Until now I have just used my WW booties when sea kayaking. Alas, as I get older that no longer works. I need something with cushioning around the heel since heel pressure can put one of my legs to sleep. And I want to be able to get out of the kayak and walk around. I have looked at what NRS has to offer and there may be a couple of things that will work. But I wondered if anyone had suggestions.
Heel pads in boat
I added heel pads to the cockpit, which made a huge difference in comfort. Bare foam will get chewed up too quickly, so you need something with a skin. Some folks have used old mouse pads or exercise mats. I glued Nylon 1 neoprene to 1/2" Minicel.
And cheap too! Thanks.
Been doing the same myself for a couple years, works great! I have the Padz brand which NRS carries.
Basic NRS zip up ankle highs
If you are going to need to worry about seaweed, get ones with felt soles. Other than that the basic zip up on the side, get them half a size too big to handle dry suit booties etc, boots from NRS work great. Chota has a version of the same thing. I use these year-round.
I have come to prefer the ankle high boots for sea kayaking so that, if you do get out and walk around, your feet are better protected from brambles and poison ivy.
The other ones that I've seen people swear by are the Five Ten (that's the brand name I think) water sneakers. The only issue with them is that, if your feet are tight in the boat, the amount of stiff sole they have could be a problem.
That said, if the problem is coming from pressure on your heel you'll need to add some padding to the bottom of the boat. I haven't found that any shoe solves that over a really long time in the boat.
Walmart -in the shoe department
I think they call them “walkers”
They come in three different colors.
They are light weight, fasten easy with two velcro straps, have great support for walking around and are only $10.
With heavy duty use I’ll get three years out of a pair.
check them out you might be surprised
I have tried a bunch of different water shoes,(such as NRS kickers) and they either have too soft a bottom for walking around, or they are open and let the small stones in, or they are too heavy, or they want a arm and a leg for them.
I like the do-it-yourself options already mentioned but here is another solution. This one you can move from boat to boat but will cost more.
Caution on those
We got them only to discover that they don’t really fit over the larger footpegs associated with systems like SmartTrack. Other than that an admirable idea for many paddling purposes.
These are great and last forever.
Sea Kayak footwear
I have tried all over years, best to date Keen sandals, any water proof version. Great comfort,ventilation,protection,hiking and lounging. For cold add thin water insulating socks. Most boating models have open siped soles that release sand and mud. Much better rudder feel than boots or muclucks. A light closed cell sleeping pad9ie. blue foamy) rolled and taped, at proper size, for support under you knees adds much comfort and has many uses around camp.
For narrow feet only.
I hated mine and finally retired them. I stopped wearing them after a few years because I got fed up with fighting to stretch them to get them on.
In hot weather they are hot, hot , hot!
Thanks for the info
As a first stab I googled mouse pads and found you can get them really cheap if you order at least $25 worth. I found a place that has 1/4" pads for $1.06 each. So I ordered some. Cheaper than booties and if they work they work for the multitude of kayaks I own. If they don’t then I will go back and read your comments about booties. But I am hoping that $2.12 per kayak plus shipping is going to do it. Again, thanks everyone.
Pad Ankles, not heels . . .
If you pad your heels, there will still be pressure on them. I put a gardener’s kneeling pad under my ANKLES - takes all the pressure off my heels, and distributes it all along my lower leg.
Much better, cheap and portable!
What kind of pads?
There are lots of different kinds and shapes of kneeling pads.
Soft rectangular one like this
Take a look at this one. I got one like it at WalMart or Rite-Aid cheap.
You could try keyboard wrist-rests
You might also have success with using a keyboard wrist-rest. They make some nice plump gel ones that should work pretty well, or just the nice thick neoprene ones.
I’m currently considering the use of a water-noodle cut to the right length so that it runs under the foot pedals, for a sort of side-ankle and calf brace. Haven’t tried it yet, but it seems like it would work well.