Me wearing the Cressi snorkeling shoes at Sharks Cove in Oahu

The Best Snorkeling Shoes Guide

You’re going snorkeling, and you may be wondering if you need to buy a pair of snorkeling shoes.

We’ve been there; we had the same questions when snorkeling in Oahu, The Big Island, and Maui, Hawaii.

Snorkeling is a fantastic experience, but it can be hard to enjoy if you are not fully prepared. Snorkeling shoes help prevent your feet from coral cuts, getting cut by sharp rocks, or being stung by jellyfish. They also help with keeping your feet warm.

While not always needed depending on where you are snorkeling, water shoes are an excellent thing to add to your Hawaii packing list.

Be sure to also pack a snorkeling shirt and some reef-safe sunscreen to help protect our delicate ecosystems.

There are many different types of snorkeling shoes available on the market today, but which one is best for you?

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Our Top Picks for the Best Snorkeling Shoes:

The best snorkeling shoes are ones that can be worn comfortably all day while still providing enough grip when in the water. They should also be able to keep your feet warm in cold water.

In this article, I will discuss the best snorkeling shoes, why they are essential, and when you would need to wear them.

How did we decide on these 5 options? It took many hours of research, personal experience, and gathering feedback from consumers. We considered things such as the grip on wet surfaces, material, water resistance, overall design of the water shoes, and the durability of the soles.

Best Unisex Snorkeling Shoes

Cressi Neoprene Adult Anti-Slip Sole Unisex Boots 

Material: 3mm Neoprene with rubber sole

If you are looking for one of the best snorkeling shoes on the market, the Cressi Neoprene Adult Anti-Slip Sole Boot is a top choice. They come in men’s and women’s sizes.

The neoprene material is thicker than other shoes, so they won’t wear out as quickly. The thicker neoprene also makes them a bit warmer.

Me wearing my Cressi snorkeling shoes at Sharks Cove
Me wearing the Cressi Neoprene snorkeling shoes at sharks cove
I have worn the Cressi Neoprene Adult Anti-Slip Sole Unisex Boots all over Hawaii and they do great. This photo was taken at Sharks Cove

Why we love these snorkeling shoes/boots:

✅ Anti-Slip Sole: These have a thick rubber sole to protect your feet from sharp rocks, coral, and other objects that could cut and scrape your skin.

The rubber is not too thin, which means it doesn’t wear out quickly like other shoes with thinner soles.

✅ Very Durable: The neoprene material makes these durable and also gives them a longer lifespan. They also have a rubber heel and toe cap for added durability.

Other water shoes may only last a few weeks, while these boots last longer with proper care and treatment.

✅ Very Comfortable: The material is very flexible and comfortable.

✅ Versatility: Some customers mentioned they used these under their scuba diving fins and they fit great, allowing for more control and comfort of their fins.


Sizing Issues: There were multiple reviews from customers stating that these shoes run large and you should size down. Most customers in between sizes found it harder to find the size that works best for them as these boots do not come in half sizes.

I usually wear size eight shoes and decided to order a size seven after reading some reviews. The size seven fits perfectly.

WateLves Water Shoes Unisex

The WateLves Water Shoes are another great unisex option that received a lot of positive reviews from customers.

Material: Mesh upper with rubber sole

Why we love these water shoes:

✅ Comfortability: The WateLves Water Shoes are made with mesh material, making them very breathable. They are also very flexible and lightweight, which makes them very comfortable.

✅ Anti-Slip Sole: These water shoes have a special anti-slip rubber sole that provides excellent traction, making them perfect for walking on various surfaces.

✅ Drain Water Quickly: These shoes drain water out very quickly, which helps prevent them from feeling heavy after exiting the water.


Sizing Issues: There were some reviews from customers mentioning that these shoes run large and that they had to order a full size smaller than they usually do.

Insert Comes Off: There were complaints from some customers that the inside of the shoe came out when they were taking them off.

