Can You Swim in Water Shoes? What You Need to Know

Water shoes have gained popularity among beachgoers, hikers, and water sports enthusiasts alike. Any activity that gets your feet wet, you should consider wearing water shoes for. Thus, you might be wondering if you can swim in water shoes while spending your day by the water.

Wearing water shoes while swimming can be a great idea for added comfort and safety. It can protect against sharp rocks, hot sand, biting or stinging marine life, and provide improved grip on slippery surfaces. As long as you find a pair that fits you comfortably, drains well, and is lightweight, then you can safely swim in water shoes.

Keep reading on as we explore the ins and outs of swimming in water shoes, highlighting the benefits and any potential drawbacks.

Advantages of Swimming With Water Shoes

Foot Protection

Do you dread entering the water because of the pain it causes your poor feet?

Water shoes provide important foot protection, especially when swimming in areas with sharp rocks, shells, or other debris. They keep your feet safe from painful cuts and scrapes, allowing you to enjoy your time in the water without worry.

Additionally, wearing water shoes can shield your feet from hot sand or pavement during those scorching summer days.

Enhanced Traction

When you’re walking on or swimming in a place with slippery surfaces, it’s important to have proper traction.

Water shoes are designed to provide excellent grip on wet surfaces, reducing the chances of slipping or losing your balance. This can be especially helpful when you’re in and out of the water at the beach, or maneuvering around slick pool edges.

Comfort and Convenience

Wearing water shoes while swimming can be a real drag (literally), but they can save your feet from potential cuts and scrapes. They’re lightweight, quick-drying, and some are designed to feel like a second skin on your feet.

With water shoes on, you can confidently go in and out of the water without worrying as much about where to step. Plus, having your feet securely covered can help keep them warm during cold swims or help cool them off on hot days.

So, with water shoes, you get the best of both worlds when it comes to comfort and convenience.

Downsides of Swimming with Water Shoes

Increased Drag

While you can swim with water shoes, they are going to negatively affect your swimming speed and efficiency.

The extra material and bulk around your feet can create extra drag in the water, making it more challenging to move quickly. This additional resistance may lead to reduced performance, increased fatigue, and even potential discomfort during your swim.

To minimize the drag effect, you can opt for lightweight water shoes or even consider using neoprene socks instead. These socks will provide protection while still allowing for a more efficient swimming experience.

Swimming with water shoes isn’t typically considered a serious drowning risk for competent swimmers, provided the shoes fit properly and are not overly heavy. That said, you should factor in your swimming ability, the distance, and the water condition on the day of, and err on the side of caution if you think it might be dangerous.

Furthermore, some shoes are lightweight and drain water well, while others may be heavier and less suitable for swimming in. So find the most lightweight, well-draining pair you can find, and test them out in a safe environment first just to be safe.

Fit and Comfort Concerns

Another critical factor to consider when swimming in water shoes is fit and comfort. Ensuring your water shoes are properly fitted is essential, as too loose or too tight shoes can result in discomfort, chafing, or even cause them to slip off during your swim.

To get the right size, make sure there’s enough space for you to wiggle your toes comfortably, but not so much room that your feet slide around in the shoes.

You might also like to look for shoes with features such as adjustable straps or elastic materials, which can help provide a better fit and ensure your water shoes stay securely in place during your swim.

Practical Tips for Swimming in Water Shoes

Choosing the Right Water Shoes

When selecting water shoes for swimming, consider factors like size, material, and design. Make sure they fit comfortably, neither too tight nor too loose, to prevent chafing and discomfort while swimming.

Opt for a lightweight material that dries quickly to keep your feet feeling light and dexterous in the water.

A good design should have a grippy sole to prevent slipping on wet surfaces and offer adequate protection for your feet without weighing you down.

Water shoes come in various styles, but if swimming performance is your focus, then you should look for booties. Booties are made of stretchy neoprene that conforms to the shape of your feet and keeps them warm.

The downside of booties is that they are not meant to be worn on land, so they are something you should take off as soon as you’re out of the water.

