What do you wear on your feet?

JohnAbercrombie

Paddler
Joined
Dec 7, 2011
Messages
3,028
Location
Victoria, BC
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.
It's pretty common for shorter-legged paddlers to have the seat and the backband more forward to keep the kneecaps ahead of the thigh 'hooks' or pads. Many people find it uncomfortable to have pressure on the kneecaps, and I am one of those, so I often add foam to the thigh pads to make sure my kneecaps are 'clear' of the deck.
Working all the available adjustments is part of getting a good fit, so you are on the right track. And as you say, you are only out a few dollars if you glue in some foam and then decide to remove it later.
"Make the boat your own!" :)
 

SZihn

Paddler
Joined
Jul 1, 2021
Messages
128
Location
Shoshoni Wyoming
I am very new, but already deeply in love with Kayaking. Funny from someone who always stayed away from water. When I was a Marine, all I ever did in water was to overcome it as an obstetrical (a dangerous one at that) or at best a source of concealment and no fun was ever associated with any water .

Now I can't wait to get back in one of my 2 kayaks and look forward all day to the 1 hour I'll take after work to go out.
In the last 45 years or so, nothing new I have tried was more fun or more relaxing. I still enjoy all my other activities, but Kayaks have a place in my heart now I expect will die only when I do.
 

sofstu

Paddler
Joined
Jun 14, 2021
Messages
73
Location
Kootenays BC
I know I am getting older but unless I Really streach out ahead of time me left leg starts cramping up in my Greenland style kayak in less than an hour.
I couldn't imagine paddling for 2 hours straight and wouldn't do a day trip without breaking it into sections.
With this in mind, it does glide quite well so I don't think I would lose much if any ground to a touring kayak by the end of the day.
 

Mac50L

Paddler
Joined
Aug 18, 2014
Messages
326
Location
South Island, New Zealand
I see mention of full foot support. Do you mean there are paddlers who don't have full foot support? That's not logical. You mean they only have toe support? Daft. OK, OK,..... some of us realised decades ago, full foot support. And those full foot supports actuate the rudder (ha, ha, rudder).

As for what is on my feet, bare feet. If a sharp stoned beach then toss the jandals out to step into otherwise simply walk on the stones. Winter? It is warm in the cockpit.

Decades ago as kids, stomping across the icy mud in winter to launch our sailing dinghy into the channel to head out to sea for the day. So yes, bare feet.
 

CPS

Paddler
Joined
Oct 27, 2020
Messages
173
Location
BC
I get really cold feet quite easily and it takes a long time for them to warm up when they get cold (read: piss-poor circulation). I generally have a pair of synthetic socks on under my drysuit socks, and then a little neoprene booty over to give a bit of padding.
In summer I ditch the drysuit and accompanying socks.

I have been thinking about intentionally going up a size with the booties to create a larger amount of trapped air for winter. My thinking is that it might function similar to pogies, where the fit is definitely not snug.
Of course there are some very nice warm boots (NRS Boundary, for example) but a bit too big for the cockpit. And I don't paddle too often below freezing.
 

Mowog73

Paddler
Joined
Apr 27, 2021
Messages
46
Location
SW Ontario
For me, that 'glued in' feeling isn't comfortable (or tolerable) for long and I certainly can't paddle efficiently like that.
I hear ya.

I find after awhile while I need to take my feet off the pedals and just have my feet resting on the bottom of the boat, my thighs are still against the side of the boat/thigh braces, my legs and feet have to be able to move around a bit from time to time.
 

JohnAbercrombie

Paddler
Joined
Dec 7, 2011
Messages
3,028
Location
Victoria, BC
I hear ya.

I find after awhile while I need to take my feet off the pedals and just have my feet resting on the bottom of the boat, my thighs are still against the side of the boat/thigh braces, my legs and feet have to be able to move around a bit from time to time.
Yup!
Having a footboard helps me to find slightly different foot positions, though in a low deck boat there's not a lot of room to move my feet around anyway.

