Best Shoes for Kayaking: Buying Guide & Reviews

The Mishansha Quick Drying Kayak Shoes prevents slippage and injury by providing a solid platform for the foot to push against during paddling sessions. When combined with the best kayaking gear, these shoes are the best shoes for kayaking while keeping you comfortable and paddling for longer.


Kayaking can require a lot from your feet: they need to stay protected, supported, and comfortable. These shoes should be both water-resistant and comfortable to wear.

The Mishansha Kayak Shoes is the first choice for kayakers who want to focus on their activity rather than their equipment. These versatile shoes allow you to move freely and confidently into a variety of positions in the kayak, without worrying about safety and stability.

Several factors go into making the right choice in footwear for kayaking. The kind of water you’ll be paddling on, and the environment matter a great deal — whether you’re in a river or a lake or out at sea. A good pair of shoes will keep your feet in place as well as your mind.

When purchasing a pair of kayaking shoes, you should consider buying a pair with drainage holes and ones that are not just water-resistant but waterproof as well. 

Read on to find out which are the best kayaking shoes and how to choose the right one.

Best Shoes for Kayaking – Top Picks

  1. Mishansha Aqua Sports – Best Overall 
  2. NRS Paddle Wetshoes – Runner-Up
  3. Ryka Women’s Hydro Sport 2-W – Best for Women
  4. DOUSSPRT Sports Aqua Shoes – Best for Value
  5. NRS Vibe Water Shoe – Best Casual
  6. L-RUN Athletic Shoes – Best Unisex
  7. hiitave Aqua Sports – Best for Beach Days
  8. The Wave Waterproof Water Shoes – Best Budget

8 Best Shoes for Kayaking 2021 Reviewed

If you’re looking to get out on the water, don’t forget to wear your best shoes for kayaking. This list of seven pairs of shoes is the best bet so far for value, style and quality. 

Whether you’re a diehard fan for Vibe Kayaks or always looking to try something new, these shoes are ready to help you conquer your next adventure and withstand whatever Mother Nature throws at them.

Mishansha Quick Drying Kayak Shoes – Best Overall

Mishansha Aqua Sports - Overall Best Shoes for Kayaking _

Our ultimate pick for the best shoes for kayaking and canoeing, Mishansha kayak shoes are the premier option for anyone looking to enjoy some water sports. 

These lightweight and exceptionally durable shoes are specially designed to protect your feet from salt water and other harsh elements while you’re out on the water — a must-have for any avid kayaker. 

The Mishansha has stretchy spandex that hugs your feet and contours to your sole. This snug fit allows the shoes not to shift around in the water, so they stay where you want them no matter how fast you paddle. 

The rubber outer sole of these kayaking shoes is also designed for traction on wet surfaces, as well as for footing on hot sand.

The Mishansha kayak shoes highlight a unique design: their stretchy upper lets your feet breathe, while the pull tab on the heel makes them easy to put on and take off. 

Furthermore, the holes in the sole keep water from pooling in your shoes and let them drain out easily.

The Mishansha Kayak Shoes are perfect for whitewater kayakers. Built to keep your feet safe in a kayak, they offer support and comfort, for long hours on the water.

NRS Men’s Paddling Wet Shoes – Runner-Up

NRS Paddle Wetshoes - Best Water Shoes for Kayaking _

Keep your feet warm and comfortable in any conditions with the NRS Men’s Paddling Wet Shoes. The lightweight, breathable upper keeps your feet comfortable whether you’re on a long portage or a short creek kayak.

Almost all reviews of the best shoes for kayaking have the NRS Paddle Wetshoes in them. And from what we’ve gathered so far, we weren’t surprised.

With the easy slip-on design, you can leave your shoes on after portaging so they dry while you paddle. We’ve even seen people use the shoes without socks over a drysuit for ultimate warmth!

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NRS Kayak Shoes are the best water shoes for kayaking, period. These wet shoes have a 3mm layer of neoprene sandwiched between two layers of thinner polyethylene. 

The result is a durable, warm water shoe that’s great for kayaking because it won’t break down in saltwater and it won’t retain cruddy river smells.

