Best Shoes for Paddle Boarding – The Types and Brands of the Best Footwear for Paddle Boarding

Best Shoes for Paddle Boarding – The Types and Brands of the Best Footwear for Paddle Boarding

As an avid paddle boarder, I know firsthand the importance of having the right footwear for a successful experience on the water. Choosing the right shoes can make all the difference when it comes to balance, comfort, and safety while paddle boarding. In this guide, I’ll walk you through the different types of shoes for paddle boarding, as well as some of the best brands to consider. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, having the right footwear can enhance your overall performance and enjoyment while out on the water. So let’s dive in and explore the best options for paddle boarding shoes.

Key Takeaways:

  • Consider the water conditions: When choosing the best shoes for paddle boarding, it’s important to consider the water conditions you’ll be paddling in. For rougher waters, opt for shoes with sturdy soles and good traction, while for calmer waters, lightweight and quick-drying shoes may suffice.
  • Choose the right type of footwear: Water shoes, neoprene booties, and aqua socks are all popular choices for paddle boarding. Water shoes provide protection and grip, neoprene booties offer warmth and protection, while aqua socks are lightweight and quick-drying.
  • Look for reputable brands: When it comes to paddle boarding footwear, brands like NRS, Keen, and Astral are known for producing high-quality shoes designed specifically for water sports. Investing in footwear from these reputable brands can ensure durability and performance.
  • Comfort and fit are crucial: Proper fit and comfort are essential when choosing paddle boarding shoes. Look for shoes that have a snug fit to prevent them from slipping off in the water, and prioritize comfort features such as cushioning and support for long paddling sessions.
  • Consider versatility: Some paddle boarding shoes are designed not only for the water but also for hiking or other outdoor activities. If you’re looking for versatile footwear, consider options that can transition seamlessly from the water to land.

Types of Shoes for Paddle Boarding

To ensure optimal performance and safety when paddle boarding, it is crucial to wear the right footwear. There are several types of shoes for paddle boarding that cater to different needs and preferences. Knowing the differences between these options will help you make an informed decision when choosing the best footwear for your paddle boarding adventures.

Type of Shoe Features
Water Shoes Durable, quick-drying, and lightweight
Neoprene Boots Insulating, waterproof, and comfortable
Sailing Shoes Grippy, supportive, and breathable
Barefoot Shoes Minimalist, flexible, and natural

Water Shoes

Water shoes are a popular choice for paddle boarding due to their durable, quick-drying, and lightweight design. They provide excellent protection and grip, making them suitable for various water conditions. Additionally, water shoes are highly versatile, allowing you to transition from the water to land with ease. When selecting water shoes for paddle boarding, look for options with sturdy soles and a snug fit to ensure stability and comfort on your board.

Neoprene Boots

Neoprene boots are designed to provide insulation, waterproofing, and comfort during water activities like paddle boarding. They are ideal for colder temperatures and offer excellent protection against sharp rocks or debris in the water. With a secure fit and durable construction, neoprene boots can keep your feet warm and dry while allowing for natural movement on the paddle board.

Sailing Shoes

Sailing shoes are known for their grippy outsoles, supportive design, and breathable materials, making them a reliable option for paddle boarding. These shoes offer superior traction on wet surfaces, reducing the risk of slipping or losing balance. The supportive features of sailing shoes provide stability for your feet and ankles, allowing for better control and agility while paddling on the water.

Barefoot Shoes

Barefoot shoes, also known as minimalist shoes, are favored by some paddle boarders for their flexible and natural feel. These shoes offer a close-to-barefoot experience, allowing for enhanced sensory feedback and agility on the paddle board. While they may not provide as much protection as other footwear options, barefoot shoes are praised for their lightweight and versatile design, making them a unique choice for paddle boarding enthusiasts.

Brands of the Best Footwear for Paddle Boarding

Clearly, choosing the right footwear for paddle boarding is crucial for a safe and enjoyable experience on the water. When it comes to the best brands of footwear for paddle boarding, there are a few that stand out for their quality, performance, and durability.


When it comes to paddle boarding footwear, NRS is a brand that stands out for its exceptional quality and durability. Their water shoes are designed with high-traction soles, which provide excellent grip and stability on a paddle board. NRS footwear is also designed for maximum comfort, with features such as adjustable straps and quick-drying materials. Whether you’re paddling in calm waters or challenging conditions, NRS footwear is a reliable choice for your paddle boarding adventures.


Another top brand for paddle boarding footwear is Astral. Their water shoes are designed with sticky rubber outsoles that provide excellent traction on wet surfaces, making them ideal for paddle boarding. Astral shoes are also designed for versatility, with features like drainage holes and quick-drying materials, ensuring that your feet stay comfortable and dry while on the water. With their focus on performance and durability, Astral footwear is a popular choice among paddle boarders.


Vibram is a renowned brand for its high-performance outsoles used in a range of outdoor footwear, including shoes for paddle boarding. Their shoes are designed for maximum grip and stability on wet surfaces, making them an excellent choice for paddle boarding. Vibram footwear is also known for its durability and support, providing the confidence and comfort you need while out on the water. With Vibram footwear, you can paddle board with the assurance that your feet are well-protected and supported.


