Embarking on canoeing requires proper gear, including footwear, for varying conditions.
The choice of shoes is crucial, impacting comfort and performance, whether in calm waters or turbulent rapids. Ordinary shoes lack grip, water resistance, and protection, leading to discomfort and accidents.
This article delves into the essentials of quality canoeing shoes, emphasizing grip, drainage, and durability. It provides insights into suitable features, highlighting the significance of proper footwear for a safe and enjoyable canoeing experience.
10 Picks for Best Shoes For Canoeing
|Canoeing/Paddling Shoes||Features||Specification Details|
|Salomon Supercross Trail Running Shoe||– Suitable for canoe routes with lots of portaging– Designed for whitewater canoeing– Provides good traction||Weight:10.6-12.3 ounces.|
Material: Mesh upper for breathability, synthetic overlays for support.
Features: Quick-drying materials, Contagrip rubber outsole for traction, protective toe cap, lightweight design.
|Brewer 2.0||– Ideal for canoeing with portaging– Quick-drying and breathable– Sticky rubber outsole for excellent grip||Weight: 8.1-9.2 ounces|
Material: Breathable mesh upper, rubber outsole with stealth rubber for grip.
Features: Quick-drying properties, drainage ports, reinforced toe cap, lightweight and flexible design.
|Astral TR1 Merge Water Shoe – Men’s||– Lightweight and comfortable– Drainage holes for quick drying– Provides good traction on wet surfaces||Weight: 8.5-9.9 ounces|
Material: Breathable mesh upper, hydrophobic canvas with TPU overlays, G.15 high-friction rubber outsole.
Features: Drainage holes for efficient water evacuation, cushioned midsole, durable construction.
|NRS Kinetic Water Shoes||– Designed for kayaking and canoeing– Neoprene upper for insulation and protection– Sticky rubber outsole for grip||Weight: 15.9-17.6 ounces.|
Material: Neoprene upper with synthetic overlays, rubber outsole with siped lugs.
Features: Neoprene upper provides insulation and protection, a supportive and stable design, and drainage ports for water release.
|NRS Boundary Shoe||– High-top design for ankle support– Waterproof and durable– Provides good traction on wet surfaces||Weight:28.2-31.7 ounces|
Material: Neoprene upper with rubber overlays, heavily lugged rubber outsole.
Features: Waterproof and durable construction, high-top design for ankle support, reinforced toe and heel caps.
|Campsite Shoes||Features||Specification Details|
|Crocs Swiftwater||– Lightweight and comfortable– Quick-drying and easy to clean– Provides good traction on various surfaces||Weight: 6-8.1 ounces|
Material: Croslite foam construction for lightweight comfort and quick drying.
Features: Iconic Crocs design, ventilation ports for breathability, adjustable heel strap for a secure fit.
|Astral Loyak||– Versatile for water and land activities– Lightweight and breathable– Provides good grip on wet and dry surfaces||Weight: 7-9 ounces|
Material: Breathable canvas upper, G.15 high-friction rubber outsole.
Features: Minimalist and lightweight design, drainage holes for water release, supportive midsole.
|Merrell Men’s All Out Blaze Sieve Water Shoes||– Quick-drying and breathable– Protective toe cap– Provides good traction on wet and dry surfaces||Weight: 11.2-13.4 ounces|
Material: Leather and synthetic upper with neoprene stretch collar, Vibram TC5+ rubber outsole.
Features: Protective toe bumper, cushioned midsole, bungee lacing system, durable construction.
|KEEN Men’s Newport H2 Sandal Water Shoe||– Waterproof and quick-drying– Secure fit with adjustable straps– Provides good traction on wet surfaces||Weight: 15-18 ounces|
Material: Polyester webbing upper, rubber outsole.
Features: Secure fit with adjustable hook-and-loop straps, metatomical EVA footbed, toe protection, and quick-drying properties.
|Columbia Men’s Drainmaker IV Water Shoe||– Lightweight and comfortable– Drainage ports for quick drying– Provides good traction on wet surfaces||Weight: 9.6-12 ounces|
Material: Open mesh upper with synthetic overlays and rubber outsole.
Features: Ventilated design with drainage ports, cushioned midsole, lightweight and comfortable.
What Things to Look Out in My Canoeing Shoes?
