paddling shoes?

I’m in the market for lowcut paddling shoes.

I will use them barefoot and with a drysuit. I portage alot so I am looking for some firmness and traction. Right now I use NRS zip ups and they are falling apart after 3yrs faithful service. What are your favorites? Thanks

nrs atb wetshoes

– Last Updated: Mar-23-09 1:39 PM EST –

hmmn... i love the nrs kickers for warm weather in my kayak, i use boundary boots in winter - neither is really that great for portaging though...

when canoing in summer, i use the nrs workboots - i have found these great for portages and day hiking when out on paddling trips - i would not really consider these lowcut though, if using with drysuit booties, order several sizes larger than normal - these are a tight fit!!!

for use with drysuit booties, i love the nrs atb wetshoe - the side zippers are great for ease of putting on/taking off. Again, order several sizes larger for use with booties, especially if wearing heavier socks for warmth. the traction on these is not too bad, they have ok support - I have found these to work ok for portages.... These are great for canoing, but may be a tough fit in a kayak

Unfortunately, i have found from trial and error that i have to have several pairs of footwear, one for kayaking in winter, one for kayaking in summer, one for canoing in winter, one for canoing in summer - i have to get oversized boots to fit my feet with drysuit booties and heavier socks in colder weather, these same boots are then too loose in the summer, so i have to have another pair that fit without the extra bulk of heavy socks and booties..

The footwear i use for kayaking does not work for canoing for me - they don't provide enough ankle support and my feet "fall asleep" almost instantly when kneeling, by the same token, footwear that works for me in a canoe does not fit into my kayak easily

Boats are definitely cheap compared to the cost of all the accessories!!!

OTB Abyss

Great drainage but dun’t step in dog crap…


Merrell Waterpro Maipo

Mine held together for a season of portaging in the boreal forest on unmaintained trails.

The soles are Vibram and do not slip on that northern nemesis…black lichen. All other water shoes I have tried have soles that adhere much less successfully.

NRS Kickers for most of year

I use Teva because, once a year, they
offer certain models of rivershoes in size 15. I usually look for Protons or Neutrons, but this year I got some more substantial sandals that are probably made for raft guides. They’re too big for my kayaks, but may be OK for summer use in my open boats.

You have to visit to see what they’re offering.

Water shoes
Also NRS kickers. Love them and the way they fit me.

I’ve used them for the last 12 years and I’m on my second pair.

They’re comfortable, for my feet, fit snug but not too tight.

Sometimes shoes can be like boats. You have to try them out to find some that fit your physique, your gait, and type of use they’ll get. One type does not always appeal to nor fit every type.

NRS Descent Water Shoe

although those Merrell Waterpro Maipos look pretty nice as well. As trilliumlake says, I take the soles out in winter and can fit a couple of pairs of socks. Kickers are good too, but not as much support.

Current review of these shoes
Agree Kickers are great for paddling but no good for portaging. Poor ankle support and the soles aren’t up to it. Merrills mentioned above are good shoes. Also check out the Solomon line.

I googled a few choice words and came upon a not-ancient review of exactly what you are looking for - here’s the link.

Bean version
I’ve seen ‘Summer Sneakers’ in the Bean catalog, but not tried them myself. On the plus side, they are inexpensive and come in regular and wide widths, and Bean is good with returns. Search for ‘summer sneakers’ from the homepage - the blue and gray are on sale for $20 right now.

Thanks everyone!
I checked out all of your suggestions and decided to go with the Salomon Karmas.

Got a good price, too, because it looks like they’ve been discontinued.

How about comments on
the Chota Posi-Loc High Top Zip Bootie for cold water whitewater. Only needs to get the boat to and from the water, I wouldn’t be using it for touring/portages.