On my last day in Tokyo, it poured. I didn’t have rain boots, but I refused to let the weather keep me inside. My sneakers were thoroughly soaked within an hour. The next day I took the train to Kyoto and there was no time to let them air-dry, so I threw them in a plastic bag and zipped them up in my luggage. When I opened my suitcase later that night, I took one whiff of those sopping wet shoes, which had been marinating for at least 12 hours at that point, and immediately deposited them in the trash can. The smell was irredeemable and my sneakers could not go on.
Water Shoes for Active Travel
Whether you’re crossing streams on an outdoor adventure or hopping over puddles on a romp in a new city, quick-drying shoes can save your trip from an unplanned excursion to the department store. Here are some of the best water shoes for travel that are comfortable, breathable, and quick to dry.
These quick-drying shoes have made waves on Kickstarter as “the ultimate travel shoe.”
Made of high-tech 3-D printed mesh material, these shoes weigh just seven ounces and dry quickly. They are also given a special anti-odor treatment that will cut down on the end-of-trip stink in your suitcase. They’re built for the water, but if you need to speed up the drying process, the removable footbed is another big advantage of this multi-tasking travel shoe.
Vivobarefoot Ultra 3 Eve
Nothing says breathable like this holey rubber shoe from Vivobarefoot. Made of water-resistant EVA material (the same kind of material your standard flip-flop is made of), you definitely won’t have to worry about waiting for this shoe to dry. It’s a great shoe for moderate hiking, and I love how it still keeps the shape and look of a regular sneaker, so it will blend in nicely when walking about town.
Speedo Tidal Cruiser
If you’re going to a beach you suspect might be particularly rocky, it’s helpful to have a pair of designated water shoes to protect your feet from getting cut up by sharp rocks or shells. The Speedo Tidal Cruisers pack down small to fit in your bag, and the mesh top goes all the way around the foot for maximum protection.
OLUKAI Nohea Moku Shoes
If you want to skip the flashy designs and sport some more neutral footwear, the Nohea Moku shoes are a great choice. Lightweight with a thick rubber sole, this dapper shoe is made of quick-drying mesh that ventilates. It also adds extra comfort with an anatomical footbed that is removable and washable.
Teva W Voya Infinity Flip Flop
Just because your shoes are waterproof, it doesn’t mean they can’t be cute. These strappy sandals from Teva are durable with a thick sole and polyester straps that won’t snap and will dry quickly if they get wet.
Sea Star Beachcomber Espadrilles
As you can tell from the name, the Beachcomber Espadrilles are a great beach shoe that you can wear in and out of the water. With a rubber sole and water-repelling neoprene material, all these shoes need is a quick drip-dry and they’re ready to wear out for dinner.
They may look like socks, but FitKicks are extremely versatile water shoes with quick-drying abilities. Made of stretchy spandex material in an ergonomic foot-conforming design, they are very comfortable. Perfect for a long flight or just a walk down the street, these shoes also fold up flat and are available in a range of different colors.
Bogs Waterproof Sandal
For men looking for a good beach sandal, the Rio Sandal from Bogs might be a good fit. Made with Durafresh technology to guard against odor, these sandals are also 100 percent waterproof. With durable straps, you can count on these shoes holding up on the go.
HooyFeel Water Shoes
Another great shoe for getting in the water, the HooyFeel water shoes are breathable and super lightweight. They might look like standard water shoes, but they can also be comfortably worn for athletic activities as well.
TIANYUQI Mesh Slip On Water Shoes
For a breathable water shoe that will hold up during more rigorous athletic activity, check out the mesh slip-on shoes from TIANYUQI. The sole of the shoe is designed for optimizing traction, which makes this shoe perfectly suited for slippery situations.
More from SmarterTravel:
- 12 Amazing Waterproof Shoes for Spring Travel
- 14 Best Shoes to Wear in Europe
- Lightweight Shoes Perfect for Packing
Jamie Ditaranto is a writer and photographer always looking for her next adventure. Follow her on Twitter @jamieditaranto.