BEST Water Shoes in the UK 2018

August 1, 2018

With the summer season fast approaching, it won’t be long until you’re packing up and heading down to your nearest lake, reservoir or seaside destination to engage in some water sports. Whether it’s sailing, snorkelling, bodyboarding or anything else, a pair of aqua shoes will be a crucial part of your kitbag in order to keep your feet comfortable and protected.

Pulling on a pair of aqua shoes will allow you to walk freely over rocks, pebbles, sand and seaweed without worrying about what other little bits of plastic or glass may lie beneath. If you’re out on a boat, they provide extra grip to help stop you slipping and sliding around on deck. An added bonus is that they’re also great for keeping your feet that little bit warmer, meaning that you can spend even more time in the water.

Our Pick for September 2018

Quality design, material and truly multi-purpose in nature…

In general, the shoes are made of a wetsuit-type material that allows water to flow through the shoes while filtering out sand and sediment. They’re fast-drying, easy to slip on and off and the rubber outsole delivers traction and protection.

Thanks to their popularity, there is a huge range of styles, makes and prices on offer. But with so many different options available on the market right now, how do you choose? Below we’ve pulled together and reviewed a selection of men’s and women’s aqua shoes for you to choose from. But before you start, ask yourself the below questions to figure out what you’re looking for from the product?

  • How much are you willing to spend?

Luckily, most aqua shoes come with a pretty small price tag depending on their intended purpose. However, you should note that the price will generally go hand in hand with the quality and durability of the product, so answer the next two questions and then see where your priorities lie.

  • What sport or activity will these primarily be used for?

If you just need a pair for swimming or bodyboarding then most aqua shoes will do the trick. If you’re going coasteering or cliff jumping, then a thick and sturdy sole will be necessary. If you’re a sailor then you’ll need fast-drying shoes with a good grip to help you navigate the deck with ease. Looking to cover multiple activities? Don’t worry – there are plenty of hybrid or mixed-use shoes.

  • How long do you need them to last?

If you only need the shoes for a single season or holiday, then a cheaper pair might serve the purpose, but if you need something a bit more durable, it’s certainly worth investing.

Aqua Shoes Reviewed

Sale
Thunder Unisex Water Skin Shoes Aqua...
Sports
£27.00 - £14.01 from £12.99
Sale
SAGUARO Barefoot Aqua Water Sports Shoe...
SAGUARO - 7 UK - Black
£16.99 - £1.00 £15.99
Sale
Lakeland Active Derwent Men's Hybrid...
Lakeland Active - Misc.
£39.99 - £24.00 from £15.99
Sale
Lakeland Active Eden Aqua Shoes - BW6101...
Lakeland Active - 9 UK - Black
£13.99 - £3.00 from £10.99
Sale
Vibram 5 Fingers Mens Signa Water Shoes...
Vibram FiveFingers - 10/10.5 UK - Multicoloured (Black/Yellow)
£76.00 - £6.54 from £69.46
Sale
Lakeland Active Women's Solway Barefoot...
Lakeland Active - 7.5/8.5 UK - Black
£20.00 - £12.01 from £7.99
Sale
Kenswalk Womens Surf Aqua Beach Water...
Kenswalk - UK 5 EU 38 Women - Deep Blue
£29.00 - £14.01 from £14.99
Sale
Aleader Women's Mesh Slip On Water Shoes...
Aleader - 7 UK - Blue
£45.99 - £36.00 from £9.99
Mountain Warehouse Bermuda Womens Aqua...
Mountain Warehouse - 5 UK - Blue
£9.99
Sale
Merrell Men's All Out Blaze Sieve Water...
Merrell - 9 (43.5 EU) - Grey (Dark Slate Dark Slate)
£90.00 - £27.00 £63.00
Keen Newport H2, Men's Sandals Hiking,...
KEEN - 12 UK - Grey (Raven/Aluminum)
£75.28
Speedo Men's Surfwalker 3.0 Water Shoe,...
Speedo - 11 UK - Navy/Blue
£19.67
adidas Terrex CC Voyager – Men's...
adidas - Sports
£54.50

 

Thunder Water Skin Shoes / Aqua Socks

These ultra lightweight shoes are, as their name suggests, closer to being socks.

