Hiking In Water Shoes: Yay or Nay?

Once you start exploring the world of hiking, trailing, kayaking, and river walking, you will soon find yourself with a problem. Usually, this happens when you find yourself with a set of water shoes that can do seemingly everything and then wondering if they’ll keep performing miracles on your next hike.

We do not recommend using water shoes for any hike that will last more than two hours. Water shoes do not provide the required support or the necessary protection for your feet when hiking with a heavy load for multiple hours over rough and wild terrains.

The hardcore lovers of water shoes will always tell you that they can be used for more things than almost any other shoe. Understanding the limitations of these shoes and how they are supposed to be used will help make them last longer while saving yourself from dangerous injuries.

Can You Hike in Water Shoes?

Yes, if you are hiking along a river or the ocean, you can hike with water shoes; they will help keep your feet clean and with freshwater always entering. However, water shoes should only be used when your hiking course will be more accessible, and the majority of it will be in the water.

Water shoes are not waterproof and allow water to flow in and out of the shoe itself with ease, which is why they are perfect for walking in water or mud. The extra grip they provide is perfect for helping you keep your footing when stepping on rocks or ground that has never been dry.

Because of this unique property, so many people in the world have started falling in love with them. The shoes are lightweight, offer extreme grip, and dried out within minutes if you are no longer walking through any wet or muddy terrain.

Why Are Water Shoes Not Good for Hiking?

Water shoes fit onto your feet like a tight glove fits onto your hand, meaning you feel every bump, every twist, and every change in the ground beneath you. Larger water shoes look like normal running shoes and provide more padding between your feet and the ground beneath you.

Because these shoes fit so tightly they are not suitable for hiking any significant distances, hiking shoes must have good support for the arches on your feet and your ankles. This is why a good set of hiking boots sit so snugly around these parts, constantly ensuring your feet cannot be twisted.

Water shoes, even the larger, heavier ones, do not provide this support and thus quickly tire out your muscles, hurts your bones, and allows your feet to flex too much. This tires you out as you walk, causing your muscles to become weaker, increasing the risk that you can twist an ankle as it is not supported.

Where Can You Use Water Shoes?

While we do not recommend water shoes for almost any type of hiking, there are two conditions that we would highly implore you to have a good set of water shoes. These conditions are unique and call for water shoes for different reasons, but water is the main motivator.

Many people have learned that it might be best to use their judgment when choosing what shoes to wear, with most experienced hikers having both on hand. Water shoes will never be perfect for doing entire hikes with; however, they can complement your proper hiking boots.

Creek & River Crossing & Hiking

The most common defense lovers of water shoes make perfect hiking along a river, around a lake, or a creek. Water shoes are perfect for helping you keep a grip on wet rocks and slippery slopes that may look like it’s impossible to walk on.

We recommend packing in your water shoes and putting them on whenever you are about to cross any deepwater areas while doing this type of hiking. Even when hiking along a river, water shoes will eventually start to hurt as they don’t support the bridge of your feet enough.

Beach Hiking

Possibly the only place we recommend always wearing water shoes is when you are doing a long hike that goes along a coast. A proper shoe like water shoes will provide you with enough support to walk on the harder ground but keep your feet from developing any unwanted stink when wet.

However, if you know that the trail will be along the beach, we recommend getting proper thin water shoes. The less material between your feet and the beach sand, the longer you will be able to walk, while the rubber soles of the water shoes will provide enough grip to cross any rocks.

Which Shoes Are Best for Wet Hiking?

Now that we know that wet shoes are not going to be perfect for hiking, we need to look at what shoes you can wear while hiking in the wet. Most people will have to experience hiking through the rain at least once to properly learn how horrible it is to have constant wet socks.

Once you have learned how awful it is hiking with wet socks, we have made a list of the best hiking shoes and boots that are waterproof. Further, we have included a few water shoes that will compliment your overall hiking experience as well, saving you from having to choose just one type of shoe.

  • Merrel Moab 2: These are water shoes that will take you further than any other water shoes, with some heel and ankle support built-in. We recommend having these when you will be hiking through a river, constantly weaving in and out of the water.
  • Sitalie Water Shoes: We recommend the Sitalie water shoes for two reasons, they will be perfect for hiking along a beach, and they are lightweight enough to carry with you. This means that you can have the shoes on your backpack and put them on when needed.
  • Sobaso Water Shoes: The Sobaso water shoes are comfortably in the middle all the other water shoes, providing some support but not having a super thick sole. These shoes are perfect for testing the waters with water shoes to see if you will like them or not.
  • Columbia Redmond: Leaning more towards boots is exactly the type of shoe you must wear when going on long hikes. When tied properly, they will keep all moisture out and help keep your feet dry and safe; allow them to get fresh air when you are done hiking.
  • Skechers Relment: Considered traditional hiking shoes, the Skechers Relments are perfect for experienced hikers who know why ankle and heel support is important. Completely waterproof, these will always be your best option when looking for hiking shoes.
  • Columbia Newton Ridge: The Columbia Newton Ridge range of hiking boots has long been seen as the best of the best shoes that you can find. We recommend having these as your primary hiking boots and bringing along a set of water shoes to ensure you can go further.


Water shoes are perfect for a quick walk through some water and will get your feet dry within minutes; however, their lack of support means they are not meant to be worn for long. Many first-time hikers mistakenly read that water shoes can be used for hiking regretting within minutes of starting a hike.

Whatever you do, please don’t assume that because a shoe was expensive, it will magically do everything!

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