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Best Kayaking Shoes Reviewed & Rated for Quality

last updated Feb 01, 2019

Do you love to be out on the water but find that your shoes are not made for that kind of purpose? No reason to be discouraged any longer! You will find the most-excellent kayaking footwear available here, and each shoe has different properties which will help you maintain warm and comfortable feet, no matter where your kayak takes you. Protection to your feet is everything in kayaking. A good grip, flexibility, and lightweight, waterproofed material is the route to go.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 100 hrs of research

icon
 Aleader Mesh Slip-On
88/100 our score
Protection
90
Terrain
80
Heel
90
Water Resistance
90
Breathability
90
Aleader Mesh Slip-On
Why is it better?
  • ComfortDry Sockliner
  • Water Grain Outsole
  • Solyte Midsole
  • Mesh Upper
In a Hurry? Editors choice:
 Aleader Mesh Slip-On
Test Winner: Aleader Mesh Slip-On
Researched Sources
17
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
14,000
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
100
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
20
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
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By AndrewDJ:

The recent update reflects the best of 2018’s kayaking shoes of all types, shapes, sizes, colors, with new information as to how to choose the best kayaking shoes and our criteria for evaluation. Also, included are some of the most frequently asked questions about kayaking shoes.

Sorting Options
Protection Terrain Heel Water Resistance Breathability By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88
Protection
90%
Terrain
80%
Heel
90%
Water Resistance
90%
Breathability
90%
Price Comparison Last Updated (26.03.19)
$26.99
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84
Protection
80%
Terrain
80%
Heel
80%
Water Resistance
90%
Breathability
90%
Price Comparison Last Updated (26.03.19)
$23.99
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
83
Protection
80%
Terrain
75%
Heel
85%
Water Resistance
80%
Breathability
95%
Price Comparison Last Updated (26.03.19)
$74.95
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81
Protection
85%
Terrain
75%
Heel
75%
Water Resistance
85%
Breathability
85%
Price Comparison Last Updated (26.03.19)
$35.65
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81
Protection
90%
Terrain
70%
Heel
70%
Water Resistance
85%
Breathability
90%
Price Comparison Last Updated (26.03.19)
$15.99
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
79
Protection
75%
Terrain
80%
Heel
85%
Water Resistance
80%
Breathability
75%
Price Comparison Last Updated (26.03.19)
$22.00
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
77
Protection
80%
Terrain
75%
Heel
80%
Water Resistance
70%
Breathability
80%
Price Comparison Last Updated (26.03.19)
$15.99
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
75
Protection
80%
Terrain
70%
Heel
75%
Water Resistance
70%
Breathability
80%
Price Comparison Last Updated (26.03.19)
$13.88
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
72
Protection
70%
Terrain
75%
Heel
70%
Water Resistance
75%
Breathability
70%
Price Comparison Last Updated (26.03.19)
$23.06
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
70
Protection
70%
Terrain
65%
Heel
65%
Water Resistance
75%
Breathability
75%
Price Comparison Last Updated (26.03.19)
$13.88
In Depth Review Top 10
  • Aleader Mesh Slip-On
  • Dreamcity Water Shoes
  • Merrell All Out Blaze Sieve
  • NeoSport Premium
  • Cior Barefoot Quick-Dry
  • Mares Equator Dive Boots
  • Viakix Water Shoes
  • WateLves Aqua Socks
  • Cudas Shasta Water Shoe
  • WateLves Water Shoes
Table of contents
  • Criteria Used for Evaluation
  • Other Factors to Consider
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Sources

Top 10 Picks

1. Aleader Mesh Slip-On

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88
 Aleader Mesh Slip-On
Protection
90
Terrain
80
Heel
90
Water Resistance
90
Breathability
90
best offer for today
$26.99
Pros:
  • ComfortDry Sockliner
  • Water Grain Outsole
  • Solyte Midsole
  • Mesh Upper
Cons:
  • Size runs narrow

The ALEADER Mesh Slip-On is made for the water and everything in between! Offering maximum protection, this is made with your comfort in mind. Added technologies will ensure that you will not slip; giving ultimate traction control. Dry liners are added to give a comfortable and cooling feel that will benefit your foot’s health for years to come.