Since I've gotten in the habit of paddling 'knees up' in the middle of the boat (after some surfski paddling), I've had a lot less trouble with stiff legs and numbness. When I first started sea kayaking I was so anxious - legs locked in place - that I fell into the water a few times when trying to stand up when landing. Great entertainment for onlookers, and there always seem to be onlookers when things 'go south'! :)
 

SZihn

Paddler
Joined
Jul 1, 2021
Messages
128
Location
Shoshoni Wyoming
One thing I have been surprised by is the number of older kayakers there are. I felt I was jumping into a young person's sport, but it does seem there are a lot of kayakers that are my age and older. That's encouraging. Here in the middle of Wyoming I know of no other kayakers within about 300 miles of me, except for Helen Wilson in Lander, but I have not been able to meet her yet. But by using the internet and the phone I am getting to correspond and chat with a number of other paddlers and I find about 1/3 of them are in their 60 and 70s
 

SZihn

Paddler
Joined
Jul 1, 2021
Messages
128
Location
Shoshoni Wyoming
One thing I have been surprised by is the number of older kayakers there are. I felt I was jumping into a young person's sport, but it does seem there are a lot of kayakers that are my age and older. That's encouraging. Here in the middle of Wyoming I know of no other kayakers within about 300 miles of me, except for Helen Wilson in Lander, but I have not been able to meet her yet. But by using the internet and the phone I am getting to correspond and chat with a number of other paddlers and I find about 1/3 of them are in their 60 and 70s
 

JohnAbercrombie

Paddler
Joined
Dec 7, 2011
Messages
3,028
Location
Victoria, BC

chodups

Paddler
Joined
Nov 2, 2005
Messages
1,131
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.
What works for me is loosening the backband to the point that I only contact it when laid back so that it only acts as a buffer between my back and the cockpit combing. Once I disengaged from the backband things that used to hurt during the day no longer did. I was able to use my energy/muscles more effectively.

Your Chatham has that long, grey seat? That's a pretty nice seat and as I recall has a nice molded ridge along its aft side? If so, that ridge might be enough to keep your butt in the right place without the backband playing a part. Give it a try. See how it feels.
 

chodups

Paddler
Joined
Nov 2, 2005
Messages
1,131
Back to the original intent of this question about what to wear.........I find that the perfect paddling footwear for me accepts drysuit socks yet fits snuggly when paddling without thermal protection. Anything without a midsole or a thick outsole hurts the balls of my feet after hours of paddling and doesn't afford the protection needed on the saltwater beaches where I find myself. It needs to be low volume but it also means that for me neoprene booties and sandals have a very narrow window of relevance. Quandary time.

I need something that is shoe-like with good drainage and a fairly wide range of foot size accommodation due to barefoot VS drysuit sock usage. Ideally the sole will be uber-grippy on wet logs and slimy rocks but move nicely against the hull of my boat so as not to inhibit leg pumping or overly abrade the resin of the hull.

As an aside.....I tend to wear out the material on the heels of my paddling shoes and over the years I have developed heel knobs like surfers develop knobs on their knees. Like JohnAbercrombie suggested, I grind down the heels of my paddling shoes to make more space but also to spread out the pressure. On the shoes when I wear through on the upper I cut patches out of the cuffs of worn out Glacier Gloves and glue them on using Shoe-Goo (fleece side out-more slippery and less abrasive). One pair of worn out Glacier Gloves covers two pairs of paddling shoes.

Probably more than you ever wanted to consider about what to wear but I have been impressed with the type and the quality of questions you are asking. Maybe tuck this one away for a while.

IMO neoprene booties or thin water slippers have real limits that, based on your questions, you will find yourself exceeding. Choose wisely but don't stop your search.
 

tiagosantos

Paddler
Joined
Jul 31, 2014
Messages
328
Location
Port Coquitlam BC
I still have a pair of *gulp* 15 year old Merrell Continuum "water" hiking shoes that, given one has enough space under the deck, make for fantastic paddling shoes. These seem to have been made before people put everything on the Internet, cause I could only find this pre-owned pair on eBay! If you're a size 11.5, have I got a deal for you..! Merrell Continuum Mens 11.5 Waterproof Shoes Ultra Sport Black Yellow Vibram | eBay

BUT, while searching, I found these, which look kinda interesting: Men's Hydro Moc Hiking Shoes | Merrell

If I'm out in the drysuit, I'm probably wearing a pair of the MEC classics - http://www.mec.ca/en/product/5021-652/Moque-Neoprene-Boots-Low
 

a_c

Paddler
Joined
Dec 23, 2014
Messages
76
Location
Victoria, BC
BUT, while searching, I found these, which look kinda interesting: Men's Hydro Moc Hiking Shoes | Merrell
I have something very similar; the trouble with this style is sand and small rocks find their way in way too easily - literally, just walking across the beach and/or stepping into the boat, and I'd have a shoe full.