Several factors must be considered to guarantee a comfortable and safe experience while selecting shoes for canoeing. Here are some indicators to watch out for:
- Comfortable Fit
Select shoes that fit well and are cosy enough to wear all day. By doing this, blisters and other foot problems will be reduced.
- Grip and Traction
Look for shoes with good grip and traction to prevent slipping on wet surfaces. Rubber soles with deep treads are a good option.
- Quick-Drying Material
Shoes made from quick-drying materials such as neoprene or mesh will help keep your feet dry and comfortable during water activities such as standing in canoe, or fishing.
Consider your budget when choosing shoes for canoeing. While more expensive shoes may offer better quality and durability, affordable options are also available.
- Drainage System
Shoes with a good drainage system will help prevent water from pooling inside and causing discomfort or adding weight to your feet.
Shoes with good ventilation will help keep your feet cool and dry, especially during hot weather.
- Adjustable Straps or Laces
Shoes with adjustable straps or laces will allow you to customise the fit and prevent them from slipping off during water activities.
- Supportive Sole & Arch Support
Look for shoes with a supportive sole and arch support to prevent foot fatigue and provide comfort during long periods of standing or walking.
- Lightweight and Easy On and Off
Lightweight shoes that are easy to put on and take off will provide convenience and comfort during water activities.
- Compatibility with Paddling Technique
Consider the paddling technique you will use and choose compatible shoes. For example, shoes with a low profile are better for kayaking, while shoes with ankle support are better for canoeing.
Which Type of Canoe shoes should I Consider?
- Neoprene Water Shoes: These provide comfort, water drainage, and grip, making them versatile for canoeing adventures.
- Lace-Up Water Sneakers: Offering a secure fit and excellent traction, they’re great for stability and quick movements in the canoe.
- Closed-Toe Sandals: Combining protection and breathability, they’re ideal for warmer weather canoeing while safeguarding your feet.
- Paddle Boots: Specifically designed for paddlers, these high-top boots offer ankle support and insulation, perfect for colder conditions.
- Hybrid Water and Hiking Shoes: If your canoeing trip involves some hiking, too, these shoes provide durability, grip, and versatility on both land and water.
5 best Canoeing shoes for (While Paddling)
|Material||Knit upper, rubber sole|
|Closure||Slip-on style with bungee lacing|
|Grip||S-TRAC™ outsole for enhanced traction|
|Comfort||Breathable and quick-drying knit material|
|Protection||Toe guard for added shielding|
|Fit||Stretchy collar and bungee lacing for a secure fit|
|Weight||Lightweight construction for agility|
|Drainage||Perforated insole and drainage ports|
|Support||Cushioned insole with arch support|
The Speedo Surf Knit Pro features a knit upper and rubber sole, offering comfort and a secure fit through its stretchy collar and bungee lacing. The S-TRAC™ outsole provides traction, making it suitable for various water activities.
- Breathable Knit: The knit upper promotes breathability, allowing quick water drainage to maintain comfort.
- Enhanced Grip: The S-TRAC™ outsole ensures a reliable grip on slippery surfaces, enhancing stability.
- Toe Guard: A toe guard adds protection against underwater obstacles or rocky shores.
- Quick-Drying: The knit material dries fast to prevent water retention, reducing discomfort.
- Drainage Ports: Perforated insole and drainage ports further aid in water expulsion for a drier feel.
- Cushioned Support: The insole with arch support offers added comfort during extended wear.
|Material||Neoprene upper, rubber sole|
|Closure||Slip-on style with adjustable bungee lacing|
|Water-Friendly||Quick-drying neoprene material|
|Grip||Non-marking rubber sole with wave siping|
|Comfort||Cushioned foam footbed|
|Versatility||Suitable for the beach, boating, and casual wear|
The Beachcomber Espadrilles by Sea Star Beachwear blend neoprene and rubber for quick drying and traction. Slip them on with adjustable lacing for beachy style and comfort.
- Water-Friendly: Neoprene upper dries fast, perfect for beach or boat activities.
- Grip and Traction: Non-marking rubber sole with wave siping ensures a secure footing on various surfaces.
- Customizable Fit: Bungee lacing enables a personalised and snug fit.
- Cushioned Comfort: The foam footbed offers cushioning for prolonged wear.
