I have a new drysuit with attached booties.
I am concerned that these booties will rip or wear out after numerous trips carrying kayak down to launch sites.
What do you wear on your feet to protect the booties on your drysuit?
I have a new drysuit with attached booties.
challenge to find
Always wear something over the booties.
But that said, it can be challenging to find something that will fit over booties and the various thickness regular socks you may wear under them.
I have used cheap water socks, but they can be a bit loose, so when surfing and if I swim, I have had them sucked off my feet (so back to walking in booties without coverage).
I have been doing pretty well with the 5-Ten brand Water Tennies, but I must say the laces on the front have been a concern for catching on foot pegs (that said, I have not had any issue with that happening, so maybe not an issue).
Deep See dive booties
I’ve used a pair of side zip Deep See 5mm neoprene hard sole dive booties for the past 4 years. Very easy to put on over the attached socks.
I got them 2 sizes larger so to have room for drysuit booties and socks inside my drysuit I wear.
booties, but may need a larger size
First, to echo Peter-CA, don’t walk around in your drysuit socks without footwear if you can avoid it. They can, and will, wear and aren’t exactly cheap to replace.
In terms of what to wear over them, normal kayaking booties are fine(NRS has a bunch of different styles), although you may need to go up a half or whole size from your normal size depending on what sort of socks you wear under your drysuit.
Always an oversock then shoes
Either a neoprene wetsock, or some other relatively tight-fitting sock that will eliminate sand getting between the drysuit booties and any other surface is what you want. I have some sealskin ‘waterproof’ socks that work great for this, they are not of much use for anything else, and they were in the drawer.
I get dressed one foot at a time. Foot into drysuit, oversock on that foot, bootie on that foot, then stand and do the other foot.
For sea kayaking I like the NRS boots that have a side zipper, easy to get feet into and the fleece lining makes them easy to get off. These suck for walking over irregular surfaces (like portaging a class IV rapid)so I have some of those 5-10 shoes Peter mentioned. And they are a size larger than what I wear without the drysuit. So I am sorta the Imelda Marcos of kayaking footwear, with several duplicates in two sizes.
Protect inside and out
Socks inside - direct contact with toenails, skin and sweat etc is no good for the inner membrane layers. Garden variety paddling boots outside, like NRS Kickers or their equivalent from other brands outside, For winter mukluks if you will be on the water, again from regular paddling gear manufacturers or from dive shops (usually one mill thicker).
Having an oversock outside is not a step I have needed, but I know people who swear by it.
Just get the paddling shoes a half size or so larger to fit the inner socks and the suit's Goretex booties.
I disagree that appropriate footwear is hard to find. The Kickers are the same footwear I was wearing before getting a dry suit, except now I get the ones with a higher ankle. I didn't have change anything but half a shoe size maybe. I am wondering what you have been wearing up until now...
And ALWAYS turn the legs inside out to let the lining fully dry immediately after paddling, like before putting the suit in the car to drive home. The socks often get a smidge of dampness inside from condensation, and if it is allowed to sit in there it'll take out the membrane.
If I’m wearing a dry suit
Then either I’m paddling in cold water or the outdoor temps are cold. My chota’s are 1/2 size bigger than I need and I wear wool/smartwool socks or fleece socks under the dry suit and within the booties. I can slip my feet easily into the chota boots. I like warm feet! Nothing is as uncomfortable as having cold feet while paddling.
Has anyone tried wearing a TEVA style sandal ?
I’d rather keep the booties protected. I have Teva’s but have never used them with a dry suit.
Sandles not recommended
How often have you gotten little bits grit under your feet when wearing sandals? When stepping in water, even the best river shoes, get sand and tiny bits of gravel in them, and sandals do the same. Maybe if all you do is launch from paved boat landings it would be okay, but unless you are strictly a city paddler I think you are inviting wear and tear that’s perfectly avoidable. I wear paddling boots over my drysuit booties, and you can see by the replies that lots of other people do too.
I know people who tried but (1) it is uncomfortable compared to a neoprene paddling shoe and (2) it risks damage to the bootie from sand getting between the sock and the sole or the bootie catching on something since some amount will be exposed.
I don't understand the resistance to a regular paddling shoe. They cost if anything less than Teva's at full price and they work better. And you are talking about booties attached a a garment that cost between several hundred and over a thousand. Why would you spend that amount of bucks on the dry suit and put a bad choice of shoes with it?
(And the sandals you show are especially awful - not even a covered toe.)
NRS Boundary shoe’s
I wear a pair of NRS boots with my Kokatat dry suit. The boots are one size larger to accommodate the booties.
Anything is better than nothing!
Ideally, wear a thin wicking sock inside plus a paddling shoe outside.
The sock will keep your body oils and toenails from direct contact with the drysuit feet’s insides.
The paddling shoe will protect your drysuit feet’s outsides from punctures, seashell cuts, and abrasion, and it will protect your own feet from rock bruises and other painful sensations. It will also provide traction on slippery surfaces, if you choose the right sole.
I use an NRS Desperado shoe (the shoe, not the Desperado “sock” that lacks a stiff sole). It’s not perfect but it goes high enough to cover the ankle, has no snaggy straps or laces, the sole is thick and stiff enough for most surfaces, and it fits inside lower-profile kayaks.
Whatever you choose for a shoe, wear SOMETHING or else you will wear OUT your drysuit feet very quickly.
Recommend a high top boot
- 5.10 Canyoneers
- Keen Gorge Boot
- Chota or NRS Mukluks
- Astral Buoyancy Rassler (new, but looks promising, probably has a sole made by 5.10)
You’ve probably got close to 3/4K in your drysuit, so don’t skimp on protecting the booties. The 5.10’s have the best sole/traction for scrambling over wet rocks.
personally, I use
NRS mukluks or if in a tighter fitting canoe or C1, NRS “attack” shoes.
Not sure what type of kayak you paddle, but be aware a pair of mukluks over the booties will make your feet look like Herman Munsters.
Smartwool socks under the drysuit and Kokatat seeker booties on the outside for me. The seekers have thin soles but I like low volume boats.
panty hose and a rug help
first I wear thin synthetic socks, then slip on dry suit, sitting in the van opening with a mat under me. The mat travels in my van all the time, then I slip over heavy wool socks over the latex footies, then knee high panty hose to help get the feet to slip into the booty- booty style depends upon the boat I’m paddling- amount of foot room. I often joke that it takes longer to get dressed to paddle in the winter than it does to actually paddle.
I prefer a much cheaper semi dry suit most of the time but have both a dry and semi dry. Cloth footies are less prone to sudden failure and the partial neck gasket is more comfortable, and the suit breathes better- but you don’t stay as dry. I paddle small creeks and rivers in the winter to minimize my potential swim time when I wear my semi dry and use the drysuit on larger bodies of water. Shoulder seasons I wear a farmer john wetsuit.
Yes, I do turn the drysuit inside out to dry it, store loose in a drawer, and I only wash the suit once a season but I know a guy who washes his after each use. My drysuit and camera are the only things I baby a bit. Everything else I beat to hell. I buy durable gear/boats for that reason.