NRS kayaking booties are easy to use and provide incredible comfort at the same time. The boots reflect your outdoor adventures with their rugged design, as well as elastic support bands, fleece-like lining, and extra padding around the ankles. 

These water shoes are excellent for kayaking and the waterproof YKK zippers ensure that you’ll be able to enter or leave your boots in a second.

Ryka Women’s Hydro Water Shoes – Best for Women

Ryka Women's Hydro Sport 2-W - Best Water Shoes for Kayaking and Hiking _

Ryka’s Hydro can be many things: a water shoe, an aqua shoe, a kayaking shoe — but it all boils down to one thing: comfort. The easy-walking Hydro is sure to keep you feeling fresh and light on your feet while paddling or walking to your next phase!

But comfort isn’t the only thing that made it one of the best shoes for kayaking and hiking. Hydro shoes for women also come with everything a water shoe needs to have: breathability, traction, and space for your toes. 

Made from a combination of synthetic mesh and rubber, water drains through the mesh panels, helping your shoes dry in no time. Rubber grips on the sole ensure that you maintain a tight grip while kayaking.

To ensure maximum water resistance, Ryka’s kayaking shoes have a conventional lacing system, a padded tongue, and a collar that’ll keep your ankle from moving around haphazardly. The draining ports on their soles ensure water drains quickly.

These women’s kayak shoes are the best water shoes for endless hours spent on the water. They’re designed to keep your feet safe and dry while exploring new places and new waters.

DOUSPRT Men’s Kayak Shoes – Best for Value

DOUSSPRT Sports Aqua Shoes - Best Kayaking Water Shoes for Men _

If you’re looking for the best kayaking water shoes for men other than what we’ve already mentioned above, here it is.

Built for summertime kayaking, the DOUSPRT is the lightest water shoe on the market. This list of the best shoes for kayaking just wouldn’t make sense without this one.

Constructed with an ultra-breathable air mesh upper and drainage holes to help air circulation, it is also one of the best kayak shoes for men who want good ventilation and comfort even as they sweat. 

Priced at under $100, this model offers great value for money compared to similar products from competitors.

No matter how hot the summer sun gets, your feet are sure to stay cool with these polyester air mesh water shoes. The DOUSSPRT keeps your feet dry while protecting them from getting scalded when stepping out of kayaks. 

Plus, with its slip-resistant traction rubber outsoles, your feet will have traction when heading back to shore — no more slipping on hot beaches!

The quick-drying fabric will keep your feet protected from the sun, while the drainage system means you won’t have to deal with wet socks or soggy shoes.

The easy-on, easy-off design of these water shoes makes them perfect for men kayakers. The stretchy laces ensure that the shoes fit like a glove and don’t slip off even during a class 4 river rapids ride. These shoes are also available for women.

NRS Men’s Vibe Kayak Shoes – Best Casual

NRS Vibe Water Shoe - Best Waterproof Shoes for Kayaking _

NRS’s reputation for quality gear continues with this shoe. Crafted from high-quality materials to provide years of use, NRS Men’s Vibe kayak shoes look like sneakers, but they have the durability and performance of water shoes.

So don’t get fooled. They’re water shoes and one of the best shoes for kayaking and beach and ocean excursions. And that makes these shoes the best shoes for ocean kayaking as well.

This water shoe has lightweight, quick-drying, and easy-fitting Cordura nylon. All of the seams have tapes, so your feet can feel cool and dry even in hot and muggy weather. 

And there are laces, so you can adjust them for a perfect fit — no matter what shape your feet are!

Its non-absorbent EVA foam footbed makes it ideal for all waters especially in the ocean; you’ll feel comfortable and confident in any environment. 

The seamless interior features keep your feet from becoming smelly, and the drainage ports give water a way to escape if they get soaked — keeping your feet dry and comfortable.

NRS Vibe kayaking water shoes are the ultimate footwear for paddlers looking for a sturdy shoe to wear in and out of the ocean.