Read more

Water Grain Outsole
These have a water grain outsole which will keep you in an upright position while on the most slippery of surfaces. Maximum grip and maximum comfort are what this pair gives.

ComfortDry Sockliner
This pair was made with your foot health in mind. The ComfortDry sockliner is in place to help keep your feet cool and dry. By doing this, they offer you a healthy climate for your feet at all times.

Cost and Value
Offering supreme protection, these have been designed to fit all of your water sport's needs and are worth the midrange price. Furthermore, the cool and comfortable sole inserts allow for maximum protection and amazing comfort while the mesh upper delivers constant airflow.

2. Dreamcity Water Shoes

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84
 Dreamcity Water Shoes
Protection
80
Terrain
80
Heel
80
Water Resistance
90
Breathability
90
best offer for today
$23.99
Pros:
  • Extra Mesh
  • Water Grip Outsole
  • ComfortDry Sockliner
  • Drainage Holes
Cons:
  • Tongue may rub

The Dreamcity Water Shoes are just as they are named, dream city! These are amazingly waterproofed and have a lot to offer you, in the sense of foot care and safety! Allowing a constant flow of air, these have mesh uppers that maintain maximum breathability. The ComfortDry sockliner gives a great comfort while helping to maintain cool and dry feet. Wet and slippery conditions are no problem, as these have excellent traction for the worst terrain.

Read more

Water Grip Outsole
The footwear has an amazing grip on traction. In the most extreme, slippery conditions, they will protect you from slipping and falling with the water grip outsole that it has to offer.

Mesh
This pair is made from mesh and more mesh. Offering optimal breathability, the mesh upper and lower are designed to keep a constant flow of air. That being said, this shoe is quick drying!

Cost and Value
They have a lot to give to you and your feet. Quick drying, they are designed with loads of mesh materials to give a constant airflow and circulation within. These fall into the upper end of cost but they are great, in terms of both quality materials and performance. In other words, they are well worth the asking price.

3. Merrell All Out Blaze Sieve

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
83
 Merrell All Out Blaze Sieve
Protection
80
Terrain
75
Heel
85
Water Resistance
80
Breathability
95
best offer for today
$74.95
Pros:
  • Unifly Midsole
  • Anti-Microbial Treatment
  • Thick, Rubber Outsole
  • Leather and Neoprene Upper
  • Protective Toe Bumper
Cons:
  • Heavy when wet

The Merrell All Out Blaze Sieve is all-around outdoor footwear for a day in the woods that leads to an afternoon on the water. These provide an ultimate and durable sole that is puncture proof and built with added comfort. With a leather and neoprene upper, this is made durable and flexible, without retaining water. With added odor-eating technology, this will stay odor-free, as well.

Read more

Unifly Midsole
This has an added technology that will deliver an endless comfort to the sole of your foot. The Unifly midsole is put in place to ensure maximum comfort and absorb any shock your day my deliver.

Anti-Microbial Treatment
This footwear is made fresh and covered in a layer of anti-microbial treatments that helps eat and fight odors while they are on and off of your feet. The M-Select FRESH treatment will keep these shoes smelling fresh all day.

Cost and Value
With so many added features, pricing is not an issue, even though it lies in the low-upper end of cost association. Furthermore, the durable outsole gives excellent traction and support to your feet and added technology prevents odors. Moreover, with a product this good, there is no need to worry about your feet, anymore!

