Top Kayaking Shoes for All Water Adventures In The UK

Whether it’s the rugged riverbeds, the daunting expanse of the sea, or the tranquillity of flatwaters, the UK’s waterscapes offer a diverse playground for kayakers.

But, have you ever paused to consider how pivotal your kayaking shoes are in this aquatic equation?

You probably have. That’s why you’re here.

With each setting presenting its own set of challenges, selecting the optimal footwear is not just about style; it’s about substance – safety, comfort, and that elusive connection to the water beneath your kayak.

Kayaking across diverse waters necessitates specialised footwear to ensure safety and enhance performance.

For river kayaking, shoes must offer excellent grip and toe protection due to the challenging currents and rocky environments.

Sea kayakers need shoes that provide stability and warmth to counter the cold of salt water and the length of their journeys – and something that stands up to salt.

Conversely, flatwater kayakers benefit from lightweight, flexible shoes for comfort during extended, calm paddles. The choice of materials, such as insulating neoprene or breathable mesh, plays a vital role in meeting the varied demands of these activities.

The Kayaking Shoes On The List:

Barefoot shoes or not?

You’ll see this list populated with a lot of barefoot shoes.

Why’s that?

Barefoot shoes for canoeing and kayaking offer a minimalist design, providing a close-to-nature feel and enhanced proprioception, allowing paddlers to sense and react to changes in water dynamics and boat movement more effectively. This heightened sensitivity can improve technique and comfort.

However, the reduced protection against sharp objects and cold conditions can be significant drawbacks.

In contrast, traditional water shoes feature thicker soles and more robust construction, offering superior protection from underwater hazards and better insulation.

These attributes make them suitable for rougher terrains and colder waters but can diminish the paddler’s connection with the kayak or canoe, potentially impacting manoeuvrability and overall experience.

TL;DR, remember this:

  • River kayaking demands shoes with excellent grip and protection against rocky, fast-flowing waters.
  • Sea kayaking shoes need to offer warmth, stability, and salt resistance for long, cold journeys.
  • Lightweight and flexible shoes are ideal for flatwater kayaking, enhancing comfort during calm paddles.
  • Barefoot shoes provide a natural feel and improved water dynamics sensitivity, suitable for technique enhancement but offer less protection.
  • Traditional water shoes offer superior underwater hazard protection and insulation, ideal for rough and cold conditions.
  • Material choice, such as neoprene or mesh, is crucial for meeting the specific demands of various kayaking activities.

Reviews of Popular Kayaking Shoes in 2023

Ok enough, let’s dive in:

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III: The Ultimate Outdoor Barefoot Experience

For kayakers who favour a minimalist touch, the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III is a standout choice, offering a thin sole and a zero heel-to-toe drop. This design ensures an authentic barefoot feel, providing an unmatched connection with your kayak, enhancing your paddling experience.

The Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III has received a diverse range of feedback from its global users, reflecting the mixed experiences commonly associated with barefoot-style footwear. Enthusiasts have been quick to praise the shoe for its exceptional comfort, crediting it with revitalising their interest in walking and positively impacting their fitness routines. Its lightweight nature and stylish appearance have drawn commendations, with wearers noting increased public interest.

However, it’s important to acknowledge some critical feedback, particularly regarding sizing inconsistencies and discomfort for some users, which may impact the shoe’s suitability for prolonged wear or extensive walking. There have been mentions of concerns about the material quality and durability, as well as a discrepancy in the colour of the white variant, which some have found to deviate from the expected appearance based on online images.

Despite these points, the shoe’s versatility and utility across a range of activities, from gym sessions to casual outings, stand uncontested. Those considering the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III should weigh these mixed reviews carefully, especially regarding sizing, comfort, and colour accuracy. With its innovative approach to combining barefoot functionality with everyday practicality, the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III represents a balanced choice for consumers seeking to blend the benefits of minimalist footwear with their active lifestyles.

