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      Water shoes/aqua socks for portaging?     
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Reke0402
member (16)member
 
06/19/2018 08:06AM
I will be heading out the end of July so i am assuming i should have some warmer weather and water temps. I have a pair or nike water shoes that i have always used to river fish with, they have always worked to walk over rocks etc with no issues. What are your thoughts for using these in the BWCA to portage and as my day shoe?
 
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yellowcanoe
distinguished member(5101)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
06/19/2018 08:15AM
No.
No.
Do you carry 50-100 lbs while walking in the river and does the river have ascents and descents that are up to hip high?

You need decent foot support and possibly ankle support.

There is a reason that portage shoes look like hiking boots.

Look at this selection from Piragis a respected canoe supply store
Jackfish
Moderator
 
06/19/2018 09:30AM
^^^ What she said. ^^^

At least wear sneakers (or similar) while portaging. Leave the water shoes for camp.
SevenofNine
distinguished member(2219)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/19/2018 09:34AM
My buddy pulled a tendon in his foot portaging by stepping on a tree root. Basically trying to get away with portaging with cheap shoes (sandals in his case) just like you mention.

You need decent footwear when carrying a heavy load.
06/19/2018 10:07AM
Water shoes are not my choice either, although I'm sure someone has used them. I prefer ankle high boots that provide support and protection. In my experience they are much less likely to be pulled off in knee-deep boot-sucking mud, which is preferable while trying to extract oneself while wearing a "canoe hat". :)
tarnkt
distinguished member (251)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/19/2018 10:10AM
Sounds like you have the perfect shoe for you. Footwear is a personal thing, some need ankle support, some people don’t. If you have something that works for walking in water over rocks you have just the ticket.

Several of my trip partners have used similar variations of old running shoes or water keen type water sandals and are very happy with them.
Savage Voyageur
distinguished member(13082)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
 
06/19/2018 11:36AM
No way would I give thumbs up to portaging in water shoes. Wear your water shoes in the canoe and when getting in and out of the canoe. Keep your boots or good hiking shoes on the top of your pack to change into. Injuries are always just around the corner and you should not chance it. You risk wrecking your trip for you and everyone in your group. Then when they are wet your foot slides around inside. Your toes will get stubbed on the first rock.
WinstonRumfoord
member (50)member
 
06/19/2018 12:26PM
I have used keen sandals since my very first trip (KEEN Newport in leather), and have never had any problems. I personally would not buy watershoes to use on portages, but if you have them and if you are comfortable in them and if you trust your stability in them, I see no reason not to! Most of my tripping partners just use plain old worn out new balance trail runners for their "moving/wet" shoes and have never had any problems.

The only thing I would caution about with using sandals like keens or watershoes is that you open up your feet to potential pointy sticks underwater. I would never consider wearing hiking boots, personally, but I know plenty that do and they work really well..

While the risk of an ankle injury might be slightly higher with low shoes, the one trip I have been on when someone did hurt their ankle, the guy was wearing boots. Ironically, he was worried about them getting wet so was trying to make an acrobatic canoe-dismount at a portage, and slipped in, badly spraining his ankle. Far too heavy, bulky, and restrictive for me. I love being able to hop in to the water whenever, and knowing my feet and footwear will dry out in a couple minutes.

I'd also echo what Boonie mentioned about losing your shoes in the mud. If you do wear sandals or other low-ankle shoes, be sure they are on TIGHT. Digging out a shoe from shoulder deep mud is NO FUN - Trust me on that.
mc2mens
distinguished member(4102)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
06/19/2018 03:41PM
Reke. If you're talking about these shoes, then I would say no. I wouldn't wear those shoes if you're doing very much portaging, with heavy packs/canoe. You can't tighten them up on your foot, and I like my shoes to feel securely on my feet when portaging on uneven, wet, rocky trails. But I'm not in the hiking boots camp either. The last thing I want on my feet are stiff boots with hard vibram soles on wet rocks and roots. Or a boot that takes days to dry.

