Lifeguards are literally lifesavers.
They have the most important job in the world: save the life of swimmers who get into distress and help them avoid drowning. Lifeguards often face situations that require quick and decisive action; therefore, lifeguards need to have the right tools for the job.
And shoes are one of the most important tools needed to do the job.
A good pair of water shoes can make or break your ability to make an effective rescue, and in the long run, help avoid health issues like back and joint pain.
So, what kind of shoes do lifeguards need?
Lifeguards are often called upon to work in wet conditions. They must swim, dive, paddle, and walk on wet surfaces. In these situations, shoes with good grip are essential. That’s why the shoes must be slip-resistant.
The shoes also need to be waterproof, so the water doesn’t soak through the shoes and affects your feet.
Of course, since lifeguards stand on their feet for a long period, the shoes should be comfortable as well. Otherwise, you may end up with a painful foot that will make it difficult to stay focused.
And a final word. I know many lifeguards simply wear flip-flops, but that’s not recommended. They lack protection, support, and slip resistance to be suitable. An athletic shoe will do much better.
And now, before we dive in, here is a small summary of our pick for the best shoes for lifeguards:
Top 8 Best Shoes for Lifeguards – Reviews and Pros/Cons
1. Ryka Women’s Hydro Sport Training Water Shoe – View On Amazon
Finding good water shoe is not easy and finding a great water shoe for women is even harder but Ryka Women’s Hydro is one of those unique quality shoes.
By no doubt, this is one of the best water shoes found online, and it’s also affordable which makes it great value for your money.
The shoe is both durable and comfortable, a rare combination. It has a roomy toe box, so it doesn’t rub your toes. It’s so comfortable that many of the customers told me they even use these shoes around the house.
It is made from both synthetic and mesh which ensures proper airflow to your feet and breathability which is extremely important. They are well vented, and you can wear them with or without socks.
They are easy to take on and off and they dry out very fast since they contain drainage ports in the sole, making them ideal for using them at the pool.
These are designed for water as they come with a perforated nitracel footbed that can be removed even if you are in the water. It also contains a slip-resistant rubber sole – A must-have for any water shoe.
To sum it up, great looking shoe (comes in a variety of styles and colors) with great features, holds great reviews on any major eCommerce site. Highly recommended!
2. Zhuanglin Men’s Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes – View On Amazon
When you’re looking for your next shoe, Zhuanglin is not a name that comes into your mind. But it’s starting to gain popularity because of the quality shoes they produce. Their shoes are one of the best lifeguards’ shoes that is offered online nowadays.
Why is that?
First, these shoes are completely lightweight, applying much less stress on your feet. It is because the shoe is 90% made from polyester and engineered with Solyte. So lightweight you almost don’t feel it!
They are easy on the foot and very comfortable thanks to the breathable mesh uppers they contain, so you can wear them for long hours with no pain or discomfort.
It’s super comfortable with ComforDry sockliners which offer an antimicrobial effect and create a drier and healthier shoe environment. Its superb cushioning adds up to its comfort.
Another great feature is the anti-slip rubber soles which provide excellent protection which keeps your feet dry and secure while not compromising flexibility. The sole contains a soft form that makes the shoes float in the water.
And finally, the outsole is slip-resistant and is great on slippery surfaces, making you feel stable and secure.
If you have any doubts about this shoe, just look at the reviews on amazon. Currently, while writing this text, it has over 14,600 reviews with an average grade of 4.5 out of 5. Excellent ratings! (True to Nov 25, 2021).
3. ALEADER Men’s Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes – View On Amazon
Aleader shoes offer a great combination of style, functionality, and great value for the money! From all the shoes we reviewed in this article, they are the most stylish ones, and available in a variety of colors, such as Blue, Red, yellow, and grey (my favorite).
This is a healthy shoe – it has a soft breathable upper mesh that allows the foot to breathe, and water and sand flush through. The Water Drain outsole will keep your feet dry, so you won’t feel uncomfortable.
Speaking of healthy, it is extremely lightweight, because of its Solyte midsole and very flexible, comfortable to wear, and great padding which makes them ideal for walking.
Again, this shoe is great for anywhere you want to go: Be on the beach, climbing over rocks, or going hiking through trails that contain some water. The there biggest advantage is the ability to quickly transform from fully submerged to dry and vice versa.
It has a high rating on Amazon, and almost in every review I read, Customers mentioned the comfort and the ability to dry extremely fast. For these features (and its style) It became an extremely popular shoe within lifeguards.
4. Mishansha Mens Womens Water Shoes Quick-Dry – View On Amazon
These waterproof shoes offer superb comfort with their first-rate materials while showcasing their contemporary and innovative design.
