The 8 Best Shoes for Kayaking in 2023: Reviews and Buyer’s Guide

By James @ Sea Kayak Explorer
Last updated

Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned kayaker, it is important to have the best kayaking shoes. Having the best shoes for kayaking is not just about style or having the best of the best to show off. It’s a safety concern.

You can easily slip or fall out of the kayak when you do not take the proper precautions beforehand. Researching and buying the best water shoes minimizes the possible danger so that you can get the most enjoyment out of your experience.

Water shoes not only prevent safety hazards. They also work to make your feet comfortable by keeping them dry and sheltering them from the rough waters. It is in your best interest to buy the highest quality water shoes for kayaking that you are available.

Quick Answer: Best Wet Shoes for Kayaking

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Best Rated Kayaking Shoe Reviews

Before we cover all the features and important factors you need to look out for when choosing a pair of kayaking shoes we’ll move on to the kayak shoe reviews to help you choose a pair.

1. Astral Hiyak Water Shoes for Kayaking

This water shoe is the print example of your typical water shoe. Somebody can wear these inside or outside the water. While these shoes are not waterproof, they are very water-resistant. 

Although it is not neoprene, these shoes have a hydrophobic canvas, which means that the fabric does not soak up water. There are also drainage holes to keep the water out. 

In addition to that, the shoe’s laces are also water-resistant and hidden underneath the tongue of the shoe. The hidden shoelaces ensure that the shoes are secure to your feet. For added ankle protection and support, the side of the shoes is padded. 

All of the added measures to this shoe make them ideal for water activities near or in a river. 

2. NRS Paddle Wet shoes – Men’s (women’s version) 

These water shoes come in men’s and women’s sizes, which means you can order for your original size, cutting down on the confusion.

The upper fabric of the shoe is the infamous neoprene. The outsoles for the shoes are rubber. These two materials guarantee that the shoe is water-resistant and keep your feet warm, dry, and comfortable. A zipper on the shoe side supports a secure fit, making them harder to slip off. 

These water shoes work best with paddling and work in other outdoor water sports, like kayaking and canoeing. 

3. Neo Sport Premium Neoprene Wetsuit Boots

Neo Sport Premium Neoprene Men & Women Wetsuit Boots, Shoes with puncture resistant sole 3mm, 5mm & 7mm for warm, moderate or cold water for watersports: beach, boat, lake, mud, kayak and more...
  • Synthetic / Neoprene
  • Select thickness - 3mm warm water - 5mm moderate water - 7mm cold water
  • Durable glued and sewn construction - Puncture resistant sole
Reviews: 2553

These water shoes are wetsuit boots, which give the soles excellent traction to prevent slips and falls. They run true to size, and they have a heavy-duty zipper on the side. The zipper prevents any water from going in while keeping your feet warm and giving you a reliable fit. 

For added comfort, you can also select the thickness of the sole. 3mm thickness is for warm waters, 5 mm is ideal for moderate water temperatures, and 7 mm is for cold water. This design makes sure that your feet stay comfy and warm while kayaking. 

4. Astral Men’s Loyak Water Shoes

Like the Astral Hiyak Water Shoes, these shoes are water resistant but are not waterproof. 

The canvas is hydrophobic with rubber soles on the bottom. The soles are still soft to conform to the ground easily with compromising durability. The shoelaces are also made out of water-resistance material as well. 

The shoe’s vamp and tongue are stretchy to give a secure fit and proper ventilation for your feet’ comfort. The forefoot of the shoe is also wide to provide your toe with space to spread, giving you more stability when walking. The divided lugs help sustain a solid grip on environments with loose dirt. 

The side of these shoes has drainage holes. They work to reduce the number of sand, silt, and water collected in the shoe. 

5. Chaco Men’s Z2 Classic Sport Water Sandals

These water shoes are different from the rest of this list, mainly because they are water sandals. With the traditional Chaco design, these sandals have adjustable straps for a custom fit. These water sandals also come in a variety of sizes, including wide sizes. 

The base of the shoes is antimicrobial, which helps with odor control. Odor control is crucial when wearing shoes in and out of the water often. This feature prevents you from having the uncomfortable experience of having stinky feet. 

6. NRS Kinetic Neoprene Water Shoes 

These NRS Water Shoes come in unisex sizing with an in-depth size chart to guarantee that you get the best fit possible. As expressed in the title of the shoe, it is neoprene. The soles are also rubber, which makes them an excellent choice for any water activity or sport. 

The design maintains a secure fit with the drawcord with a barrel lock system. This system makes the shoe snug onto your feet without them being too tight and causing discomfort. 