Closely fitting the form of your feet, they offer a ‘barely there’ feel, which makes them easy to swim in as well as using them on the beach for activities such as yoga.

A thin, anti-slip sole makes them the perfect shoe for sandy beaches, aqua classes, yoga or swimming.

  • Material: 85% polyester + 15% polyurethane, outsole: 100% neoprene.
  • Closure: Slip On
  • Smooth designed neck prevents chafing
  • Weight: 33g~43g per pair only
  • Come in a handy transparent zipper bag.
  • Range of sizes available. Well suited for narrow feet.
Pros
  • Barefoot/second-skin feel
  • Extremely lightweight making them perfect for taking on holiday
  • Fast-drying
  • No ties or laces, making them easy to slip on or off
    Can be used for a range of activities
  • Great for walking on hot sand and going into the sea
Cons
  • The fact that they’re attached by stitching rather than glue leaves them prone to tears or small holes after repeated use
  • Thin sole means they’re suitable for swimming, on-deck activities and sand beaches only

SAGUARO® Barefoot Aqua Water Shoes

These shoes are well-suited to light outdoor activities, swimming and sailing. The shoes are made from durable and high-stretch fabrics meaning that they are fairly comfortable and will last multiple holidays.

Thanks to their strong wicking performance, they’re also fast-drying so are less likely to rub when back out on the beach and can be sun-dried then thrown back in your beach bag.

Similar to the Thunder aqua shoes, they’re thin enough to be rolled up or stuffed into bag but are slightly thicker, meaning the wearer can walk over pebbles or bumpy surfaces without issues.

  • Outer Material: Neoprene + Rubber.
  • Inner Material: Polyester + elastane.
  • Sole: Gum Rubber.
  • Closure: Slip-On
  • Heel Height: 5 millimetres
  • Designed with premium flexible materials
  • Shoe Width: Normal
Pros
  • Despite their black sole, they are non-marking and can be used on deck for virtually all sailing boats
  • Saguaro is a trusted brand in the shoe space
  • Multiple designs and colours available
  • Fast-drying neoprene and polyester design
  • Removable inner soles making them easier to clean and dry
Cons
  • Still at the lower end of the price range, giving them a cheap-ish feel
  • Thin sole allows for a barefoot feel but may not provide enough support for those with sensitive feet

Lakeland Active Derwent Men’s Hybrid Water Shoe

The Derwent water shoe is a hybrid and actually looks more like a trainer than an aqua shoe, offering a great alternative to those who don’t like the look of Crocs, jelly shoes or flip-flops.

They can be worn normally with socks or in the water without. Despite being quite a sturdy shoe, they are lightweight and easily washed.

The easy slip-on design makes them perfect for the beach and wearers could easily go shopping or for a meal afterwards without getting any sideways glances.

Thanks to a thicker sole than its counterparts, these shoes are great for coasteering, cliff jumping and rocky beaches. The mesh design means they are quick-draining and the rubber sole has a decent grip.

  • Hybrid men’s fashion/water shoe
  • Quick-drying laminated mesh upper
  • Slip-on design with reinforced heel and midfoot tabs
  • Fastening: slip on
  • Weight: 113g per shoe
  • Water drainable midsole
  • Removable EVA cushioned sole with rubber grip inserts
  • Lightweight EVA web providing high level cushioning and allowing natural movement
  • Available in 3 colours
Pros
  • Can be machine washed and then stored clean for the next holiday
  • Thick sole means wearer and easily cross stones, pebbles and rocks without discomfort
  • Good grip reduces chances of slipping on wet or moss-covered stones
  • Fashion design means they can be worn away from the beach/water
Cons
  • Slow to dry out naturally unless left in direct sunlight or a warm area and thus prone to smelling
  • Larger and slightly clumpier design makes them less ideal for swimming

Lakeland Active Eden Aqua Shoes

These shoes are exactly what you might expect aqua shoes to look like – a neoprene upper half, rubber sole with spine grips and a toggle to keep them tight on your feet whilst swimming.

