I guess this is a dumb question but I thought Id ask what other folks are doing. I am thinking about differant things to wear on my feet this summer paddling. I have found that sneakers are too large and reduce the feel that I want on the peddles. Bare feet are no good either from a comfort standpoint, especially during lauching and returning. The rubber boots, similar to dive boots would be way to hot. I have been using sandles and they are a fair compromise so far. I saw an advertisment for a rubber piece that fit over the peddle and continued down to provide a place to lay your foot. I figured this arrangement was intended to work with bare feet.

any other good ideas?


NRS, Chota
Both NRS (their Kickers are the least expensive and are hardy as heck) and Chota have variations of shoes that have some amount of protection for the feet with a thick rubber or felt sole and neoprene or similar upper, varying degrees of traction for walking around on rocks. If you want to keep your feet dry as well you can pair them with Seal Skinz water blocker socks. And a good pair of water sandals with these socks could work depending on where you paddle, though I’ve never tried that because I am not sure I’d like it in an accidental swim.

Most kayakers end up with one of these types of shoes at some point. NRS is at, I forget Chota’s URL but you should also look at their stuff.

Teva Protons
or any other similar water or reef shoe.

I use inexpensive water shoes from Payless for $8. When they start to stink they are easily replaced. I also use 2mm neoprene sox from NRS and Sealskin sox for colder temperatures. The Sealskin sox work pretty good but can develope leaks that can be sealed with Auquaseal.

I use the NRS kickers or Tevas
The Kickers keep the small pebbles out from under your feet where the Tevas let them in, and if you are in a swampy or muddy place with lots of roots the kickers will also help keep your feet from getting a puncture.

If I am going to do a lot of off shore paddling and very little getting out of the yak or canoe, I prefer a pair of old worn down Tevas with the end near the toes cut down so they are not sticking up. The Tevas are nice and cool on a hot day.

I know an old pro racer, ( the good doctor Neil from Johnson City) that wont wear anything except his old converse high top sneakers.



in colder water…
I tend to go barefoot, wear “Aqua Socks” (or the no-brand equivalent) but whenever the water is even remotely chilly, I bought a pair of ScubaPro 5mm neoprene boots.

They’re great! I highly recommend them.

Reef shoes or water shoes
of any kind are better than socks, sandals or barefoot. I made the mistake of going barefoot at a small local lake last summer, and found I had to rescue a kid who dumped his rec kayak near a rocky shore. Standing on sharp rocks while I was getting water out of his kayak, I really wished I had not left my water shoes with their thin rubber souls behind. I have a pair of low end Teva watershoes I found at some closeout place. But even the cheapest Kmart water shoes will be a big help in that situation.

Shoes we like.
Mesh Trail Shoes from Lands End.,1_2_1931_55293_120520_98967_5:view=-1,00.html?CM_MERCH=PAGE_55281&sid=0145101272077101030

Both Carol and I have found these great for kayaking.

Great stability and quick drainage.

Yeah - Proton’s mostly mesh
Not as hot as dive booties. The Protons are very cool. Neutrons are a bit warmer, but have added piece of mind that they won’t get sucked off.

Either give much better pedal feel than sandals.

Five-Ten makes a super rubber compound on the soles of thier shoes. If you are going to be scrambling around on slimey rocks then these are IT. Learned this on whitewater. Have a bin of other water shoes for my students and what a difference when your landing is not on a clean, neat beach but rather adjacent to some low boulders.

See you on the water,


In our warm waters
I typically paddle barefoot but carry Tevas or Croc’s with me. Both useless in the mucky and silty areas of the Keys and 10,000 Islands. One step in the mud and you’ll never see your shoe again.



Converse Sneakers
I only wear my converse while I’m in the water, this also includes when I’m fishing with my father on his HydroSport, or when I’m paddling. They have little to be desired as far as a sole, so you have alot of feeling still on your foot, and more comfort then when your barefoot. A huge plus is since they are made out of canvas they dry really quick, and when they get stinky, just toss them in the washer for a spin!

Yeah, Protons will suck right off. Neutrons have a strap that does help.

fit and feel better than any Tevas I have worn. Still have last years tan lines, but the heel cracks have healed. More sandpaper and bag balm this year should help. Can’t wear shoes or boots in summer unless at work or really desperate for the added protection/support. I’d go totaly barefoot if it weren’t for broken glass and such hiding in the water.


Teva Neutrons
Very light, better protection than sandals, and what Greyak said about pedal feel and the strap!

i have a pair of technica immersion shoes that i like. solid sneaker like sole with a felt bottom that grips rocks/seaweed and other slippery things up here along the NE coast pretty well.

some friends swear by the 5-10 products. super grippy soles (5-10 is a rock climbing company outta colorado and so the rubber was originally from their slick rock shoes) and supposedly a great shoe…but you can only order them online or to call em in boulder.

teva protons are good slip on’s but offer little protection on big rugged shores.

sandals aren’t a great idea in a 'yak because of the chance of em getting stuck on a foot peg or soemthing and still, a pebble, rock, whatever could get between your foot and the footbed of the shoe along a shore.

have some knee high mukluks that go pretty unused now that the drysuit has booties.

good luck

chota booties no matter what
I like keeping gravel out of my shoes and my feet get cold easily. They feel good and offer protection against pebbles and guck. I worry about sandals getting caught in footpegs, same for any kind of footwear with ties or straps. Since I cannot roll (yet, ever?) I’d rather just wear my booties. They were pretty cheap too, like $30 some-odd bucks.

Chaco / Chota

– Last Updated: Apr-05-05 4:58 PM EST –

Chaco sandals for getting in and out in warm weather. They come off and I go barefoot when paddling. Chota mukluk lites when it's cold.

Wal-Mart $6
The had some water shoes with a thick soft sole with slots in it and a mesh liner to let the sand out thru the slots, I punched a hole in the mesh to let rocks out too. I think they’ll last 2 years. Hopefully they’ll get the same mfg next year.



NRS Kickers are the way to go. I got a pair last year, great for comfort inside the boat, great for portaging.

Jason S.