The 13 Best Shoes for Kayak Fishing Reviewed 2021 – Get a Grip!


There are all sorts of top-quality gear and apparel options out there for kayak angling, designed to ensure you have the best possible chance of success.

And you should never overlook your feet – as if you keep them happy – everything else will follow.

So, let’s take a look at the best shoes for kayak fishing in this review, to keep you protected, supported, and comfortable – all day long.

And they might just stop you slipping overboard at the same time.

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The 13 Best Kayak Fishing Shoes for 2021

Merrell Men's All Out Blaze Aero Water Shoes

Up first, we have these versatile hiking water shoes from Merrell, that are just perfect for wearing when you’re kayak fishing.

Made with a synthetic sole and breathable mesh upper, they’re stylish and practical, with a nice, grippy lug to keep slips to a minimum while you’re on deck.

An Omni-fit lacing system is comfortable and easy-to-use, and the cushioned and protective UniFly midsole will keep your feet happy for as long as you’re out there.

Pros

  • Name to trust.
  • Stylish aesthetic.
  • Good choice of colors.
  • Versatile use.
  • Very highly rated.

Cons

  • None to speak of.

Takeaway

You only have to check out the other reviews to see that Merrell’s All Out Blaze model is one of the best kayak fishing shoes on the market.

Super comfortable and versatile, take them hiking, swimming, or even a stroll into town. I think I’m going to pick up a pair myself when I’ve finished writing this review.

Speedo Men's Seaside Lace 5.0 Water Shoes

Speedo needs little introduction when it comes to watersports gear, and this is their Seaside 5.0 water shoe.

Made with a combination of materials, including 30% neoprene, it’s soft and comfortable, with a synthetic sole that offers tire-like traction over slippery surfaces.

In fact, it features a special technology that takes water away from underfoot, which significantly improves your grip with excellent slip resistance.

The breathable mesh enhances air flow, while the bungee lacing system allows for easy-on and off.

Pros

  • Great price point.
  • Name to trust.
  • Super-lightweight.
  • Quick-dry design.
  • Heel tabs.

Cons

  • Sole might be a bit too thin for some.

Takeaway

A great lightweight water shoe for casual kayak use, this offering from Speedo is good for all your summer swimming and fishing adventures.

KEEN Women's Venice II H2 Water Shoes

This women’s water shoe from KEEN is in an attractive sandal style design, yet it’s still as rugged and durable as they come, with a thick sole with grippy lug and a protective front section that’s ideal if you’re prone to stubbing your toe on underwater obstacles.

The ESS shank offers lightweight support throughout, ensuring you can wear this for all-day comfort, while the fully adjustable heel strap and lace up system caters for a customized fit.

Pros

  • Stylish, practical design.
  • Very comfortable.
  • Excellent foot support.
  • Choice of colors.
  • Durable construction.

Cons

  • Can run a little narrow – check your sizing.
  • A little on the pricey side for sandals.

Takeaway

The Venice II is a quality women’s water shoe from KEEN, versatile enough for comfortable use no matter the activity – but very practical for kayak fishing.

Salomon Men's Tech Amphib 4 Water Shoes

French sports company Salomon are known for their premium-quality outdoor shoes – including some of the best hiking boots money can buy.

The Amphib 4 is one of their water shoe models, ingeniously designed with sustainable materials, including a liner made from coffee beans and textile fiber and microfiber from 70% recycled PET (plastic bottles).

Breathable mesh allows water to pass through without letting debris in, and the grippy outsole provides non-slip traction on surfaces even when underwater.

And the clever collapsible heel means it can switch between a shoe and a slip on with ease.

Pros

  • Name to trust.
  • Versatile design.
  • Quick lace system.
  • Environmentally conscious.
  • Choice of colors.

Cons

  • Can run narrow.

Takeaway

I’ve always got time for outdoor sports companies who are conscious of the environment, and these water shoes from Salomon are the perfect example. And not only that – they’re just really cool.

For some more Mother Nature friendly companies, check out this review of the best kayak fishing brands.

NeoSport Wetsuits Paddle Boots

These neoprene water boots have been made with wetsuits in mind, but are just as at home when worn on the deck of a fishing kayak.

The seams have been glued and sewn for extra durability and warmth using a double-bonded thread, while the upper is made from a soft neoprene that’s comfortable to wear all day long.

