Best water shoes for wild swimming and beach trips
Whether you're a wild swimmer, a water sports fan, or a paddling enthusiast, pop on a pair of water shoes for a more comfortable experience
With the joy of our beloved water pursuits comes a few pesky frustrations: sand between your toes, jaggy rocks and freezing feet when you step out onto shore. Water shoes are an easy solution, particularly for activities such as wild swimming where you find yourself scrambling over rocks, and hopping between land and water.
Activities such as kayaking, sailing and paddle boarding can all be made that little bit more enjoyable with the help of a pair of water shoes. They're great for the beach too, whether you're exploring Cornish rock pools, or nipping across the road for an ice cream.
In our round up of the best water shoes, we've included a mix of designs - for men and women - with some resembling a sturdy shoe, and others offering a lightweight fit you can wear while swimming.
Take a look at our beginner's guide to wild swimming, best wild swimming spots in Britain and the best wild swimming spots near London. Or, if you know someone who also loves a dip, why not get them one of these beautiful and practical wild swimming gifts?
Best water shoes for 2023
Helly Hansen Hurricane Water Shoes
If you find yourself scrambling over rocks and vegetation while on your wild swimming adventures, you're likely to require a fairly sturdy sole. These Helly Hansen water shoes feature a rubber sole for added comfort and extra grip, so they shouldn't feel too clumpy, while still providing protection on rockier terrain. A nice balance for a number of water-based activities.
Their slip-on nature makes them a faff-free choice, ideal for busy family beach trips. Designed for women and recommended for inshore sailing, pop them on when pottering around the boat and avoid pesky splinters.
- Discover the best wild swimming spots in Britain
Aqua fit Water Shoes
The most lightweight and flexible option on our list, ideal for wild swimmers who enjoy the freedom of moving naturally through the water. The fun pattern on these water shoes makes them a lovely choice, and they feature thin soles and drainage holes.
They're great for aqua fit or water aerobics classes too. While we tend to leave our footwear at the side of the pool when participating in a class, the motion of jumping on the tile flooring can be tough on feet. These water shoes are an affordable and simple solution, just slip them on before your class.
These water shoes should also be grippy enough for pool floors, so you can use them as an alternative to flip flops in the changing room.
Speedo Athletic Water Shoes
Featuring Speedo's surf knit technology for a breathable design, these water shoes should offer a comfortable fit. Like the Helly Hansen water shoes listed above, this style of water shoe works well for wild swimming on rougher terrain, where stepping over rocks is all part of the fun.
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They're at the higher end of the price scale, but from a reliable brand and with such a nice design, you're sure to get plenty of use out of them. As an added bonus, these water shoes are made with a quick drying material, perfect for water babies with lots of swimming and beach trips in the diary.
Astral Brewer 2.0 Shoes
For a much more structured, trainer-like design, give these Astral water shoes a go. Designed for wet and slippery surfaces, these trainers feature drainage holes at the front and back, a quick drying canvas and water resistant laces. They're much lighter and more flexible than their appearance suggests, but best suited to wet land, rather than a sea swimming session.
Thanks to their casual design, they could work as a lighter and more compact alternative to clunky waterproof hiking boots when you're heading out on a wet path. They're vegan-friendly too.
Speedo Men's Surfwalker Pro Mesh Water Shoes
Another Speedo water shoe design, this time in a men's fit. The stretchy upper fit should allow for a snug and secure feel, and we like their stylish yet understated sleek black look. Feel the benefit of the grippy rubber soles on slippery surfaces, whether it's a rock face or pool side.
Bermuda Men's Aqua Shoes
A budget-friendly Mountain Warehouse design you can chuck in your bag for a day at the beach. With a straightforward pull on, soft neoprene design, pop them on and walk confidently into the sea. They're also available in a fetching green if you want to add a bit of colour.
If you're looking for something more robust and durable for rocky grounds, it's a wise idea to opt for something more specialised, but these water shoes are a handy addition to your holiday suitcase for relaxed times in the sea.
Looking to book a holiday by the water? Find yourself a relaxing riverside cottage for the summer.
Rachel Howatson is a digital writer who works across Our Media’s home and craft brands. With a love of eclectic furniture and bold, statement decor, and an ability to scour out the best deals online, she’s got your interior and crafting needs covered.
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