Hawaii is one of the most spectacular places on Earth. While soaking in the sights, it’s essential to keep your feet protected because with great beauty comes unique and sometimes dangerous marine life. Whether you’re taking a trip to the beach, hiking along a rocky beach or diving headfirst into a Hawaiian vacation, we’ve got your feet covered with the best water shoes to get the job done.
In this guide, you’ll learn how to choose the best water shoes for the beach and see our thoroughly-researched top 10 picks. You see, there are different water shoes for every occasion, and we take each type of terrain into account when compiling our top 10 lists.
Since sand is a tricky beast, it requires a special type of footwear. Hawaii is chock-full of various terrains, including lava rock. By the end of our guide, you’ll know for sure which pair (or pairs) is the best for you. You’ll also be a certified water shoe guru. Sounds fun, right?
|Model||Features & Highlights|
#1 WXDZ Water Sports (Unisex)
Our #1 Pick for Rocky Beaches
#2 Romote (Unisex)
Our #1 Pick for Hawaii
#3 Chillbo Sock It Shoe Me (Unisex)
Our #1 Pick for Beach Walking
#4 Centipede Demon (Unisex)
Our #1 Pick for Surfing
#5 Hiitave (Women’s)
Our #1 Pick for Walking on Coral
#6 Spesoul Athletic (Unisex)
Our #1 Pick for Snorkeling
#7 WHITIN (Women’s)
Best Women’s Water Shoes with Arch Support
#8 SIMARI Quick-Dry Aqua Socks (Unisex)
Our #1 Pick for Keeping Sand Out
#9 GOOD STUDIOS (Unisex)
Our #1 Pick for Walking
#10 Speedo Surfwalker 3.0 (Men’s and Women’s Versions)
Our #1 Pick for Swimming
What did you think of our top 10 list? We put a lot of time into creating the best possible list with choices that accommodate everyone’s needs. Which pair is the best for your next adventure?
Still unsure? Let’s take a closer look at the features of each pair in our top 10 to give you a better idea of how we arrived at our picks. Below, are 10 individual reviews with the pros and cons of owning each pair. I also added lists of best uses to give you a clearer picture of where each shoe excels.
Be sure to stick around after the reviews and read our bonus buyer’s guide for more assistance before you purchase.
Are you ready to take a closer look at each shoe? Let’s really see what makes these 10 the best water shoes for the beach and beach-related activities.
#1 WXDZ Water Sports – Our #1 Pick for Rocky Beaches
The WXDZ shoe is a reliable and budget-friendly water shoe that does an excellent job of protecting your feet. If your next adventure happens to include walking or hiking on a rocky beach, these are the perfect option. There’s no need to take them off while swimming, and the outsole is thick enough to keep your feet comfy while passing over rocks or jetties outside the ocean.
The velcro strap keeps them in place, and it’s easier to operate than the typical lacing system found in other water shoes. You also get the added advantage of individual toe guards to protect against any injuries caused by accidental bumping into objects below the water’s surface.
Lastly, the drainage holes in the bottom ensure no water pools inside your shoe, yet the holes are small enough to guarantee no pebbles or small stones sneak up through the outsole into your shoe.
Best Uses: Passing Over Hot Sand, Biking, Beach, Surfing, Rocky Beaches, Everyday, Walking, Swimming, Snorkeling
#2 Romote – Our #1 Pick for Hawaii
I had the pleasure of living on The Big Island in Hawaii with my family, and I can tell you without a doubt that it’s one of the most amazing places on Earth. There’s a ton to do! You can easily fill up your schedule with gorgeous beaches, snorkeling, jungle hikes, a trip to the Volcano, wild fruit picking, surfing, a trip to the beach bar, and tons of other awesome stuff. That’s why you need a great all-around water shoe that’s suitable for all island activities.
