Can You Swim In Water Shoes?

Have you ever found yourself at the beach or pool, ready to take a dip, but unsure of what footwear to wear?

While flip flops or sandals may seem like the obvious choice, have you considered water shoes? But can you even swim in water shoes?

This article aims to answer that question and explore the pros and cons of wearing water shoes while swimming.

Whether you’re an avid swimmer or just looking for a more secure shoe option while splashing around in the water, read on to find out if water shoes are the right choice for you.

Can You Swim In Water Shoes

Water shoes are a popular choice for many water activities, such as stand-up paddling, kayaking, and even snorkeling. But can you actually swim in them? Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of wearing water shoes while swimming:


  • Water shoes can provide added protection for your feet while swimming in rocky or coral-filled waters.
  • They can also help prevent cuts and abrasions on your feet from rough pool surfaces.
  • Water shoes with a rubber sole can offer better traction and grip on slippery pool decks or in the ocean.


  • Water shoes may not be as comfortable as bare feet or swim socks while swimming long distances.
  • They may also restrict your movement and flexibility in the water.
  • Some water shoes may not drain well, leading to excess water weight and discomfort while swimming.

Factors to consider when deciding whether to swim in water shoes

When deciding whether to wear water shoes while swimming, there are a few key factors to consider:

  • Fit and comfort: It’s important to choose a water shoe that fits well and is comfortable to wear. If the shoe is too loose, it may slip off while swimming. If it’s too tight, it may cause discomfort or even injury.
  • Drainage and water flow: Look for water shoes with drainage holes or perforations to allow water to flow through and out of the shoe. This can help prevent excess water weight and keep your feet comfortable while swimming.
  • Traction and grip: Consider the type of surface you’ll be swimming on and choose a water shoe with a suitable sole. A rubber sole can offer better traction on slippery pool decks or in the ocean, while a softer sole may be more comfortable for barefoot swimming.
  • Durability and materials: Look for water shoes made from durable materials that can withstand the wear and tear of water activities. Avoid shoes with fabric uppers, as they may become waterlogged and heavy while swimming. Instead, opt for shoes with a synthetic or neoprene upper, which will dry faster and provide better support.

Alternatives to water shoes for swimming

If water shoes aren’t for you, there are a few other options to consider for footwear while swimming:

  • Barefoot swimming: Going barefoot is the most natural and unrestricted option for swimming. It allows for maximum flexibility and movement in the water, and can also help improve your balance and proprioception. However, going barefoot can also expose your feet to cuts and abrasions on rough surfaces.
  • Swim socks: Swim socks are a good alternative to water shoes if you want a little more protection for your feet while swimming. They are usually made from a stretchy, neoprene material and have a non-slip sole. Swim socks can provide some added warmth in cold water and also offer a little extra grip on slippery surfaces.
  • Aquatic shoes: Aquatic shoes are a hybrid between water shoes and swim socks. They have a neoprene upper and a rubber sole, offering a combination of protection, grip, and comfort. Aquatic shoes are a good choice for activities like aqua aerobics or water sports that require a little more support and stability.


In conclusion, water shoes can be a useful and practical choice for certain water activities, such as stand-up paddling or kayaking. However, they may not be the best option for swimming long distances or for those seeking maximum flexibility and comfort in the water.

There are a few factors to consider when deciding whether to wear water shoes while swimming, such as fit and comfort, drainage and water flow, traction and grip, and durability and materials. If water shoes aren’t for you, there are alternatives such as barefoot swimming, swim socks, or aquatic shoes to consider.

Ultimately, the right choice for you will depend on your personal preferences and the type of water activity you’ll be participating in.

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