Over the 15 years that I’ve kayaked, I’ve used a bunch of different shoes and I’ve had my favorites, but I haven’t found a shoe that I loved enough to buy it twice until now. And, now I have two shoes that I consider the best shoes for kayaking. I’ve purchased one twice and the other one, after it wears out, I’ll purchase again.
NRS Comm-3 Kayaking Wetshoe
NRS’s Comm-3 Wetshoe is designed for outfitters and guided kayaking trips. It’s made from 3-mm neoprene with titanium, which means that it’s durable. I bought my first one out of a used commercial shoe fleet, guided in it for a year and wore it for two years after that, including on my 800-mile Port Huron to Home Expedition. I finally wore through the ankle area on that trip. The insole is made from 5-mm neoprene rubber and the sole is rubber. The thickness of the sole combined with the neoprene makes it comfortable to walk on rocky beaches, and the rubber sticks well to rocks. It comes in whole sizes and I found that they run big. I’m usually an 11 or an 11.5, and I got size 10 shoes. The suggested retail is under $40, which is a bargain for how durable and comfy these shoes are.
Get it here: NRS Comm-3 Shoe
NRS Boundary Kayaking Shoe
NRS’s Boundary Shoe is actually a 15-inch high boot. It’s made from 5-mm neoprene, so it’s really warm in winter and cold water. Even without socks on in my drysuit, the boot kept my feet warm on a four-day trip in 40F water this spring and for a month of early season guiding and training on Lake Superior this spring. If the 15-inch height feels too high, it’s easy to fold the top down to halve the height. The rubber sole sticks well to wet rocks, and the 7-mm insole combined with a 2-mm plastic shim protects your foot from bumps and whatnot. I bought these in an 11 and it took a couple of weeks for them to stretch out to fit me perfectly. At first, I did notice that they seemed narrow, so I wore the Velcro strap that runs over the top of the shoe loosely. For long walks, I tighten them. One thing that I have noticed is if you don’t overtop these shoes, they stay nice and dry inside. They come in whole sizes and seem to be dead on in size. They’re worth the $90 that NRS wants for them.
Get it here: NRS Boundary Shoe