The Romote shoe covers all the bases. Wear them for just about your entire trip to Hawaii – outside of formal occasions. What I love about this shoe is it has all the required features for every activity, and the extra-soft neck material keeps sand out.
The unique outsole grip pattern provides superior traction on slippery surfaces and complete protection around the outline of your foot. You need that extra protection, especially while snorkeling because you don’t want to accidentally step on the wrong piece of coral or sea creature with your bare feet. I almost learned that lesson the hard way before my cousin caught me.
Best Uses: Hawaii, Walking Over Hot Sand, Waterfalls, Biking, Beach, Surfing, On the Lava, Everyday, Walking, Windsurfing, Coral Reef, Swimming
#3 Chillbo Sock It Shoe Me – Our #1 Pick for Beach Walking
Getting ready for a chill vacation at the beach? The Chillbo Sock It to Me is a great option for you. They’re easy to slip on, super soft, and perfect for lounging while on vacay. Wear them to the pool, beach, swimming, to protect your feet while crossing over hot sand, and a whole lot more.
What makes these great is they’re so light that you won’t even know you’re wearing them. If you’re someone who loves to walk around barefoot, these are the best pick in our top 10. Plus, the beach sand will have a hard time entering through the neck or the neoprene upper that hugs your foot like a fluffy cloud.
I picture myself enjoying cocktails on the beach with my feet up while wearing these. I think that’s the exact use Chillbo had in mind when they created them.
Best Uses: Crossing Over Hot Sand, Beach, Lounging at the Pool or Beach Bar, Walking, Swimming
#4 Centipede Demon – Our #1 Pick for Surfing
Choosing the best water shoes for surfing is no easy task. There are several factors to consider, including the ocean floor surface, the shoe’s lacing system, and the toe box. I first used aqua shoes for surfing during a trip to the Dominican Republic because of the jagged rocks on the ocean floor. That was the first time in my life that I realized water shoes can be mighty useful while surfing.
The Centipede Demon shoe checks all the boxes. You get a wide toe box with individual toe guards, rapid drainage through the outsole, a superior lacing system, breathable insole, full wrap-around uppers, and enough rubber in the outsole to keep your feet protected at all times.
Lastly, they’re light enough to keep you mobile when you pop up on the board and stylish enough to feel comfortable around locals, because believe me, veteran surfers don’t believe in covering their feet.
Best Uses: Crossing Over Hot Sand, Beach, Surfing, Rocky Beaches, Everyday, Walking, Windsurfing, Fitness, Yoga, Swimming
#5 Hiitave – Our #1 Women’s Pick for Walking on Coral
Women who want strong, dependable water shoes with a unique design will love the Hiitave model. The outsole provides superior grip compared to other models, and the open-lace design in the upper allows for more breathability. What I like most about this shoe are the individual toe guards and grooves in the outsole for added comfort.
The Hiitave shoe is great for island destinations where you expect to go snorkeling, hike across rocks or engage in water sports. They’re also comfortable enough for lounging and easy to slip on and off when you need them for a quick stroll.
Feel confident when you step on the ocean floor or accidentally on coral that your feet are protected. Lastly, there’s additional drainage in the sole, yet the holes aren’t large enough to allow small pebbles or gravel to enter.
Best Uses: Crossing Over Hot Sand, Beach, Surfing, Rocky Beaches, Everyday, Walking, Fitness, Yoga, Snorkeling, Ocean Swimming, Lounging
#6 Spesoul – Our #1 Pick for Snorkeling
Snorkeling while on vacation is one of the most entertaining activities. Watching all the beautiful marine life below you while you swim through the crystal blue ocean is an experience unlike any other. While the marine life is quite pretty, it’s important to keep your feet protected for instances when you need to take a rest on the rock.
What I like about the Spesoul model the most is the added heel protection. It provides extra protection in case you plant your heel on the wrong part of the reef or the wrong sea creature. The fluid design allows you to swim more freely without feeling like your feet are being weighed down while you enjoy your snorkeling session.
