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If you’re an angler who prefers casting a line from a kayak, then it’s pretty obvious you’re going to need one of the best shoes for kayak fishing. Since fishing from a kayak calls for special shoes that can get wet without problem, it stands to reason that your sneakers aren’t going to do the trick.

It should come as no surprise then that this selection of “shoes” are actually sandals, or just wet shoe crossovers. Whatever you want to classify them as, they’ll keep you covered and slip free when reeling in your next big catch!

For more of our top kayak fishing gear recommendations, check out the Best Fishing Kayaks.

 

Quick Answer - The Best Shoes for Kayak Fishing

  1. KEEN Newport H2
  2. Chaco Z/2 Cloud
  3. Teva Strata Universal
  4. Xero Shoes Z-Trail
  5. Bedrock Sandals Cairn Adventure

 

Comparison Table - Best Shoes for Kayak Fishing

PictureNameWeightToe StyleAdjustment MechanismPriceRating
KEEN Newport H21 lb. 8 oz.Closed Toe / CoveredBungee Lace$$4.9
Chaco Z/2 Cloud1 lb. 5 oz.Toe Loop / Open ToeBuckle$$4.8
Teva Strata Universal1 lb. 6 oz.Open ToeVelcro Strap$$$4.7
Xero Shoes Z-Trail11 oz.Open ToeAdjustable Strap$4.6
Bedrock Sandals Cairn Adventure1 lb. 2 oz.Open ToeStrap$$4.5
PictureNameWeightToe StyleAdjustment MechanismPriceRating
Want to learn more about a technical term? Check out our Features Explained section below.

Need buying advice? Take a look at these Things to Consider.

Reviews - The Best Kayak Fishing Shoes

KEEN Newport H2


View Women's Version
Specs
  • Weight: 1 lb. 8 oz.
  • Toe Style: Closed Toe / Covered
  • Upper: Synthetic
  • Adjustment Mechanism: Bungee Lace
  • Midsole: Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA)
Features
  • Extremely Comfortable EVA Midsole
  • Foot Glides Into Sandal Seamlessly With Heel Strap
  • Breathable Design Circulates Airflow For Quick Drying When Wet

BEST FOR: KEEPING TRACTION 

Sporting full-foot coverage with its closed toe design and featuring super grippy traction, the KEEN Newport H2 Sandals are hybrid sandal-shoes that offer the best of both worlds! 

When you’re fishing from a kayak, keeping traction is important, especially when you’re bracing to reel in a fish. The carbon-rubber outsole is slip resistant and won’t leave rubber marks all over your boat. On the upper portion of the shoe, the Newport H2’s have polyester webbings that provide both protection and breathability, allowing your feet to dry quickly when wet. 

Just keep in mind that for the fit, KEEN’s tend to run about ½ size smaller than you would usually buy.

Chaco Z/2 Cloud


View Women's Version
Specs
  • Weight: 1 lb. 5 oz.
  • Toe Style: Toe Loop / Open Toe
  • Upper: Synthetic
  • Adjustment Mechanism: Buckle
  • Midsole: Polyurethane (PU)
Features
  • Vegan Construction Uses Synthetic Materials
  • Say Goodbye To Foot Odor With Anti-Microbial Application
  • Footbeds Are Podiatrist Certified For Delivering Exceptional Arch Support

BEST FOR: DURABILITY

With a legendary word-of-mouth reputation and a cult-like following, it should come as no surprise that Chacos make the cut. Their Z/2 Cloud Sandals are an exceptional choice for anglers desiring long-lasting durability. 

Boasting new and improved straps over their classic models, Chacos have upped their game. As always, any and all pairs feature a lifetime warranty on the straps, giving you peace of mind should they rip or become compromised under heavy use, but that would take years to occur. 

One potential drawback that may be a dealbreaker for some is that with straps this durable, you’ll need to break your Chacos in slowly as you build up calluses in the right spots. Otherwise, if your feet stay wet for too long and you’re a Chaco newbie, they may rub your feet raw.

Teva Strata Universal


View Women's Version
Specs
  • Weight: 1 lb. 6 oz.
  • Toe Style: Open Toe
  • Upper: Synthetic
  • Adjustment Mechanism: Velcro Strap
  • Midsole: Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA)
Features
  • Lightweight Design Is Just As Durable As Heavier Designs
  • Say Goodbye To Foot Odor With Anti-Microbial Application
  • Extremely Durable Outsole Can Be Re-Cobbled By Vibram For Investment Quality

BEST FOR: ALL-DAY COMFORT

Some fishers just can’t seem to keep their feet dry – if you’re one such person who needs long lasting, all-day comfort despite having wet feet then you may want to consider the Teva Strata Universal Sandals. They won’t rub your feet raw the way other shoes/sandals might!

The three-strap system on these Teva’s ensures you’ll be able to dial in the perfect fit, allowing you to bypass the “break-in” period and giving you a solid fit from Day 1. Moving to the outer soles, the Strata Universal Sandals feature a durable and slip resistant Vibram sole. Should your soles wear down before you blow out the straps, you can send them to Vibram for re-cobbling for a fraction of the price it would cost to completely replace your sandals, saving you money.

