A Practical Guide to Finding the Best Water Sandals
When it’s time to stow away the winter boots and bring out the spring and summer sandals, you want to be prepared. Imagine your closet. You look at your shoe collection and see you’ve got your flip flops, wedges, strappy sandals and even those complicated lace-up gladiator sandals that you splurged on last year.
But you’re not sure any of those options will cut it for those future days at the beach and that lake trip with your girlfriends toward the end of the summer—and you don’t want any of those beloved shoes to get wet as they could get damaged or ruined. Even more importantly is that they could become slippery and cause you to lose balance or fall.
What you need, then, is a great new pair of water sandals. In this guide, we’ll go over everything you need to know about water sandals, including necessary components and some of the best models out there today!
Keep reading to find out which sandals are perfect for you this year!
What Makes a Great Water Sandal?
Let’s start by asking ourselves a simple question: what exactly makes a great water sandal? As you’ll find out, the best water sandals come with a great number of features, including traction, arch support, comfort, durability, style. Let’s take a look at each of these in turn:
First and most important consideration is great traction. As the name implies, water shoes are meant to be worn in wet and slippery areas. This means you’ll want an option with deep lugs on the outsoles to give you that extra safeguard from falling.
As an extra tip, to ensure there are no trips or falls, it’s recommended to never wear water shoes with slippery or worn-down soles, smooth leather or plastic soles, or synthetic soles.
- Arch Support
The best water sandals for women also come with arch support. This provides extra cushion and weight-bearing support for the arches of the feet for a safer and more comfortable walking experience. This experience typically comes in the form of EVA or PU midsoles that absorb shocks and support the foot’s natural arches.
The best water sandals allow for the ability to adjust for foot security and comfort. Simply put, you want a shoe that can accommodate your foot size and your weight, so going for an adjustable option is always best. This is especially true when considering that adjustability also correlates with safety (as a shoe that fits better, walks better).
Part of comfort also comes in the form of quick removal and quick-drying capabilities. You’ll want both of these if you are planning on hiking or trekking anywhere that’s substantially wet. Sandal straps are also really important as this can keep the shoe firmly attached to the foot whereas a non-secure shoe (like a more traditional looking thong flip flop) could have painful effects and lead to injuries whether they’re non-slip or not. A good strap system can sometimes pale in comparison for buyers when debating the value of other technical options such as heel drop, depth and material. However, having straps in place will ensure you have the proper fit at all times—including when your sandals get wet.
Of course, the best water sandals for women will also come in a style you won’t be ashamed of. Let’s face it: many of the traditional items on the market just don’t cut it when it comes to fashion. Fortunately, there are a variety of options out there that won’t just make you feel better—they’ll make you look better, too. Keep reading to see the top stylish water sandals out there today!
Everyone knows that annoying squeaky and squishy feeling you get when water gets trapped under a regular footbed and just won’t dry. It can be a huge pet peeve and one of those small annoyances that can ruin your day.
If you like a low maintenance look, appreciate functionality over style and like to pack light, then you’re probably on the lookout for an all-around functional sandal that can get wet, won’t slip and will still look stylish for any events you have after the activity is over.
Other important characteristics when selecting a water sandal include the following features: adjustable, stable, roomy enough, max 1-inch heel good condition and motion control.
Follow along with our indispensable guide on the best women’s water sandals for this warm-weather season.
Water Sandals for the Beach
So you’re headed on a beach day. You’re probably looking for a sandal that is easy to put on and take off so you can go barefoot in the sand. You also know that the sandal might get wet and want it to dry quickly so you’re not stuck with a sandy foot for the rest of the day.
But you know that your normal flip-flops are flimsy and won’t give you enough support for comfort throughout the day. In fact, it’s not even worth trying it because you already know where it’s going to end up.
We’ve all had that experience when expecting to step into soft, squishy sand and instead encountering what feels like the heat of a thousand suns. You end up hobbling left and right, pretending that the sand is lava until you reach the water and finally get to dip your toes in and cool off.
