Let’s admit it. There is nothing like Kayaking in a quiet countryside lake on a sunny day. The bliss it brings is unparalleled. Your soul lifts with your growing confidence with the paddle. And your heart steers clear of the worries as the Kayak steers away from the shore.
Riding the sea waves on a not so quiet ocean or challenging the white water rocky terrain is a passion for so many others. While some argue that the sit-on-tops are in fact the new trend on the very top.
No matter what type of Kayaking inspires you the most, the importance of wear and gear for ultimate fun can not be undermined.
So you are thinking of Kayaking and you think you are all set? Your Kayaks, your paddles, your bilge pumps, your spray skirts, and headlamps are all ready. You have even blown into your signaling whistle and checked both your lungs and the whistle. Maybe you are even proudly looking at a loaded Kayak in your truck and patting yourself on the shoulder.
But have you given your shoes the attention that they deserve? After all, you will, at some point in time, get off the Kayak and get in the water.
You will need them when taking the Kayak to water or slipway. You will need them in the unfortunate event of the Kayak capsizing (happens to all of us, right :-)) and also while treading the rocky river bed or a rough beach for that matter, you would also really not want to step on some sea life without proper foot protection on certain infamous beaches.
So, what’s the solution? Are you still using waders? Thinking of being adventurous enough to go barefoot or even think your crocs will cut it?
Well, its high time you make a change in your footwear for good. And there is no reason not to. Not anymore at least.
Enter Kayaking Shoes.
Since their inception, they are a Kayaker’s best bet for any type of water sport. They are robust, easier to wear and lighter on your body. So no need dragging the weight of waders or diving in the water to look for your lost crocs or bandaging your feet after walking barefoot on a rough beach or river bed. And you definitely don’t want to get fever due to wet shoes at the end of an amazing kayaking weekend, do you?
Top 10 Best Shoes for Kayaking
Topping our list are the multi-purpose, multi-terrain Wyhan Water shoes. Made of Lycra on top and anti-slip, rugged Camo rubber sole at the bottom, it makes the flexible fold and twist as you like, shoe, that everyone loves. It has perfectly sized and shaped holes at the bottom that only let water drain and keep sand and pebbles out. Its lace locker ensures a perfect fit and an easy on, easy off. A honeycomb cushioning insole ensures easy drainage and breathing. The insole can be of course taken out and dried. Their ability to quickly dry is stellar. This makes them reusable in minutes for your next activity.
The shoe is also a multi-role footwear. So, if you are going for a vacation or a honeymoon and you plan on swimming or snorkeling or surfing or participating in any other sport, they will still be usable. You can even use them for jogging if you like. The shoe is also designed as unisex. Both men and women can use it and it comes in a lot of colors for that matter. So whether you wear the ambers or the grays, you will get one for you.
- Exceptional Lycra Material
- Awesome Design
- Multi-Role shoe
- Easy On and Easy Off
- Removable honeycomb
- Quick Dry
- Usable by both men and women
- Some users have complained of saggy heals and have recommended against long walks in these. But this is common in many shoes
- Another small sticker in the heels
There are many five-toe designs on the market but Hotaden water shoes are one of their kind. Anti-collision toe protection when walking or in water is a plus that makes it a perfect choice for rougher territories. At the same time, they are light as a feather and promise high water exit performance.
The design of the sole with holes is something many other shoes have too but the unique feature of the Hotadens is that they have built-in pressure points that stimulate energy, improve organ function and expedite blood circulation. The outer sole is slip-resistant and reliable. These shoes are quite suitable for all weather conditions, especially summers. The shoelace is adjustable by the help of a lace locker. So opt for these for your next kayaking trip so you can look cool and sporty and enjoy all these features too. The shoe build is equally enjoyable to both genders so you can order it for anyone without blinking an eye.
