footwear recommendation

-- Last Updated: Aug-23-15 1:59 AM EST --

My watershoes are about ten years old, and the soles are very hard, and have no traction. Furthermore, the heal is bare. That's right, I can see daylight out of it. Finally, I left these at someone's house and don't know when I'll be able to get them back. I'm wondering if I even want them back.

I'm looking for some water shoes. I certainly don't want the heavy sandal-like things that keen, etc. make. I had a pair years ago, and just felt that the weight and bulk were a nuisance.

I looked at some water shoes in a store today. There was only one pair left. The soles were ridiculously slick. I found a pair at another store that had great soles, but were a bit loose around the ankle. I was looking for some with a draw cord around the ankle.

I'm currently looking at the "Hyperflex AMP 2mm Low Reef Boot". These are mainly neoprene, and I'm not sure how I feel about that. I guess it's fine, though. It's probably not the most durable fabric to wear on land. I'd prefer to wear neoprene socks in a non-neoprene shoe. Reviewers have said that there is plenty of grip. However, the bottom is completely flat with not texturing. I don't know if I like this; I do a lot of rock scrambling. I really don't want to spend $50 on these, but if they're exceptional, I can see doing that for another decade of use.

Has anyone used these? How about something else? At the top of the page there's an add for booties by "Sea to Summit". Any thoughts on these?

On Ebay, I see some knockoffs that I can have for a total of $11. Maybe I'll go with these.

Finally, as for neoprene socks/boots in general, how tightly should they fit? Should they fit like a wetsuit, or a regular sock?

right now I’m wear some “rafters” from
nrs every shoe has pluses and minuses. The “rafters” are cheap in price, easy to get on and off, fit well in the boat, but not much of a sole so you’ll want something more substantial. I’ll change to a more substantial bootie in the fall. In the winter and spring even more solid footwear as I paddle more creeks. If scrambling around on wet rocks and such it might be worth your while to get some of “the new” style of super grip water shoes. Generally they are made for warm conditions- think chuck taylors but with drain holes and much better sole. Some models use the same rubber as climbing shoes. No tread required with that- they are there own kind of sticky.

astral makes a bunch of models, I know nrs sells them, and hear that they run small for sizing so keep that in mind if you go mail order. If you google astral and water shoes you’ll get a bunch of sites.

I’ve got a pair of felt soled booties that fit that bill already so I haven’t forked over the cash to try the latest greatest thing.

If you fall on a wet slick rock and hurt yourself the medical bills you’ll incur won’t end up saving you a bit money so buy some decent footwear.

Shoes very important, dress for the environment.

My favorites …
right now are the 5.10 Water Tennie for light duty and the 5.10 Canyoneer when in full drysuit mode. You probably cannot beat the 5.10’s for traction. Also very good are the Astral shoes. Good shoes are worth every penny if you do a lot of paddling.

Excellent shoe that’s worth every penny it costs.

Ask Marshall about the Hiyak.

10 years
I commend you, sir.

NRS Titanium
I’ve been wearing a pair of NRS Titanium Cross-4 wet shoes for when the water isn’t too cold and they have held up very well for a few years. For this type of shoe, I would suggest not having them fit too tight. Be sure to try them on before buying. By the way, they’re on sale right now.

For colder water I have a brand new pair of NRS Boundary boots that I have never worn, because I’m waiting for my Chotas to wear out.

Always try any of these types of boots on before buying, because the size designation doesn’t seem to be accurate at all. And for the Boundary boots, get them big enough so that you can wear neoprene socks, or something even thicker.

For Summer Use
You can’t beat Chuck Taylor Allstars hightops. A hightop basketball shoe it has no sole stiffener in it so the soles are extremely flexible, the hightops provide ankle support while scrambling around rocks out of the boat and water drain holes at the bottom to let all the water out.

Your foot is entirely enclosed and protected,

At the end of the day, on the ride home hang them off the back of your canoe to quickly dry the canvas uppers.

