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By pearlbeer
I'm apparently hell on kayak/fishing shoes. I go through them faster than a cooler of beer on a hot day.

Looking for a good pair of tough shoes. I tend to do a lot of hiking, scrambling, stepping in waist deep mud, hopping on limestone and wading through god-knows-what.

Looking for suggestions for a tough pair of shoes that won't slip off, stay somewhat dry and have good support and traction. I don't want a good 'tennis-shoe type water shoe'...I want the RedWing Work boot of water shoe.

Looking at HUK Shoes, NRS, Simms...any experience?
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By smokedcuda
Have had the grey zip up Simms for a coupe years and they are awesome. Like a neoprene type material top, and a heavy rubber type foot and sole. The rubber is particularly thick over the toes so when you kick shell, rock etc its barely noticeable. Head up, they run a bit small it seemed to me, I had to get about a size larger than I typically wear in regular foot wear.
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By shoffer
Just bought some sweet wading boots from Academy that are superlight weight. Softscience is the brand.
10797261.jpg (22.58 KiB) Viewed 9314 times
10797261.jpg (22.58 KiB) Viewed 9314 times
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By TKFStubb
I prefer some good, comfortable Sandles like Teva for hard bottom adventures and cheap, shin high, wading boots for muddy, slimey, areas. I really hate those booty tan lines, tho.
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By Ron Mc
I like shoes that keep mud out, and also drain, which zip booties don't.
I'm still getting by on my last pair of (discontinued) Keen Hood River boots, and e-mail them about every 6 months asking them to reintroduce them for kayak/wade/hike.
IMO, these are the best kayak/wade/hike shoes ever made by anyone.

My backups, which work for my narrow feet, and may not work for your wide ones, 5Ten Water Tennies with lycra scuba socks.
IMO, sandals are the worst, because you're constantly fighting gravel and shell stuck in all the worst places.
While canyoneering boots looks good on paper, most are too large to fit in a kayak footwell.

My best river hike/wet-wade boots are NB OTB Abyss II boots, claimed to be designed for Navy Seals, also need lycra scuba socks and also, unfortunately, discontinued. There are still a few odds and ends out there, and they turn up on ebay if you can find your size. These are a little large for a kayak footwell, but super lightweight, extremely durable, sticky in the worst situations, and drain through the soles.
https://www.ebay.com/i/172937124307?chn ... 1700897919
https://www.amazon.com/New-Balance-Abys ... B00C66CTKA
A good place to shop for amphibious shoe designs is NRS.
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By Ron Mc
adding to this old shoe discussion.
IMO, the best kayak shoe currently made is Astral Hiyak.
Have a year on mine, and wouldn't swap them for any unless Keen reintroduces their Hood River boots (above - sole on my last Hood River pair dropped off for the last time last fall).

a heads up, these are currently 25% off at Moosejaw, and more than that if you use a coupon (got mine last year shipped for $75 using a coupon).
And just in time for Santa.
https://www.moosejaw.com/product/astral ... e_10355599
I'll also fess up my review on these won me a $250 Moosejaw gift certificate (which burned a hole in my pocket and turned into a Thermorest cot tent).
Imagewinter or summerImage
By WC53
I live in land of oysters and muck

NRS paddle boots (wet) and boundary boots (dry) are my mainstay . Keen water shoes for general paddling, but not for muck or oysters. Usually have the paddle boots in the yak regardless .

I have not tried the NRS workboots
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By Ron Mc
The problem with the NRS workboots would be fitting the wide cleated sole in your kayak footwell - narrow design and "moccasin" sole is a plus in kayak shoes.
NRS introduced their workboot when the NB OTB Abyss II boot was discontinued - NRS is where I first found them. NRS essentially went looking for someone to make a replacement for them when New Balance discontinued the Abyss II.

