13 Best Kayaking Shoes – Men & Women Waterproof Canoeing Footwear

Perfect and dedicated kayak footwear is key to a fun and comfortable experience. Kayaking Shoes are specially designed to help kayakers move in and out of the kayak with stability and comfort. Kayaking shoes have many features that set them apart from typical water shoes or other athlete’s shoes.

Generally, kayaking shoes come with neoprene construction to make them waterproof. Plus, they also have thick synthetic soles that offer traction and stability and help the kayakers make their way through pebbles and rocks. This article reviewed some of the best-selling and top-rated kayaking shoes you can buy in 2021. Additionally, a buying guide, in the end, will help you figure out the best kayaking shoes.

best kayaking shoes

Best Water Shoes For Kayaking & Canoeing

BEST OVERALL SHOES FOR KAYAKING

Merrell Men’s All Out Blaze

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9.7
  • Impressive Comfort & breathable
  • Stability on any type of surface
  • Merrel fit lacing system
  • Vibral outsole
OUR FAVOURITE (BEST FOR WINTERS)
NRS BOUNDARY BOOTS
9.5
  • Knee-high waterproof
  • Keeps your feet warm in cold waters
  • 5 mm neoprene thickness
  • Ideal for all kayakers
 BEST BUDGET OPTION (YET QUALITY ONE)
ALEADERS MESH WATER SHOE
9.3
  • Air mesh breathable construction
  • Impressive traction and stability
  • Loe profile design
  • All-day long comfort

1. Merrell Men’s All Out Blaze Aero Sport Hiking Water Shoe – Kayaking Footwear

Merrell Men’s all-out blaze is our top-tier pick for the list of best kayaking shoes. The shoes are designed to provide stability, comfort, and safety in waters and practically on any surface. It is a mesh kayaking pair of shoes that feature top-quality construction to ensure comfort and stability. What I liked as a runner most about these shoes is their synthetic sole. Synthetic sole construction makes the shoes lightweight, breathable, yet very stable.

It also provides you protection against the rocks and pebbles as you walk along the river. Plus, a TPU heel padding adds more stability and support on challenging tracks. I was also obsessed with the Vibram outsole, made of highly flexible rubbers that provide you traction, stability, and bounce on rocky terrains. The overall synthetic construction makes the shoe waterproof and reliable for kayaking.

Moreover, the shoe comes with a Merrel-fit lacing system to get a perfect, keeping your feet stable on all types of terrains. Plus, a bellows tongue front design helps you make your way through debris keeping the shoe clean.

What We Liked

  • Synthetic sole construction
  • Lightweight and breathable
  • Merrel-fit lacing system

 

What We Didn’t Like

  • Expensive

Merrel Men’s All-out blaze shoes offer impressive comfort and stability practically on any surface. The shoes feature synthetic construction with TPU sole and Vibram outsole making them one of the best shoes for kayaking you can buy in 2021.


2. Speedo Men’s Water Shoe Surfwalker Pro 3.0 – Water Shoes For Canoeing

If you are looking for the best-wet suit for your feet, here is the best option for you. The shoes offer unmatched stability and comfort even under extremely wet and challenging conditions. The most standout feature I found on these shoes is their neoprene construction. Neoprene layer tarps a thin layer of water between the foot and shoe insulation. The water gets warm with your body and keeps your feet warm and fresh.

The non-slip outsole is another important concern for kayakers. Thankfully, these shoes come with an S-trac rubber sole offering the maximum traction and surface grip on wet and slippery surfaces. These shoes use an upper fit design instead of a lacing system, which might be an issue for you if you are a lace-lover. However, I found it very useful as it provided an impressive fit.

Unlike lacing shoes, they also give you more freedom of movement on bumpy and hard tracks. The overall construction of the shoe is breathable and lightweight, offering the best experience for water sports. Finally, the shoes use a quick-drying fabric which is another bonus for water-sports lovers.