And extremely comfortable to wear.

K-SWISS Vertical TBS Recover
I’ve been looking for the perfect canoe shoe for years and encountered these on They were inexpensive so I figured I’d give them a shot. They are as ugly as hell, but have really done the job for me. The sole is stiff enough that you don’t feel the rocks when on shore. I’ve even used them for short hikes and as a camp shoe. Being plastic they are completely waterproof and dry almost instantly.

NRS Kickers

– Last Updated: Aug-25-15 7:50 PM EST –

Wetsuit booties have a very thin sole, if you are stepping on rocks or coral they offer very littler protection.

I've been using NRS kickers for years, they work great and last a long time ...

Work for sharp rocks, reef and coral.


– Last Updated: Aug-25-15 8:26 PM EST –

You ended your post with a question about neoprene socks and boots (and by "boots", I assume you are still talking about river shoes, so I won't add anything to that subtopic). Do you really want to wear neoprene socks with river shoes, especially if they are the free-draining kind? I have no experience doing so, but it seems that the sock would fill with water and not drain, and I wouldn't care for that. I wear socks with river shoes for two reasons, and those are to eliminate the major cause of shoe-stink, and to keep sand and fine gravel that gets into the shoe from being abrasive on my feet. For that, I wear regular quick-dry socks (polypropylene in my case). Neoprene in contact with skin is famous for becoming stinky, so in that department you're just trading stinky shoes for stinky socks. Quick-dry socks can easily be washed to stay fresh, and it's easy to bring extra pairs along (there's no weight/bulk penalty to speak of). In quick-dry socks, your feet will get wet of course, but unlike with neoprene, they can also get dry again.

chota comfortable lasting

Peet boot dryer
The solution to stopping the stink from neoprene wet shoes is a Peet boot dryer.

those look good
as a camp shoe. Thanks, I may have to pick up a pair!

Alternative to Peet
Back to ramp, rinse shoes, bungee the shoes under your roof rack crossbars and drive fast. Provided that it’s not raining or freezing, dry by the time you get home.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY

sunlight works well also
probably not the best thing for neoprene.

I know what doesn’t work: leaving them in your trunk through the winter!

racing shoe
This reminds me of a pair of “racing shoes” I had years ago. When I ran track, the idea was to train in shoes with padding and support. During races, what was essentially a lace up moccasin would be worn. They were in great shape, and I couldn’t think of what I’d ever do with them, so I gave them away. Hopefully someone got some use out of them, but they would have been great (except they would have taken a while to dry).

Great shoes. I think the name is Astral Brewsters ?

They All Suck
I absolutely mean that. What has worked best for me is an old pair of Merrill Moab Ventilators. I took off the laces and secured the tongue with a single piece of cord through the tongue loop. It stays on when I want it to. It comes off when I want it to.

I often find myself sitting on silt. Only bare feet work in that situation. Shoes or even sandals with hold your foot or slide off.

Neoprene socks are great. They work with cheap shoes or sandals. I’ll never buy a river shoe again. Unless I need something for cooler water in the winter. With I already own. They are a full length dry boot, whose brand I don’t remember. I don’t use them that much. They’ll probably last me the rest of my life.

What ever you do. Don’t buy neoprene lined boots or shoes. They suck big time. They’re just too hard to take on or off. Neoprene socks with the shoe of your choice is much better.

Ability to Re-mount Canoe/Kayak in Deep
Water while wearing footwear, especially in rough water, should always be a consideration. I thought the Vibram Five Fingers were the perfect footwear for paddling and land, until there was a capsize, and they were an impediment for remounting the kayak. They had to be jettisoned to get back on the kayak.

So, test out your footwear by going swimming with them first. For me, going barefoot is still the best way to paddle (if you can stand the cold). My default footwear of choice are slippahs (sandals, go aheads, flipflops, etc.) by

Kickers for warm weather paddling are the best.