Water Sandals/ Shoes

You guys have been a tremendous help in outfitting me! One other question regarding any suggestions on water shoes/sandals. I lake kayak in very rocky lakes and last weekend my speedo water shoes just didn’t cut it. They are the inexpensive kind. They seem to constantly get pebbles in them and the protection from the sharp rocks wasn’t great either. So thus the question…

What brand/type of footwear is best for both rocky sharp bottoms and fast rivers? Thanks for any help and/or suggestions!

Keen watershoes. I dont know the name of the specific shoe but they have a solid bottom and tons of straping. They have been selling them for years and I got a pair when the first came out. They still are great.

Ryan L.

NRS Water Shoes

NRS Kickers

NRS Kickers
I’ve worn these during warmer weather for the past 16 years when paddling bodies of water with uneven bottoms. Very durable and last a long time. But then, I take good care of all my gear.

During the winter, I use Chota Mukluks.

I wouldn’t be without either.

Sometimes during the summer and where there are not a lot of rocks, I will don a pair of Teva waterproof sandels. Keens and Chacos are other good quality, stylish brands of sandels and can also be worn while out shopping.

2nd on the Keens

– Last Updated: Jun-20-11 5:05 PM EST –

Keen Hydro Guide is the best I have worn -- and I've worn through my share. Good grippy sole, good strapping, good support, comfortable, non-stinky, and -- importantly -- an enclosed toe. Once air temps are above 50 degrees, I much prefer a sandal as water shoes don't drain as well.

See http://tinyurl.com/3dlwn7r

NRS Kickers for me
I am on my second pair, since I wore the first pair out over the years.

The very reason I like them is the fact that pebbles and grit don’t get in them.

Hint: if you have a wide foot, they are a pain to get on and off, but "the bride " solved the problem on my first pair when I was ready to chuck them by suggesting that I put a small slice in them starting at the instep.

When I got the second pair, the day I took them out of the package, I made the slice and my feet have been happy paddlers feet ever since.

Jack L

Higher Top Alternative
Kickers are nice. I also like the NRS Cross-4 wetshoe. I like the higher tops which help keep sand and gravel out of my shoes during entries and exits.

When using our touring or rec tandem boats and making frequent shore stops or camping I still like my Keene H2 sandals. Unfortunately my size 11’s do not fit in my Nordkapp RM and they tend to collect gravel and stones.

Pebbles, grit and silt
will get under your feet with any type of sandal. The only way to prevent stones under your foot is with a closed water shoe or neoprene sock. I’ve given up on sandals and use side zip neoprene boots in Winter and Teva Proton or Gamma water shoes in warm weather. You can spend over $100 on many popular brands but any openings in the materal and pebbles will still find thier way in.

Some fine sand and grit will get in almost any materal but neoprene works best at keeping silt out. A good water shoe also needs to dry quickly or they will turn foul after the first week or two of use.

Grit will always

– Last Updated: Jun-20-11 8:46 PM EST –

get in, with almost any shoe, short of knee-high boots like Chotas. Medium-cut shoes are just more protection from grit - not a complete protection.

I had NRS medium-cut boots like Cross-4 wetshoe (different name, they don't have it now), and when grit did get in (on fine-grain pebble beaches), it stayed in better than in shorter cut shoe, and was terribly annoying. And it will get in a shorter boots like NRS Kickers, - more than in Cross 4. And it will get in partially covered sandals (there are some with covered toes and heels), easier than in Kickers, though it will also get out easy.

In reverse order, from sandals to Chotas - the higher is the cut and the more closed it is (= fewer drain ports), the more it stinks. Most of them are enough to rinse with mild soap every few days to get rid of odor.

Since I'm paddling in warm and relatively calm weather only, and in coastal waters with no fast currents, and there is no mud in my area - even though the sea is cold, I use $6 version of Crocs as my main paddling boots. With $9 neoprene socks in shoulder season.

Teva sandals
Late spring to early fall my Teva sandals are exclusively what I have for foot wear. I feel almost bearfoot with them on, have very few issues with stones or grit. I can easily rinse them out without taking them off. Solid grippy soles, have even used then hiking up mountains on Oahu! They hold up well and feel great to me when they’re on my feet.

