No, you don’t need water shoes for paddleboarding. In fact, most people don’t wear them – they just go bare foot. SUPs generally have a grippy pad that you stand on. It increases the rider’s stability, but the pad is also very comfortable on the feet – therefore, no need for footwear.
So, Why Booties?
That said…. sometimes the water is cold. You want a waterproof shoes that will keep your feet warm and dry. I know this because I do an annual Christmas Day paddleboard ride. If the sun is out and I am wearing a black wetsuit, I am perfectly warm. However, if I didn’t have my booties – or water shoes – my feet would freeze.
Because I have my water shoes and wetsuit – I am able to paddleboard year-round, and wintertime paddling provides an entirely different outdoor experience than summer. It’s worth it to have the right clothing so that I can use my gear more.
Another reason could be that you are paddling from one location to another – and you will need shoes when you exit the board at your destination. It’s nice to have waterproof shoes that you can wear both on and off the SUP, so you worry less about losing them.
How to Get More Use Out of Them…
Anyway… wetshoes are great for a variety of other sports and activities besides paddleboarding. People use them to surf, windsurf, scuba dive, sail, kayak and even hiking where they might cross rivers or other waterways. In fact, I originally got my shoes for surfing. They’ve gotten a lot of use for footwear that is functional in a lot of ways, durable and long-lasting.
Which Shoe Should You Get?
The main difference you’ll notice is some shoes look more like socks. These are designed to tuck into a wetsuit, so you can keep your feet and legs warm. If you plan on paddling with a full-body wetsuit, take a look at this style.
If, on the other hand, you simply want wetshoes to wear in the summer for both land and water, look for shoes that provide ventilation and are fast drying. This would mainly be for people who don’t care if their feet get wet – but who want something on their feet when they walk along the shore or along river rocks, etc..
Since SUPs provide traction for standing, you don’t need shoes that have extra grip or tread. Don’t pay extra money for this feature – unless you plan to use them as deck shoes, climbing up wet rocks or other activities….
Check ’em out: