Follow the steps below to picking a great paddling shoe
The Paddling shoe has evolved and making the right choice is harder than ever.
First decide what uses you want for the shoes…
The best shoes for Kayaking tend to be more flexible and softer soled. Shoes for Rafting or Tubing may tend more towards warmth and can be strapped or rigid, but there are options for everyone’s needs.
Water Worthy Only:
A water worthy paddling shoe is made up of materials which are for warmth or grip, and/or they are low profile which tends to offer less support and durability for street wear. By example, Five Ten Rubber is a softer rubber great for gripping rocks but you will wear the rubber down if you use them every day on the sidewalk. Neoprene, is great for warming the foot when wet, but makes the shoe pretty clammy & hot on the street.
Street AND Water Worthy:
If you want your paddling shoe to be street worthy and water worthy you are probably looking at a shoe that has a thicker sole like the Keen Venice, or Owhyee or a Chaco Z series. All of these are great for open boats like rafts, canoes, sit on tops and even inner tubing. Rigid soles are often not as suitable for use in enclosed boats due to the possibility of a strap or large foot bed getting caught as you try to exit the boat. The discomfort experienced due to the limited space for proper foot positioning in kayaks is another strong consideration.