Skip to main content

Types of Water Shoes

Shoes, shoes, shoes - everywhere there are shoes. Except where we need them the most - in the water and for all water sports and swim fitness. The helmets for cycling have taken hold and yet for the swimming pool, all too often, I see no shoes. I love the water, from boating to snorkeling, to my beloved hot tub to all forms of swim fitness from water aerobics, aqua Zumba, aquatic kick boxing and of course my invention, the innovative swim board called the EZ Swimmer®. It saddens me to see a swimming pool empty, it makes me cringe when I see people walking on the swimming pool deck without shoes.

Remember the days of camping and getting your old sneakers wet and soggy? Remember soggy sneakers were preferable to no shoes at all? Times have changed and the options for water shoes have expanded. Because there are a myriad of options in the marketplace, what shoe do you need when is now the question. Journey with us as we explore the many types of water sports, many types of swim fitness and the many new water shoes on the market. Hear the pros and cons, see videos of people putting the shoes on and hear some very knowledgeable reviews. Learn what a swim slipper is and how it functions. See the Vibram Five Finger shoes and learn two tips to help put these very cool "toed" water shoes on. See the latest in deck shoes with all the many vibrant colors. Learn what to look for in choosing water aerobics shoes.

The Many Names of Water Shoes

The names of water shoes are too numerous to even begin to list but I will attempt. There is Teva - a brand name, swim slipper - a type, minimal water shoe - similar to the swim slipper, tech amphibian is my favorite name - it says it all doesn't it? Of course a sandal is open toed - that is about the only straight forward name that is historically commonplace. The classic deck shoe or boat shoe called top-sider. All the other names are relatively new and oh, I forgot my favorite the Five Fingers which is really five toes!

Barbie with Outdoor Sports - Kayaking

Barbie with outdoor sports - kayaking

Barbie with outdoor sports - kayaking

What I Love About Water Shoes

I love being outdoors and the waterfront. Yet when my feet hit the water I will cringe. I don't like the feel of mud between my toes. I don't care for developing calluses on the bottom of my feet. I wish to play, run and romp not near the water's edge, in the water's edge.

Walking along a beach, throwing sticks in a lake, wading next to the boat are things my body likes to do but my feet do not.

Water shoes even old soggy sneakers are my protector.

No, I am not the poolside diva - I want to be moving. But even the poolside dive needs to choose the right shoe.

The types of water shoesrange by the various activities and include but are not limited to:

Various Types of Water Shoes for the Active Lifestyle

  • Scuba sock and shoes
  • Boat Shoes - sail boating, motor boating
  • Kayak Shoes
  • Beach Shoes
  • Swim Fitness of all kinds:
  • Vertical swim fitness - everything from water aerobics to aqua kickboxing, aqua Zumba and more!
  • Horizontal swim fitness - full immersion swimming, Aquajogger®, lap swimmming with a kick board.
  • Diagonal swim fitness with flotation equipment such as cuddle core with EZ Swimmer®

Barbie Spa

Barbie Spa in Shanghai via markherdman.com

Barbie Spa in Shanghai via markherdman.com

Spa Shoes - Purely Recreational

Other Types of Water Shoes - Spa Types and More

  • Shower Shoes
  • Relaxation
  • Swimming Pool Deck Shoes - I like to call these "diva shoes" - shoes simply for pool side sun tanning purposes only. This would also include yachting the much loved cruise ships.

Water Shoes and Performance

Not all water shoes are created the same. If you are seeking water aerobics shoes, you need to look for a performance shoe that will give you the same sort of support as an athletic shoe. What to look for is the larger sole. You want a thicker sole than the beach shoe or swim slipper. The water aerobics shoe needs to be very similar in look and performance as your athletic gym shoe with a substantial sole.

Teva Water Shoes

Black Water Shoe

Black Water Shoe

Teva Correct Pronounication

It is pronounced "teh'-vah," not "tee-vah.

Etymology of the Name Teva

Etymology of the Name Teva is derived a word in Hebrew.

The word "teva" is the Hebrew word for "nature".

Teva - High Performance Water Shoe

If you understand the etymology of this great water shoe, you will have a better understanding of what the shoe is all about. The word "teva" is the Hebrew word for nature. It is pronounced "teh'-vah," not "tee-vah.

These shoes are great at protecting your feet and providing traction. For many, they offer the best value and versatility in the water shoe industry.

Scroll to Continue

Look for the newer shoes with pull on loops. Also, check out the video for Teva's Gnarkosi water shoe.

Teva Shoe

Teva Gnarkosi

Vibram Fivefingers Shoes

Vibram water shoes with toes

Vibram water shoes with toes

How to Put on Your Vibrams

"Anyway, to summarize: powder for easy slippage and the screwdriver to spare your poor finger. Short and sweet."

How Real People Put Vibram Five Finger KSO Barefoot Shoes

Vibram - Tip - One Size Smaller

The water is a different environment. In order to have the most comfortable water shoe with the Vibram, it is recommended to go one shoe size smaller.

