So, you're looking for the best water shoes for canoeing / kayaking / SUP / hiking.
One of my favorite aspects about canoeing, kayaking, and paddle boarding is that you don't need to pack a lot of equipment. A decent pair of kayaking shoes serves as the cornerstone for every successful paddle excursion, but this implies that what you carry counts.
If you're paddling in a kayak or canoe, you'll probably be dry most of the time. Unplanned portaging, swimming, or heavy lifting are all too common on paddling excursions, as we are all too well aware of at this point. The correct kind of water shoes are essential for these impromptu swims. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced paddler, this guide will help you choose the right kayaking shoes for your requirements.
But first, why do people choose to wear water shoes when kayaking?
When it comes to paddle boarding and kayaking, many people wonder whether shoes are necessary. If barefoot paddle boarding helps you feel closer to nature, why not? My other sports shoes don't have what a pair of water shoes can provide.
Even if these thoughts have excellent intentions, paddling with ill-fitting water shoes might result in serious injury or death. In order to protect your feet from any sort of terrain that you may experience on your vacation while wearing water shoes (such as sharp rocks and roots). Properly-fitting water shoes provide the support, stability, and traction necessary to enjoy the great outdoors on land and water.
Take a look at the various varieties of water shoes below to discover how it's possible to select the right kayaking shoes without breaking the bank.
3 Types of Water Shoes for Canoeing, Kayaking, SUP & Hiking
In terms of appearance, water shoes resemble sports shoes, but they are constructed of a water-repellent and air-permeable material. Water shoes are an excellent option if your vacation involves trekking between paddling locations or covers varied terrain due to their higher level of support.
Water shoes provide the coverage and durability needed for difficult experiences, whether you're planning a backcountry paddling trip, have to portage, or just want to explore trails while camping.
If you're paddling a comparatively small or compact kayak, Water Booties are a great option. Nylon-like wetsuit fabric is used to make the booties light and thin, making them ideal for outdoor activities.
Water booties are great for paddling in tiny boats and chilly areas, but they don't provide as much foot protection as water shoes and water sandals. Because of this, if you plan on hiking or kayaking in a rough location, water booties may not be the ideal choice.
Although they are similar in appearance to water shoes, water sandals contain less material to protect the feet. A reduction in material does not always indicate that there is less support or structure. Open and closed-toe variations make this sort of shoe excellent for paddle boarding.
For paddling vacations in warm or moderate regions, water sandals are an excellent choice. As a beginner kayaker or if you like to keep your feet free, water sandals are the best option for you.
What to Look for When Choosing Canoeing & Kayaking Shoes for Paddling
The importance of wearing durable water shoes increases as the difficulty of your paddle excursions increases. Wearing flip flops or crocs when canoeing or kayaking will not provide you with the support you need for activities both inside and outside of the vessel.
Water shoes for Kayaking should have a design that provides support for the whole foot and ankle. Ankle or toe straps, thick rubber soles, and shoelaces or velcro are all options. Having these components allows your feet to move easily while yet being strong enough to prevent harm..
The demand for durability in water shoes necessitates the need for water shoe flexibility. Water shoes, on the other hand, are designed to let your feet move freely. Things may change quickly while you're out on the sea. Changes in tides, currents, and water levels need you to be adaptable.
As a result, the best water shoes for kayaking feature materials that keep your feet in place while also allowing them to move. Fast-drying and light-weight materials, such as neoprene and mesh, are prevalent in water shoes because of these properties. So you don't have to worry about soggy kayaking shoes stifling your progress.
Water shoes may resemble conventional sandals in appearance, but they are built to withstand the effects of water and other natural elements. If you're a rookie or a seasoned paddler, investing in water shoes made of weather-resistant materials is an essential. Shoes that aren't properly cared for might become just as harmful as those that aren't at all.
Rubber and leather are used to make waterproof sandals in certain kayaking shoes. Multi-day treks in temperate regions benefit greatly from the use of these sorts of water shoes. The wetsuit-like material neoprene will keep your feet warm when paddling in colder temps.
Comfort, Fit and Style
Water shoes aren't supposed to be trendy, but who says they have to be? A broad range of designs and sizes are available in the water shoe industry. However, it's crucial to check at the shoe's structure and determine whether it meets your demands as a paddler before purchasing a pair of water shoes.
Water shoes come in a variety of styles, some of which cover your toes while others leave them exposed; both options are good, but keep in mind the terrain you'll be traversing. Having shoes that cover your toes may be a preferable alternative for wilderness paddling or excursions involving portages. Kayakers who plan to spend a lot of time in hot and humid locations may choose a more open and lightweight shoe style.
