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What Are The Best Water Shoes For Kayaking

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Finding The Best Water Shoes For Kayaking


Footwear, its probably one of the last things that you think about before a kayak trip, but when youre out on the water, your shoes need to do everything be waterproof, provide traction, and protect the soles of your feet from sharp rocks. Paddling with the wrong shoes is miserable, so your footwear can make or break the trip.

Water shoes can take many forms some paddlers choose sandals, others prefer booties, and there are even a few models that you could probably pass off as sneakers. Their only common trait is that they perform well when wet, and thats why you need water shoes for kayaking regular shoes swell up and take forever to dry.

Best Water Shoes To Wear Swimming

Strategist senior writer Liza Corsillos go-to water shoes come from a tried-and-true brand in the water-sports space but have a mesh patch across the upper that she says makes them a bit cooler-looking than the pair you might have worn as a kid. I would even go so far as to call them stylish and would totally wear them with shorts post swim, Corsillo says. She typically wears them while swimming in freshwater lakes and ponds to avoid stepping on sharp rocks and the occasional fish or turtle bite, promising the shoes are really comfortable, stay on well, and dont do that annoying thing where they lag behind your feet when you swim. Corsillo adds that the soles are thick Nothing is getting through them and notes anyone interested might consider sizing up because the shoes run a touch small.

Water Shoes For All Conditions

With the popularity of all types of paddling, manufacturers have addressed the need for good, fast draining, fast drying water water shoes that can provide good traction and good ankle support, but still be small and flexible enough to be useful for paddling. These come in a variety of styles resembling anything from tennis shoes to light hikers. Some styles are well suited for use with drysuits where you dont necessarily need the insulation value of a neoprene bootie.

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Where Are You Going

This is a big question that will determine the right type of water shoes for you or your family. If youre heading to the beach in Florida on vacation then the best water shoes might be sandals. Theyre comfy and they look good!

If, however, youre walking a 5 mile stretch of river on a wildlife rescue mission, you may want wet shoes. The prolonged water specific use and unpredictable river bottom conditions demand something more purposeful.

Clean beaches are a great place for open toe sandals. Theres little danger of objects stabbing your toes and the sand can escape from your footwear before your toes turn into pearls.

Rivers are a good place for close toed water shoes or wet shoes. Submerged branches, litter, rocks and other debris can stab or cut your toes so the added protection is necessary. The water is often murky and cloudy making it impossible to see whats below.

Campgrounds are a good place for a hybrid water shoe. Closed toe water shoes are ideal because theyre good in the water, walking around camp, or riding bicycles down to the beach. They cover a range of activities well.

Hiking is often required to get to remote waterfalls and rivers. The best water shoes for hiking need to be comfortable on the trail and in the water. Due to rocks and sticks on the trail, its probably best to go with a closed toe water shoe.

Are There Any Drawbacks To Water Shoes

The 10 Best Shoes for Kayaking in 2020

Yes, there are a few drawbacks of water shoes as follows:

  • Limited variety on the market. While the types and brands of water shoes have increased on the market in the last decade, the variety available is still limited compared to other specialty shoes such as hiking shoes. As such, there is only limited styles, colors, and designs to choose from.
  • They are not proper hiking shoes. Although water shoes offer great traction, comfort, and foot protection, even on hiking trails, they are not the ideal hiking shoes, especially if you are an avid hiker. They do not have proper cushioning for long hikes.
  • More expensive. Even though you can find hiking shoes for different price points, they are generally more expensive than other specialty water footwear such as water crocs, water sandals, and water socks.

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Best Shoes For Kayaking And Hiking

What are the best water shoes for kayaking and hiking? The best water shoes for kayaking and hiking are Columbia Drainmaker water shoes. These shoes drain water well and have great breathability. They have comfortable cushioning, impact absorbing soles, and great traction to protect you and your feet on long hikes. Also, they slide on and off easily.

  • Columbia Drainmaker Water Shoe If youre looking for a water shoes that great for kayaking and hiking, the Columbia Drainmaker Water Shoes are a great option.

And these Merrells are another good option too:

  • Merrell Mens All Out Blaze Water Shoe For those looking for a water shoe thats good for kayaking and hiking, Merell Blaze Water Shoes are a great option. It is designed with breathable holes that allow water to flow in and out quickly and dry faster.

Weve already mentioned some other good choices for kayak shoes that are also great for hiking:

  • Tevas and Chocos in warm weather
  • Tennis shoes in cooler or cold weather
  • Closed-toe Water shoes that are designed for hiking, like the Columbia Drainmakers above

Stay Safe & Comfortable While You Paddle With Our Neoprene Water Shoes

Whether youre kayaking or just trekking through the creek bed, one thing is for sure – you need the proper footwear to keep your feet safe and comfortable. Thats where our collection of neoprene water shoes comes in!

These neoprene shoes are great for paddling or kayaking, but they also work great if youre just taking a stroll on a rocky beach or wading through the water. They protect your feet from slippery, jagged rocks and cold temperatures.

Plus, they feature drainage holes to help your feet dry out quickly. With an ultra-lightweight design that limits water retention or odor, youll barely notice youre wearing these.

