feet protection?

what footwear options are there for kayakers?

i wont be in rivers worthy of whitewatering or in open unprotected waters.

just slow rivers in CT and RI, inlets of the Naragannset bay, and new england sized ponds and lakes.


I use NRS
boots. I don’t remember which ones but they are above the ankle with side zippers. In colder weather I add wool socks. If not so cold just some cotton socks. I find them too hot and uncomfortable without the socks. These are pretty waterproof if you keep your wading time to a minimum. In the summer time just about any water shoe because getting wet is of no consequence. Some will wear sandals ( I can’t as the foot room is not big enough). Be careful what ever you chose that there is nothing to hang up on the pegs and prevent you from wet exiting.

My 2¢


Another 2 cents worth…
… I use a low cut (below ankles) pair of “Brooks” water shoes over the warmer weather. These are very thin wet suit material. I tried the cheaper open mesh water shoes, but they allow sand and pebbles into them, which bother me while paddling, the open mesh also drags sand and pebbles inside the kayak. The closed material shoes do not.

… for the times when the water is realy cool, and I wear my wet suit, I use the NRS “Paddle Shoes”, These come up past my ankles, and overlap the wet suit legs about 4". These work well, and let minimal water in during the times I am getting in and out of the kayak. Very comfortable too. A little water does seep in over the top.

… For the COLD water, when I don’t want any water on my feet, I bought a pair of Chota calf high boots. These come up high enough that you can wade into the water to get in and out of the kayak, without having any water leak into your feet. a good friend of mine has these, and reccommended them to me, so I bought them.

… The local shops carry these items, so I bought them locally.

Stay safe, and Happy Paddling.

Cheap Neo Dive Booties
will work and cost 1/2 price of brand names.


what im gonna wear
I plan on wearing Salomon Tech Amphibian water shoes with gortex socks.

I wear Chota River Runners for general paddling, Chota Mukluks for cold weather paddling, and NRS Desperado Socks for whitewater. I’ver heard great things about the Teva Avator.

Chota Mukluk Lites for cold. Barefoot in the heat. Some Chaco sandals to keep the glass and oyster shells from cutting me up.

foot cover
Teva sandals in the summer. Bean boots in the winter.

Neoprene Socks
Neoprene socks can be used with shoes or sandals. River shoes give you better footing than tennies or sandals. Don’t wear wool or cotton under neoprene. Light man-made fibers are better.

I’ll second the Tech Amphibians…
I have Saloman Tech Amphibians that I LOVE. I wear them with no socks in the summer, with neo socks when it gets cooler, and with seal skin waterproof socks when it’s really cold. They are water sneakers, which means they are great for walking around and making portages or taking a short hike along the way - they provide plenty of support for your foot unlike some water shoes that can leave your foot a bit tender if you step on rocks the wrong way. However, these only work in my canoe or in a rec kayak. In my touring yak and ww yak the heel is too much and they aren’t comfortable. If you have a higher volume kayak, though, I think they are a very versatile solution.

In the little 'yaks I’ve been using the WallyWorld $5 water shoes and I do the same thing as with the Salomons - no socks, neo socks, or seal skin socks depending on how cold the water is.


For the really cold water…
I use heavy winter dive boots. They are big enough so that I can comfortably wear a cheap pair of WalMart neoprene socks with them, for the REALLY cold weather.


Cold feet?
A few tips from an old duck hunter to add to the above for cold feet…

Wash your feet very well. This removes dead skin which can act as a sponge for moisture/sweat.

Spray feet with antiperspirant!!!

Wear wicking socks as mentioned above.

I like wool on top of the wicking socks. Retains appx. 80% of it’s insulating ability even when wet.

After that, put on you’re insulated waterproof shoes of choice.