Kayaking is a fun sport that, like many other water sports, requires the right gear to let you do the job well and safely. The best water shoes for kayaking are crucial pieces of equipment that can provide necessary traction to keep you safe on slippery surfaces, while also protecting your feet from sharp or falling objects that you might encounter in or out of the water.
- What Are The Best Water Shoes?
- Editor Favorites: Our Top Water Shoe Reviews
- What to Look for in the Best Water Shoes for Your Next Kayaking Adventure
- Final Review of The Best Men’s Water Shoes
What Are The Best Water Shoes?
There are so many shoes to sort through when trying to find the best water shoes. Luckily, we already did the hard work for you. Our reviews highlight some of the best water shoes for hiking, rocky beaches, kayaking fanatics, and for stand-up paddle boarders to stay on top of their game. But if you’re in a hurry, here’s a quick look at the best men’s water shoes:
Quick Answer: What Are The Best Water Shoes for Men?
- Speedo Seaside Lace 5.0 Athletic Water Shoe
- NRS Paddle Wetshoes
- WateLves Water Shoes
- Quick Drying Water Shoes by ALEADER
- YIZER Water Shoes
Editor Favorites: Our Top Water Shoe Reviews
We’ve rounded up some of the best water shoes for kayaking that stand up to wear and tear, protect your feet from the elements, will help keep your balance on wet surfaces and offer the right amount of support for most kayakers. Hopefully, our reviews help you choose the best pair for your needs, whether you’re a kayaking hobbyist or enthusiast.
Speedo Seaside Lace 5.0 Athletic Water Shoe Review
The Speedo Seaside Lace 5.0 Athletic Water Shoe is one of Speedo’s designs meant for sports like kayaking. This shoe looks and acts much like a regular athletic shoe, only it has features that allow it to drain water fast, wick away moisture from your feet, and support and protects your feet in and out of your kayak.
These shoes have a breathable upper mesh that allows water to drain fast and dries your feet quickly from water and sweat. Speedo even designed its innovative outsole to stream water away from your shoe, keeping it from pooling near the bottom.
- Advanced outsole that not only supports and protects the foot but helps keep the shoes dry from water
- Bungee lacing system to improve help the shoe mold to your feet for extra protection and support
- Toggle enclosure on the laces for simple adjustments
- Lightweight, even when submerged in the water
- Removable inner sole to fit your orthotics, if needed
- Somewhat thin sole, which may not be adequate for walking along rocks and other sharp objects
- The inner liner may detach from the shoes after several uses
The Speedo Seaside Lace 5.0 Athletic Water Shoe may be an excellent option for those who don’t plan to spend much time on rough surfaces away from their kayak. But, for those who enjoy are looking for an adequate water shoe to keep their feet dry and protected when they’re in the water, this pair can be a viable option.
NRS Paddle Wetshoes
The NRS Paddle Wetshoes consist of neoprene on the sides and upper, with plenty of drainage areas to help water escape quickly. These shoes can help kayakers who prefer cold water areas keep their feet warm, thanks to the thick material that holds water away from the feet and dries them fast.
These shoes are unique in that they come up past the ankles and onto the shin area. With a zipper on the side, you can even pull them over your wetsuit, drysuit, or water socks for extra protection and warmth. And, the design helps to protect your ankles and legs, offering excellent support and relieving pressure points in your feet and ankle joints.
A durable, thick sole can give your feet adequate protection from whatever surfaces you tend to walk on your kayaking adventure. You’ll have a 3-mm outsole and another 5-mm insole for cushion and a barrier between your feet and the surface.
- Extra padding outside the ankle to prevent pressure points as you kayak
- VaporLoft lining keeps water away from your feet to keep them dry and warm in cold conditions
- 3-mm sole provides excellent traction and protection on rough and slippery surfaces
- Inner fleece layer molds to the skin to help insulate your feet
- No wide widths available
- May run small
The NRS Paddle Wetshoes may be the best option on this list for kayakers who prefer areas with cold water. These shoes offer plenty of protection from cold conditions with a design that mimics how a whale’s blubber keeps it warm in cold water. Plus, you’ll benefit from a shoe that reaches past the ankle for extra support for your feet and joints.
WateLves Water shoe
The WateLves Water Shoes are possibly one of the most stylish pairs of water shoes on the market, coming in several color options and looking different than most water shoes. These shoes have a mesh fabric upper that is super breathable and keeps the shoe lightweight, even when they’re deep in the water.
