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Top-Notch Kayaking Shoes for 2023: A Comprehensive Guide

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Top-Notch Kayaking Shoes for 2023: A Comprehensive Guide

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Whether you’re a seasoned kayaker or just starting out, having the right footwear can make all the difference in comfort and performance on the water.

With so many options available, it can be challenging to find the perfect pair of kayak shoes that meet your specific needs.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the top-notch kayaking shoes for 2023, covering various styles, materials, and price points to help you make an informed decision and enhance your paddling experience.

Overview of Premium Kayaking Shoes

kayaking shoes for a comfortable and safe kayaking experience.

In 2023, the market offers a wide range of kayak shoes, ranging from lightweight water sneakers to paddling shoes with thermal protection. Each type of shoe is designed to cater to different kayaking conditions and preferences.

Some shoes prioritize underfoot protection and warmth, while others focus on keeping your feet cool and dry with mesh uppers and drainage holes.

These shoes are designed to handle slippery surfaces, such as wet rocks and creek beds, and provide the necessary grip and support for various water-based activities like paddling, canoeing, and paddle boarding.

To help you find the perfect pair, we’ve put together a list of the top kayak shoes of 2023, each standing out in a particular category. Our list includes top picks for:

  • All-rounders
  • Hiking
  • Women’s choices
  • Budget-friendly options
  • Lightweight champions
  • Paddling
  • Stylish performers
  • Versatile picks
  • Ultralight options

Read on to discover the best kayak shoes for your next adventure.

With detailed and rigorous research, we provide our readers with the finest recommendations. Our recommendations are our opinions. Our cause is backed by reader support- for every click made through one of our affiliates links, a commission may be earned at no extra expense to you! As an Amazon Associate, Reviewsopedia may earn a commission from qualifying purchases. Thank you and enjoy!

Best All-Rounder: Astral Water Shoes

Astral Water Shoes

Best All-Rounder


Price: Varies but $110 at time of publish.


  • Rubber outsole
  • Mesh upper or holes in outsole’s perimeter for drainage
  • Cross-foot tightening system. It helps in providing greater strength and stability to the structure.


  • Excellent performance, durability, and comfort
  • Lightweight and quick-drying
  • Low-profile design with smooth rubber outsole
  • Great grip on wet rocks


  • May not be suitable for very cold temperatures

Astral Water Shoes are a top choice for kayaking enthusiasts, providing outstanding performance, durability, and comfort for various water activities. These shoes offer:

  • Lightweight design
  • Quick-drying material
  • Low-profile design with a smooth rubber outsole for excellent grip
  • Mesh upper or holes in the outsole’s perimeter for efficient drainage
  • Cross-foot tightening system for a secure fit

With these features, Astral Water Shoes are a reliable option for all your boat sports and boating adventures.

Best for Hiking: Astral Brewer 2.0

Astral Brewer 2.0

Best for Hiking


Price: $124 at time of publish


  • Hydrophobic canvas upper
  • Cordura® and Airmesh materials
  • G Rubber outsole


  • Versatile for hiking and water activities
  • Excellent traction and grip
  • Quick drainage with ports in toe and heel


  • May not offer adequate toe, heel, or upper foot protection

The Astral Brewer 2.0 comes highly recommended for enthusiasts of both hiking and water activities. This sneaker-style water shoe offers excellent performance and grip on various surfaces, including creek beds, making it suitable for:

  • kayaking
  • canoeing
  • paddleboarding
  • fishing
  • beach activities

Crafted with a hydrophobic canvas upper and Cordura® and Airmesh materials, the Brewer 2.0 provides a durable and comfortable fit. The features of the Brewer 2.0 include:

  • Hydrophobic canvas upper
  • Cordura® and Airmesh materials
  • G Rubber outsole with proprietary rubber compound
  • Superior grip and remarkable abrasion resistance on slippery surfaces

With drainage ports in the toe and heel, these shoes allow for quick water flow and drying, making them perfect for your next hiking and kayaking adventure.

Best for Women: Xtratuf Riptide

Xtratuf Riptide

Best For Women


Price: $40-85 at time of publish


  • Breathable airmesh fabric
  • Drainage holes on sides
  • Slip-resistant bottom
  • Bungee system for easy wearing


  • Excellent traction and protection
  • Stylish design
  • Convenient cinch mechanism


  • Longer drying time
  • Higher price compared to other options

The Xtratuf Riptide is a top choice for women, offering great traction, protection, and a stylish design.

Crafted with a breathable airmesh fabric and drainage holes on the sides, these shoes are perfect for aquatic adventures.

The slip-resistant bottom ensures you have a secure grip on wet surfaces while the bungee system allows for easy wearing and adjustment.

However, the Riptide may take longer to dry compared to other options and comes at a higher price.

Overall, the Xtratuf Riptide is a fantastic option for women seeking a reliable and fashionable water shoe.