Traditional shoelaces, bungee lacing, or slip-on shoes are all options for kayaking shoes. With their easy-to-wear design and neoprene construction, slip-on water shoes tick all the right boxes. It's preferable to go for a pair of water shoes that have laces or ankle straps if you plan to do any portaging, trekking, or climbing on your vacation.
- Mesh or Synthetic Fabric
- Velcro, Slip-On or Shoelaces
- Open-Toe or Closed-Toe Options
Good water shoes don't have to cost a fortune to buy. Most of the time, the difference in price is due to the materials used in the manufacture of shoes. So, for example, vegan leather water shoes are more expensive than shoes produced from synthetic materials.
Water shoes are an excellent long-term investment for anybody who plans to do a lot of paddling. Water shoes have a lengthy lifespan if you find the right model and fit for you (and are usually the only shoes I bring on my own paddle trips).
Water shoes don't have to be an expensive purchase if you're new to kayaking or don't go paddling very often. To help you get started, we've compiled a list of low-cost choices below.
The dollar sign symbols below will represent the price of the kayaking shoes in this guide for ease and clarity. Getting outdoors should never be hindered by a lack of funds! We've put together a list of the best water shoes for canoeing, kayaking, and paddling in 2021.
- $= $20.00-$49.00
- $$= $50.00-$79.00
With this buying guide, we want to provide you with the information you need to make an educated choice on the best water shoes for your specific needs, wants, and preferences. The following are our top picks:
Top 12 Water Shoes for Kayaking and Canoeing
Best Canoeing/Kayaking Shoes for Every Budget & Style
1. Speedo Surfwalker 3.0 Water Shoe
Best for Cold Climate Paddling
- Materials: 100% neoprene
- Notable Features: No-slip grip, maximum breath-ability and quick-drying
- Pros: Cheap, easy on-off design
- Cons: Secure fit relies on neoprene (no laces or straps)
Speedo's Surfwalker 3.0 Water Shoe is a great option for paddlers who don't want to spend a lot of money on a pair of water shoes. These neoprene water shoes fit like a glove thanks to their simple on-and-off design.
Neoprene provides excellent protection from the cold and a rapid drying period after exiting the water, making it ideal for water sports. You get the best of both worlds with kayaking shoes like the Speedo Surfwalker Water Shoe. Neoprene offers a secure, but lightweight skin for your feet, allowing for a wide range of movement.
The Speedo Surfwalker 3.0 Water Shoe is an excellent choice for paddling outings in cooler areas. If you're looking for the best water shoes for kayaking, particularly for youngsters, this is a great option.
2. Merrill All Out Blaze Aero Sport
Best for Backcountry Trips
- Materials: Mesh, 100% fabric with a synthetic sole
- Notable Features: Mesh lining with odor-preventing technology, cushioned with a protective UniFly midsole
- Pros: Breathable mesh sides, high durability
- Cons: Takes longer to dry, expensive
A water shoe that can support your feet and keep you in control is what you need when you're knee-deep in muck portaging a canoe. When it comes to paddle boarding, Merrill's All Out Blaze Aero Sport is a fantastic water shoe.
Mesh paneling and a synthetic sole make up the greatest part of Merrill All Out Blaze Aero Sport. Water and air may pass through the shoe while still providing excellent grip on wet conditions because to these design characteristics
The Merrill All Out Blaze Aero Sport can be a good choice if you're planning a wilderness trip. Wearing these shoes when kayaking or canoeing might be challenging, but they're built to last.
3. Sea to Summit Ultra Flex Water Booties
Best for Easy On-Off Access
In addition to water shoes and sandals, water booties are an excellent choice for kayaking and paddling. These Sea to Summit Ultra Flex Water Booties are simple to put on and take off so you can spend as much time on the water as possible.
The Sea to Summit Ultra Flex Water Booties come in a variety of colors, making them ideal for personalizing your outfit. It's enjoyable to be creative with your kayaking shoes since you don't need a lot of stuff! It is possible to modify the length of the adjustable strap on these water shoes. On the water, you will be in complete control of the situation.
The Sea to Summit Ultra Flex Water Booties are a great, economical option for protecting your feet when on the water or on land.
4. Body Glove 3T Barefoot Max Water Shoe
Best for Paddle Boarding
When it comes to water sports like wakeboarding, paddle boarding, and windsurfing, the Body Glove 3T Barefoot Max Water Shoe excels. The Body Glove 3T Barefoot Max Water Shoe is ideal for any water activity involving a board, thanks to its excellent traction and separate toe grips.
The daring outdoorsman will love this water shoe's quick-drying properties. With its sturdy construction and snug fit, the Body Glove 3T Barefoot Max Water Shoe can withstand even the most punishing circumstances.
What does it mean to have a water shoe that is well-supported? Having the ability to possess the ocean implies that you are free to do as you like (or any waterway of your choice). Those in need of a low-cost pair of water shoes for kayaking and paddling can choose the Body Glove 3T Barefoot Max Water Shoe.