Addressing your basic beach and water-activity needs, they’re a perfect budget option, coming in at the bottom end of the price range.

The Eden Aqua shoes are designed to keep your feet safe from cuts and stings on the beach and in the sea, with a thick enough sole to offer protection from rocks, pebbles and coral.

The elasticated ankle collar can be tightened to ensure they don’t fall off when swimming or exiting the water, although the design is a bit bulkier than some of their counterparts.

The non-slip synthetic sole is good for boat decks, windsurf and paddle boards but would struggle on mossy stones or wet surfaces with an incline.

  • Elasticated ankle collar with adjustable toggle
  • Outer Material: synthetic mix, neoprene upper
  • Sole: rubber
  • Closure: slip on
  • Elasticated textile upper with breathable mesh inserts
  • Size range: 4 UK infant to 12 UK adult
  • Available in nine colours
Pros
  • One of the cheapest options on the market
  • Lightweight
  • Adjustable toggle to ensure they don’t slip or fall off and makes having the ‘perfect fit’ less crucial
  • Spines on sole offer grip – perfect for getting in and out of kayaks or standing on surf or paddle boards
Cons
  • Soles are not particularly thick and sharp stones are likely to be felt – not ideal for crossing rivers with rocky riverbeds
  • Due to sitting at the lower end of the price scale, users should only expect them to last a season or a two-week holiday of daily use.

 

Vibram 5 Fingers Mens Signa Water Shoes

These shoes sit at the higher end of the range, but as a result they offer additional quality in terms of design and material and are truly multi-purpose in nature.

Vibram is an established world leader in performance rubber soles for sport, outdoor, and recreational activities.

This water-specific version has a thinner sole, and softer rubber underneath to give a good grip on wet decks but is still plenty thick enough to protect from stones on shore or in the water.

Although multi-purpose, they are best suited for sailing and wind or kite-surfing.

  • Rough pu print on mesch midsole for protection
  • Machine washable
  • Outer Material: Synthetic
  • Inner Material: Mesh
  • Sole: Gum Rubber
  • Closure: Hook & Loop
  • Available in three colours
  • Weight: 113g
  • Shoe Width: Regular
Pros
  • Separate toes and grippy sole is well-suited to swimming, rock climbing and cliff jumping or sailing and surfing
  • Provide protection from hot decks in the summer and additional warmth in the winter
  • Sole is thick enough to withstand and soften the impact of sharp rocks on river and ocean beds
Cons
  • Are not suited to machine washing
  • Close fit and rubber material means that the shoes are prone to smelling if not regularly rinsed and dried
  • Not well-suited to swimming due to water entering the different parts of the shoe and slowing the wearer down

Solway Barefoot Aqua Sock – Women’s

These lightweight shoes are perfect for those who are limited on space and weight in their luggage.

Thanks to their thin, flexible sole and lightweight polyester material they’re fast drying, meaning that the wearer can transition straight from swimming to beach activities or can get in and out of the water onto a surfboard without feeling weighed down.

Their ultra-sleek design also means that they can be worn underneath flippers for increased comfort.