4. NeoSport Premium

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81
 NeoSport Premium
Protection
85
Terrain
75
Heel
75
Water Resistance
85
Breathability
85
best offer for today
$35.65
Pros:

Synthetic/Neoprene Upper

3mm/5mm/7mm Thickness Choices

Puncture-resistant Outsole

#10 Heavy-duty Zippers

Water Entry Barrier

Cons:

Size runs small

This is a great pair to take along on your next trip. They have thickness choices available for warm, moderate, and cold water; 3mm, 5mm, and 7mm, respectively. Furthermore, these are made with a synthetic/neoprene upper and have puncture-resistant outsoles. In addition, behind the heavy-duty zipper is a water entry barrier to help you remain dry.

Read more

Synthetic/Neoprene Upper
The upper is made to handle various degrees of water temperature; depending on the choice you make. Moreover, this upper is ready for the action you are about to put this pair through.

Puncture-resistant Outsole
This a perfect feature for those times when the kayak decides to knock you into the water, as these have a puncture-resistant outsole. This means you will be a bit safer while on your trip.

Water Entry Barrier
WEB (Water Entry Barrier) lies behind the heavy-duty zipper to ensure no water penetrates your secure fit. This is wonderful when considering that you may be facing the cold water.

Cost and Value
This pair of water footwear is at the midrange in cost. With all of the available features, however, this price is understood. They are, truly, economical for what you are getting and worth every penny spent.

5. Cior Barefoot Quick-Dry

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81
 Cior Barefoot Quick-Dry
Protection
90
Terrain
70
Heel
70
Water Resistance
85
Breathability
90
best offer for today
$15.99
Pros:
  • Quick Dry Holes
  • Thick, Rubber Outsole
  • Flexible Material
  • Added Arch Support
  • Optimal Traction
Cons:
  • Drainage holes may clog

Are you looking for a feel of non-existence on your feet? Well, look no further! These are an incredibly flexible shoe that is both stylish and durable. Added comfort technologies will keep your feet in heaven for hours on the water. Made with a special design to keep your feet dry, these have become an all-time favorite for the water fanatic!

Read more

Quick Dry Drainage Holes
These are quick drying and utilize drainage holes which are located on the bottom of the sole; thereby, allowing water a constant escape route. No more squishy, wet soles with these!

Arch Support
These offer phenomenal arch support. The thick foam built into them gives you a natural feel while preventing the arch ache that everyone dreads. In other words, you can stay comfortable!

Cost and Value
With safety in mind, this pair offers a unique, thick outsole that protects from both pain and slip. Added holes in the outsole give optimal drainage, while the uppers repel water. With something this good, you will want to stay in the water, all day long.

6. Mares Equator Dive Boots

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
79
 Mares Equator Dive Boots
Protection
75
Terrain
80
Heel
85
Water Resistance
80
Breathability
75
best offer for today
$22.00
Pros:
  • Added Traction
  • Lightweight and Travel-friendly
  • Incredible Flexibility
  • Neoprene
  • Temperature Control
Cons:
  • Size runs large

The Mares Equator 2mm Dive Boots are well known for being lightweight and incredibly flexible. Easy to wear, they are slip on and go. Added tread on the sole gives optimal grip while the neoprene makes for a waterproof fit. Make that bulky pair you have a thing of the past and use these. You will not be disappointed!

Read more

Lightweight
These are made from neoprene material which gives this boot a lightweight feel. Furthermore, they give you a natural feel and are easy to pack!

Neoprene
This pair is made with warmth and comfort in mind. Made with dive suit materials, they s are bound to keep your feet warm, even in the coldest of waters!

Cost and Value
With a product, this well thought out, you'll be disappointed you didn't find them sooner! They have a well-insulated, neoprene material that helps to maintain temperature control within the water at all times. The neoprene, also, keeps dirt and debris out and avoids constant irritation and blisters! At a cost-efficient price you can't complain about, these are well worth the purchase price!