The design is appealing enough to pass off as a normal shoe once you’re outside of the water, which makes these great for sightseeing as well.
Best Uses: Crossing Over Hot Sand, Beach, Surfing, Rocky Beaches, Everyday, Walking, Fitness, Snorkeling, Ocean Swimming
#7 WHITIN – Best Women’s Water Shoes with Arch Support
Tracking down water shoes with arch support is no easy task. This women’s shoe by WHITIN is your best option if you’re on the hunt for added arch support and an extra comfortable fit that’s suitable for walking. One of the top features is the drainage slits in the sole for rapid drainage.
The neck fabric comes up higher to block sand from entering and keep your ankles happy while walking or lounging. The velcro strap keeps the shoe in place while you’re swimming at the pool or in the ocean. Finally, the anti-slip EVA outsole makes them suitable for walking on slippery surfaces or passing over rocks.
Best Uses: Crossing Over Hot Sand, Water Aerobics, Biking, Beach, Rocky Beaches, Everyday, Walking, Fitness, Snorkeling, Ocean Swimming, Lounging
#8 SIMARI Aqua Socks – Our #1 Pick for Keeping Sand Out
SIMARI aqua socks are a traditional water shoe with a modern-day twist. They’re available in tons of different colors and styles. These super-lightweight minimal aqua socks are great for swimming in the ocean and keeping beach sand out.
The uppers are made of a quick-drying diving material that’ll stay snug against your foot while you’re swimming, snorkeling or engaged in other water sports. One of the top highlights is they’ll take up barely any space in your luggage, and if you stow them in your carry-on, you don’t have the worry about them adding much weight.
The TPR (thermoplastic rubber) outsole ensures a solid grip, and some people may even find that these are perfect for surfing, especially when the ocean floor is mostly smooth. Overall, I’m a big fan of the SIMARI aqua sock, and they’re currently a #1 best seller for a reason.
Best Uses: Crossing Over Hot Sand, Beach Activities, Volleyball, Surfing, Walking, Yoga, Lounging, Swimming
#9 GOOD STUDIOS – Our #1 Pick for Walking
When it comes to comfort while walking, the GOOD STUDIOS water shoe is our top selection. The extra cushioning in the midsole makes them great for long walks, sightseeing, and strolls around town while on vacation. The full-mesh upper provides maximum ventilation to help you avoid sweaty feet on even the warmest days.
The drainage holes in the midsole ensure rapid drainage without the need for larger drainage holes in the bottom of the shoe. This design feature keeps out pebbles and bits of gravel that can travel up into your shoe and make walking uncomfortable. When you pass over a rocky beach or jetty, the extra cushioning prevents jagged rocks from poking your feet.
Lastly, the toe cap gives you an extra layer of protection while you’re swimming or walking over rocks. Overall, the GOOD STUDIOS shoe is great for a wide range of uses, and it’s more comfortable than flat water shoes.
Best Uses: Crossing Over Hot Sand, Beach Activities, Walking, Swimming, Lounging
#10 Speedo Surfwalker 3.0 – Our #1 Pick for Swimming
When it comes to choosing the best water shoes for swimming, it’s difficult to outdo Speedo. The Surfwalker 3.0 is Speedo’s latest model, and it’s great for more than just swimming. The S-Trac outsole provides anti-slip protection and superior comfort while walking over hot sand or to the beach.
The partially mesh upper gives you just enough ventilation to keep your feet cool on hot days. The four-way stretch upper stays against your foot, yet it allows for enhanced maneuverability while swimming or even surfing. The Surfwalker is more lightweight than some of the newer aqua shoes with thicker soles.
If you prefer convenience, the Surfwalker is easy to slip on and off. It’s also extremely quick-drying, easy to clean, and will keep the sand out while you enjoy your favorite beach activities such as volleyball.
