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Best Kayak Fishing Shoes and Boots: Keeping Your Feet Safe and Comfortable in 2022

Written by: Pete D
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It may sound a little strange to hear that kayak anglers need good shoes. 

After all, your feet aren’t doing a whole lot of work!

But if you think about it, your feet demand a lot of protection. A kayak puts them in harm’s way, and from sharp hooks, to a blazing sun, to cold water and wind, your feet are front and center - even if they stay firmly glued to your footpegs.

If you’ve sunburned your feet, sent a hook through your heel, or had your toes go numb from the cold, you’ll know exactly what we mean. And if you’re in the market for good kayak fishing shoes, we’re here to help.

Below, you’ll find reviews of some of our favorites as well as a complete buying guide to get you up to speed quickly.

Quick glance at the best kayak fishing shoes and boots:

Related:

Best Kayak Fishing Shoes Reviewed

HUK Rubber Waterproof Rogue Wave Mid Boots - Best Three-Season Ankle Boot for Kayak Fishing

HUK Men's Rubber Waterproof Rogue Wave Mid Boots, Adult, Hannibal Bank, 10

Amazon  | HukGear.com

Summer footwear options for kayak fishing are easy. But as the weather cools down, options like Sperrys and Crocs don’t provide the warmth you’re looking for, especially if your feet get wet.

Instead, you’ll want something that provides real protection against the elements, and HUK’s Rogue Wave mid boot does just that.

Built with a neoprene and rubber upper coated in a proprietary DWR to increase water repellency, they’ll keep your feet warm and dry in any weather you’d kayak in. 

Waterproof as a duck’s back, you can really count on these boots when the mercury is falling and other anglers give the water a pass.

That waterproofness offers another advantage: these mid boots are easy to clean. A few squirts of detergent and a hose will get the job done in no time, and as long as you’re careful to keep water from running inside, they’ll be good as new and ready to wear immediately.

The flat soles are designed for wet, slippery decks, and standing in your kayak is not going to be an issue for these HUKs.

These boots are known for their durability, too, and if you reserve them for kayak fishing and skip long hikes and treks to Bass Pro, they’ll last for years.

Non-insulated, with thick socks they’re still pretty warm - perhaps too warm for summer. But in warmer climates, they’ll keep you well protected in fall, winter, and spring.

For thicker socks and wider feet, I advise you to order one size up.

I really love HUK’s Rogue Wave mid boots, and I think you will, too.

Pros:

  • Waterproof!
  • Comfortable
  • Easy to clean
  • Great grip
  • Nice color options
  • Warm enough for three seasons

Cons:

  • Sizing can be tight for wide feet--order up

Sperry H2O Skiff Sneaker - Best Boat Shoes for Kayak Fishing

Sperry Men's, H2O Skiff Sneaker Gray 9 M

Amazon 

Sperry made their name with deck shoes that simply work, eventually becoming something of a fashion brand by extension. And though you may be more familiar with their classic materials and styling, that’s not all they have to offer, and their H2O Skiff Sneaker is a great option for kayak anglers.

Essentially a standard sneaker designed with the water in mind, the uppers on the H2O Skiff are constructed of hydrophobic materials that should provide some measure of water resistance. In the real world, no shoe like this is going to be waterproof, a fact that Sperry knows all too well, since they offer a perforated footbed to quickly drain your wet shoes.

For sneakers, they dry quickly, too, so you won’t end up with wet feet all day if a sudden squall drenches you while you're fishing.

All-day comfort is all but guaranteed by these lightweight shoes, and wet traction is excellent. The lacing provides a good fit, and for taking to your feet in a kayak, these shoes really inspire confidence. Your foot won’t twist or rotate, and the overall grip is reassuring.

Unlike either of the Crocs, however, blood, guts, and slime are going to be a problem.

Sperry doesn’t report if the H2O Skiff Sneaker is machine washable. If you get them well-coated in slime or bloody from a thrashing fish, expect some trouble. I’d recommend a thorough soak in warm, soapy water, followed by a gentle scrub with a soft-bristled brush (maybe a toothbrush?).

Comfortable, stable, grippy, light: these shoes have a lot going for them, and if you prefer a sneaker-styler kayak fishing shoe, Sperry is the name to beat.

Pros:

  • Comfortable
  • Quick drying
  • Great grip
  • Pretty cool for summer

Cons:

  • Tough to clean thoroughly

Crocs Swiftwater Wave Sandal - Best Slip-On for Kayak Fishing

Crocs mens Swiftwater Wave Sandal, Black/Pearl White, 9 M US

Amazon 

Crocs are pretty much synonymous with comfort, but they’re not every angler’s thing. Add to that the issues I mentioned with traction, and you can see why some kayak fishermen don’t like them.

But for anglers who want easy-to-clean, easy-to-wear kayak shoes, Crocs’s Swiftwater Wave sandal might be just the thing.

Designed around water sports like kayaking, the Swiftwater features a flat, grippy sole that provides excellent traction when wet, solving the only problem of the standard clog for anglers. Keep in mind, however, that like all slip ons, your foot can twist and turn in these shoes, making them not the most stable option for taking to your feet.

Just like the classic clog, these shoes provide plenty of foot protection, and clean-up is a snap with soap and water. They’re just as comfortable, too, so there are no worries there.

Like the classic, lighter colors are going to reflect more heat in the summer, so I’d skip options like black or dark gray.

Pros:

  • Inexpensive!
  • Comfortable
  • Extremely easy to clean
  • Good grip
  • Pretty cool for summer

Cons:

  • ???