7. Viakix Water Shoes

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
77
 Viakix Water Shoes
Protection
80
Terrain
75
Heel
80
Water Resistance
70
Breathability
80
best offer for today
$15.99
Pros:
  • Added Foam to Outsole
  • Quick-drying Mesh
  • Highly Versatile
  • Ultra-lightweight Insole
Cons:
  • Size runs narrow

The Viakix Water Shoes are all about comfort. Designed with a mesh upper, these are incredibly breathable and drain water very well. No more soggy soles with these, as they dry incredibly fast! They are versatile for any situation. Best made for kayaking, these have excellent grip and stability, allowing you to maintain your balance for hours on the water.

Read more

Durable Sole
These offer a one of a kind outsole that contributes to both durability and comfort. The added foam in the flexible, rubber sole gives you the ability to walk on a variety of surfaces with a no-slip grip.

Quick Drying Mesh
The lightweight, quick-drying mesh gives your feet an incredibly healthy environment that remains non-soggy and clean. An added benefit of no foul odors assists in keeping a healthy environment. They offer it all to maintain a great environment for your feet.

Cost and Value
The price of these is both affordable and worth it! Giving your feet a warm, dry climate while assisting in a healthy foot, this is made for anything in the water. As versatile as it is, the soft, comfort sole will support your feet while protecting them from debris and sharp objects. Furthermore, they are worth every penny.

8. WateLves Aqua Socks

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
75
 WateLves Aqua Socks
Protection
80
Terrain
70
Heel
75
Water Resistance
70
Breathability
80
best offer for today
$13.88
Pros:

Polyester/Spandex Upper

Breathable

Flexible

Quick-dry

Lightweight

Cons:

Size runs small

For something lightweight and has a natural feel to it, this pair of water shoes is perfect. They are made with a polyester and spandex mix which creates a snug-fitting, barefoot experience, so to speak. They quickly dry and can be tucked away for easy storage. Furthermore, these are both flexible and breathable, as well; an ideal situation for kayaking that awesome river you have had your eyes on for a while now.

Read more

Great Fit
The upper is made from a polyester and spandex blend (92% polyester/8% spandex). This means they are flexible and will fit snug around the foot and ankle area.

Quick-dry and Easy Storage
The ideal footwear for kayaking will quickly dry out and these do just that. In addition, these can be rolled up and tucked away for easy storage.

Cost and Value
For the cool design and minimalist feel, these are a nice grab. Moreover, they are easy on the wallet and have decent materials associated with them. As such, this a great buy for the price point.

9. Cudas Shasta Water Shoe

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
72
 Cudas Shasta Water Shoe
Protection
70
Terrain
75
Heel
70
Water Resistance
75
Breathability
70
best offer for today
$23.06
Pros:
  • Bumpers for Heel and Toe
  • X-Band Security
  • Non-Slip/Non-Marking
  • Liner for Warmth
  • Heel Pull Tab
Cons:
  • May rub on heel
  • Can be hot

The amazing Cudas Shasta Water Shoe is one of the best to date! Made perfect for kayaking, this has excellent grip, toe protection, and the ability to dry incredibly fast. Added lining allows feet to stay warm in cool water while mesh allows the feet to air out and dry at the same time! With a pull tab on the back, these slip on and come off super easy, making them an all-time favorite.

Read more

Heel and Toe Bumpers
Anything can happen while you're out on the water. You may find a spot you want to get out of the water and relax. This pair has you covered with added toe and heel bumpers that are a firm rubber to help protect against rocks and debris.

Outer Sole
These have an anti-slip, non-marking outsole which is ideal for water sports and the swimming pool. Moreover, they will not allow your feet to slip out from underneath you and will keep you on your toes, as it were; giving you the ultimate push-off and go!

Cost and Value
Cost-effective, these have all of the features you could want! Added comfort, warmth, and breathability, this pair is ideal for any occasion on the water. The toe and heel protection will keep your feet safe while the x-band will keep them secured. In other words, you don’t want to miss out on something this great.

