The Perfect Kayaking Shoe for Me

I don’t mean to be a pain here but I am looking for some advice on something really specific. I’m hoping that you can contribute your knowledge to my quest and that we can keep things on topic.

I’m looking for the perfect kayaking shoe for my needs. I’ve tried a lot of different styles, makes and models and I’m still searching. I have some specific criteria to meet and so far, everything seems to fall short in one way or another.

Paddling shoes that I am currently using include:
Teva Churn, Chaco Outcross, Five Ten Eddy Pro. All work but all have issues that make them imperfect for me. -

What I’m looking for is “shoe-like” and NOT a boot or a bootie.

It is NOT made of neoprene.

It IS something that I would be fine wearing all day out of the water and would NOT look out of place as club-wear in Prince Rupert.

It does NOT extend above the ankle and should top out below the ankle bones. “Shoe-like”.

It IS constructed with a midsole that ISN’T too thick but thick enough to protect the soles of my feet when walking over sharp rocks.

It is NOT a sandal. It must cover and protect the sock of my drysuit.

It DOES have a sole that is sticky enough to provide secure footing on slippery surfaces found in inter-tidal zones and particularly on wet logs.

It IS constructed in such a way that it drains efficiently. Whether through the use of materials or ports is not important as long as it doesn’t do so at the expense of other design criteria.

Ideally it does not have laces……………Note that I didn’t capitalize and underline “not” because I think that is probably something that I will just have to accept. If laces are present they should secure the shoe against mucky beaches but allow me to pull my feet out (with effort) in case the laces get hung up inside the boat.

It IS footwear that I could put on in the morning without socks while eating breakfast and loading my gear, drive to the put-in, don my dry suit, put the shoes on over the dry suit socks, paddle for hours, remove the dry suit, put the shoes back on with bare feet, drive home and NOT have them smell like an environmental disaster.

Some of the footwear from Astral tick most of my boxes but they aren’t “perfect”.

I would like to hear from you what footwear you are using that ticks those boxes that I should look at. I’m not really interested in knowing about other types of footwear that you like if your needs are not the same as mine.

Tall neoprene or rubber boots? Negatory.
Neoprene booties of any ilk? They have their place and I own some but this thread isn’t about them. No can do.
Sandals? Don’t go there.
Crocks? Not a chance.
Chuck Taylors? No. Just no.

I don’t mean to be a pain by limiting responses but I am really looking for that perfect shoe. If you can show it to me I’ll buy several pair.

Boat shoes. They have laces but look leather like and will drain. I have been wearing them this summer.
Something like this

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I share your struggle and many of your criteria. I’ve settled on the Astral Loyaks AC, which seem to be a bit newer than the standard Loyaks and are a finer mesh construction for breathability. Unfortunately: laced, and a devil to get clean of fine sand.

A near miss you may mull over are the Speedo Surfwalker and Surf Knit lines. They check your boxes, although the style’s a little sporty. In my experience they’re grippy enough for varied wet terrain, BUT a wet log might be pushing it! And you can find versions that have a tensioner around the cuff for mucky, sucky mud.

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Thank you!
That is a model I had never considered. The soles look like they would be good on a boat deck. What has been your experience on wet logs and seaweed covered rocks? Will they stay on your foot if you sink into muck more than ankle deep? Price is right.

Ooh. I’ll take a look at the Speedo Surfwalker and Surf Knits. The Loyak AC is on my list.
Thank you for the suggestions.

One of the things I have found with the Tevas and Chacos are that the sole material VERY quickly loses its resilience and stickiness on wet surfaces. Starts out pretty well but hardens and turns into something much further down the food chain. The Five Ten’s, on the other hand, may be sticky to a fault because when driving your stroke with your feet the sole’s stickiness tends to overcome the adhesive used to bond the sole to the shoe.

Here’s a 2nd vote for Loyak AC. They stay on my feet even in some muck. Clean up pretty easy. Have worn them comfortably all day. I ordered the same size I wear in running shoes and the fit was right. Very “shoe-like” but low profile—they don’t add a lot of bulk to your foot below deck.

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Do they offer decent protection against sharp rocks?

The soles are not quite as solid as a Chaco sole, but I’ve felt pretty protected in them.

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Do you wear anything inside them?

Mine are like those. I bought them at a local dept store before a vacation. I finally had enough of sandals and crocs suck, water shoes of different types wreck the back of my heel. So I put these on and so far they work. I havent been in mud, but greasy rocks have not been a problem. I looked up the type, and bought another pair. Its 20% off the discount price. 25.00 with shipping.
Now I wear a 11 boot, but a 12 in these.

I use Body Glove shoes. They are inexpensive and last two to three years.

I used to use Tevas, but you need to buy a tube of shoe goo when you get them, the soles always come apart for me and have to be re-glued.

The Keen unigues look cool, but I bought the girlfriend a pair and she didn’t like how hard to put on they are.

A couple of the BodyGlove shoes look possible. Prices are really low and make me wonder about the midsole construction. Do you wear them on sharp rocks and boulders? Definitely worth a look. The Keen Uneeks are pretty pricey, which I don’t mind, if I’m not paying for all that strange cordage around the outside. Has your girlfriend used them on sharp rocks?

I’ve had some Keens in the past and loved the Keen Banff (discontinued at least 10 years ago). I haven’t seen anything since from them that met my needs but maybe you can convince me about the Uneek.

I wear the Astral Brewess. Sticky soles with good protection on rocks. Quick dry. Comfortable.

Here’s the guy’s version:

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These are great shoes. They are virtually indestructible, dry quickly, great on land or in the kayak, with or without socks and or dry suit. No funky smells! The cork insole is removable for easy cleaning when trip is over. The water drains out of them just by lifting your toes up as the heel is quite low. They don’t trap sand or small gravel. You can warm your feet real close to the fire with no worries of them melting. And, most importantly, all the rage in Prince Rupert.


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My spouse and I both have the older version of the Loyak. I like them though they’re not perfect. The non-slip factor is great and they’re very comfortable. Though they have laces my spouse immediately removed his and wears them all the time without them. They have an elastic around the opening and stay on his feet fine. They don’t even look that weird without if they’re all black. The things that aren’t great is that they do retain sand and they can start to smell after a few wearings.

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I wear canvas Converse Allstars and socks. I prefer the hightops. They don’t mind getting soaked and dry overnight. There are a couple of eyelets in the canvas that can admit a small amount of sand, nothing objectionable. They don’t insulate, so wear good wool socks if its cold.

There are cheaper canvas gym shoes out there but I don’t know how they handle repeated soakings.

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How well do they stay on when your foot is in muck up to your ankle? The clog would be a non-starter for me as the heel is open. The shoe…maybe.

Converse AllStars and other similar basketball shoes don’t work for me. Slow to drain and to dry.

The heel on the clog is enough to keep it from slipping off your foot. I haven’t tried the shoe, just the clog. Never had it slip off. I can’t recall a specific time when I was ankle deep in mud with them but I know it doesn’t slip off easy.

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