How to Choose Water Sandals

Finding the Best Pair of Womens Water Sandals

When you’re walking in murky water, sometimes it’s best not to know exactly what’s under your feet. I don't want to know what sorts of critters I'm stepping on! The only thing you need to know is that your little piggies are well protected from whatever lies below. That’s where owning a great pair of water shoes comes in handy! Now, I never go into the water without my sandals. I don't have to think about where I'm stepping or if I'm going to get stung by something.

The right pair of water shoes (aka swim shoes, aqua shoes, pool shoes) will give you the freedom to go wherever you want go—whether that’s hiking the Napali coast (Kauai, Hawaii), rafting down the Colorado River, or just lying on a beach reading your favorite novel. As we will discuss, there are several “musts” you should consider when purchasing your next pair of water shoes: your aquatic shoes should be easy to clean, quick to dry, and should provide the traction you need, for starters. And of course, your kix should look great too!

What you put on your feet is highly personal. Just like other types of footwear, water shoes should appeal to the heart as much as to the senses. You want to feel good with your aquatic footwear and be able to use them even when you're fishing, boating, or even when you don’t plan on getting wet. It's better to always protect your feet from the ground and anything that could possibly cut or hurt you.

This guide looks at the best pair of water sandals for women. We know—you’re itching to see which pairs made the top of our list. However, we want you to consider these six things BEFORE you purchase your next pair of water shoes:

The Best Water Shoes Focus on Quality


Most modern water shoes are designed with traditional as well other synthetic materials. When you are out hiking through mountain trails that zigzag across rivers or streams, you need a pair of breathable water shoes that provide ventilation for your feet and an outsole that can absorb all the shocks. In contrast, when you are in the pool or the ocean, you will appreciate lightweight materials that allow for effortless underwater movement.

Irrespective of the terrain, all water shoes should share one common trait -- the materials for water shoes should drain quickly and not absorb the water. Shoes that retain water will stay wet for longer. We have done dry time testing and discovered that some materials actually took 3-4 days to dry.

Shocked? We were, too. This is way too long for a high quality water shoe (or for any shoe for that matter). Dry times that span multiple days will set up a moist environment that facilitates yeast and bacterial growth. Inevitably mold will form, contributing to stinky shoes, smelly feet, and the potential for foot fungus! Yuck!

When looking for your next pair of water shoes, carefully examine the materials the manufacturers use. Viakix has done a lot of testing to ensure that the materials we use ventilate and dry quickly. Furthermore, our light water shoes will keep your feet protected without weighing you down.

The Makings of a Great Water Shoe

Most water shoes don’t have all the extra padding that you will find with regular street sneakers. However, a great pair of water shoes will not require you to make a tradeoff between function and comfort. A well-constructed pair of aquatic shoes will give you the comfort you need—from the sole to the upper materials—so that you can focus on your water activities. I love wearing water shoes, because I don't have to think about my feet! I get to focus more on (winning) the game.

At Viakix, we build our water shoes and sandals from the bottom up and always use high quality outsoles to ensure that you have enough support and comfort, without sacrificing the weight that you need for your water sports.   Our amphibious shoes have high-quality rubber soles and extremely tough construction, making them excellent for hiking through rivers or for your next water aerobics class.

The key to great fitting water shoes is that they should fit snug, but not so tight that they become uncomfortable to wear. The right fit will ensure that your shoes stay on your feet in the roughest of waves and will not float off to sea! The binding around your ankles should keep your feet engaged in the water shoe, thereby reducing the degree to which your foot slides around when wet.  

As mentioned above, the best water shoes should feel airy and light. Our customers often comment that they feel like they are not wearing any shoes when wearing our Viakix. Maybe we should start making underwear too?

Good Water Shoes are Water Resistant


Before we move forward, we feel it’s our duty to dispel one myth about water shoes—your aquatic footwear is NOT waterproof. Said another way, water shoes are not designed to be impervious to water. Waterproof materials tend to be very stiff and are not comfortable when walking for long periods of time [hint: think of going for a long hike in your rain boots!]. And you certainly do not want to walk through deep water with waterproof footwear.

