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Reviewed by our Paddle Geeks:

THE 10 BEST KAYAK SHOES in 2021

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Our experts at work

We gave our Gear lovers one job:

Test 20 different Kayak Shoes and write reviews of the best.

The result is 10 of the best Kayak Shoes on the market today.

christos nicolaou

Christos Nicolaou

Divemaster and Paddler
Christos is a passionate diver, enthusiastic paddler & amateur SUP racer.

Bradley Axmith boating & sailing editor

Bradley Axmith

Editor at DIVEIN.com
Vikingship building gear enthusiast and waterworld fanatic.

There are many reasons to get yourself a good pair of kayak shoes. Kayak shoes provide protection and stability when kayaking and help you avoid bruising and scratching your feet. They make shore entries less painful, and they provide warmth in colder weather allowing kayakers to kayak for longer periods of time in colder temperatures.

The best kayak shoes offer a strong level of protection without sacrificing comfort. They are also durable and will last you a long time. This list will provide you with the perfect kayak shoes for any kayaker looking for an extra layer of protection. There are soft neoprene models and sandal-types too.

For more information on other indispensable kayaking equipment, check out our Best Kayak Life Vests, Best Kayak Racks, Best Kayak Trailers, and Best Kayak Paddles.

For your consideration we have reviewed the top 10 kayak shoes.

See our Top 10 guide below:

Top 10 Best Kayak Shoes 2020

  1. Mishasha Quick Drying Kayak Shoes
  2. NRS Kicker Remix Kayak Shoes
  3. Merrell Blaze Kayak Shoes
  4. Crocs Swiftwater Kayak Shoes
  5. Body Glove 3T Kayak Shoes
  6. Aleader Water Kayak Shoes
  7. Simari Quick Dry Kayak Shoes
  8. WateLves Quick Dry Kayak Shoes
  9. Yalox Quick Dry Kayak Shoes
  10. Mabove Quick Dry Kayak Shoes

If you have any questions about what are the best kayak shoes – then jump to our comment section below and ask our experts.

Check out our Featured Kayak Shoes

The Mishansha kayak shoes are comfortable, lightweight and dry extremely quickly. They are perfect for kayaking in mild to warm temperatures and are favored by kayak enthusiasts for their flexible design that offers maximum mobility while kayaking.

Where to buy:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs & Features:
  • Spandex tops
  • Flexible rubber outsoles
  • Salt resistant uppers
  • Elastic lacing system
  • Drainage holes
What we like:
  • Extremely quick drying
  • Drainage holes making the shoes more lightweight
  • Solid grip for providing traction
What we don’t like:
  • Small holes for drainage in shoes reduces some heat retention

The soles of the Minshanshas will protect you feet walking over sharp stones and even glass. The quick-drying properties also mean you can comfortably keep them on for a little while longer.

The NRS Kicker Remix Kayak Shoes are the perfect shoes for cold temperatures. They are waterproof and keep your feet warm through their innovative titanium adhesive design. These shoes are also extremely comfortable and have shoe-top drawcords to tighten the shoe around your foot and provide a fits-like-a-glove fitting.

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Neoprene
  • 3mm patterned rubber soles
  • 2mm plastic shims
  • Shoe-top drawcords
What we like:
  • Titanium adhesive maintains warmth for your feet
  • Protect your feet from rocks and slipping
  • Stretchy rubber bands improve lateral stability and help hold the shoe to your foot
  • Also good for other sports like windsurfing or paddle boarding
What we don’t like:
  • Not great for the warm weather

These have the double advantage of being great performing water shoes for surf sports and even will fit into some scuba fins.

Constructed as a kayak/hiking water shoe, the Merrell Blaze Kayak Shoe offers an unparalleled level of protection, stability and durability. Its sandal-like design helps your feet stay comfortable while aiding you with excellent traction to assist in gripping onto surfaces. This pair of shoes is also extremely quick to dry and for this reason is one of the best kayak shoes on the market.

