Best Kayaking Shoes Reviewed & Rated for Quality

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.

Last Updated: July 28, 2018
By Tony Skye:

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.

It is essential to have good gear while out on the water kayaking. Many people do not realize this until they experience something they will never forget. Cold feet and no traction will make you cringe when you think about getting into your kayak and heading out. There are plenty of other downsides to a poor kayaking shoe, or worse, no footwear at all.

Featured Recommendations

Aleader Mesh Slip-On
  • Aleader Mesh Slip-On
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • ComfortDry Sockliner
  • Solyte Midsole
  • Price: See Here
Dreamcity Water Shoes
  • Dreamcity Water Shoes
  • 4.8 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Water Grip Outsole
  • Drainage Holes
  • Price: See Here
WateLves Aqua Socks
  • WateLves Aqua Socks
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Polyester/Spandex Upper
  • Quick-dry
  • Price: See Here

Having shoes that do not repel water will make you feel as if you have a set of rocks tied to your feet. This gives you a heavy feeling and can contribute to poor balance. Using no shoes at all is a terrible idea. The thought of stepping on rocks and oysters with no protection is cringe-worthy. Protection to your feet is everything in kayaking. A good grip, flexibility, and lightweight, waterproofed material is the route to go.

 

10 Best Kayaking Shoes

 

1. Aleader Mesh Slip-On

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.
Expand to see 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.
Pros
  • ComfortDry Sockliner
  • Water Grain Outsole
  • Solyte Midsole
  • Mesh Upper
Cons
  • Size runs narrow

2. Dreamcity Water Shoes

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.
Expand to see 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.
Pros
  • Extra Mesh
  • Water Grip Outsole
  • ComfortDry Sockliner
  • Drainage Holes
Cons
  • Tongue may rub

3. Merrell All Out Blaze Sieve

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.
Expand to see 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!
Pros
  • Unifly Midsole
  • Anti-Microbial Treatment
  • Thick, Rubber Outsole
  • Leather and Neoprene Upper
  • Protective Toe Bumper
Cons
  • Heavy when wet

4. NeoSport Premium

4. NeoSport Premium
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.
Expand to see 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.
Pros

Synthetic/Neoprene Upper

3mm/5mm/7mm Thickness Choices

Puncture-resistant Outsole

#10 Heavy-duty Zippers

Water Entry Barrier

Cons

Size runs small

5. Cior Barefoot Quick-Dry

5. Cior Barefoot Quick-Dry
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!
Expand to see 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.
Pros
  • Quick Dry Holes
  • Thick, Rubber Outsole
  • Flexible Material
  • Added Arch Support
  • Optimal Traction
Cons
  • Drainage holes may clog

6. Mares Equator Dive Boots

6. Mares Equator Dive Boots
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!
Expand to see 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!
Pros
  • Added Traction
  • Lightweight and Travel-friendly
  • Incredible Flexibility
  • Neoprene
  • Temperature Control
Cons
  • Size runs large

7. Viakix Water Shoes

7. Viakix Water Shoes
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.
Expand to see 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.
Pros
  • Added Foam to Outsole
  • Quick-drying Mesh
  • Highly Versatile
  • Ultra-lightweight Insole
Cons
  • Size runs narrow

8. WateLves Aqua Socks

8. WateLves Aqua Socks
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.
Expand to see 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.
Pros

Polyester/Spandex Upper

Breathable

Flexible

Quick-dry

Lightweight

Cons

Size runs small

9. Cudas Shasta Water Shoe

9. Cudas Shasta Water Shoe
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.
Expand to see 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.
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

10. WateLves Water Shoes

10. WateLves Water Shoes
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.
Expand to see 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.
Pros

Foam Arch Support

Quick-dry Drainage Holes

Stretchy Upper

Flexible

Anti-slip

Cons

Very thin

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.

 

Criteria Used to Evaluate the Best Shoes for Kayaking

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.

Shoe Height

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.

Waterproofing

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.

 

Slippage Prevention

You’ll spend most of your time in the kayak, but you still must consider the time you’ll spend outside the kayak, as well. If you’re just starting on the sport, then you’ll be surprised by the number of times you’ll have to get off your kayak. When you do, you want to make sure that you count on slip-preventing properties on your shoes.

We looked for outsole materials that offered strong gripping qualities. Synthetic rubbers such as vulcanized rubber had a slight advantage in our ranking. This is because such rubbers have been treated to obtain a stickier and stronger grip on most surfaces. The best kayaking footwear is those that can walk over wet obstacles without slipping.