The material used for the shoes’ outsole is spandex. The spandex fabric has a high stretchability that allows lifeguards to be comfortable and quick to respond. It is also lightweight and resistant to perspiration. The soles are made of rubber material that is crafted with drainage holes to promote proper water flow and quick drying. This rubber offers a good grip on dry and rough surfaces but not on slippery wet surfaces so it’s best to take caution.
These shoes come in 45 variations that you can choose from and a comprehensible size chart that features the brand size in different feet measurements in the US, UK, Europe, Canada, and Asia.
Mishansha Water Shoes are also designed with functionality in mind. They are crafted with salt resistance technology that is highly advantageous for beach activities. In addition, you can enjoy the added comfort from their insoles that are made breathable, sweat-absorbent, and quick dry.
Lifeguards can easily put on or off these shoes with their easy access elastic bands. These elastic bands eliminate the hassle of tying shoes so you can always be on the go. These shoes also have heel pull tab features for a fast and convenient foot entry.
Overall, these shoes are fairly lightweight so you can always feel free to run and move swiftly whenever necessary. They are ideal for all water activities like swimming, surfing, sailing, boating, kayaking, windsurfing, and more. It can be used for activities that require maximum comfort as well just like yoga, long airline flight, aerobics, and more.
5. Men Women Water Sports Shoes Slip-on Quick-Dry Aqua Swim Shoes – View On Amazon
These swim shoes never disappoint when it comes to comfort and flexibility. They feature a wide toe design to make more space for your toes. They can fit narrow and wide feet just fine so you can make the most out of your time at the beach. For lifeguards, it is also a plus as you can quickly respond when an emergency takes place. These shoes are also made lightweight and flexible to lessen the stress on the knee when running or doing activities.
In addition to comfort, they are made protective with their anti-collision technology that can protect your feet from getting hurt. Anti-slip soles are also added for safety. These soles have 11 drainage holes for quick drying and enhanced comfort for all kinds of water activities. They are crafted with high traction rubber to give you more freedom and protection too. The insoles of the shoes come with padding that is sweat absorbent and quick dry for better support and alignment to your feet. The insoles work perfectly fine when dry but they can easily slip out easily when wet so it is best to bring extra insoles.
The materials used in these shoes are all of the best quality to ensure longevity and maximum performance. Its design highlights a velcro lock for convenient adjustments anytime. It has an elastic shoe mouth to make wearing shoes a lot easier and faster Lastly, a pull tab is added for easy putting on and off. It has 39 variations so you can select a design that fits your style.
Aside from water activities, these shoes are also suitable for strolling, playing beach sports, running, yoga, driving, boating, and more. These shoes are best for people who are always on the go and live an active lifestyle
6. SEEKWAY Water Shoes Women Men – View On Amazon
The Seekway Water Shoes are sock-like water shoes that highlight their lightweight and flexible design. The brand claims that these water shoes will make you feel like wearing a sock ensuring superb comfort at all times. These shoes feature a lace-free design so you can simply slip them on and start your adventures.
These shoes are made with 92% polyester which is a durable and lightweight fabric. The upper is made with spandex which is known to be one of the best stretchy fabrics for shoes. These fabrics make Seekway water shoes quick to dry and fit snuggly. The shoe collar features a smooth elastic that secures the shoe and prevents slipping off during exercise.
They also have rubber soles that protect the feet from hazardous debris and rocks. They are good for insulating the feet against the hot sand or walkways as well. When it comes to thickness, these shoes don’t have thick soles but can still ensure a good grip on rocks and sand.
These water shoes are made versatile and can be used both in water and drylands. They are suitable for many activities such as windsurfing, kayaking, snorkeling, camping, gardening, and dog walking.
Although these shoes acquired a good rating of 4.4 on amazon and a relatively large number of good reviews, there were multiple complaints about the size and damages after a few wears.
7. KEEN Women’s Venice H2 Sandal – View On Amazon
For people who don’t like to cover their entire feet, these sandals are a total must-try for you. These sports sandals feature breathable and stretchy straps to keep your feet secured. These straps are made with waterproof nylon overlays for different water activities.
The mesh lining is also made with excellent water repellent fabric. The bungee lace system allows every user to adjust the fit of the shoes effortlessly too. An easy-on heel loop is also added for easy putting on and off.
The Keen women’s sandals are crafted with rubber soles that are reliable and have a good grip on different surfaces so you are quick to respond anytime and anywhere. They have a toe bumper detail to protect your toes from sharp objects. The heel measures approximately 1.25″ so your feet don’t have to keep close contact with the hot sand and boardwalks.
Aside from water activities, these shoes are also great for biking, walking, and other outdoor interests. On the downside, these sandals have fairly large holes so the protection isn’t maximum.
8. Aleader Women’s Quick Drying Aqua Shoes – View On Amazon
With a rating of 4.5, these water shoes are definitely one of the crowd favorites. They are made with mesh material that is guaranteed breathable, quick-dry, and durable. These shoes come with a cushioned sock liner that allows the wearer to feel a cooler and drier shoe environment.