I prefer a good water shoe, like the Keen McKenzie II or the Salomon Techamphibian . These have been great shoes in the summer for me, especially paired with a lightweight wool sock. I'm interested in the Astral water shoes . I saw some at the Midwest Mountaineering Expo last year and they look like well made shoes.
MikeinMpls
distinguished member (343)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/19/2018 03:55PM
Tried using Nike Aquasox (sp?) when they first came out a long time ago. They seemed like a perfect product.

Not a good idea. They lack everything that is required to portage. Like others above have said, particularly Yellowcanoe, I wouldn't recommend it.

Mike
06/19/2018 06:03PM
I use Keen Voyager boots. They're very light weight, dry relatively fast, plenty of venting to let water out, and are durable. I pair them with some ultra lightweight smart wool socks. They kick butt on portages
schweady
distinguished member(6687)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
06/19/2018 06:39PM
Here's a story that will make your feet ache: Two of the guys in our group "discovered" the perfect thing -- Aqua Socks... really cheap ones from Walmart -- to wear on our first ever Mudro-Fourtown trip. Great on the beach, and we get our feet wet, so why not? They had no other footwear along. Grown men do cry.
Grizzlyman
distinguished member(601)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/19/2018 07:16PM
Ive had these for 4 trips now and been happy with them. Plus they drain- so less of a puddle in the canoe- and they won’t break the bank:) Khombu
DrBobDg
distinguished member(880)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/19/2018 09:41PM
schweady: "Here's a story that will make your feet ache: Two of the guys in our group "discovered" the perfect thing -- Aqua Socks... really cheap ones from Walmart -- to wear on our first ever Mudro-Fourtown trip. Great on the beach, and we get our feet wet, so why not? They had no other footwear along. Grown men do cry.
"



Oh that had to hurt... "Whatever floats your boat" but I would never consider light stuff like that.
One of the parents of a boy scout who made a BW trip with us was diabetic. Somehow he got the very false impression that he did not need to wear socks. Well you can imagine what his feet looked like after 7 days 6 nights...not a pretty sight.

dr bob
06/20/2018 07:49AM
Foot wear is highly subjective and personal. Some like ankle support or arch support others don’t do well with that. Studies on athletes are mixed as well...such as some show ankle support increases injuries while others show ankle support lessens injuries. The last time I looked more support did put athletes at risk for more severe fractures due to the ankle fixed with less give. Like I said support and shoes are really individually dependent. I would not trip with someone who made me wear a certain type of shoe.

With that said I personally do not like the shoes you have chosen. Not saying you can’t use them they just they wouldn’t be enough for me and I am unsure of the traction on that shoe. If you are doing a short trip easy portages I am not sure your footwear matters too much but if you are going on some rougher ones try hiking a mile on rough wet trails pre trip to test them.

When I look for a portage boot/shoe the. Number one thing I want is good wet traction tread, I could care less about ankle support...does nothing for me. In fact a stiff boot/support reduces my traction and causes slippage. I do like some arch support so I add an OTC orthotic like superfeet to my shoes. So far the Salomon Tech Amphibian has served me well, I am sure there are better options that I haven’t tried yet. My personal choice would not be a good option for others I am fully aware.

I would suggest wearing good wool socks with your shoes, it keeps some of the pebbles and rocks out of your shoe and offers a little more protection.

T
Gman42
member (18)member
 
06/20/2018 08:11AM
Has anyone tried these or a similar product?
treehorn
distinguished member (213)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/20/2018 08:19AM
It's been touched on in this thread, but I want to stress that the single best way to prevent injuries, in my opinion, actually has little to do with what you're wearing on your feet, and more to do with where you are willing to place them when portaging and loading/unloading.

We've all come across the muddy spot in the portage with random rocks and downed trees across it and been tempted to rock hop while holding a canoe on our shoulders. And we've all been loading a canoe trying to balance on an 8" log sticking above the water.

These things are what cause injuries.

Whatever allows you to feel most comfortable just walking through that mud or water, and standing in the water while you unload - wear that.

