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Boundary Waters Quetico Forum :: Gear Forum :: Closed toe sandal recommendation?
 
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ppine
09/16/2020 06:33PM
 
My one and only trip to BWCA I wore moosehide moccasins. I broke my big toe on a tree root. From that day forward I do not portage with sandals, moccasins or open toed shoes. I like the water shoes. I bought a pair for hiking the creeks in the Grand Canyon and wear them anytime I am on a boat with a pair of crocs for camp.
 
MarshallPrime
09/24/2020 01:11PM
 
The best shoes for around camp (it is going to sound weird) are crocs. They are super light for portaging, easy on and off, keep your foot above puddles around camp, can be worn with socks, protect toes around camp since they are covered and are VERY comfortable. I absolutely LOVE them. I happen to have the hiking type, not for hiking, they were on sale around fathers day a few years ago.
I have done 16ish trips since I was 26 and these crocs are SO great around camp.


Now I am on the sandals side of this discussion. I have done a few trips when I started with boots and just get either tiered of having wet feet all day or dont like avoiding deep water when loading or unloading wearing dry boots with calf high tops.


Sandals are just great, if you have the right ones. I used to use the Keen Newport H2....they are too flat, allow too much junk in on portages and I just dont like them all that much for BW. At first I thought they were great.
Now I use the Keen Arroyo II. They are the best of both worlds. They have an actual sole to keep junk out and the arch support. Not as open also keeps junk out.


These are the only 2 shoes I bring on any trip anymore. I have even done cold, early June trips and they get my vote. I have done around 16 trips so I feel like I have enough experience to share my view.
If you like boots, keep wearing them and keep on trip'in in the BW.
Do what works for you but respect others opinions and sometimes they have good ideas. I've learned a lot on this board, lots of neat tricks. Some just dont work for me or fit my style.
good luck out there.



 
shorty123
07/04/2020 01:19PM
 
I ended up buying Merrell Moab 2 Vent Mid boots. I realize that it will be hard for the boots to dry out. If we are doing short/light portages, what is the most lightweight smartwool sock we should be using? I bought smartwool light cushion hikers, but my husband wants to wear something thinner that will be easier to dry out. In my opinion, any sock in a boot will probably stay wet.
 
shorty123
07/04/2020 06:44PM
 
boonie: "Take a dry pair for camp. Even if they dry out, how long before they're wet again?"
True.
 
HowardSprague
07/22/2020 07:54PM
 
I’ve always gone with a Cabelas wading boot as well, usually with wool socks and those chota caney fork neoprene wader socks. But i really want something lighter/cooler for hot weather. So i got a pair of Merrell Choprocks. The ones with real laces, not the bungee laces you pull. They have a nice grippy sole and i will combine with a pair of wool socks - nothing over them, just let them get wet and keep the tiny rocks out. I expect them to work well for portaging in warm/hot weather. It’s not a sandal but has the temp/air circulation/lightness you’d expect with sandals, maneuverable like an athletic shoe. Will see.

 
soundguy0918
09/17/2020 09:36AM
 
shorty123: "I ended up buying Merrell Moab 2 Vent Mid boots. I realize that it will be hard for the boots to dry out. If we are doing short/light portages, what is the most lightweight smartwool sock we should be using? I bought smartwool light cushion hikers, but my husband wants to wear something thinner that will be easier to dry out. In my opinion, any sock in a boot will probably stay wet. "


Last trip I wore "Merrell Men's Capra Rapid Hiking Water Shoes" with medium smartwool socks and a polypropylene liner. Within 30 seconds the shoes and socks "felt" dry and my feet were never cold. I have since worn the same shoes with just the liners for white water rafting, etc. The liners truly make all the difference for how your feet "feel."
 
RT
07/20/2020 11:21AM
 
Have a great trip! Post your thoughts after you get back if you have time.
 
TechnoScout
07/20/2020 02:34PM
 
I wear a boot with ankle support that drains water (A Cabela fishing boot...bought 13 years ago). This year I am pondering replacing them even though they are still functional.


I was wearing the Soloman TechAmphibian but in the same period of time I have gone through two pair--never going to buy them again. I use them for camp and paddle trips from camp. The Keens mentioned above ^^^ are appealing. Maybe I will buy a pair for camp this trip.


