The Search for the Best Kayaking Water Shoes

kayaking water shoes

Footwear is probably one of the last things that you think about needing if you are going to be kayaking, but great shoes are really important to make sure that you have the best possible experience. Not only will the best kayaking water shoes help you keep from cutting your feet on jagged rocks when you are getting in and out of your kayak, but they also will give you traction so that you don’t slip and fall.

I have found that, unfortunately, if you use the wrong kayaking shoes for your trip that you are not going to have as good of a time as you could. It’s imperative that you make sure to invest in great kayaking shoes so that you can stay safe and focus on fun, not your feet. Knowing that, I have found five great options that you will love.

Comparison Chart

NRS Paddle Wetshoe - Men's Black / Grey 10
Sea to Summit Ultra Flex Booties -11
NeoSport Wetsuits Paddle Low Top Boots, 13 - Water Shoes, Surfing & Diving
Stohlquist Men's Tideline Boots, Black, 9
NRS Boundary Dry Boots
NRS Paddle Wetshoe - Men's Black / Grey 10
Sea to Summit Ultra Flex Booties -11
NeoSport Wetsuits Paddle Low Top Boots, 13 - Water Shoes, Surfing & Diving
Stohlquist Men's Tideline Boots, Black, 9
NRS Boundary Dry Boots
$54.95
from $39.95
$35.99
$39.08
from $89.95
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NRS Paddle Wetshoe - Men's Black / Grey 10
NRS Paddle Wetshoe - Men's Black / Grey 10
$54.95
Sea to Summit Ultra Flex Booties -11
Sea to Summit Ultra Flex Booties -11
from $39.95
NeoSport Wetsuits Paddle Low Top Boots, 13 - Water Shoes, Surfing & Diving
NeoSport Wetsuits Paddle Low Top Boots, 13 - Water Shoes, Surfing & Diving
$35.99
Stohlquist Men's Tideline Boots, Black, 9
Stohlquist Men's Tideline Boots, Black, 9
$39.08
NRS Boundary Dry Boots
NRS Boundary Dry Boots
from $89.95
-

Best Kayaking Water Shoes Reviews

1. ​NRS Paddle Wetshoes

NRS Paddle Wetshoe - Men's Black / Grey 10

Review

Kayakers who are going to be spending time in cooler water need to make sure that they opt for kayaking shoes that will offer them plenty of protection from the cold and keep their feet and toes as warm as possible. These shoes are a great option and, because they cover lot of skin by coming up to the ankle, they will not only provide you with a lot of warmth, but also offer great protection by keeping a larger part of your skin covered and safe. The zipper will open very wide to make it easy to get these shoes on and off, even if your feet are wet or you have on wet socks.

I love that they have a really roomy toe box so that you don’t have to worry about having your toes cramped up together all day long while you are in the kayak, and that they have support bands inside of them to improve your stability. Additionally, the neoprene is durable enough to protect your feet from damage, and the titanium adhesive prevents your feet from being chilled in cold water.

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PROS

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    ​They do a great job keeping out sand and gravel
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    ​Incredibly comfortable to wear all day long
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    ​Very warm

CONS

  • Water occasionally pools inside the shoe

2. ​Sea to Summit Flexible Booties

Sea to Summit Ultra Flex Booties -11

Review

The low profile on these shoes tells you right away that they are going to allow for a lot of ankle and foot movement without being restrictive. Because of the low profile, it is very easy for them to fill up with water, so it’s a good idea to make sure that you only wear them in warmer water so that your feet don’t freeze while you are in your kayak. They are designed to be incredibly lightweight and almost feel like you don’t have anything on your feet at all, which is great when you are kayaking on a really hot summer day.

These shoes pull on your feet and then secure using a Y-pull Velcro system, so you can easily tighten or loosen them so that they are as comfortable as possible. Made of 3mm neoprene, they offer all of the protection that you need without any of the bulk. While these shoes aren’t ideal for long kayaking trips in icy water, they are perfectly designed for hot days and for making sure that your feet are protected when you jump in and out of your kayak.

