man in kayak by mountains

TOP 10 Best Shoes For Kayaking Reviewed 2019 [Guide to Water Shoes]

When it comes to kayaking, there’s one crucial item that is easy to forget about until you’re out on the water.

You’ve probably guessed it from the title: water shoes.

Unlike standard footwear, water shoes are specifically designed for aquatic activities like kayaking because of the range of features they bring with them.

But how do you pick the best shoes for kayaking?

In the following article, I’m going to review my personal top 10 best water shoes for kayaking. At the end of the list, I’ll include a buyer’s guide, to help you know what to look out for in these products, as well as an FAQ section.

TOP 10 Best Water Shoes for Kayaking 2019

Kararao Water Shoes For Aqua Sports

Review: With an upper layer of spandex fabric and a rubber sole, the lycra material that makes up the bulk of this shoe stretches, is breathable, and is ultra-lightweight to boot.

Fast draining and good for cross ventilation, no matter what activity you’re performing this shoe promises to provide a barefoot feeling.

The pull tab at the heel allows for easy putting on and taking off, while the patent sole is a unique non-slip camouflage rubber, which comes with seven upgraded holes for quick drainage, so that the water leaves your feet faster, creating a healthier shoe environment by preventing the cultivation and spread of bacteria.

Pros

  • Elastic lace allows for quick adjustment of the width of the shoe.
  • Suitable for kayaking, as well as other aqua sports and even yoga.

Cons

  • Not the prettiest shoe to look at.
  • Can be a bit flimsy and could tear on rocks.

Takeaway

If you make sure to be careful with the surface underfoot when you’re wearing this shoe, it will provide a comfortable, breathable layer around your foot suitable for kayaking.

Vifuur Barefoot Quick-Dry Water Shoes

Review: With a rubber sole, the smooth neck design prevents chafing when wearing the water shoe and ensures that it’s convenient to take on and off.

Breathable and smooth, the upper layer of the fabric stretches well. The shoe as a whole is designed to be as flexible and comfortable as socks.

The top-quality rubber sole protects against sharp objects without being too flimsy to tear, while the fact that there are a range of different sizes available means that kayaking enthusiasts of all descriptions will be able to make use of this product, whether they’re men, women, or children.

Pros

  • Vast range of sizes: they even differentiate between big and little kids.
  • Good blend of flexibility and sturdiness.

Cons

  • Sizing chart requires the user to measure the length of the bottom of their foot; standard shoe sizes won’t be sufficient.

Takeaway

Although sizing this item is a bit of a pain, that downside is more than made up for by the range of people who will be able to wear these shoes.

An excellent product.

Aleader Women’s Mesh Slip-On Water Shoes

Review: Among the best women’s water shoes for kayaking currently available on the market, this breathable and durable product provides an air mesh upper portion, which allows the foot to breathe and prevents the development of any kind of bacteria.

The water drain outsole provides exceptional traction, even in the wettest and slippery conditions, while the included ComforDry sock liner provides the optimum cushioning performance, creating a cooler and drier shoe environment.

It’s quick-drying, very breathable, and comes in a staggering range of different colors, meaning that female kayaking enthusiasts will be able to find a product that suits them.

Pros

  • FluidFlow technology provides drainage.
  • Hydrophobic engineered mesh upper offers the breathability of the upper portion.

Cons

  • Can stretch out after a couple of months.
  • Not suited for the beach as the sand isn’t easily removed.

Takeaway

While this item won’t last you for years and years, it’s more than good enough for a few months, especially given its reasonable pricing point, making it one of the best water shoes for kayaking around.

Barerun Barefoot Quick-Dry Water Sports Shoes

Review: Made out of polyester and rubber, this shoe is designed to fit just like socks would.

Combining breathable, lightweight fabric with just the right amount of stretch to make sure it stays comfortable, this item is super-easy to take on and off.

After using it, you can even fold the shoe to make it more portable, which is a feature that is relatively unusual in the market and as such sets this product apart from the rest.

As well as classic sizing, there are different designs included to fit different foot shapes, so users with wider or narrower feet than standard can feel confident that they’ll be able to find a pair to fit them.

Pros

  • Excellent for a range of different activities, including kayaking but also swimming, weight-training, and sailing, to mention but a few.
  • Stylish to look at.

Cons

  • They can take a long time to arrive after ordering.
  • They don’t have the best grip.
  • They’re very snug on the feet (this can be a pro or a con depending on personal preference).

Takeaway

Priced smack bang in the middle of the spectrum, the fact that these shoes don’t have the best grip is the only real thing that lets them down.

Otherwise, they’re well-designed and well-made—on the whole, perfectly good water shoes for recreational kayaking.

Z-Joyee Water Sport Shoes

Review: Premium material went into the construction and design of this particular water shoe, and it shows. As well as being flexible and comfortable, the lightweight fabric allows for quick drainage of water and cross ventilation.