What We Liked

  • Lightweight and breathable
  • Quick-drying construction
  • S-trac outsole for traction and grip

 

What We Didn’t Like

  • No lace-fit

Speedo Surfwalker Pro 3.0 is one of the best kayaking shoes I ever tried. These shoes come equipped with tons of useful features like a non-slip sole, breathable construction, and comfy design at a very competitive price point.


3. Body Glove Men’s 3T Barefoot Max Water Shoe – Best Shoes For Canoeing

Body Glove Men’s 3T kayaking shoes, with their unique shock lacing and strap fit-system, are another best option you should consider. The shoes come in a low-profile design to provide comfort, stability, traction, and water protection for kayakers. I highly recommend these shoes to people who love zero-heel lifts and low-profile shoes. The shoes are flat from the bottom and feature a synthetic sole and heel construction.

This design and construction provide impressive traction and surface-grip, making them perfect for walking along the beach or any wet surface. The feature that impressed me most is its fit system. It comes with a shock-lace system and offers a slip-on entry. Plus, it comes with a loop and strap system that lets you adjust the shoes fit for a more easy and comfortable grip.

Additionally, it comes with a front three-toe design, giving you a real bare-foot feel. The overall construction is breathable and soft, which keeps your foot relaxed even after long hours of game and fun. The shoes are made slightly heavier at the bottom, which adds stability and might be a bit annoying if you are addicted to lightweight shoes.

What We Liked

  • Low profile comfortable design
  • Non-slip rubber sole
  • Hook and strap adjustable design

 

What We Didn’t Like

  • Slightly heavier

I really like the front 3-toe design that gives a breathable and barefoot feel, keeping your foot fresh and relaxed for long hours. Plus, the breathable construction and lace-strap adjustability make them the best shoes for kayaking in 2021.


4. NRS Boundary Boots

NRS boundary boots are the premium option for professional kayakers. The shoes feature a knee-high design and 5mm neoprene thickness to ensure waterproofing and cold weather protection. What I liked most about the shoes is their impressive construction quality.

The shoes use 7 mm thick neoprene in the upper part, making them 100% waterproof. Plus, the liquid-sealed exterior keeps the feet warm and relaxed even in the cold waters. These water long boots feature a heavy-duty synthetic sole making them exceptionally rugged and stable on all types of surfaces.

The feature I find most useful is the quick lace system. The laces allow you to customize the size and also get the perfect fit for the feet. Plus, a cord lock at the end ensures protection and stability. Also, there is a storage compartment that keeps the extra laces.

What We Liked

  • Thick neoprene 7mm
  • Heavy-duty sole for better traction
  • Quick lacing for size customization

 

What We Didn’t Like

  • Expensive

NRS boundary knee height shoes are specially designed for professional kayakers to help them deal with challenging terrain and cold waters. The shoes offer exceptional traction and stability, making them perfect for water sports.


5. Chaco Men’s Z2 Classic Sport (Best Sandal for kayaking)

The men’s Chaco Z2 is the same as the women’s ZX2. It could be used in Class 5 whitewater. The straps (fully adjustable) keep the footwear stay on even if you’re paddling in rough conditions.

I myself tried these impressive water sandals and they have proved to be ideal for hiking and casual walking. Moreover, I found them really comfortable during a beach vacation. A 3.5-millimeter durable rubber lug sole enhances traction on wet surfaces.

For added comfort and support, the polyester jacquard straps fit your feet with secure buckle closure. The fabric straps get dried quickly in case they get exposed to water. The footbed is podiatrist certified and the sole is constructed with polyurethane for durability and giving you the support you need, as well as all-day comfort.

Being a sandal-type water shoe, it can assist to keep your feet cool in warm weather. In addition, while kayaking, they don’t hold any water inside.

