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Old 11-28-2009   #11
Spokane, Washington
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 1
Keens are the way to go

I have been using a pair of Keen H2 Venices until I lost them on a hard swim (I think I didn't have them tight enough). I bought another pair because they were so comfy. The toe thingy is the way to go.

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Old 11-28-2009   #12
Randaddy's Avatar
Eastern Slope, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2,406
Originally Posted by Chip View Post
My warm-weather standbys are plain old Chacos, w/o the toe strap.

For the sort of funfest where you have to get out a lot and horse your boat over rocks, I wear the NRS Scout watershoes.

They're reasonably comfortable, well-made, and I can walk several miles in them barefoot without blisters. (Right now on sale for $38.95 which is a good deal). The NRS river shoes dry out pretty fast and if you pack some good wicking socks, synthetic or wool blend, you can do an emergency walkout without severe harm to your tootsies.

(The old gray-soled Chacos are unbeatable for friction scrambling on slickrock.)

For cold water, I add neoprene Gator Sox, the basic type and the pair I bought for paddling Sitka Sound with fleecy linings. Both are thin enough to wear with the Chacos and NRS river shoes.
I get the more "tennis shoe-ish" version of these and love them. I'll get 2 seasons of guiding out of a pair. However, the laces suck big floppy donkey ears. Cut the laces off, measure them, get 1-2 inches longer in thin cord from a climbing shop, cauterize the cord, and presto - great river shoes. They're good for hiking, under the cross tube, and they protect the toes pretty well in the desert.

They don't stick to rocks when wet as well as the pro Chacos, but almost as well. Better than Keens though, not in craftsmanship, but in wet traction.

Pro price, $25.

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Old 12-06-2009   #13
cataraftgirl's Avatar
Sandy, Utah
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,121
I have yet to find the perfect river shoe. I've worn Keens for the last few years, and so far they are the most comfortable & functional for me, and I like the toe bumper. I sometimes have trouble with my little toes poking out of the side openings. Plus their sole is a little bit too slippery on wet rocks or loose gravel. Chaco's have awesome arch support, but the straps chew up my feet, and the sliding straps get jammed too easily with fine sand. The closed end on those NRS look interesting. Hmmmmm. Maybe another shoe purchase in my future.

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