10 Best Shoes For Kayaking

It is truly unthinkable about how a small thing like a kayak shoe can make a world a difference when out kayaking on the water. 

If you are like others who simply put on an old pair of sneakers with socks, then you know that the drive home is uncomfortable and soggy.

But the drive home is the furthest thing on your mind when you are launching your kayak and yearning for the adventure the day holds for you.

However, like every other aspect of your trip, planning and thinking ahead when kayaking is essential.

You wouldn't want to spend the day out on the water without sunscreen or a snack, so why would you overlook what you put on your feet just to get out kayaking.

Or you could be the kind of person who casually slips on a pair of flip-flops and jump on your kayak.

After all, with flip-flops, your feet will dry quickly and will be protected when walking on rocks. But flip-flops don't offer you the support you need when traveling across wet rocks and you risk breaking them due to a misstep.

Nothing is worse than breaking your shoe mid-day and having to lug the kayak back to the car with bare feet.

That is why there are a plethora of kayaking shoes on the market that gives you the best of both worlds.

We've a detailed researched and hand-tested (or foot- tested) review of the 10 best shoes for kayaking for both male and females here.​

Best Shoes For Kayaking (Top 10)​

What is a footwear important during kayaking?

Kayaking shoes offer your feet the comfort and stability you need when walking over rocks.

They won't break or come apart in the toe area leaving you barefooted. They dry quickly allowing you to make the trip back home in comfort instead of a soggy mess that normal tennis shoes will leave you in.

Unlike hiking boots, shoes, specifically designed for kayaking are made similar to tennis shoes.

They are closed toe and provide rubber traction for wet and slippery rocks. All too often when you use regular tennis shoes you will find that the soles of the shoe slip and cause accidents.

These accidents can be anything from a stumble on your rear-end to worse a sprained ankle.

When you wear shoes made for kayaking, you will experience fewer falls and accidents. The shoes are made to protect your feet from all sharp things just like tennis shoes, yet will dry quickly keeping your feet warm.

Some people even go as far as wearing their kayaking shoes with socks for added comfort, but you don't need to do that unless you are paddling in cold waters.

​Things to consider

There are several different kinds of kayaking or boating shoes you can choose from. But you should keep a few things in mind so that you don't waste money on a shoe that won't last long or will make you feel uncomfortable.

Material

The material used for kayaking shoes is usually neoprene rubber. This is the same material used for wetsuits.

It is sturdy and keeps warmth trapped inside the shoe.

A lot of kayaking shoe blend neoprene with titanium for ultimate protection and durability. The sole of the shoes is made of rubber so that you can walk on rocky shores and even broken glass without hurting yourself.

There is some strap on shoes that are made with the same material, however, you should consider the consequences of using strapped shoes.

Should you find yourself in the water, you don't want the straps of the shoe to get caught on the rudder system of your kayak trapping you.

Nor do you want shoes that are open toed.

Say you take a step and the shoe decides it wants to stay stuck to the rocks? Many accidents can be prevented with closed toed shoes.

Weight

You also don't want a shoe that will be weighed down with water making it harder for you to get your vessel out of the water.

Many kayaking shoes are lightweight and won't bog you down when you happen to find your foot in mud.

Proper kayaking shoes will feel like they are a part of your body and sometimes you won't even feel like you are wearing them at all.

Style

There are several different styles of kayaking shoes from those that look and feel like tennis shoes to those that come up to the calf and are more like boots.

You will also find what are called booties and are just like socks and will provide the protection you need should you decide to stop and check out a trail off the river.

You will also notice that there are kayaking shoes that strap on or slip on shoes like "Crocs."

If you aren't planning to do any exploring far from your kayak and the area you are kayaking is a beach or smooth ground then this style of shoe will work just fine.

Season

When picking out your shoes you should definitely think about the season and the temperature of the water.

You will need something that will keep your feet and legs warm and will dry quickly. Too often people buy shoes without thinking about the water and just how cold it can get.

Hypothermia can happen quickly on the water, especially when your feet get cold and can cause serious problems for you and those you are kayaking with.

Booties and boots that cover your feet and ankle work best to avoid this issue.

On the other hand, when it is hot during the summer months, you don't want your feet to be smoldering and you should get ones that allow your feet to breathe.

Size

Sizing is a personal matter but also one that needs to be considered when you are picking out the proper footwear for your adventure.