With so many options to choose from, youll have no trouble finding the perfect pair for your next adventure – shop now and enjoy the best prices on brands like Astral or NRS online, guaranteed!

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How Should Water Shoes Fit

Above all else, be sure to select a water shoe with a snug fit so pulsing ocean waves or surging river currents dont suck your shoes off your feet. Look for features like the elastic bungee found in the KEEN Newport H2 sandals or the quick-pull speed laces found in the Xero Shoes Aqua X Sport. These features help ensure your shoes stay put.

Why Buy Neoprene Kayak Shoes At Outdoor Play


You have other options when it comes to buying neoprene kayak shoes online – but only one is worth shopping with! Here at OutdoorPlay, you get the best selection at the best prices, with the best service. What more could you ask for?

Our water shoes are built for serious kayak & rafting adventurers and newcomers alike – no matter your experience level, youll find a pair of paddling shoes that meets your needs.

We offer free shipping on every order, and even offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee across our catalog. If you dont love your new water shoes, youre welcome to send them back for a full refund!

Thats how confident we are youre going to love the neoprene shoes for kayaking and paddling that we offer.

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Keen Venice H2 Sandals

These KEENs have the same compression-molded EVA midsole and bungee cord tightening system as the Whisper sandal , but the straps are chunkier and the openings in the top larger.

Those wide openings allow for water and debris to more easily pass through. That makes them some of the best water shoes for kayaking and tromping across sandy beaches.

The rubber outsole provides great traction as well no slipping or sliding when trekking across wet boulders or river beds.

If youre looking for protection for your toes, a shoe that will hold up for years and good grip, then these are the perfect shoes. Lots of ladies who try KEENs are converted into raving fans!

Sold on Amazon for under $111

Whats The Difference Between Water Shoes And Water Sandals

Thanks to a protective closed-toe and closed-heel, water shoes are generally built for more aggressive endeavors, such as hiking or whitewater paddling. If youre eager to go rock hopping or tackle a multi-night paddling adventure, a water shoe is your best bet. Water sandals offer more wiggle room in the toes, but they are best used for calmer activities like fishing or playing at the beach.

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Best For A Natural Barefoot Feel

Native Shoes, Jefferson

These fabulous slip-on sneakers are water-friendly, shock-absorbent, ultra-lightweight, and odor-resistant, making them an awesome choice for anyone looking for lightweight shoes that can handle the perils of the great outdoors.

Available in a wide range of colors, these shoes are made from EVA uppers and synthetic soles, ensuring they work well on the beach, at the swimming pool, or even for day-to-day use. The perforations help control temperature and let feet breathe, while the antimicrobial treatment helps prevent unwanted odors.

You can slip these little beauties on and off in an instant, and the durable rubber toe cap offers extra protection for your feet wherever you are headed. Washable, wearable, and highly capable, these Native Shoes are also a PETA-certified approved vegan brand.

Dry Shoes: What You Wear At The Campsite

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Your dry shoes or site shoes are your light at the end of the tunnel. After a long day on the water I get so excited to take my soggy canoe shoes off my tired feet and slip on a pair of breathable, comfy sandals. I do my absolute best to keep these shoes dry no matter what. Because dry shoes are only worn at site, you dont need to worry about their performance ability as much. Here are the things I care about:

Wool Socks Compatibility: The shoes need to be easily worn over wool socks. That means anything that separates my toes is a no-go for me.

Comfort and Breathability: I like the shoes to be as open and loose as possible. That means no running shoes or similar shoes that cover my whole foot.

Waterproof / Quick Dry: Even though these are dry shoes, there is a chance theyll get wet. Like if you drop them in the water by mistake, step in a puddle or get caught in the rain. Ideally you want these shoes to dry as fast as possible so your dry shoes continue on as dry shoes.

Tip: I dont change into my dry shoes until camp is totally set up. If it looks like it might rain heavily, I dont change into my dry shoes either. I do everything in my power to keep them dry.

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The Benefits Of Water Shoes

If you are planning on heading out into the great outdoors, you want to be sure that your footwear is perfectly suited to the adventures youve got planned. While walking over hot sand in bare feet can just be plain uncomfortable, there are some instances where having the wrong type of footwear can be downright dangerous.

Water shoes offer a wide range of benefits over and above just wearing flip flops or sandals in or around the water, and they offer breathable, practical, easy to wear protection from hot sand and sharp rocks and stones.

For hiking trips, cycling, trail walking, and other outdoor adventures, a shoe that offers a rugged sole, quick-drying qualities, and easy drainage will fare far better than regular walking shoes or sneakers.

With non-slip soles, elastics that can easily be adjusted on the go, and a breathable design, water shoes will help you travel harder for longer, even over rough terrain and uneven surfaces.

If you enjoy indulging in water sports, you will want shoes that stay on your feet even under the water. Investing in shoes that are guaranteed to remain lightweight and stay firmly on your feet will prevent blisters and waterlogging and keep you upright to avoid slips or nasty falls.