- Five toe anti-collision design
- The built-in stimulus pressure point in the sole
- Slip Resistant sole
- Quick Dry
- Perfectly long shoelace
The perfect fitting, trendy looking Remote Kayaking shoes are next on our list. They are slip-resistant, quick-dry, five finger masterpieces. Just like the hotadens they have an elastic band for secure and quick fastening of laces. They are ultra-lightweight, elastic, comfy and neat. Eleven holes in the sole make sure the water does not stay for long. They also really complement the Kayak casing.
- Unique colorful design
- 11 hole sole
- Five-toe anti-stumble design
- They dry very quickly
- Available in 14 colors
- Good value for money
- Not staying in shape after some use
- Sole flimsiness particularly river kayaking users
The Lycra, rubber sole duo that makes this shoe are a perfect ingredient of many other water shoes as well. But the Mayzero Aqua shoes are skin-friendly unlike any other pair on the market. The comfort and breathability are unmatched. The added toe protection and a strong sole makes sure your feet are not hurt by any shells or other sea objects or rocks and pebbles on a river bed for that matter. The convex dots on the sole provide a firmer grip than most other models, which makes Kayaking more fun and full of ease.
The shoe is bendable and you can easily fold and keep it in a bag pocket (at any angle) without the fear of cracking or deforming. They dry quickly making sure you can use them again quicker. And once you are done with your Kayaking ventures, no need to keep them back int the closet ill your next trip. They can be used for other water sports, sailing, boating, wind surfing and even car washing. Just make sure you don’t use them for long walks as they are designed as water shoes only. A small walk is fine but don’t go for a long walk with them on.
- Five toe anti-collision design
- Available in 23 different colors
- Take our foldable insole for quicker drying
- Wide toe box for more foot space
- Difficulty choosing the right size
With the drain holes built right into the sole design, the Wutangcun water shoes are the perfect choice for your next kayaking escapades. The elegant colors in gray, black, white and pink make them a perfect choice for both men and women. Many have admired their wearability, comfort, and durability in multiple roles, especially for kayaking. The soft stretchy fabric on top gives a perfect snug fit. Perfect for a wet trail or a seashell strewed shallow bank, the Wutangcuns is a water shoe unlike any other. Some people have suggested to order them half a size short for a perfect fit.
Easy to slip on, they are known for letting very little sand in when dry. They have removable folding inserts for quicker drying.
- Has a breathable fabric top
- Large holes at the bottom aid quicker water exit
- Size issues, suggested to order half a size short. Otherwise, it has fitting issues
Sweat and water are quickly warded off and dried by the upper mesh of the Eyeones water shoes, no matter how muggy the conditions. The sole has holes for better drainage of water and maintaining breathability.
The portable shoelace with an elastic string tightener is ideal for a solid shoe cling. The anti-slip sole provides excellent traction in all turfs and terrains.
What sets these shoes apart is that they are not only a great choice for Kayaking but they can also be used in other sports. They are properly sold as sports shoes too. So the dual characteristics make them a perfect choice for someone who would like to use them for let’s say jogging or gym etc. A great choice for beach walking or walking in general as well. The shoes are gender agnostic and can be used by both ladies and gents.
- Foldable and Bendable material
- Large pores across the sole for quicker drying
- Multi-use shoes. No need to pack them. Can be used on daily basis
- Recommended not using them for long walks
If you are looking for something closest to joggers or you hate something with a tight toe space, blister-free, if you may, WateLves water shoes can be your best bet. The natural toe space they provide is ideal for the most comfortable footwear experience you can imagine.
The unique rugged seven-hole outsole ensures a sturdy track adhesion and fast water flow out. What sets this pair apart is very tightly knit mesh top. If you feel you will get fine sand in your shoes on a beach or when the shoes are wet or dry, you should opt for these ones. The shoes are amphibious in nature, meaning they will be equally good on both land and in water.
They are quite easy to clean and can be a great trade-off for all shoe roles from your house slippers to your rock climbing shoes. But they are certainly a top contender if you are looking for an amazing kayaking experience.
