Best SUP Shoes – Our Top 5 Picks for Stand-Up Paddleboarding (2022)

Footwear Gear

Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) is a fun sport to get into, but you’ll need a good pair of shoes to keep your feet safe. Our guide to the best SUP shoes will help point you in the right direction.

But what are SUP shoes? What should you be looking for in terms of safety features, and how can you find the best pair for you? We’ll answer all those questions in detail, and some general questions about beach footwear.

The bottom line upfront: we like the Mishansha Water Shoes. They’re good all-rounders, with excellent grip and drainage, and they’re very flexible and comfortable. They can be rolled up into a ball for easy storage, too.

We also like:

We’ll be looking at:

  1. The best SUP shoes compared
  2. A basic overview of what SUP shoes are
  3. The key features to look for, including grip, drainage, fit, and portability
  4. Our top 5 picks, with our honest thoughts on their pros and cons
  5. Some frequently asked questions
  6. Which shoes we like the best and why

Keep reading to find out more!

Best SUP Shoes Compared

Feature
Most Versatile
Best Value
Most Durable
Best Soles
Most Comfortable
Model
Eddie Bauer Men's Guide Pro Pants
SIMARI Water Shoes
Astral Loyak AC Barefoot Shoes
VIFUUR Water Shoes 
WateLves Water Shoes
Mishansha Mens Womens Water Shoes Quick Dry Barefoot for Swim Diving Surf Aqua Sports Pool Beach Walking Yoga Black 9.5
SIMARI Water Shoes for Women Men Beach Swim Surf Pool Anti Slip Summer Outdoor SWS001 Circular Black
Astral, Men's Loyak AC, Basalt Black, 8 M US
VIFUUR Men Womens Water Shoes Aqua Barefoot Athletic Sports Shoes for Beach Surf Walking Kayaking Boating Pool 6882-Black-37
Water Shoes for Men and Women Barefoot Quick-Dry Aqua Sock Outdoor Athletic Sport Shoes for Kayaking, Boating, Hiking, Surfing, Walking (M-White, 42)
Materials
Lycra, rubber
Lycra, rubber
Recycled polyester, rubber
Polyester, rubber
Polyester, rubber
Closure Type
Elastic shoelace
None
Elastic shoelace
Elastic shoelace
Elastic shoelace
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
Feature
Most Versatile
Model
Eddie Bauer Men's Guide Pro Pants
Mishansha Mens Womens Water Shoes Quick Dry Barefoot for Swim Diving Surf Aqua Sports Pool Beach Walking Yoga Black 9.5
Materials
Lycra, rubber
Closure Type
Elastic shoelace
-
-
Feature
Best Value
Model
SIMARI Water Shoes
SIMARI Water Shoes for Women Men Beach Swim Surf Pool Anti Slip Summer Outdoor SWS001 Circular Black
Materials
Lycra, rubber
Closure Type
None
-
-
Feature
Most Durable
Model
Astral Loyak AC Barefoot Shoes
Astral, Men's Loyak AC, Basalt Black, 8 M US
Materials
Recycled polyester, rubber
Closure Type
Elastic shoelace
-
-
-
Feature
Best Soles
Model
VIFUUR Water Shoes 
VIFUUR Men Womens Water Shoes Aqua Barefoot Athletic Sports Shoes for Beach Surf Walking Kayaking Boating Pool 6882-Black-37
Materials
Polyester, rubber
Closure Type
Elastic shoelace
-
-
Feature
Most Comfortable
Model
WateLves Water Shoes
Water Shoes for Men and Women Barefoot Quick-Dry Aqua Sock Outdoor Athletic Sport Shoes for Kayaking, Boating, Hiking, Surfing, Walking (M-White, 42)
Materials
Polyester, rubber
Closure Type
Elastic shoelace
-
-

What Are SUP Shoes?

senior male paddler wearubgf five finger water shoes is sitting on his stand up paddleboard - low angle view from a partially submerged camera

SUP stands for stand-up paddleboarding, a popular and fun sport loved by all ages. SUP shoes are water shoes, designed to allow you to get in and out of the water without slipping over. They should have excellent grip and good drainage, to prevent them from becoming waterlogged.

