Can You Run in Water Shoes? Not Just for Swimming Anymore!


If you are a frequent visitor to the beach or a fan of water-related sports like boating or paddling, then no doubt you are familiar with the concept of water shoes. Now to some people, that name may suggest that they are made from, or filled with, water.

However, water shoes are simply shoes that are designed to be worn when you are doing activities where there is a need to switch between wet environments and dry land.

Not only are these shoes made to drain quickly, but they are also constructed from materials that will dry more quickly than standard shoes. I have a pair of water shoes that I wear whenever we go out on our kayak.

The shoes are essential to protect the bottoms of my feet from the sharp rocks and shells (not to mention broken glass and other litter) near the shore as we launch the kayak.

The great thing about water shoes is they will rapidly drain and dry out as we are paddling around the bay, which means my feet won’t be as likely to get soggy and/or blister.

Just because they are called water shoes, that doesn’t mean they can only be worn when you are hanging around the beach or the pool. Most of these types of shoes are built to be comfortable enough that they can be worn while lounging around the house or even walking the dog through the neighborhood.

That being said, there are some activities in which wearing water shoes would not be appropriate or recommended.

Can water shoes be used for running? It is not a good idea to run in water shoes for any substantial length of time. Not only do water shoes have very little cushioning or support built into them, but they would also cause significant chafing and blistering if they were to be worn while running. This is especially true for the majority of runners who are used to wearing typically supportive shoes. One exception to this advice would be for those who are well-practiced in running barefoot or in minimalist shoes. Even then, it is important to choose the right type of water shoe and to slowly build up the amount of time spent running in them.

Here is a video of someone trying to run with water shoes for 4 miles,

4-mile run using water shoes

Can You Workout In Water Shoes?

Yes, you could do a gym workout in water shoes.

The question is, why would you want to?

There are much better shoes out there to be worn during a gym workout.

If water shoes are the only thing you have access to at the time, then by all means go ahead and wear them during your workout. Since they offer very little in the way of cushioning or support, you would want to be cautious with your movements. The risk of turning an ankle or even bruising the bottoms of your feet are higher when wearing water shoes than if you were wearing something more appropriate.

For an all-around gym-style workout, the most popular choice is a cross-training type of shoe. These shoes offer a good mix of stability and support for most of the usual workout activities such as weight lifting, court sports, and even running short distances.

Do Your Feet Get Wet in Water Shoes?

Yes, your feet will get wet while wearing water shoes (if you step into the water), because they are not designed to keep water out. Instead, they are designed so that water will flow through them rather than collecting on the inside.

In order to keep your feet completely dry, you would need to wear something like a waterproof shoe cover or rubber boots. Neither of these are ideal for most of the water-based activities where traction and ease of motion are desired.

Most water shoes use a closed-toe design to provide optimal protection for the feet while still allowing water to quickly drain away. They also have extra-grippy soles that adhere well to both slick natural surfaces and the plastic or fiberglass used in paddleboards, surfboards, kayaks, and boats. This means they’re capable of preventing bumps and bangs to your toes, keeping the bottoms of your feet from getting cut and/or bruised, as well as preventing slips.

What Shoes Can You Wear in Water?

Anything that secures well to your feet can be worn in the water. But the best shoes to wear in water are those that don’t absorb moisture and that drain adequately.

Crocs are one of the most popular shoe choices for wearing in wet environments. They were originally designed as waterproof boating shoes with non-slip soles and foamy material. This design means Crocs are excellent around water. Additionally, they are breathable, lightweight, comfortable, and easy to slip into and out of.

Besides Crocs, there are many other variations of water shoes on the market. Some of these may work better than others depending on your desired activity. Rubberized water shoes are great to wear when there will be limited amounts of movement on your feet.

Because the insides of these can become slippery when wet, they are best used for activities such as kayaking, swimming or rafting. For times when there will be more walking or hiking around, there are other types of water shoes that are styled more like sneakers.

What Shoes Not to Wear When Running?

There is a long list of shoes that are not appropriate to wear when running. This list includes, but is not limited to flip flops, soccer cleats, bicycle shoes, dress shoes, high heels, and clown shoes.

Another shoe that is not good to wear while running, even if it is a shoe designed for the sport, is completely worn out. In the interest of saving money, some thrifty people might attempt to run in a pair of shoes until it is physically falling apart. However, they are making a mistake by putting themselves at risk of a foot or leg injury, which could easily be far more expensive in the long run.

These days, running shoes are available throughout most countries and are sold at almost every price point. If you are planning on doing a consistent amount of running, then it is a good idea to go out and find a running-specific pair of shoes that fit both your budget as well as your feet.


So as you can see, it might be possible to run while wearing water shoes but it’s probably not the best idea to do so for long. You are better off in the long run if you save those water shoes for water sports, where they are the most useful.

Brad Birky

Brad Birky is an endurance athlete and trained chef who has qualified for and completed the Boston Marathon as well as multiple Ironman distance triathlons

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