Men’s Water Shoes: The Best Shoes for the Beach, Creek and Beyond

There are some times in a guy’s life when he’s got to go deeper and think outside the box. We’re talking innovation and a resourceful nature in all matters of life, but especially when it comes to your men’s water shoes as you plann for summer adventures. Nature is calling and opportunities abound to get out of the city, to reconnect with the great outdoors and to, as they say, unplug (as difficult as that might be these days). After a year and change under lockdowns, yes indeed, the time is now to get back into the wild, and that’s where you need a pair of the best water shoes.

Think of the attributes of your favorite hiking boots and your favorite sneakers, then *snaps fingers* think of what might make them even better. There’s always room for improvement, at least in our book After all, there are always opportunities to revamp a classic, and again, that’s where water shoes step helpfully with innovation and resourcefulness at the forefront. They’re just what the doctor ordered when it comes time to hit the trail, and then cross a stream, and then…cross another stream.

Think of them like a jack-of-all-trades type of shoe, one you can wear to the beach or the trail, or back on the boardwalk, no questions asked.

Like we said, they’ve got all the best qualities of durable hiking shoes or sneakers, but with that ever-critical ability beyond the average. Yes, that’s right: You can wear them in the water.

Think of them like a jack-of-all-trades type of shoe, one you can wear to the beach or the trail, or back on the boardwalk, no questions asked. It beats the alternative: Being unprepared in the elements (even if said elements are simply your local beach or hiking trail). Let’s put it this way: You’re not going to want to take your dress shoes — or even your white leather sneakers, or even, say, your Vans UltraRange Shoes — down to the river or into the water. Enter water shoes, the kind of lightweight and durable kicks that pack in all kinds of functionality and even a few style points.

In fact, we think water shoes should be celebrated. After all, they’re such a specific type of shoe — meant to be worn for crossing streams or exploring waterfalls of trails — that they really do signify that you’re getting back out there and really doing things. When you’re wearing water shoes, you’re going on adventures, plain and simple. Celebrate the chance to get back in nature with beach shoes or swim shoes, whatever you might like to call them. Just know that they can handle whatever you dream up.

Water shoes, though, require the same care and attention to detail that goes into planning the rest of your trip. Whether it’s a GPS smartwatch or a portable backpack, it’s all got to come down to proper performance and utility. Thus, our guide to men’s water shoes and how to find the right pair. Let’s dive into a few pointers, shall we? We’re glad you asked.

How to Find the Best Water Shoes for Men This Year

  • Breathability: This is going to be critical. All water shoes for men are much more breathable and ready to take a beating than your typical pair of sneakers or even hiking shoes. And yet, like other matters in the menswear world, not all swim shoes are created equal. What we mean by that is, well, this: Some water shoes are built just like sandals, but made to dry quickly. Other men’s water shoes are built like porous, lightweight sneakers, but are less breathable than water sandals. Consider stocking a pair of each for your next getaway, and encourage your friends to do the same.
  • Style: Like we mentioned above, consider looks alongside utility when shopping for shoes you can wear easily into the water. Some water shoes look like streamlined sneakers you could get away with wearing to grab a coffee back in town, but others are clearly more built for the trail. Versatility is key, so consider how and where you’re going to wear your water shoes (for maximum breathability on a hot day, for example).
  • Material: When we say “material, we’re talking about the type of material atop which your water shoe sits. You’re going to want an outsole with maximum grip and tread, of course. Some water shoes, however, are more apt to wear as beach shoes for casual ocean strolls versus rugged exploration of slippery, rocky streams. Like we said above, it pays off to have multiple pairs in your rotation. It’s up to you, but as we always says, it pays off to be prepared.

Keep those crucial points in mind as you shop away for rugged and durable water shoes, and you won’t be disappointed with how they perform on the beach, the trail and well beyond. These are some of our favorites to rock now. Again, it’s all about innovation, top-notch materials, solid style points and, well, affordability. We threw in a bit of each with our picks below, from brands you know and love, and perhaps some that are going to be brand-new to you. Hey, the more you know, right? Shop away and stock up in time for summer excursions far afield.