What We Liked

  • Suitable for hiking and casual walking
  • 3.5 mm thick rubber sole
  • Keeps feet cool in warm weather

 

What We Didn’t Like

  • I found it a bit bulky


6. NeoSport Wetsuits Premium Neoprene 5mm Low Top Pull On Boot – Best Paddling Shoes

NeoSport Wetsuit premium shoes offer ankle-high design and neoprene construction, making them perfect for moderate to cold waters. The shoes feature a unique design that’s ideal for both men and women. The most standout feature of the shoes is their reliable and rugged outsole.

The non-marking synthetic shoe sole promises ease of maneuverability through rocks and pebbles and ensures traction on wet surfaces. The ankle height provides additional cushion and support and helps you keep the feet in the right posture during peddling.

The neoprene upper construction keeps the feet dry and warm in cold weather. Also, the seam of the shoes is both glued and stitched to prevent reliability and enhance waterproofing. The shoes are also lightweight and offer an easy slip-on entry. I also really liked the shoe’s quick-drying feature and elastic fit.

What We Liked

  • Ankle-high shoes for additional support
  • Non-marking rigid outsole
  • Neoprene waterproofing
  • Easy installation of electronics

 

What We Didn’t Like

  • Not breathable

Neosport wetsuit premium shoes are ideal for kayaking in moderate to cold waters. The shoes feature an ankle-high design, and a non-marking rigid sole provides exceptional stability, traction, and support on all types of terrains.


7. Northside Unisex Brille II Athletic Water Shoe – Best Inexpensive Water Shoes

Northside Unisex Brille II athletic water shoes are competitively priced shoes specially designed for athletes like hikers, kayakers, bikers, and runners. What makes these shoes perfect for kayaking and aqua aerobics is their rubber sole. The shoe features a thick synthetic outsole that makes the shoe perfect for water use. Plus, the synthetic outsole is rugged enough to provide traction and stability on slippery and wet terrains.

Although the shoes are a bit heavier at the bottom, they are made exceptionally lightweight in the upper part. The upper part uses lightweight mesh, which ensures breathability keeping the shoe lightweight. Also, a thin neoprene layer acts as a water barrier keeping the feet dry and fresh all day.

What I loved most about this pair of shoes is the EVA midsole. The insole is pretty soft that provides cushion and support to the feet, and helps you balance the rigidity that comes from the synthetic outsole. The shoes offer a flexible bungee lacing system that offers minor adjustability. To get a perfect fit, it is recommended to go with a perfect size.

What We Liked

  • Synthetic sole
  • Quick-drying breathable mesh
  • Soft EVA Insole

 

What We Didn’t Like

  • No customized fit

Northside Unisex Brille II shoes are ideal for kayakers and aqua athletes, as they use a neoprene layer for water protection and a quick-drying mesh. Also, the synthetic sole provides impressive traction and stability on both wet and dry surfaces.


8. Aleader Women’s Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes

ALEADER women’s quick drying aqua water shoes are another best option for kayakers, swimmers, and water sports lovers. The shoes feature a top-notch construction quality coupled with an impressive design, making them the best kayaking shoes. The upper part of the shoes is air mesh, making the shoe extremely breathable, soft, and lightweight.

Mesh construction not only ensures airflow but also facilitates water inflow and water drainage. This feature results in quick-drying, making the shoes perfect for kayaking and beach running. What I loved most about the shoe is their bottom. Unlike its synthetic counterparts, it is after a water grain sole that provides unmatched traction and stability inside and outside the water.

The shoes offer an easy slip-on entry and a flexible lacing system that lets you adjust the fitting and size of the shoe. The only problem I found is the metallic eyelets on the shoes. The shoes developed rust stains on the eyelets after a single use which was quite disappointing.

What We Liked

  • Quicks drying mesh
  • Lightweight and breathable
  • Lacing adjustment

 

What We Didn’t Like

  • Metallic eyelets

Aleader Women’s quick-drying shoes are affordable and deliver impressive performance for water sports, aqua aerobics, and kayaking. Shoes are available in standard sizes for women from 6 to 8 and offer excellent adjustment via a lacing system.


