12 Best Shoes for Kayaking (top rated 2021)

If you have been hunting for the best shoes for kayaking, you have come to the right place. We know that you must be tired of slipping every time you go for Kayaking, leaving you injured – we know that it is painful.

But let’s not let these setbacks keep us away from adventures. Let’s just replace the shoes to make the most out of these endeavours and life so we can be retrospective and see that we did something in our life apart from the ordinary. Moreover, it is always nice to have a passion.

Keep reading to find out the best water shoes for Kayaking – for both men and women.

Best Water Shoes for kayaking (for men)

KEEN Men’s Newport H2 Sandal

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From a variety of best closed-toe sandal designs, Keen Newport H2 continues to be a masterpiece! It remains a favourite among water sports enthusiasts and others looking for a soft, comfortable and protective sandal because of its grippy outsole, quick-drying materials and broad toe box. Other features that make Newport enjoyed and adored more than other shoes are that it covers the feet more yet allows more breathability.

Over the years, the closed-toe sandal has received a lot of disparagement, which we think is entirely unreasonable. These sandals have a lightweight design making it much more comfortable than ordinary sandals. It also offers great protection and grip. That’s exactly why it’s our Top Pick from Closed Toe Sandals list.

The price is completely justified, considering the excellent quality of materials used and the different features you can find. Adding to it, it also offers a one-year warranty should keen’s craftsmanship fail.


  • Breathable
  • Supportive
  • Quick-drying
  • Comfortable


  • No options to tighten heels
  • It is hotter than normal sandals.


Columbia Men’s Drainmaker IV (best Shoes for kayaking)

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The overall design and appearance of Drainmaker IV is the star of these shoes – it doesn’t look like a boat shoe, aqua sock or a river sandal but a perfect outdoor trail running shoe. Because of its appearance, you can use and wear it in a variety of places such as on the beach, lakes, rivers or even while camping, boating, hiking, rafting.

Another fantastic creation from The Drainmaker IV’s range is their Omni-Grip non-marking outsole. The tiny cuts in the rubber, known as razor sipping, allow for higher traction on icy roads and slippery surfaces – a technique used by tire companies. Also, Drainmaker soles have a good grip on wet rocks as well.

The Drainmaker IV fits true to size. The full lace design will allow you to tighten or loosen the shoe according to your preference without or with socks, dry or wet. The next question is ‘whether or not Columbia Drainmaker IV water shoes are comfortable or not?’ and the answer is: yes, they’re very comfortable! They feel and fit exactly the way any other regular athletic shoe does.


  • High traction
  • Great grip
  • Comfortable
  • Good fit


  • Take time to dry out


Vibram Men’s Five Fingers

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These shoes are found at the higher end of the price bracket for water shoes but are still very popular and feature-rich! Several reasons justify why they are so popular. One such reason is that they work as well as the brand claims. Vibram Five Fingers V-Aqua Water Shoe will be there to rescue and help you cover or walk through difficult situations. It can help you while hiking a leaf-covered track, trudging through thick sand, relaxing on a boat, or even while splashing in strong currents.

While separate toe boxes in water shoes may sound and look strange and odd, the boxes will help you have a good grip and dexterity. These are certain versatile yet handy shoes that were tested. During the river testing, the enhanced grip helped a lot.

Talking about the outsole, Vibram FiveFingers V-Aqua Water Shoe’s sole shows extraordinary grip while navigating rocky and wet landscapes.

All in all, the Vibran V-Aqua is an incredible shoe and fulfils all the expectations. These shoes come with immense versatility, allowing you to use them in the best manner. Vibram is a brand that knows about water sports, and V-Aqua water shoe proves it.

If you are looking for a good pair of water shoes that are durable and will be with you in all of your water-based activities such as swimming, boating, beaching and so on, this pair is perfect for you.


  • Toe boxes provide stability and balance
  • The outsole provides excellent grip


  • After some time they begin smelling
  • The shoe may be too tight


Frogg Toggs Hellbender Wading Shoe

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For assuring tough and durable protection, Frogg Toggs Hellbender Wading Boots include a PVC and mesh upper with heel caps and hard rubber toe.  These boots offer maximum comfort on the stream by having an ultra-thick PU foam midsole. It has a replaceable sole that is great if you are looking for heel and traction, especially when wearing them on rocks.

