Dry Suits and Foot Wear

Those of you who wear a dry suit with built in goretex feet - what do you wear under the goretex feet? In general, what do you wear in cold v. not so cold water/weather as far as foot wear with these goretex feet?

I have used the nrs neoprene zip up booties for years with bare feet and always been happy with them - I just ordered an oversize pair for use with the new dry suit I have coming so I’m thinking about what to do under the goretex and also whether I should wear a sock over the goretex before slipping on the bootie - i think not but unsure.

Let’s me see…

– Last Updated: Jan-08-12 8:53 AM EST –

Under de Goretex socks ah' waar a liner sock an' then a pair o' fleece socks.

Cold water - ah' waars Chota Quicklace Mukluks an' not so cold water - a pair o' NRS Workboots.


Fleece over
the goretex? Or under? What type of liner sock?


– Last Updated: Jan-08-12 9:13 AM EST –

Heavy wool socks over a thin, walmart type of dress sock.
I find wool is still the warmest. Non-itch wool.

Matter of fact, people get all bent out of shape over the proper things to wear under a dry suit. A friend of mine (experienced) wears a polypro thin top with a wool sweater over it in winter and swears there's nothing warmer.

Smartwool, Chota, Keen
I wear a fairly heavy Smartwool sock inside my booties when it’s cool and cold out or in cold ocean water. If it’s icy out I wear Chota Mukluks over my Goretex booties, most of the rest of the time I wear Keen Hood River boots.


Over my drysuit booties, I wear the same neoprene paddling shoes that I wear during the summer, but 1 size larger. I don’t usually get cold feet, so I just wear regular socks under the drysuit.

it doesnt make any sense to wear sox
over Goretex feet.

I wear Crocs…yes crocs over my thick felted wool socks under my Goretex built in booties.

My neoprene booties arent quite big enough for my cold weather wool socks.

My husband OTOH is wearing booties big enough to accommodate the socks he likes under his built in booties.

Kinda depends.

Cold weather in this case is about like dressing for warm weather. The water temp is not so different though the air is in the teens and not the sixties. I can wear thinner socks and the booties in warmer times.

Fleece under Gortex drysuit sock…
Some sort o’ wickin’ liner sock next ta me skin.


I was thinking the same thing but
wondered if it might be a good idea not for warmth but to protect the goretex feet. But I think not. The neoprene paddling boot will provide protection.

What I wear on top under my dry suit. And it keeps me warm, even when I do an occasional roll into 33 degree water in air temps in the 20’s.

Bottoms are polypro under a midweight fleece pant. Toasty warm.

Level six mitts or NRS toaster mitts on my hands, wool ski cap or NRS mystery cap if I’m gonna roll.

yep you really dont want to
grind stuff into the sock soles…I just cheat with the Crocs if its not too slippery at the put in. With snow and ice Crocs would be skates.

Then I have to wrestle with marginally too small booties.

Layer orders
Directly on feet: Fleece or wool socks. These are for adding warmth as well as protecting the Gore-tex socks from toenails and body oils.

Next, the Gore-tex socks over those.

Outermost: NRS Desperado shoes (not their Desperado “socks” which lack real soles), sized one size larger than what I wear over bare feet. These shoes are hard to pull on and off AND slow to dry, so on the next round of shoes I will switch to something that has a strap or other “opener”. These are to protect the Gore-tex socks from abrasion and cuts (rocks, shells, glass, splinters) and to protect your feet from lumpy, hard ground.

Just in from a paddle and wore…
Smartwool snowboarding socks under the booties, and pulled on mukluks from a dive shop (a but thicker than paddling equivalents) over it. Water temperature measured at 35 degrees, though it should be noted that this is as low as the thermometer went. There was ice at the edges of the bays.

I had to wiggle my toes here and there for them to stay warm, but that was more a matter of inactivity than inadequate layers. I also took care to step out into water that did not overtop my mukluks - they are dry until that happens.

The best thing you can do to protect the booties from sand etc grinding in is to change into the suit and shoes someplace that you can put your feet down on a mat or similar that protects your feet from the ground. Since you are wearing something under it anyway, at least some thermal underwear type layer, you can usually just sit in the seat of the car sideways and facing out the door to get your feet and legs into the suit and boots. Same in reverse to get it off. The worst that happens is that someone sees if you have silly looking long underwear.

But they sure can be nice. We got our gear packed away, the boats up, pulled out of the dry suits and went immediately to a nearby restaurant with a fireplace. Dry feet and clothes all the way. Beats the heck out of the wetsuit days in warmer weather, let alone in more wintry weather.

neoprene over, or socks under
Normally I wear cheap water socks over, and some sort of standard hiking or biking style sock under, depending on how cold it is.

If conditions are such that I may be out of the boat (like when surfing), I wear neoprene booties over my dry suit booties, and no sock under (they won’t fit). I’ve had the water socks sucked off my feet before.

I have some medium weight wool socks that I wear.

Protect those booties!
You didn’t say where you paddle, but I worry about briars when I am out of the boat to scout or for a break. Briars seem to always be trying to wrap around my ankles, and I have latex booties, so this seems like an easy way to introduce leaks or rips in the booties. Goretex is a little tougher, but why risk it.

I either wear tall neo (Chota-style) boots or the same water shoes I wear in the summer. If I am ww canoeing, I don’t favor the boots. I kneel in the boat, and often have an couple inches of water rolling around in the boat. Since I am kneeling, water can work into the top of the boot. It is tight on the drysuit, but I might be kneeling in bilge water for many minutes, and you know how water finds a way. I also don’t like the idea of swimming with the boots on, since I think they’d get kind of heavy. So, for ww, I pull neo socks over the latex booties to give them a little protection and stuff my feet into the same water shoes I use in the summer. I should really get a larger size for using in the winter. Usually wear a pair of smartwool hiking socks under the booties, and add a second sock if I am not trying to stuff my foot into summer-sized shoes (i.e. if I am wearing the boots).

So, just a cautionary note in case you boat where there is shiggy growing on the side of the river.


How do you guys fit Chota Mukluks
into your kayaks? Especially mukluks large enough for thick socks underneath?

This only works for me in kayaks that are a bit too large for me, such as the QCC 400X, Nighthawk 16 or kevlar Eclipse 17 Sea Lion. No go in the kevlar Shadow 16.5 or Epic Touring Cruiser 16.

I wear these, to match my boat

actually I like wool socks with liners.

I’m short
Therefore, my feet are in a part of the kayak with more vertical room than they would be if my legs were, say, 5 inches longer.

Even so, Chota Mukluks just barely clear inside. It’s a good thing that I prefer wearing lighter and shorter booties anyway. In fact, I’m selling the mukluks.