  • Outer Material: Synthetic/ Neoprene
  • Closure: zip
  • Lightweight and quick-drying stretchy fabric upper
  • Come in a zip-lock travel bag for easy packing
  • Tough outsole for extra protection
  • Can be worn with diving fins
Pros
  • Ultra-lightweight
  • Provide enough protection against small pebbles and shells
  • Fitted form to allow for swimming
  • Bright colours with a variety of options
Cons
  • Grip on soles is fairly shallow, providing little help on slippier surfaces
  • Thin soles mean limited protection against larger stones or rough surfaces

Kenswalk Aqua Trainer – Women’s

Kenswalk is renowned for its athletic aqua gear with a fashionable slant. These shoes still look and feel a little bit like trainers, so if you get caught on the way to or from the beach, you won’t be embarrassed!

These shoes feature a lightweight sole, fast-draining mesh design and provide far more comfort and support than their counterparts.

Primarily a slip on, elasticated shoe, they also come with shoelaces so ensure the shoe doesn’t move around or fall off whilst mid-activity.

  • Unique drainage holes on the sole ensure the water flow out
  • Breathable and durable air mesh upper make your feet in a breathable condition
  • Closure: slip on
  • Heel Height: 2 centimetres
  • EVA insole with punching creating a cooler and healthier shoe environment.
  • Specific lightweight midsole provide for excellent bounce-back and durability
  • Water Grain outsole provides exceptional traction in wet and slippery conditions
  • Air mesh on the upper and drainage holes on the sole provides for excellent breathability and quick drying
Pros
  • Easy to slip on and off but with the bonus of adjusting the fit with laces
  • Insole gives extra support so can be worn comfortably for longer
  • Sturdy but light sole
  • Truly multifunctional
  • Open mesh design means that more air reaches the inner sole and foot, so less likely to smell
  • Decent grip for walking across different surfaces, stones or decks
Cons
  • Design is shoe-like rather than sock-like, and this additional clumpiness is less suited to swimming
  • Take up more room in your bag or suitcase
  • Slightly heavier than its counterparts

 

Aleader Mesh Slip-On Water Shoes – Women’s

Aleader Mesh Slip On Water Shoes

Aleader’s water shoes offer a lightweight mesh and webbing system that provide lightweight breathability and a supportive fit. The slip-on design makes them quick to put on and the soft sole allows the wearer to experience natural range of motion.

The spongy rubber sole also allows the wearer to undertake impact workouts, such as running and jumping, on solid surfaces which is not possible in the more lightweight shoes.

The open mesh and hole on the sole mean they are quick-drying and won’t leave you feeling weighed down as you get in and out of the water, however they are slightly chunkier than other shoes on the market.

  • Breathable and durable air mesh upper allow the foot to breathe
  • Solyte Midsole Provides an exceptionally lightweight midsole with excellent bounce-back and durability
  • Outer Material: Mesh
  • Inner Material: Mesh
  • Sole: EVA
  • Closure: Slip-On
  • Heel Height: 3 centimetres
  • Material Composition: Mesh
  • Shoe Width: Regular
  • Water grain outsole provides exceptional traction in wet and slippery conditions
  • Template ComforDry provides the optimum cushioning performance that creates a cooler, drier and healthier shoe
Pros
  • Sufficient level of grip and support for walking to and from activities or along the beach
  • Thick sole provides great protection against sharp rocks, broken glass, etc.
  • Well-made and durable, meaning that they will last multiple seasons or holidays
  • Variety of colours and patterns
  • Good for coasteering, rock climbing and extended walks
Cons
  • Slightly more expensive than other aqua shoe options
  • Cannot be folded or rolled up and are therefore less space efficient
  • Chunky design is less well-suited to swimming

 

Mountain Warehouse Bermuda Aqua Shoes – Women’s

This aqua shoe comes from outdoor activity experts Mountain Warehouse and is designed to give a low to mid-level protection in outdoor waters from sharp objects and sea creatures.

The shoes are constructed from soft neoprene with a rubber sole. The breathable mesh panels allow water to flow through them and drain out with ease and the thin material means that they are ultra-fast drying.

With no toggles or strings to faff about with, these shoes slip on and off, and have tiny spines on the sole to provide a good level of grip on wet surfaces.

