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Best Beach Shoes

Chris Riley by Chris Riley Updated on July 29, 2020. In Reviews

Whether you’re hunting for frogs, inspecting tidal pools for crabs, playing beach games, catching a few waves, or spending some time on the fishing boat, there’s nothing quite like a day on the beach. 

A day on the water is made even better, however, when nobody is complaining about sore feet. Enter the right pair of beach shoes. When you invest in a good pair of water shoes, you’ll have a pair of go-anywhere footwear with all the traction and support you need for a successful day out on the water. 

There are plenty of options out there that are sure to meet your needs, age, style, and preferences. Whether you’re shopping for beach shoes for a young child or an older adult, you shouldn’t have much trouble finding the perfect pair. 

Consider this guide to the best beach shoes – and consider stocking up on multiple pairs so you’re prepared for whatever the waves throw at you. 

1. Crocs Men's Swiftwater River Sandal

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Don’t worry – these aren’t your typical Crocs. 

Instead, these river sandals by Crocs are meant for the outdoorsman at heart, and they take beach shoes to the next level. Made out of Croslite foam and featuring the iconic level of comfort that Crocs is known for, these shoes are comfortable and easy to slide on and off. They have hook and loop closures and simple two-strap construction for easy dressing.

The soles are synthetic and offer a comfortable yet secure grip on any terrain. Available in three colors (black, espresso, and navy blue/slate gray), they have adjustable straps for a secure fit. These shoes are non-absorbent so they’ll siphon away water from your feet.

They’re perfect for all kinds of activities, from boating to swimming, gardening and hiking. Some reviewers even report using them for running! 

Pros

  • Great for water sports and even running
  • Has a non-marking, slip-resistant outsole
  • Comes with midsole drainage features

Cons

  • Not the best for saltwater use

2. Teva Women's Verra Sandal

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These sandals by Teva are some of the most comfortable you will find. They’re available in tons of different colors so you can get a pair for every outfit you might want to wear!

With popular options including black, gray mist, taupe, deep teal, drizzle, and more than a dozen other choices, the Verra Sandal is best for the stylish lady who doesn’t want to compromise when it comes to comfort. The shoes are made in the United States out of earth-friendly materials such as recycled polyester.

The shoes have simple hook-and-loop closures that allow for the shoes to slide easily on and off. No tonly that, but they have cushioned “Shock Pads” in the heel so that impact is absorbed exactly where you most need it to be absorbed.

The midsoles are made out of contoured EVA foam for extra support, while a nylon shank keeps your foot stable on uneven terrain. With rugged rubber outsoles that work well in wet conditions, these shoes not only provide excellent rating, but are also remarkably durable as well.

Pros

  • Has cushioned shock-absorption pads
  • EVA foam footbed
  • Comes with odor-preventing technology 

Cons

  • Straps are uncomfortable and tend to run too tight

3. Columbia Men's Drainmaker Iv Water Shoe

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If you’re looking for a water shoe that will drain water practically before you even realize your feet are wet, this water shoe by Columbia is the obvious choice. It’s a beach shoe that looks just like a sneaker, but it’s designed to be worn directly in the water.

Available in several colors, including black, phoenixx blue, and city grey, it has a full-rubber sole and advanced technology that allows for excellent impact absorption and cushioning.

The shoes are easy to slip on and off with adjustable straps and a convertible heel. It also has a rubber outsole that makes it durable and comfortable to wear, regardless of whether you’re relaxing on the beach or sitting on your fishing boat.

Pros

  • Can be worn for running and walking
  • Offers a secure fit
  • Easy on with heel pull tab

Cons

  • Can rub your ankles the wrong way

4. Stride Rite Kids' Made2play Phibian Lighted Water Shoe

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Finding the best beach shoes for kids can be a serious challenge – especially if you have a fussy child who doesn’t necessarily care about the latest trends (or functionality) but simply wants a shoe that’s fun to wear!

This beach shoe by Stride Rite certainly fits the bill. It’s available in sizes for toddlers and young children and comes in two colors – pink and blue. It has a rubber sole and is equipped with an easy-on adjustable strap for quick fitting. It has rubber traction on the outsole so you don’t have to worry about slips and falls along with a sewn-in tongue for additional comfort.

Made out of ventilated, quick-drying materials, it is easy to wash and keep clean. Oh – and dare we mention that it also lights up? Your child will absolutely love wearing these stink-free shoes!

Pros

  • Machine washable
  • Comes with non-slip rubber outsole pads
  • Anti-microbial and anti-odor features 

Cons

  • Only children’s sizing is available 

5. Merrell Men's All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoes

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Merrell is a top name to know when it comes to hiking and fishing attire, and these phenomenal beach shoes are no exception. Available In numerous sizes and colors, such as brindle, green, red, and castle rock, the shoes are made out of leather but have a synthetic sole.

