Whether it be your wetsuit, your glasses or even your shoes, having the proper wardrobe when kayaking makes all the difference.
As kayak shoes are flexible, they will help you to get in and out of your kayak with ease. It will certainly improve your experience and maneuverability.
You protect your arms, your legs, your face and just about all other body parts while you’re out on the water. So why do so many overlook what is on their feet? And the even bigger question is: what type of kayak shoes should you buy?
There are so many of them on the market and they each offer vastly different features, materials, and price tags. You ideally want to find a pair of kayaking shoes or paddle boots that are solid, provide good traction and are affordable.
Luckily for you we will be answering this very question today in this article as we look at the top 10 kayaking shoes currently on the market.
We hope this article helps you find the perfect pair of kayaking shoes or paddling boots. Just remember that so long as you pick a pair of kayaking shoes with quality materials, properly sized, and a solid design, you can’t go wrong.
Table of Contents
10 Best Kayak Shoes 2020
Top 10 Best Water Shoes for Kayaking
1. Level Six Creek Boot
The creek boots from Level Six are designed to be ultra stable durable during both land or water activities. This makes them perfect as a kayak shoe.
They are crafted from 1.5 mm neoprene and contain a very sturdy yet durable vulcanized rubber sole. There is a Kevlar toe panel to add to its abrasion resistance levels.
All of this is neatly tied together with a bungee collared top and three one inch stretch webbing fit bands.
- Kevlar toe panel
- Webbing fit bands
- Rubber sole is a bit bulky and heavy
2. Keen Aphlex
The Keen Aphlex is a low-profile hiking shoes but it features a lot of really good qualities that we look for in a good boat shoe or kayaking shoe.
This shoe is crafted from a lightweight mesh and molded TPU heel and toe protection to give you the best of both comfort and protection.
All throughout the shoe is the Keen dry waterproof breathable membrane to make sure that your feet don’t get waterlogged. Meanwhile, the Cleansport NXT features of this shoe provide you with natural odor control
On the bottom of the rubber sole, as well as on the sides, you’ll find a multi directional lug pattern that is used to increase traction. As any kayaker knows, this is important when you are navigating rough waters and need to stay stable in your kayak.
- Odor control system
- Lug pattern for traction works really well
- Mesh can be irritating to some people
- Sizing seems to be hard to get correct
3. Astral Rassler
The Astral Rassler is a favorite of pro kayak and fishing teams. It really takes the spot light because of its lightweight design and ultra support.
The overall body of these kayak shoes is made from a hydrophobic canvas which means that they will dry fairly quickly even when they are completely soaked. This alone earms this shoe a high spot on the list of best footwear for kayaking.
The outsole of the shoe is made from the highest friction G rubber compound available, it is non-marking and provides ultimate grip. Add to this the fact that there is welded TPU reinforcements at the heel and toe, and you have yourself a pair of insanely solid paddle shoes.
- Welded TPU reinforcements
- Dries really quickly
- Sole can be a bit stiff
4. NRS Velocity
The NRS velocity kayaking shoe is actually a creaking shoe. And it’s because of this that it’s perfectly suited for long rides on the water in your kayak. Seriously, these shoes are extremely comfortable.
The overall material that this rugged shoe is made from is a DWR-coated ballistic nylon. If there is such a thing as the ultimate in protection for your feet, then this is it.
Even the abrasion resistant rubber overlays your toes, heel, and sidewalls to add that extra layer of durability that you demand.
The outsole is made from an extremely sticky siped rubber which will provide you with ultimate traction weather on land or a wet kayak.
Tying it all together is a gusseted neoprene tongue to keep out debris, neoprene padding cushions for your ankles, and drainage ports in the sidewall to empty out any water you may take on.
- Highly protective soles
- Ankle padding
- Not the nicest looking design
5. Kokatat Scout
The kokatat scout paddling boot is a single hoop and loop strap design made from neoprene.
If you’re serious about taking your kayaking game to the next level, start with these shoes. They are designed from the ground up for the series kayak room as they are a high-top design. This is important because it helps protect your ankles and seal the gap between the boot and your pant cuff.
The outsole is made from vulcanized rubber with numerous traction marks to help keep your footing stable.
Overall the kokatat scout is a very sleek design and extremely basic. Sometimes that’s all you need, especially if that is all it takes to gets the job done.
- Very simple overall design
- Wonderful protection above ankle
- High top design can feel constricting
6. NeoSport Lowtop
If what you’re looking for in your kayak boots is a sleek, basic design with a low-cut top then you need the NeoSport low top.
This kayaking shoe is made from a premium neoprene material and contains several traction markings on the puncture resistant rubber outsole.
The seams are held together by a mixture of glue and hand-sewn, while the threads are made from a heavy-duty abrasion resistant material.
Overall, the NeoSport low top is a low priced, beginner-friendly kayaking shoe that holds up rather well even in rougher conditions.
- Hand-sewn seams
- Holds up rather well in rough conditions
- Where the low top meets just above the ankle, it rubs easily if not tied tightly
7. NRS Boundary Shoe
The Boundary Shoe from NRS is a high top waterproof shoe that’s designed to be great for kayaking, or other wet or soggy activities.
The NRS boundary shoe is actually not a shoe at all but rather full-length kayaking boot. Its body is made of a 5mm waterproof neoprene material, and everything is buying stitched and double tape together. This insures ultimate waterproof of the boot.
