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 Post subject: wet shoe recommendations
PostPosted: May 5th, 2021, 12:36 pm 
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Hi all,

I'm looking for recommendations for good water shoes for river paddling. I usually paddle whitewater rivers, so there's a lot of rock scrambling for scouts/portages and possibility of dumps for which you need decent foot protection. But there's also a lot of time just in the boat. I've been using a combo of neoprene booties and converse sneakers which are comfortable and great on the rocks, but the neoprene tends to fill with water and don't drain, so they make my feet feel like they're pickling in river water. The sneakers also aren't easy to get on and off when wet. I've been looking at some actual "water shoes" online but reviews are mixed so wondering if anybody has recs for footwear on the river.

Looking for something with (1) closed toes for reasonable protection against bumps and stubs; (2) decent drainage so your feet aren't just sitting in water; (3) good grip on wet and dry rocks; and (4) comfortable enough to wear on a long paddling day.

Would love to hear what other people use. Willing to shell out for something good that will last.

-Weezy


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PostPosted: May 5th, 2021, 1:48 pm 
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Location: Toronto, Ontario Canada
Do a search in the forum, there have been several very long threads on this question in the recent and not so recent past.

Here is a recent one:

https://www.myccr.com/phpBB3_PROD/viewt ... 7&t=48181&

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PostPosted: May 5th, 2021, 4:19 pm 
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Location: Winnipeg, MB
Astral Rassler. I have the Loyaks. They're good but offer less protection than the Rasslers.

Very grippy on rock


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PostPosted: May 5th, 2021, 4:28 pm 
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I would recommend either my old Keene's or my 5-10's, but both have been discontinued. I find this is a problem with river shoes -- as soon as something good is on the market for a couple of years, it disappears.


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PostPosted: May 5th, 2021, 6:24 pm 
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Location: Woodstock, Ontario Canada
Really like my Columbia drainmakers. Grippy soles and water drains quickly and they are closed . Enough support that I can portage in them. They do have to stay in the box of truck as they tend to stink after a couple weeks on a river.

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PostPosted: May 5th, 2021, 7:18 pm 
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Chota Portage Hiker, the decendant of the now discontinued Quetico trekker from a few years ago that protected my feet during first of season Adirondack paddling, and icy Yukon River glacial melt water.
https://www.boundarywaterscatalog.com/c ... ker-157840


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PostPosted: May 5th, 2021, 7:23 pm 
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Location: St. Catharines, Ontario
Bill P wrote:
Really like my Columbia drainmakers. Grippy soles and water drains quickly and they are closed . Enough support that I can portage in them. They do have to stay in the box of truck as they tend to stink after a couple weeks on a river.


I have lots of love for the drainmakers too. I haven't seen a pair of water shoes as grippy on the rocks as them on anyone else.

Even my sport sandals start to stink after 5+ days of getting wet!


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PostPosted: May 5th, 2021, 8:49 pm 
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A second vote for the Astral Rasslers and consider the Keen Arroyo II.


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PostPosted: May 5th, 2021, 9:40 pm 
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Location: Brampton
I am completely sold on Leguano Shoes: https://leguanoshoes.com/

They're not cheap - $250 a pair or so. But I've walked over all kinds of pointy sharp things when I couldn't be bothered to put on my "proper" shoes. They dry quickly, especially in the sun. They were originally marketed to the barefoot running crowd, but have in recent years found a market in the boating crowd.

They have a storefront in Lakefield, ON, or they can ship. I had awesome customer service when I walked into their store looking for a pair of water shoes.

(Not an employee - just a very happy customer)

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PostPosted: May 6th, 2021, 9:16 am 
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Awesome advice, thanks y'all!

And thanks Recped for the link to the previous post - I admit to not doing my due diligence to search old posts.


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PostPosted: May 6th, 2021, 4:14 pm 
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Location: Kingston, ON
3rd vote for Rasslers. Super grippy. High enough they provide some ankle protection and can't slip off. Light. Good drainage. Quick drying. But they don't last all that long. Does anything?