10. WateLves Water Shoes

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
70
 WateLves Water Shoes
Protection
70
Terrain
65
Heel
65
Water Resistance
75
Breathability
75
best offer for today
$13.88
Pros:

Foam Arch Support

Quick-dry Drainage Holes

Stretchy Upper

Flexible

Anti-slip

Cons:

Very thin

For a gentler rating on the river, this pair is a perfect choice. They are flexible, allow water drainage, and provide an ample amount of support for minimalist footwear. The upper is stretchy, so you can enjoy a secure, comfortable fit. In addition, foam arch support helps to add to that comfortable feel and the outsole are anti-slip. This is a pair ready for a leisure river.

Read more

Quick-dry
Quick-dry drainage holes allow water to freely escape; thereby, you can remain confident that your feet will dry fast after you hit the riverside and it's time to set up for camp.

Stretchy Upper
These are made to stretch around your feet to ensure a secure fit. Moreover, this is a perfect choice for those desiring a natural, barefoot feel.

Cost and Value
Budget-friendly, this pair is tough to bet, in terms of both quality and performance. They are a minimalist shoe, however, so you will feel rocks under your feet. For those who prefer a barefoot feel, this is a great pair to purchase.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Protection

Kayaking footwear varies in degrees of protection, which depends on the environment that you’ll perform in. If you’ve kayaked before, you’ll know there are different difficulties, surfaces, situations, and speeds at which kayaking is practiced.

As a kayaker, you may find yourself scampering up jagged rocks, walking through mud, over debris and sand. Thus, before considering anything else regarding protection, you should analyze the circumstances in which you’ll go kayaking to determine the right level of protection you need.

You’ll always want to make sure you have a certain degree of protection for safety purposes. Your soles should never be too slim; nor, made from materials that won’t resist stinging objects. Unless you’re an advanced kayaker and have a use for thin soles, we recommend sticking to at least medium sole thickness.

Protection doesn’t only come from the underfoot, and we kept this in mind during research and evaluation of the best footwear. Waterproof protection, for example, is an essential aspect of protection that doesn’t necessarily involve physical resistance.

At the same time, areas like the upper build shouldn’t be forgotten, either. You never know where the next root, branch, or rock will land. Preferably, kayaking shoes should be equipped with a protective toe cap and at least one base material that protects the upper foot from impact.

We decided to make protection one of our evaluation criterions, keeping two things in mind while measuring it. First, is the overall protection that the shoe offers as a whole. Second, the protection the shoe provides concerning its purpose. This means that minimalist shoes, for example, provide less protection in general, but because they’re designed to do so. Thus, they’re meeting their purpose.

Protection doesn’t end once you get in the kayak; this sport involves walking and moving on surfaces that are commonly difficult. Opt for gear that will keep you protected both inside and outside your boat.

Terrain

The terrain is the first thing you should examine before going on a kayaking trip. It’s crucial that you know where you’ll be walking, so you can protect yourself adequately under those circumstances. In other words, a beach shoe meant for sand is of very little use during an excursion to a rocky and branch-ridden location.

The rougher the terrain, the thicker you’ll want the sole. You, also, wish to utilize materials that are resistant to abrasion; soft meshes and fabrics may easily be ripped by elements in similar environments. It’s likely that you’ll face moisturized and wet surfaces; thus, we advise looking for shoes with a grippy material.

Better safe than sorry; you’ll want to be overprotected rather than exposed, in case you encounter an unexpected scenario. Unless you know the kayaking area with certainty, we recommend wearing footwear that is protective.

If you travel around walkable terrain, then you should opt for the most comfortable shoes you have. Keep in mind, you’ll have to walk over a few obstacles but, also, keep in mind that you’ll spend most of the time on the boat.

Heel

There are, typically, three size standards when it comes to the height of kayaking shoes: knee-high (high), ankle-high (mid), and low-top (low). Each height has different purposes, and the designs are entirely different from one another. There are multiple factors to keep in mind while choosing the right height for you.