Moreover, it has riveted speed laces that are heavy duty. It comes with locking upper lace clips that allow you to wear it easily. The ankle collar and padded tongue are great for providing stability to your foot. Hellbender Wading Boots are lightweight and super comfortable, and these qualities will prevent you from having feet ache even after a long on your favourite water.

Frogg Toggs Rana II PVC Bootfoot Hip Wader offers a comfortable and good wading boot experience and makes movement easy in deep water. Such an experience is only possible through flexible nylon reinforced PVC uppers with the strength of thick 2 mm PVC boots, which are found in Frogg Toggs Rana II PVC Bootfoot Hip Wader.


  • Comfortable
  • Pocket friendly
  • Excellent cushioning mechanisms


  • Not durable


Body Glove Men’s 3T Barefoot Max

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These are not like the regular toe shoes or usual reef booties. Instead, a hybrid with lots of padding and insulation for your feet to remain warm and protected, plenty agility and excellent grip to keep your exploring nimble, and breathability for your feet to stay dry and relaxed in and out of water.

The lining of the sole has rubber grip providing stability when hiking or kayaking. These shoes are perfect for all activities where you need to encounter trails, rocks and rugged surfaces. They are lightweight and extremely comfortable.

The 3T’s have quite a lot going on when it comes to functionality. They have a deep heel so that your feet remain perfectly fit and adjustable drawstring to make syncing them up simple. Adding to it, Body Glove trims and cuts unwanted material by including three toes in one slip near the index toes and independent thump, unlike traditional toe-shoes.

The soles of the shoes have a mesh drainage system fixed that keeps the debris out and drains water simultaneously so that there isn’t any swamp-foot. This feature is the most useful! Lastly, you would not even require a five-digit discount to purchase a pair at this price.


  • Adjustable
  • Breathable
  • Comfortable


  • Can be pricey for some


Body Glove Men’s 3T Barefoot Cinch

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The patented 3 T Barefoot Collection of Body Glove is built to optimize the toes’ articulation while protecting and mitigating injury during activities. The 3-toe pocket system optimizes Neuroscience work to provide the first and second toes with the articulation to improve efficiency while reducing the risk of damage to smaller toes and promoting slip-on entry over 5-t.

The Body Glove Men’s 3T Barefoot Cinch Water Shoe is synthetic, making it much more durable than the rest of the shoes that you can find in the market. They have a rubber sole that prevents water from passing onto your toe, keeping your toes dry throughout your adventures.

The low profile ultra-grip, zero heel lift allows the user to experience enhanced traction and feeling like they are walking on the ground. The shoes are breathable, keeping your feet swear free. Since these shoes are flexible, they can be the perfect pick for Kayaking, fishing and any other activity related to water.

The Integrated Drainage System (IDS) allows air and water to move freely, simultaneously providing a secure fit, so you do not fall. It is extremely easy to put on these shoes and take them off as well.


  • Great fit
  • Adjustable
  • The ultra-grip provides balance
  • Water drains fast


  • Some users claim that it starts smelling after some time.


Best Kayaking Water Shoe For Women

Ryka Women’s Hydro Sport

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The RYKA Women’s Hydro Sport Water Shoe has many features that can help enrich your experience while being in the water. First of all, there are plenty of styles and colours to choose from. The colours you can buy are black/cherry, blue/white, red/black, white, and orange! It assures that you will have something that matches with what you wear to the beach or pool.

As for the shoe’s material, they are synthetic and mesh, both to ensure breathability; people who buy running shoes know the importance of this feature. If a shoe lacks breathability, there wouldn’t be a proper airflow and will make it stink, preventing you from wearing it again.

The sole of these shoes is a product of rubber. They are manufactured while keeping in mind aquatic training and have a perforated nitracel footbed, which can be detached, and used while being in the water.

One of the most important features of water shoes is their ability to drain to ensure that they dry as quickly as possible. RYKA Women’s Hydro Sport Water

Shoes have the draining ability – the ports are located in the sole. The material is chlorine-resistant because the rubber is quite sticky, the best traction as possible while on a wet surface.


  • Durable
  • Adjustable
  • Mesh material
  • Dries out quickly


  • Not so good when using near rocks and lakes


Merrell Women’s All Out Blaze Aero Sport (Best Kayaking Shoe)

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This elegant shoe is available in several colors, including Very Grape, Black, Beige, Vapor, Sea Pine, Blue Heaven and Grey. The different colour combinations will help you quickly match the shoes with your outfit without sacrificing function or form in the process.