- Stylish and Versatile: Combining an espadrille-inspired look with practicality for various occasions.
|Material||Synthetic upper, rubber sole|
|Closure||Lace-up system with bungee laces|
|Drainage||Drainage ports for water expulsion|
|Grip||Specially designed outsole for traction|
|Protection||Reinforced toe cap for added safety|
|Comfort||Cushioned insole for extended wear|
|Versatility||Suitable for water sports and casual use|
The North Face Skagit Water Shoes boast a synthetic upper and rubber sole, offering durability and protection. They’re geared towards water activities with drainage ports, a secure lace-up system, and a specially designed outsole.
- Efficient Drainage: Drainage ports prevent water accumulation, maintaining comfort.
- Optimized Grip: The outsole ensures solid traction on wet surfaces.
- Reinforced Toe Cap: A reinforced toe cap adds protection against impacts.
- Cushioned Comfort: The insole provides cushioning for prolonged use.
- Versatile Design: Ideal for both water sports and casual wear.
|Material||Mesh upper, rubber sole|
|Closure||Lace-up system with webbing straps|
|Drainage||Sidewall vents for efficient water expulsion|
|Protection||Reinforced toe cap for impact resistance|
|Comfort||LUVSEAT™ dual-density midsole for cushioning|
|Grip||Vibram® Megagrip outsole for traction|
The Chaco Torrent Pro features a mesh upper and rubber sole, providing durability and protection. The lace-up system and Vibram® Megagrip outsole ensure traction, while the LUVSEAT™ midsole enhances comfort during various water activities.
- Efficient Drainage: Sidewall vents facilitate quick water drainage to keep feet comfortable.
- Superior Grip: Vibram® Megagrip outsole offers reliable traction on wet surfaces.
- Toe Protection: A reinforced toe cap guards against impacts and hazards.
- Cushioned Support: LUVSEAT™ dual-density midsole provides cushioning and arch support.
- Sturdy Build: Designed for both water sports and outdoor adventures.
|Material||Neoprene upper, rubber sole|
|Closure||Slip-on style with adjustable bungee lacing|
|Grip||High-traction rubber sole with siping|
|Comfort||Cushioned EVA midsole for support|
|Protection||Reinforced toe and heel for added durability|
|Grip||High-traction rubber sole with siping|
The NRS Kicker Remix Kayaking Shoes feature a Neoprene upper and rubber sole, offering durability and protection. These shoes cater to kayaking and water sports enthusiasts and are designed with a comfortable fit, water drainage, and traction.
- Effective Drainage: Drain holes and mesh panels prevent water buildup, maintaining comfort.
- Superior Traction: The high-traction rubber sole with siping ensures stability on wet surfaces.
- Reinforced Protection: Toe and heel reinforcement enhances shoe durability and impact resistance.
- Comfortable Support: Cushioned EVA midsole provides arch support and comfort.
- Quick Entry: Slip-on style with adjustable bungee lacing for easy on-and-off.
4 best shoes for canoeing (White at Campsite)
|Material||Leather upper, rubber sole|
|Closure||Bungee lacing system with adjustable straps|
|Protection||Rubber toe bumper and toe guard|
|Grip||Non-marking rubber outsole with multidirectional lugs|
|Comfort||Metatomical EVA footbed for cushioning|
|Durability||Washable, quick-dry materials|
The Keen Newport Sandals boast a Leather upper and rubber sole, offering durability and comfort. These sandals have a secure bungee lacing system and protective elements and cater to outdoor pursuits.
- Toe Protection: Rubber toe bumper and toe guard shield against impacts and obstacles.
- Secure Fit: Bungee lacing system with adjustable straps ensures a snug fit.
- Dependable Grip: Non-marking rubber outsole with multidirectional lugs offers traction on varied terrain.
- Cushioned Support: Metatomical EVA footbed provides arch support and cushioning.
- Washable Design: Quick-dry materials allow easy cleaning after outdoor activities.
|Material||Synthetic and mesh upper, rubber sole|
|Closure||Bungee lacing with adjustable straps|
|Drainage||Mesh panels and drain ports for quick drying|
|Grip||Non-marking EcoTread outsole with siped lugs|
|Protection||Rubber toe cap for impact resistance|
|Comfort||LUVSEAT™ dual-density midsole for support|
The Chaco Outcross Water Shoes combine synthetic and mesh upper materials, providing durability and breathability. They’re well-suited for water activities with a secure bungee lacing system, drainage features, and reliable grip.