On a typical summer day, you can probably expect to see beach bums lathering up in sunscreen. But very few of us do this correctly—whether you’re using lotion or spray, we’ve been burned one too many times by both.
Your feet are one of the main body parts to get sunburnt. This is because they’re an ample flat surface area for the sun to hit and most people neglect to rub sunscreen in and around their toes or the sides of their feet. Wearing sandals, as well as being diligent about your sunscreen application, can help combat sunburn and protect your feet from hot surfaces.
Taking all this into consideration, it’s time to take a look at the best water sandals for the beach. We’ve put together a list of stylish options that will also give you the comfort, support, and protection you need to truly take your beach vacation to the next level.
Without further ado, our top picks are:
- The Viakix Samara Sandal
The Viakix Samara Sandal is a perfect choice when looking for a great water sandal. This comfortable athletic sandal checks all the boxes in terms of style, comfort and waterresistance. The samara sandal can service as you everyday walking sandal as well with its thick comfortable EVA foam midsole, which provides more cushioning and reduces stresses on the joints. At a price under $50, these water sandals are a more budget friendly option.
All Viakix water and saltwater sandals come with an ergonomic outsole, fully equipped with a shank stabilizer to provide exceptional arch support. The front webbing is made out of elastic textiles to provide a soft, custom fit. The sandals have a Velcro strap on the ankle to adjust and customize to your needs.
- The Croc’s Swiftwater Sandal
The Croc’s Swiftwater Sandal is a super lightweight and versatile multipurpose sandal that’s easy to flip on and off without being a flimsy flip-flop. Its flexible and comfortable straps hug your feet and the flex outsole grooves increase traction for a no-slip experience.
They’re water-friendly in nature and will serve you at the beach or at the lakeside restaurant. Currently priced around $39, they’re a super affordable option for your go-to summer sandal.
Croc is a newer company that started in 2002 with their stylistically controversial original (and now iconic) Croc design. Even if you don’t like the look of their design, once you slip your foot in a Croc, you can’t argue with the comfort. That’s probably because they believe comfort is the key to happiness and that their shoes make the world a happier place.
- Aerothotic Saltwater Sandals
Priced around $29, the Aerothotic saltwater sandals are perfect to take some wear and tear without breaking the bank. With 100% EVA soles and roomy toe arenas, these are recommended for medium arches. These are structured with molded straps to keep the foot secure.
Water Sandals For Hiking
Many of us are under the terrible misconception that the only footwear appropriate for hiking is a good pair of boots. But during the warm-weather season, it’s so much more pleasant to hike in a supportive, quick-drying sandal.
This is because a close-toed shoe is very hard to keep water out, even if they are claimed to be “waterproof.” During your hike, you might encounter wet grass, a body of water that you’ll have to cross or possibly a spring or summer rainstorm.
That’s why it’s important to wear a water shoe with built-in ventilation—a sandal! While wading through situations like this, it’s easy for water to enter at the top where you insert your foot.
The only real solution to keep water out is to wear long pants and tuck them in, but that tends to be an uncomfortable option for higher temperatures.
You should also feel wary of hiking in a shoe that does not have quick-drying tendencies as it could lead to slipping, injuries or trapped sweat or moisture. If you’ve ever stayed in the bath or pool too long, you know that your skin gets pruned and super soft. This could also lead to inflammation and general pain and discomfort throughout your trip.
Just think of how fragile and soft the skin is in that prune-like state. It can easily lead to the breaking of the skin and blisters. Wear a hiking sandal and incorporate these self-care tips into your hiking routine:
- Apply a balm to your feet before and after hiking
- Wear shoes that easily drain out water
- Carry an extra pair of insoles and socks to make sure your feet are comfortable and recuperating after the hiking activity is finished.
So what sandals do we recommend for hiking? Let’s take a look:
- Napali Hiking Sandal
One of Viakix’s most popular pair of shoes for women is the Napali Hiking sandal. It has four adjustable straps to get the perfect, comfortable fit every time.
Crafted with a premium durable wedding, these adjustable walking sandals fit narrow to wide feet and are ready for the water or any sports activity. The are a great option for the saltwater, lakes, rivers, or for your next casual hike.
