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Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
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      Shoes and Socks     

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BCHooked
member (37)member
 
09/12/2019 01:11PM  
Just got back from my 8th trip. My biggest problem over the years has been shoes. I want a shoe that allows me to portage and get wet. I have purchased the water shoes from Walmart but they only last one trip and always give me blisters....and terrible support. I've tried other versions of water shoes with similar results. This year I bought Columbia Drainmakers and merino wool socks. The combination was fantastic. Very comfortable, no blisters, good support and traction, etc.

However, this caused another problem. I don't use deet and have never had big issues with mosquito bites. But this year, because of the socks, I could not feel them landing on my ankles. They tore me up...worst I have ever experienced.

So, curious what others do. Anyone use gators?
 
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SevenofNine
distinguished member(2448)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/12/2019 02:17PM  
I don't use them as I use a boot for ankle support for portaging but I have seen people with ankle gators on portages before. I know of at least two brands OR and Salomon that carry them.
 
straighthairedcurly
distinguished member(872)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/12/2019 03:30PM  
I use thick wool socks like Fox River. I have never had them bite through a thick fluffy sock.
 
pescador
member (21)member
 
09/12/2019 04:24PM  
Drainmakers are really comfortable and fast drying, I love them. But its mesh material offers zero protection against deer flies. Early june in Pickerel I had to put a thicker wool sock to stop them, those bugs were driving me crazy!
 
09/12/2019 05:20PM  
I just use keen sandals most of the time.... though I have weak ankles it is a risk. I always leave my keen boots available though... if the portage is short I will walk it and see if I will be getting wet. I guess I flip flop pending how risky I feel that day.
 
09/12/2019 08:18PM  
Keen Voyagers Mid Hiking boots have excellent ankle support and drainage. Pair those with Smartwool socks and quick doing hiking pants all of your problems will be solved.
 
IndyElden
distinguished member (117)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/13/2019 01:44AM  
I've been very happy with some Astral TR1 Trek shoes that drain and dry very well. I have done a lot of portaging and hiking in them, and they have great tread. I wear wool socks with them, and after wet-footing while canoeing and portaging, they will normally dry out in a couple of hours of sunlight or near a campfire. I saw them recommended in a thread on this forum.
 
09/13/2019 08:10AM  
IndyElden: "I've been very happy with some Astral TR1 Trek shoes that drain and dry very well. I have done a lot of portaging and hiking in them, and they have great tread. I wear wool socks with them, and after wet-footing while canoeing and portaging, they will normally dry out in a couple of hours of sunlight or near a campfire. I saw them recommended in a thread on this forum.
"

+1
 
DKalis
senior member (60)senior membersenior member
 
09/13/2019 10:27AM  
If you like the feel of a shoe but want the support of a boot, maybe consider the Danner Tachyon. I have two pairs of these, a pair with the polished toe, which are waterproof, and a pair of the Sage Green, which are not and have drain holes. I just took my Sage Green ones on their first trip and they performed really well. I wore Darn Tough merino wool socks with them and it was an awesome duo. They are lightweight at only 26oz and had enough support for me. Grip was fine for the most part, but it could be a bit better on slippery rocks. I may try siping the tread to help with this.


Danner Tachyon
 
09/13/2019 01:18PM  
I just soak my socks in a diluted permethrin mixture.


 
BearBurrito
distinguished member(889)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/13/2019 04:31PM  
I also use permethrin on all of my clothes, socks included. Never had a problem.
 
BWPaddler
distinguished member(9237)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
09/14/2019 09:19AM  
tyh: "I just soak my socks in a diluted permethrin mixture."
This was what I was going to recommend since it seems you like everything else about your setup.
 
Bearpath9
distinguished member (246)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/14/2019 04:02PM  
I just wear sandals in the canoe and for portaging, shoes or boots in camp. When I am out fishing in my boat at home, either sandals or bare feet. No problems yet. And my boat isn't a fancy rig, it's 14 footer about 50 years old, propelled by my over 50 year old 10 horse Johnson motor. Family heirlooms.
 
KarlBAndersen1
distinguished member(1292)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/15/2019 08:43AM  
Bearpath9: "I just wear sandals in the canoe and for portaging, shoes or boots in camp. "
I do the exact opposite. Portaging style boots while tripping, canoeing and portaging. Keen Arroyos when in camp - with a new pair of dry wool socks.

For the entirety of my trips, I wear hiking height wool socks with silk liners. I have found the liners make a world of difference in overall trip comfort.
 
BCHooked
member (37)member
 
09/23/2019 08:51AM  
Thanks to everyone for the suggestions. I think a slight modification will put me in the comfort zone.
 
AdamXChicago
distinguished member(1100)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/23/2019 01:03PM  
BCHooked: "Thanks to everyone for the suggestions. I think a slight modification will put me in the comfort zone."
I have been using the Columbia brand water shoes for years. First pair lasted about 10 trips. As others have said, treat your socks with permethrin and you should be ok. As added protection, I also treat the tops of my water shoes with it as well.
Good luck!
 
TechnoScout
distinguished member (379)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
09/23/2019 06:19PM  
Since 2007 and 10 trips (400+ miles), I have been wearing these boots. Never failed me. I would never go without ankle support. They are Cabelas boots. The link here is likely the current version of the boot. I have decided that I should not chance another trip so will probably buy a new pair. Very sad...they have been my trusty companion.


Cabelas Boot

 
09/24/2019 06:42AM  
BWPaddler: "tyh: "I just soak my socks in a diluted permethrin mixture."
This was what I was going to recommend since it seems you like everything else about your setup."

+4
 
dex8425
senior member (83)senior membersenior member
 
09/27/2019 01:36PM  
I absolutely hate items getting in my shoes. I always hike/backpack with lightweight and thin /stretchy dirty girl gaiters over my trail runners (usually brooks cascadia). Taller thin merino socks are a must (5" length is good).

Dirty Girl Gaiters

When doing paddling trips in the BWCA, I like the aforementioned trail runners underneath tingley overboots. The 17" ones are high enough to walk in and out of the water and I just plow through anything in my path when on the portage. They are hot, but I don't do summer paddling trips, just May and September-November. They're cheap, indestructible, and waterproof. Did 13 portages last Saturday with this setup.

If I went in the summer I'd probably just use my hiking shoe setup and walk in the water.
 
10/29/2020 09:04AM  
Keen Voyager Boots with Smartwool medium weight crew socks are my always go to.
 
gymcoachdon
distinguished member(569)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/29/2020 12:36PM  
Blatz: "Keen Voyager Boots with Smartwool medium weight crew socks are my always go to."
Same here, but with the addition of poly liner socks. I may have to buy another set of Voyageurs even though mine are still going strong. You never know when your favorite model will be discontinued.
 
BrianDay
member (43)member
 
11/05/2020 02:21PM  
My wife uses Keen Voyagers and good wool socks. She likes this setup although the rubber on the Voyagers can be a little slippery on wet rocks.

For years I used surplus jungle boots with two socks. A thin liner and a thicker wool hiking sock. These worked well. Good ankle support. Dried quickly overnight.

These days I like the Astral Rassler. Its flexible, supportive and sticks to slippery rocks. I wear a single good wool sock inside. Not as much support as the jungle boots but with the low heel I don't seem to twist my ankle as much. Did a couple laps on the Angleworm plus a pretty solid crash down to Beartrap in these this fall and they'll be my wet boot from now on.

I like short gaiters in camp when the bugs are really bad. Haven't had much trouble during the day wearing my portage boots.


Astral Rassler Review

 
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