- Efficient Drainage: Mesh panels and drain ports facilitate rapid water expulsion, preventing discomfort.
- Secure Fit: Bungee lacing with adjustable straps ensures a personalized and secure fit.
- Reliable Grip: Non-marking EcoTread outsole with siped lugs offers traction on wet surfaces.
- Toe Protection: Rubber toe cap safeguards against impacts and obstacles.
- Supportive Comfort: LUVSEAT™ dual-density midsole provides cushioning and arch support.
|Material||Full-grain leather upper, rubber sole|
|Waterproofing||Genuine waterproof rubber bottom and sole|
|Closure||Laced closure with durable metal eyelets|
|Insulation||Thinsulate™ or shearling lining options|
|Traction||Lugged rubber outsole for grip|
|Comfort||Cushioned insole for extended wear|
L.L. Bean Boots are recognised for their full-grain leather upper and durable rubber sole, protecting various weather elements. The genuine waterproof rubber bottom and classic laced closure make them a reliable choice for outdoor activities.
- waterproof Build: Genuine waterproof rubber bottom and sole offer reliable protection from rain and puddles.
- Classic Design: Laced closure with metal eyelets preserves the iconic look.
- Insulation Options: Thinsulate™ or shearling lining provides warmth for cold weather wear.
- Sturdy Traction: Lugged rubber outsole ensures grip on slippery surfaces.
- Timeless Style: Versatile for outdoor adventures and cold weather outings.
|Material||Neoprene upper, rubber sole|
|Ankle Support||Adjustable ankle strap for a secure fit|
|Traction||Durable rubber sole with grip|
|Versatility||Suitable for paddle sports and water activities|
|Comfort||Soft neoprene material and cushioned insole|
|Protection||Reinforced toe and heel for impact resistance|
The NeoSport Wetsuits Paddle Low Top Boots boast neoprene upper material and a durable rubber sole, providing water resistance and traction. Adjustable ankle straps and reinforced protection cater to paddle sports and water activities.
- Ankle Security: Adjustable ankle strap ensures a secure fit and prevents slippage.
- Sturdy Traction: Durable rubber sole offers reliable grip on wet surfaces.
- Impact Protection: Reinforced toe and heel protect against impacts and abrasions.
- Comfortable Fit: Soft neoprene material and cushioned insole enhance comfort during wear.
How do we test all these footwear?
Adam van Koeverden is a national-level canoeist who recommends lightweight, quick-drying shoes with good traction. And based on his recommendations, we select, text and further recommend canoeing shoes. (Source)
Having best canoeing shoes is necessary for canoeing, because while transporting the canoe, you might come across some muddy terrain where stability matters. Because, you’re not only carrying the canoe’s weight, because canoeing accessories are also installed such as canoe outboard motor.
What Other Footwear Accessories Are Necessary?
- Moccasins: Moccasins, a traditional option, offer lightweight comfort and a reliable grip on wet surfaces, making them well-suited for canoeing. Their flexibility enhances the comfort factor.
- Overshoes: When canoeing in colder weather, consider using overshoes. These protective coverings go over your regular shoes, shielding your feet from water and mud and maintaining warmth.
- Normal or Waterproof Socks: To prevent blisters and add warmth during chilly weather, wearing normal or waterproof socks is beneficial. Waterproof socks are particularly effective in wet conditions, ensuring dry feet even when submerged.
- Rubber Boots: Rubber boots are excellent for colder weather canoeing, providing warmth and safeguarding against water and mud. Choose those with dependable traction to prevent slips.
- Insoles: Enhance comfort during extended periods of standing or walking by adding insoles to your shoes. Opt for insoles with solid arch support to prevent foot fatigue.
- Gaiters: Gaiters are practical accessories that wrap around your lower legs and ankles. They effectively keep water, mud, and debris out of your shoes, enhancing canoeing comfort.
- Toe Guards: Consider toe guards for extra protection against underwater hazards like rocks and roots. These protective covers fit over the front of your shoes and shield your toes.
Shoes NOT to Wear on a Canoeing Trip
- Flip-Flops: Lacking grip and protection, they’re unsafe for navigating wet surfaces and obstacles.