I still haven't discovered the perfect thing for me...it's a trial and error process.
06/20/2018 10:56AM
Lots of comments and advice about possible injury. What about simply losing a shoe in muck? Often encountered and a willing shoe/boot remover, you're left with, feeling blind in black soup to retrieve your footwear.

butthead
06/20/2018 05:33PM
Gman42: "Has anyone tried these or a similar product? "

Sorry never tried, I hate boots like that. Maybe my ankle/foot are different than others but I feel like I am sliding around too much in that type of boot. Also I don't like the high boots if I capsize they fill with water and make it tougher to get to shore...once again personal preference. If they work for you then by all means don't listen to me :)

T
06/20/2018 05:36PM
butthead: "Lots of comments and advice about possible injury. What about simply losing a shoe in muck? Often encountered and a willing shoe/boot remover, you're left with, feeling blind in black soup to retrieve your footwear.

butthead"


What can ya do? I have had about every type of boot come off at some point while slogging through mud--It just happens sometimes. I suppose some shoes are more susceptible than others?
06/21/2018 10:26AM
I think it depends on the specific water shoes. They are not all created equal. Some are more like a sock with a rubber bottom which I wouldn't portage in and some are more like a hiking shoe or boot but they dry quickly and drain. I have a Columbia pair of water shoes (very similar to the Solomon Tech Amphibians linked above) that have worked well that are similar to a tennis shoe. Currently I use the Keen Arroyo 2 which has a bottom like a hiking boot/shoe.
buzz17
distinguished member (243)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/21/2018 10:45AM
ducks: "I think it depends on the specific water shoes. They are not all created equal. Some are more like a sock with a rubber bottom which I wouldn't portage in and some are more like a hiking shoe or boot but they dry quickly and drain. I have a Columbia pair of water shoes (very similar to the Solomon Tech Amphibians linked above) that have worked well that are similar to a tennis shoe. Currently I use the Keen Arroyo 2 which has a bottom like a hiking boot/shoe."

It definitely depends on the shoes. I fish creeks weekly in the spring, summer,fall months and I use crappy old tennis shoes to eliminate rocks getting in. Cold water months in the bwca I use insulated muck boots but don't particularly like them.

My preferred and 20 plus trip method is the Keen Newport. I bought the original leather model when they came out and love them for grip, support when portaging, and the fact that I can go in the water and not worry about my feet getting wet. The worst trip I went on was my first one. I wore hiking boots because I thought I needed the ankle support. Those things suck when they get wet, and trying not to get your feet wet is almost worse.

Get a good solid shoe that can get wet, gives enough support for portaging, and dries fairly quickly.
06/21/2018 04:46PM
I have tried several options and the best I've used for me is my OTB Abyss.
Reke0402
member (16)member
 
06/21/2018 08:35PM
Well i decided to pick up a pair of Salomon Evasion Cabrios off amazon cant beat a pair for $40 but they look like they will drain nicely and also have good traction for portaging. Not worried about the ankle support i have always had strong ankles.
proepro
member (38)member
 
06/21/2018 08:54PM
buzz17: "
My preferred and 20 plus trip method is the Keen Newport. I bought the original leather model when they came out and love them for grip, support when portaging, and the fact that I can go in the water and not worry "


I bought Keen Newports for last year. Don't drain as well as my old Tevas but more comfortable and have toe protection. Found a rip this year and they replaced under warranty without a hassel. Upgraded to the ones made in USA.
buzz17
distinguished member (243)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/22/2018 04:33AM
proepro: "buzz17: "My preferred and 20 plus trip method is the Keen Newport. I bought the original leather model when they came out and love them for grip, support when portaging, and the fact that I can go in the water and not worry "
I bought Keen Newports for last year. Don't drain as well as my old Tevas but more comfortable and have toe protection. Found a rip this year and they replaced under warranty without a hassel. Upgraded to the ones made in USA."

Durability wise, I have not had problems. I love the toe protection which is why I originally went with them over Tevas. I do not like them for creek fishing, too much sand and small rocks end up in the toe area which is why I wear old tennis shoes. No problem with that in the bwca to this point. There may be better options out there now. Keeping an eye on the thread, I need a new pair.
06/22/2018 08:24AM
Hey buzz17... if you like the Newport take a look at the Arroyo2. I used Newports for years and switched to the Arroyo2 about 4 years ago and I like them a lot better. I get less stuff in them than the Newports and the bottoms are much better. They are a lot more heavy duty than the Newport, but they still dry fast.
sns
distinguished member (116)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/22/2018 01:49PM
If you have strong ankles, I would.