Typically, SUP shoes will be super-portable, and can sometimes be rolled into a small ball, making them ideal for squeezing them into your bag if you don’t have a lot of room.

What to Look for in SUP Shoes

There are some key features to look for in shoes for paddleboarding:

Grip

Female feet in aqua shoes near reefs and corals . Water sports equipment.

The grip is key when it comes to shoes for any kind of water-related sport. Whether you’re walking along a beach or a dock, you don’t want to have to worry about slipping over. Look for rubber soles with a good grip to stop you from hurting yourself as you walk. You can also find water shoes with extra protection in the toe area, which is helpful if you’re on a rocky beach.

Drainage

Water shoes / blue swimming shoes on rocks in water on beach

Another key feature is drainage. Water should flow through your shoes easily, otherwise, you’ll quickly end up with heavy shoes. Look for multiple drainage holes, and keep an eye on how long they take to dry. The quicker the better, especially if you’re going to be in and out of the water all day.

Comfort/Breathability

water shoes on the beach

Comfort is also key. Water shoes may come with a removable insole to provide extra padding, or they may have a thinner insole, permanently attached to the shoe.

You can also find SUP shoes with extra arch support, which is ideal if you have flat feet, as it provides you with more comfort and stability.

Look for shoes with breathable uppers to prevent your feet from overheating.

Fit

Kayaking in Lake Powell narrow antelope canyon with feet water shoes at front of red kayak boat in dirty muddy water

SUP shoes should fit pretty snugly. Too loose, and you risk tripping or slipping, which is the last thing you want when you’re trying to stay upright on a paddleboard. Some water shoes run a little large, so it’s a good idea to drop down a half size or a whole size to make sure they fit properly.

Some SUP shoes are designed to slip on and off, while others have an elastic shoelace closure to help them fit tightly to your feet. If you’re worried they’ll be too big, go for the latter option, as it will allow you to adjust them to the fit you feel the most comfortable with (and you will have the option of loosening them if you want to).

Style

Legs with pink swimming footwear.Young girl's feet wearing swim shoes by the pool.

Many water shoes look pretty similar – a little like thick socks. They may come in a wide range of colors and patterns. Occasionally, you’ll find water shoes that are a little more like sneakers. These work just as well, but you may not be able to roll them into a ball in the same way you can with the more basic sock-style water shoes.

Portability

Shoes to walk in water in sea

If you’re tight on space, go for the sock-style shoes. You can squeeze them into a super tight space, which is great if you have a lot of gear to carry or if you’re backpacking.

Top 5 Best SUP Shoes

Now, let’s take a look at our top 5 best SUP shoes. We’ll give you the lowdown on the efficiency of their grip and drainage, how they fit, and how comfortable they feel. We’ll also let you know what we think the drawbacks are. Hopefully, you can find the perfect pair for your next paddleboarding trip!

1. Mishansha Water Shoes – Most Versatile

Mishansha Mens Womens Water Shoes Quick Dry Barefoot for Swim Diving Surf Aqua Sports Pool Beach Walking Yoga Black 9.5

Key Features

  • Materials: Lycra, rubber
  • Closure Type: Elastic shoelace
  • Insole: Yes, attached

The Mishansha Water Shoes are versatile, ideal for all kinds of water sports, not just stand-up paddleboarding. They’re made from fairly tough lycra, making them lightweight and flexible. The shoes are breathable, so they work well in hot weather and they’re easy to fit your feet using the elastic straps. They’re true to size, which is helpful.

They are excellent in terms of drainage, with several holes on the bottom to allow water to drain through. They have a decent grip, with anti-slip rubber soles to protect you when walking on slippery surfaces.

