There’s something about the feeling of the warm sand in between your toes that makes you toss your flip-flops off – but there’s nothing fun about slipping on wet rocks or getting cuts from sharp ones. Snorkeling barefoot puts you at risk of cuts and abrasions from poisonous and sharp coral that demand immediate medical attention.
The best water shoes for snorkeling will depend on the kind of activities you will add to your tour; barefoot and closed-toe aqua shoes are ideal for all-round water activities while booties are a good option for deep cold waters, and sandals/flip flops for lightweight beach activities.
However, aqua footwear manufacturers generally tend to clump all types of water shoes under the heading of boots, even though technically not all of them are called so.
A proper classification would bring us to four categories in the water shoe world: socks, boots/booties, water shoes (barefoot & closed-toe) and fins shoes which are basically shoes with fins. Following is a review of the top shoes plus a buyer’s guide.
VIFUUR Water Sports Shoes Barefoot
The VIFUUR water shoes have made their way up to the number one best-selling and most-rated pair on Amazon.
They are affordable, lightweight, and are available in 27 different colors. The sizes range from children to adults.
The smooth neck design helps prevent chafing and can slip on or off with ease.
In addition to the rubber sole, the shoe tops boast a comfortable fit achieved by using smooth and breathable fabrics that are flexible and quick-drying
Their low-cut design gives the shoe an ‘airy’ feel while its high-elasticity and mesh upper gives them a better fit.
The uniquely studded soles with slightly raised bumps contribute to the traction in these shoes.
The overall design also makes it easy to pack them anywhere without losing their shape.
However, the vifuur pair is not the best choice if you’re looking for something that strong and durable. They’re still good choice if affordability is what you care about most.
SOBASO Water Shoes
Based on customer reviews SOBASO are arguably one of the best when it comes to comfort.
Compared to most of the shoes on our list, this pair has a design that stands out; a lightweight rubber sole without drain holes and plenty of upper mesh.
They come with open mesh upper that is breathable and as well as fast-drying.
It is a slip-on/off pair which means that you will not have any struggles to put them on and take them off. An additional elastic lace allows you to adjust the shoes easily.
The non-slip outsole promises a reliable traction-tread pattern on the sole grips on anything: wet grassy slopes, slippery rocks, slimy logs, wet muddy creeks, and river banks.
The fact the sole has no drain holes means you will have no sand, small gravel or mud pushed to under your fit.
Speedo Surfwalker Pro.
Speedo is one of the best companies when it comes to water sports accessories. This company has invested a lot in creating quality items that have changed how water enthusiasts interact with water.
The speedo surfwalker pro 3 water shoes are among the most sought and top rated. They come in a durable four-way stretch upper for easy off and on. They have S-Trac TPR outsole that provides excellent water management.
This quick-dry innovative pair is designed to protect your feet during your snorkeling trips. You can also use them inside a pool as well as at the beach.
Basing on user feedback, these shoes are worth a purchase. 72% of over 4000 ratings have given this pair a 5-star rating. Most customers agree that these are quality and functional water shoes hence they highly recommend them.
Unfortunately, they lack arch support. A notable number of verified buyers advice that you take your time to understand the sizing before ordering. Despite the complains they’re still some of the best out there.
Jointlycreating Men & Women Water Sports Shoes
Coming in a lightweight & flexible design, the jointlycreating slip-on quick-dry pair is ideal for beach walking especially before or after your snorkeling tour.
They come with a Velcro flap on top to help secure the shoe.
The rubber sole wraps around enough to give extra strength and protection to your toes
They have a unique and anti-slip outsole. The sole also has drainage holes to release water out fast.
Apart from water sports they can also be used for running, outdoor, yoga, driving, surf, pool, boating, shower, bathroom etc.
PENGCHENG Men’s & Women’s Water Sports Shoes
This pair of water shoes scores high in terms of looks. Pengcheng also comes with common aqua shoe features like quick-drying, elastic upper, ergonomic toe part and more.
In addition to the abrasion & skid-resistant non-slip light-weight outsole, they come with a honeycomb design breathable inner sole that prevents sweat as well as reducing smell.
