Best Kayaking Shoes of 2018 & Buying Guide

When paddling through the water in your kayak or boat, you don’t want to worry about your feet being wet or uncomfortable. Buying a quality pair of kayaking shoes can allow you to focus more on your enjoyment of the outdoors without soaked feet getting in the way of your fun experience.

We don’t want it to be difficult to choose a pair of kayaking shoes so we’ve compiled the top 5 picks to simplify finding the best pair. Our insightful buying guide will help you consider all of the important factors and come to a final decision that will provide the perfect fit for your kayaking adventures.

Product

Ranking

Our Rating

Price

CIOR Barefoot Quick-Dry Aqua Shoes

Best Overall

NeoSport Low Top Pull On Boot

2nd Choice

Viakix Womens Water Shoes

3rd Choice

NeoSport Wetsuits Paddle Low Top Boots

4th Choice

Quick Dry Water Shoes Unisex Aqua Skin Sneakers

5th Choice

Buying Guide

Using Kayaking Shoes

Kayaking shoes can often be used for a variety of different water sports and outdoor activities. Here are the uses for these shoes that are specific to kayaking:

  • Fishing on the Kayak – If you are using your kayak to catch fish, kayaking shoes will be helpful to keep you secure while standing up to reel in your bait. When using kayaking shoes for fishing, you will want to make sure there is plenty of traction and drainage in the pair you buy.
CIOR Barefoot Quick-Dry Aqua Shoes

CIOR Barefoot Quick-Dry Aqua Shoes

  • Recreational or Exercise – Whether you are kayaking for leisure or exercise, kayaking shoes are used to help keep your feet warm and dry. Instead of soaking through your good tennis shoes, you will have a pair that is specifically designed to get wet.

Prerequisites for Buying Kayaking Shoes

NeoSport Low Top Pull On Boot

NeoSport Low Top Pull On Boot

  • Know Your Shoe Size – You don’t necessarily need a kayak to purchase kayaking shoes as there are plenty of other outdoor uses for these shoes if you haven’t picked out your boat yet. One thing you need to know before picking out a pair of shoes is what shoe size you wear. Kayaking shoes generally fit true to your sneaker size so if you are unsure of your current size, make sure you visit a local store to measure your feet before picking out a pair online.

How Do I Choose a Pair of Shoes

Buying a pair of shoes normally seems like a straightforward task but it can be a bit more complicated when picking out shoes designed for water sports. Here are the factors to consider when making your final decision:

  • Gender Specific or Unisex– When buying a pair of kayaking shoes, you will find that many options are unisex meaning that they can be worn for both genders. If you are buying a pair of unisex shoes, make sure you are looking at the appropriate size specification to avoid purchasing a size to small or large. Gender specific shoes are designed more for either men or women and often fit true to your size.
NeoSport Wetsuits Paddle Low Top Boots

NeoSport Wetsuits Paddle Low Top Boots

  • Design– You will want to choose a shoe color and design that will fit in with your individual preferences. If looks aren’t important to you, there are many plain designs for kayaking shoes that won’t draw attention. On the other hand, some shoe models come in a variety of different vibrant or unique color options.
  • Material and Durability– The construction of the kayaking shoes will have a strong influence over how comfortable and breathable they feel on your feet. If you plan on getting in the water, it is helpful to find a stronger material that is puncture resistant just incase you encounter any sharp options. The type of material the shoes are made will also determine how quickly they dry when submerged in water.
  • Slip On, Straps or Laces– There are several different styles of kayaking shoes that will determine how easy they are to take on and off. Slip on shoes are extremely easy to put on but may not always have the custom form fit that you would have with straps or laces that are adjustable.

Addressing Controversy

  • Not All Options Offer Drainage – While you would think that kayaking shoes are all designed to keep your feet completely dry, this isn’t necessarily the case. If you care about your shoes being filled with water, make sure you find a pair that has drainage holes on the bottom. Some options are only manufactured to keep your feet warm but don’t provide any drainage if they are submerged in water.
Quick Dry Water Shoes Unisex Aqua Skin Sneakers

Quick Dry Water Shoes Unisex Aqua Skin Sneakers

Top 5 Picks for Kayaking Shoes

1. NeoSport Wetsuits Paddle Low Top Boots

The NeoSport Wetsuits Paddle Low Top Boots are designed to keep your feet warm and comfortable while kayaking. These black shoes are made from premium 3mm neoprene material and come in sizes 5 through 13 to provide the ideal fit for your feet.

With a shoe sole constructed of flexible thermoplastic rubber, these feel nice and soft while your feet of inside. For added reinforcement, the sole features a hardened insert which helps to prevent the shoe from being punctured if you happen to encounter obstacles while in the water.

If you are standing up while kayaking or climbing into the vessel, the aggressive tread pattern helps your feet to grip the surface. The extended heel and wrap around guard will sit securely inside the vessel while you are paddling.

You won’t have to worry about lacing up the kayaking shoes as they feature an ankle barrel cinch shock cord to take them on and off with ease. There is also a hook and loop adjustment strap that sits on top of your foot to keep the shoes in place.

With seams that are both glued and sewn together using durable bonded thread, these shoes are built to last for many water sport adventures. Your feet will stay cozy in any weather condition as the material retains heat and keeps the cold out.

Your movement won’t be inhibited as the shoes are extremely flexible and can be used for a variety of different activities. The kayaking shoes provide the ultimate durability and traction for navigating through the water.