While the thickened rubber sole is resistant to wear, it’s also soft enough to prevent uncomfortable blisters on your toes.

The product can be folded, which makes it easy to carry and store, and the toe part of the shoe features an anti-collision cushioning feature, which means you don’t have to worry about stubbing your toe since you won’t feel it if you do.

The heel construction is made to allow easy on-and-off without worrying about the foot slipping out in the meantime.

Pros

  • Also suitable for children (for when you get a kayak for kids and take them with you on adventures).
  • The anti-collision feature is an unexpected plus.

Cons

  • Tends to run half a size large, so order carefully.

Takeaway

If you’re looking for a standard, well-built water shoe that will look great and do its job while you’re kayaking, this may be the product for you.

Hiitave Women’s Water Shoes

Review: With a non-slip rubber sole to complement the breathable polyester fabric upper portion, this shoe comes in a striking zebra-print design with shoes that the makers haven’t left aesthetic concerns out of their consideration.

The bottom includes drainage holes to keep the water flowing out easily, while the shoes themselves can be adjusted to fit your feet by making use of the elastic band and removable shoelaces.

The wide, five-toe box was intended to help the feet relax, and works like a charm, ensuring that even though the shoes fit snugly they don’t cramp the feet, which is a nice bonus to an already strong product.

Pros

  • Comes in a wide range of colors.
  • Suitable for all kinds of water sports as well as climbing.

Cons

  • One of the pricier women’s water shoes available on the market.

Takeaway

If you can fit it into your budget, this excellent all-rounder won’t let you down, no matter what you decide to use it for.

Centipede Demon Water Shoes

Review: Unlike many other products, this shoe features a synthetic sole, which offers great traction and slip-resistance without sacrificing thickness or durability.

No matter where you are, you’ll be safe from sharp objects with these on your feet.

The material is ultra stretchable and quick-drying, while there’s no need to bother with shoelaces on account of the product’s adjustable elastic fastening mechanism.

The lycra it’s made out of allows for easy draining, without depriving your feet of the room they need to breathe in order to stay healthy, and the wear-resistant heel is comfortable while remaining functional.

Pros

  • Excellent quality control.
  • Super selection of colors.

Cons

  • Insoles can tend to work their way out of the heel once they get wet, but this is easily fixed.
  • They’re not the most comfortable against wet skin.

Takeaway

It’s a shame that these shoes lack somewhat in comfort because when it comes to function they do everything you’d want them to and then some.

Coolloog Quick-Dry Water Shoes

Review: Breathable and smooth fabric makes up the entirety of this product, while the flexible rubber sole possesses the effect of barefoot acupressure, which can be calming in stressful environments.

Plenty of holes are available on the bottoms to allow the water to easily drain out, while the comfortable and thick foam arch-support insert inside the shoes themselves are an excellent touch, offering comfort as well as protection from sharp rocks and stones.

Despite the breathability and lightweight nature of the shoes, they’re not flimsy and are sure to last you well into the future, no matter how extreme are the kayaking trips you take.

Pros

  • Incorrectly sized shoes can be exchanged free of charge.
  • 100% no risk money-back guarantee within the first 30 days of purchase.

Cons

  • They’re a bit of an eyesore: not the prettiest water shoe out there.
  • Tend to run very small, but since you can exchange incorrectly sized shoes this isn’t much of a con.

Takeaway

As long as you don’t care too much about the way they look (and maybe you’ll actually like the style: I certainly don’t), these shoes are multi-functional enough to be considered as one of the best shoes for kayaking and hiking both.

Spesoul Water Shoes

Review: The soles on these shoes are made out of specially thickened rubber, which is both anti-slip and extremely durable, in order to protect your feet from any sharp objects they might come across throughout the course of your water-based activities.

There’s a combination fastening system made up of an elastic lace-up lock and a hook-and-loop feature, which means that you can adjust the shoes to fit your feet more tightly as well as being able to adjust the width of the item itself.

Breathable and quick-drying diving material makes up the upper portion of the shoe, while the fact that they’re so lightweight makes them easy to store and transport.

Pros

  • Range of closure mechanisms is refreshing and welcome.
  • Very fashionable in appearance.
  • Extensive sizing chart.

Cons

  • The inside seams are a little uncomfortable.
  • The sole can come a bit loose after a while.

Takeaway

Given its more-than-reasonable price point, this product is surprisingly robust and doesn’t skimp on any of the essential water shoe features that you’d expect to see, making it among the best kayaking shoes of 2019.

RAX Women’s Amphibious Water Shoes

Review: Yet another kayaking shoe targeted at women, this item comes in either red or black, both of which look good.