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PostPosted: May 12th, 2021, 12:57 pm 
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Joined: June 28th, 2001, 7:00 pm
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Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
Late to this discussion. For cool to cold weather canoeing I use knee high neoprene mukluks, purchased a half size too large, layering Smartwool socks and Goretex socks on inside the boots. Even if my feet sweat the moisture ends up between the Goretex socks and inside of the boot. But Mukluks, even the thinner soled kayaker-ish ones, are awkward to wear while kneeling, at least if you have size 12 feet.

weezy wrote:
Looking for something with (1) closed toes for reasonable protection against bumps and stubs; (2) decent drainage so your feet aren't just sitting in water; (3) good grip on wet and dry rocks; and (4) comfortable enough to wear on a long paddling day.


For a lower water shoe your criteria are good, although #2 is more towards the end of my criteria; if my feet are wet, eh, they are wet, and kinda staying wet, drain holes or no. The water shoes I use most often have no drain holes, but they fit stretchy snug enough that they don’t hold much water, and have very grippy soles.

For my purposes I would re-order the criteria
Comfortable enough to wear on a long paddling day. If not that, then what?
Grippy not slippy soles/treads. Yeah, I’m too old to slip and fall on slippery rocks.
Reasonable protection against bumps and stubs. A decently thick sole and toe cap.
Good drainage (which also means seepage in shallows or squishy soil)

Maybe somewhere in that list “swim-ability”. Never know ‘til you’ve tried, accidentally or on purpose.

I would add two additional considerations. Kneeling, at least for rarely-kneeling-me, is more comfortable in a shoe with some flexibility. If you buy something in a store try kneeling with them. For an extended amount of time; comfortable , or at least tolerable yes or no.?

And - this may not apply to your rivers – a lot of the local small streams I run have pebbly bottoms. Without some tight or tighten-able closure around the top of the shoe I end up with little stones in my shoes on wet foot entry, exit or shallows wading. That single tiny pebble, trapped under my insole, is unbearable, or at least un-walkable.

Coastal sand and shell fragments, or swamp mud and twigs, are almost as uncomfortable. If it comes to that debris discomfort how easy are the water shoes to take off, rinse out and put back on?

Or maybe I’m just a wimp.


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PostPosted: May 12th, 2021, 2:19 pm 
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Great assessment Mike. No wimpy-ness to it!

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PostPosted: May 16th, 2021, 1:07 pm 
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Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
cheryl wrote:
No wimpy-ness to it!


Cheryl, there is admittedly considerable wimpiness to it, and not just when it comes to footwear or PFD fit. Although those are two things I absolutely want to buy and try on brick and mortar store.

If I am spending day long hours in the canoe it too needs to be comfortable. Not just comfortable; the canoe needs to offer the most comfortable seat in the house (or on the river). If something is uncomfortable something needs outfitting attention.

All of our boats have padded foot braces, padded “knee bumpers”, padded seat, padded back band. And heel pads; summer paddling gentle waters in bare feet my wussy heels, resting against the hard hull, hurt after a few hours. Even when wearing water shoes or boots a less slippery heel pad is beneficial.

Beyond the sheer comfort stuff add tie downs for float bags or gear, spare paddle keeps, a wide “utility” thwart, spray covers, D-rings and minicel barrel chalks and straps, properly restrained painter lines, etc, etc, etc.

“Wimpy”? Hell yes; every place my body touches the hull is comfort padded with custom shaped minicel or etc. It’s the waterborne version of a Barcalounger.

On group trips, when companions call for a “leg stretcher” shore break I get out, take a leak, group chat a bit and soon enough get back in that “most comfortable seat in the house”.

The downside is that I’m ready to push on well before my bankside standing and stretching friends. The upside is that I can paddle down to the next eddy for some quiet alone time, and await their arrival in comfort.

I am reminded of the 4-wheeler phrase “You don’t buy a Jeep, you BUILD a Jeep.

Same thing with a naked canoe hull. I realize some folks can pick a raw-from-the-manufacturer un-outfitted canoe off the racks and be content. I need more, starting with personal comfort.


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PostPosted: May 17th, 2021, 3:38 pm 
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Location: HFX, Nova Scotia canada
The last pair on Salomon Amphib shoes that I bought lasted only 3 seasons. Pair of New Balance( of course they don't make them any more) lasted at least 10 years. Reviews for new Salomon shoes are not good, same issues. NRS ones are the only ones that look like they will last but I can't get them around here. Am picking up a pair of over sized hiking boots for canoe tripping wearing either dry pants or neoprene socks. Stiffer soles for support and over the ankle to prevent sprains. Seats on all boats are mounted fairly high so getting feet trapped won't be an issue.


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