What do you wear on your feet?

SZihn

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Jul 1, 2021
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Shoshoni Wyoming
Hello out there.

I have an Old Town Loon Rec kayak and I have used it wearing the old style Vietnam jungle boots, which are nearly as light as tennis shoes and pretty good when you have to come ashore in areas that are very full of rocks. Well, just in the last week I got a Necky Chatham-17. It's a very different boat from the one I was using, but I accept the challenges with gladness and I hope to become proficient with it fairly soon. I try to get on the water at least 5 times a week, long days on weekend and about 2-3 times a week for about 1 hour after of before I start work. But one thing I can't seem to figure out about the Chatham is foot room. And I do not have really large feet, with a 8-1/2 or 9, but extra extra wide. Even with cloth Wal-Mart tennis shoes the heals seem to just barely fit and with the thigh braces adjusted to go about 2"behind my knees and with my legs slayed out as far as they can go at the hops I fit, and it's comfortable, but I have to struggle to get in. Falling out is easy (see if you can guess how it is that I KNOW that!)

Anyway---- I can paddle in comfort and I can get into the cockpit with socks on or bare feet, but that means I ave to carry shoes of boots on the deck so I can get out on the shores around here, which are always rocky and many times the rocks are the sharp ones, not the nice rounded ones.

Am I not doing something correctly.
I was never under the impression the Chatham was made for tiny paddlers. I have very short but thick legs and I still have all the room I need for my thighs, but my "just average" feet are a press fit to get the balls of my feet on the pegs. If I let the pegs forward even one notch I have to toe-out some to get any pressure, but as they are I have to set my left foot in place and then bend the other knee at an extremely sideways angle to get my right foot under the knee of the left leg and slide it carefully under the left foot so I can even touch the peg with my foot Both heals are in hard contact with each other when I am done, so having the padding of the shoes is nice If I am barefoot I have about 1.5 inches between the heels , but that's not a good way to go if I have to get out on any short I have found around here.

Any help for me?
 

JohnAbercrombie

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I have several boats and some of them are quite 'tight' under the deck, so I know the problem.
About the footpeg position: My 'rule of thumb' is that I should be able to straighten one leg when paddling, but not both at the sme time. (I don't know if that makes sense?)
About footwear. The 'lowest profile' footwear I have is this type of neoprene 'shoe':
https://levelsix.ca/products/creek-boot-2-0
NRS has a good selection of similar shoes:
https://www.nrs.com/category/2559/mens-paddling-apparel/footwear
REI is also a possibility:
https://www.rei.com/c/beach-footwear

If you are mail-ordering, make sure you can return unused shoes for refund or exchange.
It may take a few tries to get something that fits.
If you have wide feet you'll probably find the LevelSix shoes too tight.

In boats with more footroom I've worn sneaker-type mesh water shoes. On those I found that sanding back the heels made a difference. A disk sander is excellent for that job. :)

Are the thigh pads thin or do they have extra, thicker foam glued to the underside?
 

SZihn

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Jul 1, 2021
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Location
Shoshoni Wyoming
Thanks John. I see some good wisdom in your post above. I do have a 12" disk sander in my shot so slimming and shortening the heels on the seekers is a great idea.


I will try that right off. Of I don't like the results I will order some of the boots you showed me. The fact that they even exist proves to me that my problem is not unique and is answered by the industry.
Are my thigh pads thin? I have no idea. I have not been in enough Kayaks to know the difference.
They are very comfortable to me however.
 

JohnAbercrombie

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Are my thigh pads thin? I have no idea. I have not been in enough Kayaks to know the difference.
They are very comfortable to me however.
I think the standard 'thigh hooks' on the Chatham are plastic or glass curved plates that bolt to the deck? And different bolt positions afford adjustment?
Usually such 'hooks' come with either no foam or just a thin (1/8"-1/4") layer of foam glued to the underside. I forget if your Chatham 17 is brand-new or 'previously owned'. If the latter, sometimes a previous owner will have added more foam to the thigh pads. It sounds like you have pretty muscular legs, so probably the minimum amount of padding will be enough.

BTW, some sea kayakers like a tight hip fit (common in whitewater boats?); others like a looser fit to allow more hip rotation and leg drive when paddling. I think you mentioned adding hip pads, so I thought I'd mention that.
 

dvfrggr

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Seattle,Wa
SZihn,
Finding the right shoe has always been high on my list and when I've found a pair and its time to replace they are no longer manufactured:(
Like you I want/need a sturdy sole and a slim profile, I wear size 12 to accommodate my drysuit socks.
So I wish you well on your search, I recently purchased a shoe glue product to repair my shoes that are not available anymore and will probably take them to a shoe repair for any sewing that will be needed I'm sure in the future.
I would suggest looking at replacing your foot pegs with a foam bulkhead foot rest.
Much discussion in the past on this subject, well worth searching, maybe one of the guys can post those threads for you if you like.
Dave
 

Mowog73

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Apr 27, 2021
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SW Ontario
When the water is warm, I wear a pair of Nike Aqua Socks, something like these: https://www.aa-99.top/ProductDetail.aspx?iid=132074136&pr=31.99

When the water is cold/cool I have a pair of Chota knee-high neoprene socks that have a sole (no longer made). I use these with my drysuit as well.

I think LevelSix's Creek boots is a good suggestion.