I don't think I would ever portage with out a boot. Too much can go wrong and I am old. If I were in my 20's maybe a different mindset.
 
dogwoodgirl
07/21/2020 09:44AM
 
Just had my first time out using Baffin Swamp Buggies- highly recommended so far! They drain great, and absolutely nothing made it way in- not even sand. I used to be solidly in the Teva camp, but I really like these.
swamp buggies
 
brux
07/20/2020 10:53PM
 
Keens never worked well for me either. I use these Teva sandals .


I wear a thin wool liner sock and a neoprene water sock over that. Keeps my feet warm in almost any season on when the inevitable pebble gets under your foot on a long portage, it provides some cushion.
 
RRHD
07/30/2020 07:21PM
 
Cricket67: "This may be a bit off topic but I tried the Scuba boots I had bought for shore diving and they worked great! I have Mares Classic Dive boot but there are others that may be better. These are designed for walking in water over crushed corals, rocks, etc. so they have great protection and give some heel support. "


I got some knee high kayak boots a size up for late fall trips, then I wear thick wool hiking socks under them. They are great! I usually bring neoprene water shoes for my camp shoe.


I tried keen sandals and slid around too much. Someday I’ll buy fancy jungle boots, but I’m just using inexpensive hiking boots these days. I sprained the hell out of my ankle a few years back in trail runners. I use a three sock method. One for today, one for tomorrow, one for camp, and they are sacred and stay dry.
 
shorty123
07/30/2020 07:35PM
 
The Keen Newport H2 Sandals worked out well for our trip. We wore socks with the sandals. Even though small pebbles got inside the sandal, it wasn't that bad (probably because we wore socks). Our portages were easy and short (less than a mile).
 
Brock63
08/31/2020 12:07PM
 
I like my Keen around camp, in canoe and for short mild movements....but otherwise would carry a broke in pair of your favorite hikers with good socks and change out. With that weight on shoulders plus packs, uneven ground, roots, rocks, stubs from cut trees and potential for wet incline/decline on trails....I would not wear anything other than good hikers or maybe a tight fitting rubber like Lacrosse airsole boots as they have good tight ankle fit.
 
LetsGoFishing
09/24/2020 03:48PM
 
I've also used whatever Teva's version of the Omniums was 10 years ago for my past 5 or 6 trips with a pair of wool socks. They've also worked as my boat shoes for fishing charters and fishing in friend's boats, as well as in my heavy aluminum canoe. Very multi-purpose. Like others said, they dry quickly, breath well, provide pretty good protection from portage hazards, and are easy to rinse out debris. I finally just threw them out after this last trip, and I'll probably replace them with the current model.
 
shorty123
07/01/2020 04:14PM
 
We are looking for a closed toe sandal to wear for portaging and canoeing. Does anyone have a recommendation for a sandal that can accomodate a high instep? Salomon and Keen did not work for us. Thanks in advance. I am looking for something similar in style to Keen Newport H2. If the sandal has an adjustable velcro strap to accommodate the high instep, that would help.
 
Jackfish
07/02/2020 07:50AM
 
I'm with Karl on this one. If you have one short "state park-ish" portage trail, maybe I could be convinced, but if you're doing regular wilderness portage trails, you risk injury to your feet with sticks, rocks, etc. Urgent Care isn't five minutes away by car.


How long have you been planning your trip to the BW? Probably many months, right? Why risk ruining the long-awaited trip for you and your trip mates with an injury to a part of your body that is easily protected by wearing portaging shoes or boots? A pair of Chuck Taylor high toppers would be far superior to sandals.
 
fishEH
07/02/2020 07:49AM
 
My friend and I routinely go to BWCA in June and the only footwear we bring are Keen Newports. For 95% of the stuff they are perfect. They are, however, lacking in the protection category. A few years ago we went into Quetico and had one big portage that hadn't been cleared yet. We were climbing on top of 8ft of downed trees and I got a pretty decent gash on the outside of my heel. I think socks would have avoided the problem. Or some old gym shoes.
 
shorty123
07/10/2020 08:23AM
 
Durza: "Wet-footing a canoe up a low river to get to a portage sounds just about awful in boots imo. Well fit Keens work fine for me but choose the level of risk you're comfortable with. I don't have the same problem everyone else has with stuff getting in em. Like sure it happens but just a quick swish back and forth in the water flushes everything out for me."
Thanks for your response. The bungee style laces don't work for us because my son's foot is on the wider side of normal width. We needed footwear with standard laces.
 