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Synthetic Sole
  • Slip-resistant (with comfort unifly midsole)
  • Leather and Fabric
  • Light and breathable design
  • Easy on and off (with Neoprene collar)
  • Bungee lace
What we like:
  • Quick-drying feature helps avoid blisters
  • Dry to wet flexible
  • Breathable and comfortable
  • Excellent traction
  • Sleek design
What we don’t like:
  • Needs to be worn a day or two before use to add traction
  • Not too good on slick wood
  • Needs more internal support for long distance walks

Merrell makes both comfortable footwear and durable products. These ones fit that reputation, and will hold up really well against heavy walking usage. Even some light hiking too.

The Crocs Men’s Swiftwater Mesh Kayak Shoes are perfect for kayakers looking for a tough and lightweight shoe that doesn’t sacrifice on comfort. One of the most comfortable shoes on this list these Crocs are of exceptional quality. The Swiftwater has quick-drying properties and is perfect for kayaking.

Where to buy:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs & Features:
  • 100% Textile
  • Synthetic sole
  • Mesh upper
  • Imported
  • Iconic crocs comfort
  • Hook and loop closure
What we like:
  • Comfortable
  • Tough and long-lasting
  • Dries fast
  • Very light to wear
  • Impressive fit, cushion and support
What we don’t like:
  • The mesh does not really stretch
  • Sand could get caught between the foot and the inner front straps
  • Sole seems to be a bit stiffer than traditional Crocs soles

The Body Glove 3T kayak shoes provide a unique and natural kayak shoes experience. With the 3T you get all the protection, support and stability of a kayak shoe while maintaining the comfort and mobility of being barefoot. The shoes wrap around your foot for an ergonomically streamlined and comfortable design that offers the highest level of mobility.

Where to buy:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs & Features:
  • 3 toe design
  • Integrated Drainage System
  • Zero heel lift
  • Ultra grip outsole
  • Adjustable shocklace system
What we like:
  • Natural feel
  • Very snug and comfortable
  • Extremely durable sole that offers stability and support
  • One of the best shoes for swimming
What we don’t like:
  • Need to be broken in
  • Sizes run too small

The Body Glove 3Ts are actually quite good for swimming too. At least as far as any kind of shoe goes.

The Aleader Water Kayak Shoes are durable, robust and comfortable. The fabric used in the construction of these shoes allows for a breathable and quick dry shoe. The heel and sole are reinforced with making the shoes more comfortable and supportive. Additionally, the shoes come in a variety of different colours and the customization options are extensive.

Where to buy:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs & Features:
  • Highly breathable, quick-dry textile upper
  • Synthetic ribbon along the side
  • Quick lacing system
  • Absorb shocking midsole
  • Non-marking rubber outsole
What we like:
  • Extremely stable and supportive
  • Provides superior shock absorption, and extra comfort
  • Perfect for colder water
  • Superior level of grip and protection
  • Feel like running shoes
What we don’t like:
  • Don’t dry as fast as some other shoes on this list
  • Takes on water quite easily and can make the shoes heavier

If you end up needing to portage your kayak, you’ll appreciate the soles of these ones. The added protection and shock absorption are like running shoes.

These kayak shoes have both womens and mens versions. They are great for any weather conditions and offer a solid level of grip and comfort. The mesh material that covers the shoes offer flexibility and breathability making this shoe mobile and ergonomic.

Where to buy:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs & Features:
  • 92% polyester
  • Mesh material with stretch
  • Drainage holes in soles
  • Elastic-shoelace with locking mechanisms
  • Unique bump texture design
What we like:
  • Lightweight and durable
  • Offers great balance and stability
  • Ergonomic design offers cushioning and max comfort
  • Elastic-shoelace allows for easy slip on slip off
What we don’t like:
  • Sizes run small

The Samari Quick Dry features drainage holes in the sole for getting rid of water easily as well as a unique sole design that provides maximum stability and support to the bottom of the foot.

The WateLves Quick Dry Kayak Shoes offer a proficient level of support and comfort to your feet when kayaking. The shoes are breathable and each have 7 drainage holes for releasing water taken up in the shoes. Their stylish, innovative and ergonomic design means that you won’t ever want to go kayaking without them.