Merrell is a well-respected brand in the outdoor footwear industry, and their water shoes are a top choice for paddle boarding. Their shoes are designed for performance and comfort, with features such as quick-drying materials and supportive midsoles. Merrell footwear also offers excellent traction and stability on slippery surfaces, ensuring that you can paddle board with confidence and ease. With their reputation for quality and innovation, Merrell footwear is a solid choice for paddle boarders of all levels.

Tips for Choosing the Best Footwear for Paddle Boarding

After spending years out on the water, I have learned a thing or two about the best footwear for paddle boarding. Here are some tips to help you choose the best shoes for your paddle boarding adventures:

  • Fit and comfort: Look for a pair of shoes that fit snugly but are also comfortable enough to wear for long periods of time.
  • Material and durability: Consider the material of the shoes to ensure they are durable and will hold up well in wet and challenging conditions.
  • Traction and grip: Focus on finding shoes with excellent traction and grip to prevent slipping on the paddle board.
  • Drainage and breathability: Look for shoes that offer good drainage and breathability to keep your feet dry and comfortable throughout your paddle boarding excursions.

Assume that these factors are crucial in determining the best footwear for paddle boarding, and keep them in mind as you start your search for the perfect pair of shoes.

Fit and Comfort

One of the most important factors when choosing footwear for paddle boarding is ensuring the fit is snug and comfortable. A good fit is essential to prevent blisters and discomfort, while also providing the necessary support for your feet during long sessions on the water.

Material and Durability

When it comes to footwear for paddle boarding, the material and durability of the shoes are crucial. Look for materials that are quick-drying, lightweight, and durable to ensure they can withstand the wet conditions and rugged use while paddle boarding.

Traction and Grip

Having excellent traction and grip on your paddle boarding shoes is vital to prevent slipping and ensure stability on the board. Look for shoes with non-slip soles and reliable grip to keep you steady while navigating the waters.

Drainage and Breathability

When selecting footwear for paddle boarding, prioritize shoes that offer good drainage and breathability. This will allow water to quickly drain from the shoes and keep your feet dry and comfortable, preventing issues such as soggy, waterlogged shoes.

Pros and Cons of Different Shoe Types for Paddle Boarding

Despite the variety of shoe options available for paddle boarding, each type comes with its own set of pros and cons. It’s important to consider these factors when choosing the best footwear for your paddle boarding adventures. Here’s a breakdown of the advantages and disadvantages of different shoe types in the table below:

Shoe Type Pros and Cons
Water Shoes Provide good traction. Can hold water and become heavy.
Neoprene Boots Keep feet warm and protected. Can feel bulky and restrict movement.
Sailing Shoes Offer excellent grip on wet surfaces. May not drain water effectively.
Barefoot Shoes Lightweight and flexible. Minimal protection from sharp objects.

Water Shoes

Water shoes are a popular choice for paddle boarding due to their ability to provide good traction and protect your feet from sharp objects. However, they can also hold water and become heavy, which may affect your performance on the board. It’s important to choose water shoes with efficient drainage to minimize this potential downside.

Neoprene Boots

Neoprene boots are designed to keep your feet warm and protected, making them ideal for colder water conditions. However, some paddlers find them bulky and restrictive, which can impact their comfort and agility on the paddle board. It’s crucial to find a balance between warmth and freedom of movement when considering neoprene boots for paddle boarding.

Sailing Shoes

Sailing shoes offer excellent grip on wet surfaces, making them a great choice for paddle boarding. However, some models may not drain water effectively, leading to discomfort and potential slippage on the board. It’s essential to look for sailing shoes specifically designed for water sports to ensure they meet the necessary requirements for paddle boarding.

Barefoot Shoes

Barefoot shoes provide a lightweight and flexible option for paddle boarding, allowing for natural movement and proprioception. However, they offer minimal protection from sharp objects and rough surfaces, increasing the risk of injury. It’s crucial to assess the environment and potential hazards before opting for barefoot shoes on your paddle boarding excursions.


Following this exploration of the types and brands of the best footwear for paddle boarding, I hope you have a better understanding of the importance of having the right shoes for this water sport. From water shoes to neoprene booties, the right footwear can greatly enhance your performance and experience on the paddle board. Remember to consider factors such as grip, comfort, and protection when selecting your footwear. Investing in a quality pair of paddle boarding shoes from reliable brands can ensure your safety and enjoyment on the water.


Q: What are the best types of shoes for paddle boarding?

A: The best types of shoes for paddle boarding are water shoes, water sandals, and neoprene booties. These types of footwear provide grip and protection while allowing water to drain, keeping your feet comfortable and secure.

Q: What are the best brands for paddle boarding shoes?

A: Some of the top brands for paddle boarding shoes include Keen, Chaco, Teva, and NRS. These brands are known for their quality, durability, and performance in water sports activities.

Q: Do I need special shoes for paddle boarding?

A: It is highly recommended to wear specialized footwear for paddle boarding to ensure safety, comfort, and performance. Standard sneakers or bare feet can be slippery and provide inadequate protection on a paddle board.

Q: Are water shoes necessary for paddle boarding?

A: While not absolutely necessary, water shoes are highly beneficial for paddle boarding. They provide traction on the board, protection from sharp objects in the water, and help prevent slipping, making your paddle boarding experience more enjoyable and safe.

Q: Can I wear flip flops for paddle boarding?

A: It is not recommended to wear flip flops for paddle boarding, as they can easily slip off and provide little to no grip on the board. It is safer and more practical to opt for water shoes, water sandals, or neoprene booties for paddle boarding activities.

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