at the higher end of the price scale, but from a reliable brand and with such a great design, you’re sure to get plenty of use out of them. As an added bonus, these water shoes are made with quick-drying material, perfect for water babies with lots of swims and beach trips on their agenda.
Astral Brewer 2.0 Shoes
For a much more structured, sneaker-like design, try these Astral water shoes. Designed for wet and slippery surfaces, these trainers feature front and back drainage holes, quick-drying canvas and water-resistant laces. They are much lighter and more flexible than their appearance suggests, but better suited to wet lands than a swim session in the sea.
With their casual design, they could be a lighter and more packable alternative to bulky waterproof hiking boots when heading out on a wet trail. They are also vegan.
Speedo Men’s Surfwalker Pro Mesh Water Shoes
Another Speedo water shoe design, this time in a men’s fit. The stretchy upper fit should make for a comfortable and secure feel, and we love their sleek, understated black look. Feel the benefits of grippy rubber soles on slippery surfaces, whether it’s a rock face or a swimming pool.
Men’s Bermuda Water Shoes
An economical Mountain Warehouse design that you can slip into your bag for a day at the beach. With a simple design in soft neoprene, slip them on and step out into the sea with confidence. They also come in an attractive green if you want to add a little color.
If you’re looking for something more rugged and durable for rocky terrain, it’s a good idea to opt for something more specialized, but these water shoes are a practical addition to your vacation suitcase for relaxed moments at sea. .
Do you want to book a holiday by the water? Find yourself a relaxing cabin by the river for the summer.