L-RUN Women’s Kayak Shoes – Best Unisex

L-RUN Athletic Shoes - Best Shoes for Kayaking _

When you’re out on ocean water, one of your biggest concerns is footing — look no further than one of the best shoes for kayaking and canoeing: the L-RUN Women’s kayaking shoe for excellent traction. 

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With its innovative soles, this top-rated kayaking shoe will ensure that you don’t slip on wet decks and that your feet stay dry and protected at all times. And despite being a slim-fitting shoe, it’s easy to slip on and off.

The upper of the L- RUN kayak shoe has a lightweight, breathable material that will keep your feet cool and comfortable on hot days.

While its thick rubber soles provide excellent traction on slippery rocks and protect your feet from hard crashes when you’re out paddling in rough ocean water. 

These kayaking shoes have stretchy fabric and feature elastic shoelaces to provide a secure fit even when wet, so you don’t have to worry about slipping.

The quick-drying bottoms have special drainage holes that let water out while protecting the shoe from too much exposure to the sun.

This is the best kayaking shoe for women looking for a water shoe that’s both durable and stylish.

With a grippy, non-slip outsole, you can wear these water shoes for hours in the ocean without having to worry about them falling off or getting too slippery.

Hiitave Women’s Kayak Shoes – Best for Beach Days

hiitave Aqua Sports - Best Water Shoes for Kayaking _

There’s just no way that we’re going to forget including this one on this list of the best shoes for kayaking and other water sports. Seriously, you can wear these kayak shoes to any activity.

The Hiitave kayak shoes for women are essential for a comfortable kayaking experience. Offering a thick and no-slip rubber outsole, plus an exceptionally comfortable and breathable upper.

Hiitave uses an air mesh material in the upper part of these shoes, which makes them super light and breathable. The rubber soles are durable enough to protect your feet from hot sand and sharp rocks while providing additional traction in slippery conditions.

This line of shoes has a wide toe box, which ensures that you can wiggle your toes around comfortably without feeling too constricted. Its Solyte midsole keeps you safe on hard surfaces, and the drainage holes on the bottom make it easy to shake out water when you’re done kayaking.

Hiitive Water Shoes are the perfect blend of fashion and function for women who love kayaking adventures. With Hiitive, you can have fun paddling while looking great and your feet will have the protection it needs.

If you’re in the market for the best water shoes for women for kayaking adventures, boys, get a pair of these for the lady that you’re going to take kayaking with you. And ladies, don’t think twice!

Wave Waterproof Kayak Shoes – Best Budget

The Wave Waterproof Water Shoes - Best Kayaking Water Shoes for Men _

Still haven’t found the best shoes for kayaking for you yet? Of course, there are benefits going after the best waterproof shoes for kayaking and other water adventures.

Wave Waterproof Kayak Shoes will keep your feet cool and comfortable while paddling on the ocean or in rivers. These shoes have a lightweight mesh fabric upper so you’ll have a ventilated forefoot for added breathability.

It also features an easy closure and tightening at the back with nylon laces for a secure fit. Wave water shoes also have a rugged rubber outsole for durable traction while kayaking.

The Wave Kayak Shoes are the perfect footwear for kayakers who want to stay warm and dry in cold weather. Two layers of rubber offer waterproof protection, while a thick sole keeps you insulated as you paddle.

Best Kayaking Shoes Buying Guide

Best Kayaking Shoes Buying Guide _

Factors you need to consider when buying the best shoes for kayaking are:

  1. The Fit
  2. Material
  3. Weight and Height
  4. Season
  5. Size
  6. Terrain

The Fit

Kayaking is a challenging sport, and you need the best shoes for kayaking to be able to perform to your best ability. 

To make sure that the shoe fits right, don’t just try it on — wiggle your toes, jump around, and do whatever necessary to check for leaks. This way, you will get the most out of your kayaking adventure!

Also, the shoes should fit well with the size of your kayak’s casing, and the two should complement each other. 

Ideally, you should feel like your feet are moving without restriction; they should be flexible enough to bend in all directions and to wiggle your toes freely.