Astral PFD Sandal

The Astral Men’s PFD Sandal is a great choice for enthusiasts of rafting, water paddling, and stand-up paddleboarding, merging the security of a shoe with the breathability and ease of a sandal. These sandals stand out for their use of eco-friendly materials, such as the rubber sole derived from recycled tires, offering superior traction without leaving marks. The recycled canvas upper not only contributes to sustainability but also ensures a comfortable and adjustable fit, courtesy of the stretch mesh tongue and adaptable straps.

A key feature is the sandal’s midsole, which provides ample cushioning with a 12mm thickness of EVA foam, creating a comfortable barrier between the foot and ground. The design prioritizes balance and comfort, with a minimal foot-to-ground distance that supports natural foot positioning.

Practical use and customer feedback highlight the need to size up, particularly for those with wider feet, to achieve the optimal combination of comfort and functionality. While the sandal’s footbed is textured to enhance grip and prevent slippage, it has raised concerns among a minority of users regarding comfort. Durability is another aspect to consider, as there have been isolated reports of stitching failures, suggesting variability in product longevity.

However, the overall response to the Astral Men’s PFD Sandal is positive, with users praising its waterproof qualities, comfort after breaking in, and the effective non-slip tread for river activities. The heel and bridge straps ensure a snug fit, adaptable to individual needs, and contribute to the sandal’s ease of use, even when wet.

In conclusion, the Astral Men’s PFD Sandal represents a well-designed choice for water sports enthusiasts, offering a blend of durability, comfort, and eco-conscious manufacturing. Despite minor criticisms, these sandals are celebrated as a favourite for river activities, underscoring their quality and design excellence.

NRS Paddle Wetshoe

Drawing from the experiences of avid paddlers, the NRS Men’s Paddle Wetshoes stand out for their eco-friendly construction, marrying sustainability with performance. The use of petroleum-free Terraprene neoprene not only underscores an environmental commitment but also ensures that users enjoy enhanced warmth and comfort, thanks to the innovative graphene-infused interior and titanium adhesive layers.

Ease of use is a highlighted feature, with a wide-opening YKK zipper and an adjustable hook-and-loop strap ensuring a snug, customizable fit. This design consideration extends to the naturally shaped toe box, which promises all-day comfort during prolonged water activities.

Professional paddlers and enthusiasts alike have recommended sizing up for ease of use, especially when dealing with wet conditions. This advice is crucial for ensuring that the shoes serve their intended purpose across a variety of water sports.

However, it’s not without its drawbacks; some users have reported fit issues, particularly around the calves and the toe box, which could impact the shoe’s performance on slippery or uneven terrains. Additionally, the lack of water drainage and an ankle strap that doesn’t fully encircle the ankle have been noted as areas for improvement.

Yet, the overarching sentiment remains overwhelmingly positive. Users have lauded the shoes for their protection against sharp objects, their durability, and their comfort, making them an indispensable part of their kayaking gear. Despite the occasional zipper malfunction, the NRS Men’s Paddle Wetshoes have proven to be a reliable companion for water sports enthusiasts, offering warmth, protection, and comfort in a variety of conditions.

NRS Boundary Boot

For the British outdoor enthusiast seeking a reliable kayaking shoe, the NRS Boundary Boots come highly recommended. These boots are constructed with a 5mm neoprene upper and a 7mm insole, ensuring both comfort and warmth, a must for the unpredictable UK weather. The high-traction sole provides excellent support and protection against sharp objects, thanks to a 2mm plastic shim, making them ideal for the rugged terrains often encountered during outdoor adventures.


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The boots feature a quick-lace system, adjustable buckle, and instep strap for a secure and customizable fit, ensuring that water entry is minimised. This design has been factory tested for waterproofness and durability, offering peace of mind in challenging conditions. With a weight of 3.3lb for a size 11, they’re sufficiently lightweight, ensuring they won’t be a burden during longer treks.

Users report significant improvements in comfort and warmth, allowing for extended periods out on the water. The boots run small, so it’s advisable to order a size up, especially if you plan to wear socks. The snug fit around the calf provides additional protection, though it may be tight for those with larger calves.

The NRS Boundary Boots are not just practical; they are a game changer for kayaking enthusiasts. Their robust construction, combined with thoughtful features like the ladder buckle strap and storage compartment for laces, ensures they meet the high standards required by outdoor aficionados. Whether you’re navigating the serene lakes of the Lake District or tackling the coastal waters of Cornwall, these boots are a worthy investment for any kayaker looking to keep their feet dry, warm, and protected.