The Aleader aqua shoes boast of their outstanding lightweight midsole that provides a good bounce back and resilience. These shoes also have a water drain outsole that the brand claims to provide remarkable traction in wet and slippery surfaces. Moreover, the sole is made with holes that add up to the quick-dry quality of the mesh.
The design is a slip-on type that allows the user to easily put on and off the shoes. It is also free from shoelaces so you can skip the hassle of tying shoes. These shoes come in 18 variations to choose from and a comprehensible size chart.
Get ready to jump on your outdoor adventures with these shoes as they are not only suitable for water activities but other outdoor activities as well. Some of these activities are mountain climbing, running, exercise, and more.
Despite having a high rating, there are still some revies to these shoes. Some of the drawbacks observed by customers are bad toe and heel fit and easy access to dirt and pebbles.
Frquently Asked Questions
Why do lifeguards bob their heads up and down?
Lifeguards bob their heads up and down to be able to examine and have a better field of vision around the pool. This allows them to respond as quickly as possible if accidents or unusual events take place.
When lifeguards bob their heads as they move, they can scan the environment and spot possible hazards that their peripheral vision might miss. Oftentimes, when we scan our surroundings we only focus on what we see at eye level and move our heads from left to right and vice versa. This method makes us prone to missing things from the upper and lower perspectives. By head bobbing, lifeguards eliminate the possible blind spots as they can see more than their eye levels.
What color do lifeguards wear?
According to the Lifesaving Petition Statement – LPS 05 of the International Life Saving Federation, the most widely used uniform color scheme is red and yellow.
Red and yellow are tested and proven to be recognizable for many people and have become the universal color scheme for lifesavers in multiple countries. In addition to these colors, lifeguards are also required to wear visible, distinguished, and unvarying uniforms while on pool watch.
These uniforms should adopt the colors of yellow and red to encourage international uniformity and identity. Preferably, the upper body clothing like shirt and jacket should be yellow and the lower body clothing like shorts and swimsuits should be red.
Why do you need special shoes for lifeguards?
A good pair of lifeguard shoes results in excellent performance and effectiveness.
Shoes can make a big impact on both comfort and effectiveness of a lifeguard. The job of a lifeguard is physically demanding. It demands constant attention, alertness, and speed. Just like anyone of us, we need comfort to perform effectively in our tasks. If lifeguard shoes are uncomfortable and don’t have good qualities, it could cause distractions and slow down response.
How do you choose the best shoes for lifeguards?
As we already know, the life of a lifeguard involves quick responses at all times. Hence, ordinary shoes are not very suitable for them. Lifeguard shoes should pass the standards of the active life of a lifeguard.
Here are some of the things that you should look for to find the best lifeguard shoes.
- Comfortable and lightweight
- Waterproof and quick-dry
- Offers feet protection from ache and blisters
- Durability and breathability
Can ordinary people wear lifeguard shoes?
Ordinary people can also benefit from the shoes specially made for lifeguards as they offer superb comfort and functionality that fits many lifestyles. Many lifeguard shoes are designed with versatility in mind. They are not just suitable for water settings but also for other activities like yoga, gardening, and exercise.
They are reliable and functional too so you can enjoy your outdoor moments to the fullest.
Are flip-flops good for lifeguarding?
Many lifeguards opt for a pair of flip-flops as they are easy to kick off whenever needed. However, a downside to this is that flip-flops can increase heel pain and provide less arch support and protection.
Instead of flip-flops, swim shoes or water shoes can offer better support and traction for fast movements. They also offer more protection and comfort that lifeguards need.
Are crocs good for lifeguarding?
While Crocs promotes some of their shoes are specialized Crocs water shoes and sandals, a quick scope on the web tells us that they do not make it to the list of top recommended lifeguard shoes on a number of recommendation websites.
Crocs are versatile footwear that is suitable for both drylands and water. They don’t mark floors and offer excellent comfort for people who need to stand on their feet all day. However, they are inflexible because of their thick rubber and have less heel support due to their open back. As you may have guessed, these could get in the way of quick responses and emergencies.
In addition, a post from huffpost.com that featured an interview with a Chicago-based podiatrist stated that Crocs do not secure the heel making it unstable. This situation can lead to toes gripping which makes the wearer susceptible to tendinitis, nail problems, and corns and calluses.
Despite these, our research has also shown us that lifeguarddepot.com recommends Crocs as a lifeguard accessory. Some recreation centers also allow their lifeguards to use Crocs too.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to preference and recommendation of the waterpark.
What is the best outsole for lifeguard shoes?
Rubber makes the best outsole material for lifeguard shoes. They offer excellent traction that lifeguards need when running. Poolsides could be slippery therefore shoes with good reactions are very necessary