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It’d be nice if water shoes didn’t need to exist and we could all live the barefoot beach life. Unfortunately, reality gets in the way. Blazing hot sand, stinging jellyfish, spiny sea urchins and sharp rocks exist — and wow, they really hurt.
Hence, we’ve got water shoes. And they’ve come a long way from the basic, one-style-only shoes from back in the day. Now they come in multiple looks for all types of aquatic activities, from sailing to simple seaside lounging.
Here are some of the best water shoes for the whole family, wherever summertime fun takes you.
These no-nonsense water shoes were named the New York Times’ pick for classic sock-style water shoes earlier this year. “We think they strike a good balance of comfort, simplicity and reasonable price,” wrote the Times.
Indeed, these are what most folks picture when they think of water shoes — not the most stylish or flattering footwear, but they serve their purpose well. And, according to the Times, they dry fairly quickly, too (about 2 and a half hours).
The shoe above is a men’s version, but they’re available for women, too.
REI staff members dubbed this shoe the best water shoe for boating, citing its great grip on slippery surfaces.
Amazon reviewers are fans as well, with 90% of buyers giving them four stars or more.
Verified purchaser ipadowner wrote in a review titled “I LOVE these shoes!” wrote: “Can’t say enough good things about these and get tons of compliments.”
Available in women’s, men’s and kids’ sizes.
Another REI staff pick, these super-grippy shoes boast features paddleboarders appreciate.
The mesh upper allows water to flow out freely so you don’t feel weighted down once they get wet. A removable insole helps wearers choose between more cushioning or a close-to-barefoot feel.
“I loved these shoes!” wrote Amazon customer Mei, in a 5- star review. “Lightweight, fit my feet perfectly, and absolutely functional in multiple settings.”
Pictured above are a women’s pair; they’re also available for men.
According to our sister site Don’t Waste Your Money, these simple, traditional water shoes are the best ones for women in 2022.
Look at that price! They also come in dozens of colorways, from basic black to splashy flamingo print.
As the review notes, their lightweight design also offers good grip and shock absorption on the sole. (Check out the rest of DWYM’S picks for best water shoes for women here.)
These easy-to-pack water shoes are DWYM’s top choice for the tenderest of toes. These get high marks for their “adorable” colors and patterns, plus their soft fabric and non-slip sole.
They’ve got vocal supporters on Amazon, as well. Reviewer Lake declared the shoes “kid approved”: “My 9-year-olds love these shoes,” they wrote. “These shoes held up for a whole day of walking through parks, trails, low tide, sand and even a bike ride.”
Can’t beat the price, either. Click here for more of DWYM’s best water shoes for kids.