STOP! If you’re looking for the perfect pair of water shoes for your next camping trip, we’ve got you covered. Every shoe on this list has been hand picked from experience on camping trips that include super long hikes, difficult hikes, river crossings, coastal walks and everything in between.
You’ll find that the best water shoes for camping are NOT the same as those that are recommended in general lists about water shoes that you find scattered across the web.
This is because most water shoes are targeted for specific water sports such as surfing. These types of water shoes are not really suitable for camping activities such as going on hikes that involve rough terrain as well as creek passings or coastal walks.
The shoes we’ve picked out for you are also comfy enough to lounge around camp in as an added bonus!
In a hurry? Here’s our top 3 picks for the best water shoes for camping.
Best water sandals for camping
- available in men’s, women’s and kid’s
- rubber outsoles for slippery terrain
- quick dry uppers and toe protection
Best budget water shoe for camping
- super lightweight at only 4.7oz for a size 11 pair
- feels like a proper shoe/trainer
- rubber soles offer excellent traction
- available in men’s and women’s
5 best water shoes for camping
The shoe that everyone loves to hate still comes out on top
As much as it pains us to say it (and most likely, for you to read it), the classic Croc is still one of the best water shoes for camping on the market.
They are lightweight, easy to shake off and dry, and easily attachable to a backpack with a carabiner. There isn’t really much more you could ask for in a basic water shoe for camping hikes and river crossings.
They are also probably best known for their comfort, being a number one choice for people who spend a lot of their work day on their feet such as nurses and doctors.
Unless you’re looking for ultralight backpacking shoes (in which case, just go get the Zhuanglin Water Shoe), the original Crocs are also the lightest on this list at roughly 11.5oz for a pair of size 10 men’s.
Similar in style and convenience to the Croc, the Merrell Hydro Moc is a water shoe “created for the trails that take us beyond the shoreline”
If wearing Crocs just isn’t your thing but you don’t mind wearing something equally as funky looking to get the convenience and comfort of a Croc, then the Morrell Hydro Moc is your ideal water shoe.
They are Merrell’s number one recommended shoe “for trails that take you beyond the shoreline”.
They come in a multitude of colors and, if fashion is important to you, can most definitely be made to look “fashionably uncool”.
Similar to the original Croc, the Hydro Moc’s are made from a solely synthetic material that can be shaken off/drained and will dry super quickly.
Where the Hydro Mocs truly stand out is their gripping power on slippery rocks. During creek crossings with particularly mossy rocks or sludge, the shoe gripped like glue.
They’re perfect for wide feet and give excellent arch support, but it’s important to note they seem to run a size larger than standard. After checking multiple reviews we found we weren’t the only ones with this problem, so if you do go for these, buy a size smaller than your usual size.
At roughly 15oz for a men’s size 11, they are not quite as light as the Croc, but lightweight enough to not notice the difference on your feet or hanging from your backpack.
A sportier design than the classic Croc, the Swiftwater allows for more flexibility and easier movement through water
The Swiftwater is Croc’s dedicated water shoe, and while it still doesn’t beat the performance of the original Croc, it’s a worthy mention for those of you who refuse to be seen in the original Croc.
One area in which they do beat the classic Croc, however, is in their flexibility. The lightweight, mesh material allows you to move your feet more freely, while the flex grooves on the outsoles allow you to feel what’s under foot more easily. This means you have better grip and performance when walking through wet, slippery or rocky areas.
The Swiftwater also offers a nice medium sized shoe width, one thing that all Croc’s are known for. So you can be sure if you are wide footed that your feet wont feel cramped. A massive bonus if you are planning on going on long hikes where comfort becomes a necessity.
The rubber outsoles are designed to channel water away in rapid fashion, while the mesh uppers make sure your shoes don’t get water clogged and allow for fast drying.
The shoes are definitely not the lightest on the list at 15.4oz for a men’s size 10, but if you plan to wear them more than you would carry them, they are still extremely lightweight on your foot.
The only CORRECT choice if you’re looking for more of a sandal type water shoe
The Keen Newport H2 water sandal is Keen’s recommended water shoe for creek and coastal hikes. If you want a sandal instead of a shoe, these are must-haves for adventuring both in and around water.
The sandals feature lugs and razor siping for traction on slippery terrain, quick-dry materials to prevent blisters and pain from hiking with wet feet, and thick rubber toe protection because well, no one wants to bruise or injure their toes on sharp or rough terrain mid-way through a long hike.
Considering the sandals are extremely well built and feature thick rubber toe protectors, they are suprisingly lightweight. A men’s size 10 comes in at roughly 14oz, much lighter than some of the other water shoes that offer less protection.
Fit Tip: The Newport H2 tends to run a 1/2 size small, so be sure to purchase a 1/2 size larger than your usual size.
The lightest AND cheapest water shoe for camping to make the list
If weight and price are your main criteria, you’re not going to beat Zhuanglin’s quick drying water shoe.
They feature everything you can expect in a water shoe – breathable mesh uppers, water grip outsoles for traction, and Solyte midsoles for flexibility, durability, and comfort.
Despite their cheap price, they offer extremely decent traction on wet and slippery surfaces.
They also proved to be much more durable than you would expect from a low-priced shoe. The shoes went through a 15km hike featuring plenty of difficult terrains including creeks, rocks, some climbing, and generally rough terrain. We’ve experienced shoes twice the price fall apart at the seams under less stress.
The one major downside to these shoes, that we didn’t experience with any other shoe on this list was the drying time. While the breathable mesh certainly dries faster than a standard shoe, it didn’t even come close to the rapid drying times of all of the others.
They are, however, extremely comfy to wear around camp whether you’re just chilling out or doing camp chores such as collecting wood or lighting campfires.
At 9.4oz for a pair of size 11 men’s, they take the crown for the lightest water shoe, so if you’re looking for something that you can carry in your backpack for long periods, or just want something super lightweight on your feet, you can’t go wrong with these.