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Needing advice (yes, I do, sometimes!)...


Pintail

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I have worn neoprene booties and cannot stand the idea of the perpetual fight against the stink; I have had Keen shoes, bought on "special" at a past UNH bash -- useless: the plastic buckles were not nearly strong enough, they let small stones and sand in all-too-easily and the soles came flip-flop loose; I have worn Teva watersports shoes which were comfortable and rugged at first; but the neoprene heels tore through after time (two pairs of those I had)... so I am asking for opinions regarding decent, functional. comfortable paddling shoes that manage to keep debris out. Anyone care to elucidate or opine?

Thanks in advance!

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Maybe not the answer you are looking for, but we use a boot dryer to dry out our booties and gloves after washing them. It works very well to dry them quickly, and it has seemed to keep any stank at bay. I think you can get them for less than the cost of a new pair of booties, and you can keep using the ones you love.

FWIW, I personally love the Sasquatch boots because they are a soft neoprene with a firm rubber sole and heel. They are easier to get on and off, and fit over a variety of sock thicknesses or bare feet better than the fabric-type boots that I have. I don't really know how well they hold up since I lost my first pair and had to replace them (hint - if you leave your boots out on the rocks to dry out in the sun, double check to see where the high tide line is - duh!!!), but the heels are reinforced with the same material as the sole and they seemed to be holding up just fine for the year(?) that I had them.

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I like the current keen booties. All the straps are hook/loop and they snug over the heal and instep as well as across the front of the ankle. Only issue is that they don't drain as well as some as there are no holes in the sole.

best

Phil

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My minimalist approach: I use cheap $20 dive shoes. They slip over the foot snugly, keeping out stones and sand, no buckles or straps to break. They have a good grippy but not bulky tread on the sole. They are cool in the summer. In cold weather they slip over the drysuit socks. They dry out really quickly which helps keep away the stink, and I sprinkle them with a little foot powder to help with that. If they wear out quickly (they usually last at least one season and often 2), it's not too hard to shell out a 20 for another pair at the local dive shop. This is the general idea: http://tychoice.com/product/14231065560/Men's+Decathlon+scuba+diving+dive+shoes+TRIBORD+Aquashoes+100

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Tried booties once or twice, for me they suck. I wear water shoes and appropriate socks or plug in the goretex booties. I need one half size bigger for the dry suit so have two pair, one from Speedo, proving you can wear your Speedo on the outside. The ($20 at Costco awhile back) Speedo shoes don't fit nearly as well as Merells, which I generally get for outdoor footwear of all types.

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I have worn neoprene booties and cannot stand the idea of the perpetual fight against the stink;

All I do is thoroughly wash my neoprene stuff with a high-pressure hose and then hang it all out in the sun to dry. I wouldn't want to sleep with the neoprene, but once dry it doesn’t drive the neighbors away.

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About neoprene stink:

I wash all my neoprene (incl. wetsuit and socks) in my front loading washing machine after every use, and do whatever it takes to dry them quickly (radiator or sun). It keeps the stink quite manageable. If the stink has already built up, soaking overnight in Woolite maybe twice as strong as on the label, then washing machine (with no soap) to get the Woolite out works surprisingly well.

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The simple method for eliminating neoprene boot stink is:

  1. Wear socks - The bacteria that make boots stink feed on skin oil, sweat and dead skin cells. Wearing socks helps to cut off this food source and it is absolutely key to preventing the stink.
  2. Rinse them after every use - Plain ol' fresh water is all you need for this; just make sure you rinse them thoroughly.
  3. Dry them thoroughly after every use, preferably in the sun - If you don't think you'll have sufficient time for them to air dry, stuff them with newspaper or cedar shavings, or use a boot dryer.

These same principles can be used with other neoprene garments, too. Wear under-layers. Rinse after use. Dry thoroughly.

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The simple method for eliminating neoprene boot stink is:
  1. Wear socks - The bacteria that make boots stink feed on skin oil, sweat and dead skin cells. Wearing socks helps to cut off this food source and it is absolutely key to preventing the stink.
  2. Rinse them after every use - Plain ol' fresh water is all you need for this; just make sure you rinse them thoroughly.
  3. Dry them thoroughly after every use, preferably in the sun - If you don't think you'll have sufficient time for them to air dry, stuff them with newspaper or cedar shavings, or use a boot dryer.

These same principles can be used with other neoprene garments, too. Wear under-layers. Rinse after use. Dry thoroughly.

I agree wholeheartedly with Brian on this one! My neo never stinks. All I use if fresh water to rinse. So it is definitely the socks that prevent the stink. My preference is for wool socks and I wear them year rounds.

And a side benefit, the socks make the shoes easy on/off. So, where the shoe style you like and just add a pair of socks.

BTW, fresh water is much stinkier than salt water. So rinse after being in 'fresh' water too.

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Everyone: thank you for the advice; but I really would prefer to <avoid> neoprene bootees! (Been there, done that -- I wore them for several years -- are they "booties" or "bootees"?) I really prefer the feeling of freedom of paddling <shoes> of some sort. In any case, during summer months I try to paddle every day, so that getting neoprene to dry out is not always feasible.

Perhaps the latest generation of Keens or Merrills are better-designed than what I had during the past two or three seasons; but the first much-lauded (by the sales person at the expo at UNH) Keens were totally crap and fell apart quickly. A waste of money, as far as I was concerned.

One solution, of course, is to paddle in totally-open Tevas -- then at least one can rinse sand and gravel out before shoving one's feet down into the cockpit...oh, well: are you lot running out of ideas so fast?

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Astral Designs (until recently Astral Buoyancy) Brewers. Looks terrestrially stylish enough to use as a casual sneaker, dries extremely fast (in the summer I can feel them dry on my feet while paddling), 5-10 sole makes for fantastic traction and doesn't hold a stink. Sizing runs a touch snug, I'd recommend upsizing by a full size especially if planning on using with bootied drysuits/drypants.

See you on the water,

Marshall

The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY

www.the-river-connection.com

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