Based on user review ratings, these are some of the best shoes. As of this writing (January 23, 2021), these shoes have almost 3000 global ratings. Over 70% Percent of the rating is positive, that is, a 5-star rating
Most complaints are based on the velcro straps, durability and sizing. Some users claim that the straps do not stay fastened. There is a number of verified users who say that these shoes do not last. Be sure to pick the right size.
ALEADER Men & Women Quick-Drying Water Shoes
They come with a durable, quick-drying and breathable upper mesh. They are rubber-soled which makes them light. They feature a slip-on design for easy on/off.
ComforDry sockliner and arch support insole provides the optimum cushioning performance that creates a cooler, drier and healthier shoe environment.
Solyte midsole provides an exceptionally lightweight midsole with excellent bounce-back and durability
Water Grip and cushion outsole provides exceptional traction in wet and slippery conditions to offer you good performance on your water aerobic activities.
On Amazon, there are thousands of customers who have shared their thoughts on these shoes. The majority of the feedback is purely positive.
Most customers agree that they’re comfortable, light-weight, fitting, easy to wear and durable.
One of the main downsides is that the holes in the sole, which are meant to drain water fast, create openings where small rocks/pebbles get stuck. This pair isn’t quite good for stony beaches.
Barerun Barefoot Quick-Dry Water Sports Shoes
What the barerun hit best is price. This pair is one of the most affordable in our list.
These socks style shoes come with breathable and smooth fabrics(polyester) with fine stretch on uppers.
The wearable thick rubber sole is designed to protect your feet from being hurt by sharp objects when in water
A smooth-neck design prevents chafing when wearing these water shoes. Easy on and off. You can use them inside and outside the water.
Out of almost 13000 ratings, over 68% have given these shoes a 5-star rating. Basing groups and interests rating, snorkelers have given these shoes the highest rating. Customers who have criticized them say that the quality of the material does not last long. There are complaints about them being a bad choice for wide feet.
L-RUN Water Shoes Barefoot Skin Shoes
With a 3D ventilation cycle, this unisexual shoe is suitable for the entire family. It is available in an array of sizes and styles for everyone – including half sizes, for a perfect fit. The breathability of the shoe makes it a good option for children. The shoe dries off itself and maintains a healthy environment for your feet.
The L-Run’s 720-degree mesh design lends to its incredible drying time, while the lifespan of the shoe can extend by adding a separate double-padded toe-holder.
Rather than incorporating a rubber sole like most water shoes, L-Run has assimilated mesh into a perforated sole which allows water to flow out of the shoe freely. These water hiking shoes are considered the best regarding breathability, comfort, fit and functionality.
The above two (L-Run and Vifuur) are the best if you are more of a sneaker-person.
Body Glove Men’s 3T Barefoot Cinch Water Shoe
Compared to most the aqua shoes in this list, Body Gloves 3T barefoot Cinch have quite a unique look…as you can see from the picture.
They provide a barefoot feeling water experience; a zero-heel lift and low-profile ultra-grip outsole provide maximum traction and ground feel.
The design of these toe shoes includes quick-dry materials and an Integrated Drainage System (IDS) to allow water and air to move freely making them ideal for any water activity
Positive reviews from verified buyers are continuously growing. Over seventy percent of the buyers are happy with the purchase. They are durable, comfortable, and perform well on tough surfaces.
Their price is slightly high. The major complaint is sizing but if the instructions on sizing are followed, you’re unlikely going have a problem.
Mishansha Men & Women Water Shoes.
They come with a spandex fabri upper with a rubber sole. The upper is a fast-draining/drying breathable ultra-light-weight fabric that can easily stretch.
The shoes are flexible, comfortable and easy on/off. It also comes with elastic straps for custom fit.
These can be used not only water sports but also other activities that do not involve water.
They have almost 15000 global ratings out of which 74% is a 5-star rating. Most agree that it scores high in the looks department. It also fits well and it is durable.
One critical review that most people have found useful is that this pair has a bad grip on some wet surfaces. There are also claims that they’re not well fitting for individuals with wide feet. Overall, this is one of the best water shoes for your next snorkeling trip.