Pros

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    Can be used for both men and women
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    Thick soles
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    Keep your feet warm

Cons

  • Shoes absorb water
  • Low cut design

2. Quick Dry Water Shoes Unisex Aqua Skin Sneakers

The Aleader Swim Shoes Unisex Aqua Skin Sneakers are great for kayaking, swimming, fishing and virtually any type of water sport. These kayaking shoes can be used for men and women and come in seven different color options including black, light blue, navy, grey, orange, blue and red. You will be able to choose the size that best fits your feet ranging from sizes 6 through 10 for both genders.

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The upper material is a comfortable stretchy fabric that allows for quick drainage and cross ventilation. The shoes provide a cushioning feeling similar to wearing thick socks making it so you don’t feel like you are wearing bulky shoes while paddling in the kayak. With a pull tab attached to the heels, you will find it quick and simple to take the shoes on and off.

These all-purpose shoes feature a FluidFlow technology for enhanced drainage which definitely comes in handy while kayaking. If your feet have been submerged in water, they will be able to dry quickly with the excellent ventilation with these shoes.

The fact that the shoes are lightweight make them easy to tote along for any trip or adventure. With thick cushioning on the interior, the insoles have a unique honeycomb design to allow for enhanced comfort while paddling.

The soles are made from rubber material and offer breathability while wearing them all day long. If you prefer a slip-on design, these shoes are designed for comfortable experience in the water without being weighed down or filled with water.

Pros

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    Breathable design
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    Offered in a variety of color options
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    Quick drainage

Cons

  • Holes can clog with mug or dirt
  • Rubber soles

3. CIOR Barefoot Quick-Dry Aqua Shoes

The CIOR Barefoot Aqua Shoes feature a total of 14 drainage holes for quick drainage by ensuring the proper outflow of water. You won’t have to worry about your kayaking shoes being waterlogged with this pair as the shoes are designed for a healthier shoe environment during water sports.

The material is made of 92 percent polyester and 8 percent spandex for a breathable feel that will stretch with the movement of your feet. To ensure your safety while in the water, the rubber soles have a thick foam arch-support insert which will protect your feet if you happen to step on a rock or sharp object.

The upper neck has a smooth surface to help prevent chafing while you are walking or in motion. The attached tab on the back make these easy to pull and on off while requiring no laces or straps to secure.

With 43 different design options, you can choose a color scheme that fits your preferences. The texture of the shoes is extremely comfortable and resembles the feel of walking barefoot to engage your foot muscles.

For plenty of water fun, these shoes are built with high quality materials that are both durable and long lasting. They can be used for a variety of different outdoor activities outside of kayaking such as water parks, fishing, wake-boarding and more making them a versatile solution. If you want a pair of shoes that provide a cushioned fit for water sports, these kayaking shoes are built for performance and flexibility.

Pros

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    Multi-purpose design
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    Lightweight
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    Durable material

Cons

  • Fit slightly smaller
  • Flat arch

4. Viakix Womens Water Shoes

If you are looking for a pair of kayaking shoes designed specifically for women, the Viakix Womens Water Shoes are a popular choice. These comfortable shoes come in four different stylish designs including arctic blue, french rose, midnight and slate.

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Built for high performance, they do not sacrifice on aesthetic quality while providing a great foundation for virtually any adventure. The shoes are an all-around great solution for wet or dry exercise.

The high quality construction provides a durable experience for use while kayaking, water aerobics, rafting and other water sports. With cushioned insoles, you can wear them for extended amount of time without your feet feeling fatigued or sore.

For taking the shoes on and off, they feature a slip on design so you won’t have to worry about tying any laces or having to adjust the size.These water shoes are made from a quick drying mesh material that allow them to dry efficiently which helps to encourage a healthy environment for your feet. Your feet won’t be irritated or weighed down by excess moisture as the shoes keep your feet dry while kayaking.

For added comfort, the soles are constructed from a soft, flexible material that is durable enough for any surface. The shoes come in 5 different size options ranging from 6.5 to 10.5. Women will value the modern design that provides the perfect balance of functionality and fashion for kayaking and other water sports.

Pros

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    Cushioned soles
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    Quick drying material
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    Versatile use

Cons

  • Not unisex
  • Limited size options

5. NeoSport Low Top Pull On Boot

For those who prefer additional coverage for their feet, the NeoSport Low Top Pull On Boots are an excellent choice for kayaking. With a puncture resistant Neoprene material, these shoes can be used for many different water sports including paddle boarding, wake-boarding, diving and more.

The soles are built from heavy duty materials which are resistant to punctures from rocks or other obstacles that you may encounter in the water. If you are dealing with cold weather, these shoes are a great solution for layering as they are designed to retain heat.

The 3mm thickness helps to keep your feet warm while you are paddling on your kayak. The zipper boots provide more protection then the standard water shoe as they extend above the sides of your feet.

For enhanced stability, the high traction soles are great for gripping the surface of your kayak while in motion. The top edge of the shoe has a smooth lycra trim for a flexible fit that won’t rub against your ankles.

You will be able to experience both comfort and durability when embarking on a water adventure as the buttons have a flat, low profile stitching. The seams are glued and stitched for the ultimate seal around your feet.

You won’t have to worry about a bulky feeling as the kayaking shoes have a lightweight design and can be taken on and off easily. With an extended heel and wrap around guard, both your feet and ankles will be covered while traveling through new waters.

Pros

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    Ankle coverage
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    Large size options
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    Puncture resistant

Cons

  • Limited drainage
  • Lack of cushioning

Conclusion

The winner for the best pair of kayaking shoes is the CIOR Barefoot Aqua Shoes as they have enhanced drainage capabilities and promote a healthy environment for your feet. Not only will you have plenty of design options to choose from, but your feet will stay comfortable for long periods of activity. These kayaking shoes are a premium selection when it comes to performance and protection while in the water.