Guide To Shoes For Paddleboarding [5 Best Paddleboarding Shoes]

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Choosing the right shoes for paddle boarding can be the difference between an enjoyable experience and a disastrous one. There are many things to consider when choosing the right shoes, such as comfort, grip, and protection. In this article, we will cover what to look for when choosing paddleboarding shoes, what are the best shoes for paddleboarding, and whether shoes are needed at all.

Overview: Best Shoes For Paddleboarding (SUP)

For the hasty reader, here is a quick overview of some great options for paddle boarding. If it’s your first time looking for paddleboarding shoes, read on for the things to consider when choosing a pair of shoes for paddleboarding.

Shoes For Paddleboarding


Neo Sport Premium Neoprene Wetsuit Boots

DOUSSPRT Quick Drying Water Shoes

Vibram Five Fingers, V-Aqua Shoes

UBFEN Water Shoes 

WateLves Quick-Dry Aqua Socks

What To Look For When Choosing Shoes For Paddleboarding

Durability of Paddleboarding Shoes

Material: The first factor that you’ll want to consider when choosing shoes for paddleboarding is the durability of the material. You’ll be spending a lot of time with your feet around a wet environment, so you’ll need shoes that can withstand repeated exposure to moisture. Look for shoes made from materials like neoprene or rubber, which are designed to hold up well in wet environments. Alternatively, find quick-drying shoes that can dissipate moisture fast.

Water Resistance: Water resistance can also be important to consider. You don’t want your shoes to absorb too much water, as they’ll become heavier and more difficult to paddle with. Shoes with a waterproof or water-resistant coating keeps them light and dry. There are also many shoes that offer a good water drainage system in the shoe build.

Comfort of Paddleboarding Shoes

Fit: Another important factor to consider is the comfort of the shoes. You’ll be spending a lot of time on your feet while paddleboarding, so you’ll want to make sure that the shoes you choose fit well and are comfortable to wear.

Look for shoes with a snug fit that won’t rub or chafe your feet. This will help prevent blisters which can easily form when there is friction against wet skin. You also want to have sufficient space to wiggle your toes which helps blood circulation when standing for a long time.

Breathability: Another factor to consider is the breathability of the shoes. You’ll be spending a lot of time in the sun while paddleboarding, so you’ll want to make sure that your feet can stay cool and dry. Look for shoes made from materials that allow your feet to breathe, such as mesh or canvas. A non-breathable shoe can make your feet very sweaty and uncomfortable particularly if it gets wet. It is a recipe for wrinkled skin.

Support and Stability of Paddleboarding Shoes

Sole Traction (Non-slip): The sole of the shoe is one of the key factors to consider when selecting a paddleboarding shoe. You’ll want to make sure that the shoes you choose have a sole that provides good traction and support. Look for shoes with a non-slip sole that will help you keep your footing on slippery surfaces. A good sole will also provide some cushioning to protect your feet from the impact of walking on hard surfaces.

Heel Cup: Another factor you can consider is the heel cup. Shoes with a good heel cup that is firm and snug-fitting, help to provide good support and stability. That is certainly an advantage. This will prevent your feet from slipping around inside the shoes and will provide support for your ankles. This reduces unnecessary rubbing and movements within the shoes.


External Factors To Consider When Choosing Shoes For Paddleboarding

Temperature (Material)

One factor to consider when choosing shoes for paddleboarding is the warmth of the water you’ll be paddling in, and in the surrounding environment. If you’ll be paddleboarding in cold water, you’ll want to make sure that your feet will stay warm. Look for shoes that are thicker and made from materials that provide insulation, such as neoprene.

Terrain (Sole Thickness)

Another factor to consider is the thickness of the sole depending on the environment you are in. Do you anticipate a more rugged seabed or land terrain? A thicker sole will provide more cushioning and protection from sharp objects, but it can make the shoe heavier. A thinner sole is lighter and easier to pack, but it doesn’t provide as much protection.

High Cut or Low Cut (Boots vs Shoes)

Depending on the above factors and personal preference, you also want to decide if high-cut or low-cut shoes are more suitable. High-cut boots provide more support and stability, and usually more warmth. They are also better at preventing small objects like tiny rocks from going into the shoes. However, they can feel more uncomfortable, especially if you are a barefoot enthusiast. Low cut shoes are generally more airy and easier to walk in, but they leave you a bit more exposed.

Do You Need Shoes for Paddleboarding?

Not compulsory and it is a matter of preference as well as the external environment you are paddleboarding in. Some people prefer to paddleboard barefoot, while others find that shoes provide more comfort and support. Ultimately, it is up to you to decide whether or not you want to wear shoes while paddleboarding.

