Best Shoes for Canoeing Portaging

Canoeing is an ever-popular choice for both relaxation and sport. It’s an activity that can be enjoyed by all ages – making your way down a beautiful waterway, giving your body a workout as you go!

It’s no wonder so many people get hooked on this hobby and start looking for the best equipment out there.

It’s not just your canoe and oars that are important, however. Your choice of footwear can also make a difference for your comfort, stability and overall performance.

One common question is what are the best shoes for canoeing portaging (carrying). Today, we’ll be looking at the common options and making some recommendations.

What are your options for shoes for canoeing portaging?

There are various types of shoes available that are ideal for canoeing. However, not all are right if you are expecting to be spending a fair amount of time carrying your canoe.

To give you an introduction to the types of footwear available, let’s look at the common types of shoes for canoeing.

Portaging/Lightweight Hiking Boots

If you are planning on doing a lot of portaging – for example, during a multi-day kayaking trip – then lightweight hiking or dedicated portaging boots are a great investment.

These boots offer excellent grip and stability, protecting you from slips or falls as well as ankle injuries. They are great for all kinds of terrain, from inclines to muddy wetlands.

One thing to look out for with portaging or hiking boots is their weight. You’ll already be carrying a canoe, so you don’t want to add on too much extra weight.

Keep them as light as possible, without sacrificing all the grip!

Sports Sandals

A common choice for canoeing are sports sandals. These are strappy types of footwear, generally with thick rubber soles and tear-resistant material.

The benefit of these shoes for canoeing is that they are lightweight and breathable. They are especially ideal if you are planning to spend much time in the water, as their strappy design ensures that they drain easily.

For canoeing portaging, it’s recommended that you get sports sandals with a solid and durable sole. This will ensure that you get ample grip and prevent you slipping or sliding!

Neoprene Boots

At the other end of the scale to sports sandals is neoprene boots – long boots made from water-resistant neoprene, that go up to your knee.

These are ideal for portaging, as they offer a lot of support around your foot and ankle area. Those that have thick soles can also offer excellent grip, thereby making sure you don’t trip while carrying your canoe.

Another benefit of these boots for canoeing is that they are ultra-water resistant. Their additional length means water is unlikely to come in over the top, keeping your feet nice and dry during your canoeing trip.

Without further ado, let’s look at three of the best options on the market.

The best shoes for canoeing portaging

ProductTypeMaterialWeightLace up
#1. Chota Outdoor
Our Best Pick

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Portaging bootsSynthetic/Rubber450g/1lbElastic laces
#2. Keen H2

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SandalsSynthetic/Rubber700gVelcro fastening
#3. NRS Boundary

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Neoprene bootsNeoprene750gBuckle system

#1. Chota Outdoor Gear, Hybrid High Top Rubber Soled Wading Boots – HYRB-800 Series

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These great hiking boots are perfect for canoeing portaging. They only weigh one pound, yet they have a thick rubber sole which offers excellent grip on all kinds of terrain.

Padding around the ankle also offers additional support. This is ideal for canoeing as it will keep you safe as you carry your canoe.

We also appreciate the quick laces, which makes taking these on and off easy. The exterior of the shoe is also water resistant, so as to keep your feet warm and dry. The unique high-top design also makes it more difficult for water to seep into the shoe. This is important not only for your comfort, but also for preventing foot rot.


#2. Keen Men’s Newport H2 Hiking Sandals

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If you’re looking for high-quality outdoor sandals that will keep you comfortable and safe, then we highly recommend the Keen Men’s Newport H2 Hiking Sandals (also available for women and kids).

Coming in three colours, these sandals look great and also allow for your foot to breathe as you wear them.

An easy lace system means its easy to slip them on and off during your canoeing trip, and even kids will find these easy to wear.

Plus, they are just so comfortable! You might even find yourself wearing these around the house – they provide great arch support and the sole is responsive and comfortable.

It’s also stable and grippy, even in wet conditions – making them one of the best shoes for canoeing portaging.


#3. NRS Boundary Wetshoe for Canoe/Kayak/Watersport

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Looking for a pair of neoprene boots that will keep your feet perfectly dry, and ensure you don’t slip while portaging your canoe? If so, we highly recommend the NRS Boundary Wetshoe.

This boot offers a 5mm, double-stitched layer of neoprene which ensures that no moisture reaches the shoe. As a result, your feet stay warm and dry and there’s no risk of any nasty conditions like foot rot.

There’s also a thick, 7mm sole which ensures that your foot stays planted on the earth, even if you are in water or portaging your canoe!


And the winner is…

Each of these options is a great choice if you are searching for the best shoe for canoeing portaging. However, we can’t go past the versatile Chota Outdoor Wading Boots.

These boots are sturdy yet light, with great grip to ensure you stay safe during your trip. Happy canoeing!

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