I must have about 8 pairs of water shoes, and each has a place. I have certainly owned some whose place was reserved in hell, as well.
For sea boating, the one I almost always reach for is a Salomon Techamphibian.
I can fit it barefoot; when I take out the flat footbed, I can then either wear a neoprene sock, or put them on over my drysuit with a thick wool sock.
They dry reasonably fast, nothing to rot, get awesome grip on slippery surfaces, but most of all work very well on rugged, rocky surfaces. As part of that, because they are mesh, small pebbles don’t get inside very easily. I even use them for my camp shoes when going light.
Just one thing, though. They have a rather squared off heel, more typical of a street shoe than a shoe made to go in a boat. I introduced my shoes to a belt sander, and we get along a lot better now.
Surf Shoes - One Size Bigger…
most surf shoes have velcro straps over the instep area. Heavier duty, colder water ones will have also velcro strap over the ankle area. These straps will allow you to wear a slightly bigger shoe and not have it fall off. Don’t get split toe design for obvious reason of the drysuit bootie.
Neo surf shoes come in anywhere from 2mm to winter 7 mm.
I have not bought any but it seems like they would be worthless when the shockcord gets stretched out a bit. The materal won’t absorb water so they should dry quickly but they are so ugly I can’t bring myself to buy the things even at a discount.
Comfortable shoes are difficult to find
Said before but I will say again, use different shoes with the drysuit than when barefoot. It is asking a lot to have one shoe work well both ways.
I am now using Mion Current sandles with the cord - cord doesn’t soak up water nor stretch - it isn’t shock cord. I did find that the pair that fits for walking around is too loose when scrambling on the rocks but not because of stretching it is because the removable liner - the part that becomes shaped to your foot - gets slippery when wet so it creates a bit of movement barefoot. As weird as this sounds, I am now wearing these with a pair of smart wool socks. This is really great as it takes up the slippage (or just buy smaller and skip the socks) and when I am back at the car, I just take off the socks and am good to go. These shoes are really comfortable.
The other shoe I use in winter is a Chota Mukluk unless surfing which don’t work in the surf boat as they get caught when exiting. Other option is I wear my Neoprene Warmers with the velcro but they don’t go on well when cold over the drysuit. To help them stretch I either get them wet in the ocean or with warm water that I bring to rinse off. If they are wet, they will go over the drysuit and sock but otherwise they are too tight.
re:reasonable soles. yet thin
if anyone finds something along these lines for give me a shout as well.
I’ve been looking at the nrs scouts but not being able to try a pair on ‘in the boat’ makes it a gamble. My Teva’s work great in the amercia rec boat but are simply too damn large for the footwell of the artic tern
I’ve been wondering about those replacement carbon inserts sold for cycling shoes. Wonder how they’d work in a pair of those kicker style water shoes.
NRS Rodeo sock
I’ve never felt any water shoes even close to as comfortable as Mions. Excellent for wide feet, easy on/off, adjustable like no other water shoe I’ve seen. I’d be surprised if that cord ever wore out/stretched. It’s not really elastic. For comparison sake I’ve also worn a few styles of Teva, Chota quicklace, chota pull-ons, chota breathable mucklucks (love them but wish they were as supportive/comfortable as the Mions), Columbia, and old sneakers. Love those Mions. Planning on living in them for the next 5 days while on a paddle trip.
Merrill Continuum-Aqua Sport
Huge adjustability front to back and width-wise. Mesh top and sides with insole drain holes too. I’ve paddled with them barefoot, over sealskinz, and over my fabric drysuit booties. They’re now my paddle/bike/street/work shoe.
Mion current sandals
I love these but for walking but I feel they are too bulky for my kayak. I also have the slip on version. They dont have shock cord - it doesnt stretch but are adjustable. They are so light and comfortable. My family and friends cringe when I wear them as everyone (but me) thinks they are the ugliest shoes they have ever seen!!! by the way, they are on sale at EMS.
My Sperry TS Fisherman have a very sturdy sole. Don’t know about use with drysocks.
Sure, they’re ugly and hugely uncool, but they were originally designed as boat shoes and they are readily available, cheap, and comfortable.
But, as I said, they’re also ugly and uncool.
reduce your foot volume
by shaving off all the hair on the tops of your feet - in your case, you’d probably go down a whole size!
better yet - transplant the follicles to that crome-dome of yours!
BTW - how was santa cruz?
If you can find them, they are awesome. Made by Five Ten, called “water tennies”. I don’t think they make them anymore. But they now have a shoe called a Nemo High, that would do a better job of keeping the rocks out (the only problem i have with my Water Tennies. They have a good hard sole. I’ve used them for running, portages, etc.
This subject was discussed already here at http://www.paddling.net/message/showThread.html?fid=advice&tid=655100
I like my Crocs.
They stayed on, WW rafting on the Ocoee. I’ve never been a fashion kinda guy (ask my kids) they got them for me for fathers day.
I like mine too.
Only problem with Crocs and paddling is they let sand and rocks in too easy. Although, if in current, a lift and shake of the foot usually gets them out.
Oh yeah, and they dry quickly, unlike any type of neoprene or fabric.
Cheap, at $30 for plastic sandals?
Better to buy the $8 knock-offs. The get sucked off by mud and muck. Got mine for $5 with a $25 off coupon...had to see what the hype was about. I use them to cut the crass and general gardening. Easy to clean dog poop off. For some reason, the saltwater kayak fishermen love them, but almost every post about Crocs has at least one incident in which the sandals were sucked off or lost when wading or sitting side saddle.
My first pair of “Crocs” were the cheap
knockoffs. They wore out in no time flat just wearing them around the house. Then one of the Straps fell off. My actual pair of Crocs are much higher quality.
+1 on the Sh2O
Don’t have a bunch of stuff hanging of them to get caught.
As far as stiffness and protection for your foot, I agree that most of these ‘reef’ type shoes suck. I put a pair of the green Superfeet inserts in my Sh2O and it was the perfect combination.
FiveTen, bring back the Sh20!
I too have pretty wide feet
And our out of the boat experiences likely differ. I would rather paddle than walk…
But I wrote up a comparison of abut 6 different paddling shoes… check it out on my paddling blog below. The posting was done on 7/16/2007
But not worth $30. Not for plastic