A flexible thermoplastic rubber has been used in the construction of the sole, which also has a hardened insert to shield the foot and protect it from punctures.

Ideal for all paddle sports, they would also be perfect for use on one of these awesome fishing SUPs.

Pros

  • Lightweight design.
  • Hook and loop adjustment strap.
  • Ankle cinch cord for fit and comfort.
  • Aggressive tread.
  • YKK side zippers.

Cons

  • Again, might be a little on the thin side for some.

Takeaway

A quality water shoe that just lends itself to paddle sports, they’re very popular for kayak fishing, but just handy to have anytime you’re near or on the water.

Columbia Men's Drainmaker IV Water Shoes

As a company that practices affordable quality, Columbia is hard to beat, and you should check out this article on the best fishing jackets for more examples.

It’s no surprise then, that they introduce an excellent water shoe to their already impressive back catalog, with the Drainmaker IV.

With a superior cushioning and impact absorption system, you can have versatile, all-day wear, while the non-marking wet traction rubber outsole offers durability and comfort from wet rocks to kayak decks.

This is just a really good kayak fishing shoe all around.

Pros

  • Name to trust.
  • Highly rated.
  • High-traction grip.
  • Suitable for all seasons.
  • Choice of colors.

Cons

  • Can take a while to dry.

Takeaway

Stylish, practical, and made with affordable quality, these water shoes are perfect for kayak fishing. But if you’re looking for something a bit more robust, check out this review on sturdy fishing boots – which also features a popular option from Colombia.

Simms Men's Freestone Wading Boots

Since we’re on the topic of boots – and given the fact that this review should include kayak fishing shoes for all seasons, I thought I’d throw in this option from angling apparel experts Simms.

Designed to be a wading boot, there’s no reason it can’t be worn when kayak fishing in colder climes, given just how warm and comfortable it is.

Made with premium, high-quality materials, it has scratch-resistant rubber and waterproof synthetic leather uppers, with a super-comfortable EVA midsole designed for maximum shock absorption and support.

Built to last for years to come, they’ll help you tackle just about any terrain, under or over the water, and they’re up there with the best all-around fishing shoes money can buy.

Pros

  • Premium-quality construction.
  • Name to trust.
  • Speed lace hooks.
  • Superior comfort and warmth.
  • Surprisingly lightweight.

Cons

  • On the expensive side.
  • Might be too bulky for some.

Takeaway

Many folks choose to go down the fishing boot route when it comes to kayak angling footwear – and the Freestone model from Simms is a solid option.

And check out this review for more of the best rain gear for fishing if you prefer those gray days to blazing sun.

Aleader Men's Mesh Slip On Water Shoes

A very popular water shoe, these Aleader men’s slip-ons are a lightweight and stylish option for all your kayak and boat fishing needs.

Made with a rubber sole and breathable mesh upper, they have hot melt overlays for additional strength and support.

The same tech has been used in the toe-caps, which have been specially designed to protect the toe area from bumps and scrapes in and around the water.

A removable footbed ensures easy cleaning and maintenance, and an integrated drainage system allows the shoe to dry quickly and keep feet from heating up with sweat.

Pros

  • Very highly rated.
  • Great price point.
  • Good choice of colors/styles.
  • Quick-adjust bungee.
  • Rubber pods for additional traction.

Cons

  • The tread can attract loose pebbles.

Takeaway

An all-around practical water shoe at a price that won’t break the bank, and the choice of colors is particularly handy for suiting the footwear to your fishing look.

Xtratuf Men's Wheelhouse Ankle Deck Boot

An ideal choice for kayak fishing in colder temps, the Wheelhouse ankle deck boot is a tough and durable option.

It’s made slightly wider than most, which is ideal if you don’t have narrow feet, and the 100% waterproof construction will keep you warm and dry.

The dual-density insole has built-in channels to improve breathability, with a reinforced upper at the key stress points of the toe and heel.

And the SRC-rated outsole ensures the best possible slip resistance while being non-marking and oil-resistant to boot.

Pros

  • Rugged, durable construction.
  • Dual pull-on tabs.
  • Choice of colors.
  • Aggressive, non-marking lug.

Cons

  • Sizing can be a bit tricky.

Takeaway

A top-quality deck boot that’s very comfortable and perfect for colder conditions. You should also pick up a pair of good-quality fishing gloves to protect your hands as well – so follow that link for more.

