Sandals for Kayaking Trips

Authored by Monica Gray

Top 6 Waterproof Sandals for Kayaking Trips

Preparing for an epic kayaking journey takes time, but it’s well worth the effort. It’s not as simple as jumping into a kayak and cruising down the river. You’ll have to take weather, supplies, water, food, route planning, and other things into consideration. We recommend going on shorter kayaking trips before embarking on a multi-day kayak trip. It’s important to get a feel for your kayak and the differing tides and currents you may encounter. Bringing a buddy with you is also recommended, not only for the company but for safety reasons. If one of you gets hurt or injured, you’ll have another person there to help you. There’s power in numbers for a reason. My favorite part about kayaking with a buddy, though, has to be the conversation. There's no better way to get to know someone than out in nature or cruising down some whitewater. Just like camping, I've had some beautiful, deep conversations with friends that have stuck with me. And the more prepared you are, the more seamless your trip will be. That's where we come in.

Always assume your gear will get wet. You’re spending a majority of your time on water, so it’s likely a few splashes here and there will enter your kayak, especially on days with a stronger current and higher waves. This is also why you want quality shoes for kayaking that are durable and waterproof. We've compiled a list of the best waterproof sandals out there.

Nothing can match that feeling of freedom when it’s only you, your kayak, and the open water. It’s akin to the feeling of hiking on the open trail, with an expansive landscape right before your eyes. The effort it takes to embark on this adventure and explore this part of the world makes it that much more rewarding.

woman on paddleboard with waterproof sandals

How to Prepare for a Kayaking Trip

Buy a Kayak

Even though this one is obvious, it’s not as clear cut as you might think. There are different types of kayaks out there, and some are better suited for longer trips than others. You’ll want to invest in a tour or sea kayak. These kayaks are efficient, comfortable, and have ample gear storage for your clothes, tent, and other gear. For the more advanced kayakers, you can use a white-water kayak, though storage space is a lot more limited. As a plus, the tour kayaks have a day hatch for added storage space.


If you’ve gotten used to your couch, you probably shouldn’t start your multi-day kayaking trip right off the bat. Hitting the gym and doing arm, back, shoulder, and chest exercises will only help you. Training on the treadmill is also recommended, as kayaking requires a certain level of cardio. If you’re kayaking against strong wind, you’ll need proper arm strength and endurance to push through those difficult parts of your trip.

Buy Good Gear

Buy cheap, buy twice! That saying couldn’t ring anymore true. Invest in high-quality gear before you embark on your trip. This includes gear like waterproof bags, waterproof clothes, quick-dry clothes, and a lifejacket. Placing your valuables like a phone and camera inside the waterproof bag prevents valuable gear from getting damaged, whether that’s from rain or accidentally flipping the kayak. Always wear your lifejacket, even on days when the water is flat or calm. I've learned time and time again how unpredictable the weather is! I've been on trips before where the weather went from sunny to rainy in a matter of minutes. That's why waterproof clothes like shorts and shirts will only help you, as they’ll dry quickly and you won’t have to lug around wet clothes for the duration of your trip. You’ll also want to pack synthetic socks, synthetic base layers, a rain jacket, and board shorts.

Test Your Gear

You don’t want the first day you test your gear to be your first day on the water. Imagine if you found a leak in your kayak? Or your lifejacket fell apart? That’s one way to ruin the trip! Go on a test run a few days before you begin your trip, to make sure your gear is operating properly and you’re not going to run into any problems.

As we mentioned, you’ll want gear that’s waterproof. Even if you’re traveling with dry bags, they’ll eventually wear out. To prevent this wear and tear early on in your trip, purchase a new dry bag before your trip. Keep the most important gear, like your phone, camera, sleeping bag, socks, and insulating layers that’ll keep you warm at night, inside your new dry bags. For your other gear, you can place them inside a garbage bag or in older dry bags you may have lying around. Make use of small space in your kayak and pack your kayak properly so that it’s balanced.

Know the Tides/Currents

Knowing the potential currents and tides ahead of time will only help you. That way, there aren’t any surprises. If there’s one day in particular with strong currents, you might want to shift your plan a bit to avoid any unnecessary hardships. You could spend an extra day camping or head out a day early. Being flexible on your multi-day kayaking trip is as important as your gear! It's always a good idea to remember that no matter how prepared you are, things can change. I've had to spend an extra night camping all thanks to bad weather. Even though I'm not complaining about spending an extra day out in the wild, it definitely made things a little bit stressful.

Plan Your Route

Having a route in mind is a great way to prepare for your adventure. If you reach a point in the river where the route divides, you’ll want to know ahead of time if you should go left or right. It’s also important to know where your endpoint is and how you’re getting back to your starting point.