These shoes are quite attractive, riding low on foot and are an excellent choice regardless of where and when you wear them.

The Bellow tongue of the shoe prevents dirt, which helps avoid any discomfort inside your shoe. Also, this shoe lets you scramble on rough rocks without injuring your foot or flaying your ankle.

While wearing the All Out Blaze Aero Sport shoe, you can hike in all kinds of weather and condition as this shoe has a breathable mesh lining. This aspect lets the shoe to be well ventilated, letting you go out in both damp riverbeds and hot temperatures.

Last but not least, it is light in weight – each pair weighs less than twelve ounces. These shoes are immensely lightweight, meaning you will not feel that you are wearing any shoes. However, the only downside is that they are not waterproof even though these are water shoes and are supposed to be worn underwater. The outer lining made up of mesh allows water to soak in, leaving your feet soggy if you fully dip the shoe.


  • The wide toe box makes it comfortable.
  • Lightweight and breathable.
  • Fantastic traction.
  • Protect your feet and keep feet warm.


  • There are cheaper options available.


Astral Women’s Loyak Minimalist Sneakers

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If you are looking for an everyday outdoor minimalist sneaker, this is one of the best ones that you can get your hands on.

These shoes have a flexible grip providing you with the maximum level of friction even on smoother surfaces. The grip plays a great role in also providing stability and balance as you walk towards your endeavours. The surface contact is high, thanks to the sole. 

The shoes come with a G.15 rubber outsole that is known for their high performance. They provide extra grip due to their stickiness. Owing to the low durometer construction, it also provides high resistance to abrasion on the ground. Not to forget, the shoes are water resistance that will keep your feet dry at all times as the shoes are a product of Polygiene.

The Polygiene is treated to get rid of any smell, have pores and mesh. It has Hydrophobic, quick-dry canvas along with laces that too water resistance. Thanks to the footbed, it provides ability and balance. The shoes are lightweight and comfortable to wear.

And the best part is that they are all vegan, so all those who avoid products made up of animal components can make use of this. All the products are recycled polyester to promote sustainability and go all-natural.


  • Lightweight
  • Good ventilation
  • Comfortable
  • Best for warm weather.
  • Snug fit.


  • Narrow opening
  • Feet can get sweaty


Hiitave Women Non-Slip Quick-Dry

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Indeed, this is the right place if you have been looking for lightweight, durable, and comfortable socks for Kayaking.

The socks come with a rubber sole; however, they do not slip, which is the best part. Not just that, the sole is soft, and you will not feel any discomfort as you wear it. The upper is made up of polyester allowing it to be breathable. If you suffer from sweating on your feet, then this one is the perfect solution for you.

Unlike most kayaking socks, these socks come with a five-toe-box design known to enhance the comfort level allowing your feet to relax. For someone for whom comfort is the primary factor, we suggest getting hands on this one.

It comes with elastic shoelaces that are removable and easy to adjust. The drainage holes at the bottom play a significant role when ensuring that the water flows out, so your feet are dry at all times.


  • Non-slippery
  • Affordable
  • Comfortable
  • Great traction because it provides traction on slippery surfaces.
  • Keep your feet warm.
  • Low cut.


  • It may have a strange odour


Merrell Women’s All Out Blaze Sieve

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These shoes come with a distinctive feature: the water can run out easily. However, it will provide your toes with the safety no regular sandals offer. The adverse side is that rocks and sticks can get stuck through the hole on the sides and back.

The lacing system acts perfectly. Another useful feature of this shoe is that its back is elasticized so that it can also wear it as casual shoes with loose laces. And for formal occasions, the laces can be fastened for a tight fit. The laces also stretch apart while walking, which looks good and lets your foot take its space; this is another feature not offered by other brands.

The stiffness of the sole is ideal – neither does it let the feet feel the sharp rocks, nor does it cause difficulty while walking. People who have done hiking on rough tracks recommend it as they did not feel any major problem except some small rocks entering the shoe.

Another suggestion raised by the users is of the loose threads that hang off the shoe. They believe that the manufacturers should’ve trimmed it at the factory. One other concern is that the heels might wear off quicker than expected.