Benefits Of Water Shoes Should I Wear Water Shoes When I Go Kayaking

Kayaking is a sport, so youre probably wondering why you cant wear your go-to athletic shoe.

While youll definitely survive your kayak trip wearing sneakers or maybe even a pair of flip flops, well break down why you should choose a good pair of water shoes:

Why cant I wear regular sneakers or rubber shoes for kayaking?

The main reason is that sneakers arent meant to be wet! They do the exact opposite of what water shoes arent supposed to do: absorb water! Drying your sneakers after a full submersion is tiring work. Your sneakers will also degrade faster if they get wet often.

Trust us: when youre out paddling with wet sneakers, all youll think about is how moist your shoes and socks are. Not only are they uncomfortable and cold, but they also dont have good traction either. Youll likely fall over and slip on wet surfaces.

Though not the ideal footwear for kayaking, flip flops are a decent kayaking companion.

Its definitely better than kayaking barefoot.

Are slippers or flip flops good for kayaking?

Flop flops are cheap, and they can be found in almost any convenience store or gas station. They dry out pretty quickly, and you can easily store them in your day pack. And another thing they float! Theres no need to worry about losing your trusty pair. If they fall off your kayak, chances are you can retrieve them quickly!

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What Kind Of Drainage Should I Look For In Water Shoes

When youre splashing in and out of the water, you need a shoe that drains quickly so your feet dont become waterlogged. Shoes like the Xero Shoes Aqua X Sport come with built-in drainage holes that help water exit the shoe. Additionally, upper materials can help water shoes drain quickly. Look for shoes with mesh uppers that allow water to flow away from your feet when you emerge from the ocean, lake or river.

Best Water Sandal Keen Womens Water Sandals


This water sandal by KEEN is more than its pretty colors and patterns. Especially if youre heading to areas with warm water, KEEN water sandals are incredibly comfy, practical, and versatile!

We love the straps on this pair that are breathable and comfortable, in water and on land. If youre in dire need of some support for your flat feet when out trekking or hiking, KEEN will deliver. Its got an EVA cushioning midsole that is shock-absorbing and helps to improve your gait.

Its made from quick-dry polyester webbing material that dries quickly and, which helps to keep feet fresh, and sweat-free to prevent odors.

If youre looking for a reliable water sandal with excellent grip and traction, the Keens Whisper Sandal is great for almost all conditions with its easy-to-clean material and exceptional cushioning and support.

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How To Choose The Best Water Shoes For Kayaking Boating And Fishing: 2020 Buyers Guide

In this guide, well go over how we arrived at our top 10 picks and what to look for when selecting the best water shoes for kayaking and the other activities mentioned throughout our guide. Weve put in many hours to group activities that pair well together in each of our guides.

Through our research, weve realized just how many different water shoe models are currently available and how difficult it can be to choose the right pair. Were confident that after reading our guides and following our top 10 charts, youll know for sure which pair is the best for you and your family.

Now, lets go over each key consideration.

#1) Materials

Choosing the right materials is 100% related to the activities you plan to do in your water shoes. Since kayaking, rafting, canoeing, and paddleboarding are more strenuous than the other activities in our guide, its best to select a pair of shoes with ample protection around the perimeter of the outsole and lightweight uppers.

If you plan to go fishing, boating, or lounge around water, the final options in our top 10 are better picks since theyre more comfortable to wear for long periods and while walking. You can also get away with wearing water shoes that look like normal shoes for casual dining or other casual activities while on vacation.

#2) Grip

#3) Drainage

Take a minute to consider the terrain and how much you plan to submerge the shoe before you buy.

#4) Weight

#5) Toe Box

#6) Protection

#7) Sizing

#8) Lacing System

Durable Water Shoes For Women

The problem with many water sandals is that when youre constantly in and out of the water, they may not last very long. Ive found salt water, especially, wreaks havoc on rubber.

Ive thus done my best to make sure all these shoes are made by reputable brands and are sturdy. No one wants their footwear coming to pieces while rock-hopping across a river!

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Native Shoes Water Shoes

If you are looking for functional and fashionable waterproof footwear for your kids, then these brightly colored Native Shoes Water Shoes are a very good choice. These high-quality sneakers are made from injection-molded, EVA which is lightweight and flexible.

Perfect for summer activities, the upper material features all-over perforations to let water escape. The shoes are odor resistant and dry quickly so your childs feet will stay nice and fresh.

You do not have to worry about your child slipping and falling when they are playing as the thick rubber soles have very good traction, and the rubber toe cap will protect their toes from any injuries.

For the environmentally-conscious parent, Native Shoes uses a low-emission manufacturing process. The shoes also have a PETA-Approved Vegan Footwear seal of approval, which means no animal products have been used in the creation of these shoes.

You can easily keep the sneakers in tip-top condition by putting them in the washing machine, but it is a good idea to use cold water as the color may run.

These super cool slip-on sneakers are very comfortable to wear and there are no laces to fuss around with.

Your children will love the fantastic color range as there are 12 colors to choose from, for toddlers aged 1-4 years, Little Kids 4-8 years, and Big Kids 8-12 years.


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