  • Outer Material: synthetic neoprene and mesh mix
  • Inner Material: synthetic and fabric mix
  • Closure: slip on
  • Heel Height: 1 millimetres
  • Easy to slip on and off, great for a quick change on the beach
Pros
  • Small, compact and lightweight, making them ideal for travelling
  • Fine spines on the sole are great for gripping boat decks or surf boards
  • Removable insoles make them easier to rinse and dry
  • Have come down significantly in price in recent months
Cons
  • The grippy spines on the sole of the shoe are quite fine and as a result quick to wear down
  • Lack of toggle or ties means they are prone to slipping or chafing when moving around for extended periods in the water
  • Sole offers protection from sharp stones but no real support for feet

 

New additions

 

Merrell Men’s All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoes

These All Out Blaze Sieve water shoes come from the trusted shoe manufacturer, Merrell, and have been well-received and highly popular since entering the market a couple of years ago. A bit chunkier than some of the other aqua shoes we have reviewed, they are still relatively lightweight for a waterproof hiking shoe and offer great stability across all terrains.

Their breathable ventilation system keeps your foot cool and stops a build up of moisture, even after they’ve gotten wet. The mesh panels work to allow a flow of air to your feet, preventing irritation and blistering.The SelectTM FRESH technology inside is a collection of antimicrobial agents that combine to alleviate shoe odour.

A waterproof upper prevents water from permeating the exterior, protecting the insides from becoming overly wet. The leather fabric on the upper is durable and overtime stretches to mould to your foot. The Vibram Tc5 outsoles are waterproof and solid enough to protect your foot without being too rigid and the neoprene collar allows the wearer to easily get the shoe on and off with Omni Fit lacing ensuring a glove-like fit.

  • Weight: 1100g
  • Outer Material: Leather
  • Inner Material: Synthetic
  • Sole: Synthetic
  • Closure: Lace-Up
  • Heel Height: 9 millimetres
  • Material Composition: Synthetic
  • Lycra® Neoprene Stretch Collar
  • UniFlyTM Midsole
Pros
  • Cool and airy
  • Comfortable straight out of the box
  • Fit true to size
  • Dry out quickly
  • Supportive
Cons
  • Heavy-ish so could not be used for swimming
  • Price is a little on the high side

 

Keen Newport H2 Shoes

Whilst not the prettiest things you’ll see this summer, the Keen Newport H2 shoes are an incredible hybrid sandal that are perfect for holidays. Due to their open design, they’re great for warm weather and sandy beaches but equally can tackle streams and pebble beaches. Their multi-directional lug pattern adds traction for uneven and rugged terrain should you wish to venture away from the beach, or jump out of your kayak or boat and go exploring. Because they’re mostly open and therefore don’t hold water, they can be worn on boats of different sorts where you may be regularly getting in and out of the water or have waves washing overboard. For those looking to use them on deck, the H2 sandals feature no mark rubber outsoles.

The hydrophobic lining in these aqua shoes repel water to increase the speed of drying in the upper materials. The Aegis Microbe Shield prevents them from smelling but the polyester upper is washable, so at the the end of your holiday or excursion you can restore them to their former glory with ease.

The lace capture system offers a secure and customisable fit, pulled tight with a bungee, and the molded EVA midsole provides great comfort and support. Testing showed they offer great arch support and stayed comfortable over different terrains. The only word of warning would be that because they come up small, buying in the wrong size could lead to hotspots and blisters. A TPU stability shank built into the midsole also helps to create a more stable ride.

Keen are one of the few shoe manufacturers that still offer closed-toe sandals, providing crucial protecting for your toes (because stubbing your toe on rocks can be enough to ruin the day). Keen.Protect is the synthetic reinforcement around the toe area, bringing them closer to well-ventilated trainers than your standard sandals. Although they’re heavier than your average sandal, they are much harder wearing and survive multiple seasons and years of use.