It has a 2-millimeter plastic shim that keeps you protected from sharp or pointy objects. The comfy 7mm insole has a high traction wrap up that provides extra support for your feet.
Topping everything off, you’ll find a ladder buckle strap and a sturdy instep strap to ensure that your paddling boots stay firmly on your feet.
- Puncture protection shim
- Great traction
- Good buckle strap system
- Takes on a lot of water if not careful
- Can be hard to put them on
8. O’Neill Freaksneak
If you’re not quite comfortable wearing a full paddling boot or kayaking shoe, and prefer something more similar to streetwear, check out the O’Neill Freak Sneak.
This low top Style design kayaking shoe’s body is made from FilterTech material and 1mm fluid foam. The outsole is made of a rubber material that has numerous traction grooves on the bottom.
The slip-on design and elastic lacing makes this kayaking shoe a comfortable wear and perfect for anyone looking for something more similar to an everyday shoe.
- Familiar streetwear design
- Elastic lacing
- Very basic
- Wears down quickly
- Traction isn’t the best available
9. Sea To Summit Blitz Booties
Are you looking for the ultimate in protection for the soles of your feet? If you answered yes to that question you really need to get a pair of Sea To Summit Blitz Booties.
These kayaking boots are in the heavy-duty workhorse range of Sea To Summit boots. This is a high cuff boot made from 3mm neoprene that can overlap with your wetsuit.
It has a high traction rubber sole that allows you to grip onto what surface is easily, while this secure Y-pull Velcro strap system keeps the booties firmly on your feet.
We seriously can’t recommend these things enough as they are good for more than just kayaking. Pretty much all water sports are covered with these boots, besides swimming.
- Ultimate in sole protection
- Velcro strap system for ease of use
- Very tight fit
10. Stohlquist Tideline Boots
The tideline from Stohlquist WaterWare is made of a 5mm neoprene upper, and features a heavy-duty zipper to seal up the boot securely.
It has a thick, vulcanized rubber outsole that features a proprietary stohlquist tread pattern that gives you ample traction and then some.
There are also rubber toe and heel caps to give your feet that additional layer of protection and the ergonomically shaped foot bed provides you with the maximum level of comfort that you can ask for.
- Vulcanized rubber outsole
- Excellent foot bed
- Rubber toe and heel caps feel a bit heavy
A Few Extra Tips To Help You Find The Right Kayaking Shoes
Now, before you rush out and buy your next pair of kayaking shoes or paddling boots, we have a few more tips for you.
The very first thing that you want to look for in quality kayaking shoes is the material that they are made from.
Most kayaking shoes or paddling boots are made from neoprene. While this isn’t the only material suited for active footwear, it is what we recommend you look for as it is the most common and trusted.
The outsole or “bottom of the shoe” should be made with a durable and slip resistant rubber. It should have plenty of traction marks, and it should be pliable to an extent.
If you buy a shoe that fits too tightly you run the risk of straining your foot and being highly uncomfortable.
If you buy a shoe that doesn’t fit tight enough you run the risk of developing blisters on your feet as the shoes will rub against your skin.
The only solution to this is to make sure than the shoes that you buy are comfortable and sit properly on your feet. Don’t just find your size and then buy them. You need to actually put them on your feet and walk around in them for a few minutes to get a feel for them.
There is no worse feeling than getting the wrong fitting shoes only to find out they don’t fit. Of course, this realization happens when you’re already preparing to go kayaking.
Sometimes you just don’t need all the bells and whistles. Other times you may find yourself in dire need of all those bells and whistles.
When it comes to picking out your kayaking shoes, there are basic designs as well as those that are a bit more elaborate.
If you don’t really need all the extra eyelets or those fancy camo tube laces, why shell out the extra cash for them? As long as the shoes are made from quality materials and foot properly, design really just comes down to personal preference.
A few things that we do recommend that you absolutely look for are things like solid traction bumps or marks on the rubber outsole, and the strap or lace system. The reason traction is such big deal is because you will be in a kayak and there will be water involved.
When you ride in a kayak, you have foot rests where you place your feet to help keep you stable. If your shoes won’t grip these very well, then your footrests cannot do their job properly.
If your kayaking shoes don’t strap or lace your foot properly and tightly, you can end up with blisters as we mentioned previously, or they can come off altogether. You really don’t want to lose a good pair of shoes to a massive body of water, you can rest assured that you will probably never see them again.
When it comes to kayaking shoes and paddling boots you seriously get what you pay for. And when it comes to protecting your feet be prepared to pay well for that level of protection.
Kayaking shoes that demand higher prices will also contain quality materials such as hand-sewn as well as glued seams, neoprene construction, and solid rubber outsoles.
Just use a bit of common sense. If the materials aren’t quality then you are overspending. Just as a quick side note, all of the shoes that we have chosen for this article are correct for their price range and do contain high-quality materials and construction.
Our Final Review for the Best Kayak Shoes
Hopefully this article has helped you in making your decision about which kayaking shoes you should buy.
As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, so long as you follow along with the advice that we’ve given you in regards to material, size, and design you should be just fine.
If you feel that we’ve left anything out of this article or should have spotlighted another pair of kayaking shoes or paddling boots, please let us know in the comments section below.
Till next time, happy kayaking.