Zhuanglin Women’s & Men’s Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes
These are made up of 90% fabric open mesh with a holed-rubber sole to allow breathability and quick-drying and are available for both ladies and gentlemen. The design is very similar to that of Aleader shoes
These are amongst the top-rated water shoes on Amazon ( almost 10k ratings 70% 5-stars)
Top complaints are the huge water draining holes at the bottom where small rocks get stuck. Some users have also complained of how easily sand gets in through the openings. The lace lock is also rendered useless once sand has got inside.
SIMARI Women and Men Water Shoes
The upper is composed of comfortable fabric (92% polyester) that is breathable and quick-drying. They come in different styles and colors. They’re light-weight hence portable.
Smooth neck designed prevents chafing when wearing our water shoes. Unique sole design, with an ergonomically molded, shock absorption performance cushioning separated to protective toe.
The soles are made of TPR materials with excellent air permeability and non-slip resistance. The sole can protect your feet from sharp objects and hot sand.
Simari shoes have almost 12000 ratings; 72% 5-star rating. Most customers highly recommend these shoes. They are comfortable, light-weight, affordable, protective and perfect especially for the beach. The few customers who have given them bad review say that they are of low quality. They do not last. Some have issues with size.
Crocs Swiftwater Mesh Sandal
Crocs’ water shoes are among the most popular brands when it comes to outdoor footwear. For beach walking and snorkeling these sandals are an excellent choice for huge guys.
They come with a quality thick sole that can protect you during your trips be it in water or on the shores
Dreamcity Women’s & Men’s Water Shoes
Dreamcity shoes share a lot, in terms of looks and features, with Zhuagnlin and Aleader water shoes. Where the is notable difference is the price. Dreamcity are cheaper compared to the other two. They come with obvious features like light-weight, rubber sole, breathable upper, quick-drying and more.
67% out of 3800 ratings are 5-stars. Generally, most buyers would recommend them.
Negative reviewers have mostly complained about the laces that do not funtion, not-comfortable material, non-lasting.
MOERDENG Men & Women Water Shoes
These sneaker-like quick-dry aqua footwear come in TPR high elastic material anti-slip mat that offer excellent anti-skid performance. The flexibility of the material from which they are made up of makes foldable enough to fit in your pocket hence, they are very portable.
Like the other water shoes above, these are one of the top shoes on Amazon with over 1000 customer reviews. A majority of the ratings are postive. The low-raters claim that the upper is not durable.
YALOX Water Shoes/Socks
Like the other shoes in the list, these are super light-weight, breathable upper that easily drains out water. They are affordable and are available for men, women, boy and girls and can be used not only for snorkeling but also other water activities.
A decent percentage of the customers recommend these socks based on price, lightweight and the fact that they do not allow in sand.
However, there’s a substantial number of customers who have complained that they do not last. Overall, most buyers have rated them well.
Alternatively, you can also buy a pair of sturdy flip-flops such as the ‘Reef Slammed Rover’ by Reef. Many snorkelers prefer to wear their closed-heel fins without any internal protection.
They generally wear the flip-flops into the water until they are deep enough to change into their fins easily. You can also use these sandal when relaxing on the beach or shores.
You can check out Reef Fanning Men’s/Women’s Sandals which have been rated 4.5 stars and are bestsellers.
These shoes’ most innovative feature is the bottle-opener which has been incorporated into the sole of the shoe. Additionally, the Reef Fanning also boasts of anatomical arch support and an ergonomically designed footbed. Two surfers founded Reef’s shoes, and their shoes are made for better functionality in wet areas, the outer sole is made of Reef Icon Herringbone Rubber which provides greater traction. The sandal absorbs shock, and its foot-bed is contoured by compressing molded EVA foam, this provides relief and support during your adventures.
Women can look into the Reef Fanning’s female model which features the same elements as its male counterpart.
Spenco’s Yumi Sandal
Spenco’s Women’s Yumi Sandal is also a wonderful flip-flop option which provides the traction and grip needed in water and is also Amazon’s choice of footwear. Additionally, they are available for men and women — Twinning!
If you do choose this option, make sure the flip-flops you invest in have a loop at the back; this will be needed to hook them onto your snorkeling belt once you are ready to put your flippers on.
Snorkeling Shoes with Fins
These shoes are also known as fin shoes or topside snorkel fins. They perform well on land and in the sea. You can walk in them around the beach as well as swim with them in the water.
One of the best brands of this design is Wildhorn.