You don't want a pair of shoes that are too snug and cut off circulation to your feet when they get wet. You need to remember this when you are trying them on at the store.

Many kayaking shoes create a suction when water absorbs and encompass your foot. This can cause skin irritation and blister if the shoe is fitted too tightly or too loosely.

You want a pair of shoes that will be stable when you are sloshing around in the water but don't want them to feel like they are coming off each time you lift your foot.

Nor do you want them to feel like you have to peel them off of you when you are done with wearing them.

Many kayaking shoes are bigger than what they say as well.

Just remember that what they feel like when dry will be different than what they will be like when they are wet.

Get a size that is in between what you are comfortable with and looser than what you are used to.

Kayaking shoes are not like regular tennis shoes when it comes to sizing.

And, you don't want ones that are so big that they keep in the water or feel like suction cups that keep your feet trapped in the water.​

Top 10 Best Kayaking Shoes

Just like regular shoes, finding kayaking shoes depends on your gender.

Women's feet tend to be narrower than men's and when picking shoes out you don't want a shoe that is universal. You'll need to find one one that is specifically for your gender and steer clear of the unisex shoes. 

We've a detailed review on the ten best kayaking shoes for both men and women and it surely is going to make it easy for you to make a selection.​

1. NRS Comm-3 Kayaking Wetshoe

NRS Paddle Kayak Wetshoe

​Designed for: Men.

The NRS Wetshoe is designed with 3-mm neoprene blended with titanium making them strong, durable and reliable kayaking shoes.

You don't need to worry about lacing these shoes up, simply pull them on and you are ready to go.

This kayaking shoe is thick and when it comes to rocky shorelines or coral reefs, you will want that kind of protection.

The Wetshoe is more of a bootie that resembles a boot.

The insole is made of 5-mm neoprene rubber to keep the water out and the rubber sole keeps your footing true every step of the way.

You don't need to worry about the laces since there are none that can get caught or snagged on branches or the rudder system of your kayak.

The shoe runs big so you will need to play around with smaller sizes to get the right fit. Some may not like the shoe as it rides up over the ankle, but this won't restrict movement of the foot. 

All in all, what would you want in a shoe other than comfort, durability and protection? The NRS kayaking wetshoe justifies every necessities you might be looking for in a kayak shoe.​

Features I like​

  • Constructed with neoprene blended with titanium.
  • No need to lace up.
  • Strong and durable.
  • Perfectly designed insole.

2. Aleader Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes

Aleader Quick Drying Aqua Shoes

Designed for: Women.

The Aleader quick drying shoe offers the style of a typical tennis shoe with the breathable mesh.

Everything about the Aleader for women is designed to create airflow for hot summer trips that will keep your feet comfortable.

The design of the shoe allows for water to flow freely in and out of the shoe and won't leave you bogged down in the mud.

Because of the style of this kayak shoe, it doesn't look like you are wearing something specifically for kayaking.

The soles are sturdily made with rubber so you can get out of your kayak to explore the trails you want.

The water grip outsole provides the traction you need on wet surfaces and the midsole makes it feel like these shoes are just your average tennis shoes giving your feet the arch support they need.

While this shoe is super lightweight and very breathable, the soles have holes to allow for air and water to flow freely through them.

The holes could pose a problem in rocky areas or if you happen to step on broken glass.

While the shoe does come with a bootie insert that is similar to a sock, it won't provide much resistance against sharp objects and you'll need to remain a bit careful offwater.

Features I like​

  • Quick drying with breatheable mesh.
  • Sturdy soles that are long lasting. 
  • Creates airflow to keep feet comfortable.
  • Super-lightweight with good traction.

3. NRS Boundary Kayaking Shoe

NRS boundary kayaking shoe

Designed for: Men.

The Boundary is actually a boot designed specifically for kayaking in cold winter conditions.

This kayaking shoe is constructed of 5-mm neoprene and will keep your feet warm even without socks!

The shoe comes with a 7-mm insole and is combined with a 2-mm plastic shim to protect your foot from hidden rocks and other debris that could be lurking under the water.

It also comes with a Velcro strap that keeps the boot in place and as long as water doesn't get in from the top of the boot, your feet will remain nice and dry.

The rubber soles give you the confidence you need disembarking your kayak in all water conditions as the sole seem like they stick to the slippery rocks.