The sandals come in various sizes and colours and also have kids options available.

  • Weight: 800g
  • Quick Drying Washable Polyester Webbing Upper –
  • Metatomical EVA Footbed
  • Outer Material: Synthetic
  • Inner Material: Mesh
  • Sole: Synthetic
  • Closure: Speed-Laces
  • Heel Height: 9 millimetres
  • Material Composition: Synthetic
  • Shoe Width: Regular
  • Compression Molded EVA Midsole
Pros
  • Supportive sandal with a good arch support
  • Anti-odour base actually works
  • One of only options on market with toe protection
  • Robust
Cons
  • Come up small
  • Not the most fashionable option on our list

 

Speedo Surfwalker 3.0 Water Shoe

The Speedo Surfwalkers are halfway in between a water sock and water shoe and offer a cheap and cheerful solution to those looking for some mid-weight foot protection during water activities.

The stretchy upper allows for pull-on entry and secure fit with an ankle loop to help you get them on with ease. The thick band that runs across the shoes upper helps to give them a slightly enhanced shape and durability than mesh or neoprene alone and there’s even a slight reinforcement around the toe area for protection.

Although the sole is relatively flat, which may be an issue for wearers looking for better arch support, they have surprisingly good traction for a cheap pair of aqua shoes. This means you can scale wet slopes and rocks, move safely around on deck or just wear them for a swim. One gripe with these shoes is that despite their lightweight build, they take almost a full day to totally dry out and we can’t foresee them lasting more than a summer or two.

Surfwalkers are lightweight and compact enough that you can throw them in a bag or suitcase to take them along on your next trip or activity outing. This shoe is also made for men and kids, with the exact same specifications and benefits.

  • Weight: 200g
  • Stretchy upper: synthetic
  • Sole: Synthetic
  • Closure: Slip-On
  • S-trac outsole offers no-slip grip
  • Maximum breathability
  • Quick-drying materials
Pros
  • Cheap
  • Comfortable
  • Breathable
  • Relatively good grip
Cons
  • No arch support
  • Durability of material not great (suited to one season use)
  • Small rocks were able to get into the shoe

 

Adidas Men’s Terrex Cc Voyager

If you’ve scrolled through the list of these shoes and felt uninspired because you were holding out for something more on the fashion side, then we’ve saved the best ‘til last. The adidas Men’s Terrex Cc Voyager looks like a normal trainer for all intents and purposes but is built with many of the benefits of an aqua shoe.

These shoes are quick-drying and lightweight with an innovative ventilation/drainage system. The mesh design keeps water out as much as possible (from splashes, puddles and small streams) but also allow water that gets inside to be drained out whilst constantly wicking away sweat from the foot. Thanks to this, they’re great for water-based activities but also provide breathable, dry comfort on wet trails. The deep lugs provide good traction and the Climacool open mesh facilitates breathability They can also be worn in day-to-day life, thanks to adidas’ fashionable design. Their Eva cushioning provides a good balance of being soft underfoot and harder on the outer rim for stability.

Our only recommendation or warning would be that they’re great hybrid shoes and are perfect for wet trails or canoeing where you might get splashed, but are less well-suited than some of our previous options if you’re likely to be continually submerging your feet.

  • Weight: 560g
  • Climacool open mesh upper
  • Unique drainage system
  • Outer Material: Synthetic
  • Inner Material: Manmade
  • Sole: Gum Rubber
  • Closure: Lace-Up
  • Material Composition: Synthetic
  • Shoe Width: Normal
  • Stealth rubber outsole
  • 360-degree cooling
  • TPU welds for toe protection
Pros
  • Good quality
  • Versatile shoes suited to both wet and dry conditions
  • Much faster-drying than your average trainer
  • Designed to perfectly fit your feet and provide comfort straight out of the box
Cons
  • Pricey

 

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