Have you checked fishing shoes for possible suitability? They would be undamaged by water and have walkable soles, possibly felt instead of rubber. I don’t use them but I vaguely remember seeing ads for some that would work for paddling and walking on rocks.
They still need to fit under a deck. Tall neo-boots have been mentioned and I understand that they fit the bill for some paddlers. For me they do not in any way, shape or form.
At this point I am thinking that an Astral model may suit my needs. The Loyak looks like they have much of what I am after but I worry that the sole may be too flexible. I’m concerned with sharp rocky beaches and long, awkward, solo carries.
I am not expecting a shoe to keep all sand and beach debris out. It does need to be protective, fit under a deck and be OK to wear with jeans or shorts in a social setting. Tall boots ain’t the thing.
Careful with the felt soles. They work well on rocks & logs but are terrible in muck. Also, I think that they are being banned in some areas as they can carry invaders (rock snot is one I think) to new streams.
I have a pair of Loyaks. Your concern about the sole is correct. I found it much too thin and switched to the Brewess.
I have three pair of Brewess in various sizes. One for summer, worn with a light weight low cut athletic sock; a pair for the shoulder season, worn with a heavier weight sock, and the third is worn with a thick SmartWool sock under my drysuit booties, and a thin synthetic sock over the booties to protect against sand. I’ve no problems with my heel coming out, possibly because my normal shoe size is 8 and my cold water Brewess are a size 10.
So you went up 2 sizes for warm sock inside drysuit socks?
Yes, plus there’s some wiggle room for warmth. And there’s a layer over the drysuit booties.
Yeah, the Loyak sole is flexible and one can feel the ground beneath it, to the extent that (if the launch is rocky) I prefer to unload the boats while still in my sneakers before changing into the Loyaks. But they feel much better to me while in the boat. I also have Brewers and I pretty much never wear them since I find the sole too stiff once I’m paddling, and my feet get cramped much more easily in them than in the Loyaks.
I use a pair of Merrell Maipo water shoes for tripping in Canada where every take out has sharp rocks ir ledges covered in leather lichen which is the slipperiest I have ever found when wet. With vibram soles it gives you better protection from rocks and pebbles and the laces can be replaced with elastic laces and loc ties.
Use them from the Everglades with its suck my shoe off mud to Northern Ontario. I use socks with them if not in my drysuit. As it is mesh it can let in sand which is a minus.