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2/27/2020 12:40 pm  #1


Footwear?

Permits are done and Equipment is reserved. Now I have over 4 months to obsess over gear, food and packing.

My first concern:  our feet

What do you all do for footwear?  We will be single carrying  - 9 of us with 3 three-man canoes.  
We have 5 portages over 1km with the longest being 2960m.  But the most difficult looks like it could Unicorn Hill at 2345m

Some type of water shoe for loading and landing canoes (and while paddling)?  I could also see these also being good camp shoes and help with shore fishing.

Do you also bring boots to use while portaging?  I have always worn over the ankle boots while backpacking.    I like having ankle protection while carrying significant weight.   Or do you go with a hiking/trail shoe that can do it all?  Packing my boots, keeping them dry, and lugging them around for a week to use 5 or 6 times doesn't seem like too much fun.

I guess my options are:

water shoe of sorts + boots
water shoe + trail/hiking shoe
just a trail/hiking shoe

thanks for the input.  I am learning a lot from all of you!

Last edited by ryan72 (2/27/2020 12:41 pm)

 

2/27/2020 2:19 pm  #2


Re: Footwear?

I hate water shoes - they tend to suck in small pebbles that will then grind your feet on the portage. I acknowledge that there are landings and portages in Algonquin where water shoes could be comfortable - and this is where you meet the biggest crowds.. Alternatively one has to dry-foot - not only the landings but also wet spots on portages, and that requires lots of energy, especially in wet season (last May my dry-footing partner had to paddle across some pools, which I walked through). Dry-footing ins and outs of 18/5' ultra-light canoe is cumbersome and more or less futile. I wear  comfortable non-waterproof hiking boots during the day (in icy water I will put on gor-tex socks or NEOS overshoes) and I change for light waterproof sneakers on a campsite.

 

2/27/2020 2:46 pm  #3


Re: Footwear?

I assume you mean for summer trips Ryan?

If so I used these for a long time and i found them to be very good. 

https://www.mec.ca/en/product/5026-977/Techamphibian-3-Sandals

MartinG on here put me on to these last year and I have done a few trip in them now. They're better. Offer more support IMO.

https://www.mec.ca/en/product/5040-613/Rassler-Shoes#reviews

For camp in summer i just bring an ultralight trail sandal. Something easy to slip on and off for late night nature calls but still has a good sole/grip.

https://xeroshoes.com/shop/gender/mens/ztrail-men/

If it's colder at camp I might bring these. They are a slipper but built for outdoors. Insulated, Waterproof with a great tread. I might be able to portage in them if worst came to worst. lol
https://www.sportsexperts.ca/en-CA/p-thermoball-traction-mule-v-mens-slippers/577657/577657-34


 

Last edited by ShawnD (2/27/2020 3:01 pm)


We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it.
 - George Washington Sears
 

2/27/2020 2:49 pm  #4


Re: Footwear?

This topic is always debated, there's no right answer really

Personally, I grabbed a pair of these last year and think they're perfect: https://www.amazon.ca/Salomon-L40016500-Mens-X-Ultra/dp/B073K1P361?th=1

After lots and lots of research, they were the best compromise between water shoes and shoes with proper support. If you look at the second last pic for the yellow colour, you can see right through the shoe. The mesh is extremely breathable and helps the shoe dry quick if you're tripping in decent weather. I wear these at all times while travelling, with regular socks. If I can keep my feet dry during the day, great, if not then I let everything dry once I get to camp. 

Once I'm at camp, I wear a pair of cheap flip flops. Shoes come off and either put away with my gear or set out to dry if needed, and I wear the flip flops until I'm ready to travel again the next day. 

For me, this is the most efficient method. All that needs to be packed is a pair of light flip flops. Plus, the flip flops are really convenient to slide on/off when getting in and out of the tent, etc.


Trip Reports & Campsite Pictures
www.algonquinbeyond.com
 

2/27/2020 3:49 pm  #5


Re: Footwear?

@trippythings, how are the Salomons in width? I read in reviews that they can be narrow. I have arthritis in my big toe which limits me in terms of footwear and I'm looking at possibly getting some amphibious shoes.

