Footwear for Canoeing
What to wear and when
©Outdoor Adventure Canada
Footwear and taking care of my feet
seems to be a recurring topic for me as some of you may know from reading
some of my previous articles and forum posts. As I become more and more
involved in canoeing the subject has come up yet again. What footwear
should one wear in the canoe? What should be worn on the portage and
Here is what I do about footwear for my paddling trips...
I paddle from late May to early October I tend to wear sandals in the
canoe. I prefer sandals with sturdy straps that go right through the
sole. I've had those $20 pairs from the department store and the straps
tend to become unglued and the soles often separate. Useless. I prefer
quality brands that will last for more than one season. The good thing
about a sandal is that you can get in and out of the water without worrying
about damaging your footwear. I choose a sandal with a good tread and
sturdy construction. Sandals are great when you have to line the canoe
in shallow water.
Another type of footwear is the aqua sock. These are
form fitting, rubber soled "socks" that are usually constructed
of wetsuit-like material. My opinion is that these are more suited to
kayaking but I can see them being beneficial to the canoeist as well.
I tend to like to take my shoes off in the canoe so sandals work better
for me, but not on portages.
One summer, many years ago, I thought I'd be lazy and
just wear my wet sandals on the first few portages. Not only did I get
some of the nastiest blisters I've ever seen, but I stubbed my toes
and I almost sprained my ankle on the rough terrain. Now I take and
wear my hiking boots on all portages. I also wear proper hiking socks
and just biner my sandals to the back of my pack so that they can dry
a bit while I walk.
Speaking of blisters, this was the trip where I discovered
a product called Compeed® by Bandaid. This is for blisters and is
the best thing I have ever used. They are padded and perfectly shaped.
The best part is that you put it on for 24 hours at a time and even
with my feet in and out of water it stayed put. Compeed® is waterproof
and it helps heal the blister fast. You can barely feel the blisters
with the pad on.
What I wear around camp really depends on the weather
especially the temperature. If it is cool but dry I will wear socks
with my sandals, provided my sandals are dry. If it is really cold I
wear my hiking boots. I always bring extra socks, just in case.
It would be interesting to hear what others do for footwear.
If you have footwear tips or suggestions please post
it in our discussion forum.
Written by Laurie March
Photo of Laurie's very well abused Teva Guide Sandals courtesy Laurie