Out of all of the beach shoes on this list, they are some of the most versatile. They have Neoprene collars for quick on- and off- fittings, along with quick drying features so you don’t have to worry about blisters. Nor will you have to dry your shoes off with your beach towel before you get back in the water.

Plus, these beach shoes are remarkably versatile. They can be used for practically any outdoor activity, from hiking to trail running and even kayaking.

You could even wear these stylish shoes to work! We certainly don’t blame you if you do.

Pros

  • Quick-drying to prevent blisters
  • Has a Neoprene collar for easy off and on
  • Slip-resistant midsole 

Cons

  • Can be slippery on slick surfaces

6. Vionic Women's Tide II Toe Post Sandal

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Another versatile beach shoe pick for women is this sandal by Vionic. Upon first glance at these shoes, you wouldn’t even expect them to be as comfortable as they are. However, looks can be deceiving!

The shoes are available in several colors, including pewter metallic, leopard, bronze metallic, and white. With an EVA midsole and a TPR outsole, the shoes have a fashionable thong style that is perfectly suited for any day at the beach. 

They’re great for alleviating heel pain and are easy to slide on and off. Designed by podiatrists, these beach shoes are excellent if you suffer from foot-related issues. They offer the utmost level of flexibility and support with a deep heel cup for support and comfortable foam. They reduce stress on your ankles and feet, and also dry remarkably fast.

Pros

  • Padded straps resist blisters and chafing
  • Comes with unique Orthaheel technology that makes wearing flip flops more comfortable
  • EVA foam midsole and TPR outsole 

Cons

  • Foam tends to flatten out over time

7. Aleader Women's Mesh Slip On Water Shoes

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Made out of mesh, these slip-on water shoes are designed for comfort, breathability, and quick drying times. They drain quickly and help disperse water while you’re wearing them, meaning you’ll be able to spend less time waiting around for your shoes to dry – and more time enjoying everything the great outdoors has to offer.

The impact foam of these shoes offers superior shock absorption, while the rubber outsole will give you better traction on wet surfaces. They are available in virtually every size as well as a range of colors, including black, white, navy, and dark gray.

Pros

  • Great sole grip and non-slip inner sole 
  • Lightweight feel 
  • Washable and breathable 

Cons

 

  • Small rocks easily become wedged in the treads of the shoe

8. Wave Runner Water Shoes for Women

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Last but not least are these beach shoes for women by Wave Runner (but don’t worry, fellas – they’re also sold for men as well). Available in several colors, including yellow and fuchsia, they are designed for a long day on the beach with a no-slip sole. The soles will help you keep safe when you’re walking around in sandy or muddy conditions with excellent traction for all kinds of settings.

Not only that, but these shoes are versatile enough to be worn for other activities, like hiking. They are made out of breathable quick-dry fabric (including mesh) so that you don’t have to wait hours for your shoes to dry (or suffer from blisters if you’re feeling less than patient). 

The shoes have anti-skid soles and multiple areas for drainage. Plus, with a breathable upper mesh and lace closure, you’ll find that these shoes are super simple to slide on and off. 

 

Pros

  • Fast-drying mesh 
  • Available in several different bright colors
  • Flexible yet durable rubber sole provides excellent traction

Cons

  • Sizing runs a bit large

How to Find the Right Beach Shoes: A Few Things to Look For

Type

There are several types of beach shoes you can choose from, including wet shoes, water shoes, water sandals, and boat shoes.

Most of the beach shoes we review in this article were water shoes. After all, this is the most common type of beach shoe you will find, for the most part. These shoes tend to be made out of materials that dry quickly, yet still offer all the comfort and traction of ordinary shoes. They are the most versatile ones you will find as well.

Wet shoes aren’t quite as common, since they don’t hold up as well in the sand. They are good choices for water sports like boating and paddleboarding. 

Water sandals are designed more for style than for traction. These shoes are more reinforced than regular sandals (and also tend to be more water-resistant) yet aren’t the best for all-day beach wear.

Finally, boat shoes are more for being at the beach and looking good than they are for comfort or function. These shoes are fine for spending time on large boats, like yachts, or for going fishing. However, they aren’t as good at withstanding the sand and surf.

Drainage

When you’re shopping for beach shoes, you need to consider how well the water and sand will drain out of your shoes. Shoes are not only uncomfortable to wear when they’re full of water and debris, but they can also cause blisters and serious problems for your feet. 