Best Uses: Crossing Over Hot Sand, Beach Activities, Walking, Swimming, Beach Volleyball, Pool, Lounging, Surfing
Want more ventilation? Click Here or the image below to check out the Speedo Men’s Surf Knit model:
How to Choose the Best Water Shoes for the Beach: 2020 Buyer’s Guide
In our buyer’s guide below, we go over each of the key considerations to make before you choose the right pair of water shoes for your next adventure. Since you’re going to the beach, swimming, and/or engaging in other beach activities, there are certain features to look for when shopping. Let’s start with the materials.
Materials are important since you don’t want your feet to sweat or get burnt in the hot sun. The tricky part is finding a pair of shoes that’ll breathe and keep sand out. The Surfwalker 3.0 by Speedo is a good example. Notice how the upper is mostly neoprene with a mesh section to allow your feet to air out without taking the shoes off.
Depending on what type of activities you plan to do, remember to consider the materials in the uppers. How well will they keep sand out? If you plan to do a lot of walking, aim for models like the GOOD STUDIOS or WHITIN selections above. They provide more arch support and shock absorption than most other brands on the market.
Water shoes for the beach should be very light since you’ll be swimming in them. Heavier models can easily get weighed down when you lift your feet through the water. The aqua sock options in our top 10 are perfect for keeping weight down and avoiding the heavy feeling of treading water while swimming.
If you plan to surf, the Centipede Demon shoes are perfect. I chose them because the uppers are lightweight, the lacing system is secure, and there’s ample rubber in the outsole to protect your feet.
Since you’ll be traveling with your water shoes, always consider the weight and how small the shoes will pack down in your luggage.
Before choosing a pair in our top 10, make a quick list of activities you plan to do in your water shoes. Once you have your list ready, compare your list to our list of uses for each shoe in the Individual Reviews section above. This way, you’ll easily match your activities to the right shoe.
#4) Toe Box
One of the advantages of water shoes with individual toe guards is the wider toe box that can accommodate people with narrow and wide feet. Since the material in the uppers of most water shoes is stretchy, you don’t have to worry about the shoes choking your feet while you’re having fun.
If you have wide feet, it’s best to stick with the models with individual toe guards since they have the widest toe box. You may find that Speedo water shoes are too narrow for you.
Drainage is an extra important factor to consider. All of the models in our top 10 provide ample drainage and will keep your feet dry as you hop between water and dry land. The best advice – if you choose a different model outside of our top 10 – is to avoid water shoes with larger drainage holes in the outsole.
The problem with larger drainage holes is they allow sand and shell fragments to pass through the outsole into the shoe. The models in our top 10 won’t have this problem since the drainage holes in the outsoles are all smaller.
#6) Lacing System
The lacing system is important to consider if you plan to do a lot of swimming, snorkeling, or surfing. It’s best to choose shoes with laces for strenuous activities in the water instead of the models with velcro straps or the slip-on varieties. The last thing you want is to lose a shoe or have to worry about a shoe falling off when you kick your feet underwater.
Refer back to our Top 10 Chart and read our recommended best use below each shoe before you buy.
Last but not least, sizing. Here’s where a lot of people go wrong when they buy new water shoes. Before you buy, be sure to read through several recent reviews to see if people are sizing up or down.
The few minutes it takes to confirm how the shoe fits are worth it to avoid the hassle of a return or exchange. You may not have enough time to complete an exchange before your vacation. Then, you’re left with shoes that don’t fit.
It’s also not a bad idea to contact the supplier directly for the most accurate answer. Chances are someone has already asked this question, and it’s easy to find the answer in the Q&A section of the product pages.
Are you pumped for your next trip to the beach or Hawaiian getaway? By following our buyer’s guide and choosing one of our top 10 best water shoes for the beach, you can’t go wrong.
Protecting your feet while on vacation is essential, especially in Hawaii where you may encounter some creatures that are best left untouched.
Cheers and have a blast wherever your travels take you!