Food and Water/ Cooking

Embarking on a multi-day kayaking trip needs a lot of preparation, which includes food and water. Bring a small portable stove to heat up freeze dried food. This is easy to carry and will fit in your kayak. Having water tablets to purify water helps lighten the load, as you won’t need to worry about packing heavy water bottles. Snacks like calorie-dense bars will keep you full, provide the essential calories you need, and save space, since you won’t need to pack as much food.

Why Should I Pack Waterproof Sandals?

You might wonder why we suggest packing waterproof sandals as opposed to durable sneakers. From personal experience, there’s nothing worse than embarking on a long kayaking trip and having to worry about getting my sneakers wet. With waterproof, open-toed sandals, my feet can breathe and it saves tons of mental energy worrying about wet shoes.

Water shoes provide specific protection from terrain and the kayak. With ankle support and good traction on the bottom of the shoe, durable sandals help protect your feet from rocks and wet terrain. You won’t only be sitting in the kayak, you’ll also be camping, transporting your kayak, and possibly even going on several short day hikes. You’ll want good kayaking shoes to protect your feet from twigs, branches, sharp rocks, and grass.

Additionally, because your heels are constantly resting on the hull of the kayak, they’re taking the brunt of the weight. Footwear with supportive soles help protect your heels. The added layer of rubber between your feet and the kayak does a lot to prevent bruises and soreness.

Waterproof Sandals for Kayaking Trips

You’ll need to pack lightly and efficiently for your kayaking adventure. This means packing high-quality water shoes that can double as hiking shoes. We’ve listed plenty of options for the best kayak sandals out there that provide the durability and support you’ll need on your future kayaking adventures.

The Acadia Hiking Sandal

Kayaking requires high-quality sandals, which is why the Acadia sandal is an ideal option. These kayak shoes are built for outdoor escapades like kayaking trips. Even though you’re spending a majority of your time sitting in the kayak, you still need a sandal that provides arch support for the moments you’re setting up your tent or going on a day hike to break up your trip. The thick EVA foam midsole and ergonomic outsole provides this arch support you’ll need. Not only that, but it has an adjustable strap around the ankle which helps when you want to easily adjust the ankle support when you’re in the kayak. These are a great choice if you need water sandals with substantial support.

The Cortona Sport Sandals

Just because you’re sitting in a kayak, doesn’t mean you need to give up foot comfort. The Cortona sport sandal pampers and cradles your foot with its soft stretchable straps and thick EVA foam midsole. They’re more than just waterproof sports sandals, they’re your next kayaking adventure buddy. The adjustable straps also provide the comfort and stability your feet deserve. Without having to worry about water getting into your paddling and canoe footwear, you can relax knowing that these sandals are durable and are here to stay. They come in a variety of colors and sizes, so you can choose one to your liking.

Sloane Outdoor Sandals

The Sloane sandals were made for outdoor adventures, kayaking included. The adjustable strapping system provides a customized fit every time you slip them on. During those calm river moments on the kayak, lean back and put your feet up. Because these outdoor sandals are open-toed, your feet can enjoy the fresh air as much as you are. The thick EVA foam midsole and ergonomic outsole also provides room for your toes, arch support and grip necessary for pressing your feet on the ground while paddling through rough water. These are necessary features to look out for when shopping for sandals for your many excursions.

Kiawah Orthotic Flip-Flop Sandals for Women

For those of you searching for flip-flops that not only provides a deep heel cup that aligns your feet, but sandals that are also waterproof, look no further. The Kiawah women's flip flop has a cushioned ergonomic EVA foam sole and excellent arch support that helps with plantar fasciitis, supinate, and orthopedic heel or foot pain. These are your go-to orthotics waterproof shoes for your next rafting trip.

The Napali Hiking Sandals

Named after the Na Pali Coast on Kauai, Hawaii, the Napali hiking sandals are made for outdoor escapades, kayaking included. Their waterproof material is durable, and the hook and loop straps hug your feet. It has a thick EVA foam midsole and ergonomic outsole that provides substantial arch support that helps when you’re walking around at the end of a long kayaking day. These versatile sports sandals are ideal for any outdoor adventure, kayaking included. With these water shoes, you won’t have to worry about drying wet sneakers or socks, soggy laces, or wearing sandals made of material or fabric that might fall apart. With plenty of color options and different sizes, you might find it difficult to choose just one while you're shopping!

The Samara Walking Sandal

Don’t give up style for comfort! The Samara walking sandals can take you anywhere, down a river included. These women’s sandals are one of our most popular, and we can see why. They’re functional, fashionable, and come with a thick comfortable EVA foam midsole with cushioning that reduces stress on the joints. These sandals have a shank stabilizer with excellent traction. For those of you with medium and narrow-width feet, the front webbing is made of elastic textiles that not only supports this type of width, but is also extremely waterproof. The hook and loop strap around the ankles is customizable to fit to your every need. There's also a chance you'll walk across a stream or camp next to a lake. With the different kinds of terrain and surfaces you'll encounter on your trip, you'll need versatile sandals that will support your feet no matter where you are.