9. ALEADER Men’s Mesh Slip On Water Shoes

ALEADER men’s mesh water shoes are one of the best selling and top-rated kayaking shoes you can buy in 2021. The most standout feature of the shoes is construction quality. The upper part of the shoes uses an air mesh, making the use incredibly breathable and lightweight. The air mesh keeps the shoe cool and hydrated even after prolonged use.

Outsole construction is another critical feature of kayaking shoes. Thankfully Aleader Men’s Mesh shoes come with a synthetic water grip outsole. The sole provides impressive traction and stability on slippery surfaces. The shoes have an overall low profile design with a solid midsole that adds additional support to the feet.

The midsole material is lightweight and soft, adding bounce and response, keeping the feet stable and comfortable on rocks and pebbles. The easy slip-on entry and quick-drying ability are the other bonuses you will get with these shoes. The shoes have a free-fit design and don’t offer any kind of size adjustability; therefore, it is recommended to go with a perfect size.

What We Liked

  • Bartable mesh construction
  • Solyte lightweight midsole
  • Water grip outsole

 

What We Didn’t Like

  • Not ideal for cold water

Aleader Men’s mesh shoes offer breathability, non-slip outsole, and easy slip-on entry, making them ideal for kayaking. Moreover, the solyte midsole adds extra bounce and response to the shoes, making them perfect for running and walking on challenging terrains.


10. Neo Sport Premium Neoprene Men & Women Wetsuit Boots (Best For Kayak Fishing)

Neosport premium neoprene boots are professional kayaking and water boots that offer incredible comfort and stability at a very competitive price. I was totally impressed by the top-notch construction of the shoes. Shoes feature a blend of synthetic rubber and neoprene construction. Synthetic construction makes the shoes lightweight and breathable. Plus, the neoprene acts as a water barrier and traps a layer of water to keep the feet fresh and warm.

Another good news is that shoes are available in three different thicknesses: 3mm, 5mm, 7mm for warm, moderate, and cool water, respectively. Also, the shoes have an impressive long boot design with a heavy-duty zipper on the side that lets you easily put the shoes on and off. The outsole is made of rubber that provides traction and stability making them ideal for slippery surfaces.

Finally, the shoes come with a water entry barrier at the zipper that prevents the water from entering the shoes, keeping your feet dry and giving you an unmatched kayaking experience. Keep in mind that shoes don’t offer any kind of fitting mechanisms like laces or hook straps. Therefore it is advised to choose the right size.

What We Liked

  • Ideal for both men and women
  • Water entry barrier and zipper
  • Neoprene and synthetic construction

 

What We Didn’t Like

  • Non-adjustable

Neo sport premium long water boots offer unmatched comfort, stability, and weather protection to kayakers and water sports lovers. Shoes are available in a wide range of sizes and are ideal for both men and women.



11. Sea to Summit Ultra Flex Booties

Sea to summit ultra flex booties is another great option for kayaking, boating, and swimming in moderate to warm weather. The shoe features a low-profile design with a freestyle flexible fit making them perfect for both men and women. I was really impressed by the lightweight yet rugged outsole of the shoes. It provides impressive traction over the slipper and wet surfaces, keeping the body stable.

However, I found it a bit soft to walk on more challenging tracks like rocks. The upper part of the shoe uses a 3mm thick neoprene. It is a quick-drying material that ensures waterproofing and breathability, keeping the shoe cool during warm weather.

Plus, the shoes are impressively flexible and give a sock-like fit making keeping the feet warm in moderate temperatures. Finally, a secure Y-pul velcro strap offers slight size customization making the shoes safe and stable.

What We Liked

  • Highly flexible sock-like fit
  • Waterproof and breathable neoprene
  • Velcro straps

 

What We Didn’t Like

  • The outsole is slightly soft

Sea to summit ultra flex booties is one of the handiest and comfortable water shoes I’ve ever used. The low profile design, impressive flexibility, and velcro straps help them stand out as one of the best kayaking shoes.


