Booties for whitewater

Anyone used these for kayaking?

Simms Zipit II

They seem to be marketed more toward fishing, though they look for similar in form to the NRS Paddle Wetshoes. Might they be too stiff to slide your feet into a tight WW boat (the sole seems a bit more substantial). Any opinions?

I’d also take any recommendations for booties. I’m just looking for something a little more unique and better looking than the NRS options. There doesn’t seem to be many, though.

Simms makes quality waders. I suspects these well work well, and hold up. I haven’t worn them, but I don’t think you would be going wrong with them.

They cost more than similar NRS booties. My NRS are 10 years old and still going strong.

Hmm. Those Simms booties don’t look all that different from the Deep See 6.5 mm neoprene hard sole dive boots I have been using for 12 years (in fact they are drying out on my porch after a 10 mile dawn paddle this morning). I got mine for $30 Canadian and they are still only around $32 US. These little suckers are tough, warm and provide good traction on wet rocks. I have used them with all sorts of boats and even for river crossings while hiking. Since I use mostly low volume sit-inside touring kayaks I need shoes that are not bulky and these work fine.

I should also mention that before getting the Deep Sees I had a pair of the same height Chota fly fisherman booties that were made of the perforated and lined neoprene that Simms touts as using in theirs. I honestly did not care for it. Might work well OVER waders for traction and to protect the wader fabric but on bare feet they allowed silt and way too much water inside and my feet were just as wet as if I had used the solid neoprene – in fact, wet more often since even in a couple of inches of water it would flow into the boot. With the Deep Sees I can sometimes launch in the shallows without getting my feet wet at all since the deep gusset behind the zipper seals pretty well. I gave the Chotas away to a fishing guy with small feet.

I doubt you would be able to get those into the nose of a lot of modern whitewater kayak play boats.

If you get those try swimming with them on to see if they balloon with water when you kick hard. In my experience boots like that do when not wearing fins or a wetsuit and swimming can become difficult.

I have used wet suit booties in the past, especially for cold water.
Now I mostly wear hiking shoes made for water with drain holes. Much better for hiking.
An old standby for rough usage is a pair of Chuck Taylor All-Star high tops with fleece socks. I used them for rafting for years. Good grip, ankle support and warm enough.

I get booties that have a strap over the arch, that way if I ever step in deep muck the boot stays on my foot, like the NRS Kicker, but that model is old and may be hard to find. Could also look at Hyperflex booties used for kite boarding, windsurfing, but be careful about split toes, if they do not fit right can make your big toes hurt! I have to keep a wine cork in the big toes of the Hyperflex split toe booties to keep them stretched out, and then still wrap both big toes with waterproof tape. They also come in non split toes, really seal out water and sand with the tight cuffs that are lined with smooth neoprene. O’Neil and Ripcurl are brands that also make booties for water sports like windsurfing, so thinner soles, less bulky, versus the NRS kicker booties and Simms boots.

I always purchase from NRS. I like to support a dedicated paddling retailer. There aren’t many of them left.

What @pblanc said. Looks like they have the big front bumpers that are a “feature” of many water shoes. They take up a lot of room under the deck. I can’t kayak when my toes have to be pointed like a ballerina’s.

I have been getting mine at They have a wider selection of styles some with 8mm neoprene and better soles and they hold up better than the NRS ones. I buy lots of other stuff from NRS or Cascade, but the dive gear booties are definitely better.