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Last updated: August 31, 2021
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A pair of lightweight and breathable water shoes can make a world of difference when hiking, as they come with obvious advantages over wearing sneakers or going barefoot. The best water shoes for hiking offer protection and support while also being durable and preventing slips.
We reviewed dozens of water shoes for hiking and came to the conclusion that the KEEN Men’s Newport H2 Sandal is the best choice on the market for most hikers, as it combines a comfortable and durable rubber sole with a washable upper and a removable footbed for enhanced versatility. Moreover, we gathered seven other high-quality shoes for hiking so you can easily find a suitable one.
We took numerous factors into account when reviewing shoes, including upper material, size, outsole, breathability, and more, as all these have an impact on the level of comfort you can enjoy when you’re wearing them. The weight of the shoes and their durability were also crucial. We included the results of our research in a comparison table, and we added a list of in-detail water shoes reviews as well. In the end, you’ll find a buying guide to help buy the best water shoes for hiking.
Our editor’s choice, the KEEN Men’s Newport H2 Sandal made it straight to the top because it offers a mix of water-friendly materials and solid coverage. This is a classic closed-toe sandal that comes with a grippy outsole that remains comfortable even when you decide to spend hours hiking.
Most of the users who tested and reviewed the KEEN Men’s Newport H2 Sandal liked its practical look and the fact that they work well for all kinds of activities that involve getting wet and dirty, including running, walking, climbing, and more. The sandals have a bungee lace that makes them fit the foot tightly while remaining very comfortable throughout the day. Moreover, these shoes are a suitable choice for wearing on long treks, and it is actually possible to run in them.
Stability is an essential factor to take into account when shopping for the best water shoes for hiking, and the KEEN Men’s Newport H2 Sandals don’t disappoint. They feature a stout sole material that is resilient and stiff while being lightweight at the same time. According to reviewers, the shoes remain stable on the vast majority of terrains. We also liked that they come with a loop of elastic and a cord lock instead of having straps and buckles, so they are easy to adjust for a truly custom fit.
Marketed as a combination between a water show and a technical trail shoe, the SALOMON Men’s Techamphibian 3 Trail Running Shoe is a fast-drying shoe that works great in wet and dry conditions alike. The shoes feature a ‘Sensifit’ system that wraps around your foot for a custom fit that keeps the shoes in place all day long. The molded EVA midsole offers plenty of stability and lightweight cushioning, while the Quicklace system allows for easy one-pull tightening.
What many users liked about these shoes is the fact that they come with an anti-debris mesh to protect the feet from debris that may get trapped between the footbed and your foot. The shoes come with the famous Contagrip® sole design that offers a perfect grip as well as push movement on the heel.
The single mesh layer on these shoes allows for extra breathability while being very quick to dry. The SALOMON Men’s Techamphibian 3 Trail Running Shoe are a good choice for those who are looking for water shoes for hiking they can also run in, and that are comfortable enough to wear for prolonged periods of time.
Many of those who tested and reviewed these SALOMON shoes liked the breakaway lace system, which helps users avoid the risk of snagging or tangling in amphibious and marine environments.
Those looking for a pair of shoes they can take with them for all kinds of adventures are sure to enjoy the Astral TR1, which come with the advantage of being suitable for hiking, biking, running and paddling. You may wonder how a single shoe can do all of this, but the Astral TR1 live up to the challenge, according to users and reviewers who tested them.
Featuring a G.15 high-friction ARGO G rubber with aggressive 5 mm lugs and an upper material made from a combination of hydrophobic canvas, TPU, and EVA, these shoes offer all-day comfort, with reviewers mentioning that you may expect zero blisters even when the shoes are new. While the midsole may feel a bit stiffer than what you might expect from a hiking shoe, it doesn’t have a negative impact on comfort. The stiff sole offers enhanced tracking when running and allows you to be more confident when you’re navigating creeks and rocks.
The Astral TR1 is best suited for anyone who likes to do a bit of light hiking near the beach as the shoes are light and flexible but are also a suitable option for those looking for a fun athletic shoe for general walking. We also liked the use of double laces, which offer a good hold while allowing you to move freely at the same time.
A great choice for hikers who want to benefit from an excellent amount of support and comfort, the Merrell Women’s Moab 2 Waterproof Hiking Shoe is a good option for moderate trails. The shoe is comfortable enough for beginner and advanced hikers alike and features an upper material that consists of a mix of synthetic mesh and suede leather, all lined with Merrell’s proprietary waterproof membrane. When it comes to the sole, you get a mix of molded nylon arch shank, a blended EVA midsole and a Vibram TC5+ outsole.