Not only that, but poorly-draining shoes will make it more difficult for your feet to grip the ground when you walk. You’ll lose traction and be more likely to fall.

Look for beach shoes that have effective drainage systems to get most or all of the water once they’re no longer submerged. Some beach shoes have built-in drainage ports while others have mesh upper builds or mesh panels to get water out. There are others that include drainage in the soles! 

Either way, look for shoes that will drain quickly and easily. You want water to leave as quickly as possible so that you can go back to enjoying your day on the beach in comfort. 

Breathability 

You might think that your feet won’t overheat during a day on the beach because you’re in or near the water. Think again! Believe it or not, it’s super easy for your feet to become overheated when you’re on the water. 

Water is refreshing,but you shouldn’t rely on it to keep your feet cool. Your body produces a ton of heat and it increases its heat as you move. When you’re moving around on the beach, heat can accumulate in your shoes, so it’s important to look for beach shoes with good airflow.

Mesh upper builds not only make your shoes dry out more quickly, but they also make water shoes more breathable. Look for targeted breathability that aims to reduce heat build-up in critical areas, such as near your soles. 

Durability 

Look for beach shoes that will last for more than a single summer season. There’s no point spending tons of money on beach shoes if you’re only going to wear them for one trip to the beach.

There are several factors to look for when you’re shopping for durable shoes. Unfortunately, buying from a large name brand won’t make you immune to defects. However, what will guard you from disappointment is shopping around with multiple brands – and reading as many customer reviews as possible. 

For the most part, poorly made shoes can be avoided by conducting a thorough examination of the shoe. Look at the stitching and the way the sole is glued. You want to avoid shoes that are threaded irregularly, as well as those with soles that are not glued well. 

Material

Pay close attention to the material that your beach shoes are made out of. Mesh is a popular option, since it’s breathable and allows water to drain. However, mesh is also easy to rip and very fragile, so it’s a tradeoff. 

You might want to look at other materials, such as polyester compounds. Some water shoes aren’t meant for the beach, as they are vulnerable to being damaged by saltwater. They are better for bodies of fresh water or for swimming pools. You’ll Want to research whether the beach shoes you buy are acceptable for use in saltwater or not. 

Maintenance 

How easy are your beach shoes to wash? You might think that beach shoes are pieces of clothing that never need to be laundered since they spend almost all of their time in the water. Think again! 

How long your shoes will last is largely dependent on how much care you put into maintaining your shoes. If you can, keep your shoes washed so that sand and other materials don’t degrade the fabric (or discolor it). At the very least, give your shoes a good rinse after a day at the beach. 

Flexibility and Support

A beach shoe should always have a certain level of flexibility, as should all other shoes. If your shoes don’t have a flexible sole, you’re going to have a much harder time walking around comfortably. 

Look for a beach shoe that allows your foot to move in a natural way without unnecessary arching or flexing. If the shoe lacks support, you’ll have a ton of heel and arch pain, too, so make sure it is supportive without too much flexing. 

Shock Absorption

Again, shock absorption is one of those features that might not matter much to you if you’re just in the market for a basic water shoe. However, if you plan on running, playing volleyball, or engaging in other high impact activities with your beach shoes, you may want to invest in a pair that has good shock absorption. 

After a full day with the wrong pair of beach shoes, you’re going to be feeling the hit! Remember, walking – even as close as across the beach to get another soda – impacts your feet. Even small movements add up after a long day on the beach. Look for beach shoes with good shock absorption to prevent unnecessary stress to your feet. 

Extra Features 

You aren’t going to find beach shoes with a ton of bells and whistles, but you can consider how multipurpose your beach shoe of choice is. 

For example, consider the sport you want to use your beach shoes for. If your shoes are only designed for one function, you will probably not wear them as often as you could if they were suitable for all settings. Some beach shoes come with specialized performance features – like an ability to be worn while running – that you may want to consider.

Why You Need the Perfect Pair of Beach Shoes

There are so many different options when it comes to beach shoes. To figure out the right pair for your needs, consider when, where, and how often you will be wearing yours. There are options out there for everyone, regardless of whether you want to look stylish or simply stay comfortable while you’re fishing on your boat or catching a wave. 

Ultimately, though, there is a perfect pair of shoes for everyone – and finding the perfect pair is absolutely necessary. If you’re headed to the ocean for a day of fishing, you can’t wear any old pair of sneakers. Not only are you likely to ruin them with the saltwater and sand, but they’re also going to cause your feet to overheat and become blistered. 

Nothing ruins fun in the sun quite like a foot filled with blisters! 

To prevent discomfort and maximize your time on the water, consider investing in one of these best beach shoe options. 

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