When going kayaking, having a good pair of shoes can make a big difference in your experience. They don’t need to be fancy or expensive, but they have to be functional and keep your feet protected and comfortable. Many people don’t really put much thought in what they’re wearing – they either go bare-foot or wear a pair of sneakers which later prove to be inadequate.

Buying a pair of the best kayaking shoes is a good investment. The reason is that they are designed for all conditions you’ll find yourself in, in fact, the best shoes for kayaking should warm your feet, prevent slipping and injury, and in combination with kayak clothes keep you comfortable for longer paddling sessions. We’ll talk about this in detail in the buying guide below. So, what are the most sought after kayaking shoes right now? Check out our kayaking shoe reviews to learn about the features of these products and choose the right pair.

Let’s get started.

How To Choose The Best Kayaking Shoes – Buying Guide


There are a few things you should keep in mind when choosing the perfect kayaking shoes for your adventures. These things include the conditions you’re going to be using them in, build material and water shoe design among other things. Take a closer look and find out which are the best shoes for kayaking.

Weather and Temperature

This is one of the most important things to consider when buying. People sometimes tend to forget how cold water can be. If you’re going kayaking in chilly water or during the cold period of the year, the best kayaking shoes should be made from thick neoprene (5mm). These will keep your feet very warm even if they get wet. Some people also wear a wool sock under neoprene shoes for added warmth. Water shoe height also plays an important role here.

Related Reviews: Water Shoes For Kids & Water Shoes For Women

On the other hand, if it’s warm outside, you want shoes that will let your feet breathe and feel like you have nothing on. For this purpose, your best choice are shallow shoes made from thin neoprene, mesh, or even rubber sandal-type shoes (if they have good straps and stay on). They will be way more comfortable but at the same time save you from slipping and give your feet protection from sharp objects.


Buying the wrong size of shoes can have some very uncomfortable consequences while you’re wearing them. This is because when they get wet, they can damage the skin on your feet. That’s why it’s important to try on the shoes and have them on for a couple of minutes, to see how your feet feel in them. We’ll talk in more detail about the perfect fit a little later. Keep in mind that they feel slightly different when wet.

If you’re buying online, do your research and see what people who bought them said about the size – does it run true, smaller or larger, what type of fit they have and how comfortable they are. We have featured in our reviews all the best shoes for kayaking, but you must choose carefully so you don’t regret your purchase.

Shoe Height and Design

There are three different types when it comes to height. You can buy low-cut, ankle-cut or knee-high shoes. All of these have their ups and downs. For example, low cut water shoes  for kayaking are certainly the most comfortable type. They are usually made from light materials such as thin neoprene or mesh, and are a good choice for warmer weather.

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Ankle high shoes offer you additional protection. They are warmer, and often have thicker soles making them more comfortable to walk on rocks. The height also protects your ankles from turning. Knee-high boots are your best pick if you want something with extra insulation, being that they are usually made from thickest neoprene. These are great for very cold water. They are also good and comfortable for walking on rough surfaces when you’re not in your kayak.

One thing that is particular about kayaking shoes is the design of the sole. It can be thinner or thicker, but the rubber used needs to have many traction marks and a good grip on the surface you’re walking on. For example, rocks covered with moss can be extra-slippery and you need to be safe while walking in streams and rivers.


As we already mentioned, the material most commonly used in the best shoes for kayaking is neoprene. The reason is that it offers you flexibility, while helping your feet stay warm. It can be thicker or thinner to meet your preference. They have rubber soles for stability when walking. Some models are even reinforced with titanium to make them more sturdy and durable. Another material used is synthetic mesh – it allows your foot to breathe and dry off quickly. Some shoes are completely made from rubber, and some people even wear sandals or crocs when they go kayaking.


Contrary to what people belive, the best kayak shoes are not that expensive, considering they will last for a while and you’ll get added comfort and protection. Depending on different features they offer, some can be pricier but it all comes down to what you need for your adventures. We featured some products on both ends of the price scale. You don’t have to buy the most expensive product – you’ll find out that some affordable kayaking shoes from our list are great too.



Q: What shoes to wear on sit on top kayak?


If you use a sit-on-top kayak, your body will always be in contact with a certain amount of water. That is fine if the weather is warm, and in these situations, even sandals with good straps will be more than enough. However, if it’s colder, wearing these can make your feet feel chilly. This goes for other types of shoes which are not water-resistant, absorb water and don’t dry off quickly. So what you need in this situation is a pair of the best water shoes for kayaking because they will ensure your feet stay warm.

Related Review: Water Shoes

Q: What is neoprene?

A: Neoprene is a synthetic rubber produced by polymerization of chloroprene, with great stability and flexibility in different temperatures. This is why it’s a very popular material used for protective clothing in aquatic activities, among many other uses. It’s used for modern wetsuits, and as we discussed here, it’s also a great material for making neoprene kayak footwear. It gives you fantastic insulation against cold, and it can be up to 7mm thick to easily combat freezing waters.

Q: How should kayaking shoes fit?

A: Your shoes shouldn’t be too tight or too loose. If they are too tight around your feet, they can become really uncomfortable after some time, especially when they get wet. They can also cause irritation to your skin. On the other hand, if they are too loose, they can fill with water and cause blisters because of the friction. Also, they become heavy to walk in. Your best choice is a water shoe that is somewhere in the middle.

Globo Surf Overview

We hope our buying guide helped you learn about different types of water shoes for kayaking. Many great examples are featured in our kayak shoe reviews. One thing is certain – if you wear the best water shoes they will improve your kayaking experience and not create problems when you’re out enjoying yourself.

More Kayak Reviews:

More Shoes Reviews

Have you tried a pair of the best kayaking shoes that made it onto our list? How comfortable and efficient were they? Let us know in the comment section below.

Globo Surf
My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!