Water Socks Vs. Water Shoes: Which One Do You Need?

If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, you might not be in the market for these right now. If you see them at all (possibly in a swimming specialty store.) they might be marked down. But eventually, summer will come or perhaps you’re planning a trip to Rio.

When the spring thaw comes, you might want to hike in the country or do some kayaking and maybe take something to keep your feet dry or at least protected from sharp rocks or shells. And here is the primary difference between water socks and water shoes. Keep reading for more information.

water socks vs water shoes

What Are Water Socks (Commonly Known As Aqua Socks)?

At first glance, water socks (aka aqua socks) look very much like ordinary, everyday socks. But here’s a big difference! Normally, conventional socks are usually made from cotton or wool. Water socks, however. are made from materials such as lycra or neoprene.

Much like ordinary socks, they do come in different heights such as ankle-high or high-tops. There are even some that have adjustable ankle cuffs to modify the fit to better hold your socks up while you are walking or swimming.

Are Aqua Socks The Same As Water Shoes?

Not as such. Water shoes are made out of rubber and have a mesh top. The pliable rubber soles are engineered with the purpose of promoting both comfort and superb traction for wet surfaces. What’s more, the mesh tops offer breathability and let the shoes dry out more quickly.

The holes in the mesh tops also let water flow in and out of the shoes without restriction so they never get water-logged. There are water shoes of the slip-on variety that are ideal for walking and swimming. Also available are lace-up water shoes that are specially engineered for more somewhat more intense activities such as hiking, canoeing, kayaking and crossing streams, and shallow rivers.

Can You Swim In Aqua Socks?

That’s kind of what they’re for. You can wear them for ordinary swimming. Many snorkelers and scuba divers wear them under their flippers to keep from chaffing. They also keep the feet warm even in chilly water. They provide insulation without interfering with the kicking. They do protect the feet from scrapes and even jellyfish stings but their traction is not the best.

What Are The Best Water Socks?

This is one case where it’s better to go with synthetic materials. Natural materials tend to retain moisture and this is exactly what you don’t want. While water socks are not known for their good traction, select one with a thick sole. Those usually have better traction than most.

If you plan to (ahem) solely use this in the water, a thin sole will give you more flexibility. You also want good ventilation and drainage so you don’t grow an algae farm on your feet. And of course, as with just about any product you purchase, you’d like it to have some durability.

What Are Water Shoes And What Are They Made Of?

Water shoes are for going anywhere that’s wet. They can be worn in freshwater, saltwater or even the chlorinated water of a pool or water park. They are made out of a flexible and breathable mesh material and a hard, rubber sole.

Why Do You Need Water Shoes?

They protect your feet. There are sharp rocks, hot sand, jagged shells and little critters with big stings. Even the domesticity of a manmade pool has hot concrete to contend with. They put up signs in such places that say “No glass containers” but some people think that sign is for others. Water shoes have better traction than flip-flops or sandals so you won’t slip as easily. They’re also better at regulating your temperature since they cover the whole foot.

Should Water Shoes Be Tight Or Loose?

Water shoes should fit snuggly but not so tight that they are uncomfortable. Make sure that your shoes fit right so that they stay on in even the roughest of waters. Keep in mind that the uppers are very stretchy but the sole will always be the same size.

Are Water Shoes Good For Walking?

That’s what they’re for. They are recommended if you are walking in wet, slippery or rocky areas such as crossing a river. The purpose of a water shoe is to protect your feet when you are around water. Oh, they’ll get wet but at least you won’t step on anything hot or sharp and your footing will be better.

Are Water Shoes Slip-Resistant?

Many people get water shoes to work out in believing that they are slip-resistant. The bottom line is that it all depends upon the pair that you buy. You should purchase a pair of water shoes that come with a sticky rubber sole on the outside.

This will give you all the traction you require on the bottom of your feet to better increase your workout. There is a wide array of casual water shoes out on the market today that do not come to this feature. These kinds of shoes are in no way slip-resistant.

Should You Wear Socks With Water Shoes?

You can, but you don’t have to. You can wear water socks with them if you want. If you are wearing them in or near water it is advised that you wear the water socks or none at all. Ordinary socks will just get waterlogged. Nothing feels more gross than soggy socks! If you’re going for a hike and it will be a while before you see water or just a stroll in the mall, then socks are advised to cut down on odor.

Can You Swim In Water Shoes?

Water shoes are a bit heavier than water socks and not great for swimming, However, they do have better traction than water socks. If you are going to walk on hot sand or concrete or someplace with rocks, shells or (ouch!) urchins, water shoes are better.

A stingray is a flat marine creature that hides in the sand in shallow seawater and near the mouths of bayous. Between May and October, you may want to wear water shoes so that if you accidentally step on a stingray the barb will not penetrate.

You should also remember to shuffle your feet while walking in shallow water. This will alert the rays that you are in the area and they’ll just swim away. They don’t want to be stepped on any more than you want to step on them!

Can You Wear Water Shoes In The Pool?