12. NRS Women’s Paddle Wetshoe

NRS Women’s Paddle wat shoes are specially designed for professional kayakers and aqua athletes. The shoes feature a unique design offering the best fit and most comfortable experience for the women kayakers. The shoes feature top-notch construction, making them shoe ideal for kayaking. The shoes use a 3mm neoprene-terraprene layer for waterproofing and breathability.

The terraprene repels the water, mud, and other impurities keeping the shoe dry and clean. What makes the shoes my favorite is a titanium layer. Titanium layers act as a heat barrier, keeping your feet warm even in the cold and chilly waters. It comes with a heavy-duty side zipper that ensures easy shoe application and removal.

The outsole design is also unique and quite impressive. The outsole extends in all directions and wraps around the toes and heel for extra cushion and support. Also, it uses highly flexible synthetic rubber, making the shoes bouncy and responsive for a relaxed and comfortable experience. I also loved the ruggedness of the outsole, as it provides excellent traction on wet and slippery tracks.

What We Liked

  • Unique construction
  • Ideal for all temperatures
  • Heavy-duty side zipper

What We Didn’t Like

  • Slightly overpriced

NRS Paddle wetsuits are ideally designed for women kayakers and are perfect for all temperatures and weather conditions. The shoes feature industry’s top-notch construction and design giving the best value for the money.


13. NRS 3mm Freestyle Wetshoe

NRS 3MM wet shoe is another valuable choice for professional athletes and kayakers, as they deliver long-term and impressive performance in cold waters. The shoes come equipped with remarkable construction quality making them perfect for marshy, muddy, and rocky terrains. The shoes offer a free-style easy slip-on entry and give a perfect sock-like fit.

They use a blend of terrapene and neoprene, making them waterproof and warm. The liquid tarp layer further enhances the performance keeping the feet warm and toasty even in the chilled waters. I also loved the upper lightweight vapor-lofed fleece construction. It is a quick-drying material that lets you explore the water without worrying about getting the shoes and feet wet.

Additionally, the textured rubber sole is ideal for making your way through all types of terrains, including muddy, slippery, and rocky. The unmatched and traction and stability provided by the sole make the shoes perfect for outdoor adventurers.

What We Liked

  • Ideal for low temperatures
  • Textured rubber sole
  • Easy slip-on entry

 

What We Didn’t Like

  • Not breathable

NRS 3mm wet shoes come with specialized features like textured rubber soles, and waterproof neoprene construction, making them the best kayaking shoes. I also loved the ankle-high design of the shoes as it provides extra cushion and support while walking on challenging terrains.


Buying Guide

What Are Water Shoes For And How Do They Work?

Water shoes are specially designed to be used in activities in which feet are likely to become wet. They feature some special design and construction traits making them perfect for wet and rocky environments like beaches. Water shoes generally feature breathable mesh construction that keeps the feet relaxed and cool in wet environments.

Plus, they generally come with hard rubber soles that promise stability, traction, and bounce against rocks and pebbles. Water shoes also facilitate the water inflow and drainage and usually feature quick-drying construction. Sometimes shoes also provide waterproofing by insulation layers like neoprene keeping the feet warm and dry for the most comfortable kayaking, fishing, and other water sports.

  • Water shoes can also be used for casual walks. They prove to be ideal for all types of activities where you could encounter water.
  • They are usually washable. Make sure you wash them properly with warm water. Keep them completely dried before storing.
  • Water shoes are mostly made with materials that float on water if you in case they come off your feet.
  • A perfect fit for swimming as they drain off the water quickly and get dried within a short span of time.

Water Booties

Water Booties become an exceptional choice if you are going to paddle in a slim or compact kayak. Usually constructed with neoprene, a wetsuit-like material, that makes the booties a slim and lightweight option for outdoor adventuring.