 

Insulation

All kayakers do not need padding, but those who ride on cold waters must see insulation as a vital part of their equipment. It’s highly crucial that performers who’ll be exposed to cold waters are adequately protected from its temperature. Insulating materials are a must for this practice.

Synthetic rubbers are the favorite material for these scenarios. Aside from being highly durable, they, also, tend to have abrasion-resistant qualities, are lightweight, flexible, and offer heat retention. Rubbers themselves are not naturally insulating, but they are very easy to treat with insulating processes.

Such materials are utterly simple to mold and inject, making them suitable for insulating gear. They are, also, mixed with stronger and denser compounds to add structure to the footwear. The colder the water, the more insulation you should look for.

Note: insulation and waterproofing are not the same things. Waterproof shoes prevent water from going through the materials or into them, but it doesn’t protect you from heat transfer. Insulated footwear will avert cold molecules in the water to adhere or get through the rubber of the kayaking shoe.

Insulation is achieved by compromising all the space within the material in a manner that external molecules can’t enter. This is done by injecting gasses, such as oxygen and nitrogen into the materials. The particles act individually, and when compressed against one another, they block any other molecule trying to breach in.

Materials

As another criterion for this guide, the materials of a kayaking shoe depend on the degree of your performance amongst many other things. In general, kayaking footwear is constructed from neoprene rubber or similar compounds, which is, also, the material used for most wetsuits.

Synthetic rubbers (e.g. neoprene) are ideal for wet environments and water sports, thanks to their waterproof properties. Neoprene is a material with a vast variety of applications, even in watersports gear. Not only does it protect from water but it’s, also, suitable for insulating products.

Many kayaking shoes mix neoprene with titanium parts to increase protection and durability even further. It’s most commonly seen in the form of toe protectors; as well as, integrated into parts of the upper build.

Here are some of the aspects of the materials you should keep in mind when looking for kayaking footwear:

  • Thickness
    The thickness of the materials is directly proportional to their level of protection. The thicker your footwear, the more unlikely it is for something to hurt your feet directly. A kayaking shoe may vary in thickness around its build; the upper build has its thickness independently from the sole, for example. Aside from a thick top, you should, also, consider a thick sole. A more abundant bottom will provide you with a stable platform while walking over obstacles.
    For frigid waters, you should look for at least 6mm of neoprene insulation. Normally, kayaking shoes made from neoprene count with a 5mm upper and a 3mm high-traction sole. Of course, this may vary from one manufacturer to another, but it’s an estimate of what to look for in neoprene kayaking footwear. Keep in mind, the size of your boat when selecting thick shoes; you’d be surprised by the alarming amount of users that purchase footwear that doesn’t fit their boats.

 

  • Weight
    As in most sports performance shoes, the weight is a factor to consider when looking for the best kayaking footwear. Some users believe that the weight of your shoes is irrelevant while kayaking, as you spend most of the time on the boat. The thing is that the weight of footwear doesn’t only affect you when you have to walk. As a shoe becomes heavier, some features like protection increase, but many others are hindered. To start with, the thicker and more substantial a boot is, the less mobility you’ll have within the boat. If you find yourself in an unfortunate scenario, you’ll want to count on gear which allows you to maneuver your way out freely.
    Thickness and bulk may, also, obstruct breathability in cases where kayaking is performed in hot circumstances. Fortunately, synthetic materials allow for manufacturers to create materials that offer quality features while weighing much less than traditional materials.
    Kayaking footwear should be neither too lightweight nor too heavy. They should be light enough to be able to breathe, drain, and easy to move around with. They should be heavy or thick enough to protect your feet from direct damage. Do note: lighter shoes put less stress on your feet, as well, and are the most comfortable footwear.

Temperature

The temperature of the water can be your worst enemy, as a kayaker. It’s because of this that you must be protected from it in cold circumstances. Shoes that allow for heat transfer will, ultimately, result in numb feet. The last thing you want is losing the senses on half of your extremities.

In extreme cases, exposure to cold water may lead to hypothermia. We’re not only talking about footwear, anymore, at this point. This is why beginner kayakers are recommended to travel in slow and neutral waters. Those of you riding cold waters should consider wetsuits and waterproof, insulated boots as a must.