I've never had to practice falling out either, nailed it first try :)
 
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JohnAbercrombie

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I would suggest looking at replacing your foot pegs with a foam bulkhead foot rest.
I like bulkheads as footrests; I have them in several composite boats.
I think SZihn's Chatham is the poly (rotomolded) version; I wouldn't want to use most foam bulkheads I've seen as a foot board.
when I've found a pair and its time to replace they are no longer manufactured
This does seem to be the 'way of the world' nowadays, I agree!! :)
When I hear myself saying: "The old ones were better!", it's not because I'm a geezer, is it?? :)
 

Peter-CKM

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I wear shoes similar to the Nike Aquasocks @Mowog73 mentioned. Recently bought some cheapy ones from Amazon (https://amzn.to/2Uf55KT) and they seem to work fine. Last 1 to 2 seasons in hard use.

If colder temps, I am wearing a dry suit, so have different shoes that fit over the dry suit booties.
 

JohnAbercrombie

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On footbeds, there eas an article in California Kayaker Magazine on how to make them for plastic boats (not pressing pressure on the bulkhead). Can still be read online at http://calkayakermag.com/magazine.html. Issue #5.
Thanks, Peter. Excellent article! I always find something interesting to read (or re-read!) when I check out those California Kayaker magazines.
The article by Gregg Beman is on pg 22 of Issue #5.
Gregg Berman article California Kayaker.JPG
 

SZihn

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Shoshoni Wyoming
When I have the pegs set where they feel good to me (once I wiggle and lever my right foot past my left one) the bulkhead is a long way forward of those pegs. If I were to fill the space with something it would take about 12-1/2" of filler. So do I understand correctly when I read about those that remove the pegs and fill the space up so you simply place your feet against the padding of the bulkhead?

I could do that if it's a good fix, but I hate to loose the 12" of space I could carry a cry-bag in for trips.

I already have given though to making hip pads to set me in the exact center of the seat.

I watched this gal's video and it has me thinking. If I were to remove the seat all-together and use only foam as she does it would drop me lower in the hull of the boat which has the advantage of lowering the center of gravity, but also changes the angles you can enter the water with a paddle. I tend to paddle in a more "downward" stroke then a low angel stroke and I don't know if that's good or bad, so maybe it would not be an issue at all.

In the Chatham 17, I don't know how to remove the seat and mounts and I am unsure if that's something that's a "one way street". In other words, if I do that am in committed, with no way to go back if I find I have created a problem?

I can see how lowering my butt about 2" can gave me more knee bend and therefore more range of motion. I may retain the back band, or I could just make a foam rest as she did. By being right on the bottom of the hull I can see how that would cure the current problem of my feet being a wiggle-fit inside the cockpit and also it may be helpful in rolling. I have an injured lower back and I am wanting to try to master rolling but I don't know if I am going to risk further injury because I have not seen what the movements are going to entail yet. My disk problem is on the low back left side, right at the top of my belt. From what I can see in the videos, that may be a real problem.

What do you folks think?
 

JohnAbercrombie

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Aside from prividing a far more comfortable spot for feet (IMO), switching from footpeg rails to flat bars at the sides of the boat can gain some room. Most rails are about 1/2" thick.
Here's a version I made for the Mariner Elan I share.
Elan footboard.JPG
 

JohnAbercrombie

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I watched this gal's video and it has me thinking.
Can you provide a link to the video?
If I were to remove the seat all-together and use only foam as she does it would drop me lower in the hull of the boat ..........
What do you folks think?
Is the lowest point in the seat pan (aka 'butt cheek') really 2" above the hull?

Dropping yourself deeper into the boat will improve the feeling of stability, but it makes any layback motion more difficult.
If you want to learn to roll, this could be a negative change.
 

dvfrggr

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John, would your adjustable bulkhead foot rest design slide in and out of cockpit easily for adding space for secure packing for a boat with a forward bulkhead?
Seems like a good alternative to removing and moving a bulkhead to gain storage space and the plus side that it's adjustable for different paddlers.
 

SZihn

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Shoshoni Wyoming
John, I went out to look, and pull up the "pad" and I see it's really not 2" high. Maybe only 3/4" The part under the thighs at 2"+ but now I see dropping all the way to the hull is NOT going to do what I thought it would.
OK.............. I am learning a bit every day. I do think the foam hip pads would help me a bit. I have to be very careful to stay dead center in the seat now, and if I were to place foam inside so they supported me on the right and left I think it would help. if not I am only out the $30 for the foam.

I have the back band pulled forward quite a lot. Maybe if I slacked it off about 1 inch and then fiddled with the pegs I can finds the perfect combination.
 

JohnAbercrombie

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John, would your adjustable bulkhead foot rest design slide in and out of cockpit easily for adding space for secure packing for a boat with a forward bulkhead?
Seems like a good alternative to removing and moving a bulkhead to gain storage space and the plus side that it's adjustable for different paddlers.
It does slide in and out of the boat, by bending/flexing the 'straps'. I'm not sure 'easily' is the right descriptor, but yes it would allow packing something in the space forward of the footrest.
 

JohnAbercrombie

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Oops! here it is.
Sherri Perry produced the "This is the Roll" video.
Releasing her thighs from the cockpit coaming 'hooks' and relaxing her legs to demonstrate the 'bad fit' in a standard Brit boat is quite misleading IMO. If I sit in any of my boats with my feet on the bulkhead or pegs, I can 'lift' the boat as she demonstrates. And, I don't have padding to jam my hips into the boat. That said, I don't paddle any very (24") wide boats, either.
SZhin-Even among Greenland rolling enthusiasts, I don't think that the idea of very tight fit at the hips is universal. To get an idea of the paddling position in a Greenland rolling boat, you could jam hard foam on top of your knees (aka 'masik') to straighten your legs, and point your toes forward. For me, that 'glued in' feeling isn't comfortable (or tolerable) for long and I certainly can't paddle efficiently like that.
Investigate cults carefully before joining! :)
 
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