Salomon has a water shoe called the Techamphibian; the current version (4) doesn't look as good as v3, but I've had my eyes on them and might give it a try at some point. The price is a bit steep at $130 CAN, but it wouldn't be the first useless gear purchase I've made....
 

Tangler

Paddler
Joined
Sep 5, 2016
Messages
102
Location
Nanaimo, BC
Most of the time I wear an old pair of Chaco sandals with a Vibram sole. As I don't use a drysuit if the water is coldish or my feet are sore from sand abrasion I will add a pair of thin neoprene socks, taking care to rinse and air them out after each use. Sandals don't offer a lot of protection from barnacles...
If the water is particularly cold I will don a pair of neoprene reef boots. The downsides to these is that the sole is not very robust and they will start to stink badly on multiday trips, even when worn with a liner sock.
I have tried "paddling shoes" but my experience was that sand and gravel could get in easily but was difficult to get out which was painful and led to bad abrasion. Generally with the sandals I can just rinse my feet in the water before putting them in the boat. The grip of soles on the ones I tried also left a lot to be desired. Ouch...
Orvis has just come out with a pair of "wet-wading" shoes for fishing that look promising ("PRO approach"). A low profile runner style shoe made to be wet all day that has an ankle cuff on them that helps keep out gravel. A liner sock may be needed to prevent blisters and sand abrasion. Not cheap though.
Finding a boat that fits our feet and shoes that fit our needs is part of the on-going tweeking of our paddling system... :)
 

SWriverstone

Paddler
Joined
Jun 22, 2021
Messages
40
Location
Eugene, OR
I dunno—I think there are serious pros and cons to a tight fit. All the techniques in that video have been common in whitewater for decades. I was a whitewater slalom canoeist for many years, and what some may not realize is we kneeling canoeists use thigh straps—pulled TIGHT—to lock us into the boat. (With quick-release buckles of course)

My opinion is that if you’ll be playing in rock gardens and big surf and plan to be rolling a lot, the tighter the fit the better. But on long-distance voyages where you could be in the boat for hours at a time? No way. I would hate to be locked in like that—that’s a recipe for pain. I’m tall with wide hips to start with, so I love how my Wilderness Systems Tsunami has lots of room to move around. Makes for much more comfortable long crossings!
 

JohnAbercrombie

Paddler
Joined
Dec 7, 2011
Messages
3,028
Location
Victoria, BC
Finding a boat that fits our feet and shoes that fit our needs is part of the on-going tweeking of our paddling system... :)
With several boats - some low deck- the quest for 'perfect' footwear can be a long one. Add in GAS (Gear Acquisition syndrome) to the mix and my paddling footwear collection has 'just growed'. A year or two ago, an enthusiastic beginner was at my place talking about a boat, when the question: "What do you wear on your feet; I need to buy something" was asked.
"Just a minute..." I replied.
When I returned with an armload of different paddling shoes/boots, eyebrows were raised! :)
My comment was along the lines of: "Give it a few years and you will understand!"
 

cougarmeat

Paddler
Joined
Sep 17, 2012
Messages
847
Location
Bend OR USA
I tried calf high neoprene boots but they were too tight in calf and ankle. I’ve seen guides wear rubber, almost knee high, boots but the kayak needs some real foot room. And they are pretty heavy.

I often have three shoes on a trip; a neoprene paddlng shoe, a flat thong (flip-flops), and a more protective camping shoe (for hiking) that usually has a design where the heel folds down so it can be used as a slip-in sandal. I sleep with light socks and a nighttime walk is difficult with that flip-flop strap between the toes. Much easier with a slip in sandal.
 
Top