kneeling feet discomfort

When I paddle my Bell Wildfire kneeling, the tops of my feet hurt. will knee pads under my feet solve this, or should I try something else? Thanks in advance


In the Piragis catalog I saw 2 pads that bell makes. One is about a foot the other is t shaped and designes to pad both knees and feet. I bought the smaller because I move so much that no one part ever really gets sore. I think the big one is like 45 bucks. They look tough and well made though. I cannot think of an easier solution unless money is a factor then you could but a situp pad and make your own.

ankle padding
A friend of mine has plantar facsitis and was in severe pain when kneeling. She added ankle blocks and padding for her feet and the problem is mostly gone as long as she shifts position now and then. You could try a piece of pipe insulation or a rolled towel. The towel will get soggy, but can give you some idea of the thickness needed.

Kneeling Pads
Absolutely get a kneeling pad that covers the entire area where your feet and knees are moving. I cannot imagine paddling freestyle without one. The ones Bell sells are good although I don’t find them as comfortable as the one’s I’ve made for myself. You can also make your own with neoprene fabric glued to 1/4 inch minicell and some non-slip backing on that. These are tricky to make well to keep air bubbles from forming, but if you are good at using contact cement, you can make whatever size you like. Some folks go to Toys R Us and get these big pieces of interlocking minicell foam that are for play areas.

I also find that the tops of my feet are most comfortable when I wear neoprene socks. You feet will slide well on the pad and you won’t get rubbing or abrasion.

kneeling pad.
I use an old closed foam cell lounger from my pool for my pad. You can leave it full size or you can cut to thje size you want. The part of the pad that’s for your head is thicker so I plant my knees on it but you can also use that part for you feet too. Go to a pool store and check them out.

Sore feet

– Last Updated: May-15-04 9:55 AM EST –

I have a Wildfire and Bell kneeling mat.
You need to work out whether this discomfort in the tops of your feet is due to contact with the boat, or simply due to hyperextension at the foot/ankle (more likely in my opinion). For many of us, the foot/ankle does not seem to be designed to lay flat like this for a prolonged period, toes pointing aft. If this seems to be the issue, then try putting a pad or block under your ankles so that they can remain a little flexed (putting you up on your toes a bit). You can experiment with one foot at a time then you'll have no doubt. Mohawk Canoe sells a little ankle block for this situation and it works very well.

I was leaning toward buying the Bell T-shaped pad and now I may go that way if I can’t do a home made job without a lot of effort. I also agree that it may be more than just getting a good pad. I plan to use the rolled up towel idea to get a general height/width idea for something to go under the ankles. Thanks for all the help


Bell’s T-pad

I strongly recommend Bell’s T-Pad, especially if you have a Royalex Wildfire. Nothing sticks as well to Royalex as that pad… In addition, by the time you buy the materials to make on you have as much time and all the frustration. I agree with Jill that the homemade ones are better for freeestyle as they are more secure, but they are heavy, hard to carry, and hard to pack unless you have a station wagon, SUV or a truck as they end up 3-3.5 feet square.

Save the effort and just buy the Bell Pad if you are a recreational paddler… you will be happy.


Pool Noodle
I also have a Bell Wildfire. I have closed cell for my kness and the area where my feet are but I also use a pool noodle. Very cheap. Just cut to the right width and slip it under your feet just above your insteps. This will also help relieve any ankle pain you may experience.

Paddle Safe - Louis

Traveling w/ Pads
What Paul says about large pads is true if your pad is going separately from your boat. But, I just roll up my pad, snug a cam strap around it, slip in between the seat/thwart and hull of my overturned boat on the top of the car and tie it in. I’ve travelled long distances that way with no problems and no wet stinky pad in the car.


Pads on the cheap
Being that my life is waterbased, my paid job in many ways subsidizes my fun outings. To solve the very problem you face i used a pair of knee blocks glued into my Wenonah Mocassin to position my knees, and a pad made from a piece of discarded foam insulation. Black inch thick neoprene like rubbery stuff used to insulate hot water holding tanks and large pipe fittings. Its closed cell, very compliant, and closed cell so it doesn’t absorb water. One side is smooth and the other has the cell texture and grabs the bottom of the kevlar boat very well.

The pool noodle idea listed above is equal to my cheap solution of using a piece of 2" pipe insulation as an ankle support. Just reach back and shove it under your ankles, it really takes the stress off the top of your foot, though my legs feel really stretched out down the front for the first few minutes after raising my ankles on the pipe insulation.

Have paddled 90 miles in three days kneeling on the above items and was able to get out of the canoe unassisted each day.


Have you tried another canoe ?