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Canoeing is arguably one of the most fulfilling hobby-cum-fitness activities. A study argues that canoeing is a great way of relieving stress and attaining a state of inner peace.
This is due to the closeness to which it brings you with nature. It is, thus, one hobby that is so rewarding to your body as well as the mind and the soul.
To achieve a satisfying canoeing experience, you’ll need to know how to canoe efficiently and safely and have the appropriate gear with you. Canoeing footwear is a very important piece of paddling gear, yet one of those easily overlooked.
To begin with, portage is an activity that, at some point, will require you to be on your feet as you carry the craft on your head.
In such instances, the right canoeing shoe comes in handy, to ensure your safety and comfort all along.
The weather might also be chilly, demanding you to keep as warm as possible. Canoeing shoes will, in this case, be among your priorities before you set out.
That said, let’s look at the aspects to consider when choosing a canoeing shoe.
How to choose the best canoe shoe?
- Shoe material quality
It is advisable always to choose shoes made of premium quality materials. The obvious reason is that these high-quality materials are durable yet lightweight and comfortable on your feet.
Such classy shoes will be costlier than those of lower quality materials but will save you a lot in the long run.
From having to get back for a new pair real soon to hurting your toes, low-quality material is likely to turn the whole fun into a headache. It is also crucial to find a wonderful balance between cost and quality.
- Type of footwear
This may also be stated as the shoe profile in some reviews and shoe stores. There are mainly two profiles; low- and high-profile. Low-profile shoes do not cover your foot entirely.
Usually, such a shoe does not rise above the ankle. This type of shoe is best to put on in warm weather. It’s also great if your canoeing trip doesn’t involve a lot of walking.
High-profile shoes resemble boots and cover the whole foot up to slightly above the ankle.
These shoes are usually very warm and cozy and are ideal for cold weather. They also serve best if the canoeing trip involves lots of walking around or exploring the nature trails.
The size of the shoe should also be right to ensure it fits correctly. A fitting shoe is comfortable and safer to walk in, let alone a good aesthetic appearance.
- The weather and season
Needless to say, the weather determines not only the type of shoes to wear but also whether canoeing is safe or not.
On a warm day, you’ll certainly want breathable low-profile shoes, unlike in the winter, or just a cold day, when warm high-profile shoes are a necessity, to keep your feet warm and comfortable.
Depending on the nature of your canoeing, so should your shoes be.
For example, if the portage distances (those that you will have to physically carry the canoe and walk with it) is long, you will need a shoe that that is strong enough for that task.
The trails you walk on will also determine the shoe you require. Some paths are steep with protruding sharp coral rocks. Such trails require a shoe with adequate strength and toe protection, as well as a high profile.
Now let us look at five best canoe shoes
5 Best Canoe Shoes Reviews Rundown:
1) Merrell Men’s All Out Sport Hiking Water Shoe
This breathable mesh-lined water shoe is designed to fit a range of activities. The breathability nature of the shoe aids at drying, so you don’t have to worry over wetting it.
The shoe is also ideal for hiking thanks to its high-quality material(s) that ensures safety over rocky terrain and durability.
It has a rubber sole (let’s not forgetting rubber’s excellent grip), which is lightweight and excellent cushioning material.
If you have been searching for a water shoe that is also excellent on land, then this could be a great choice for you.
To enhance comfort on land, the shoe is also equipped with a hick non-slip rubber inner sole and a thermoplastic polyurethane heel counter.
- Comfortable to wear all-day
- Excellent grip on rocks. Has 5mm treads.
- Suitable for canoeing, kayaking, hiking, camping, etc.
- No ankle support, thus not the best for hiking
- Uppers are made of rubber thus may retain water
2) Speedo Men’s Shoe Surfwalker Pro 3.0
This is a stretchy water shoe made of high-quality neoprene on the upper, combined with mesh panels for breathability.
You can rest assured that your Surfwalker won’t slip off, or chafe your foot blisters thanks to the design. The shoe fits on your foot just like a sock.
Just like any high-quality water shoe, the Surfwalker has an outer sole made of non-slip thermoplastic rubber that is quite durable within the specified usage instructions.
