Footwear, it’s probably one of the last things that you think about before a kayak trip, but when you’re out on the water, your shoes need to do everything – be waterproof, provide traction, and protect the soles of your feet from sharp rocks. Paddling with the wrong shoes is miserable, so your footwear can make or break the trip.
Water shoes can take many forms – some paddlers choose sandals, others prefer booties, and there are even a few models that you could probably pass off as sneakers. Their only common trait is that they perform well when wet, and that’s why you need water shoes for kayaking; regular shoes swell up and take forever to dry.
What to Look for in Water Shoes
Kayakers need to be particularly careful when choosing water shoes, there’s a lot to consider. They need to be comfortable when they’re up against the boat’s foot pedals, sometimes for hours at a time. They need to have great traction, for when you step out of the boat and need to pull it ashore over slimy rocks.
Water shoes have to dry as quickly as possible, so as to prevent hypothermia when the waters are cold or from the feeling that you’ve contracted trench foot when the weather’s warm. Even more challenging, they need to be comfortable for walking and provide ankle support in case you need to hike for a mile or so while carting your 50-pound kayak.
It can seem almost impossible to find a shoe that can do all these things and do them well. One shoe that does fit this jack-of-all-trades profile is the Chaco Z2 Pro; it’s an excellent shoe from a company that’s been a favorite of river guides for decades.
Chaco Z2 Review
You probably already knew that Chacos are some of the best water shoes out there. Outdoors enthusiasts, in and out of the water, love the brand, and the Z2 doesn’t deviate from the qualities that have made the brand so famous.
It’s well worth it to invest in good footwear for paddling; you’ll reduce your chance of injury and feel more comfortable traversing challenging environments. The Chaco Z2 Pros are an excellent choice for paddlers (or really any outdoor enthusiast).
Admittedly, they are not the best for cold-weather paddling, as they provide no insulation, but they’re fantastic in warm waters. You’re also not limited to using these Chacos just on the water; they’re great hiking and walking shoes too. No need to have a closet full of shoes