7. Kokatat Nomad Neoprene Kayak Shoe

These water boots come up to your knees. They have a double layering of neoprene to ensure they are completely waterproof. The extensive design on these makes them perfect for touring, canoeing, and kayak fishing. 

The lacing system on the front of the shoe guarantees a secure fit while also eliminating snag hazards. 

8. Aleader Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoe

ALEADER Women's Quick Drying Aqua Water Shoes Blue 6 D(M) US/FR 36
  • Breathable and durable air mesh upper allow the foot to breathe
  • Solyte midsole provides an exceptionally lightweight midsole with excellent bounce-back and durability
  • Water Grain outsole provides exceptional traction in wet and slippery conditions

These water shoes (which also come in a men’s version have the most color and variety when compared to the others on this list. The shoe is made from breathable yet durable mesh material to give your foot all the breathing room that it needs. 

The soles are synthetic instead of rubber, making them only suitable for hiking around terrain that isn’t too slippery. 

For additional comfort, there’s a sock lining within the shoe that works to cushion your feet while keeping them dry. There are also drainage spouts on the outsole that also prevent accidents in wet and slippery environments.

How to Choose a Pair of Water Shoes For Kayaking

Choosing the right shoes for your kayaking experience can make or break it. When looking for the right pair of water shoes, there are a few things that you need to pay attention to.

The first thing is that we need to differentiate the varying kinds of water shoes out there. Knowing the differences and ways they are similar can help you decide what water shoe will work best for your needs.

It is also imperative that you note important factors that speak to the quality of your water shoe. Taking extra notice of these factors can assure that you have a flexible, comfortable, and lightweight water shoe that performs its function at its best.

Types of Water Shoes

There are several different kinds of water shoes out there for various water sports or other activities that involve water. While this article discusses water shoes for kayaking, these can also work for other things, like sailing, scuba diving, or hiking in very wet or slippery terrain. 

There are three main kinds of water shoes: your traditional water shoes, water sandals, or water boots. Knowing these three kinds can narrow down what kind of shoes you need.

Water Shoes

  • Worn inside or outside of water
  • Best used for light hiking situations 
  • Perfect for activities like swimming and kayaking
  • Extra coverage prevents injuries to your feet and slips 

Water Sandals 

  • Most water drainage 
  • Great for hiking, kayaking 
  • Also are great for wearing by the pool or on the beach 
  • Excellent for hot or warm weather climates 
  • Reduces issue of sand and grit getting into the shoe 

Water Booties

  • Similar to water shoes 
  • Excellent for swimmers, scuba drivers, 
  • Provide maximum comfort 
  • Ideal for wearing in colder waters
  • Not fit for hiking 


Like we covered before, having a comfortable water shoe can really make or break your experience. Every person has different wants and needs when it comes to comfort. The easiest way to determine if the water shoes work best is to try them on for some time. 

The shoes should not slip off or rub any part of your foot. Ignoring these issues can lead to blisters or soreness on your feet in the near future.


Since these shoes will be in and out of the water, they must be durable and sturdy enough to withstand walking on land and somewhat submerged in water. Your water shoes’ soles should also be durable because there will be times when you need to walk over hard stones and rocks. 


Of course, every water shoe’s overall purpose should be waterproof or, at the very least, water-resistant. Having water shoes at least water-resistance is essential because it keeps your feet dry and sheltered from the rough waters. One’s feet being constantly wet can cause blisters, mold, and unwanted odors. 


It is also vital that your water shoes are made from materials that also make them breathable. Taking this extra step ensures that your feet will stay comfortable, especially in very hot or warm climates. 

Secure Fit 

One of the most critical factors in a reliable water shoe is the fit. Having a water shoe that is too big will cause it to slip off and become lost in the water, which is definitely not ideal. A too-tight shoe will cause further discomfort, which can really hinder your performance. 


Neoprene is a flexible, lightweight, and breathable material that still provides the non-slip quality needed. For this reason, most water and kayaking shoes are made from this material. 

Most water shoes also have rubber soles to keep good traction and protect your feet from hard rocks and shells. 

Conclusion: Which One Should You Buy

Anyway that about wraps up our post on some of the top shoes for kayaking in, we hope it helped to make sense of some of the options you have. Regarding which one you should buy, you need to consider what your needs and wants are for your ideal water shoe. If your feet will be submerged in water and need more coverage, any shoe with rubber rolls and neoprene is a great option. Those shoes have a higher chance of performing the necessary tasks because they are made from the two needed fabrics to keep your feet dry, safe, and warm. 

If you’re still unsure about which ones to go for, we’d recommend the Astral Hiyak Water Shoes. The high quality materials, stylish design, great reviews and reasonable price make it an easy choice for us to recommend and one we think you’ll be really happy with. Get the best price on them by clicking the button below.