You can get them in a range of colors and styles. They have a porous spongey insole, which may come away after a while, but can be reattached with strong glue. They’re pretty easy to take on and off using the pull tab at the heel, making them very convenient to wear, and they can be rolled up very small, so they won’t take up much space in your bag.

Pros

  • Comfortable and lightweight
  • Breathable
  • Good drainage
  • Decent grip
  • Easy to take on and off
  • True to size

Cons

  • Insole may come away eventually
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2. SIMARI Water Shoes – Best Value

SIMARI Water Shoes for Women Men Beach Swim Surf Pool Anti Slip Summer Outdoor SWS001 Circular Black

Key Features

  • Materials: Lycra, rubber
  • Closure Type: None
  • Insole: Yes, attached

The SIMARI Water Shoes are great value if you need a pair for a day at the beach. They’re flexible and comfortable, and they’re breathable enough to stop your feet from getting overheated. They don’t have an elastic or shoelace-style closure, so getting the right size is important. They run large, so it’s worth sizing down.

These shoes have plenty of drainage holes at the bottom to allow water to flow through. They have a strong grip, too. They dry super quickly, which is useful. The downside is, that they’re not as durable as some of the others on this list. We’d recommend them if you want to try out paddleboarding or you need them for a vacation, but you may want to invest in another pair if you want them to last a long time.

They come in a range of colors and styles, with a comfortable insole that is attached to the shoe. They’re very stretchy, which makes them easy to take on and off. Plus, they’re very small and can be rolled up tightly to fit in your bag.

Pros

  • Lightweight and flexible
  • Breathable
  • Good drainage
  • Strong grip
  • Easy to take on and off

Cons

  • Runs large so may need to buy a smaller size
  • Won’t last as long as some of the others on this list
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3. Astral Loyak AC Barefoot Minimalist Shoes – Most Durable

Astral, Men's Loyak AC, Basalt Black, 8 M US

Key Features

  • Materials: Recycled polyester, rubber
  • Closure Type: Elastic shoelace
  • Insole: Yes, attached

The Astral Loyak AC Barefoot Minimalist Shoes are high-quality shoes, ideal for not just SUP shoes, but also sailing, fishing, and more. They’re comfortable and easy to wear, although they do run slightly large, so it may be worth dropping down half a size to ensure a snug fit.

There are holes in the back and the front to drain water, and plenty of mesh to improve airflow to keep you cool and comfortable. They dry quickly and offer excellent grip on slippery surfaces, ideal for walking on boat docks, for example. They’re durable, too, so although they cost more initially, they should last for a long time.

They have a smaller range of colors, but they look stylish and subtle enough to wear in different situations, not just on the beach. There is a comfortable hygienic lining, ideal if your feet tend to get hot. They’re very easy to take on and off. However, they can’t be rolled up, so they do take up a little more room in your bag or beach wagon.

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • High-quality
  • Durable
  • Good drainage
  • Excellent grip
  • Hygienic lining

Cons

  • Runs large so may need to buy a half-size smaller than usual
  • Takes up more room than some of the others on this list
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4. VIFUUR Water Shoes – Best Soles

VIFUUR Men Womens Water Shoes Aqua Barefoot Athletic Sports Shoes for Beach Surf Walking Kayaking Boating Pool 6882-Black-37

Key Features

  • Materials: Polyester, rubber
  • Closure Type: Elastic shoelace
  • Insole: Yes, detachable

The VIFUUR Water Shoes are great for walking across rocky beaches. They’re lightweight, breathable, and comfortable. They do run a little large, so it might be worth going half a size down. It’s easy to tighten them to your feet using the elastic shoelace closure.

They have an anti-slip EVA sole with good wear resistance. They’re thick and durable, so should last a long time, and they’re great at protecting your feet even on rocky beaches. They drain pretty quickly, too. They have a good grip and dry quickly, so they won’t feel uncomfortable to wear. With a soft, squashy, comfortable insole, they feel nice to wear.