Water shoes, on the other hand, are water RESISTANT. At least the good ones are. These shoes are designed with meshes that allow air to circulate through the shoe when drying. The same mesh that helps keep the sand and mud from entering the shoe provides that airy feeling when above the surface. Some options even come with drainage holes in the outsole to provide for superior drying functionality.


But how exactly doe these shoes get dry so quickly? It has to do with the materials used, most of which are made out of synthetic fibers. Unlike natural fibers like cotton, synthetic fibers do a great job at repelling water. This is why many water shoes use non-absorbing materials like nylon and polyester. Nylon does a great job at keeping the water out and the dry time down to the minimum.

A good pair of water shoes should dry within 24 hours in a well-ventilated area. If you plan to stick your pool shoes in the locker for the evening, do not expect to come back the next day and find a completely dry pair. This is one of my favorite things about my water resistant shoes. I never have to worry about waiting for them to dry. This is especially handy when I'm hiking. I can't control the weather, and if I'm caught in a rainstorm, my shoes will inevitably get soaked.

So, to summarize:

Synthetic Fibers + Airy Mesh + Good Ventilation = Quick Drying Water Shoes!

“Fashion is what you’re offered four times a year by designers. And style is what you choose.” Lauren Hutton

It wasn’t too long ago that water shoes came in one style: black and ugly! Old style shoes had awful soles, no arch support, and made you feel like you were wearing thick rubber bags tied around your feet. Fortunately, we are no longer living in the 80s and 90s.

Today, options abound; however, buying water shoes still generally requires a sacrifice. Too often, footwear manufacturers choose to focus on function or fashion—emphasis on the “or.” Simply put, it’s hard to find a quality pair of shoes that combines both. And it is for this simple reason that we decided to start Viakix!  

When we started Viakix we had one goal in mind: to develop America's most fashionable outdoor footwear. As a small company, we take pride in the design and craftsmanship of each and every water shoe that we sell. Our Viakix models are designed to appease the aesthetic senses while still meeting the high performance requirements of our customers. We want our customers to be able to transition from a day at the pool to an evening with friends—without having to change their shoes.

While number five on our water shoe buying guide list, we believe it’s important to look hip at the pool, on the beach, or kayaking with friends. Just as essential, you shouldn’t ever have to sacrifice function.

Quality Water Shoes Protect Your Feet

It’s as simple as this: you never know what you might encounter underwater. For this reason, you want to make sure that you’re investing in a shoe that provides maximum protection. This means durable material that will provide safety from bumps, rocks, and other sharp surfaces that could injure your feet. It’s important to keep in mind that not all water shoes are created equal. In other words, some provide more protection from sharp objects than others.

As such, you’ll want to find a shoe that’s durable inside and out; this will absorb unwanted shocks for your feet and give you the freedom to enjoy your waterfront activities without unnecessary pain.

Of course, the best protection also includes durable traction that keeps you upright both on land and underwater. This is designed to prevent slippage and boost your protection while wearing. In general, the more traction, the better, especially if you plan on using your shoes extensively.

Versatility is an Awesome Water Shoe Benefit


These days, you can upgrade the quality of your shoe simply by choosing a more amphibious option. After all, who says that your water sandal should only be used in moist environments? The best shoes give you the versatility you need for a wide range of outdoor activities. From kayaking to rock-climbing, the right shoe enables you to do your thing—no matter what it happens to be.

For this reason, make sure to consider the versatility of your options before buying. Do you anticipate doing more than just waterside activities? If so, get a shoe that gives you the best chance of success in a broader range of domains. Not only will this help save money on shoes, but it will also give you more value in your specific purchase, helping you maximize utility and benefiting your budget at the same time.