- Regular Sandals: Minimal support and inadequate grip can lead to slips and discomfort.
- Bare Feet: Unsafe due to lack of support and potential injury from submerged hazards.
- Casual Sneakers: Insufficient drainage and grip, leading to discomfort and potential accidents on the water.
Though, canoeing isn’t dangerous activity, but you need to be alert and have some experience to avoid any unpleasant situation such canoeing tipping over. A canoe mostly tips over while getting into a canoe, launching or during the sudden movement. So, in order to be secure, you need to wear appropriate canoe clothing, good quality canoeing shoes and of course, canoe life jacket.
How to Dry my Shoes if they get wet while canoeing or I should leave it dry
What to Do:
- Remove Insoles: Take out the insoles to allow air to circulate inside the shoes and speed up drying.
- Shake out Water: Shake out excess water from the shoes after canoeing.
- Remove Debris: Clear any dirt or debris hindering drying.
- Air Dry: Let shoes air dry in a well-ventilated area, avoiding direct sunlight or heat sources.
- Use Newspaper or Towels: Stuff newspapers or absorbent towels into the shoes to soak up moisture.
What Not to Do:
- Avoid Direct Heat: Don’t use direct heat sources like heaters or hairdryers, as they can warp or damage your shoes.
- Don’t Use High Heat: High heat settings can cause the shoes to lose shape, crack, or shrink.
- No Wet Storage: Don’t store wet shoes in a closed bag or damp environment, as it can promote mould and bad odours.
- Skip the Dryer: Avoid using a tumble dryer, as it can damage the shoes and weaken adhesives.
- Don’t Rush: Patience is key. Allow your shoes to dry naturally to prevent any lasting damage.
Challenges You Can Face for Wearing Non-Recommended Shoes for canoeing
Here are some challenges you might encounter if you wear shoes that are not recommended:
- Wet Feet: Footwear for canoeing will inevitably become wet. Donning shoes unsuited for water can result in damp, uneasy feet.
- Lack of Traction: Footwear needing proper traction can help maintain stable footing on slippery surfaces like wet logs or rocks.
- Elevated Injury Risk: Footwear offering insufficient protection can amplify the likelihood of injury from jagged rocks, shells, or debris in the water.
- Extended Drying Period: Shoes not designed for aquatic environments tend to dry slowly, potentially leading to discomfort, blisters, or foot issues.
- Swimming Difficulties: Bulky or heavy shoes can impede swimming efforts if the canoe accidentally capsizes.
Flatwater vs Whitewater Canoeing Shoes
Flatwater Canoeing Shoes:
- Traction: Footwear designed for flatwater canoeing might necessitate reduced traction as the water remains calm without any rapids to navigate.
- Material: Shoes for flatwater canoeing could be crafted to be lighter, promoting enhanced comfort and breathability.
- Durability: Flatwater canoeing shoes might prioritise less durability considering the absence of exposure to rough terrain or rocks.
- Foot Entrapment Risk: With a generally lower risk of foot entrapment in flatwater canoeing, there might be a diminished emphasis on shoe design and protective features.
- Comfort: Comfort during leisurely canoe paddling sessions could be a primary focus for flatwater canoeing shoes.
Whitewater Canoeing Shoes:
- Traction: Adequate traction is essential for whitewater canoeing shoes to effectively navigate slippery rocks and turbulent waters.
- Material: Whitewater canoeing shoes may predominantly utilize sturdier materials, ensuring resilience against rough terrain and potential abrasions.
- Protection: Expect reinforced toe caps and enhanced ankle support in whitewater canoeing shoes, safeguarding against impacts and injuries.
- Grip: Reliable grip on wet rocks and uneven surfaces is a key requirement of canoeing shoes for whitewater paddling.
- Stability: Whitewater canoeing shoes incorporate features such as a supportive sole and a secure closure system, contributing to augmented stability.
My Candid Tips for Buying Shoes for Canoeing (Based on My Experience)
Here are some tips for buying canoeing shoes based on our personal experience out on the water:
- Prioritize Grip: The grip is crucial when you’re paddling the canoe and manoeuvring in the canoe. Look for shoes with reliable rubber soles that offer traction on wet surfaces like river rocks and boat bottoms. This prevents slips and keeps you steady.