You certainly can. Just remember to be courteous to other swimmers and make sure they’re clean first. Most pool areas are safe to walk (not run!) on as the water is chlorinated. Still, concrete is hot, earrings get dropped and some hoodlums drop their cigarettes and broken bottles just anywhere. And you might want something on your feet in the shower room to prevent athlete’s foot.

Do You Need Water Shoes For Snorkeling And Kayaking?

Many people find water shoes too hefty for snorkeling. Water socks are better in this case. Putting flippers over them will aid you in swimming. Now, for kayaking and other boating type activities you might want to wear water shoes. Pocahontas may have made it just around the river bend in bare feet, but real life is no Disney film.

If you’re in very cold water, you may want to try something made with neoprene to keep warm. Neoprene drains water well, so it’s good for keeping cool in warm areas as well. When you wear water shoes while kayaking you should also remember that you’re going to get out eventually.

Water shoes will give you traction so you can get out of your kayak without becoming soaking wet and appearing on America’s Funniest Home Videos. Ordinary shoes can absorb water and become uncomfortably heavy. Water shoes don’t. As said before, do not wear them with cotton socks. It’s water socks or nothing.

Are Crocs Good Water Shoes?

Let’s get it straight from the horse’s mouth. Or, Croc’s mouth as the case may be. On the Croc’s online store, they have thirty-two items listed as “water shoes” that are advertised as comfortable whether swimming in a lake, river, ocean, or pool.

Some of these styles look like rain boots or glorified flip flops, but some look like they might fit the definition of a water shoe. The Swiftwater™ Mesh Deck Sandal comes highly recommended. It is available in men’s, women’s and kids’ sizes. The traditional Croc might be too rigid for practical use.

What Are The Best Water Shoes?

The three main factors to look for in a pair of water shoes is protection, traction, and drainage. The soles must be thick enough to protect your feet from most damage. The sole should be grippy enough to keep you from slipping. Your feet will still get wet in water shoes but they won’t stay wet. These shoes are lightweight and breathable and come in a variety of colors and styles. Some even look like ordinary sneakers.

How Do You Take Care Of Water Shoes?

Check the label to see if they’re machine washable. This is another reason why synthetic material is preferred. Warm water and soap should be enough to get rid of dirt and odors plus kill bacteria. Of course, it’s always a good idea to make sure the bacteria don’t build up, to begin with.

Do not seal them away or put them someplace dark right after use. It must be thoroughly dried before stowed away. If the shoes are made of mesh, dryer sheets should absorb any odors. Fresh, warm water should be used to rinse off neoprene. There are cleaners specifically made for wet suits that can be used on water shoes.

Can Water Shoes Be Washed?

Too late; they’re already kinda stinky? Well, you can get rid of that. As soon as you notice an odd odor, stop wearing the shoes or else you could get an infection. It’s easier to prevent the bacteria from building up to cause a smell than it is to get rid of a loathsome odor, but here it is:

  • Loosen the rubber fasteners in the water shoe.
  • Rinse the shoe with lots of hot, clean water for several minutes.
  • Wash the water shoes with a little shampoo or better yet wet suit soap.
  • If the stain or odor seems a bit stubborn, try adding baking soda to the water.
  • Scrub with a sponge on the inside and out.
  • Let the shoes soak in the water solution for about half an hour.
  • Squeeze out as much of the moisture as you can.
  • Stuff the shoes with newspaper to absorb the moisture. A blow dryer or fan can be used.
  • Once dry, store your shoes with deodorizing balls.

While you can use a fan or blow dryer to speed up the drying process, outside in the sunshine and fresh air is best.


Water socks and shoes are a good way to keep your feet safe when swimming or walking around in damp areas. They can be used while engaging in all kinds of water sports. While the socks are more flexible, the shoes provide better traction. They’re quite easy to take care of. They come in many different styles and colors so you should have no trouble at all finding the pair that is best for you.


  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_shoe
  • https://www.globosurfer.com/difference-water-shoes-boots-socks
  • https://www.liveyouraloha.com/best-water-socks
  • https://www.globosurfer.com/best-water-socks
  • https://www.swimoutlet.com/guides/why-you-need-water-shoes
  • https://www.viakix.com/blogs/news/best-water-shoes-for-women-and-men
  • https://shoeadviser.com/articles/can-you-hike-in-water-shoes
  • https://smartsportsshoes.com/are-water-shoes-slip-resistant
  • https://outdoors.stackexchange.com/questions/16414/should-one-purchase-a-smaller-water-shoe-size
  • https://www.reddit.com/r/Swimming/comments/2g50ok/wearing_shoes_flip_flops_while_in_gym_pool
  • https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/855577-water-shoes-in-the-pools
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9a6QRcSBQec
  • https://www.mustdo.com/articles/how-to-avoid-being-stung-by-a-stingray
  • https://www.fodors.com/community/united-states/water-shoes-while-snorkeling-621276
  • https://www.swimoutlet.com/guides/best-water-shoes-for-kayaking
  • https://www.crocs.com/c/shop-by/activity/water-shoes-sandals
  • https://www.divein.com/water-shoes
  • https://smartsportsshoes.com/how-to-clean-water-shoes

Scroll to Top
Scroll to Top