You’ll probably notice that these shoes from WateLves are incredibly lightweight, thanks to the EVA outsole to keep the weight to a minimum. Still, with rubber patching on the outsole to aid the traction on the shoes, you should be able to get a good grip on slippery surfaces.
- Holes in the outsole help water drain quickly from the shoes
- Anti-slip, gripping outsole stays durable and keeps you safe, even after extended wear
- The slip-on style makes the shoe simple to put on and remove quickly
- Lightweight midsole gives you the right amount of bounce-back in each step
- May run a bit larger than other shoes
- These shoes may not mold as tightly to your feet as others, which could allow more water, sand, or mud into them
If you’re looking for a lightweight and stylish water shoe, the WateLves Water Shoes might be your best choice. Kayakers who plan on being in the water for a good chunk of time may enjoy these shoes, as they won’t weigh you down in the water and they can drain quickly once you’re back on dry land.
ALEADER Quick Drying Water Shoes
The Quick Drying Water Shoes by ALEADER offer a unique tread system using FluidFlow Technology that literally streams water away from the shoes every time you take a step. The sole works together with the engineered mesh to offer a super-quick drying system for serious foot comfort.
These shoes come with a ComforDry sockliner built in to keep your feet as dry as possible by whisking away moisture that enters. The upper has plenty of draining and breathing holes also to allow water to escape, and even the strategically-placed holes in the sole help water move away from your feet.
- Breathable mesh that keeps your feet dry from water and sweat
- Very lightweight shoes, even when submerged
- A unique style that looks more like a regular shoe than a water shoe
- Excellent midsole support that mimics the feel of running shoes, offering some bounce that returns your energy to your legs and feet
- Rubber outsole with innovative tread for traction on a variety of surfaces
- Doesn’t have any extra cushion around the ankle, which may make the shoes feel uncomfortable after extended wear
- Some customers think that the shoes fit too narrow
- The shoes may not hug the feet enough to keep sand and debris from entering
ALEADER Quick Drying Water Shoes can be an excellent option for people who want a high-performance water shoe without looking like a water shoe. These shoes come in several color options and designs to match your preferences, and they don’t look much different than a track shoe. However, you won’t sacrifice comfort and support for style, since ALEADER designed these shoes to keep your feet supported and comfortable with a midsole arch support.
YIZER Water Shoes
YIZER Water Shoes are so lightweight and durable that even gym-goers use them for their workouts. But, Yizer created these shoes for water enthusiasts like yourself, who need a lightweight shoe that is still durable and reliable when it comes to draining, grip, and safety.
These shoes can hug your feet to make them as waterproof as possible and keep debris from entering through the ankle area. Once you slip them on, they’ll mold to your foot shape. You can adjust them further by pulling the adjustable straps around the ankle and heel.
The sole of these YIZER shoes assists with keeping water from reaching your feet. The outsole sports three drainage holes to allow any water that gets inside the shoes escape fast. Additionally, the sole’s innovative design emulates the feet of a frog with gripping pores that grasp onto virtually any surface with ease.
- Both the insole and outsole provide cushioning to keep your feet comfortable and relieve pressure points as you walk
- Elastic, flexible upper is breathable to allow air to flow through the shoes and keep your feet dry
- The outsole can grip even in the water, thanks to an adhesive-like grip
- These shoes may be able to fit most wide-width feet with their stretchy upper material
- Sand and dirt may seep through the top mesh
- May not keep feet warm in cold water conditions
The YIZER Water Shoes may be an option for kayakers who prefer warm water spots to consider. These shoes are incredibly lightweight and offer excellent traction on various surfaces, as well as a comfortable flex for natural movements. The fabric upper will dry feet fast because of its breathability and allow the right amount of airflow through the shoes to keep them cool and free of sweat.
Columbia Men’s Drainmaker III Water Shoes
Columbia Men’s Drainmaker III Water Shoe is a good choice if you are looking for a mesh upper. The Drainmaker III is one of the fastest water shoes to drain water. This upper mesh is almost airy and drainable making it unquestionable when it comes to its breathability. Good for hiking hills and crossing rivers.
- Insole has full drain holes including the inside base and sides
- Techlite midsole has decent cushion making it very comfortable for long walks
- Exterior sole is capable of walking wet rocks and over dry trails because of its sturdy, tough and grippy rubber on the sole
- For people who would like to wear water shoes barefoot, the shoes’ fit is slightly large, so you may need to wear socks
Based on the overall construction, you can wear these mesh uppers either with a pair of socks or you can wear it barefoot. The shoes’ durable toe bumper and straightforward traditional lacing system are excellent, making the shoes a highly recommended water shoes.
