12 Best Shoes for Kayaking 2018 - Reviewed, Checked and Rated For You

As far as kayaking is concerned, you only have three options in regards to footwear. Option one is to wear normal shoes which would leave you vulnerable in case of accidental water splashes. The second option is to go all bare and face all the consequences nature may have in store for you. Then there’s the third option which is all about finding the best shoes for kayaking. Whichever way you look at it, the first two options will leave you vulnerable and chances are that you’ll struggle to paddle around. Needless to say, that would also leave you struggling to keep your balance.

The good thing about finding the right shoes to match your sit on top or sit in kayak is that you can keep your feet warm and relatively dry even if the ride gets bumpy. Most importantly, you can count on this additional layer of safety to protect yourself from rocks and oysters which can harm you easily. So, what makes some shoes better than others, you might want to ask. Well, in this in-depth review, we’re going to talk about:

  • Some top shoe options for kayakers
  • The positive and negatives of each model
  • What to look for in your next pair of boots
  • Verdict on what we think qualifies as the best pick

Top 12 Best Shoes for Kayaking in 2018 on the Market - Compare Table

As with any other fishing gear, finding the right pair of kicks for a kayak day out requires a bit of research and comparison. The following table will help you make a quick comparison but you can still proceed to read the full reviews in the paragraphs below as well. 

List of 12 Best Shoes for Kayaking - Review

1.NeoSport Wetsuits Paddle Boots

f you are looking for a durable low-cut pair of shoe for kayaking at a great price, this pair of boots from NeoSport is one of a kind. Made of 3mm soft and premium neoprene, the boots will ensure your feet stay warm and dry in, on or around the water. In addition, it features sewn and glued seams for added durability and to prevent water from penetrating inside the shoe.

On top of that, the boot’s outsole is crafted from flexible and durable thermoplastic rubber for optimal grip and stability. The sole also includes a hardened insert that is designed to be puncture-resistant and tread pattern to help you keep a sure footing. This makes it perfect for all kinds of water activities including navigating river bottoms or rocky beaches.

As if that’s not enough, it comes with an adjustable hook and loop strap and a barrel cinch shock cord at the ankle area to help keep the boots secure. The zippers also make it easy to put on and take off the shoes. Best of all, the toe and ankle are well protected by the rubber outsole. 

Pros

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    Easy to slip the shoes on and off
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    Affordable
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    Offers superior comfort
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    Tough sole 

Cons

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    Holds in water and there are no drain holes

2. Sebago Clovehitch II Men’s Oxford

Featuring full-grain leather construction, no doubt the uppers of this shoe are made with durability in mind. On top of that, it features mesh panels to allow for ultimate breathability and quick drying in case water gets inside the shoe. Further, it the footwear boasts cement construction for optimal durability, support, lightweight and flexibility.

When it comes to comfort, this is an area the shoe really stands out. To start with, it has a removable EVA footbed with great cushioning that ensures your foot is well supported. In addition, the footwear is equipped with a full-length midsole made of durable blown PU material to offer maximum shock absorption. This ensures your feet are protected from impact injury.

Moving on, it comes with a Sidewall-stitched rubber outsole with razor-sipped design to provide you with exceptional grip and stability on different surfaces. Additionally, each pair of these kayaking shoes features non-corrosive eyelets and a functional lace-up system to ensure a secure fit. 

Pros

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    Flexible and lightweight
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    Quick drying mesh
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    Built to last
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    Sole provides optimal traction and support

Cons

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    A little bit wide for people with narrow feet
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    Runs small in size 

3.Easy USA Wave Women’s Water Shoe

This is yet another affordable pair of shoe for kayaking specifically designed with women needs in mind. It comes in so many vibrant and stylish color options to choose from including different shades of pink, red, green, yellow and orange. To top it all, the shoe is very light in weight and can be used for various activities such as exercise, beach yoga, and dance.

What’s more? It features a rubber outsole that is incredibly durable and offers so much grip both on wet and dry surfaces. Furthermore, the sole does not scuff in case you use the shoe on the deck. Therefore, with this footwear, you can walk with confidence even on slippery grounds.