5. KEEN Evofit One Water Sandal
Best for Foot Support & Security
With these trusty water shoes, there's no need to worry about stumbling over your feet. The KEEN Evofit One Water Sandal is the best kayaking shoes for intermediate kayakers who are ready to make a purchase.
KEEN's Evofit One Water Sandal strikes a good mix between breathability and strength. For more strenuous paddling, closed-toe protection is essential; open paneling on the sides allows your feet to move and breathe.
The KEEN Evofit One Water Sandal offers a reasonable drying time thanks to partial mesh and exposed paneling.
As a water sandal for kayakers, it does an excellent job of providing both support and security. The extra padding of the KEEN Evofit One Water Sandal is perfect for anyone with flat feet or weak foot muscles.
6. ALEADER Mesh Slip-On
Best for Paddling Trips with Portaging
The time has come to put on your sneakers! A great, low-cost solution for paddlers who also wish to test their skills on various types of terrain, the ALEADER Mesh Slip-On. For us, kayaking is all about exploring new places and gaining fresh perspectives. The ALEADER Mesh Slip-On will keep you secure and in control if you find yourself on a remote island.
This pair of kayaking shoes is made to be lightweight and breathable thanks to the mesh paneling on the uppers. ALEADER Mesh Slip-On is an excellent option for longer paddle excursions since it allows your feet to breathe while you're on your feet. Additionally, the sock lining keeps your toes cool and dry.
The ALEADER Mesh Slip-On is a great option if you're seeking for a water shoe that resembles an athletic shoe. Water sandals and booties don't have the structure or longevity that this shoe has, so it's perfect for those unexpected, but unforgettable, paddle pauses.
7. Speedo Seaside Lace 5 Athletic Water Shoe
Best for Beach Days
It's a new form of water shoe that's both stylish and functional, the Speedo Seaside Lace 5 Athletic Water Shoe. This pair of kayaking shoes is made of breathable mesh, so they aren't as stiff as some other models. The Speedo Seaside Lace 5 Athletic Water Shoe isn't as supportive as some of the other shoes on our list, but it still merits a particular mention because of how comfortable it is.
The Speedo Seaside Lace 5 Athletic Ocean Shoe is ideal for a low-key beach day or a stroll by the water. These water shoes include bungee lacing and a rubber sole, making them ideal for the water.
Whether you're paddling or taking a spin in a motorboat, the Speedo Seaside Lace 5 Athletic Water Shoe is the best option for you. We do not suggest these shoes for more difficult paddling, such as portaging. Speedo Beach Lace 5 Athletic Water Shoe, on the other hand, is available in a number of colors to match your seaside attire.
8. NeoSport Wetsuits Premium Neoprene 3mm Low Top Pull-On Boot
Best for Rocky Shores
The NeoSport Wetsuits Premium Neoprene 3mm Low Top Pull-On Boot is an inexpensive water shoe for kayaking with excellent grip. Sole puncture resistance makes this shoe ideal for more rough terrain.
The NeoSport Wetsuits Premium Neoprene 3mm Low Top Pull-On Boot, in contrast to the other water shoes in this list, is an easy on/off shoe that rises above the ankle. An additional layer of protection against water infiltration is provided by this.
The NeoSport Wetsuits Premium Neoprene 3mm Low Top Pull-On Boot is an excellent choice for water shoes. For every form of paddling adventure, this company's attention to design will work. It is simple yet well-thought-out.
9. NRS Freestyle Westshoe
Best for Stability
Even though this neoprene masterpiece may seem frightening, it is one of the best water shoes for kayaking and other water activities. The NRS Freestyle Westshoe provides support in a fashionable manner so that you can show off your paddle board movements while being safe.
In frigid climates, the NRS Freestyle Westshoe is an excellent option for paddlers. They are entirely waterproof thanks to the combination of neoprene and synthetic materials.
These shoes may be difficult to put on and take off since they reach the mid-calf. The NRS Freestyle Westshoe, on the other hand, includes a concealed zipper in the back that makes it simple to get on and off. As soon as you get out of the water, you may rest on the beach.
10. Teva Omnium Closed Toe Water Water Shoe
Best Closed-Toe Kayaking Shoe
Teva is one of the leading manufacturers of water shoes for kayaking and paddling, following in the footsteps of Chacos. When it comes to paddle boarding, Teva Omnium Closed Toe Water Shoe is one of our favorites.
Bungee lacing of the Teva Omnium Closed-Toe Water Shoes makes it simple to get on and off, and the lacing is customizable. In the water or on land, these kayaking shoes will not fall off. These sneakers are water-resistant and incredibly breathable thanks to their open side panels.