Types of Water Shoes: What’s the Best for Kayaking?
As you search for the best water shoes for kayaking, you might notice different types of water shoes and wonder what kind you need for kayaking.
Water booties are more like socks than shoes and resemble liners that you’d put in your shoes for extra comfort or moisture-wicking. This type of water shoe does an excellent job at keeping moisture from your foot and offering some protection, but they won’t provide as much protection as you might need for a sport like kayaking.
Water sandals offer a bit more protection than a bootie, covering most of your foot and providing some protection for your toes. They have open areas, usually on the sides and tops, to allow water to escape to keep your feet dry.
The type of shoe you’ll want to focus on for kayaking is a water shoe, sometimes called a water sneaker. These shoes will fully enclose your foot, yet be flexible enough for you to move your feet comfortably. They typically have thick soles with excellent traction to give you good grip as you move in and out of your kayak.
What to Look for in the Best Water Shoes for Your Next Kayaking Adventure
To find the best water shoes for kayaking, you should know what constitutes a helpful shoe. Your kayaking shoes shouldn’t hinder your movements or make your feet feel heavy. Instead, they should help you move comfortably and safely, keeping your feet as dry as possible in the water and giving you an excellent grip on various surfaces.
Here are a few things to look for when you search for the best water shoes for kayaking:
Type of Sole
The sole of your shoes is a crucial element to the overall helpfulness of them. One of the most helpful elements of water shoes is their ability to give you traction as you walk along the beach or rocky surfaces or move in and out of your kayak.
A thick, rubber outsole is a necessary part of a shoe for kayaking. Not only will this type of sole give you the traction your feet need to grip rocks and other slick surfaces, but it can also protect the bottoms of your feet from sharp rocks and other objects you might encounter in the water or on land.
Additionally, the sole helps support your arch, so it’s necessary to find one that meets the needs of your arch. If you aren’t sure of your arch type, you can step into a shallow pan of water and then step onto a piece of blank paper. Look at your footprint to determine your arch type:
- Is your arch in the footprint almost non-existent? You probably have high arches and should find water shoes with adequate arch support in the midsole area.
- Do you see about half the arch? If so, you have normal arches and usually won’t need any particular type of arch support in your shoes.
- Can you see your full footprint with a wide mid-section? You likely have flat feet and should find shoes that support the midsole and heel to prevent your feet from turning inwards, also known as overpronation.
Type of Material
Of course, you want to find a pair of water shoes that will hold up to excessive wear and tear and, hopefully, last for years to come. However, there’s another important reason to consider the material that makes up your shoes: the water temperature.
You might kayak in either warm or cold water, and you’ll want a shoe that can keep your feet as comfortable as possible, depending on where you usually kayak.
Cold water kayakers should look for a thicker, more waterproof shoe, which usually consists of a neoprene material that can keep as much water out as possible. Kayakers who prefer warm water will want a lightweight shoe with thinner material and plenty of ventilation to keep feet from becoming hot and sweaty.
Ventilation, Drainage, and Moisture-Wicking Ability
Water shoes should act as a helpful tool on your kayaking trips. There’s always a possibility of water getting into your kayak or you needing to wade through the water, getting your feet wet in the process. Therefore, it’s essential that you find water shoes with excellent drainage abilities to keep the water out as soon as you reach dry land.
Neoprene is one of the best materials for water shoes because it’s both lightweight and porous, allowing water to come out of the shoe. Additionally, neoprene as moisture-wicking capabilities that can help your feet dry fast after you’re out of the water.
Finding a wide-width water shoe isn’t a necessity for every kayaker, but it’s crucial for those who can’t comfortably fit into a regular-width shoe. Shoes that cramp your natural toe splay will not only feel uncomfortable as you kayak, but they can damage the joints in your feet over time.
You may need to pay a bit more to find a shoe that comes in a wide width, but it’s necessary for proper foot health.
Final Review of The Best Men’s Water Shoes
For kayaking safety and performance, it’s in your best interest to find a water shoe or sneaker that hugs the foot, offers supreme gripping technology, and assists in keeping your feet as dry as possible.
Whether you prefer to kayak in cold or warm water can affect the type of water shoe you choose. Still, please don’t compromise on comfort, support, safety, or drainage. These are essential features of water shoes for kayakers that not only help your performance but can also keep you safe in and out of the water.
Water shoes come in various styles and meet different budgets, but you can likely find one that matches your financial and aesthetic preferences from this list. We hope our reviews helped you get one step closer to finding an excellent water shoe for your kayaking needs.
top image by loriklaszlo (Deposit Photos)