Knee-high kayaking footwear is customarily used under circumstances that call for the most protection; generally, in cold climates or overly-rough environments. A knee-high shoe is expected to be waterproof, as their primary function is retaining heat both in and outside the boat. Because they’re heavier and the bulkiest of them all, high kayaking shoes aren’t too versatile and may not fit in small boats.

The high-top shoes call for a snug fit to prevent water from entering and pooling. In most cases, they’re made of waterproof and physically-resistant materials. Ankle-high footwear is a middle point between high-top and low-top shoes; it’s for intermediate occasions – not too protective, but not too light, either.

Ankle-high shoes are ordinarily waterproof, as well, and may offer heat retention or not (depends on the climate they’re meant for). As the name suggests, these are high enough to cover your ankle. This provides better protection, but at the same time, reduces mobility. This is what most beginners use, as it’s the ideal height for overall kayaking under neutral circumstances.

Last but not least, low-cut footwear is meant for hot environments that call for breathable and comfortable shoes. They are, also, the most versatile of all kayaking footwear heights and the most flexible and comfortable, as well. Do note: they offer the least protection, though. Low kayaking shoes, usually, feature a combination of neoprene and breathable fabric in the form of a mesh.

Water Resistance

For some users, waterproofing is an unnecessary feature, while for others it’s vital. In most cases, what determines the need for waterproof materials is the climate. All kayakers who are out in cold water use waterproof shoes, and it’s the best way to go.

Waterproofing is not limited to cold waters, though. Most users prefer dry feet at the moment of maneuvering and getting a decent grip on the boat. As you can probably guess, this is much harder if your footwear is soaked and lacks traction. It’s, also, used in the form of moisture-wicking linings to prevent bacteria, fungi, and the development of adverse smells.

While it doesn’t protect our feet from solid objects, waterproofing plays a vital role. In cold environments where it’s paramount, the lack of waterproofing may translate into a cease in your performance. At some point in your kayaking, your toes and feet are very likely to go numb, due to constant exposure to cold water.

Materials like neoprene are favorites amongst kayakers and manufacturers alike. It’s important that the closure system is easy to handle and functional. Sadly, this is where waterproofing fails the most commonly.

Breathability

Breathability is the opposite of insulation and is what you should look for in a warm-water kayak shoe. The hotter the environment, the more breathability you should opt for. Breathability may be hard to obtain under certain circumstances, as water can usually pass through the same spaces as air. It often comes in the form of mesh panels, but any water that reaches the mesh panel will compromise the inner build. This is why we commend breathing systems that are waterproof.

Gore-Tex, for example, is a membrane used to allow for breathability without allowing water to break in. This is done by placing small layers that allow for water in its gaseous form (vapor) to exit while blocking liquid water molecules. Because molecules in the way of gas are smaller, water is not able to get through.

If heat is retained within the inner build, a series of consequences will likely happen. Our body produces its heat, especially during a performance. The more effort we make, the more heat we generate. This includes our feet. If on top of the heat we generate by ourselves, we expose feet to concentrated heat within the shoe, irritation and excessive sweating are likely to happen.

Too much sweat brings consequences at the same time. The loss of inner sensibility and traction, as well as odors, fungi, and bacteria, are some of the effects of sweat. Our feet emanate a considerable amount of heat, just like our hands. Thus, it’s crucial that warm-water footwear counts with a system that allows air to flow through freely.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

Most Important Criteria (According to our experts opinion)
Sort criterias acording to:
Experts Opinion Editors Opinion Users Opinion By Default
Click on a to rate the most important criteria:
#1
Protection
Rate This Criteria as Most Important
#2
Terrain
Rate This Criteria as Most Important
#3
Heel
Rate This Criteria as Most Important
#4
Water Resistance
Rate This Criteria as Most Important
#5
Breathability
Rate This Criteria as Most Important
Beginner Kayaking Tips

So you've gotten your first taste of kayaking after a trip with friends or family to a lake, or camping along the river, and you're curious to learn more.
Kayaking is a wonderful sport, but does require that you have proper gear, and learn how to roll in the water should you flip over.
Take time for a class, usually held at local community pools, to learn how to properly roll the kayak if flipped over, and for other safety tips when on the water.