Have two pair, the older pair are used while paddling, newer pair just walking and hanging around. Velcro fasteners that are all fully adjustable.


i hate shoes

– Last Updated: Jun-20-11 10:11 PM EST –

i walk around barefooted and kayak barefooted but my feet are like leather.Sometimes i do wish i had some kinda kaysk shoes in case i step on glass or hooks

Another vote for NRS Kickers
Just right for me.

I prefer
something with toe protection, like these


All this brownish material is mesh, (the tongue is not, but dries quickly). Pretty much like Tevas, only better support. Grit that doesn’t fall out on its own, I shake/rinse out if I wish so. Often I’m shaking/rinsing it out when getting in a kayak - easy to do with one hand because the shoe is kinda loose. Oddly, when grit gets in, it’s less irritating on skin (literally)than in tight medium-cut shoes - it’s just shifting loosely around the shoe. But on easy daytrips I take Crocs (and rinse it the same, when getting in).

I had the Salomon Tech Amph as well, they’re good but not the best for my own particular foot shape. I had some Kokatat Seekers, which are really narrow and suffer from stinky neoprene syndrome - I can’t do the neoprene thing, as in a small Mini, the stink goes everywhere. Mercifully, I accidentally left my Seekers on the roof recently and lost them on the drive.

I replaced them with Crocs Quicktrails, which I have worn around for a bit, and like them well. I plan to paddle with them tomorrow. They have fewer holes low down to keep grit out, a stretchy top and drain holes in the soles. They give good sole, toe and heel protection but are pretty bulky, so wouldn’t work well in a small boat. FYI they are on sale and run 1 size small compared to regular crocs.

booties or fake Crocs
I’ve used a variety of footwear – not wild about sandals because they catch on stuff and collect gravel and mud, plus I’ve scraped my toes bloody a couple of ties wading gravel bars. To each his/her own but I have found I prefer hard soled neoprene wet suit booties for cooler water (like Deep See makes, for around $40) or a pair of slimline fake Crocs I got for $10 in a CVS drug store. These have a lower profile than the usual Croc clog-like things, in fact they look like little girls Mary Janes made of tan plastic swiss cheese with a velcro strap across the instep, but the holes make them drain well, the soles are tough and textured for grip on muddy banks, they are nearly weightless yet protect my feet all the way around and can be dried off with a towel for the drive home. Bought em on route to a put in when I realized I forgot my water shoes two years ago and they have been warm weather favorites ever since.

Dive booties…
I use “Deep Sea” Dive booties that are 8 inches high maybe. They keep your feet warm in cold weather, do fine in hot weather, and most importantly have a thick rubber sole that will protect your feet. LL Bean sells their own version in the Kayaking section of their stores.

In really hot weather, on sandy launches, I prefer flipflops and then go barefoot once I am in the kayak. Flipflops go under bungee cords for storage while paddling :slight_smile:

Crocs/Clogs etc

– Last Updated: Jun-21-11 3:23 AM EST –

Cheap imitations don't have any heel protection. Target have them for $10 I think. My "clogs" have ankle strap like sandals but it barely serves any purpose - without strap I could shake it off the foot at the first attempt, and with a strap it would take may be 2 attempts :-)...

Crocs Quicktrail is a different beast, looks nice, I might try it some day.

Sizes of Croc imitations are wild - mine were 1 size larger (bought #9 when normally wear #10). Yeah, it's bulky on the outside - in very narrow and low-deck kayaks it might not work. Dries out INSTANTLY.

Again, for those who didn't try this cheap and efficient shoe: $10 Crocs/clogs like mine are not whitewater shoes. Not for climbing over slippery boulders. The friction is so-so, but major problem is that you can lose it suddenly, and lose the balance at that moment. Crocs Quicktrail look TAD better in that respect, just marginally better.

Wearing them on the way to put in, and then on water... Hah, in summer I leave my street shoes home with Crocs on. From car to kayak, then back to car, then may be some shopping in same Crocs. They are dry next moment after I've landed...

5 finers
luvtoyak try some 5 fingers. barefoot with a little protection.

As to the question I wear Chaco’s or 5 fingers.

OTB Abyss boots …
fer warmer water… wit all de drain holes in de sole jus’ dun’t step in any dawg poop.