Keeping feet dry

I’m kayaking on New Year’s Day. We might have to “get out and walk” in the shallow parts. No big deal in warmer weather, but I’m in Illinois and the water temps are likely to be rather cold. Guess I shoulda bought those tall Choata boots at Canoecopia. Any advice on quick options for keeping feet warm and dry? I have Sorel pac boots, but I’m not sure they’ll fit in the kayak.

A real quick and inexpensive
method is to put condoms on your feet. I have done this to keep my feet warm under thin boots in a low volume kayak. It will keep them dry. But if you are not wearing a drysuit or a thick neoprene wetsuit, you really are taking a big chance with your life.

Hi LittleRed.

– Last Updated: Dec-29-05 10:38 PM EST –

Where are you paddling New Year's? I paddle Clinton Lake Tuesday and the Saline from Urbana to St. Joseph today.

My feet got a little wet and a little cold today because I had to get out and portage a three times and the water was over the top of my Neos overshoes which were over my NRS neoprene booties, which were over Wyoming Woolens fleece socks. The tops of my feet were feeling coled even before I got a little water inside the boots. My socks didn't feel very wet at the end of the trip, which lasted 3hrs, 40 minutes, but my toes felt like cold hot dogs fresh out of the refridgerater. Without the Neos over the booties, my feet would have been much colder. I was paddling a conoe, that's why I was able to wear the bulky footwear.

My footwear is definately the weak link in my winter paddling gear. I will very likely be ordering some Chotas in the very near future, but will probably be paddling again before I receive them. I have to figure out what size to order.

Do people that have Chotas have one pair for the summer and one for the winter or just a pair for the winter? Do you order the same size as your everyday shoes? Or do you order a bit larger or smaller?

Are neoprene socks a better option than fleece for under the neoprene booties?

I was warm and sweating under all of my other gear, but the feet were cold.

Thick Neoprene
I have a thick neoprene wet suit. I think it’s actually supposed to be for diving. But it did a nice job of keeping me warm practicing wet exits in early spring. This trip I’ll be wearing extra long underwear under and fleece over.

Salt Creek
I’ll be on Salt Creek with people from Mackinaw Canoe Club. Thanks for mentioning the Neos. I have a pair I’d forgotten about.

If you wear the Neos…
be sure to tighten the shock cord around the top to help seal the water out before you step into water that is higher than the boot. I forgot to do that the first time I portaged today and more water got in than otherwise would have.

I figured that you were doing the Salt Creek trip with Lou and the gang. That should be a good trip, but it’s farther than I want to drive that day.

Have fun.

Consider Tingley natural rubber overshoes. They have one that is 17inches high. These are lightweight and very flexible. You could put these on over a pair of athletic shoes with warm socks. The soles are not rigid like pack boots or other winter footwear. They can also be rolled or folded up for packing. Make sure you try them on with whatever shoe you are going to wear. You can probably find them at places like Farm and Fleet or similar hardware stores.

For a quickie that you should be …
able to get at your local hardware store, get “chicken house boots”.

They are the rubber ones you see the farmers wear, and just about everyone in AK wears them round the clock, ( I think even to bed!).

Use a pair of smart wool socks on in them and you should be in business.

Don’t get the el-cheapo plastic ones at Wally World. They will get hard in the cold and hurt your feet. Get the real rubber ones at a hardware store.

It is too late to get them now, but rather than Choata, take a look at the NRS Boundary ones. They are much cheaper and do a wondeful job.

They come up to just under your knees, and are warm and waterproof. We are on our fourth winter with ours and used them every day in Ak for three months.

Have a great paddle.

We will be paddling on New Years day too.



Second the NRS Boundary Shoe
And I tuck disposable handwarmers in each foot - paddled in 28 degree weather, really cold lake, waded, no cold feet! Make sure you don’t get too much thickness (socks) packed into those shoes or boots - you need wiggle room for the toes to keep warm.


choatas with neoprene socks
The combination is warm and comfortable.

Choatas are on sale somewhere on line.

However I didn’t know that. I bought some Quicklace Mullucks in Kalamazoo.

I was able then to try them on and see how they felt. For me the fit around the calves is just fine but note that my calves are strong and just a wee bit larger than average.

Where were boots like this when I had to walk in slush and water thirty or forty years ago?

It is best to wear socks in the boots though, it helps later when you try to take the boots off. I have neoprene ankle socks.

Have fun on New Years. My plans = indoor pool at a health club while I still have time to swim before my second jobs hours kick in and I’m doing tax returns.

Anything wooly
But I’d like to try a pair of fleece socks sometime. I figure they would dry quicker for the next day’s dressing.


Dude! You Got Little Feet, Or…
…And I know your shoe size!

The one’s the military issues
are for your protection, not your pleasure. I was able to stretch one over a VCP hatch w/o any problems.

Anybody tried the Chota Brookie Knee-
High Wading Sock? I checked with Danno and he said he switched from the Seal Skinz to the Brookies because the seal better at the top. He then wears whatever shoes he wants over the Brookies.

I have a pair, and use them when paddling boats that I can’t fit in with the Lite model on…I have both the Lite and the brookie. They both seal the same on me (large calfs) The lack of any sole makes them easier to get in and out…but you should wear crocks or something when walking on rocks…otherwise , they are very tough

Best Wishes


I would be wearing booties over the
Brookies, so walking wouldn’t be a problem. Thanks for your suggestions.

Neos Worked
Hi everybody. Thanks for the help. I used my Neos overboots and they worked fine. Good day of padling. We didn’t need to walk the boats through any shallow spots, but I did step in water launching and getting out and feet stayed dry. Hope everyone else walso had a good New Year.

I’m glad that the Neos worked.
Also glad that you had a good trip on Salt Creek. I paddled Clinton Lake again, boy was it windy!

Only A Little Room
in my boat and I need to keep my toes flexable to work my toe rudder pedals. I have tried a few things and have settled on a pair of lined sealskins worn over a pair of thick socks. I wear my mesh water shoes over the sealskins.

Feet stay warm and dry,


Nice ideas.

– Last Updated: Jan-02-06 11:29 AM EST –

I learned a ton from these posts. It sounds like a nice combination would be the rubber chicken farmer boots, over neoprene booties, over condoms. I will try it out, but funny how no one mentions any Gore-tex on here.