Most high top boots really do not provide much true support unless they are super high, heavy and sturdy.

I wear water shoes and wet-foot, with a hinged ankle brace on my destroyed ankle.
Abbey
senior member (79)senior membersenior member
 
06/22/2018 04:06PM
I am in the minority, but I prefer Chaco sandals (warm weather) and muck boots (cold weather). I actually brought both on our trip earlier this month as we had both cold and warm. That trip included the Fourtown to Mudro portages (some of the most rugged I have done in the BWCA) using those Chacos. These portages were toward the end of a 9.5 hour tripping day and we were tired. Still completely trusted the Chacos and didn’t consider putting on the boots. Yes, toes are exposed, but Chacos have good wet/dry traction and great arch support (for me) and stability.

One interesting aspect of having exposed toes is that you pay more attention to foot placement, and may actually be less prone to serious injuries. I would not consider aqua socks and I would choose Chacos over tennis shoes, especially old (ie worn out) tennis shoes.

I have considered some of the mentioned water shoes, and I will probably get a pair when these Chacos are low on tread. I have backpacked in Merrell Moab high tops through a creek route (Aravaipa canyon, highly recommended). Those or something similar would be a decent option with wool socks and liner socks.
schweady: "Here's a story that will make your feet ache: Two of the guys in our group "discovered" the perfect thing -- Aqua Socks... really cheap ones from Walmart -- to wear on our first ever Mudro-Fourtown trip. Great on the beach, and we get our feet wet, so why not? They had no other footwear along. Grown men do cry. "
06/30/2018 11:02AM
Just got back from a trip a couple days ago where I wore sandals on every portage. Had to stop to dig them out of mud on a couple.

My left foot has been pretty messed up since I got back, and after reading this thread I wouldn't be surprised to find portaging in sandals was the cause.

One other big thing about portage trails is that many of them are really bad. Like even just walking on them is tricky, now put a canoe over your head, a pack on your back, and a literal swarm of mosquitoes chasing and biting you. The rocks, roots, puddles, logs, etc. are all just amplified. You will slip, you will stub your toes on rocks and roots, and you will twist or bend your foot in weird ways.


Wet loading a canoe is easy, and is good for the boat, but after reading this thread I think I'm back in the camp of swapping into some good hiking boots for the portage.
06/30/2018 02:58PM
Another place besides boulder gardens where I'd prefer more foot protection than a sandal provides - beaver dam pullovers.
mc2mens
distinguished member(4102)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
07/01/2018 09:10AM
Reke0402: "Well i decided to pick up a pair of Salomon Evasion Cabrios off amazon cant beat a pair for $40 but they look like they will drain nicely and also have good traction for portaging. Not worried about the ankle support i have always had strong ankles."

Looks like you found yourself a good pair of shoes.
bct
senior member (72)senior membersenior member
 
07/03/2018 03:12PM
+1 on Chacos and Muck boots.
dahlberg123
 
07/12/2018 12:56PM
Our group, usually 6 or 8 all wear Keen Newport H2's with wool hiking socks and that combo seems to work well.

FYI - Keen also makes a shoe called clearwater cx or something along those lines, sole is way too thin and you'll feel every rock/root underfoot.
07/15/2018 06:36AM
I wear Merril water shoes and neoprene socks, never had a problem with my ankles, unless you have weak ankles they'll be fine, just be careful and watch your step, that's all I use even in cold water.
buzz17
distinguished member (243)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
07/15/2018 05:39PM
Hey ducks,

Just ordered a pair of arroyo II's for my August trip. Will report back with thoughts. Thanks for the recommendation.
heypaddler
member (50)member
 
07/16/2018 09:36PM
I'm not reading all of these responses but I assume everyone is saying you need ankle support. If not, you need ankle support. Water shoes or tennis shoes for a portage is a recipe for disaster. Or a twisted ankle.
heypaddler
member (50)member
 
07/16/2018 09:36PM
I'm not reading all of these responses but I assume everyone is saying you need ankle support. If not, you need ankle support. Water shoes or tennis shoes for a portage is a recipe for disaster. Or a twisted ankle.
 
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