Budget-Friendly Option: Speedo Surf Knit Pro

Speedo Surf Knit Pro

Budget-Friendly Option


Price: $40 at time of publish


  • Breathable and lightweight upper
  • Water-resistant insole
  • Sticky, rubberized outsoles with S-TRAC technology for improved traction and performance


  • Affordable
  • Slip-on design
  • Lightweight build
  • Reliable traction


  • May lack protection and durability

The Speedo Surf Knit Pro offers a cost-effective choice for budget-conscious individuals. This affordable slip-on water shoe offers:

  • Flexible build
  • Solid traction
  • Lightweight construction
  • Advanced technology for a comfortable and breathable upper
  • Water-resistant insole
  • Sticky rubberized outsoles with S-TRAC technology for improved traction and performance.

While the Speedo Surf Knit Pro may not be as durable or protective as other options, it provides a great balance of comfort and functionality at an attractive price point.

Lightweight Champion: DLGJPA Lightweight Shoe

Price: $40.00 at time of publish


  • Breathable mesh upper
  • Cushioned insole for support
  • Durable rubber outsole for traction


  • Budget-friendly
  • Quick-drying
  • Lightweight comfort


  • May not be as durable or supportive as other options

The DLGJPA Lightweight Shoe is an ideal pick if comfort is a priority, yet you’re mindful of your budget. This lightweight shoe offers:

  • Quick-drying capabilities
  • Breathable comfort, thanks to its mesh upper and cushioned insole
  • Durable rubber outsole that provides reliable traction on various surfaces

Making it suitable for a range of water-based activities.

However, the DLGJPA Lightweight Shoe may not be as durable or supportive as other options in this list, making it a better option for those seeking a lightweight and comfortable shoe for casual water activities.

Top Pick for Paddling: NRS Paddle Wetshoe

NRS Paddle Wetshoe

Top Pick for Paddling


Price: $64 at time of publish


  • Full neoprene bootie with snug fit
  • Terraprene upper with fleece lining for warmth


  • Designed for paddling
  • Great traction on wet rock
  • Warm and comfortable fit


  • Lacks support
  • Takes a long time to dry

The NRS Paddle Wetshoe is specifically designed for paddling, making it our top pick for this category. This neoprene bootie features:

  • Full Terraprene upper with a fleece lining, providing warmth and insulation from cold water
  • Excellent traction on slippery surfaces, such as wet rocks
  • Ideal for kayaking, rafting, or stand-up paddleboarding

Although the NRS Paddle Wetshoe lacks support and takes longer to dry compared to other options, its warmth, comfort, and specialized design make it a top choice for those seeking a dedicated paddling shoe.

Stylish Performer: Astral Loyak

Astral Loyak

Stylish Performer


Price: $95 at time of publish


  • Low-profile and sleek design
  • Self-draining Flex-Grip™ outsole for excellent traction


  • Stylish and fashionable
  • Flexible and comfortable fit
  • Great drainage and grip


  • Limited durability
  • Not suitable for cold weather

The Astral Loyak is a go-to choice for those who aim to combine style with performance on the water. This high-performance water shoe offers:

  • Excellent traction
  • Flexibility
  • Drainage
  • Sleek and fashionable design

The self-draining Flex-Grip™ outsole provides exceptional balance and ground feel, ensuring you stay steady on slippery surfaces.

While the Loyak may not be the most durable option and is not suitable for colder weather, its stylish design and high-performance capabilities make it a favorite among fashion-conscious kayakers.

Women's Choice: Astral Loyak - Women's

Astral Loyak - Women's

Women's Choice


Price: $95 at publish


  • Breathable mesh upper
  • Drainage holes on side and heel
  • Slip-resistant bottom


  • Stylish, lightweight, and versatile
  • Fantastic traction and flexibility
  • Designed specifically for women


  • Limited upper foot protection
  • No thermal protection

The Astral Loyak - Women’s offers a stylish, lightweight, and versatile option for women seeking a high-performance water shoe.

With fantastic traction, flexibility, and a design tailored specifically for women, this shoe is perfect for various water-based activities. T

he breathable mesh upper and drainage holes on the side and heel ensure optimal comfort and quick drying.

However, the Loyak - Women’s may have limited upper foot protection and no thermal protection, making it less suitable for colder conditions.

VIFUUR Water Sports Shoes

VIFUUR Water Sports Shoes

Best Versatile Water Shoe


Price: $9.88 - $11.99 at time of publish. At this price you could buy every color and still be ahead.

Specifications: VIFUUR Water Sports Shoes are made of a stretchy fabric upper material, which provides a comfortable and flexible fit.


  • Quick-drying: The materials used in VIFUUR Water Sports Shoes allow for quick drying, perfect for water activities.
  • Lightweight: These shoes are designed to be lightweight, which enhances comfort and agility during water sports.
  • Breathable: The breathable fabric helps to keep your feet cool and comfortable, even in hot weather.
  • Non-slip sole: The rubber sole provides excellent traction on wet surfaces, reducing the risk of slipping.