These shoes come in a good range of colors. They’re easy to take on and off, and they can be rolled up. They are a little chunkier than some of the other shoes on this list, so they do take up a little more room. 

Pros

  • Comfortable and breathable
  • Easy to take on and off (and tighten)
  • Good grip
  • Thick and durable soles, ideal for rocky beaches
  • Good drainage
  • Dries quickly

Cons

  • Runs large so may need to buy a half-size smaller than usual
  • A little chunkier than some of the others on this list
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5. WateLves Quick-Dry Aqua Sock Shoes – Most Comfortable

Water Shoes for Men and Women Barefoot Quick-Dry Aqua Sock Outdoor Athletic Sport Shoes for Kayaking, Boating, Hiking, Surfing, Walking (M-White, 42)

Key Features

  • Materials: Polyester, rubber
  • Closure Type: Elastic shoelace
  • Insole: Yes, detachable

The WateLves Quick-Dry Aqua Sock Shoes are very comfortable to wear. They have thick foam arch support, making them ideal if you’re looking for shoes for flat feet, and the foam can be removed if you prefer. They are lightweight and breathable, but they do run large, so you may need to drop down a whole size.

These shoes have extra protection around the toe area, which is ideal if you’re paddleboarding on a rocky beach. They have anti-slip rubber soles, with track adhesion to keep you from slipping over. They dry out quickly but lack the level of drainage that the other shoes on this list have.

There are a large number of colors and styles. They’re really easy to take on and off. They’re not as portable as others on this list, as they can’t be folded or rolled up.

Pros

  • Very comfortable to wear
  • Lightweight
  • Good arch support
  • Extra protection in the toe area
  • Good grip

Cons

  • Runs large so you may need to drop down one size
  • Drainage could be improved
  • Not as portable as some of the others on this list
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Frequently Asked Questions

Before we settle on our favorite SUP shoes, here are some frequently asked questions you may want the answers for:

What can I use my SUP shoes for?

Water swimming shoe in Pink neoprene on rocks in water on beach.

You can use your SUP shoes for all types of water sports. Surfing, kayaking, regular paddle boarding, swimming, fishing, beach yoga or pilates, boating, walking – all of these can benefit from a good pair of water shoes to protect your feet.

We wouldn’t necessarily recommend them for hiking, however. You may need shoes that are a little more robust and protective to deal with tougher terrain.

Do I need to wear water shoes on the beach?

Water shoes / blue swimming shoes on rocks in water on beach

We’d recommend wearing them, yes. They are designed to protect your feet from all kinds of danger, including seaweed, broken glass or sharp objects, broken shells, rocks, coral, and some smaller sea creatures (including the very painful Weeverfish sting, which can be excruciating).

Can I get similar shoes for kids?

Kids beach shoes

Yes, and for the above reasons, we’d recommend you pick up a pair of water shoes for your kids. You can check out our guide to the best water shoes for kids for some ideas.

How can I keep myself safe on the beach?

Swimming goggles with water shoes on a beach bed by the sea

As well as protecting your feet, there are a few other key things to remember:

  • Don’t allow yourself to get overheated. Take regular breaks if you start to feel exhausted, and look for a shady spot to sit if you need a rest.
  • Make sure you take a large water bottle to keep you hydrated
  • Make sure you protect your skin from sun damage by applying sunscreen, reapplying every few hours following the package instructions

To Sum Up …

Protection swiming shoe use in croatia

If we had to pick one pair, we’d recommend the Mishansha Water Shoes. In terms of safety, they have a strong grip to prevent you from slipping over, excellent drainage, and good flexibility. They feel comfortable to wear, and they’re super portable.

If you want something more robust, go for the Astral Loyak AC Barefoot Minimalist Shoes. They’re more of an investment, but they should last a long time.

We also like the VIFUUR Water Shoes for tougher terrain. If you visit stony beaches, this is a good pair to go for.

We hope this has helped you to find the best SUP shoes for you!