The boots are a bit narrow at the ball of the foot. Don't be surprised if it takes a while to break in these boots, but once you do, they will fit your feet like a glove and you won't want another pair!

One other thing to mention is the fact that these are 'boots' and if you use them during warmer days, it is easy to roll them down.

Features I like​

  • Designed specially for ice-fishing or for cold water conditions.
  • Keeps feet warm without socks.
  • Velcro straps keep boot in place.
  • Sturdy and long lasting.

4. Speedo Men's Seaside 4.0 Amphibious

Speedo Men's Seaside 3.0 Amphibious

Designed for: Men.

The Seaside 4.0 Amphibious shoes designed for all water sports will make an excellent addition to your kayaking wardrobe.

The shoes are constructed with synthetic fabric that easily slips on and off your feet.

This kayaking shoe has mesh for the top area of the foot to allow for air flow and quick drying while the sole that is designed for maximum traction over all surfaces.

The Seaside 4.0 is a safe shoe that you can use for day trips in and around the water without the fear of slipping.

One of the features of this shoe is the bungee cord laces that hold the shoe snug on your foot even if you find your foot submerged in mud.

It also comes with a loop at the heel for ease to slip off while the toe has a thin layer of rubber to protect your toes and keep warmth in. Another plus for the Seaside is the fact that the sizing is correct and you don't need to worry about getting a size bigger.

The only real downside for this kayaking shoe is the fact that it should only be for warm weather. However, if you are planning to go outside on cold, make sure you don't forget your socks.

Features I like​

  • Designed for all water sports.
  • Keeps feet safe, does not slip.
  • Protects toes and keeps feet warm.
  • Fits perfectly fine, no sizing problems.

5. Clorts Women's Seaside Amphibious

Clorts Women's seaside amphibious kayaking shoe.

Designed for: Women.

The Clorts Seaside Amphibious is another great kayaking shoe that feels like a regular tennis shoe and is designed like such.

The Amphibious is made of 60% polyurethane and 40% mesh.

The sole is of skid-proof and abrasion-resistant rubber so you can be sure of each and every step you take.

A unique feature is the lacing that is similar to bungee cords and can adjust to fit your feet to make sure they are snug.

The clip is also easy to unlatch allowing the shoe to slip off easily.

The Clorts run narrow and if you choose this kayaking shoe, you might need to double check on the sizing to see if it fits perfectly. 

This archless kayaking shoe is fit for all weather conditions and ensures safety and warmth on the delicate women's feet.​

Features I like​

  • 6-in monochrome LCD bright display.
  • Perfect for day as well as night fishing experience. 
  • Mini navigator to store 12 waypoints.
  • Good power backup. 
  • Extremely fast and operable even up to the depth of 3000 ft.

6. Women's Wave Water Shoe for Kayaking

Women's wave water shoes for kayaking.

The Wave Water Shoes make for an exceptional pair of kayaking shoes that provide closed toe and rubber soles.

The shoes are lightweight that can be used for many different activities like beach yoga or pool aerobics.

The Wave Water shoes fit as snug as socks with a drawstring cord that allows you to adjust the tightness around the ankle.

The rubber soles allow you to step with confidence on slippery surfaces and grip to the rocks when hiking away from the kayak and water.

The soles won't scuff or mark up the floor when you wear them around the shower area.

If you are looking for a shoe that offers style choices, then the Wave Water is for you as you can choose from 29 different colors.

The shoes can be a bit tight and you should go one size up for optimal support. Unlike other kayaking shoes, these are more of booties that offer little to no arch support.

Features I like​

  • Extremely lightweight and comfortable.
  • Perfect for slippery surfaces.
  • 29 different color choices.
  • Optimal support and good adjustment.

7. Teva Women's Evo Water Shoe

Teva Men's Evo Kayak Shoe

Designed for: Men.

The Teva look and feels just like regular tennis shoes even down to the laces.

The shoe is constructed of synthetic materials that are breathable and allows for quick drying, perfect for a water sports like kayaking.

Unlike other shoes on this list, the Teva shoe offers arch support much like regular shoes.

It comes with rubber soles for optimal traction and shock absorbing technology that allows you to explore all the trails and pathways you find along your kayaking adventures.

The downside is the lacing of the shoes. The material for the laces is cotton which absorbs water and retains it.

Not to mention that the laces can come undone and get wrapped around objects which makes it necessary for you to make sure your laced are tied well.