Thanks to its neoprene and mesh upper, the shoe is not only durable but also quick drying. For the record, neoprene is reported to be one of the most flexible, soft, tough, and lightweight rubber. Therefore, you can rest assured that the footwear will last for long. In addition to this, it boasts a drawstring cord to help you adjust its tightness. 

Pros

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    Extremely affordable
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    Available in many designs and colors
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    Can be adjusted to ensure a better fit
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    Great traction

Cons

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    Very little arch support

4.NRS Paddle Men’s Wetshoes

Whether you are a seasoned or just a recreational kayaker, purchasing one of the best kayaking shoes can make the experience much more enjoyable. This is where these Paddle Wetshoes for men come in. Featuring a 5mm neoprene insole, no doubt your feet will be well protected against roots and sharp rocks. In addition to this, the sole is designed to wrap around the toe and the heel for added protection.

You know what else? The boots upper is made of durable neoprene along with heat-reflecting titanium to help keep your foot warm in the coldest conditions. On top of that, it has a VaporLoft lining that repels water and dries quickly for extra comfort.

As if that’s not enough, the shoes feature a 3mm rubber outsole that provides incredible traction for various water sports and water conditions. Also, it has extra padding outside the ankle area to protect all pressure points in your kayak. For easy on and off, the boot comes with a YKK side-entry gusset-backed zipper that opens wide. 

Pros

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    Includes a roomy toe box for all-day comfort
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    Great stability and grip
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    High-top design offers more protection
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    Strong and durable

Cons

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    Half sizes are not available
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    Available in just two color options

5. Sperry Women’s Top-Sider Authentic Boat Shoe

Sperry is one of the most trusted names when it comes to making the best shoes for hiking, kayaking, boating, and fishing. This durable and comfortable pair of moccasin is innovatively designed to appeal to both men and women. For instance, it boasts an eye-catching 360-degree lacing system which besides adding to the looks helps guarantee a perfect fit. To top it all, the eyelets are rustproof for ultimate durability.

Thanks to its hand-sewn make, it stands out as a perfect bet for explorers who wouldn't like to leave anything to chance. Its outsole, on the other hand, is made of rubber and features Wave-Sipping technology to ensure maximum traction on different shoreline terrain including wet decks.

On top of that, the shoe boasts a shock absorbing heel cup crafted from tough and soft EVA material to protect your foot against impact. Thanks to this construction, the footwear is flexible and comfortable for all-day use. As if that’s not enough, it is available in various unique and stylish color options to choose from. 

Pros

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    Can be used for different occasions and water sports
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    Adequate padding
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    Made using high-quality materials
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    Great customer service

Cons

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    Very narrow especially for people with wide feet

6. Promate 3mm Water Sports Shoes

Looking for the most affordable and comfortable shoes that are ideal for kayaking and other water sports? Well, you have got to try these Beach Dog Boots from the Promate brand. Featuring a simplistic design, the manufacturer offers both men’s and women’s sizes for extra convenience. Further, the boot slips on and off with ease thanks to its low-cut design.

What’s more? It boasts a 3mm thick upper made of synthetic material which serves the dual purpose of providing breathability and extra comfort. The synthetic material used also makes the boot flexible, lightweight and durable enough to ensure long-lasting performance. For added comfort and protection, it is equipped with a padded collar around the ankle.

Additionally, these kayaking boots feature a rubber outsole with unique patterns to allow for superior traction on slippery surfaces. Apparently, the sole literally sticks on different surfaces to give you the stability and balance needed to launch your kayak. Therefore, you never have to worry about possible slips and falls. 

Pros

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    Keeps your feet warm in chilly waters
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    Comfortable low-cut design
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    Rubber sole high traction performance
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    Fit tight and snug to keep sand out

Cons

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    Has very little arch support
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    Drains water slowly

7.NRS Boundary Shoe

This is one of the best knee-high boots for kayaking you are likely to find on the market particularly if you're looking for warm and waterproof footwear. It features a 5mm upper made of neoprene material to ensure your feet stay dry and warm throughout your excursions. Furthermore, according to the manufacturer, each shoe is tested individually to make sure it is completely waterproof.