Comfort wise, the Merrell Women’s Moab 2 Waterproof Hiking Shoe is a bit on the heavy side, but it still provides a very enjoyable experience and requires virtually no breaking-in period. This she offers a lot of protection on rougher terrains, but some users mentioned that you might feel the occasional pointed rocks underfoot.
We particularly liked the lacing system of these shoes, with four eyelets completed by a fifth one made from plastic right at the top of the show. The tongue has a soft padding for extra comfort, and overall, the shoes perform very well in colder climates. When you wear them in summer, you may feel that your feet overheat in them.
When it comes to support, the Merrell Women’s Moab 2 Waterproof Hiking Shoe is a bit rigid, but still, provides all the stability you need when leaping from boulder to boulder or tackling rough terrain.
With a waterproof upper made of breathable air mesh accented by bits of full-grain leather, the OLUKAI Men’s ‘Alapa Li are an excellent option for those who are looking for a pair of casual shoes that do well on the trails. This is a highly versatile pair of shoes that comes with superior cushioning and added traction on wet surfaces.
The OLUKAI Men’s ‘Alapa Li have a bungee lacing closure that makes it very easy to put them on and take them off. Many reviewers liked the fact that the footbed of these shoes is particularly designed to increase your stability no matter the terrain. These shoes perform well on a wide variety of terrains, ranging from rocks to sand to asphalt.
The upper material is made from a combination of air mesh and anti-microbial textile, topped with waterproof leather accents. The overall look makes these shoes suitable to wear casually, as they don’t necessarily look like something you would wear on the trails. Nevertheless, the wet grip rubber offers lots of added traction on wet surfaces, so the OLUKAI Men’s ‘Alapa Li perform perfectly well when hiking despite their casual appearance. The compression molded EVA midsole makes the shoes comfortable to wear for prolonged periods of time.
A versatile pair of shoes suitable for both wet and dry terrain, The North Face Men’s Litewave Amphibious II features quick-drying mesh uppers and insoles so you can enjoy your adventure to the fullest. The PU-coated leather toe cap offers added protection for the toes, while the quick-pull lace-lock system makes these shoes easy to put on and take off.
Users who reviewed the North Face Men’s Litewave Amphibious II liked the fact that the shoes are suitable for just about any type of terrain, and they are true to size. Some reviewers mentioned that the overall fit is on the narrow side.
The North Face Men’s Litewave Amphibious II are very comfortable thanks to the collapsible-heel feature coupled with the injection-molded EVA midsole. On the outside, you will find a UltrATAC™ rubber outsole that increases traction in both wet and dry conditions.
Available in multiple colors, these North Face shoes are also a suitable option for other activities that may require you to walk in wet conditions, such as camping or fishing. While they are not specifically designed for running, users mentioned that they are comfortable enough for running on short distances. These shoes are unisex, and they come in a wide range of sizes to suit both women and men.
Featuring a hydrophobic mesh upper and an enclosed toe for maximum protection and support, the Chaco Men’s Torrent Pro Sport Sandal has been tested in extreme conditions and it provided excellent results. Reviewers liked the quick-dry knit upper that snugs comfortably around the foot and makes the entire experience of wearing these shoes a pleasant one.
The knitted polyester upper does an excellent job at creating a shoe with a highly comfortable structure, while the lug sole provides lots of traction on both wet and dry terrain. These shoes are manufactured by Chaco, a company that is famous in the world of outdoor equipment for its footwear that lasts for years or thousands of miles.
The Chaco Men’s Torrent Pro Sport Sandal is available in multiple colors and has received lots of praise from users for its fast-drying properties. The toe protection has also been mentioned by many users, as it does an excellent job at keeping your toes from stubbing into rocks when you decide to use these shoes underwater. The shoes are true to size according to the majority of users, but some have mentioned that they are too narrow in the front part and they aren’t the type to break in. Overall, the Chaco Men’s Torrent Pro Sport Sandal is ideal for creek hiking and great if you want to swim in a river.
If you’re looking for the best hiking shoes that come with a budget-friendly price tag, the Eddie Bauer Men’s Eddie Amphib are an excellent choice. These versatile shoes sport a sole that is designed for multi-terrain usage, so you can take them with you on all your adventures.
These shoes have an InsoFit perforated EVA footbed that allows for quick water draining and breathability. Traction is improved thanks to the siped rubber outsole. The Eddie Bauer Men’s Eddie Amphib feature a quick-lace fit adjustment so you can customize your fit. Most of the reviewers who tested this budget pick mentioned that the shoes are very comfortable, and they remain so even if you wear them all day long. They are available in multiple colors and make a versatile choice. Users often mention that the Eddie Bauer Men’s Eddie Amphib are very durable, lasting for years even after they have been worn on asphalt. While some users noticed that the wrap-around material is a bit stiff, they recommended the shoes for those who want a pair of comfortable shoes to wear everywhere during summertime.