You’ll want to remember, however, that water shoes—no matter how amphibious—shouldn’t be considered substitutes for proper active shoes for athletes and other individuals spending tons of time hiking the trails or running tracks. As such, be sure to understand the limitations of your desired model so that you can get the most out of it upon purchase.

Weighing Price When Choosing Water Sandals


Finally, the last consideration before buying your next pair of water shoes is price. While there are many things in life that are absolutely priceless, water shoes, unfortunately, do not fit in this category.

Depending upon your needs, water shoes can vary pretty significantly in price. On the upper end, you can easily shell out over $100 for a pair of water kix. These tend to be for the hardcore, thrill-seeking folks who love to trail run through deep rivers, climb over large boulders, or kayak only when there are whitecaps abound. However, for those of you who are looking for a great quality shoe that can be used at the beach or pool, you should not have to take out a second mortgage to buy a pair. We'll help you find the perfect sandals that fit your budget.

Stylish, durable water shoes made with high quality mesh will typically run between $25-$55 per pair. Anything over this amount, in our humble opinion, is not worth the investment. We would rather you spend the extra money so that you don’t have any hiccups during your next vacation or outing. Buying comfortable sandals is just as important as buying comfortable clothes.

Water Shoes: Frequently Asked Questions

Before we jump into our best water shoe picks, let’s go over a few questions you might have when buying your next pair. Hopefully this section will give you a more complete idea of what water shoes can and cannot do.

Q: Why should I own a pair of water sandals?

A:  Hopefully, since you are reading our guide, you’ve already come to the conclusion that water shoes and sandals are pretty awesome. But just in case you are not 100% there, let us answer this question for you. Choosing water shoes does not have to be a difficult tedious task.

Water shoes have a few unique advantages over your standard shoes. First, water shoes provide the necessary protection for your feet while walking in uncharted waters. Aqua shoes with good outsoles will provide a barrier between the bottom of your foot and that sharp rock or broken shell that is precariously sitting at the bottom of the river or lake. Ever step on something that was moving on the bottom of the ocean or lake? Enough said! More than that, they are quick-drying and won’t get ruined by a bit of water or sand. Sand proof water shoes are a great way to take any beach vacation to the next level!


Water shoes and sandals also provide additional traction while in the water. This is particularly important for those who are getting their exercise through water aerobics. The bottom of pools can be slippery and having solid rubber traction makes all the difference for a great workout. Sole grips work to provide the friction needed to keep you upright—and safe.

In short, there’s really no reason NOT to buy a pair of water shoes if you plan to be by the water for any extended period of time. Don’t be a hero. Simply find a pair that works for you, increasing your safety and the level of success/enjoyment you’ll be able to get from your activities.

Q: Can I wear my water shoes for non-water related activities?

A:  Well, it depends. If you choose to wear those hideous black rubber socks on your feet, then the answer is: “Sure, but why would you want to?” You will only embarrass yourself and shame those around you (okay, maybe it’s not that bad, but you get the poin). Pragmatic water shoes stand out like a sore thumb and will certainly make you the center of attention. Choose shoes that are right for you. If you're keen on finding the right pair, it won't be too difficult. Shopping for ladies sandals should be fun!

However, if you choose water shoes that have some style and personality, then you can easily wear your shoes out for a walk, a trip to the store, or just hanging out with some friends and family. It really depends on your budget and how much you are willing to invest into a pair of water shoes.

Q: Can I use water shoes for hiking?

A:  Good question – I’m glad you asked! The short answer is yes, but the longer answer takes a little finesse. That is, it will depend on your hike distance and whether you will be trudging through wet conditions.

Fortunately, we’ve had quite a bit of experience hiking in our Viakix and can shed further light on this question. On a recent trip to Hawaii, we took our Viakix out on a four-mile hike—up steep mountain sides, across thick mud patches, and through running streams to see the performance and comfort of our shoes.


We are happy to report that all our Viakix testers said that their water shoes made the grade and remained comfortable for the entire hike. Our hikers did mention, however, that given how wet and muddy the conditions were, they thought 4 miles was about the right distance for their hike.