It is also lightweight as expected of water shoes and is also great for swimming, especially walking around the pool.
The snug fit of this shoe puts sand at bay whenever you’re walking on the beach.
- Convenient for a range of activities; kayaking, swimming, canoeing, and beach walking
- Made of neoprene and rubber- excellent breathability
- Fast drying time
- Not suitable for hiking due to a thin sole
3) NeoSport Wetsuits Premium
If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, this shoe might fit you perfectly well. It is designed to fit a wide range of activities, and the main material is also strong enough for that. It is a high-profile shoe with a neoprene upper, making it a perfect choice for the cold weather.
The shoe has a slender fit, making it ideal for crafts where you do not have so much legroom, and for such activities like swimming.
The sole is made of rubber and reinforced with a puncture-resistant lining for extra protection and endurance.
- Lightweight and slender fit
- Keeps your feet warm and dry
- Long-lasting outer sole
- Usable for a range of activities
- Not suitable during warm weather
- Not slip-resistant
4) O’Neill Reactor 2 2mm Reef Booties
This is yet another awesome low-profile water shoe you can easily find on the market today.
Durability is among the strengths of this shoe, courtesy of the materials used (neoprene and rubber). Neoprene is also a good thermoplastic, meaning the shoes will keep your feet very warm in the cold weather.
The rubber sole supports your weight and grips onto the canoe surface, ensuring you don’t trip. Rubber and neoprene are both light materials that reflect on the product’s lightweight nature.
- Warm- good for cold weather
- Nice fit
- Suitable for canoeing, kayaking, and diving
- Quite affordable
- The thin rubber sole is not ideal for hiking
- It may retain water-no drainage holes.
5) NeoSport Wetsuits Paddle Low Top Boots
Boasting a unique glued and sewn seam, the NeoSport Wetsuits Paddle Low Top boots are a one of a kind selection when it comes to water crafting.
The shoe is a combination of high-quality thermoplastic rubber that is soft and flexible, but still durable. The rubber sole is further reinforced with a hardened puncture-resistant layer for additional protection.
The sole has a printed unique pattern that provides good traction on the road and the canoe and improves the shoe’s aesthetic appeal.
One special feature on these shoes is a shock cord that wraps around the ankle preventing the shoe from slipping off the foot.
- Stylish appearance
- Very comfortable for paddling
- Warm and snug-fitting
- Adheres well to the foot
- They do not keep your feet dry when you step in water- water sips through
Verdict and recommendation
Canoe shoes are also as specialized as the canoes themselves. Choosing the right shoe for your particular activity is the most important thing.
Whereas the shoes reviewed here have been selected across different criteria, the Speedo Men’s Shoe Surfwalker Pro 3.0 seems to be superior due to its wide range of activities that it can serve.
Frequently asked questions:
Can you wear flip flops canoeing?
Flip flops might seem like a clever hack for canoeing for the obvious reason that you will dry feet faster and more conveniently.
However, these are a big no, for they do not provide you with enough traction and support when you want to walk across rocky terrain.
They are even more dangerous when wet from the inside. Your foot can easily slip off and get lost in the waters, not to mention the high chances of a fatal accident.
Flip flops do not adequately protect your feet from the solid debris along the trails. They also expose a big part of your feet to the sunlight, which can be harmful if exposed for long periods.
Do you need water shoes for canoeing?
The answer is yes. Water shoes are an important element in canoeing. They serve various roles such as;
- Providing the required traction and support for walking on different surfaces that you come along surrounding waterways
- Protecting your feet from hot and sharp surfaces such as rocks, as well as from the sun’s UV rays.
- Providing you with comfort and warmth, especially during the cold season/weather.
The right canoeing shoes not only serve the above functions but also add to the overall outdoor experience.
Can I wear jeans canoeing?
During canoeing, your clothing generally protects you from water, wind, and sun. The choice of clothing is important as it may ruin all the fun and leave you disappointed.
The clothing material should thus be one that dries up rather easily.
Generally, jeans are a poor choice since the cotton material takes ages to dry up. Some jeans material is also not stretchable, which might limit your flexibility as you paddle.