Kayaking Booties????

Time for me to get some new booties. Any recommendations?

I have always used various NRS varieties, but recently have found that they just don’t hold up and the sizes are always off.

I have noticed a lot of newer booties from various companies to include Keen, Kokatat, etc.

Any recommendations?



I think that you are going to have to be more specific about what features you require.


Where I live it is a struggle to find stuff like that at a local store. Try zappos.com. I’ve purchased several from them. Free shipping, free returns.

Select shoes, men, sneakers/athletic, amphibious. If you get something you like, buy another one - you may not find it again.


agree on NRS
I’ve always used the zip-up, standard NRS booties in my sea kayak. They now seems like industrial strength, compared to “low profile” booties I’ve been looking at for my play boat.

I had a pair of NRS Shock Socks, but, returned them when the rubber on the sides, near the ball-of-foot bend, started to delaminate. I’ve noticed that NRS is using this same design on some other model booties, possibly even their standard bootie. The Shock Sock’s height and seal made them totally sand-proof, but, they were hard to get on and off.

I recently tried the Kokatat booties that REI sells. I liked the tops, but the sole was just a thin layer of rubber, so, sent them back. I then discovered that Kokatat has the same tops, with a heavier sole – the Portage, I think. I got a pair, and have used them in the play boat once, so far. They are shorter, zipperless, and go on easier than the Shock Socks did. But, they did get some sand in them. If they hold up, they’ll be OK.

have never found a pair I really liked
my common complaints: 1)soles are too thin so I feel every rock at the put in or take out, 2) too hard to get on (no zippers or has inner sock), 3)zippers get stuck, or rip out around the zipper 4)hard to dry out so they stay smelly, 5)heavy and hard to swim in or makes it harder to wet exit the boat.

I adjust my footwear to the season, depending on how much walking/scouting is involved and the boat I paddle. I even have some felt soled booties if I’m going to be dragging my boat down pats of the stream bed. I don’t use booties at all when the water is warm and not much walking is involved. Prefer a water shoe then.

Tips: use knee high hose


it will allow your foot to slip in easier, really useful for built in dry suit footies and booties with built in socks,

take a small mat to stand on for changing, helps keep your feet clean

thicker soled booties are generally harder to put on but a must if walking or traveling over rocky terrain- but you need to make certain you have the foot room in your kayak, canoe

if you’re climbing on wet rocks I really like the felt soled booties- way better than rubber soled- these are marketed to fishermen

I dry my booties outside first, helps me stay married, then put in newspaper to help wick out the moisture, and I wash them in the washer occasionally when the wife isn’t home

bootie feedback
I just got a pair of the knee high Kokatat Nomads with hard sole. First boots I owned were Deep See standard 5mm neoprene ankle high hard sole with side zip. The Deep Sees have good traction and support for getting to the takeout (except on really slippery rocks), comfortable and warm, but usually wet inside either from perspiration or from water slopping over the top when launching or getting out to drag the boat across gravel bars. In fact somehimes they took on so much water they would be sloshing inside. I took to wearing them with 2mm wet suit socks, which helped the comfort but still meant damp feet.

Then I got Chota fisherman booties (a model that seems to have been discontinued) – similar in sole stiffness and zip and height to the Deep Sees. but made of a permeable perforated neoprene layered with a mesh – water could drain out but sand and pebbles can’t get in. And they have the synthetic felt sole which makes them great for traction on slippery rocks and muddy banks. Still need to wear them with the thin wetsuit socks on cooler days, since water will always get inside them as soon as you wade even in a couple of inches of water. But since you can lift up your feet and drain them, at least they were not sloshing,

I had been thinking of adding a gaiter of some kind to one of the pairs but then stumbled across a pair of the Kokatats being sold on Ebay, new and in my size, for $40. I’ve now used them twice and can say I would gladly pay full price for them. I used them over bare feet since both days were warm air and barely cool water. Soles are sturdy and give decent traction on mud and wet rocks. On the first trip we waded a LOT (don’t always believe your local gauges – we should not have had to drag gravel bars on that section of the Susquehanna if the flow was the 75th percentile they claimed). My feet stayed completely dry and were never hot, despite the 80 degree air temp and sunshine. It’s easy to shove down the top gaiter once you are in the boat if you want you legs exposed (as I did while we were out in the canoe.) The inside of the booties is smooth and they seem well sealed. The sole is pretty substantial, with a reinforced heel – they would not work well if you needed to minimize clearance for large feet in a low decked kayak,

The only real proviso I would have on these was getting them on. I have slender and fairly flexible ankles but it took a lot of wiggling and tugging to get them on since there is no zipper and the area above the ankle where the nylon shaft meets the neo boot really does not stretch much. I was able to work out a system to get them on but somebody with less flexibility or thicker ankles might find them a pain. Also the gaiter shaft on my size 7’s fits my average sized calves but somebody more muscular or plump might find them constricting. As with most Kokatat items they are true to size – a men’s size 7 translated comfortably for my women’s size 8 1/2 (Euro 39) feet with space for a wetsuit sock if I wanted. Good width across the ball of the foot, too. Not constricting once on.

I like these and expect to use them a lot more than the other two booties. It was great to paddle without wet feet. I hope I’ve explained why they may or may not suit someone else. Be sure and try them on before you buy them (or order from somebody with a worry free return policy.)

I went to a dive shop
and found some “Deep Sea” brand over the ankle zip ups with a tennis shoe style aggressive sole. They are very low clearance for a tight boat and keep the sand out. On wet rocks or concrete with moss they are nearly like wearing roller skates.

So to answer your question, no, I have not found the perfect shoe yet.

Just bought Kokatat
Hey Matt - only worn them twice. Once in my ww boat in RIC and once messing about on the Rivanna. They are very low profile, which is good for the ww boat. Found yesterday that scrambling over rocks they don’t offer as much toe and sole protection as my old booties. Good for certain uses - sandy bottoms, times when hiking out or around is unlikely, but not a great all around bootie IMO.

I ordered a pair of Kokatats early this morning prior to reading Jamie’s comments above.

Hopefully the ones Jamie has are a different model. I did notice they offer a few different ones. I got the portage model with thicker soles. They appear to be reasonably thick. I will have to check them out when they arrive.

I just figured I would go with Kokatat since I find all their products to be top notch. great company.

five 10
water tennies…they run small so you have to get a whole size larger than you would normally wear.

not “booties” but good shoes. excellent traction for running around on shore.

you do have to be sure to lace them all the way up as they will collect a lot of sand.

same sole in both Kokatat models
The Portage boots have the identical sole to the Nomad high tops I got – I think you’ll find it a nice protective and supportive sole. Due to the zippers, they will probably take on some water, unlike the pull-on Nomads with the upper leggings.

The non-zip, short Kokatat booties
Just to clarify about the 2 Kokatat booties I had mentioned above, the Portage has a decent sole:


The Seeker sole is as thin as a piece of poster stock:


I was referring to the Seekers
Bought them at REI on my way to the river. Will be great for certain situations, but not great for all settings. The portage looks better for durable/protective soles.