- Multi-role shoe that can be used from using around the house to the jogging track
- Great traction with their gummy sole
- Difficult for sand to get in
- Available in five colors
- Anti stumble design
With a superior breathable fabric mesh on top and anti-slip rubber sole at the bottom, they make for perfect water shoes and multi-role sneakers. The top is made of fabric and the shoe is light as a feather. It is a combo of femininity and durability that ladies can not stop loving. The elastic straps make them a quick fit shoe. The all-covering design enables a perfect fit and ultimate foot safety.
The holes in the sole show the water a quick exit. Hydrophobically engineered Mesh also helps the water get out quickly from top. They dry fast and due to their quality fabric, they are the most comfortable option on the market. Be it long beach walks, Kayaking for hours or cycling or dancing, they are a perfect fit for all activities. Although predominantly women shoes, men with softer feet can opt for them too.
- Pores built across sole for a quicker drain
- Available in 22 different colors
- Great lace quality
- Perfect feminine look
- Some users have had size issues so ideally order one size smaller than your current size
Another 90% fabric gem is the Suokeni Women’s slip-on shoe. Similar to the DLGJPAs they have an open fabric mesh on top and strong elastic rubber sole with holes at the bottom. They are also absolutely lightweight and subtle, just perfect for the lady kayak.
In terms of safety features, besides their stellar soil adhesion, they also have added toe safety features. The shape ensures that toes are completely protected from rocks and rough terrain when walking or wading.
The feel of these shoes is convincingly comfortable and they are a popular choice with ladies.
- Availability in 14 cool colors
- Pores across the sole for quick water drainage
- Wider mesh for quick drying
- The show did not complement their slim feet
The uniquely designed Speedo Women’s tidal Cruiser water shoes are a ladies’ favorite for kayaking. If you are bored with the regular designs and want something slightly different, these are the shoes to go for. A rather tighter mesh, a pointed design, and a Neoprene collar is what sets this pair apart from others. The flat sole is ideal for multiple uses. The Neoprene collar helps in putting on and taking off a lot.
A size bigger than yours is recommended for the best fit, as due to their pointed shape they might not be a good fit with your existing size.
They can also be used as ideal swim shoes if takes you longer getting back on the Kayak. Please keep in mind that they do not have holes in the sole so the water will only go out the mesh, but having said that they are quick-dry and ideal where you feel sand might make its way in from the sole.
- Unique no hole sole to keep sand out completely
- Neoprene collar to help in putting on and taking off
- Slower to dry due to no holes in the sole
- Tighter toe box
- Not much arch support
How to Choose the Best Shoes for Kayaking
Best Fit is what you need
Kayaking shoes are normally built for the best fit. As they say, they fit like a glove. But still, you need to do your bit to make sure they fit well. So the first thing you should aim for is, really, get the best fit for your shoe size. What you really don’t want is a bad fit that lets the water in or gets off while you are in the water. Making absolutely sure that they don’t have any gaps on top or side to keep as much water out as possible.
Another thing you need to check is that they are also compatible with the Kayak’s casing. Check thoroughly if you can move your toes comfortably. If you are using waterproof socks, best is to check your fit with socks on. Some shoes are narrower or wider than regular shoes towards toes, so make sure you buy one size up or down for the best fit.
Straps or no Straps
Straps have their pluses and minuses. They help you with a snug fit and assist in waterproofing but might get stuck with a rock if they are too long and cause an accident, so choose wisely according to the terrain. For quieter waters, they should be fine, actually preferred but for white water sport, maybe not so much. You should use the ankle height, zipper models, instead.
Foot Safety is the first thing
First and foremost, your feet safety is the most important thing you need to take care of. So shoes with a robust sole should be your first choice. There are some options in the market with flimsy soles but they will not serve the purpose of feet protection.
Depending on your interest in the kind of Kayaking you should choose the level of sturdiness. One shoe fits all might not be the right approach if you are into more than one type of Kayaking. Some shoes come with toe protection and that is desirable, especially in white waters but never buy open toe models.