Types Of Kayaking

There are several kinds of kayaking one can look to for recreational fun, competitive sports, or adventuring down rivers and the ocean.
Some kayaks designed for recreational use, won't have a skirt to strap the boater into the kayak. These are great for oceans, smoother, calm lakes, and sometimes just having fun with friends at a campground.
Other kayaks, mainly for rivers, rapids, and tricks, have skirts where the boater sits inside the kayak, and secures themselves to the boat with the skirt. This kind of kayaking is a great workout, lots of fun, but does require some training and safety measures.

Other Factors to Consider

Bottom Line

After reviewing all of the greatness in these shoes, you will find it much easier to pick out a good pair for kayaking. As previously mentioned, kayaking footwear supports you in many ways; including stability, grip, and safety. Picking out a good product is the first step to kayaking comfortably.

When you think about what kind of footwear you should have for kayaking, you need to consider comfort and the environment that you will be kayaking in. Are there lots of slippery rocks where you stop? What is in the water? Is it sand or oysters? Identifying all of these things will help you determine a great kayaking shoe. The majority of these will assist you in keeping algae, sand, and debris from entering, which will help in foot safety and comfort. Versatile and ideal for many water situations, the products on this list that are reviewed will keep you comfortable and dry, and are the most highly sought-after kayaking shoes. That, in itself, should tell you something about the quality and durability, and let’s not forget the excellent value.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: What is neoprene?
a:

Neoprene is a compound classified as a synthetic rubber. It counts with many qualities that are ideal for wet environments, like the ones presented in kayaking. It’s highly used for kayaking shoes and other kayaking gear; as well as, wetsuits. Neoprene, in particular, is highly flexible and moldable, also thick enough to protect the body to a certain degree.

Although it doesn’t initially count on thermal insulation qualities, neoprene is utterly easy to inject and treat with insulation processes. Gasses like oxygen and nitrogen are used for this, but nitrogen is preferred for kayaking footwear, due to other chemical advantages it has over oxygen. But it’s not, however, a better insulator.

q: What shoes are best for kayaking?
a:

Depending on the environment you’ll perform, you should vary the footwear you use. For cold waters, you want a shoe that is as protective as possible without affecting other features of the shoe. It’s important that the footwear is both waterproofed and insulated to prevent exposure to water at all costs.

For neutral kayaking or warm-water rides, you should opt for more relaxed gear. Under these circumstances, you should focus on breathability and mobility. Your priority here is avoiding heat accumulation; as well as, getting as much comfort as you can for the long ride.

q: Where can I buy kayaking shoes?
a:

Kayaking shoes can be found in retail stores of many water sports. General sports store, fishing stores, kayaking stores, boating stores, amongst others. You may, also, find kayaking footwear and other kayaking products through online purchasing platforms, like Amazon.

On Amazon, you’re guaranteed to find the ideal product for you; that is, you have diversity from all over the world. Additionally, you’re able to compare prices quickly and access the best deal. Our affiliate link will take you to the most trustworthy and affordable seller of the selected item.

q: How should kayaking shoes fit?
a:

Kayaking shoes must always fit comfortably, regardless of the type of water you run on. You don’t want your footwear dancing around your foot; nor, do you want your feet to be strangled by the shoe.