If you do decide to wear shoes, make sure that you choose a pair that are comfortable, supportive, and water-resistant. These factors will help you enjoy your paddleboarding experience more and help you stay safe on the water.

Benefits Of Using Paddleboarding Shoes

There are a few benefits of using shoes while paddleboarding. First, shoes can provide more comfort and support than going barefoot. This is especially important if you have any foot problems or if you are paddling for long periods of time.

Second, paddleboard shoes can help to protect your feet from the hot sun, external temperatures, and sharp rocks or shells that you may step on while walking on land or in the water.

Third, a good pair of paddleboarding shoes can help to keep your feet dry and prevent blisters. This is especially important if you are paddling in salt water, as salt water can make your feet very sweaty and uncomfortable.

Lastly, shoes with a good sole can provide better traction and stability than going barefoot. This is important for safety, as you want to make sure that you have a good grip on your paddleboard and that you don’t slip and fall.

5 Best Shoes For Paddleboarding

If you are in the market for some water shoes for paddleboarding, here are some options to consider that cater to different conditions and travelers.

Neo Sport Premium Neoprene Wetsuit Boots

The best thing about these wetsuit boots is the versatility they provide. They are unisex and you can get them at different thickness levels to suit the environment you are in. This varies depending on the water temperature. The shoe comes with a durable zipper and puncture-resistant soles for increased safety. It is also suitable for various water activities including paddle boarding and kayaking, making it a good, reliable piece to have in your gearbox.

DOUSSPRT Quick Drying Water Shoes

For something that is a bit more traditional sneaker-like form, the DOUSSPRT water shoe packs affordability with versatility and style. They are breathable with a rubber mesh that allows water to drain and features a rubber sole to increase traction. The shoes are suitable for water activities and still serves as casual shoe both functionally and visually. Makes it easy if you don’t want to pack a bunch of different shoes.

Vibram Five Fingers, V-Aqua Shoes

The Five Fingers V-Aqua shoes are known for their toe separation and snug fit. Despite being a low-cut and lightweight shoe, it comes with durable materials featuring a Megagrip outsole that has great traction, and silicon treatment in the insole. The shoes also have perforations along the bottom that allows water to drain out. It is good for both land and water, making it super versatile for various travel terrains, while also being easy to pack since they are compressible.

UBFEN Water Shoes 

Another pair of water shoes with great form and drainage system at the soles. It features a stretchable material that sticks to the skin and helps with fitting. The rubber sole offers both protection and increased friction when walking, making it an amphibious footwear. They also come in various styles regardless if you want to keep it subtle or stand out with bright colors.

WateLves Quick-Dry Aqua Socks

If you are looking for something super lightweight and fashionable, these polyester water socks have you covered for most casual activities like water parks, boat yoga, paddleboarding, and kayaking. They have good anti-slip soles and are very breathable. The footwear comes in various fancy patterns that make them a good fashion statement and are super easy to pack for travel. However, I wouldn’t use them for rugged conditions or cold temperatures.

Travel Insurance

Choosing The Best Shoes For Paddleboarding

Paddleboarding shoes can be a great investment for three main reasons. They protect your feet from the hot sun and external temperatures, can help to keep your feet dry and prevent blisters, and provide better traction and stability than going barefoot.

Many water shoes that are great for various water activities are good shoes for paddleboarding as well. This means you don’t have to specifically invest in a pair of shoes just for paddleboarding. Instead, you can get versatile water shoes that cover a range of activities. There are many different types of paddleboarding shoes on the market, so be sure to choose the right pair for your needs.



Book Your Flight

I usually use a combination of 2-3 of the following search engines to find cheap flights: Skyscanner, Momondo, Google Flights

Find Your Accommodation is my usual platform for finding accommodation options as they have one of the largest selections. Hostelworld is great for booking hostels. For more private or long term accommodation, Airbnb is my go-to platform.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is important for to protect yourself against unforeseen circumstances. I usually look at a few insurance companies depending on my travel needs.
  • SafetyWings for Travel Health Insurance
  • IMG Global for added Insurance when doing activities outside of usual coverage
Packing for your trip? Check out the packing list for ideas on what to bring

For more travel resources, check out my resources page for best platforms and companies to use when you travel.

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Welcome To NomadsUnveiled
This is Rax. For over a decade, I have traveled to over 60 countries - from a budget backpacker to a business traveler, expat and then a digital nomad. You can find insights and perspectives from myself and other world travelers that will inspire your journey of discovery.


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