Before I found the Astral boots I recommended in my last post, tried the spendy 5Ten Approach canyoneering boots - their mass and uncomfortable rigidity was a joke in a kayak, and I returned them - even the drains were marginal (the only good thing about them was their soles probably stick upside-down).
My Astrals have been through enough quicksand, I still recommend them for most soft-bottom coast kayaking - as long as you use them with scuba socks.
Cressi Ultra-stretch swim fin socks are my favorite for fit and comfort
Two brands to stay away from are Chaco and Teva - they use recycled tires for their shoes and even with infrequent use, they come apart. Bought these Chacos on closeout, which are essentially sandals with built-in light neoprene socks that totally keep gravel out (plus drains). Loved them for clean paddling days, but the main strap pulled out of the sole this day for just no reason. Will be looking around to replace these before next summer.
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By JW FunGuy
I moved away from my All Star tennies last year and I too picked up some of the Soft science boots. They are very comfortable, I have also worn them many times wet wading and kayaking on the Guadalupe, the soles are quite grippy and they seen to be holding up to oysters remarkably well. The amazing thing is that I did have a little problem with the sole so I contacted Soft Science and I’ll be darned if they did not send me a brand new pair! Without sending the old ones back! Now that is customer service!

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
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By Ron Mc
great photo Jerry.
Soft Science is another good boot design that drains (probably the only other).

My buddy Dennis one day wore tennis shoes in Cedar Bayou, caught a (then 10) spec limit, and sanded his soles from the bottom of his feet. His feet were bleeding when he took his shoes off.
(see: scuba socks)
By Tombo
I like but do not recommend Frogg Toggs slip on booties. They fit my foot well, are more comfortable when I go a size larger and use neoprene type socks. Problem is my first pair, the soles started separating from the shoe, both left and right. My other pair used for waders are starting to do the same.
By bones72
I think the separation of the sole from the boot is just a thing no matter the brand or the conditions used. I have two pair of high end Sim's wading boots do the same thing. The only pair of wading boots that have held up for me going on ten years now is Corkers, but those type boots I do not believe, would be good in a yak.

I've been following this thread hoping to see a good boot for this that would do what is needed and not have my feet boil in their own juices. Any thoughts on this; my experience is anything with neoprene or the like get really hot if not constantly in the water.
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By shoffer
An update on my Soft Science. Still super comfortable, but the top strap never stays tight. Even if you tighten it when clipped, it still goes loose. Accordingly, I bought a lace up pair. Problem solved.
Capture.JPG (44.14 KiB) Viewed 6273 times

I also have their flip flops. Way comfortable also.
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By Ron Mc
bones72 wrote:...
I've been following this thread hoping to see a good boot for this that would do what is needed and not have my feet boil in their own juices. Any thoughts on this; my experience is anything with neoprene or the like get really hot if not constantly in the water.

See my post and review on Astral Hiyak - with its sticky glove-type sole - thick enough to walk on oyster- no boot is more comfortable in a kayak - also the lightest-weight boots you'll ever dream of

If you habitually wade in oyster, the double-thick, heavy sole of the Soft Science may work better for you.