For me I wear my Keen sandals pretty much all paddling season. In the shoulder seasons I may wear goretex socks if it's cold. Ordered some Sealskinz cold weather/waterproof socks which I'm excited to try out this May (April?...March???) for iceout. At camp I'm still wearing my 7 yr old Patagonia slip ons that I got in a discount bin at SAIL. Best shoes ever but unfortunately the company stopped making them. In fact, they got out of the footwear game altogether it seems. Will be a sad day when I have to finally put those out to pasture.

Last edited by RCSpartan (2/27/2020 3:50 pm)

 

2/27/2020 4:13 pm  #6


Re: Footwear?

I wear boots on portage and old, mesh-top running shoes in the boat. I made a bag that clips onto my canoe pack to carry the alternate footwear. 

http://www.scratchypants.com/pics/bbag002.jpg

Last edited by scratchypants (2/27/2020 4:16 pm)

 

2/27/2020 4:44 pm  #7


Re: Footwear?

There are as many preferences as there are people I think. For me, an waterproof ankle boot for portaging/hiking , my 10 year old keens are still performing great.  water sandals in the boat and camp with a very thin sock if needed. As we have encountered clam beds at times, which are very sharp when open, water sandals also get used for swimming. In cooler fall temps we will take neoprene ankle boots to keep feet warm in the boat, sometimes instead of watersandals.

 

2/27/2020 4:47 pm  #8


Re: Footwear?

RCSpartan wrote:

@trippythings, how are the Salomons in width? I read in reviews that they can be narrow. I have arthritis in my big toe which limits me in terms of footwear and I'm looking at possibly getting some amphibious shoes.
..... Will be a sad day when I have to finally put those out to pasture.

At first I remember thinking they were a bit narrow and uncomfortable vs. some other shoes that I bought to compare side-by-side, but that went away pretty quickly. I've been wearing them as my gym shoes recently (I need to buy another proper pair of gym shoes so these get less wear-and-tear and last longer, but that's another story), and even when I go back-and-forth between these and other shoes, they don't feel narrow at all. So either they've stretched a bit to conform to the foot, or I just got used to them super quickly.

If you have a specific reason why narrow might not work, like you mentioned, then maybe they're not for you. But if you're interested in them, I'd say there's no harm in purchasing and wearing them around the house for a bit, where the soles will stay clean, then decide if it's worth keeping or returning.

I've even debated buying a second pair just to have as a backup once these eventually give out.


Trip Reports & Campsite Pictures
www.algonquinbeyond.com
 

2/27/2020 5:20 pm  #9


Re: Footwear?

Always good to have a set of dry camp shoes Ryan.    

I wear a pair of waterproof mid top hikers for regular paddling and portaging.  They allow me to wet foot put in/take out to an extent, but usually take on a little water.  With a good set of merino wool socks I barely notice and they dry out quite fast. 

If I'm spending the day in a river with low water and I'll be wading or dragging my canoe, I bring a set of Mec brand Moques. https://www.mec.ca/en/product/5021-652/Moque-Neoprene-Boots-Low?org_text=moques  These are neoprene shoes with a gripped hard soul that protect my feet from lures, sharp objects etc.  I've even done small - medium portages in them and if my boots get wet, they make a decent camp shoe. 

Depending on the season, I bring a pair or sneakers or sandals for camp (or wear those moques) and dry my boots by the fire. 

 

2/27/2020 6:26 pm  #10


Re: Footwear?

For summer time use, I think shoes should fit you well, not come off in a mud hole, provide foot and ankle protection, dry quickly, drain quickly, and have really good grip on wet moss covered rocks. Most trail shoes will have you covered.

But, for me, the ideal shoe should be at least mid cut with proper laces so they stay secure in moose muck which can be thigh deep in some spots. They should provide full coverage to prevent sticks, gravel and sand from coming in and cutting your feet or rubbing them raw (ie not open sandles). I don't try to keep my feet dry. Accept that they will get wet. Rather than water proof, I look for good draining and and quick drying. Really good grip on wet rock is essential. It is different than really good grip on dirt. Most stumbles and falls will happen on rock at the put in and take out and at challenging spots along the portage. Big lugs do nothing to help your grip on wet rock. It is siping in the sole that provides this grip. Siping is razor thin slits in the shoe tread that help them stick to smooth surfaces. These treads wear out quickly if you use them on roads or sidewalks.