As for warm water and hot climates, the temperature is no less of a threat. In this case, it’s not the water temperature that should worry you, but the humidity. Hot regions call for breathable and fresh kayaking footwear. If you allow for heat to accumulate consistently in your shoes, you’ll experience the consequences.

 

Quick-drying Materials

Regardless of what the water temperature is, you should opt for quick-drying materials when choosing kayaking gear. The ideal thing is for materials to remain in their natural (dry) state, and if they become wet, to return to their original state as soon as possible.

It’s vital for kayaking footwear materials to come with at least two features: a quick-drying approach, and a non-absorptive construction. If the materials of your shoe absorb any water, they will become soaked in a matter of minutes into your trip. Soaked footwear brings you no benefits, as opposed to the extensive list of effects it will have on your feet.

If your kayaking footwear gets wet from cold waters, quick-drying materials will help you reduce the time your feet are exposed to the cold liquid. This is of little use if your feet will keep getting continuously exposed, but it’s beneficial if it’s a one-time incident.

Creating a fresh environment for your feet is essential as a kayaker. Materials that dry quickly prevent humidity from affecting the fit of the shoe; as well as, internal traction. Additionally, our skin may react differently to the materials of the footwear in moisturized conditions. The quicker the shoe dries, the quicker you’ll regain the qualities you lost in the water.

Moisture-wicking inner materials are, also, a significant advantage. They help regulate the effects of sweat on the shoe. Humidity and sweat can help develop bad smells within the footwear if untreated. The longer they stay, the more attached the scents will become to the shoe.

Kayaking footwear comes in a range of thicknesses and materials that are primarily tailored to the temperature of water you’ll be kayaking in. Cold water kayakers will want a thick neoprene or waterproof shoe, while those in warm water will need something with airflow to keep feet from overheating.

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.

 

Comfort

This is an aspect you should consider, regardless of the sport your practicing or the way in which you’re practicing it. The simple truth is that to achieve your most-optimal performance possible, you need to be in a state of comfort. The last thing you want, as a sports performer, is your equipment to add more stress to your body, both physically and mentally.

Realistically speaking, it’s much harder to concentrate when something is bothering you. Whether your feet are too hot, the material is creating friction with your skin, or there’s not enough space, you’ll have that thought in your mind the whole time.

Because of this, we selected shoes that create a comfortable performance environment for your feet. We kept in mind that comfort must be delivered both inside and outside the kayak. Kayaking is a sport where your lower body only moves when you’re going to exit the boat. Aside from that, you spend the rest of the time seated. Once you’re in the kayak, you’ll have little to no mobility to even think about adjusting your footwear.

Comfort isn’t something you should sacrifice to obtain another feature. A kayaking shoe with a high upper build is of little use if the toe box is too small, for example. The truly best kayaking shoes are those which contain a healthy balance of all the features, comfort included.

The thing about this criterion is that comfort is not something generated by a part of the footwear. To obtain satisfaction, every element of the shoe must play its role adequately. If one part of the footwear is uncomfortable, then the rest of the shoe is awkward as a whole. We’ll elaborate on some of the aspects that help produce greater comfort in kayaking footwear.

  • Sizing
    It’s imperative that you have accurate knowledge of the shape and size of your foot to purchase footwear correctly, not only kayaking shoes. No matter how the product is described to you, you don’t honestly know if it’s compatible until you wear it. The sizing is not something you can get wrong; choose the wrong sizing, and every aspect of the shoe will fall apart regarding performance.
    Check the manufacturer’s sizing chart to make an accurate purchase. There, you should be able to see the exact measures recommended for each size.
    Kayaking shoes must be selected in a size that allows for the material to compress the area it covers mildly. It should not strangle your feet, but it should hold them with slight force. The sizing of footwear can get to be hurtful if chosen incorrectly, causing blisters and damage to the foot’s skin.

 

  • Support
    The support is one of the most underestimated and ignored features of performance shoes, in general. It plays a vital role in the fit and comfort of any footwear, and it’s holding the shoe and the foot together. This has multiple important reasons, but the first explanation is that the footwear and the foot must act as one element to achieve an optimal fit.
    Shoes are meant to resemble our feet in every possible aspect. This encompasses moving in synchronicity with our feet. If footwear lacks support, the loose fit will cause the shoe to tilt forward and backward, as we walk.

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,


Rockay Socks + Buff
Next Giveaway draw
1 Winner Picked!
Your email is safe with us. Pinky swear
Share:
Enter the giveaway