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PROS

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    ​Incredibly comfortable so you feel like you don’t have anything on
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    ​Squishy footbed that provides cushion and support
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    ​The sole offers plenty of traction on wet rocks

CONS

  • ​Sole does not offer a lot of protection against gravel and rocks

3. ​NeoSport Wetsuits Low Top Boots

NeoSport Wetsuits Paddle Low Top Boots, 13 - Water Shoes, Surfing & Diving

Review

This is another great pair of kayaking shoes if you want to be able to wear them in warmer weather and not feel like you have something very heavy on your feet weighing you down. Made of neoprene, they do have a lycra trim around the top edge of the shoes so that they will fit securely on your foot without sliding or allowing in a lot of water. Thanks to the flat low profile stitching, you don’t have to worry about whether or not your shoes are going to fall apart when you are in the water or if your stitching will snag on anything.

I love that there are multiple cinch points on this shoe so that you can really customize the fit and make sure that they are as comfortable as possible before getting out into the water. They are incredibly durable and the traction on the sole is designed to stand up to a lot of walking around on slippery rocks without you slipping. While they are a lower cut design, they do keep your feet a little warmer than some other ankle boots, thanks to their ability to better retain heat and keep it close to your feet.

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PROS

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    ​Elastic cinch cord helps to tighten the shoe around your ankle
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    ​Incredibly flexible so that you don’t have worry about comfort
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    ​Multiple cinch points

CONS

  • ​Not ideal for jagged surfaces
  • ​Fill up with water if they are not adjusted correctly to your feet

​4. ​Stohlquist Tideline Boots

Stohlquist Men's Tideline Boots, Black, 9

Review

I love that these boots have been ergonomically designed to provide wearers with the best possible fit while they are out in their kayak. Unlike other tall shoes that tend to gape and bunch around the lower leg, ankle, or foot, these provide maximum warmth and comfort due to their design and how tightly you can form them to your body. The added heel caps and rubber toes for additional protection when you are out in the water make them a great choice for anyone worried about what they may step on.

The upper part of these shoes is made from 5mm neoprene, which is incredibly thick and sure to help keep your feet warm when you are in cold water. You’ll love that the gusseted zipper openings will prevent water from entering your boot and that the tread has been specifically designed to provide you as much traction as possible when you are in the water. Protecting your feet has never been easier, thanks to the high design of these boots as well as the thick rubber details and sole.

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PROS

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    ​Incredibly warm thanks to the ergonomic design and thick neoprene
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    ​Offer incredible traction
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    ​Zippered side makes them easy to get on and off

CONS

  • ​Tend to run a little small
  • ​Don’t offer 100% water protection and can be difficult to remove when they are wet on the inside

​5. ​NRS Boundary Shoe

NRS Boundary Dry Boots

Review

Unlike some kayaking shoes that are designed to offer you protection and warmth while you are in your kayak or in shallow water right around it, these shoes are perfect for people who like to go off the beaten path. You won’t be confined to shallow water when you have these boots and can freely explore without worrying about whether or not you are going to slip, hurt the bottom of your feet, or deal with a lot of water flowing into your shoe. Because they come up your knees, you can easily wade through water without having to worry about how wet you will be.

The upper on these shoes is made from 5mm neoprene, and you’ll love the 7mm rubber sole and 7mm insole that work together to provide you comfort and protection. There is even a 2mm shim to provide you with more protection, which will let you wade and explore without fear of the unknown or if you are going to injure yourself accidentally. The strap along the arch of your feet keeps the shoe tight, and the strap along the calf will prevent the shoe from slipping or sagging.

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PROS

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    ​Incredibly thick, offering safety from rugged terrain and the cold
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    ​Versatile shoes that can go almost anywhere without being damaged
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    ​Very warm and comfortable, making them ideal to wear for long periods at a time

CONS

  • ​Don’t offer a lot of arch support
  • ​Difficult to size correctly

​Final Thoughts

Finding the best kayaking shoes is a matter of personal preference, how warm or cold it will be when you are out in the water, and if you want to be able to walk around without worrying about your feet being damaged. By carefully considering the pros and cons of these five kayaking shoes you can easily find the right ones for you.

Make sure that you have a great pair of kayaking shoes before your next trip out onto the water so that you can provide your feet with the comfort and the care that they deserve. This will ensure that you can focus on the fun that you’re having and not spend so much time worrying about your feet.

Related: Be Prepared for Your Time on the Water with the Best Gloves for Kayaking

The Search for the Best Kayaking Water Shoes

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