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The Best Shoes for Kayak Fishing – At-a-Glance
Feel free to keep scrolling to get to the reviews if you prefer, but it’s always a good idea to know what you’re looking for, first.
That, and we have our top three recommendations coming right up.
When you’re in the market for new kayak fishing shoes, you should pay attention to the following features and factors that will all influence your choice:
Season and conditions – when and where will you be fishing?
Shoe size and weight – footwear needs to fit well, and not restrict your movement.
Materials and waterproofing – durability, breathability, and protection are all important.
Style – aesthetics might not be practical, but you’ll still want a shoe that looks good.
Grip – boat and water shoes shouldn’t let you down when it comes to slippery decks and rocks.
Cost – always take your budget into consideration and buy the best footwear you can afford, relative to how often you’re going to use them.
Don’t miss our buyer’s guide following the reviews that will explore each point in more detail, but for now…
Here’s our top three picks for the best kayak fishing shoes overall.
It’s been a tough decision this year, and we’ve had several options jockeying for the coveted podium finish, and of those three, any one of them could have finished in the top spot.
In the end, we’ve gone for the HUK Attack as our number one, largely thanks to it being purposefully designed for kayak and boat fishing.
A close second is Columbia’s hugely popular Bahama Vent PFG fishing shoes, which are highly versatile to wear all day long – whether you’re fishing or not.
In third place – and the former number one – is the Merrell All-Out Blaze hiking and water shoe hybrid, easily still one of the best shoes for kayak fishing on the market.
Do you agree with our choices? Take a look at the reviews below and decide for yourself, and don’t forget about the buyer-s guide which follows.
Columbia’s second entry in our review of the best shoes for kayak fishing comes hot on the heels of its first, as a design that appears to be closer to a sneaker than a water shoe.
Don’t let that fool you, though, as they don’t call it the Drainmaker IV for nothing.
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 superb kayak fishing shoe all-round.
Name to trust.
Suitable for all seasons.
Choice of colors.
Can take a while to dry.
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.
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.
Stylish, practical design.
Excellent foot support.
Choice of colors.
Can run a little narrow – check your sizing.
A little on the pricey side for sandals.
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.
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.
Name to trust.
Quick lace system.
Choice of colors.
Can run narrow.
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.
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.
Rugged, durable construction.
Dual pull-on tabs.
Choice of colors.
Aggressive, non-marking lug.
Sizing can be a bit tricky.
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.
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.
Choosing the Best Kayak Fishing Shoes – A Buyer’s Guide
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
Stuart is passionate about travel, kayaking, camping and the great outdoors in general. He's not quite as enthusiastic about angling as his father was, but out of the two of them, he's yet to hook his ear lobe while fly-fishing, which he sees as an absolute win.