Body Glove Men’s 3t Barefoot Requiem Water Shoe

The Body Glove Men’s 3T Barefoot Max Water Shoe presents itself as a compelling option for British kayakers searching for a shoe that combines the sensation of being barefoot with the protection needed for aquatic environments. The minimalist three-toe design not only differentiates these shoes from traditional water footwear but also enhances the user’s connection with their surroundings, making them a prime choice for those who prioritize a natural feel without sacrificing safety.

Adjustability and ease of wear are significant benefits, thanks to the shocklace and hook-and-loop strap, ensuring a secure fit that can accommodate the quick changes inherent to water sports. The water-resistant construction underscores the shoe’s suitability for a range of activities, from kayaking to paddle boarding, highlighting its versatility.

However, potential buyers should be aware of the sizing challenges and international product specifications, which may affect fit and expectations. The durability and comfort of the shoes have been widely acknowledged, with specific praise for their protective features and effective drainage system, ensuring a pleasant experience in various conditions.

While some discrepancies in colour and slight issues with fit around the ankle have been reported, these do not detract significantly from the overall value offered by the 3T Barefoot Max shoes. Their comparison with similar products reveals a preference for their sturdier build and suitability for rough surfaces, though personal fit preferences and the unique feel of the shoes should be considered.

In conclusion, the Body Glove Men’s 3T Barefoot Max Water Shoe stands out as a robust, comfortable, and functionally designed footwear option for UK kayakers and water sports enthusiasts, offering a balance between the natural barefoot experience and necessary protection for aquatic adventures.

adidas Men’s Terrex Climacool Jawpaw

For British kayaking enthusiasts in search of a reliable, stylish, and functional boot, the adidas Men’s Terrex Climacool Jawpaw stands out as a compelling option. The primary advice from current users is to opt for a size up, addressing the snug fit that can result from international sizing standards. These boots blend aesthetic appeal with practicality, featuring a sleek black design that doesn’t compromise on the durability and comfort essential for water sports.

The material composition ensures longevity and adaptability to various aquatic environments, from rocky beaches to river kayaking. Comfort is a key highlight, with the shoe’s design facilitating excellent water drainage and protection against debris, alongside a toe box that strikes a balance between protection and sensitivity.

Despite their functionality, the boots’ mesh design can make cleaning challenging, a minor inconvenience against their overall performance and durability. Moreover, the boots’ value for money is recognized by users who appreciate the quality and resilience offered at a relatively higher price point, making them a worthwhile investment for serious kayakers and water sports enthusiasts alike.

In conclusion, the adidas Men’s Terrex Climacool Jawpaw kayaking boot is highly recommended for those seeking a combination of comfort, protection, and style in their water sport footwear, with the caveat of considering a size adjustment for the perfect fit.

Qimaoo Barefoot Skin Water Shoes: Flexibility Meets Affordability

For kayaking enthusiasts seeking reliable footwear, QIMAOO Men’s Water Shoes emerge as a commendable choice. These versatile shoes excel in various water environments, from beaches to kayaking adventures, thanks to their quick-dry design and enhanced safety features.

The rubber sole and reinforced toe cap offer robust protection against underwater hazards, ensuring a secure kayaking experience. Although durable and breathable, some users suggest opting for a size up to counteract potential tightness, especially in length.

While they may not be ideal for extreme activities, their suitability for light water sports, combined with their stylish, unisex design, makes them an attractive option. However, prospective buyers should note that despite overall good quality and comfort, the material’s longevity could be a concern for some.

With positive feedback on their fit and customer service, these shoes are a solid choice for those prioritising comfort and safety in their water activities.


In the pursuit of water sports excellence, the significance of securing the best kayaking shoes cannot be overstated.

Irrespective of preference or experience level, these shoes stand as a resolute reminder that the right equipment can be the difference between a good paddle and a great adventure.

Ultimately, the decision rests in the hands of the individual adventurers, poised to tailor their selection to the unique nuances of their aquatic pursuits.

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