Where to buy:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs & Features:
  • Anti slip rubber outsole
  • Drainage holes
  • Arch-support
  • Ultra-thin
What we like:
  • Breathable sleek design
  • Easy to put on and take off
  • Nice natural, barefoot-like feel
What we don’t like:
  • Sizes run too big

It’s nice to have the barefoot sensation without the discomfort caused by walking on an old dock or a stony beach. Despite the strange name, these are quite a practical pair of shoes for kayaking.

The stylish, supportive and ergonomically comfortable Yalox Kayak Shoes are a must have for any kayak enthusiast. They offer an easy slip on, slip off design and provide support to the arch and heel of your foot in order to give you a high level of support and protection when kayaking. This model also comes in a range of colors and styles in order to accommodate your tastes.

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Ultra-lightweight
  • Fine Stretch on Uppers
  • Thick Foam Arch-Support Insert
  • Drainage Holes
  • Non-slip Outer Sole
What we like:
  • Provides great comfort and stability
  • Great for putting on and taking off
  • Offers a high level of arch and heel support
  • Lots of customization options
  • A little more protection for toes
What we don’t like:
  • Not great for cold weather
  • Thin soles

While extra comfort means a little less underfoot protection, the extra lip in front of the toes is welcome when the typical irritant of slamming your toes on the dock occurs.

The Mabove Quick Dry Kayak Shoes offer a natural design that is perfect for kayaking. These shoes provide toe and heel protection and are extremely comfortable and supportive. As well as being breathable the Mabove kayak shoes have quick drying properties and drainage holes for getting rid of water coming in the shoes.

Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Five Toes Design
  • Honeycomb thick insole
  • Anti-slip soles design
  • Drainage Holes
  • Elastic laces for quick tightening
What we like:
  • Comfortable design
  • Superior durability
  • Quick tightening and fitting
  • Provides a high level of protection for toes and heel
What we don’t like:
  • The sizes run small
  • Can fill with sand and pebbles

These shoes also offer elastic laces for quick tightening on the go. The Maboves also offer good thermal protection and can be used in the summer or winter.

What to look for when buying Kayak Shoes

When deciding on the best pair of kayak shoes to buy there are a variety of factors to take into consideration. It all comes down to what temperatures you’ll be kayaking in and what surfaces the kayak shoes will be used on. Additionally, it is important to take into consideration the shape of your foot to ensure maximum comfort. Accordingly the factors to consider when buying the best kayak shoes are:

Weather and Temperature

The weather conditions and temperature of where you will be kayaking play a major role in what kayak shoes you’ll need to choose. For example if you are kayaking somewhere cold you will need kayak shoes that offer good thermal protection. Alternatively, if you are kayaking somewhere warm you will need kayak shoes that provide a good level of breath-ability.

Materials

The materials used in the construction of the kayak shoes are important depending on the environment and how much mobility you would like to have when kayaking. Neoprene and Spandex are classic materials used for kayak shoes and they ensure heat retention. Polyester is also used in some kayak shoes and provides more comfort.

Design

Kayak shoes come in a variety of different designs. For example, there are kayak shoes that look more like trainers such as the Aleader Water Kayak Shoes. Alternatively, you can get kayak shoes that have a sandal style design just like the Merrell Blaze. Finally, some kayak shoes like the Body Glove 3T and Mabove Quick Dry offer a more natural foot design. Ultimately, the choice of shoe design comes down to what you feel to be most comfortable and supportive to your kayaking style.

Budget

As when buying most products, another factor to consider is your budget. With kayak shoes, the price often reflects the quality of the shoes and for this reason the high end kayak shoes tend to be more efficient. That said, they also require more of an investment, so depending on how into your kayaking you are you might want to think of getting a good pair of kayak shoes.

Looking for water socks or water shoes? Check out these options.

FAQ – Frequently asked questions about kayak shoes

Do you have a favorite pair of kayak shoes?

What do you love about them?

Let us know in the comments below what you think makes the perfect kayak shoes.

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