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Good Water Shoes for Kayaking

author image Susan Diranian
Susan Diranian is a writer for various online publications and magazines, specializing in relationships, health, fashion, beauty and fitness. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in nonfiction writing and editing.
Good Water Shoes for Kayaking
A kayaker with his water shoes before heading out to the water. Photo Credit: Subbotsky/iStock/Getty Images

In addition to wearing a personal flotation device, kayakers need to wear other forms of protective clothing, including water shoes. You may also choose to wear sneakers. The important rule is that whatever shoe you choose fits securely and protects your toes.

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Sport Sandal

Sport sandals resemble sneakers but with convenient cut-outs on the sides to allow for air circulation as well as water drainage. The sport sandal features a lightweight yet snug and secure fit without long shoelaces or complicated straps that may get tangled up in the footrest of the kayak, toe protection, and a no-slip bottom grip. The only drawback to open-sided sandals is the chance you may get cut by rocks or other protuberances if you're not careful.

Water Booties

For kayaking in colder weather, or when white-water kayaking, water booties will protect your feet plus help keep them warm. Water booties feature padded ankle protection, extra lining to keep your feet warm as well as protect your feet when climbing into and out of your kayak or hiking out of your location. Water booties are easy to slip on, some may even feature zippers or fabric hook-and-loop fastener straps to provide a snug fit. To further protect your feet against the cold, wear either wool or fleece socks. Wool socks are known to keep your feet warm however fleece will dry quicker should your feet get wet.

Wet Boots

Wet boots keep your feet warm and dry even when wet. Most wet boots provide water and temperature protection up to your knee, maintain a secure fit even when trudging through water or mud and offers extra padding and protection for your toes, heels and sides of your feet. Wet boots are not made for walking. The traction tends to wear down easily when not being used in the water. You may want to carry and slip on the wet boots when you get to your destination.


An old pair of sneakers is considered an adequate choice of kayaking footwear. However, it may prove to be uncomfortable should water start to seep in. Manufacturers have created sneakers that are meant for water sports such as kayaking. These sneakers feature mesh lining that help drain water out as well as keep sand and dirt from sneaking in. It also circulates air which helps keep your feet fungus-free. Other features include straps or laces that won't get in the way, shock absorption sole, warmth and feet and toe protection. The only disadvantage is if the shore is muddy. Your sneaker may be sucked right off your foot.

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