KarlBAndersen1
07/02/2020 06:24AM
 
Sandals are for camp. Boots/portaging "shoes" are for the trail.

 
boonie
07/02/2020 06:46AM
 
I used a pair of Keens on one trip, but I had the same experience as Karl - not enough protection on beaver dams, portages, too much stuff getting in, hard to keep on in mudholes.
 
shorty123
07/02/2020 07:11AM
 
Karl, are you saying that for a trip that has short portage (in July), you still think that a closed shoe/boot is a better choice? Thanks.
 
boonie
07/04/2020 02:32PM
 
Take a dry pair for camp. Even if they dry out, how long before they're wet again?
 
shorty123
07/02/2020 10:33AM
 
Thanks for the advice. I got it that water shoes or boots are safer than sandals for portaging.
 
AmarilloJim
07/21/2020 01:05PM
 

The Arroyo 2's have closed toes and heels. The side slats do not go all the way to the footbed so this helps keep out rocks and such.

The Astral TR1's are nice also.
 
mirth
07/21/2020 01:53PM
 
Brux, your Tevas look a lot like the old Dozer III model when they put on more of a sneaker outsole vs a hiking tread.


Glad yours work for you. I miss my Dozer II's.
 
mgraber
07/31/2020 12:50PM
 
I know shorty123 has heard enough about the dangers of portaging in sandals, but for anyone else out there, some of the most gruesome injuries I have witnessed have been from sandal portagers, and I've seen a few. It is like playing Russian roulette, your confidence grows every time you have success, but it is only a matter of time, which might be years. We have banned them for anyone travelling with us, but we do go places that are remote and rugged. It is just not worth ruining the trip for others so we try to always minimize risks.
 
shorty123
07/31/2020 02:53PM
 
mgraber: "I know shorty123 has heard enough about the dangers of portaging in sandals, but for anyone else out there, some of the most gruesome injuries I have witnessed have been from sandal portagers, and I've seen a few. It is like playing Russian roulette, your confidence grows every time you have success, but it is only a matter of time, which might be years. We have banned them for anyone travelling with us, but we do go places that are remote and rugged. It is just not worth ruining the trip for others so we try to always minimize risks."


I got it. It is safer to portage with boots and just wear the sandals in the canoe or at camp. We did encounter a steep area in our short portage.
 
mmrocker13
08/31/2020 09:36PM
 
I am a long time Keen Newport H2 user, and was going to say that :D


BUT on the off chance you can fit into kids/youth sizes... I urge you to try that one if it was "close". I do NOT like the adult version of the Newport for a number of reasons, but I ADORE the youth (BONUS: More colors and CHEAPER). I am a 7.5 wide/8B, and wear a 5. They go up to 6. Just a thing to consider...

ETA: I also ALWAYS portage in smartwool ultralights. The closed toe and socks provide all the coverage I need...and the open sandal allows me to remove debris by dangling my foot in the water and swishing.
 
LilyPond
09/03/2020 09:25PM
 
Brock63: "I like my Keen around camp, in canoe and for short mild movements....but otherwise would carry a broke in pair of your favorite hikers with good socks and change out. With that weight on shoulders plus packs, uneven ground, roots, rocks, stubs from cut trees and potential for wet incline/decline on trails....I would not wear anything other than good hikers or maybe a tight fitting rubber like Lacrosse airsole boots as they have good tight ankle fit."