With that being said, they do not offer that much protection for your feet as water shoes and water sandals. Thus, if you are planning to paddle in a rocky area that requires some hiking between paddle trips or portaging, water booties may not turn out to be the best option.

Water Sandals

Water Sandals are similar to water shoes, but usually have less material covering the foot. However, less material does not mean less support and structure. This type of shoe has open and closed-toe options which makes it ideal for any type of paddle trip.

Water Sandals are well-suited for all types of paddle trips, especially those in warm or mild climates. If you are new to kayaking or like to have your feet free, water sandals provide the perfect balance between breathability and durability.

Water shoes vs Water sandals

Things To Consider Before Buying Kayaking Shoes

Comfortable shoes can add a lot of fun to your game; therefore, it is critical to make a few considerations before buying the shoes for kayaking. This guide explains some important features of kayaking shoes.

Fit

A perfect fit is the key to a comfortable experience. Therefore it is critical to find a shoe size that perfectly contours your feet. Kayaking shoes generally feature synthetic or mesh construction. The shoes must be elastic enough to accommodate various shapes and sizes of the feet.

However, many shoes offer lacing or strap systems that allow you to customize the size of shoes. However, some shoes offer slip-on entry and do not allow fitting customization. Therefore it is recommended to find the most appropriate size in such shoes.

Outsole

The outsole is one of the most critical factors of kayaking shoes. As water shoes tend to be used on wet and slippery surfaces, you need extra traction and stability. Water shoes generally come with rigid synthetic or water grain soles that offer remarkable traction over wet and slippery surfaces.

Thickness

The temperature of the area is another factor that largely affects your shoe choice for kayaking. For kayaking in cold water, you need shoes with greater thickness and waterproofing abilities. Such shoes generally feature a thickness of around 5mm and above and use a neoprene layer to keep your feet from getting wet.

However, in moderate to warm waters, you need to focus on airflow and breathability. Shoes featuring air mesh construction and relatively small thickness are best for kayaking in such waters.

Shoe Heights

Kayaking shoes are available in different heights like ankle kut, knee-high, and low cut. The low-cut shoes are recommended for warm waters, as they allow better inflow and drainage of the water and promise breathability.

Ankle-high shoes are the most common and versatile as they can be used in cold and warm waters. They offer extra cushion and support to shoes while keeping the feet dry and fresh. They also offer considerable breathability in moderate weather and can be used for other activities like hiking and running.

The kayakers love knee-high shoes in cold waters. They come with thick soles and a thick upper layer and offer complete waterproofing. They keep the feet warm and dry, offering the best kayaking experience in cold waters.

FAQs

How do I keep my feet dry when kayaking?

You should wear waterproof kayaking footwear to keep your feet dry while kayaking. It is recommended to wear neoprene waterproof kayaking shoes with a pair of dry socks to keep your feet dry while kayaking.

How do I keep my feet warm in a kayak?

Wearing dedicated footwear is the best solution. Kayaking or water shoes made from neoprene keeps your feet warm even in the chilly weather. It is recommended to find shoes with a thickness of 5mm and above to keep your feet warm.

Conclusion

All the shoes on our list of best kayaking shoes feature top-quality construction and unique design, giving the best value for money. However, to make your way more easy we have shortlisted our top-three picks.

  • Merrell Men’s All Out Blaze Aero Sport for impressive comfort and stability on any surface featuring synthetic construction with TPU sole and Vibram outsole.
  • NRS Boundary Boots for their heavy-duty sole, 7 mm neoprene construction, and a quick lacing system for the customized fit
  • Aleader Women’s Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes for their competitive price, lightweight and breathable construction, lacing system, and comfortable design
  • Body Glove Men’s 3T Barefoot Max Water Shoe for their barefoot design, cool and breathable construction, hook and strap adjustment, and low profile design.

Finally, it is recommended to consider the thickness of the shoes according to the water temperature. A greater thickness like 5mm and above will work best in chilly waters, while something below 3mm is perfect for warm and moderate weather.

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