VIFUUR Water Sports Shoes

If you are looking for something cheaper but still want a high-quality water shoe, the VIFUUR Water Sports Shoes are a great choice. They come in many different colors and sizes for both men and women.

Material: 100% synthetic stretch fabric with rubber sole

Cody holding the Vifuur snorkeling shoes showing the anti slip rubber sole

Why we love these water shoes:

✅ Very Comfortable and Lightweight: This shoe is really lightweight and comfortable to wear.

Many shoes are either thick or have minimal padding on the bottom. These are just right! They provide enough cushion but are lightweight, so it doesn’t feel like you’re walking with bricks attached to your feet.

The soles are also very flexible, making it easy to walk around in them.

✅ Dry Quickly: The VIFUUR Water Sports Shoes drain water quickly since they are made with a thin fabric.

✅ Very affordable: These water shoes are very affordable and won’t break the bank.


Sizing Issues: Multiple reviews stated that these shoes run small. I wear a size 8 in women and ordered a size 7.5-8.5 women. They were too snug and I had to return them for a bigger size. The size 9-10 worked better in my case.

Not long-lasting: These are some of the cheaper water shoes available on the market, which can be great for people who don’t need to wear them every day.

We think they work fine for the casual user. If you are going on vacation and need to wear them for a few days while snorkeling, they should do just fine.

If you want something that will last longer, consider purchasing some of the other options we mention in this article.

The Best Water Shoes for Men

DOUSSPRT Men’s Water Shoes

The DOUSSPRT Men’s Water Shoes are an excellent option for men who want a lightweight, comfortable, and durable water shoe. These shoes are also very popular among scuba divers because of their anti-slip soles.

Material: Mesh upper with rubber sole

Why we love these water shoes:

✅ Breathable: The DOUSSPRT Men’s Water Shoes are made with mesh material which makes them very breathable.

✅ Very Comfortable: The inside of the shoe is made with very comfortable padding that prevents foot pain.

These shoes are very lightweight and comfortable to walk in.

✅ Dry quickly: Due to the material used to make this shoe, they drain water out very quickly compared to other brands.


Inner sole Issues: Some customers complained that the inner sole does not stay in place and is constantly sliding around. If you tighten the laces all the way, it will help mitigate this issue.

Sand Issues: A few customers reported that sand gets stuck in these shoes.

WateLves Mens Water Shoes

The WateLves Men’s Water Shoes are another popular option. The material used to make these shoes allows them to be very breathable and lightweight.

Material: Mesh upper with rubber sole

Why we love these water shoes:

✅ Breathable and Flexible: The WateLves Water Shoes are very comfortable and flexible because of the mesh material.

✅ Drains Water Quickly: These shoes drain water out very quickly, which helps prevent them from feeling heavy after exiting the water.

✅ Anti-Slip Sole: The WateLves Water Shoes have a unique anti-slip sole that provides excellent traction for any occasion.

✅ Lightweight: These shoes are so comfortable and lightweight that you will forget you even have them on!


Sizing Issues: Some customers reported that these shoes are stretchy and run on the larger side. Make sure to order a size smaller for the best fit.

Frequently Aksed Questions

What are snorkeling shoes?

Snorkeling shoes are also called water shoes, and they are designed to be worn in the water. Their primary purpose is to protect a person’s feet while walking on rocky surfaces or participating in water activities such as snorkeling or kayaking.

So whether you are snorkeling at some of Oahu’s best snorkeling spots or kayaking in Oahu, make sure to get a good pair of snorkeling shoes.

They usually have a durable sole to prevent feet from getting cut by sharp rocks or coral.

What are the benefits of using water shoes?

Snorkeling shoes protect you

A snorkeling shoe protects your feet, especially your toes. Sharp rocks, coral, shells, and other objects can hurt or even cut your feet when walking on them.

Jellyfish are also a common danger. Their stings can be very painful, and this is where snorkeling shoes come to the rescue!