Simms is a good place to look at the range of soles for salt-wading boots, and probably the place to start if wading is your priority over kayaking. They make 4 models that range from the glove-type soles (Simms Flats Sneaker) to the thick, overqualified bottoms you expect to see in river wading boots (Simms Vapor Tread). While the Simms Flats Sneakers would work in a kayak, the other 3 models would be like wearing cowboy boots.
Last edited by Ron Mc on Sun Nov 24, 2019 8:58 am, edited 2 times in total.
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By JW FunGuy
Well I have to say that is one thing about the Soft Science boots. Water and air flow freely through them and at the same time keep sand and gunk out. A lot of the other products out there use coated nylon for the outer material which is not going to breath and you will probably still have sweaty feet. The neoprene cuff isn’t tight so it still allows for air circulation. I think it also depends on how much you wade and how much you stay in you kayak as to which product is best. Those seem to be working out well for both for me. But I usually do wear a light NRS wet sock with mine and have to suffered from any jungle rot yet.
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By Ron Mc
no offense, Jerry, coated nylon is old-fashioned upper-body wind/rain shell.
The fabric we're discussing here is to replace the canvas uppers of Keds - Vans for the next gen - in tennis shoe style construction.
The type of coated synthetic fabrics used on good breathing water shoes are lightweight, coarse weave (like canvas), and whatever coating they use is a bio-retardant to kill the slime that comes home with you from the water.
Canvas is going to rot and smell like it. Synthetic canvas replacement is pretty much a rot-proof head start.
By WC53
By question on the shoes with drains, do they allow muck and oyster points in? I have never seen the soft science etc in person. My Keene’s let everything in, so limited location use for me.
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By Ron Mc
I've had 3 models of shoes with drains (not counting the canyoneering boots I returned) - still use the Abyss II boots for river wet-wading - drains both through the bottom of the sole, and through the side of the sole, and none of them let muck in.
Image You can't see it here, but there are mesh screens on the drains. Essentially, whatever muck tries to get in plugs it, and when you take your feet out of the water, the water draining out of your shoes washes it clean.
They work Great. I went through 3 pairs of Keen Hood River boots over about 14 years - bought two spares on closeout and worked them in the queue.
Ignore the big bass - those are Hood River boots
ImageI stepped into quicksand many times and also used them for coast surf-fishing, kayaking and wading, replacing my Orvis "neoprene flats booties" from the 80s/90s
And yes, I hate sandals even for lakes and rivers because they collect gravel in all the worst places. The Chacos I show above (post ..37) were fantastic for preventing this - they just fell apart, while otherwise looking close to new.

Again, with shoes that don't have neoprene cuffs on top, I recommend scuba socks to keep sand and oyster away from your feet. I always wash a little bit of oyster fines out of my Astrals, but never know it's there because of the scuba socks - and even neoprene booties let that stuff in.
Last edited by Ron Mc on Sun Nov 24, 2019 11:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
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By karstopo

Patagonia makes a good wading boot. These I’ve had several years and are light, comfortable and seemingly durable. I don’t know if Patagonia still makes this model, you know how it is with shoes and boots. Once you find one you like, they get discontinued.
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By TexasJim
My thoughts on this subject always end with "Why do they have to be BLACK?" I yak in Texas in the daytime, and black shoes, especially boots, get really hot. I know I can stick my feet in the water to cool my shoes, but can't they make them in gray or blue or tan?

karstopo's post shows that they once were made in non-black. Like he said, probably discontinued. TexasJim
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By Ron Mc
if it makes you feel better Jim, here's the Simms Flats Sneaker
never had the Astrals out in the middle of summer, have been out in plenty of April and October sun,
but most of the time, they're in the water, anyway.
Last edited by Ron Mc on Sun Nov 24, 2019 11:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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By Ron Mc
Tombo wrote:Reglue with what?

sorry Tom, I edited that post because I found my Astrals in the water (part of one, anyway).
I used "Barge Cement" (TM) which is made for gluing soles to water shoes, like felt soles to wading boots.
Possibly other brand names, because I re-glued 2 pairs of the Hood River boots a total of 4 times.
You have to clean everything, like alcohol, put a wood shoe tree inside the shoe (or stuff them tight with newspaper, put glue on both sides, and after you glue them, wrap the whole thing tight with duck tape and leave it alone for a week. Can get another year or better out of them.
I've also re-glued my felt-sole studded river boots (Patagonia) at least once.
(Rutted dolomite plus slime in the Guadalupe can be treacherous. )
Patagonia, btw, quit making those great lightweight wading boots, and now they buy tanks from Danner.
I'm due for a pair of tailwater wading boots, and will probably go with the new Simms Featherweights, felt sole, and add my own studs.
Good news there, my dad shops Madison River Fishing Company, gets their catalog, and they'd be eager to buy me something nice for Christmas.
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