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The Best Water Shoes for Rocky Beaches: Men, Women, and Kids Edition!

August 31, 2021
rocky beach in Paros, Greece

Choose the Best Water Shoes for Rocky Beaches

I’m running from the hot sand into the ocean waves, wind in my hair and cool breeze on my face and all of a sudden I see the pebbles. Reverting course, I grab my flip flops next to my Microfiber quick-dry towel and repeat, a little less gracefully this time. My feet aren’t being scraped from the rocks, but the force of the ocean waves can’t keep those flimsy flip flops on my feet. I pull the flip flops off my feet and wade in the water until I find a smooth surface to stand. As I’m drifting through the ocean, my foot lands on the top of a rock and a jagged edge cuts through the skin. I get back to shore and try to clean the sand from my fresh wound. I start to worry about whether or not I need a tetanus shot, and then check the dreaded WebMD to read up on my chances of survival. Sound familiar?

best water shoes for rocky beaches are not flip flops!

The lesson to this story: Get yourself some legit water shoes. Flip flops just ain’t gonna cut it. I’ll admit that I wasn’t on board with water shoes until this event. When you already have to limit the amount of shoes you can take on a trip, the last thing you want to make room for is water shoes. But, if you are going to spend a large chunk of time beach-ing it up in locales with pebbled beaches, then you should resign yourself to packing water shoes. On the bright side, water shoes nowadays are more innovative and serve multiple purposes. While sightseeing and subsequently walking 25,000 plus steps a day, I will eventually need a reprieve from my trusty Adidas Cloudfoam shoes. (btw LOVE these for travel and for everyday…I have them in white and black). Sandals like Chacos or Keens are the perfect alternate shoe because you can wear a pair of these on a hike, participating in a water sport, or just walking along cobblestone streets.  

Best Water Hiking Shoes

Chaco Sandals

Sold on Zappos and Amazon.

If you are looking for an all-purpose shoe, then Chacos are a must. These sandals are known for their superb quality and all-around durability. The Chaco straps are made from polyester with an adjustable strap system for a tailored fit. The outsole is made from a durable rubber grip that is optimized for wet traction. There is an option to choose medium or wide fit as well as features like toe loop vs. no toe loop and multi strap vs. one strap. There are a variety of color options for the shoe and even more variety of color patterns for the webbing. I personally prefer the monochromatic look. To narrow down your search, I would check out the Chaco Z/1 Classic for men and women and compare that shoe with the Chaco ZX/2 Classic for men and women. 

KEEN Sandals

Whisper Water Shoe for Women

Sold on Zappos and Amazon.

Newport H2 Water Shoe for Men

Sold on Zappos and Amazon.

Shoes are a tough item to review because comfort is so important, and very subjective. With that said, people love their KEEN Whisper water shoes. On Zappos, there are over 2,700 5*star reviews for the KEEN Whisper water hiking shoe.

The shoe is made of washable polyester webbing, an elastic lacing system, and a rubber outsole for stability. The footbed molds to the shape of your foot and the classic KEEN toe bumper adds extra foot protection. The shoe is also constructed with an odor-reducing AEGIS Microbe Shield to protect from that stank. The KEEN Whisper is not made for men; however, the Newport H2 is the perfect alternative and has equally positive reviews. 

Shop for KEEN water shoes for kids at Zappos and Amazon.

Best Affordable Water Shoes

ALEADER Quick Drying Water Shoes

Sold on Amazon for men, women, and kids.

If you are looking for a quality pair of water shoes at an affordable price point to wear on a short waterfall hike, zip-lining adventure, etc. then the ALEADER water shoe is your best bet. These are not the embarrassing water shoes of your childhood. ALEADER Quick Drying Water Shoes are aesthetically pleasing — they look just like you’re wearing Nikes or Allbirds— but they will actually hold up in water and dry much quicker.  

There is a large assortment of colors to choose and both a lace-up and slip-on option for men, women, and kids. ALEADER water shoes are exceptionally lightweight, totally breathable and quick drying due to the open mesh. They also have rubber pods that provide traction for rocky terrain. ALEADER shoes provide a solid amount of arch support, so you can wear them all day at the water park. Just keep in mind that sand will get into these shoes a bit because there are mesh shoes. 

Best Beach Footwear

Promate 3mm Beach Dog Water Sports Boots Shoes

Sold on Amazon.

Are you buying water shoes to wear them on sand and in the ocean water? If so, these Promate water shoes are a great option for pebbly beaches. The neoprene material prevents sand from entering the shoe while still allowing the water to drain out. It’s essentially a wet suit for your feet. The rubber sole provides great traction and protections for all sorts of surfaces whether that be pebbles near the shore of a river, diving near coral reefs, or swimming at rocky beaches. 

Water Shoes with Toes

Fila Skeletos EZ Slide Drainage

Sold on Amazon.

If you’ve gotten on the barefoot shoe train for running, then why not try it in water?! The Fila Skeletos water shoes give you the feeling that you aren’t wearing any shoes, yet offer sufficient protection from rough terrain such as rocky beaches. There are four slots for your toes with your two smallest toes fitting into the same compartment, hence the EZ Slide. The footbed is cushioned to provide ample support and the open air mesh allows for breathability and a speedy drying process. The Fila swim shoes also do a good job of keeping out small pebbles, sand, and other debris.


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best water shoes for rocky beaches

Do you have a favorite pair of water shoes? Let us know in the comments below!

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