How do they protect you? They have a thick rubber sole that protects your feet and toes. Snorkeling shoes will also cover your entire feet, giving you extra protection. If you are snorkeling in areas with sharp rocks, such as Two Step Beach on the Big Island of Hawaii, you will appreciate having water shoes.

Snorkeling shoes keep you warm

Another great use of snorkeling shoes is to keep your feet warm in cold water. Water shoes with a neoprene upper will be best for providing warmth.

Do you need water shoes in Oahu?

It’s always a good idea to bring water shoes when going to Oahu, but as we mentioned previously, they are not always needed.

If you are swimming and snorkeling at Waikiki or Hanauma Bay, you don’t need snorkeling shoes. However, having them will ensure that your feet are protected at all times. We would bring water shoes if it were up to us because we enjoy the added protection.

Can you use water shoes as flippers?

No. Flippers are special fins that are made for underwater propulsion. Water shoes don’t have the proper structure or shape to act as flippers because they are not designed for propulsion.

What about real flippers? Can you use them with water shoes?

It depends on your snorkeling shoe material. If it is thick or has thick rubber on the bottom, you cannot use flippers because they will not slide over the shoe. If it is thin enough, you can wear water shoes with flippers.

When would you need snorkeling shoes?

Here are some situations where you will need water shoes:

Rocky/Slippery Surfaces: Rocky surfaces are sharp and can easily cause cuts, scrapes, and other injuries. If you are snorkeling at a beach with rocks at the water’s edge that you will need to walk over, you will likely want to wear water shoes.

For example, if you are going to the Big Island of Hawaii and plan to snorkel at one of the black sand beaches, be sure to bring some water shoes as most of them tend to be rocky.

When will you not need snorkeling shoes?

Snorkeling at a beach with fine sand: If you are snorkeling at a beach that has fine sand, chances are you can walk barefoot. 

Snorkeling in deep water without coral: If you’ll be snorkeling in deep water with no coral, it is usually safe to swim without water shoes.

When using snorkeling fins: If you are using snorkeling fins, then snorkeling shoes are not required. This means that you can use your fins without needing water shoes, although some people do prefer to wear shoes/boots underneath their fins.

Keep in mind that if you need to walk through rocky surfaces to get to the water, you will likely want water shoes to protect your feet on the walk to get to where you’ll change to snorkeling fins.

What to Look for When Purchasing Snorkeling Shoes

There are a few things to keep in mind when looking for a pair of snorkeling shoes. Here are some features that can help you when shopping for your next pair:

Easy to dry: Snorkeling shoes should be easy to dry. A mesh material will help you achieve this, as water can dry much faster from a mesh shoe than a more solid one.

Comfortability: Your shoes must be comfortable. If you feel like you can’t walk around in them, then they’re not the right ones for you! Choose shoes that have neoprene fabric on the inside. That’s the same material used in wetsuits, so you know it will protect you from rocks, shells, and stings while providing comfort.

Sole/Grip: Snorkeling shoes should have a rubber sole with lots of grip to help prevent slipping or falling on slick surfaces.

Durability: Your snorkeling shoes should be long-lasting. They must provide protection and warmth while also being durable enough to stand up to nature’s elements. Be sure to check for durability before making a purchase!

Price: As with anything, price is surely something to consider. There are many different types of snorkeling shoes available on the market today, and at many different prices. If you can get a pair with neoprene fabric that is easy to dry and has plenty of grip, then you will get your money’s worth. Choose the price that makes the most sense to you without sacrificing quality.

The Verdict: The Best Snorkeling Shoes

Whether you are looking for a pair of water shoes for swimming or to keep your feet protected while doing water activities like snorkeling, look no further than these top five picks!:

These shoe options are very popular choices among customers who have bought them for snorkeling and other water activities.

Thank you for reading our post!

Until next time, Aloha, and happy snorkeling!