  • Comfortable
  • Durable
  • Easy to wear
  • Fit like a glove


  • No arch support
  • There are cheaper options available


Mishansha Women’s Water Shoes

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The Spandex Fabri Upper is the star when It comes to quick dry shoes. These shoes have a rubber sole perfecting for keeping your feet dry and providing comfort. The upper is breathable, preventing any sweating that may make you uncomfortable. The ultra-light material is great for Kayaking.

The shoes are a hit if you are looking for enhanced ventilation and comfortability. It has holes for quick drying to keep your toes dry at all times. The top-quality anti slip camo rubber sole has several holes at the bottom, allowing water flow, breathability and keeping your feet cool.

The shoes are adjustable according to your feet’ width, so it fits you in the best manner. If you are someone fond of Kayaking and other activities involving water, then this one is a perfect fit for you.


  1. Affordable
  2. Comfortable
  3. Breathable
  4. Rubber soles.
  5. Best for col weather.


  • The size is too big.


Buying Guide (FAQs)

Please read below to find out the basics when buying kayaking shoes:

Should I buy Sandals, or Should I buy full shoes for Kayaking?

When it comes it Kayaking equipment, it’s all about choosing the best! The gear should be entirely based on personal preference because, underwater, your comfort level matters the most. Along with comfort, the kit should be water-friendly as well, or it would fail to fulfil its purpose.

Although traditional shoes can also get the job done for Kayaking, they often suck a good volume of water, which will not only result in your feet feeling heavy but also cause you discomfort. For this reason, there are specific water shoes; they have features that prevent water from entering or have built-in systems that quickly drain and shed water.

Sandals are as waterproof as they get! They wouldn’t get heavy while being wet and also dry a lot quicker compared to other shoes. Sandals are comfortable to put on and take off on the kayak. Hence, it’s better to wear sandals on a long day of recreational paddling.

There also exist water-specific ‘adventure’ sandals, which have an even rougher sole and increased protection while offering ultimate breathability. You will also notice that when standing up, sandals would not be as slippery as flip flops. Because of features like these, we recommend sandals, especially on long and hot days, when your activities may end with a hike on the local trails. You will be ready for any kind of summer adventure with these sandals.

What to look for while purchasing kayaking water shoes?

Here a few features you must consider when purchasing kayaking water shoes:

Protection and Safety

Almost all shoes designed for water have thick bases and cover the whole foot. These qualities are essential for the protection of your feet from hot and sharp substances such as shells and rocks. To avoid stubbed toes, opt for a shoe that has built-in toe shields.

Traction and Support

A specially designed tread feature found in water shoes is for best grip on slick surfaces, such as decks, boat docks and water equipment. On wet surfaces, better grips also provided from rubber outsoles.

Lightweight and Quick drying

While being underwater, feeling a lot of weight on your feet is not a good idea. Tradition shoes suck a lot of water and get heavy, which then makes you uncomfortable and doesn’t let the water move in and out smoothly.

Comfort and Warmth

Mesh is one of the primary materials used for making water shoes, which keeps feet fresh and provides enhanced breathability. It also handles the water flow when underwater and dries the shoes when out.

While underwater, your body temperature must be regulated to avoid any disruption in blood circulation and coldness as it can affect performance and safety. Through insulating, it maintains your body’s temperature as well.

What kind of shoes should I buy in cold and hot weather conditions?

Most kayakers wear several waterproof clothes – pants and jackets over pieces of thermal clothing – in cold areas and cold-water bodies where it’s risky being underwater for long times. Its recommended changing clothes as soon as coming out of icy water bodies. Furthermore, you will need to buy enough warm clothes and equipment to avoid any problems underwater or after carrying out activities.

To avoid excessive sweating in hot weather, shoes that have breathability options will be needed. Shoes made from thin material will be preferred in such a condition.

Thus, you will have to choose your kayaking shoes according to the weather conditions and the time of the year you plan out your water activities. Most producers offer a range of shoes that can be used in specific seasons. Thinner materials help to make shoes for spring and summer months, whereas thicker neoprene design is in winter-friendly footwear.

Final Verdict!

All the shoes reviewed above are some of the most popular kayaking shoes. Make use of the guide above to ensure that you get hands-on the best shoes that serve value.

As per our analysis for men, the star was KEEN Men’s Newport H2 Sandal, and for women, the winning shoe was Merrell Women’s All Out Blaze Aero Sport Water Shoe.

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