Best Kayaking Shoes Buying Guide _ Material

Neoprene is the standard material for water sport shoes and it’s the only material that provides all the necessary qualities. Not only is it lightweight, flexible, and non-slip, but it’s also durable. 

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And since no two feet are alike, when combined with other materials like titanium, you get a customized fit that guarantees security and comfort.

Neoprene shoes feel warm and comfortable in cold weather since the material can insulate heat. Some shoe designs come with a strap, while others don’t; straps can have multiple functions. 

Straps provide a tight fit for your feet that prevents water from lurking inside the shoe during rain. As a bonus, they also allow you to use your shoes as sandals if you want to wear them in the summer!

The shoe’s sole should be from a sturdy rubber sole that offers great protection to your feet from impact with rocks and other hard surfaces, which will also provide a sturdy grip in slippery situations.

You might want to stay away from open-toed water shoes. These shoes will expose your toes to different elements and add vulnerability that may cause injury while paddling. So they’re not really the best shoes for kayaking and other water sports alike.

Weight and Height

Best Kayaking Shoes Buying Guide _ Weight and Height

The best shoes for kayaking should fit snugly without being too tight. They should be lightweight and comfortable enough to keep you in them for long periods. 

The shoe’s grip must be strong enough to protect the foot from rough terrain, but soft enough that it doesn’t damage your feet when walking over rough terrain.

Kayaking shoes come in three different cuts — low-cut, ankle height, and knee-high. Each cut has its advantages. 

Low-cut models are usually less expensive and work great for warm weather, but have limited ankle support

Ankle height models are best for water sports like white water kayaking, and provide the needed support you won’t want to miss in more difficult waters.

Knee-high kayaking shoes are ideal for cold-weather kayaking and river rafting. These shoes keep your feet warm and dry, protecting you from the effects of wading in choppy water and keeping you comfortable when paddling for long periods. 

Their thicker build also makes them more durable than other types of kayaking shoes.


Best Kayaking Shoes Buying Guide _ Season

As you search for a pair of the best shoes for kayaking, take into account the weather conditions that you’ll be using them in. For example, if you’re planning to use your kayaking shoes in cold water during winter, look for insulated varieties.

If kayaking during summer is on your agenda, then make sure to pack a pair of lightweight and breathable water shoes. These shoes are usually made from a thin layer of neoprene, and shaped with a cut that is just below the ankle.


Choosing the correct size is one of the most important decisions you have to make before purchasing a pair of the best shoes for kayaking. There’s no denying that kayaking shoes are going to be tight-fitting — they should be, or else your feet will get wet. 

However, the shoes shouldn’t feel constricted. But can’t allow too much water in because soggy socks are not an enjoyable experience and can lead to blisters and chafing.


Best Kayaking Shoes Buying Guide _ Terrain

Even though kayaking shoes serve multiple purposes, they’re not all created alike. So think about that as well when choosing the best shoes for kayaking for you.

A pair of thin-soled shoes can be better for general river and lake excursions, whereas a thick-soled shoe would be perfect for a trip through areas with sharp rocks and splinters.

Kayaking shoes must be able to handle multiple conditions — from muddy terrain to rocky grounds to sand. While some well-ventilated shoes can protect you from pebble-filled water, others may not be firm enough to support your strength on rocky ground.

Don’t miss Trip Smith’s review video of the best footwear for kayaking journeys. It has everything you need to know about selecting the perfect water shoe.


The Mishansha Kayak Shoes stand out with a unique combination of comfort and durability. Its breathable mesh upper ensures that your feet stay cool and dry, even in wet conditions.

These shoes have the features you need to enjoy your next kayaking trip, no matter what terrain you’re crossing: whether you’re wading, paddling, or walking from one spot to the next, these shoes will keep you comfortable even as the day heats up.

We hope you had a great time out on the water, it’s essential to keep your body comfortable at all times. Our reviews of the best water shoes for kayaking will give paddlers an insight into the best shoes for kayaking and how to find the right kayak shoes.

How does the above list of best shoes for kayaking make you feel? Which shoe are you planning to buy for your next kayaking trip? Tell us about it in the comments below! 

Thanks, and happy kayaking!