How light or heavy
The lighter the better but the key is, they should feel like a second skin. Just put them on and walk a little. If you feel the weight, probably you need to ask them to show another pair. This is especially true for low cut and ankle deeps. You are not going to like anything heavy on your feet when it is wet, especially when you are trying to get (back) on the kayak.
How high or low
It is just a matter of personal preference as some like them higher or lower than others. You can opt for low cut, ankle height or even knee height. Although knee height makes them look more like waders, they are still much lighter.
The height choice primarily depends on the weather, you are Kayaking in.
Opt for a low cut if it is summers, as the low cuts are fairly light and breathable. So lesser feet sweating is the goal here.
Choose an ankle height shoe if you are looking for a bit of warmth and thick sole. These are ideal in winters. Although some of the lighter airier ones can do in both seasons. The terrain of the kayaking venue might be of added help when deciding on this. These are the most widely chosen option and are normally suitable for most weather conditions and terrains.
The knee height is the one least opted for, but choose them when you are out in cold weather and wading deeper waters. But as high as they are, make sure their perfect fit and that they don’t have any gaps or otherwise they will weigh a ton and ruin the whole experience. Why would you ditch waders in the first place if you end up like that? No wonder these are the least opted for.
What they are made of
The Kayaking shoes are made of neoprene most of the time, which makes a perfect candidate for a water shoe. It is the same material wet suits are made of, it is a slip-resistant, light and flexible material that feels warm and comfortable on the inside and rugged on the outside. It is known by different names in the market, so don’t be confused by them, it is the same as Lycra, Spandex, and Elastane. Opt for thick rubber if you need to walk a rocky patch before reaching your kayaking start point or the terrain is generally rocky as you might need to get to the shore often, especially if you are a beginner.
Why should I not use waders?
Like everything else in the world, innovations and new things keep coming to solve problems. Waders are an almost all shut, heavy affair. Feet can not breathe and the sheer weight causes blisters that would make you regret the whole experience of Kayaking. They were not the best fit to the Kayak’s casing as well. The material is not skin-friendly as well. Men and women of today want something comfortable and lightweight to wear unlike people in the 1850s when waders were first invented.
Why should I not wear my crocs to Kayaking?
While crocs are good for home use and a short stroll in the evening, they are not specifically built for Kayaking or water sport. Most people opting for crocs end up returning barefoot as crocs can not sustain the pressure of Kayaking as a water sport. This results in broken crocs, crocs getting off feet and slipping when you most need stability.
What are 5 finger models like and why have you not covered the separate compartment models?
The 5 finger Kayaking shoe is an increasingly popular option. Some models have separate compartments for all fingers and some simply have wider space for all fingers. Whereas the natural space ones are quite popular with everyone, not everyone takes a fancy to the separate compartment ones and a lot of people find them uncomfortable.
I am starting from a smooth territory. Do I still need Kayaking shoes?
Speaking of river kayaking, if you start from safe waters, it does not mean that you will end up in safe waters as well. Some jagged rocks and hurdles might be next to impossible to traverse without robust Kayaking shoes. Even if you are sailing in a quiet sea, you don’t want to step on an eel or a shell and go back packing, do you?
Can I use my kayaking shoes for jogging and in the gym?
Whereas a lot of these shoes are perfect for a long walk or a short jog, they are water shoes at the end of the day. And just like you wear slippers at home and your office shoes to work, it is ideal that for longer life and use of these kayak shoes, that you spare them the extra strain as much as you can. Ideally, you should only use them for what they have been made.
Whatever your Kayaking passion, one of these shoes will best fit your activity. No need to go looking elsewhere as we have only covered widely popular models that we, along with thousands of other users have found to be the best. Just choose one that fits the weather you are kayaking in and the terrain you are expected to walk in, in light of the above and you are good to go. Best of Luck.