KSO - Keep Stuff Out

Vibram was designed with the specific requirement to keep stuff out, therefore, you will often see KSO showcasing this great benefit to the shoe. In the video you will see how Vibram has improved the shoes so the collection of sand on the interior is very limited if not completely eliminated.

Vibram's Five Finger Versality

Water shoes all appear strange because they serve a completely different purpose - comfort and the difficult job of keeping things out. Of all the water shoes, perhaps the most versatile and the strangest looking is the Vibram Five Finger. Yet, this shoe is a technological advancement with superior materials and an engineering design to literally keep things out - KSO. Water shoes excel when they protect your feet. On land, we can have diva shoes, in the water and moving rapidly, we need function and nothing functions better than these high tech shoes.

What makes them special?

Vibram's Performance Rubber Soles for Superior Traction

For one, their traction, the sole are designed to adhere but not stick. The soles are made of performance rubbers - lightweight and designed for traction. This makes the Vibram a favorite among Kayakers and many runners. Yes, runners and many personal trainers love the Vibram. They feel as if you are bare foot.

Vibram's Barefoot Feeling - Stretch Polyamide Fabric

Which brings me to their other advantage, they do feel like your own skin and you can achieve that "barefoot" feel. Yes, obviously, you must get comfortable with the between the toes material. But the material is advanced and very lightweight and breathable. If you demand quality, these are the best water shoes in the industry in my personal opinion. Do try them on and walk a bit to see how you adjust to the new styling. Do purchase them online and take the time to walk in them at home. Remember most online stores have a solid return policy. Just be sure to adhere to their policy.

Vibram - The Ultimate Cross Trainer

The other item that set's the Vibram apart is the cross functionality. The Vibram is fantastic for other activities such as cycling, rock climbing and even body building. You see, the advanced fabric makes this water shoes great for the land too. Why? Because it has advanced fabric that allows your feet to breath on land.

Vibram's Added Bonus

Oh, all this and I almost forgot, as I mentioned before this water is engineered to keep stuff out. The original design had a pocket that I am told allowed sand to enter through the back of the shoe - this has been corrected so there is no worry for when you are running on the beach or slopping with your hunting dog at the edge of the lake.

Vibram Five Fingers KSO Shoes

Boating Yachting Cruising Deck Shoes

Barbie Ken and Midge on speed boat

Barbie Ken and Midge on speed boat

Water Shoes ala Deck Shoes ala Top-Sider

I first fell in love with water shoes with my Sperry deck shoe. I wore two pairs of shoes literally around the world and back. For me, the Sperry shoe is simply the best travel shoe made. It is fashionable, comfortable and versatile. Now Sperry offers a whole array of colors and styles. Cruise ships I feel should carry these shoes in their shops - nothing is better for both men and women while on vacation. These shoes serve you well while on deck, while shopping, while sightseeing. They are comfortable and very durable. I must have walk a million miles in my deck shoes each!

Deck shoes are great on deck. They can work in the water but they are not designed for full immersion like the other shoes. Deck shoes will not work for swim fitness of any kind.

Women's Deck Shoe

Etymology of the Term Top-Sider

Top-sider is a kind of casual shoe dating back to the years of yachting hype in the United states approximately 1937. The term is derived from "topside" from the nautical colloquialism of "upper deck of a ship,"

Original Boat Shoe Since 1935

Scuba Diving Barbie Doll

Barbie in red scuba diving gear complete with tank and fins

Barbie in red scuba diving gear complete with tank and fins

Neoprene Scuba Socks

Scuba Socks and Scuba Shoes

Scuba socks and scuba shoes provide a great shoes for protecting the feet. The difference here is the over the ankle length of the shoe - it is almost a boot for the water.

Durable and yet very practical for numerous water activities. Will work great for kayaking and of course, scuba diving. Provides a little bit too much coverage for most poolside activities except IF you are swimming with fins for your water workout. Swim fins can be worn with or without scuba socks. Remember, you will need protection from the rough surface and the bacteria on the swimming pool deck. The scuba socks offer the advantage of keeping your feet warm all while keeping debris and bacteria away from your feet and toes.

The majority of scuba socks and shoes are made of a very durable material called neoprene. These shoes could literally last you a lifetime. The neoprene allows your feet to breath and yet provides an exceptional tight weave to keep your feet free from debris and potential bacteria.

Scuba Socks Not Just for the Water - Great for Backpacking Too!

Great backpacking tip - include a pair of scuba socks in your gear. They are lightweight and provide warmth and expel water.

Scuba Shoes

Scuba Shoes - Multifunctional Too!

Scuba shoes are also multifunctional - they are not just for scuba diving. Scuba shoes are fantastic for sand volleyball and other beach combing. Scuba shoes are durable and yet breath to protect your feet from rough abrasions and from the sand.

Scuba Barbie Doll

Scuba Barbie Doll in Red Outfit

Scuba Barbie Doll in Red Outfit

Swim Slippers - Water Shoes in Blue and Purple

Swim slippers by EZ Swimmer - Water Shoe in Blue

Swim slippers by EZ Swimmer - Water Shoe in Blue

Swim slippers by EZ Swimmer - Water Shoe in Purple