What makes it special?
Perforated footbed for quick drainage
Siped rubber outsole for traction
What cons did we find?
Not great at eliminating debris
Things to Consider
Hiking in wet conditions puts strain on your feet, so it’s important to be well-equipped when you’re hitting the trails. Choosing the best water shoes for hiking takes a bit of time because you need to take into account lots of factors. This buying guide will help you find the perfect pair of hiking shoes that are completely waterproof and breathable to keep you comfortable on the trails.
Choosing the best water shoes for hiking
When it comes to water shoes for hiking, you need to take into account some basic considerations, many of which have to do with your personal preferences. Do you want to keep your feet dry when going on your next hiking adventure? Are you looking for protection for your toes when you walk through rivers? You need to make sure the pair of water shoes you buy meets your requirements. For example, hiking shoes that are not specifically made for water wear are bound to break down quickly if you get them wet.
The season you want to wear your water hiking shoes is important, because some models, such as the Merrell Women’s Moab 2 Waterproof Hiking Shoe are designed for colder weather, so you may feel like you’re overheating in them if you wear them in the summer.
Consider whether the season is hot or cold, but also take into account factors such as rain or mud.
If you’re planning on going in a country with a very hot and humid climate, you need a pair of shoes that can withstand those weather conditions.
Most water hiking shoes come in multiple sizes to suit every foot, and some of them are unisex, which means they come in a selection of sizes to suit both men and women.
The material of the upper soles is a deciding factor when it comes to support, comfort, and durability. Water shoes with an upper mesh offer water drainage properties and breathability and those made from neoprene provide extra protection against abrasion. The midsoles are often also made from neoprene, and they should also be as comfortable as possible. Another material that you may encounter for the upper soles of water hiking shoes is Nubuck leather, which feels a bit like suede but has waterproof properties, like in Merrell Women’s Moab 2 Waterproof Hiking Shoe.
Opt for rubber outsoles whenever possible, so you get improved traction and protection for your feet during a hike.
These types of soles are also great for rocky terrains and slippery surfaces and one of the best models offering such outsole is Astral TR1 with its G.15 high-friction ARGO G rubber.
Look for shoes with ergonomic design because you need them to be comfortable when you wear them for a prolonged period of time. Ergonomic hiking shoes have soles that provide plenty of support, as well as midsoles that support the feet in a correct position to avoid any pain.
Comfort and support
Comfort is probably the most important factor to take into account when shopping for water hiking shoes, and you need to keep in mind that different people need different features to feel comfortable. Arch support, heel-to-toe drop, and wide vs. narrow fit are all factors you need to pay attention to. If you get a pair of hiking shoes that are not a good fit in terms of comfort and support, you will feel pain with every step and your hiking trip will quickly become an ordeal.
It is a fact that waterproofing properties have a detrimental impact on breathability, but if you want your feet to be able to breather, especially during summer, look for water hiking shoes that feature more mesh on the upper side, like for example OLUKAI Men’s ‘Alapa Li or KEEN Men’s Newport H2 Sandal. A PU finish is also important for breathability.
You might expect water hiking shoes to be heavy, but the truth is that they are generally made from lightweight materials.
It’s important to remember that wet shoes get heavier, so opt for the lightest model possible.
Waterproofing is an essential feature of water shoes for hiking and many models come with a breathable membrane to keep your feet dry. Some of them are made from waterproof materials combined with leather, such as the OLUKAI Men’s ‘Alapa Li. If you want a light type of shoe with perfect waterproof capabilities, look for a model with a full Gore-Tex design.
Water shoes for hiking come in various price ranges, from our budget choice that’s in the $60 range, to pairs that are closer to the $200 mark.
Water shoes are specifically designed to provide you with increased traction when you wear them on wet terrain. Many of them offer extra protection for the toes as well as foot support to keep you comfortable as you enjoy outdoor activities and water sports.
These shoes are very durable in general, with some models offering years of comfort and support. Make sure you care for them according to the instructions provided by the manufacturer, especially when it comes to drying them, as they may develop bacteria and mold.
A pair of water shoes for hiking needs to fit comfortable, so it’s important to choose them in the correct size. There needs to be a bit of space between the shoe and your toes, and you should also pay attention to wideness, as some models run on the narrow side.
Our editor’s choice, the KEEN Men’s Newport H2 Sandal offers durable quality and lots of comfort for those who want to tackle trails and rivers. The sandals are very stable on all types of terrains and provide incredible traction.
Finally, our third choice, the Astral TR1 is the perfect choice for those who are looking for a versatile shoe that doesn’t look out of place on a bike or even on a walk out in the town. No matter which pair of water shoes for hiking you decide to go for, don’t forget to check their waterproof properties to make sure they are suitable for your preferred activities.