The Napali sandals contain our ergonomic insole—fully equipped with the Viakix arch stabilizer technology—to provide the perfect amount of arch support.
Currently priced at $49.99, it’s one of the most affordable hiking sandal options for a fun trip. These stylish sandals are available in blue, black and grey, they’ll match just about any athleisure outfit.
Saltwater Sandals for the Beach
Want to take your beach sandals up a notch? Consider the saltwater sandal option below:
- Merrell’s Hydrotrekker Sandal
A outdoor saltwater sandal option is Merrell’s Hydrotrekker sandal. The Women’s Hydrotekker Strap sandal is trail-capable and built to dry out fast while protecting your feet from the outside world.
The light-weight shoe features water-friendly upper webbing, EVA anchors, and three-point straps for a secure fit. It also boasts easy traction in and out of water.
Priced at $90, these are somewhat of an investment but affordably priced for the quality. But your feet and mind will be put at ease when you learn that their ¼-inch thick heel counter was designed to last a decade. Put that to the test, won’t you?
Outdoor Sandals for The Gym or Campground
This isn’t exactly a warm-weather activity, but if you belong to a gym or visit a campground, you’re probably familiar with a communal shower situation. And if you are familiar, you know that it’s not necessarily the smartest idea to go into it bare-footed.
But you certainly don’t want to wear your shoes. This is because warm and moist environments are a breeding ground for dangerous bacteria that could lead to athlete’s foot. To prevent this, wear shower sandals so the water can drain, make sure you’re drying well in between your toes and don’t put socks on until they’re completely dry.
Maybe you’ve even lived in a dorm during your college days and known the slickline you’ve toed wearing slippery flip flops. It’s much safer to have a sturdy and quick-drying pair that will stay clean and reliable to pack in your gym bag or your weekend bag for a trip.
What model do we recommend? Let’s see:
- ATIKA Outdoor Water Sports Sandal
The ATIKA Outdoor Water Sports Sandals has adjustable shock padding along the straps and sides with padded inner lining. Its 3D mold with contoured footbed fits closely to the foot bottom.
Its good grip ensures traction on all surfaces—even a slick shower bottom. Priced at around $37, these are a great option to throw in your bag or just keep in your gym locker!
Water Sandals for Canoeing or Kayaking
So you’re going out on the river! Canoeing or kayaking are sure to get your feet wet. It’s easy for your small boat to take on water, and you’ll most likely have to wade in a foot or two when entering or exiting the canoe at the dock.
For this reason, you want a pair of water shoes that will keep your feet safe and dry. For this purpose we recommend the following:
- Keen Uneek Water Shoe
The Keen Uneek Water Shoe is definitely one of the most unique shoes we’ve laid our eyes on (probably the inspiration behind the name). Its new-school style is almost like a shoe from the future. Keen calls it a “sandal in the front, sneaker in the back.”
It has gum-rubber accents on the sole and cords that can adapt to the foot shape and size. Its design philosophy hinges on the metatomical footbed technology that’s anatomically engineered to provide arch support and cradle the natural contours of the foot.
Priced at around $100, these are the perfect shoe to wear when paddling your canoe or kayak. They’re also for sure to receive compliments on the river.
Water Sandals for Camping
Are we out of the woods yet? If you’re headed on a camping trip, you’ll want a sandal that will keep your feet cool and protected from debris. It’s important to have a water-friendly sandal to wick your foot from sweat and keep your feet dry when crossing creeks or streams. You still want to wear them during a bonfire while roasting mallows or during an epic card game on the cabin porch with the family or friends.
Fortunately, we know just the perfect sandal for it:
- Teva Original Universal Sandal
The Teva Original Universal sandal is the company’s first and some may say the greatest. According to the company, it stands as a testament to timeless comfort and utilitarian style.
The shoe’s “boomerang” style is part of a collection that celebrates the Grand Canyon’s 100th year as a National Park. And for good reason—the company started back in 1984 from the shores of the Grand Canyon.