Wildhorn fin shoes come with the following features.
Detailed sizing info
Comfort- the closed toe and heel prevent cramping and hypertension in your foot. Each fin has an adjustable Velcro strap around the ankle to provide further support. The neoprene boot allows for flexibility in sizing as the material has some stretch.
They are highly versatile. You can use them for multiple water activities
Lightweight and Travel ready. They will fit easily into a carry-on or backpack. No need to suffer through low quality rental gear.
They also freely float which means that they will contribute to your overall buoyancy
[amazon box=”B07CBN9MQY” title=”Wildhorn Topside Hydro Fins” description=”With Wildhorn, you have both aqua shoes and fins in one product that can be used both on land and in the sea.” ]
Snorkeling Aqua Shoes Buy Guide: Considerations & Features to look for.
If you want to have the perfect pair of snorkeling water shoes, there are several factors you should consider. Following are some aspects and features you should look into.
This is one of the most obvious factors to consider. With the right size/ fitting shoes, you will be assured of comfort and maximum fun at the beach.
Most water shoes seem to be made with men’s shoe sizes in mind. Women and children have to be extra careful when buying these and make sure the size number correlates to their actual size.
Some manufacturers offer small, medium and large instead of numerical sizes, which can be even more confusing. Look around their website or trusted sites such as Amazon for a sizing chart.
Make sure the shoe fits you comfortably. If your foot is moving around, it is the wrong size! The shoes should fit like a glove
When buying water shoes take time to look through the materials they are made out of. Since water shoes are used in dry and wet terrains, you will want to make sure beforehand that your shoes are soft, flexible and can air out quickly.
The worst feeling to have while hiking is squishy feet; which can also lead to blisters.
The best water shoes are those designed in a way to allow water to drain out easily. Without this, your feet will get heavy and could even be pulled off your foot.
Go for shoes with that are created with a mechanism to allow water out. These mechanisms include drain holes either in the soles or porous top materials. Most brands use materials such as Lycra, neoprene and mesh that automatically lets water out.
Remember, normal shoes are not made for water-based activities and easily get wet. Also, once they get wet, they begin to weigh down.
This is all about the grip of the shoes on a surface. It depends on how the bottom of your water shoes has been designed. Some water shoes come with holes in them to let water drain while others have studs to enhance your grip.
Go for shoes with a stronger grip in case you’re going to snorkel in areas with rocky shores. If where you are going to is a flat sandy beach, the grip is not a big deal.
Quick drying water shoes
How fast your shoes will dry, once you are outside the water, is very important. You don’t want your feet to stay wet for the entire day. This all comes down the material from which the shoes are created and the overall design of the shoes.
Go for shoes made from synthetic fabrics that do not retain water. Stay away from water-absorbing materials such as cotton; this will definitely weigh you down. In addition, ensure the shoe is designed in a way that will allow water get drain out easily and fast.
Ease of Slip on/take off
Look for features that will allow you to put the shoes on and take them off as quickly as possible with minimal effort.
These features include an easy-to-use zipper or pull tabs at the heel. Elastic materials that expand can also work well.
Easy put-on and take-off shoes save you a lot of time and energy. In fact, this is very crucial, especially for the elderly and kids.
Cushion / Shock Absorption for Comfort
For extra comfort and protection, cushioning or shock absorption is very necessary. Opt for shoes that feature firm and well-fitting padding built into them. Comfortable insole to also helps with arch support. Avoid shoes with big drain holes.
Further Reading on Snorkeling Footwear
Do You Need to Know How to Swim to Snorkel
Full-face Snorkel Masks vs Traditional/Regular Masks
How Does a Snorkel Work?
How Much Does it Cost to Snorkel??
Top Snorkeling Quotes, Funny Puns & Jokes for your Captions
Best Snorkel Gear
Best Full Face Snorkel Masks
Best Snorkeling Vests/Jackets: Inflatable & Buying Guide
Best Underwater Cameras for Snorkeling
Best Waterproof Bags & Backpacks for Snorkeling and Other Beach Activities
How to Clean a Snorkel Gear: Snorkel Mouthpiece, Mask, and Fins
Complete Snorkeling Gear Guide: Choose the Perfect Equipment for Your Next Underwater Adventure