Further, it boasts 7mm durable rubber sole with grippy patterns that stick to slippery rocks for optimal traction in all water conditions. In addition to this, the shoe comes with an arch strap to help keep it in place. Also, it has a buckle strap at the top designed to hold foot secure and provide a customized fit.

On top of that, the footwear is equipped with a 7mm footbed that delivers maximum protection and support needed for long rides. A 2mm plastic midsole also provides an extra layer of protection against sharp rocks and objects, especially under the water. Best of all, the upper includes a GlideSkin cuff for ultimate comfort. 

Pros

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    Completely waterproof
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    Strong and long lasting
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    Keeps feet warm in cold water conditions
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    Knee-high design keeps sand out of the boot

Cons

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    Might feel tight around the calves 

8. ALEADER Quick-Drying Women’s Aqua Shoes

This ALEADER Quick-Drying Aqua shoe for women is the epitome of style and functionality. Everything about the shoe is designed to ensure your feet are comfortable. To start with, the upper boasts a durable air mesh that allows your feet to breathe freely especially during those hot summer trips. As such, you can use it as beach shoe, walking shoe, fishing shoe and for other outdoor activities.

In addition to this, it features a ComforDry sock liner for superior support, cushioning performance and breathability. The sock liner also helps to keep your foot cool and dry at all times. On top of that, the shoe comes with a solyte midsole with shock-absorbing properties to protect your foot against impact. Besides, the midsole plays a key role in ensuring the shoe is super light in weight.

What’s more? The footwear includes a rubber outsole to keep you standing when on wet and slippery surfaces by offering maximum grip. The sole also has holes for draining any water that gets inside the shoe. 

Pros

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    Dries quickly to keep feet comfortable
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    Lacing system allows easy on and off slip
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    Allows great airflow
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    Relatively cheap

Cons

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    Small rocks may get trapped inside the holes on the sole
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    Not true to size 

9. SoftScience Fin Men’s Boating Shoe

Priding itself on durable construction, this shoe is perfect for kayaking and fishing enthusiasts, beachcombers and even surfers. Its upper is made of synthetic and woven microfiber fabric for long-lasting performance while providing great breathability, quick drying, and healthy foot circulation. Therefore, you can wear the footwear all day without worrying about sweaty or smelly feet.

Further, it features the brand’s unique Trileon non-marking outsole that is not only durable but also slip-resistant. It is thus able to hold its grip on both wet and dry surfaces in and out of the water. In addition to this, the shoe boasts forefoot water flow system that allows water to drain from the shoe.

Additionally, the footwear includes a removable and washable insole for optimal stability and comfort. The fact that the insole is removable means you can always replace it with your custom orthotic. Also, it uses a Universal Comfort Platform with great impact resistance and support to ensure a relaxed fit. 

Pros

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    Includes a sturdy lace-up system to ensure a secure fit
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    Best-in-class traction on various surfaces
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    Lightweight with enough cushioning
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    Reasonably priced

Cons

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    Causes blisters on heels

10. Northside Brille II Men’s Water Shoe

Available in multiple colors, styles, and sizes, this shoe is perfect for all kinds of in and out of the water adventurers. It boasts an EVA brushed insole for lightweight cushioning and extra padding. Best of all, the insole is removable just in case the shoe does not fit well or you would like to replace it with a custom-made orthotic.

You know what else? The footwear features a combination of breathable mesh and neoprene upper for long-lasting durability and breathability. As a result, the shoe is able to dry fast and keep your feet cool once you get out of the water. In addition, its outsole boasts injected TPR to provide your feet with a firm grip even when navigating a very slippery waterbed.

As if that’s not enough, the shoe utilizes elastic drawstring lace-up system that ensures a comfortable and snug fit as well as easy on and off. It also has a handy loop tab at the heel to help you pull the footwear on. 

Pros

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    Made of moisture resistant and breathable material
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    Excellent traction for secure footing
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    Durable but extremely inexpensive
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    Comfortable enough to walk in them all day

Cons

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    Toe area is very narrow for people with wide feet
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    Takes a long time to dry completely

11. NRS Freestyle Wetshoe

Featuring ankle-high length design, the Freestyle Wetshoe from NRS company provides better protection while at the same time keeping your feet warm. What’s more? For added protection against impact and comfort in the boat, it boasts a protective and durable rubber on both the heel and toe area. In addition to this, the shoe is equipped with an easy-grab webbing tab on the ankle to help you slip it on effortlessly.

