Best Beach Shoes
Chris Riley Updated on July 29, 2020.by
Boat Safe is a community supported site. We may earn comission from links on this page, but we have confidence in all recommended products.
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.
How to Find the Right Beach Shoes: A Few Things to Look For
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.