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Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
   Gear Forum



01/11/2021 09:36PM  
What are your favorite shoes for the BWCA trails? I've seen everything boots, water shoes to old running shoes. What do you like?
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distinguished member(1388)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
01/12/2021 04:54AM  
I am one of those with the old running shoes. I only make one trip per year and so far, they have worked well enough that other things are higher up on the list of items to upgrade.
01/12/2021 07:19AM  
I use Astral TR1's. Basically running shoes with drainage holes. Used old running shoes for decades without issue. My wife loves her Muck boots.
01/12/2021 08:02AM  
With Kevlar canoes, I wet foot when I get in and out. I have been using the New Balance Abyss II 8-Inch Boot for years. They have drain holes in the sole to let the water out. They dry quickly and offer good ankle support. I highly recommend them.
This reminds me I have 2 pairs of size 9 OTBs that my sons wore that I should put on the "for sale" forum.
distinguished member (237)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
01/12/2021 09:00AM  
Regular old “poop boots”
distinguished member(542)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
01/12/2021 09:42AM  
I prefer good ankle support, so I use Keen Voyageurs. They are not waterproof, so water drains. They will be wet most if not all of the trip, so I wear wool socks with a poly sock liner.
senior member (60)senior membersenior member
01/12/2021 10:17AM  
Solomon Quest Prime GTX

Great ankle support which provides confidence on the trail and around camp doing chores or exploring. Also wet the majority of the trip.

I sport the crocs ONLY when in leisure mode...

01/12/2021 11:17AM  
Keens and Crocs

I have 2 pairs of Keens I use depending on the trip, waterproof if I plan on keeping my feet dry and the Voyagers if I plan to wet foot. I only take one pair along and it depends on the temp.

The Crocs I wear in camp. They are great for going in and out of the tent, or walking in the water since they are not porous.

I have noticed that my Keens can work as a shoe too. If I tie them loosely at the eye loops then I can slip them on and off easily for when I am getting firewood or if I want more substantial footwear than the Crocs. It is nice to just have another option without carrying anything extra.
distinguished member (135)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
01/12/2021 11:44AM  
When I dryfoot (October) I wear 18" insulated neoprene boots. I wear a Lacrosse model that isn't made any more.

I took my first wetfoot trip this past summer and both me and my partner went with old high-top sneakers. I can't imagine I'll ever use anything else. Featherweight (~12oz per shoe) with ankle support, good traction and they dry quickly.

The trend in sneakers over the last few years has been very thin, breathable fabrics with vents. I picked up a pair of used Nike Hyperquickness for $5. I'm not sure this exact model is easy to find but you can see all the vents and holes in the link.

Nike Hyperquickness

My partner used a pair of basketball sneakers that were 20 years old and he said that despite them being heavier and drying slower, they were still better than anything he'd tripped in previously.

distinguished member(712)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
01/12/2021 12:43PM  
I've always been a wet footer, and I always will be. I wear Chota high top boots with either the "Hippie" or "Caney Fork" waders. The Chota system looks good on paper, but the waders don't stay up very well. The Chota waders use a thin elastic cord with a plastic spring lock, but it's just not strong or durable enough. I end up using an elastic clip or suspenders to keep them up. The boots are rugged, BUT they only come in whole sizes. I don't understand mine are a bit too big for me. I wear a 10.5 shoe, but an 11 Chota.

Perhaps one of these days I'll try a different system.

01/12/2021 03:56PM  
I use Chota lightweight hybrid boots for travel days and Astral water shoes for day trips and around camp.
01/12/2021 05:27PM  
I’ve had good luck with the Chota Hybrids.
member (50)member
01/12/2021 05:54PM  
I use Cabelas wading boots and bring regular hiking shoes (low cut - doesn't cover ankles) for camp. Any wading boot will do the trick. Only takes getting injured one time and you will never wear anything that does not cover your ankles again. I had an object pierce all the way into my ankle while in the water at a portage while wearing Keens that did not cover my ankle. Trip was over. Was on crutches and took extremely large doses of antibiotics for over a month to prevent bone infection. Emergency room had to cut 2nd hole in my ankle to insert tube to flush all the dirt/other items out the original hole with saline solution.
member (16)member
01/12/2021 06:26PM  
Worr Keen sandals last 2 years. My feet hurt after all day trip. So this year I'm trying Jungle boots.
distinguished member (127)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
01/12/2021 07:01PM  
Dry footer here with a history of ankle issues. So Keen or Timberland hiking boots on the trail, and Keen closed-toe sandals for around camp or day trip fishing. There's no right or wrong way. It's all about what what works for you.
01/13/2021 08:04AM  
DanMN: "Worr Keen sandals last 2 years. My feet hurt after all day trip. So this year I'm trying Jungle boots."

In the late '70s and early '80s I had good performance from jungle boots. When my second set of them died, I used some canvas portage boots for a couple years (don't remember the brand), and have used old running shoes, too. In 2018 I bought a pair of NRS Workboot Wetshoes and really like them EXCEPT for the odor after a week+ of wet-footing. If you get jungle boots, don't go cheap--I bought a Rothco pair in 2017; they began separating from the soles on the third day of a 10-day trip. I had to do some MacGyver crap to keep them together for the rest of the trip. Tried to get warranty replacement from Rothco, but couldn't return the trash boots because I'd put them in the Dumpster at Piragas...


member (23)member
01/13/2021 08:24AM  
For wet-footing I really like these:

Astral Rassler Water Boots

I wore jungle boots for years but the Astrals are much stickier and seem to provide plenty of ankle stability.

01/13/2021 08:44AM  
Probably get crap for this but it's what I wear. Custom made leather hiking boots, and I do wet-foot. Current favorite pair has about 20 trips on them as well as daily wear at home. Yes they are looking at 10 years of almost daily use. Another pair has 20 years, 10 in daily use 10 partial use dedicated to hiking. I have short but wide feet at 8 1/2 EEEE, never had real foot comfort till buying custom made. Expensive? YES! Worth the cost? Most defiantly.
Well treated and cared for, they will dry over nite in camp. Wet weight gain is within ounces of synthetic boots, 6 ounces wet vs dry. The 10 year old pair is as bought, the 20 have fresh soles from 5+ years ago.

distinguished member (406)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
01/13/2021 09:31AM  
Simms Riprap wading shoe for "normal" trips and OTB Abyss boots for more rugged trips.

distinguished member (255)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
01/13/2021 03:14PM  
We wear Nike Boots, their combat boots. Found them on sale at a Sierra Trading store but not online. They're light and have support. I also take a pair of tennis shoes, usually just in camp but tail running shoes work great for portaging too.
senior member (82)senior membersenior member
01/13/2021 07:01PM  

Meindl. Tons of ankle support and foot protection. Uninsulated and waterproof. This model (Vakuum) with rubber surrounding the foot bed has never leaked.

I like Butthead’s answer. Russell boots rock and there is understandable pride in ownership. They last just about forever when cared for.

member (45)member
01/13/2021 10:46PM  
I wet foot all portages and in the summer I either wear Chaco sandals or a well-draining trail running shoe like the LaSportiva Bushido. If I'm going to be doing relatively short, easy portages or it's super hot I'll opt for sandals. More challenging, longer portages or cooler weather I'll opt for the trail runners. In the shoulder seasons I add a thin neoprene sock under the trail runners. The system has worked very well for me for all the trips I've taken.
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