Xero Shoes Z-Trail


View Women's Version
Specs
  • Weight: 11 oz.
  • Toe Style: Open Toe
  • Upper: Synthetic
  • Adjustment Mechanism: Adjustable Strap
  • Midsole: Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA)
Features
  • Adjustable Heel Strap Ensures Proper Fit
  • Vegan Construction Uses Synthetic Materials
  • Will Stay Securely Fitted Thanks To Z-Style Webbing Design

BEST FOR: LIGHTWEIGHT DESIGN

When you’ve loaded down your boat with all the necessary gear for a day out on the water, it’s best to sport lightweight apparel that won’t weigh you or your kayak down. Keeping your feet light is one way to shave weight and the Z-Trail Sandals by Xero Shoes are an excellent choice. 

Giving you the feeling of being barefoot, the Z-Trail Sandals offer minimal weight and bulk while helping give you excellent traction. The last thing you want when fighting a fish is for your foot to slip and cost you your catch. 

The extremely minimal design also cuts out the heel lift found on many types of shoes and sandals, giving your body a natural and ergonomic posture which will translate into better performance when casting and retrieving.

Bedrock Sandals Cairn Adventure


View Women's Version
Specs
  • Weight: 1 lb. 2 oz.
  • Toe Style: Open Toe
  • Upper: Synthetic Webbing
  • Adjustment Mechanism: Strap
  • Midsole: Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA)
Features
  • Available In 2 Different Colors
  • 3 Adjustment Straps Allow You To Dial In A Custom Fit
  • Extremely Durable Outsole Can Be Re-Cobbled By Vibram For Investment Quality

BEST FOR: VENTURING OUTSIDE THE KAYAK

Long fishing weekends in your kayak necessitate a versatile shoe that will be able to handle and traverse a variety of environments. If you’re in need of such a shoe that will not only help your fishing game but give you the freedom to venture outside of your kayak, then the Cairn Adventure Sandals by Bedrock Sandals should be your go-to. 

The “Best Use” as listed by REI is threefold: Watersports, Hiking, and Multi-Sport. Instead of needing a specific shoe or sandal for fishing and then swapping out when hiking or hanging out at your camp, you can simplify your packing list and just rock the Cairn 3D Adventure Sandals instead! 

Not only that, the outsoles are made by Vibram who is one of the most trusted manufacturers in footwear. Should the sole wear down excessively, send them in for re-cobbling and you’ll have a brand new pair of sandals for much less than the cost of buying a whole new pair.

 

 

THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING SHOES FOR KAYAK FISHING

UPPER

The upper portion of a shoe or sandal refers to the portion that covers your foot. This is distinctly different from the sole.

Suede/Nubuck Upper

This is a soft and thin leather that is extremely long lasting (more durable than synthetic uppers) but takes a long time to dry.

Synthetic Upper

Synthetic uppers have the advantage of drying very quickly but tend not to last as long as leather uppers. They can be made of microfiber, nylon, or polyester and are a great alternative to leather for vegans.

 

MIDSOLE

A shoe’s midsole is the cushioning (think of the meat in a sandwich) and is located between the insole (what your foot stands on) and the outsole (the bottom of the shoe that makes contact with the ground).

There are 2 commonly used materials in the construction of a midsole – Polyurethane (PU) and Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA).

Polyurethane (PU)

Polyurethane is a long lasting and highly durable material that can be expected to last at least a year if not much longer when properly maintained. This long lifespan is something to keep in mind when deciding what to wear while kayaking

Pros

  • Extremely durable
  • Long lasting
  • Very supportive

Cons

  • Break-in period is longer than EVA
  • Tends to be a heavy material
  • Expensive

Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA)

Shoes and sandals with an EVA midsole should not be expected to perform longer than 6 months (at the maximum). This is because, while initially much more comfortable out of the box, it breaks down quickly.

Pros

  • Comfortable right out of the box
  • Much lighter than PU
  • Very cushiony

Cons

  • Won’t last nearly as long as PU
  • Can’t support heavy loads well
  • Breaks down in 3 – 6 months

 

FIT

Manufacturers don’t always abide by the same sizing, making the fit of your new sandals somewhat variable than what you’d expect. Be sure to check out the Q&A section on REI or Amazon for questions about sizing your adventuring sandals and to figure out whether you should size up or down from what you’d normally buy.

 

 

FEATURES EXPLAINED

OUTSOLE

The bottom layer of the “sole sandwich.” It’s the part of a shoe or sandal that touches the ground – most people refer to is as just the “sole.”

MIDSOLE

The midsole is the meat of the “sole sandwich,” smack between the topsole and the outsole. It is what provides support and cushion.

INSOLE

The top layer of the “sole sandwich” which your foot actually stands on.

LUGS

The traction pattern found on the outsole.

EVA

EVA stands for Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate. It’s a synthetically produced material that offers shock absorption and cushioning and will form to your foot.

PU

PU stands for Polyurethane. It’s a synthetically produced material that offers support for your foot’s arch. It is very durable and extremely long lasting.

READ MORE

For more of our top kayak fishing gear recommendations, check out these popular articles:

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