Factors to Consider

There are numerous factors to consider when picking kayaking shoes that are perfect for you. When you're on your paddling trips, you're exposed to all sorts of nature's elements. This includes the price, smell (yes, smell!), arch support, and weather.


If you’re on a budget, you’ll want water shoes that fit into your price range! With our sandals at Viakix, we provide high-quality sandals for a great price. Use the money you save by buying our sandals to buy more dry bags! There are a of other things you need to focus on than the cost of water shoes. The best kayaking and hiking sandals don't have to rob you of your budget.


Seriously, no one wants to participate in water activities with someone who suffers from smelly feet. Whenever I go kayaking, I make sure my shoes are one of the first things I keep clean. A lot of material out there traps smell. Because you’re on the water for so long, there’s a higher chance of your shoes smelling. These open-toed sandals are easy to clean and keep bad smells at a distance very far away. You and your paddling adventures deserve clean-smelling shoes with maximum breathability!

Arch Support

Because you’re pressing your feet into the kayak all day, you’ll need sandals with good arch support that prevent blisters. This is also recommended while you’re transporting your kayak and setting up your tent. You want your feet to be the last thing you worry about, and getting blisters could ruin an entire trip! That's why I believe footwear for kayak trips is just as important as the kayak itself.


The weather and temperature are important factors to consider while kayaking. We wouldn’t recommend embarking on a kayaking trip in the dead of winter. Ideal weather conditions usually happen in the spring and summer, depending on where you are in the world. Open-toed sandals will help regulate your temperature and keep you cool in the sun. Also remember you’re kayaking on the water, so the water temperature is just as important. If the water temperature is cold, pack extra layers to keep your body warm.

Other Gear Needed for Kayaking Trips

Small Tent

There are other essential items you’ll need to pack for your trip.

Because you’re kayaking, sleeping, kayaking, and sleeping, you’ll need to pack a small tent. The size of the tent matters. This isn't the time to bring that huge, spacious tent you've always want to use. And unlike a hammock, tents will protect you against the weather and pesky insects. These outdoor activities require a lightweight tent!

Sleeping bag

Whether you’re kayaking in the summer or fall, you’ll need a sleeping bag. This will keep you warm during those chilly nights.

Medical Supplies

If you cut your finger or have a headache, packing medical supplies will only help keep mishaps to a minimum. It’s always better to be slightly over-prepared than underprepared.


Since you’re outside the entire day in the sunlight, make sure you pack sunscreen. It’s unlikely you’ll have a lot of shade while on the river. Swimming and exploring expose you to more sunlight than usual, so preventing sunburn is important.

Bug Spray

The great outdoors is a wild place! If you’re kayaking in summer, there will likely be mosquitoes. This is especially true during dawn and dusk when the mosquitoes are most active, and if you're one of those people that mosquitoes always seem to flock to. Packing bug spray helps prevent those annoying mosquito bites.

Baseball Cap

Double up on sun protection and pack a baseball cap! Your face and shoulders are the two most likely spots to get burned. With a hat (and a long-sleeved shirt) you’ll prevent your skin from getting roasted by the sun, and in turn, painful sunburn.

Boat Repair Equipment

This includes heavy duty tape, zip ties, seam drip, scrap plastic, epoxy, patches, and flex tape. Flex tape is the best option for repairing your kayak. It’s simple to use and easy to pack in your bag. It’s also affordable and less time consuming than a huge repair, especially if you’re in the middle of your trip.

Other Equipment

Other equipment you’ll want to bring is a compass, GPS, knife, and whistle. This gear will help you keep your bearings in unfamiliar terrain. Bring a bear spray and bear canister if you’re traveling through bear country. Being on the water doesn’t protect you from a bear attack.

With a little bit of preparation, you’ll be ready for your adventure in no time. Purchasing proper gear and kayak sandals will help prevent any mishaps from happening and keep you in top shape for your trip.

waterproof women's sandals on the river

Frequently Asked Questions

How well do the sandals stay on your feet while kayaking?

Most of our sandals have ankle straps and hook and loop straps that hug your feet. This will keep the sandals on your feet for the duration of your trip. If you’re not paddling aggressively or in rough water, these sandals will easily stay strapped to your feet!

How do you know if a pair of waterproof sandals will work for kayaking trips?

You’ll want sandals made of durable material such as rubber or neoprene. This material repels water and keeps your feet dry. Sandals with a secure fit will stay on your feet while you’re paddling.  

How are waterproof sandals different from regular sandals?

Waterproof sandals are designed to keep your feet dry in wet conditions, while regular sandals are not. The difference lies in the material they’re made of. Waterproof sandals are made from material like neoprene, rubber, or synthetic leather that repels water.

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