But if you are a tennis shoe kind of guy, these are perfect since they dry easily and will keep your toes safely enclosed and your feet warm.

Features I like​

  • Constructed with synthetic material.
  • Breathable and quick drying.
  • Provides great support and optimal traction.
  • Affordable and inexpensive.

8. Northside Men's Brille II

Northside Men's Brille II kayak shoe

Designed for: Men.

The Northside kayaking shoe is similar to the Speedo kayaking shoe as far as design goes.

The shoe is breathable and dries fast once out of the water.

The thermoplastic rubber sole traction keeps your feet stable on all terrain and comes with EVA footbed so your foot is supported every step of the way.

The upper part of the shoe is constructed with neoprene that will resist moisture.

The EVA cushioned insert is removable so you can add socks or if the shoe doesn't quite fit right.

The bungee laces are an added touch to keep the shoe secure to your foot in thick murky waters.

The issue with these particular shoes is the narrow toe area.

The mesh material used to cover the toes doesn't provide much protection from paddles being dropped on them or tackle boxes.

But these shoes offer the traction you need when pulling your kayak out of the water or launching from slippery areas and embankments.

Features I like​

  • Breathable and dries quickly.
  • Moisture resistant and EVA cushioned.
  • Keeps feet secure, good traction.
  • Cheap and durable.

9. Neosport Paddle Low Top Boots

Neosport Paddle Low Top Boots

Designed for: Women.

Ladies, if you are looking for a durable kayaking shoe, then the NeoSports Wetsuit kayaking shoes are for you.

They are constructed with neoprene with impenetrable seams.

They come with a hardened insert sole to protect your feet from sharp rocks to broken glass.

The NeoSport features an ankle barrel cinch shock cord for you to tighten the shoes around the ankle to keep them secure.

Both the toe and ankle is protected by the rubber sole so you don't have to worry about scuffing your feet on coral or other debris.

Every seam is glued as well as stitched making in for one durable shoe for all your water sports.

While the shoe does come with an ankle loop for you to remove the shoe easily, it doesn't quite slip off that way.

You may find yourself struggling a bit getting out of these shoes, but at least you know your feet will be dry and comfortable during the adventure.

Features I like​

  • Neoprene construction with impenetrable seams.
  • Ankle barrel for shock absorb. 
  • Rubber sole for feet protection.
  • Inexpensive and durable.

10. Promate Water Sports Shoes

Promote Water Sports Shoe for Kayaking

Designed for: Women.

The Promate shoe offers excellent traction on slippery rocks or other launching surfaces.

The shoe provides 3-mm of thickness and is ideal for all water sports, kayaking specially.

The Promate kayaking shoe slips on and off easily and dries just as quickly.

The shoe is low cut below the ankle that feels like a heavy pair of wool socks.

The rubber sole literally sticks to the rocks and terrain giving you the balance and stability you need when launching your kayak.

The shoe doesn't allow for any adjustments as it is one piece without laces or a cord to keep the shoe secured.

While this shoe is ideal for summer it is not recommended for cold waters.

Another thing about this shoe is it doesn't offer any sort of arch support and may cause pain in the foot if stepped on a rock the wrong way.

Because the material is lightweight, it also doesn't offer any ankle support.

Features I like​

  • Excellent traction in slippery surfaces.
  • Low cut shoe that is comfortable.
  • Best for kayaking in summer.
  • Lightweight, but without ankle support.

The Verdict

You should always take your necessity and weather conditions into account when buying a shoe for kayaking. In fact, we've already mentioned in our reviews that strapped shoes can hurt your feet when out in the water and you need to make sure if you get any other shoe out of this list.

Some people may be looking for just a reliable pair of kayaking shoes that will keep their feet from suffering sharp edges of rocks and some will be looking for boots that will keep them warm and protected from the elements.

No matter what style or brand you pick, you should put just as much thought about your footwear as you do your life vest or kayaking clothes.

Remember to think about what happens when your day comes to an end.

Do you want to slosh around in wet tennis shoes and socks?

Or would you prefer your feet dry and comfortable on your way back home?

No matter what, though, be safe out on the water and remember to always be aware of your surroundings as you never know what path or stream will lead you to your next big adventure.

James Moore
 

Hey, I'm the founder of Fishing Kayaks Guide. As a professional angler for over 10 years now, I love to hear and share experience and knowledge about kayak fishing and get connected to all of you people who are enthusiastic to hit the water.

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