Northside Brille II Athletic Water Shoes

Easily the most affordable option in the review, the Northside Brille II water shoe is a unisex model with an outstanding selection of colors to choose from.

A rugged neoprene upper leads into a breathable mesh and lightweight webbing to keep your feet cool, with a reinforced, abrasion-resistant toe added for protection.

The quick-dry design is ideal for watersports, while the EVA sole adds extra comfort to cushion your feet should you wish to take them on a light hike.

And the multi-directional rubber outsole offers excellent traction on slippery surfaces.

Pros

  • Excellent price point.
  • Bungee lace system.
  • Easy on/off.
  • Very highly rated.
  • The color choice is superb.

Cons

  • They won’t be as durable as more expensive options.

Takeaway

I had to mention the color options again, because if you can’t find a pair to match your look then maybe think about changing your look.

Still, this is a nice, budget-friendly water shoe that’s versatile for most watersport use.

NRS Men's Paddle Wetshoes

Northwest River Supplies have been in this game since 1972, and they’ve been making quality outdoor gear and equipment ever since – with an emphasis on paddle sports.

This neoprene water bootie is a good example, with a high top, low profile look that’s been designed to keep you warm and comfortable without bulk.

Made with premium materials, it keeps feet warm with 3-mm Terraprene neoprene with heat-reflecting titanium, and remains easy to pull on and off thanks to the gusset-backed opening with YKK zipper.

Inside, the fleece-like lining repels water, so your feet stay dry and comfortable, and the high traction outsole grips nicely over slippery surfaces.

Pros

  • Name to trust.
  • Roomy toe box.
  • Ankle padding.
  • Rubber support bands.

Cons

  • None to speak of.

Takeaway

A durable, well-designed and made watersport bootie that will keep you comfortable and feeling protected while out on your yak. Ideal for use when piloting one of these premium pedal fishing kayaks.

KEEN Men's Targhee 3 Waterproof Shoes

Another entry now from KEEN, this time their Targhee 3 hiking shoe – which makes a great option for versatile fishing craft use.

Fully waterproof, it has a breathable membrane to keep your feet dry and comfortable while on deck, as it allows airflow without letting water in.

The all-terrain outsole provides an aggressive lug for non-slip grip on multiple surfaces, and an external shank offers additional support for uneven ground.

A removable EVA footbed cradles the arch of the foot for superior, all-day wear, and finishes a durable, lightweight hiking shoe that is highly versatile for use on the water.

Pros

  • Name to trust.
  • Very highly rated.
  • Non-marking sole.
  • Super comfortable.
  • Choice of colors.
  • Padded tongue and collar.

Cons

  • A bit more on the expensive side.

Takeaway

A quality hiking shoe that certainly wouldn’t look out of place when kayak fishing – hence why it fits nicely in this review.

Frogg Toggs Aransas II Neoprene Shoes

Everyone has surely owned something from Frogg Toggs at some point, as they make some of the best rain gear for fishing on the market.

This neoprene surf and sand bootie is an awesome fishing shoe, designed with a five millimeter outer shell for comfort and protection, with a supportive yet lightweight EVA midsole.

A reinforced toe cap offers solid defense against any obstacles you might encounter on or underwater, and that cleated outsole has some of the most defined lug we’ve seen on a water shoe.

Another example of why Frogg Toggs are just one of the best fishing brands all around.

Pros

  • Name to trust.
  • Front gusset with durable zipper.
  • Adjustable ankle-tension strap.
  • Toe and heel cap reinforcement.

Cons

  • Might be a bit bulky for some.
  • Sizing can be tricky.

Takeaway

A nice half-way house between a light water shoe and a full-on boot, the Aranas II offers plenty of comfort and protection for all-day use.

How to Choose the Best Shoes for Kayak Fishing

When you’re in the market for a new pair of kayak fishing shoes, there are a few things you should consider before “adding to cart.”

Let’s take a look at what they might be in our buyer’s guide, below.

water sports kayaking wetsuit and water shoes

Season and Conditions

First up, you should think about when and where you’re going to be using your kayak fishing shoes, as the season and conditions will play a big part in your comfort.

Lightweight water shoes are going to be no good if you’re out in winter, or any time the temperature is likely to drop.

Likewise, bulky fishing boots won’t do in roasting-hot conditions.

Look for something that’s going to fit the time of year and the weather – and you should be good to go.