The optimal fit is that in which you’re able to move your toes freely within, and one that allows for natural feet placement. If your footwear pushes your toes against each other, then the fit is not correct. In the case of waterproof shoes, the fit may be slightly tighter around the collar to ensure that water can’t go in so easily.

q: What kind of kayaking shoes are there?
a:

Kayaking footwear can be classified based on multiple of their qualities. To start with, they’re customarily classified depending on the temperature of the water their meant for. Here you’ll find shoes for all types of water; cold water kayaking shoes, neutral footwear, and breathable shoes for hot environments.

They can, also, be classified by their level of insulation, though this would fall into a sub-category of water temperature. You can, also, divide kayaking footwear into three different groups based on the cut; low-cut, mid-cut, and high-cut. The low-cut goes below the ankle, the middle goes above the ankle, and the high-cut goes up to the shin.

q: How long do kayaking shoes last?
a:

It’s impossible to tell the exact duration of a kayaking shoe, as too many factors intervene upon each product and users individually. However, quality kayaking footwear that has been taken care of should easily endure over a year and a half of comfortable and optimal performance.

This is in the case of professional kayaking shoes. Other footwear, such as universal water shoes, may be suitable for the task, but may not adequately equip for kayaking performance. Thus, these may not endure some of the obstacles presented in kayaking and last less than expected. The same applies to users who take their kayaking footwear to other sports.

q: How much do kayaking shoes cost?
a:

The cost is not something you can define in general, as kayaking footwear ranges in quality, insulating properties, height, weight, and many other aspects. Quality kayaking shoes can be found anywhere above $30 or so. Depending on the degree of commitment to the sport, you may opt for beginner shoes which aren’t too expensive or top-of-the-line elite performance footwear.

Naturally, as the footwear gets better, they become more expensive, as well. A top-notch kayaking shoe can easily cost you near to $100. However, if you’re a dedicated practitioner, this is not necessarily expensive, as those shoes are highly durable.

q: Can I use water shoes for kayaking?
a:

Technically, you can. It’s not the right choice, nor the most optimal one, but kayaking can be recreationally practiced with water shoes. If you’re not a consistent kayaker, it would have little sense to acquire a kayaking-specific pair of shoes. So, if it’s a rare occasion, you may get away with kayaking on water footwear.

You don’t need a specific pair of shoes for kayaking, but having the right design does make a huge difference. If you’re a repetitive kayaker, then you should opt for a pair that you only use for that activity.

q: What should I do if my kayak flips over?
a:

Exiting a flipped kayak is not hard at all. The most important thing, especially for beginners, is to stay calm. If you’re wearing a skirt inside the kayak, then you should always have the skirt’s pull tab visible and at a range where you can access it easily.

When flipped, the first thing is to reach for the tab. Once you’re holding it, lean forward with your upper body and pull. You’ll immediately start falling out of the boat and will be able to reach the surface. It’s important that you lean forward instead of backward; else your buttocks will lift from the seat and make it harder for your thighs to exit.

The maneuver is simple, and it’s called the wet exit. All beginners are recommended to learn and practice the exercise before their first expedition.

q: What are the best kayaking shoes for beginners?
a:

If you’re a one-timer at kayaking, any pair that allows for mobility and versatility will do. Inside the group of kayaking footwear, though, the best shoe for beginners are neutral, low-cut, or mid-cut kayaking shoes.

We don’t recommend that beginners ride on cold waters with high-top boots until they’ve got some practice. Instead, opt for a pair that allows for ankle and toes mobility; as well as, breathability, if required. Most importantly, make sure that the shoe fits comfortably inside the kayak and that it doesn’t become an obstacle to exit.

Sources

  1. Wikipedia, Neoprene,
  2. Southwind Kayak Center, The Proper Clothing for Kayak, Jul 27, 2016
  3. Frontenac Outfitters, Kayak Parts and Terminology,
  4. ExplainThatStuff, How Does Gore-Tex Work?, Jul 02, 2017
  5. Industrial Rubber Goods, Types of Synthetic Rubber,
  6. Wikipedia, Thermal Insulation,