VIFUUR Water Sports Shoes are are versatile and suitable for a wide variety of water activities, including swimming, boating, kayaking, and more. They are easy to wear with a slip-on design and elastic straps or laces, these shoes are convenient to put on and take off.


Although VIFUUR Water Sports Shoes offer several advantages, there are also a few potential drawbacks to consider:

  • Limited durability: Some users have reported that the shoes may not withstand heavy or prolonged use.
  • Sizing issues: Finding the right fit can be challenging since sizes may run small or large for certain individuals.
  • Minimal arch support: These shoes may not provide adequate arch support for those with specific foot conditions or high arches.
  • Less protection: The lightweight nature of the shoes means they might not protect your feet as well as heavier or more rugged water footwear options.
  • Not suitable for all terrains: While great for water activities, VIFUUR Water Sports Shoes may not perform as well on rough or uneven surfaces outside of water settings.

Overall, it's important to consider your specific needs and preferences before deciding if VIFUUR Water Sports Shoes are the right choice for you.

Ultralight Option: Xero Aqua X Sport

Xero Aqua X Sport

Ultralight Option


Price: $139.99 at time of publish


  • Breathable mesh upper
  • Quick-dry lining
  • Non-absorbent tongue


  • Ultralight and versatile
  • Good grip and drainage
  • Fastening system for secure fit


  • Limited upper foot protection
  • No thermal protection

Ideal for those prioritizing lightness without sacrificing performance, the Xero Aqua X Sport Water Shoe is a versatile pick for paddling and watersports. With good grip, drainage, and a fastening system for a secure fit, the Aqua X Sport is perfect for various water activities.

The breathable mesh upper and quick-dry lining ensure your feet stay comfortable and dry during your adventures. However, the Xero Aqua X Sport may have limited upper foot protection and no thermal protection, making it less suitable for colder conditions or more demanding activities.

Choosing the Perfect Kayaking Shoe

Choosing the right kayaking shoe necessitates consideration of factors like:

  • Weather conditions
  • Materials used
  • Design
  • Your financial limit

In colder climates, thermal protection becomes pivotal, with neoprene booties being the recommended choice for keeping your feet warm. On the other hand, mesh uppers and drainage holes are ideal for warmer conditions to keep your feet cool and dry.

The type of materials used in the construction of your kayaking shoe will affect its durability, comfort, and protection. Some key features to consider are:

  • Rubber outsoles for excellent traction on slippery surfaces
  • Toe and heel protection for wading in shallow water and performing extended portages
  • A flexible design for easy maneuverability
  • A fastening system to ensure the shoe remains firmly attached to your foot during turbulent water activities

These features will help ensure that your kayaking shoe meets your specific needs and provides the necessary support and functionality for your water adventures.

Lastly, your budget should be a significant consideration in your quest for the ideal pair of kayak shoes. While investing in high-end shoes may offer better performance and durability, there are budget-friendly options available that still provide excellent comfort, traction, and protection.

By taking into account these factors, you’ll be able to find the best kayak shoe that fits your needs and enhances your kayaking experience.


In conclusion, finding the perfect pair of kayaking shoes involves considering various factors, including weather conditions, materials, design, and budget. Our comprehensive guide to the top-notch kayaking shoes for 2023 offers a selection of the best options available for different needs and preferences.

Whether you’re looking for a versatile all-rounder like the Astral Water Shoes, a stylish performer like the Astral Loyak, or an ultralight option like the Xero Aqua X Sport, there’s a kayaking shoe out there to enhance your water-based adventures.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best shoes to wear while kayaking?

Neoprene paddling boots are great for kayaking, providing lightweight, water-ready protection for your toes and feet. Sandals are not a good choice can be a as they provide less little protection than booties and can gather muck during put-ins and takeouts. The Astral Loyak AC offers a great option for water and slippery surfaces after you are moving around on ground and rocky surfaces. However they are not recommended for whitewater.

Are flip flops OK for kayaking?

For safety reasons, kayakers should not wear flip-flops or sandals and instead should opt for close-toed water shoes or old tennis shoes that can get wet. This will help protect them from cuts and abrasions while walking in wet, rocky environments.

Do you need shoes for kayaking or barefoot?

It is recommended to wear water shoes when kayaking as they protect your feet from cuts and abrasions in wet, rocky environments. Water shoes are typically made of mesh with a hard sole, and provide more security than going barefoot.

Are water shoes worth it?

Water shoes are worth it as they dry faster, drain water better, and are lighter to wear than a regular shoe, reducing the risk of blisters as well as provide more traction on wet and slippery surfaces like rocks.

What features should I look for in a kayaking shoe for cold weather?

When kayaking in cold weather, look for neoprene booties or other thermal protection features in a kayaking shoe to keep your feet warm.

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