It was born out of the idea to prevent sandals from floating downstream when a river guide strapped two Velcro watch bands to a pair of old flip-flops. You can purchase these sandals for around $50.
It has water-ready polyester webbing that’s durable but dries super quickly. It has an EVA foam footbed for a comfortable day and an easy strap-in system to ensure the right and an easy on and off wear.
Water Sandals for Boating
Headed on a simple three-hour tour? (We all know that turned out to be a little longer.) Boating can be fun but somewhat brutal—you need sandals that have grip so you can navigate around the boat while it’s out on the friendly seas.
Plus, you’re essentially out in the middle of a sea with little to no protection from the sun. If you’re fishing or doing a combination of swimming off the boat, there most likely will be encounters with water or a bit of water on board.
Maybe you’re planning on doing backflips off the end but still want your shoes to stay with you—your strap system is super important here. Okay, who are we kidding, you’re totally doing a cannonball! Our best advice besides water-friendly shoes? Don’t forget sunscreen.
So what sandal do we recommend?
- Salt-Water Sandal
The Salt-Water Sandal has been a staple in fashion and functionality since 1944. They boast a hand-stitched, non-slip, molded rubber sole and scuff-resistant water-friendly leather. And the tan color has the most amount of history, first made from scrap World War II boot leather.
It’s the perfect shoe with style for when you’re hanging out with friends for a fun day on or off the boat.
- Teva Women’s W Voya Infinity Flip-Flop
The Teva Women's W Voya Infinity Flip-Flop boasts water-ready polyester webbing that dries out quickly after getting wet. Described as a flip flop, this sandal’s EVA-foam outsole supports the foot and its soft sole cushions form to it.
Currently priced around $30, this is an affordable option for a lightweight, no-fuss or frills boating shoe.
Water Sandal for Vacation
You’re headed on vacation! We know—even the thought of it makes you want to celebrate. If you’re going somewhere wet, you’re probably looking for a pair of shoes that can do it all. The ones you can throw in your backpack and go from activity to activity in comfort and style while still being able to sport them to dinner later at night.
You might think that no water shoe could fit the bill. You’d be wrong. Coming up, we’ll go over two stellar options that will help make any vacation next-level:
- Sea Star Seafarer Slingback
This stylish, athletic sandal is the perfect choice for your next waterside adventure! It features a classic espadrille style that can be perfectly paired with athleisure, jeans, or a dress.
Simply put, this option boasts impressive comfort and style while offering the same quick-drying tendencies as the more athletic-looking shoes on the market. You’ll be impressed by its water-friendly neoprene upper and protective rubber deck shoe sole.
Available in colors black, navy and white, they’ll match with nearly any outfit option in the suitcase. Starting at around $95, this isn’t the cheapest pair of water sandals out there, but they were so unique we wanted to highlight them. If you’ve got a bit of money to put to your wardrobe, you don’t want to miss out on trying these shoes for yourself.
- Samara Sandal
The Samara sandal can also be that perfect Swiss army knife of travel sandals. While the upper webbing is water resistant and the outsoles provide superior traction for water activities, the stylish look also allows you to wear the pair as your all-day travel sandals too.
If you are doing a lot of walking, the top-quality midsole cushioning helps cut down on foot pain while increasing your comfort on long trips. Designed with foot support and comfort in mind, these sandals can get you through an entire day while giving you the impression that you’re walking on air.
But don’t take our word for it. Try them out for yourself!
Summing It All Up
Choosing the right water-friendly sandal could make this the summer to remember! The right pair gives you the ability to tackle whatever outdoor adventure you have planned, whether it’s kayaking with your friends or trekking unknown terrain with our loved ones. More importantly, a quality pair of water sandals will provide you with the necessary arch support, comfort, and durability to maintain your foot health and get the most out of your next vacation.
What does this mean for you? Simply put, it means that it’s time to use this guide as your ultimate reference for finding the right water sandals for you. In this piece, we went over some of the best insider tips and discussed the best models out there today.
So what are you waiting for? It’s time to find your pair of water shoes and have that adventure you’ve been dreaming of!
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