Shoes with a shock-absorbing heel and additional padding are equipped for the rough and tumble of the outdoors. It's a good idea to take the Teva Omnium Closed Toe Water Water Shoe if you're planning on trekking or walking while kayaking!
11. Chaco ZX2 Classic Athletic Water Shoe
Best for Warm Weather Adventures
In terms of fashionable sportswear, Chacos kayaking shoes have come close to perfection. The Chaco ZX2 Classic Athletic Water Shoe is another terrific alternative for both experienced and inexperienced paddlers. In terms of comfort, the Chaco ZX2 Classic Athletic Water Shoe has an adjustable ankle and toe strap. It's one of the most comfortable water shoes you'll ever wear.
In addition to canoe and kayaking, this water shoe may be used on a wide range of terrains. When it comes to water shoes, the Chaco ZX2 Classic Athletic Water Shoe offers it all: durability and flexibility. The best part is that the two-toned straps are available in a wide range of hues and patterns. Water shoes don't have to look dated.
12. Chaco Z2 Classic Sport
Best Overall Water Shoe for Kayaking
In terms of versatility, the Chaco Z2 Classic Sport water shoe is the best on the market. Chacos are a great choice whether you're a paddler or just looking for a great pair of shoes for the beach.
Protecting your feet from pebbles and other debris is a priority for these water shoes' strong rubber soles. In addition to this protection, these shoes have an open and breezy top that allows your feet to move freely. They include a wide range of ankle and toe straps that may be loosened or tightened to suit your needs.
What's the end result? As a general purpose water shoe, Chaco Z2 Classic Sport is an excellent choice. In order to keep your feet comfortable and secure during your whole outdoor excursion, Chacos has perfected the art of balancing support with flexibility.
Best Water Shoes to Wear for Canoeing, Kayaking, Paddling, SUP & Hiking
When it comes to paddle boarding, the most important thing you can take away from this article is that the appropriate water shoes for your body are essential. Because our feet come in many shapes and sizes, finding a pair that works for you is critical.
We hope that our buying guide has helped you better understand what to look for in kayaking shoes and has piqued your interest in getting out on the water.
Wearing Water Shoes When Kayaking: Often Asked Questions
Q. Will wearing wet water shoes cause chaffing and irritation?
A. Water shoes are designed to swiftly dry after being submerged in water. Your feet should dry quickly after being soaked in water because of this. Chaffing and discomfort should not be a problem if your kayaking shoes are properly fitted to your feet. Adjust the straps around your ankles, heels, and toes on your water shoes to ensure that they are tight and supportive.
Q. Can I wash my water shoes?
A. Absolutely! Rinsing your water shoes with warm water can help remove any lingering odors, filth, and grime that you may have picked up throughout your epic voyage.
Q. Will my water shoes float if they come off in the water?
A. Kayaking shoes exist in a variety of materials, but most are intended to float if they fall into the water. You have plenty of time to grab water booties and water shoes from the water before they begin to sink if they fall free from your feet.
Q. How often should I replace my water shoes?
A. Wearing water shoes for an extended amount of time will eventually need a new pair. Wearing out the tread on the sole of the shoe might indicate that it's time to get new kayaking shoes, since this pattern is meant to help you grip wet terrain. Another indicator that it's time for a new pair of shoes is when you can bend your water shoes in two (water booties are an exception here).
Q. Are water shoes unisex?
A. No, most manufacturers offer distinct water shoes for men and women because of the different sizes of their feet. When shopping for water shoes, it's important to consider things like arch support, flexibility, and comfort for both men and women.
What to Carry When Kayaking or Paddling
- Swimsuit: If you're going to go on the water, you'll need to put on your swimwear. To avoid getting drenched when kayaking or canoeing, it's important to be prepared! Click here To see how the costs and styles of our top swimsuits differ between men and women.
- Sunglasses: It's a wonderful thing to be out on the lake, but it's much more amazing when the water reflects light! Don't forget your sunglasses and croakies to prevent them from falling out.
- Hat: It's better to keep the sun off your head in order to stay cool. Whether you choose a great bucket hat or a vintage baseball cap, staying cool can guarantee you have a fantastic vacation. Click for Bucket Hat for Men / Women, Best Hats For Kayaking.
- Water Bottle: The importance of being well-hydrated can't be overstated! Even though paddling is a terrific way to get some exercise and unwind, it also consumes a significant amount of energy. To ensure that you stay hydrated, use these cool water bottles.
- Sunscreen and Bug Spray: Don't let the weather get in the way of a great paddle! To avoid insect bites and sunburns, include sunscreen and bug spray in your boat.
The options for your outdoor experiences are endless now that you have the correct kayaking shoes. Have no idea where to begin? There are several fantastic kayaking places listed on our website.
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