If you will be spending a lot of time on land, then you should look for a water shoe with a running shoe design. These shoes offer a lot of drainage so you can go in and out of the water as you please, but they will cause a lot more drag and offer little warmth compared to booties.

Maintaining Your Water Shoes

To ensure the lifespan of your water shoes, proper cleaning and storage techniques are crucial. After each use, rinse them thoroughly with fresh water to remove any chlorine, salt, or debris.

To clean them more deeply, you can use a mild soap and gently scrub them with a soft brush. Make sure to rinse them well after scrubbing to avoid any soap residue.

Proper drying is essential to prevent mold and odor buildup. Place your water shoes in a well-ventilated area or hang them up, allowing them to air dry completely. Avoid direct sunlight, as this can damage the material and cause colors to fade.

Once they are fully dry, store your water shoes in a breathable bag or container to keep them in optimal condition.

Alternatives to Water Shoes

Swimming Socks

If you’re searching for an alternative to water shoes for swimming, look no further than swimming socks. These lightweight, versatile footwear options are designed to protect your feet in the water without compromising mobility.

Swimming socks hug your feet snugly, allowing you to feel more connected with the water, and they’re often made from materials that provide excellent grip on wet surfaces.

One of the main advantages of swimming socks is their ability to keep your feet warm in cold water. They’re also easy to pack and take up minimal space in your luggage.

However, swimming socks might not be the best choice for everyone. Their thin material often lacks the same level of protection against sharp rocks and other hazards that water shoes provide.

Additionally, if you plan to engage in activities where you need more foot support and stability, like hiking through rocky streams or canyoning, water shoes might still be the better option for you.

Toe Shoes

Toe shoes, often referred to as “barefoot shoes,” have a minimalistic design aimed at mimicking the feeling of walking barefoot while still providing some protection to your feet. They have individual compartments for each toe, allowing your feet to move more freely and naturally.

These shoes can be suitable for various water activities, as they offer good traction on slippery surfaces, and their lightweight design makes them easy to wear while swimming.

Aqua Shoes

Aqua shoes, on the other hand, are a lightweight and breathable summer shoe option that usually features mesh material for quick drying.

They share some similarities with water shoes, but their design concentrates on providing more breathability, aiming for fast-drying and better odor control.

These shoes may be perfect for beach days or casual water activities, but they might lack the necessary support and protection for more adventurous water excursions.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does swimming with water shoes slow you down by?

Water shoes may slow down your swimming speed anywhere from 10-30%, depending on various factors like how bulky your water shoes are and what materials they are made from.

Do water shoes keep your feet dry?

Water shoes do not keep your feet dry. The main objective of water shoes is to protect your feet and improve traction when walking or swimming in underwater conditions. They may have a quick-drying design and drain water quickly, but your feet will still get wet.

Can water shoes be used for everyday wear?

Water shoes are primarily designed for aquatic activities, but some stylish options can double as everyday footwear. However, you must find a pair that provides sufficient support, cushioning, and breathability as you would expect from regular shoes. Keep in mind that using them solely for daily wear may decrease their lifespan and effectiveness in water-related activities.

Do water shoes offer better performance when wet?

Yes, water shoes are specifically designed to perform better in wet conditions compared to regular shoes. They offer better traction on slippery surfaces and have a quick-drying design that allows them to remain lightweight and comfortable when wet. Water shoes also allow water to drain quickly, reducing the chances of slipping or losing balance.

Are water shoes suitable for both pool and ocean swimming?

Water shoes are versatile and can be used for various aquatic activities, including both pool and ocean swimming. They protect your feet from rough pool surfaces, and the various challenges the ocean may throw at you – hot sand, sharp rocks, or uneven terrain. Just ensure that the water shoes fit snugly and are made from materials suitable for both saltwater and chlorinated environments.

What other activities can water shoes be worn for?

Basically any water activity is suitable for wearing water shoes: kayaking, canoeing, stand up paddleboarding, snorkeling and scuba diving (instead of fins), hiking, beach activities, water aerobics, fishing, rafting and tubing, camping, and water parks. And yes, even outdoor swimming.