"Packs, uneven ground, roots, rocks, stubs from cut trees and potential for wet incline/decline on trails" describes backpacking conditions. The same sandal/trail runner/
boots debate goes on among backpackers. Many claim that no ankle support is needed for backpacking, in fact that wearing boots will weaken your ankles. I don't buy that personally. I wear Teva Omniums as my day-to-day shoe pretty much year round. I take them paddling but don't wear them in the water---despite being marketed as a quick-drying water shoe, they can take up to two days to dry, so another pair of dry shoes is needed if you want dry feet in camp. What's good about the Teva Omniums: rugged toe; protected heel (compare to the Keen Newport, open on the back of the heel); heel strap. The current men's model has added mesh in the forefoot to keep out stones, but reviewers aren't that happy with the new model. The women's is unchanged.
 
pilot
09/04/2020 09:34AM
 
This may sound crazy, but my son and I both portaged in Birkenstocks this year. The most comfortable portages ever.
There were a few times I wish I had a second pair of shoes, but not enough to have brought them.
 
AmarilloJim
07/10/2020 08:42AM
 
I wore the Keen Arroyo 2 with wool socks for years without issue. I changed out the laces on all of them over time with paracord. The Astral TR1's are nice also.
 
Oldtown13
07/02/2020 03:57PM
 
I have a pair of Simms water shoes. Not sure the model- have had them about 10 years. Not sure if they are good for high instep, but they've been great for me. This last trip I brought the Simms and a pair of Crocs "Off Road" version ( a little better traction). Both worked great.
 
Erngato
07/02/2020 06:04PM
 
Recently bought the Keen SOLR sandals, haven’t used them on a trip yet but wear them everyday and am loving them so far. On my feet all day (Bartender) and have had zero issues.
 
Durza
07/07/2020 04:40AM
 
Wet-footing a canoe up a low river to get to a portage sounds just about awful in boots imo. Well fit Keens work fine for me but choose the level of risk you're comfortable with. I don't have the same problem everyone else has with stuff getting in em. Like sure it happens but just a quick swish back and forth in the water flushes everything out for me.
 
mirth
07/06/2020 02:13PM
 
I maintain 3 pairs of socks on a canoe trip -
Today's socks which will be getting wet.
Yesterday's socks which might be almost dry to the touch before I put them on tomorrow.
My dry socks for in camp.


Occasionally I'll take a 4th pair for colder seasons which never leaves the tent.


If it's going to rain & we're in camp I'll try to change back to my wet socks & sandals.


Like you, I had to find something other than Newport H2 sandals, but my issues were more performance and quality of the product. I still wear Keens on the water but instead I have Arroyo sandals. I might replace the shock cord with a shoelace, but I'm lazy so probably not.
 
RT
07/13/2020 12:10PM
 
Just to stir things up I will be on the other side of the conversation LOL.


I have been using standard Teva sandals for portages for over 10-years now; beaver dams, rocky landings, muck and mud... I will probably never go back to "shoes" for portages again. It's a personal preference. I load, unload, and portage in sandals, sit barefoot in the boat, and have a pair of hiking shoes for in camp.


Standard Teva are not for everyone. The other people in my group use toe covered Teva, Merrel, Keen, and some off brand from Walmart. The guys wearing the Merrel and Keen seem most happy with them.
 
Zanzinger
07/18/2020 11:31PM
 
Trying Astral Loyak AC shoes for the first time this year. Wet foot all day
 
shorty123
07/19/2020 08:20AM
 
I ended up with buying the Keen Newport H2. We are going to Moose Lake. The portages are supposed to be really short/trivial.
 
jewp
07/21/2020 04:40PM
 
I'm ok with sandals, I use Keens because that's what I have. We are only walking after all, it isn't that extreme. In cold seasons I have hippies, but that is more for warmth than protection.
 
Cricket67
07/24/2020 02:26PM
 
This may be a bit off topic but I tried the Scuba boots I had bought for shore diving and they worked great! I have Mares Classic Dive boot but there are others that may be better. These are designed for walking in water over crushed corals, rocks, etc. so they have great protection and give some heel support.
 
woodsandwater
08/01/2020 12:06PM
 
Ha! Another endless debate here. Read all the responses and choose what you think best for you. I have been wearing Keen H2O's for years with no problems. The toe guard has been helpful numerous times. And since we always "Wet foot" when loading or unloading the boat and lifting it out of the water or putting it in they have been perfect. They also have a good tread for slick rock surfaces. Been over numerous beaver dams with them. All the guys I paddle with wear them, too. Been doing at least two trips every year for the last 25 years or so. Never had or seen any injuries with Keen H2O's.