Best Shoes for Canoeing Portaging

What kind of shoes are you supposed to wear when you go canoeing? That’s a question a surprising number of people ask.

If you’re carrying a canoe to and from the water, you’ll need footwear that’s sturdy and durable. But at the same time, you want footwear that’s flexible enough to bend and move with your foot’s natural muscular movements.

And, somewhat obviously, it needs to be footwear that can withstand getting wet.

Shoes that dry quickly or drain well should be the first priority. Once you’ve made sure of that, you can worry about their durability, support, and overall fit.

We’ve put together a list of some ideal options to get you started.

Quick Comparison: Best Shoes for Canoeing Portaging

ProductUpper MaterialMidsole MaterialLining Material
#1. Outcross Evo 1
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Webbing and meshLUVSEAT footbedMoisture-wicking mesh
#2. Keen Newport Hydro

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Polyester webbingEVA foamSynthetic

Rugged Sport Sandals

If your canoe trip is a one-day trip or lasts a single weekend, you may not need more intensive footwear than a sporty sandal.

Sports sandals are designed to fit your foot well so they don’t move around during physical activity and cause injury.

They tend to be made of durable materials and have increased traction against slick, rough, gravelly, and slippery surfaces.

Open-toed sandals may be a bad call when you’re lugging around heavy equipment, though. Look for designs with toe protection.

Some shoes are similar to sandals, utilizing webbing straps instead of fabric coverings for their upper. These designs are great because they drain easily, dry fast, and are super lightweight.

#1. Chaco Outcross Evo Water Shoe

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Chaco is a sandal manufacturer that creates sport, leisure, and trendy sandals, along with everything in between.

The Outcross Evo shoes are designed specifically for use around the water. They’re built to be supportive and sturdy, with draining and fast-drying material construction.

The upper offers enough covering to protect your toes and create a snug fit in the heel, but there’s partial opening around the webbing straps. The openings help the shoes to drain more easily without sacrificing protection.

Like many Chaco shoes, these shoes use Chaco’s typical LUVSEAT footbed, which is designed to provide cushioning and support.

At the same time, the traction-heavy and grippy sole helps to give you traction and encourage balance on multiple types of terrain.

These shoes are easy to pull on since they use a quick-tug bungee lacing system. In addition, the mesh interior is breathable, circulating fresh air through the shoe so your feet stay cool.

The mesh also wicks away interior moisture, helping to remove both sweat and outside water.

If you tend to overpronate, these are helpful shoe options because the design is meant to correct your stride.

The heel cup offers a level of pronation control, while the arch of the shoe aligns the body to make sure your gait is smooth and straight.

For those who prioritize an environmentally-friendly lifestyle, the EcoTread sole is created with 25 percent recycled rubber.


#2. Keen Newport Hydro Sandals

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The Hydro sandals are a good option because they’re a model of a sports sandal line that’s specifically designed for water use.

The soles are crafted with imprinted patterns and grooves to grip surfaces more firmly, helping increase traction when you’re walking on wet and slippery land.

The footbeds are made with antimicrobial material, so bacteria won’t grow on the sandals. This keeps odors under control no matter how much your foot might sweat or what kind of weird lake water you get in your shoe.

The closure uses bungee lace cording, which stretches to wrap around the foot to provide a snug fit without pulling too tight.

The polyester webbing straps allow the foot to breathe and move naturally while keeping the shoe firmly adhered.

There isn’t a lot of built-in support, but the midsole does make use of EVA foam for a layer of cushioning. EVA foam helps absorb your impact with each stride, keeping your muscles from getting fatigued early.


Other Things to Consider

If you’re going on a longer canoe trip, you may want to look into water-draining socks. They offer support for your feet while avoiding the “soggy” feeling of waterlogged fabric.

Depending on how much walking and terrain handling you’ll be doing, you might want a pair of heavy-duty hiking boots to change into between canoe rides.

Final Thoughts

Chaco trips are an exciting, fun way to spend the warmer months. But you should make sure you have footwear that supports and cushions your feet, providing the safety and stability you need for an accident free-adventure.

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