For flat terrain hikes, with no water, go ahead and wear your water shoes for as long as you need, so long as they have great outsole and fit well.    

Q: Will my feet get wet wearing water shoes?

A:  Yes, by design, your feet WILL get wet. However, your feet will be well protected from the elements and will be comfortable while submerged. Remember water shoes are water resistant (e.g. repel water) and not waterproof (e.g. impervious to water).

If you are still convinced that you need water shoes that are waterproof, try taking your rain boots into the ocean on your next trip to the beach [Only kidding—please don’t try this!]

Whether or not you wish to wear socks is up to you. If you plan on submerging your feet, you’ll likely want to avoid additional layers if necessary, as this will delay the drying process and keep your feet totally wet for hours. If you’re simply going for a hike, however, socks may provide necessary cushion from some unwanted shocks, with the drainage system of your shoe keeping inside shoe moisture to a minimum.

Q: Ok, water shoes sound great – are there any situations where you would not wear them?

A:  Like most products, water shoes are best suited for certain times of the year. During cold weather, for instance, the same permeable mesh that made your water shoes comfortable to wear and quick to dry will not provide much insulation. For this reason, you’ll find it best to go back to those standard sneakers for your winter walks!

We also suggest that you don’t wear your water shoes to a formal party or event, but hopefully that’s pretty obvious to you. Beyond that, enjoy your water shoes for any aquatic adventure.

Q: Which water shoe is right for rafting or kayaking?

A:  For most rafting or kayaking adventures, choose a water shoe that is made of high-quality materials, feels comfortable, and appeals to your heart’s desire. A great water shoe should allow you to move easily through the water, while also keeping the sand and dirt out, which is an important factor when rafting or kayaking. It only takes a few grains of sand or dirt to cause rubbing and irritation—so be careful and prepare accordingly.

On the other hand, if you are planning a whitewater rafting trip, we recommend you choose a water shoe that offers a high-level of protection and traction.

The Best Water Sandals Out There Today

Here at Viakix we know sandals need to perform as well as look great. That's why we believe we have developed some of the best water sandals around.

We’ve designed our Viakix water sandals to be sleek yet supportive with maximum breathability. This gives you the comfort. But we didn’t stop there. We also wanted our footwear to be ultra-comfortable so that you can take our sandals on long walks or on all terrain hikes.

These shoes feature an ergonomic outsole that’s bolstered by a shank stabilizer for extra arch support. This makes it the perfect option for all-day wear at the beach or on the hiking trail! Designed as a walking sandal, the Napali sandal for women will keep you covered even when you don’t plan on getting wet.

We currently offer this model in four different colors, including beige, black, blue, and grey. Choose your favorite color or buy them all!

If you are looking for something a little more casual for light water activities, we would recommend our Cortona sandals. This Viakix model provides incredible arch support for all-day wear. The outsole is made of sticky rubber that enhances traction and gives you more flexibility when trying out waterside activities.

The Cortona has a soft, wate resistant webbing that can be adjusted to find that perfect fit. Best of all, the sandal comes in a variety of exciting color combinations and a sleek design that will have your friends marveling!

Selecting the Best Water Sandals for Your Needs

Now that you’ve digested our buying guide, we trust that you are among the top one percent of your class when it comes to purchasing water shoes. We hope this guide gives you all the tools you need to make the right purchase for you. Remember: look for shoes that are comfortable, durable, and will provide the right level of traction. Your purchase should give your feet the breathability they require, while providing a wide range of motion required for subterranean environments. What’s more, by following the information in this guide, you’ll certainly be able to find a pair of shoes that fits your fashion sense!

The options we provided you should give you a variety to choose from, depending upon your specific aquatic needs. Whether you want to buy water shoes for swimming, water aerobics, kayaking, stand up boarding, rafting, or to enjoy on your next vacation cruise, our top picks definitely have you covered.  

So don’t wait! Make sure to use this guide to find the right pair of water shoes for you!

Leave A Comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published