Size and Weight

I always say it’s important to check with a manufacturer’s sizing guide when choosing any item of clothing or footwear – especially if you’re ordering online.

Water shoes also tend to run a little on the narrow side across the board – so make sure you double-check that with the product you’re interested in – if you have feet on the wide side.

And take the shoe’s weight into consideration, too, as heavy boots or shoes will slow you down, but lighter models might not provide adequate protection – depending on the situation.

There’s always a happy medium to be had.

man fishing on a stand up kayak in the sea

Materials and Waterproofing

Look for kayak fishing shoes that are made with the best possible materials, which will ensure they last longer than one season on the water.

Neoprene, rubber, PVC, nylon, leather, and synthetic materials are largely involved in the construction of this kind of footwear, and you want something that’s going to last and protect your feet – but keep things breathable at the same time.

And consider how waterproof you want the shoes to be, which will likely depend on the season you’re fishing in. Nobody minds getting wet in the summer, but in the winter it can be a serious problem.

Consider if a shoe is made from quick-dry material or not – as this can also affect your comfort throughout the day.

Style

Here you have a selection of options when it comes to the style of a kayak fishing shoe.

Water Shoes are similar to our regular day-to-day footwear. They offer good all-round protection, are lightweight and breathable, and are designed to be highly versatile in their use.

Providing they’re quick-to-dry (as most should be) you can easily leave them on all day for general wear, and good-quality versions can also double nicely as a hiking shoe.

Water Booties are usually made from neoprene, and are nearly always only worn during water-based activities

They fit snug to the skin, not too dissimilar to a sock, and offer extra grip and coverage than if you were to simply go barefoot.

Their wet-suit style design can also be useful when you’re out in colder conditions, but being the lightest kayak footwear option means they’re not the best for support or protection.

Sandals make excellent kayak shoes as they’re often quick-to-try and highly breathable – ideal for those warmer days on the water.

Like water shoes they can be worn for extended periods of time for multiple activities, but are the preferred option for when things get particularly hot.

Fishing boots can also be used for kayak fishing – especially in colder climes or when the weather is poor.

Many kayak anglers use wading boots during such conditions, and they certainly offer the best possible protection when it comes to hazards – underwater or otherwise.

It’s up to you to decide which style of kayak fishing shoe will suit your needs best – or you might like to try a selection depending on when and where you’re heading out.

fisherman floats on a white fishing kayak in ocean along the coast

Grip

Perhaps one of the most important features of the best shoes for kayak fishing, is the grip.

Which is why many anglers choose to wear something on their feet rather than go barefoot in hot weather.

They can be particularly effective when used in one of these stand-up fishing kayaks, to significantly reduce your chances of slipping and falling in.

Either way, look for a shoe that has a durable, aggressive lug on the sole – enough to give you satisfactory traction over slippery rocks, on deck, or anywhere the terrain might be questionable.

And non-marking options are preferable, especially if you’re on a boat or craft that isn’t your own.

Regardless of how grippy a kayak shoe is, you should always be wearing a certified fishing PFD when on the water. Following that link might just save your life…

Cost

Unless you’re looking at high-end wading boots, the price for water shoes doesn’t vary that dramatically, and you can get some quality options in the $50-$100 range.

There are even cheaper versions out there too, and you can always go with a pair of inexpensive tennis shoes, sandals, or other such footwear if you so choose.

However, I will say that spending a bit more will get you something that’s going to last – especially considering the challenging environment.

And speaking of, it’s important that we’re not always throwing stuff away after using it for only one season – especially when it comes to clothing and apparel.

Mother nature does not approve of this, and as keen anglers – neither should we.

Buy something durable, and keep the crap out of landfills.

And if you’re also looking to save a bit of money on your actual yak, take a look at this review on the best budget fishing kayaks on the market.

You might be surprised at the affordable quality available.

Summary

Wearing the right kind of footwear can make a huge difference to our day – no matter what activity we’re involved in.

And choosing the best shoes for kayak fishing can seriously help give you the edge when you’re out there on the water.

Let me know which pair you’ve gone for and why – and maybe I’ll change my mind for the 23rd time.

Tight lines everyone – and happy kayak fishing!

Bob Hoffmann

The author of this post is Bob Hoffmann. Bob has spend most of his childhood fishing with his father and now share all his knowledge with other anglers. Feel free to leave a comment below.

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