One of the most common questions we get from ACKers is: “What shoes should I wear kayaking?”

As with most kayaking gear, it’s all about choosing the proper attire specific to the paddling activity with an emphasis on personal preference, as the most important factor is overall comfortability when you’re out on the water.

With so many options to consider, we’ll break them down into three easily-digestible categories:

1. Water Shoes

Traditional shoes will get the job done for kayaking, but they often hold a good amount of water, resulting in heavy bricks tied to your feet. There are water shoes designed to prevent this, featuring water resistant materials to help shed water and built-in systems to better drain water from inside the shoe.

There are times when you’ll spend the entire day kayaking and your feet won’t get wet at all. However, we highly recommend being prepared for any situation with water-specific shoes that will prevent your feet from spending hours soaking wet.

This is the most popular option for our recreational paddling and fishing customers as most of these shoes are comfortable both on and off the water.

shoes for kayak fishing

 

2. Boots

Boots for kayaking are more of a niche option as they’re designed for the paddler who gets on and off their kayak frequently throughout their day on the water. These boots feature rugged soles for gripping slippery rocks while having added protection around the toe and mid foot to prevent injury from any rocks or debris when wading through the water.

There are lightweight neoprene boots as well as heavy duty boots designed to take the beating of rocks and oyster beds. If you’re simply paddling with the occasional shallow water portage, the neoprene material will do just fine. However, if you’re planning on wading through the flats or making a long portage through debris, you’ll want the added protection on a more rugged boot.

Boots are a great choice for cold weather paddling as they will ultimately be warmer than the traditional shoe. Warmth can be added through the use of neoprene socks that are designed for water as they preform much better than the traditional cotton or synthetic sock when wet.

boots for kayak fishing

3. Sandals

Sandals are as waterproof as they get! They won’t hold weight when wet and tend to dry quicker than most shoes. Sandals are a great option for a long day of recreational paddling as they’re easy to put on and take off while on the kayak, making it effortless on those hot days when you need to take a swim.

There are water specific ‘adventure’ sandals that feature a more rugged sole and added protection while still providing ultimate breathability to your feet. You’ll also find that when standing up, these sandals won’t be as slippery as the traditional flip flop. These are what we recommend for long and hot days when the paddle could end with a hike down on the local trails. With these, you’ll be prepared for any summer adventure.

Sandals for kayaking


Having the right shoes for paddling can make or break your day out on the water. Always remember when selecting your shoes that it’s important for your shoes to dry quickly, stay lightweight, and most of all, be comfortable. Look at  what paddling activities you’ll be doing and consider an option that will meet your specific needs.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to comment on this post, email customer@austinkayak.com or call us at 888-828-3828!