The unusually thick rubber sole offers protection from the elements, while the fact that it’s an amphibious shoe means you can use it for activities like hiking, as well as kayaking and canoeing. These could actually be among the best boat shoes for fishing as well.

Unlike other water shoes, this item drains through the sides, which means that the sole isn’t compromised by drainage holes.

The outsole is coated with Antiskid rubber technology, while the toe is double wrapped, by rubber and by TPU, to ensure that the most vulnerable part of your foot is always well protected, no matter what the situation.

Pros

  • Incredibly cheap given the selection of features.
  • The side drainage function is a genius solution to a common water shoe problem, which is that drainage holes on the bottom can compromise the sole protection mechanisms.

Cons

  • No real arch support.
  • Complicated sizing that can often lead to disappointment.
  • Quite bulky, can hurt the feet.

Takeaway

Arguably the best women’s water shoes for kayaking on the market today, this amphibious water shoe is durable enough to last for a long time without compromising comfort and flexibility.

A top-notch choice, as well as being some of the best shoes for kayak fishing because of its versatility.

Buyer’s Guide to Shoes for Kayaking

Weight vs. Comfort

As with any product that you’re going to be wearing (as opposed to simply using), there’s going to be a crucial distinction you have to draw between what’s more important to you: the way it feels, or how long it lasts and how much protection it’s going to afford you.

Fortunately, when it comes to water shoes it’s pretty straightforward.

The more comfortable models are going to be less durable (and lighter), while the more rugged shoes aren’t going to be as comfy for your feet (though they will be much heavier).

Which of these you decide to prioritize is going to come down to personal choice, but it’s an important question to keep in mind as you start looking for the perfect product for you.

man feet over waterfall

Sizing

Every bit as important as the weight and comfort question is the sizing of the shoes themselves.

Getting the sizing wrong is a surefire way to ensure that you won’t enjoy the product you just spent some of your hard-earned money on.

While some companies provide sizing charts or even offer personal tips (like ‘Tends to run half a size larger,’ or ‘Size down 1 full US size,’) to make your life easier, others often don’t.

If the latter is the case, make sure you take a careful look through the customer reviews of the item in question, since they’ll often mention how they found the sizing, and use those to help inform your final decision.

Style

How important style is to you will inevitably come down to a question of personal taste.

Having said that, most of us don’t want to wear a shoe that looks ridiculous, no matter how much we may say we don’t care about the aesthetics of a product that is supposed to be functional, first and foremost.

My recommendation is that the water shoes which most closely resemble typical sneakers are without a doubt the most stylish.

What you want to avoid is any shoe that looks too bizarre to be worn on a boat or at the beach – here I’m thinking especially of those strange products that include individual toes.

I’ve left them off of this list precisely because of how little they appeal to me, but if that’s your kind of thing, there are plenty available on the market.

man in kayak by mountains

Breathability

As well as being an important aspect of any shoe that’s going to get wet, breathability is doubly crucial for kayaking because of the nature of the sport.

Your feet will get sweaty in the boat with all the exercise, and because of the water around it, this could lead to the cultivation of various types of bacteria, all of which are best avoided.

It’s crucial to ensure the product you wind up buying is breathable, for the health of your foot as much as for anything else.

FAQs

What Else Can I Use My Kayaking Shoes for?

While this depends on the particular item, most of the kayaking shoes on the list above can be used for a variety of other water activities, such as surfing or fishing (some of the best kayak fishing shoes will be suitable for all water activities as well).

Some can even be used for hiking, climbing, and trail-walking. If versatility is important for you, look up your product online and see what people have said about it.

How Do I Clean My Water Shoes?

Cleaning water shoes isn’t as straightforward as it may sound.

Because of the way the water is, there are a few steps you need to take in order to ensure the shoe is clean and bacteria-free.

Luckily, I found a really cool YouTube video that breaks the process down into easy-to-follow steps.

Can You Wear Flip-flops While Kayaking?

The answer to this question is twofold.

Technically, yes, you can if you really want to. But should you?

My opinion is definitely not.

For one thing, flip-flops are prone to falling off, which is the last thing you want to happen when you’re out on the water.

For another, they don’t offer nearly enough protection to your feet, neither from the water itself nor from any sharp stones or rock you may encounter coming to or from your kayak.

Do yourself a favor and skip the flip-flops. Water shoes are inexpensive, but the amount of increased comfort and safety they’ll offer you is invaluable.

Summary

Well, there it is. My essential breakdown of water shoes for kayaking in 2019, including my top 10 best shoes for kayaking, a buyer’s guide, and an FAQ section to combat some of the most commonly-asked queries.

I really hope you enjoyed this article, and that it’ll help to inform your decision as you go about trying to pick a good set of water shoes for your need.

What’s the one thing you usually look out for when you’re choosing water shoes?

If you’ve got a pro-tip, please let us know in the comments—we’d all love to hear what you have to say about the subject.