- Go for Drainage: Canoeing involves water, and your shoes will get wet. Opt for shoes designed with proper drainage features. They’ll help expel water quickly, keeping your feet comfortable and preventing squishiness.
- Secure Fit: A loose shoe can ruin your paddling game. Choose shoes with a secure fit that won’t slip off during quick movements. Adjustable straps or laces ensure a snug feel and prevent shoe loss.
- Protection is Key: Riverbeds can be unpredictable – sharp rocks, twigs, you name it. Choose shoes that offer good protection for your feet. Closed-toe designs shield you from unexpected obstacles beneath the water’s surface.
- Consider Comfort: Canoeing can be an all-day affair. Prioritise comfort. Cushioned insoles and breathable materials keep your feet happy even during extended paddling sessions.
- Durability Matters: Canoeing shoes are beaten from water, rocks, and constant use. Invest in well-built shoes that can withstand the elements. Quality materials and sturdy construction make a difference.
Should I also consider my Canoe type, body, and Temperature/Terrain?
When selecting shoes for canoeing, it’s critical to consider the type of canoe, your physical condition, the temperature, and the terrain. Here are some considerations:
Type of Canoe:
You should choose shoes that are simple to slide on and off if you’re using a sit-in canoe because you’ll need to go in and out frequently.
Given that your feet are more exposed to weather conditions when using a sit-on-top canoe, you should consider wearing shoes that provide extra protection.
Keep in mind the size and shape of your feet, along with any existing foot issues like flat feet or plantar fasciitis.
Prioritise shoes that provide a snug fit and ample support, considering the significant time you’ll spend on your feet.
Temperature and Terrain:
In colder temperatures, prioritise shoes with better insulation to keep your feet warm. For warmer climates, opt for shoes that are more breathable and quick-drying. Take into account the type of terrain you’ll be navigating while canoeing.
Wear shoes with solid traction and dependable support if you walk on uneven or rocky surfaces. Consider shoes that offer heightened protection in areas with sharp rocks or debris, such as closed-toe sandals or water shoes.
FAQs – Best Shoes For Canoeing
How can I prevent blisters while wearing canoeing shoes?
To prevent blisters, wear moisture-wicking socks, ensure a proper fit, and break in your shoes before canoeing. Apply friction-reducing products to potential problem areas.
Are lace-up or slip-on shoes better for canoeing?
Both lace-up and slip-on shoes work, but lace-ups offer a more secure fit during active movements on the water.
Can I machine wash my canoeing shoes?
Check manufacturer guidelines. Some neoprene shoes are machine washable on gentle cycles, but air-dry them to maintain quality.
Can you canoe barefoot?
Canoeing barefoot is possible but not recommended due to potential injuries, lack of support, and exposure to hazards.
How do I maintain the grip on the soles of my canoeing shoes?
Maintain grip by cleaning the soles regularly and ensuring they’re debris-free. Replace shoes if tread wear is significant.
What’s the average lifespan of a pair of canoeing shoes?
Average lifespan varies, but quality canoeing shoes can last 1-3 years, depending on usage frequency and conditions.
Are neoprene shoes suitable for canoeing?
Yes, neoprene shoes are suitable for canoeing. They provide comfort, grip, and water resistance.
Can I wear my canoeing shoes while swimming?
While possible, it’s not recommended to wear canoeing shoes while swimming, as they can impede movement and may not offer the best swim-specific features.
What should I do if my canoeing shoes start to smell?
Prevent odour by drying shoes thoroughly after use, using odour-absorbing insoles, and occasionally washing them according to manufacturer guidelines.
Can I use my regular sandals for canoeing in calm waters?
Regular sandals need more grip, support, and protection for canoeing. Opt for proper canoeing shoes for safety and performance.
How can I prevent my feet from getting cold while canoeing in cold weather?
Wear moisture-wicking socks and insulating layers to keep feet warm while canoeing in cold weather. Neoprene boots can provide additional insulation.
How do I know when to replace my old canoeing shoes?
Replace old canoeing shoes when the tread wears thin, support diminishes, or they start showing signs of damage that affect safety and comfort.
Passionate freelance writer and certified boat captain, Sam brings his expertise to this pedal boating & Canoeing blog. With a knack for captivating storytelling and in-depth knowledge of boating regulations, he’s here to make your boating experience even more enjoyable and informed.