XTRATUF Performance Series 6" Men’s Full Rubber Ankle Deck Boots - Best Cool Weather Ankle Boot for Kayak Fishing

Xtratuf Men's 6 Inch Ankle Deck Boot Gray/Yellow 11

Amazon 

XTRATUF is the choice of the hard-working men and women who earn a living on the water. They don’t have time for cold, wet feet, and what’s good enough for lobstermen in Maine or crabbers in Alaska will impress kayak anglers, too.

XTRATUF is the choice of professional fishermen.

Made from rubber and neoprene with a thick liner, if you’re willing to fish, these boots won’t say quit. They’ll keep your feet warm and dry, though they don’t breathe well, so some clamminess is possible if you run particularly warm.

The flat soles on the boots are designed with deckhands in mind, and they’ll grip your kayak as well as any footwear can. The soles are extra soft; don’t use them as everyday shoes or you’ll wear the tread down and reduce traction. 

Reserved for fishing, they’ll last as long as you do.

Clean-up is as simple as soap and a hose, and like the HUKs, if you keep the inside dry, they'll be ready to wear immediately.

If you fish in a cooler climate and need a waterproof boot that’s easy to wear and easy to clean, XTRATUF’s deck boots are an awesome choice. Just be sure to order up if you wear a half size.

Pros:

  • Waterproof!
  • Comfortable
  • Easy to clean
  • Great grip
  • Nice color options
  • Warm enough for winter

Cons:

  • Way too warm for hot weather

Crocs Classic Clog

Crocs Unisex-Adult Men’s and Women’s Classic Clog (Neutral Colors), Black, 12 Women/10 Men

Amazon 

Crocs are a popular choice among anglers, no doubt because they’re comfortable and easy to wear.

They’re also light, easy to clean, and relatively inexpensive. If you get them covered in slime, blood, or mud, a good rinse under a hose and a bit of soap is all you’ll need.

They also protect your feet from sharp hooks, hard knocks, and blistering sun.

Ideal for warm weather, Crocs make great kayak fishing shoes - no question about it.

About the only thing I don’t like about Crocs for kayak fishing is their traction.

As I’ve worn down the soles of mine a bit - and that doesn’t take long - they’ve become pretty slick on the bottom. If your kayak has some sort of non-slip coating on the deck, or you don’t sight fish or stand to cast a fly, you probably won’t have any trouble. But I can imagine it’d be pretty easy to slip when taking to your feet on a wet, slimy, or bloody plastic hull.

Your feet can also shift inside your Crocs, and they’re not the most stable footwear on our list.

That said, I love mine, and they’re ridiculously comfortable while still providing plenty of foot protection. And in lighter colors, they’re great all summer long.

Pros:

  • Inexpensive!
  • Comfortable
  • Extremely easy to clean
  • Good grip when new
  • Pretty cool for summer

Cons:

  • Traction can suffer as the tread wears down or your feet get wet

What to Look for in a Kayak Fishing Shoe or Boot

Protection

It’s probably not something you think a lot about when you imagine kayak fishing, but your feet need serious protection.

Kayak fishing puts your feet in the danger zone.

Unavoidably, a kayak puts your feet in harm’s way, where they’re exposed to the worst that Mother Nature can throw at them as well as sharp hooks, nasty fins, and sometimes biting teeth.

It’s a very good idea to skip the flip flops, as popular as that option is, and go with a shoe or boot that provides real protection from injury. All it takes is a careless moment with a sharp treble hook, a careless slap with your paddle, or a thrashing fish to make you instantly regret bare feet or flip flops!

This is more common than you might think!

And as more and more anglers become aware of the dangers of excessive UV exposure brings, full coverage options are becoming increasingly common. Ideally, a good kayak shoe or boot completely protects your foot from the harmful effects of the sun, preventing sunburn and the cell damage that can lead to skin cancer.

Sunburn is painful and dangerous.

In cool or cold weather, your footwear should protect your feet from water and wind, keeping your toes comfortably warm and dry.

Sneakers won’t get the job done in conditions like this.

Comfort

While comfort is something only you can assess, each of the products we review has a well-earned reputation for easy-wearing.

Beyond that, look for lightweight, airy designs for warm weather and warm, dry designs in the cold.

Lighter colors are the obvious choice for the summer sun, and neoprene and rubber are the best material for cold weather.

Grip

Your feet aren’t likely to slip off your footpegs, but you can lose your footing when you’re trying to launch or attempting to stand in your ‘yak.

Flat, grippy soles are essential, as are tread patterns designed to displace water, slime, and blood. Be careful: not even the best grip is truly non-slip!

Clean up

This is a big one.

The proteins in fish slime and blood start stinking quickly, and they’re downright repulsive once they start to smell.

It’s essential that fishing shoes are easy to clean thoroughly, and most of the shoes and boots on our list are easy to take care of. 

Water and detergent of some kind will get the job done, and pretty much nothing will stick to Crocs’ classic clogs! Just take care not to contaminate the inside of the HUK or XTRATUF boots, and they’ll be a snap to get back to like-new condition.

Final Thoughts

Our shortlist today is packed with excellent choices, and whether you’re kayak fishing in August in the Florida Keys or planning a trip out on Lake Erie in the fall, there’s a footwear option on it that’ll provide everything you need.

We hope that this article has helped you narrow down the right choice for you, and as always, we’re here to field any questions you might have.

Please leave a comment below!

About The Author
Pete D
Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Pete grew up fishing on the Great Lakes. When he’s not out on the water, you can find him reading his favorite books, and spending time with his family.
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