10 Best Kayak Shoes in 2022

Testing a pair of kayak shoes while kayaking

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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 VestsBest Kayak RacksBest Kayak Trailers, and Best Kayak Paddles.

The Top 5 Kayak Shoes in 2022

All the Kayaks Shoes We've tested

mishansha-quick-drying-featured
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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.

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.

Specs & Features

  • Spandex tops
  • Flexible rubber outsoles
  • Salt resistant uppers
  • Elastic lacing system
  • Drainage holes

Our Overall Review

4.8

Reasons to buy:

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    Extremely quick drying
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    Drainage holes making the shoes more lightweight
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    Solid grip for providing traction

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markSmall holes for drainage in shoes reduces some heat retention
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Mishansha Quick Drying

Best for Comfort

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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.

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

Specs & Features

  • Neoprene
  • 3mm patterned rubber soles
  • 2mm plastic shims
  • Shoe-top drawcords

Our Overall Review

4.7

Reasons to buy:

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    Titanium adhesive maintains warmth for your feet
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    Protect your feet from rocks and slipping
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    Stretchy rubber bands improve lateral stability and help hold the shoe to your foot
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    Also good for other sports like windsurfing or paddle boarding

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markNot great for the warm weather
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NRS Kicker Remix

Most Durable

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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.

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.

Specs & Features

  • Synthetic Sole
  • Slip-resistant (with comfort unifly midsole)
  • Leather and Fabric
  • Light and breathable design
  • Easy on and off (with Neoprene collar)

Our Overall Review

4.6

Reasons to buy:

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    Quick-drying feature helps avoid blisters
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    Dry to wet flexible
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    Breathable and comfortable
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    Excellent traction
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    Sleek design

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markNeeds to be worn a day or two before use to add traction
  • check-markNot too good on slick wood
  • check-markNeeds more internal support for long distance walks
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Merrell Blaze

Highest Quality Material

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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.

Specs & Features

  • 100% Textile
  • Synthetic sole
  • Mesh upper
  • Imported
  • Iconic crocs comfort

Our Overall Review

4.6

Reasons to buy:

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    Comfortable
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    Tough and long-lasting
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    Dries fast
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    Very light to wear
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    Impressive fit, cushion and support

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markThe mesh does not really stretch
  • check-markSand could get caught between the foot and the inner front straps
  • check-markSole seems to be a bit stiffer than traditional Crocs soles
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Crocs Swiftwater

Best for Mobility

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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.

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

Specs & Features

  • 3 toe design
  • Integrated Drainage System
  • Zero heel lift
  • Ultra grip outsole
  • Adjustable shocklace system

Our Overall Review

4.5

Reasons to buy:

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    Natural feel
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    Very snug and comfortable
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    Extremely durable sole that offers stability and support
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    One of the best shoes for swimming

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markNeed to be broken in
  • check-markSizes run too small
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Body Glove 3T

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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.

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.

Specs & Features

  • Highly breathable, quick-dry textile upper
  • Synthetic ribbon along the side
  • Quick lacing system
  • Absorb shocking midsole
  • Non-marking rubber outsole

Our Overall Review

4.4

Reasons to buy:

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    Extremely stable and supportive
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    Provides superior shock absorption, and extra comfort
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    Perfect for colder water
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    Superior level of grip and protection
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    Feel like running shoes

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markDon’t dry as fast as some other shoes on this list
  • check-markTakes on water quite easily and can make the shoes heavier
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Aleader Water

simari-quick-dry-featured
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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.

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.

Specs & Features

  • 92% polyester
  • Mesh material with stretch
  • Drainage holes in soles
  • Elastic-shoelace with locking mechanisms
  • Unique bump texture design

Our Overall Review

4.2

Reasons to buy:

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    Lightweight and durable
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    Offers great balance and stability
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    Ergonomic design offers cushioning and max comfort
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    Elastic-shoelace allows for easy slip on slip off

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markSizes run small
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Simari Quick Dry

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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.

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.

Specs & Features

  • Anti slip rubber outsole
  • Drainage holes
  • Arch-support
  • Ultra-thin

Our Overall Review

4

Reasons to buy:

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    Breathable sleek design
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    Easy to put on and take off
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    Nice natural, barefoot-like feel

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markSizes run too big
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WateLves Quick Dry

yalox-quick-dry-featured
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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.

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.

Specs & Features

  • Ultra-lightweight
  • Fine Stretch on Uppers
  • Thick Foam Arch-Support Insert
  • Drainage Holes
  • Non-slip Outer Sole

Our Overall Review

3.8

Reasons to buy:

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    Provides great comfort and stability
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    Great for putting on and taking off
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    Offers a high level of arch and heel support
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    Lots of customization options
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    A little more protection for toes

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markNot great for cold weather
  • check-markThin soles
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Yalox Quick Dry

mabove-quick-dry-featured
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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.

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.

Specs & Features

  • Five Toes Design
  • Honeycomb thick insole
  • Anti-slip soles design
  • Drainage Holes
  • Elastic laces for quick tightening

Our Overall Review

3.5

Reasons to buy:

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    Comfortable design
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    Superior durability
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    Quick tightening and fitting
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    Provides a high level of protection for toes and heel

Reasons NOT to buy:

  • check-markThe sizes run small
  • check-markCan fill with sand and pebbles
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Where to buy:

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Mabove Quick Dry

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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. Unlike boat shoes that are usually made of leather, Neoprene and Spandex are classic materials used for kayak shoes and they ensure heat retentionPolyester 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

What are the best kayak shoes?

For a kayak shoes to be considered in the top 10, they have to combine water resistance, protection and comfort. Of course it doesn’t hurt if they have some style and offer some other cool and unique features such as elastic straps and anti slip soles.

Check out the list of our favorite kayaks shoes:

  • Mishasha Quick Drying Kayak Shoes
  • NRS Kicker Remix Kayak Shoes
  • Merrell Blaze Kayak Shoes
  • Crocs Swiftwater Kayak Shoes
  • Body Glove 3T Kayak Shoes
  • Aleader Water Kayak Shoes
  • Simari Quick Dry Kayak Shoes
  • WateLves Quick Dry Kayak Shoes
  • Yalox Quick Dry Kayak Shoes
  • Mabove Quick Dry Kayak Shoes
What are kayak shoes used for?

Kayak shoes are designed for use with a kayak and are meant to be amphibious shoes that provide you with protection in the water as well as a higher level of comfort. Kayak shoes should also offer mobility and support to the different areas of the foot associated with kayaking such as the arch, heel and toes.

If you are looking for kayak shoes, chances are you need a pair of gloves for kayaking too.

Find the best ones here.

What shoes should I use for a sit on top kayak?

Sit on top kayaks expose your feet to water meaning that you will need a good pair of kayak shoes that are quick drying and offer a level of thermal protection. Additionally, it is useful for you kayak shoes to have drainage holes to get rid of any water that gets into your shoes.

Find the best sit on top kayaks here.

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