Additionally, the boot includes a 1.5mm textured sole crafted from durable rubber to provide you with the traction you need when stepping on wet surfaces. Its uppers, on the other hand, boast a 3mm stretchy Terraprene neoprene construction to ensure your feet stay warm and are well protected. So, you can say goodbye to battered, cold or bruised feet.

And that’s not all because the boot comes with a VaporLoft lining designed to repel water and dries fast to deliver ultimate comfort and warmth. Also, it spots stretchy rubber bands for enhanced lateral stability and support. Another outstanding feature of the shoe worth mentioning is its roomy toe box that offers all-day comfort by freeing your toes. 

Pros

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    Keeps water out
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    Affordable
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    Flexible and light in weight
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    Great toe protection

Cons

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    Runs a little small 

12. Kokatat Nomad Neoprene Mukluk

Last but not least is this lightweight boot that offers all the necessary protection thanks to their knee-high length design. However, you can choose to fold it down to your ankles. To help you achieve a secure and comfortable fit, it features an adjustable shock-cord lace-up system and a neoprene cuff just below the knee.

Another outstanding feature of this footwear is its 3mm double-lined neoprene upper making it one of the most durable and comfortable kayaking shoes available. And to ensure long-lasting performance especially in cold waters, its seams have been glued and blind stitched.

On top of that, it comes with a breathable and waterproof gaiter system for more comfort in different weather conditions. Other features worth mentioning include heel counters and vulcanized toe caps that add durability and protection to these boots. 

Pros

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    Perfect for kayaking in cold waters
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    Includes a medium-thick sole with stiffened insert for extra protection
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    Waterproof
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    Quality stitching 

Cons

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    Half sizes are not available
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    Has a tight ankle opening

Buying Guide- What You Should Know About the Best Kayaking Shoes

Before you decide to buy the first pair of kayaking shoes you come across, here are some things to keep in mind to ensure you get value for money. 

Protection

When kayaking, you may at one point find yourself walking over debris or scampering up sharp rocks and stones. Therefore, finding a shoe that offers a certain degree of protection just for safety purposes is important. Such footwear should have a thick or medium and durable sole to protect your feet from scrapes and cuts. Also, consider a shoe with a protective toe-cap. 

Shoe Height

Kayaking shoes are available in three height designs including knee, low-cut and ankle height. Knee-height shoes work best if you love kayaking in extremely cold waters because they provide extra warmth.

Low-cut shoes, on the other hand, are perfect for warm weather but offer minimal protection. However, they offer so much comfort and are very flexible. For ankle-high shoes, they are considered to offer more support and easy to put on compared to their low-cut counterparts. 

Material

Most kayaking shoes are made of neoprene material because it has almost all the qualities of a good water shoe. For instance, it is breathable, flexible, comfortable and light in weight. However, some manufacturers may combine neoprene with other materials like mesh and titanium to enhance its overall performance. 

Comfort

Given the amount of time you will be spending in the water, you definitely need kayaking shoes that can deliver superior comfort performance. After all, to enjoy this sport you need to be in a state of comfort. A comfortable shoe should fit snugly, keep your feet warm, dry fast and offer good support. If possible, you should opt for footwear with cushioned or removable insole.

Slip Resistant

Although you will be spending most of the time kayaking, you should also consider the number of times you will need to get off your kayak. The combination of wet, moss and slippery rocks can create a catastrophe for you. With regard to this, finding a pair of shoe that offers great traction or grip on slippery or wet surfaces is important. Such shoes are mostly made of synthetic rubbers. 

Final Word

While all these shoes are a premium selection when it comes to protection, durability, and performance in the water, the NeoSport Wetsuits Paddle Boot is the winner of the best shoes for kayaking overall title. This is not only because it comes at a great price and is made of premium neoprene material but also for the fact that it offers great toe and ankle protection. In addition to this, its sole is puncture resistant and has a great grip.

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