The Best Men’s Water Shoes to Shop Right Now

L.L. Bean Comfort Water Shoes

L.L. Bean Comfort Water Shoes

If you’re searching for a pair of more casual water shoes you can easily slip on to head to the beach or pool, these are the ones you want. Designed with comfort in mind and featuring a low, low price tag, they’re as unstoppable as L.L. Bean’s winter boots, yet all the better suited for warm weather when you still want the Bean brand in your life. The True Navy Graphite color is bright and summery, while the streamlined look and feel makes them easy to pack in your beach bag. L.L. Bean says these shoes are perfect to wear kayaking or canoeing, and the famed Maine brand also notes that these water shoes “provide excellent grip on slippery rocks and docks.” Sounds like you might have found your new favorite pair of men’s water shoes from L.L. Bean.

Astral Loyak Water Shoes

Astral Loyak Water Shoes

If you want to step up your game and get sporty water shoes that are perfectly designed for the trail and the stream, consider Astral’s Loyak Water Shoes. They’re designed like durable, sleek sneakers and priced nicely at under $100, leaving you a bit of extra dough to stock up on libations for your next outdoor excursion (responsibly, of course). These innovative water shoes (there’s that key phrase again — innovation!) feature what the brand calls hydrophobic canvas uppers — expertly crafted for the stream — and, as the brand says, “are securely held to your feet via stretch-mesh tongues and flat laces.” If you need shoes that can take on all sorts of terrain, consider these ones as some of the best men’s water shoes around.

Salomon Crossamphibian Swift 2 Water Shoes

Salomon Crossamphibian Swift 2 Water Shoes

Now we’re really talking. Salomon takes all of its years of know-how in the outdoor gear space and translates it to an aptly named, nicely priced and dependable-as-heck pair of water shoes destined to take you just about anywhere this season. The durable rubber lug outsole is but one winning feature of these rugged men’s shoes, and it only gets better from there. Remarkably, Salomon has gone above and beyond — remember, it’s all about innovation — with these well-designed shoes. That’s especially true in matters of sustainability. Salomon says it best: These shoes include the equivalent of “1.75 plastic bottles, 2 ears of corn, and 10 grams of bamboo fibers, all post consumer.” It’s a remarkable feat, and it’s all the more impressive when you consider how functional they happen to be too.

Xero Shoes Aqua X Sport Water Shoes

Xero Shoes Aqua X Sport Water Shoes

The thing about water shoes is they’re going to get, well, wet. Like, really wet, depending on where you take them (again, that could be the ocean or the stream, or a major river). You need shoes that drain quickly and effectively, preferably ones that can still get you from point A to point B as they drain. This is why you should certainly consider the well-made X Sport Water Shoes from Xero Shoes. The company certainly knows how to make ’em, seeing as they feature a lightweight mesh upper and “quick-dry linings” that’ll keep you on the go in style, easily.

Chaco Odyssey Sandals

Chaco Odyssey Sandals

You’re not going to wear just any old T-shirt or hiking shorts on your next trip into the great outdoors, are you? We didn’t think so, and we’re also here to say that you shouldn’t settle for less than the best as far as the shoes on your feet are concerned, either. The Chaco Odyssey Sandals truly live up to their adventurous name, with the sort of futuristic build that seems ripped straight from a sci-fi movie. As Chaco themselves have so aptly noted, the Odyssey Sandals are anything but ordinary: They “combine hiking-shoe durability with barefoot-trainer freedom for performance from land to water.” Sounds to us like you need a pair in your weekender bag ASAP.

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Beau is Brooklyn-based style and lifestyle writer. He covers menswear, gear, spirits, craft beer and music. When not writing, Beau can be found shopping for vinyl or sipping on a Brooklyn beer.

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