I'm sure there are other brands but Astral shoes pretty much nail all these ideal world needs. Either the Rassler or TR1 Merge. The Rassler has grippier soles. The Merge is more of a trail shoe and offers more support.

 

2/27/2020 7:02 pm  #11


Re: Footwear?

For a 3k portage it is worthwhile to put on boots or solid hiking shoes. For anything up to 1K or so, then I'm most likely just wearing my Keen's in the summer.
 

 

2/27/2020 10:22 pm  #12


Re: Footwear?

It's not absurd to want ankle support. I couldn't imagine doing portages without. I wear Vasque hiking boots on trips. When  I wanna air out, I go barefoot around the campsite. I do this year round with thick wool socks. Wouldn't have it any other way.

 

2/28/2020 12:05 am  #13


Re: Footwear?

John Connelly wrote:

Hey Ryan .... such a personal choice eh .
Have found most footwear without Vibram soles are as slippery as hell on wet surfaces .
These Vibram soled Danners have plenty of miles on them ....  after eight years , they were my first choice to snow blow the laneway today . Have found a modest use of mink oil helps keep the toes dry .
Pricey for sure , worth every penny .
https://i.ibb.co/645cSJF/DSC08094-Medium.jpg

https://i.ibb.co/nnzN3jm/DSC08172-Medium.jpg

https://i.ibb.co/0q7ghJh/DSC08175-Medium.jpg

Nice boots, John

http://www.scratchypants.com/pics/boot.jpg

 

 

2/28/2020 10:46 am  #14


Re: Footwear?

I have a pair of the TechAmphibians that I wear hiking around and when paddling.  They are ok but the back straps do tend to loosen up a bit and rub on my heel.  I also don't love the lacing system on them. I had Salomon water shoes before and they were way more comfortable.

Around camp I love Crocs.  Super light, breathable and comfy.  And lets not forget how important it is to look fashionable around camp...Nothing more fashionable than a dude rocking a pair of Crocs!

 

2/28/2020 11:43 am  #15


Re: Footwear?

I use TechAmphibians as well (have for many years), but I've found the latest version of them extremely narrow - as in painful to even put on narrow. Fortunately they stretched out quite well after I left a couple of tall cans stuffed in them for a week. 

 

2/28/2020 12:00 pm  #16


Re: Footwear?

If you have the money to spare, Salomon Men's Quest 4D 3 GTX. These are arguably the very last pair of hiking boots you will ever own. Unbelievably comfortable and tons of ankle support. In the summer months, these boots never come off until the end of the day. They're constantly in and out of water, mud, gravel, rocks, and loon shit. But at the end of the day, my feet love me. So unless you hate your feet, spend the money for quality footwear. Spend once, cry once.

https://www.mec.ca/en/product/5056-424/Quest-4D-3-Gore-Tex-Hiking-Boots

 

2/28/2020 12:30 pm  #17


Re: Footwear?

Thanks everyone.  I knew everyone would have their own ideas and I like seeing others's thoughts on this subject.  

Swift Fifteen wrote:

If you have the money to spare, Salomon Men's Quest 4D 3 GTX. These are arguably the very last pair of hiking boots you will ever own. Unbelievably comfortable and tons of ankle support. In the summer months, these boots never come off until the end of the day. They're constantly in and out of water, mud, gravel, rocks, and loon shit. But at the end of the day, my feet love me. So unless you hate your feet, spend the money for quality footwear. Spend once, cry once.

https://www.mec.ca/en/product/5056-424/Quest-4D-3-Gore-Tex-Hiking-Boots

I couldn't agree more.  I started wearing these several years back and have gone all in on Salomon footwear. I got my oldest 2 sons a pair of the Quests last year and they love them.  In fact, I have never had anyone tell me that Salomon's aren't a great boot or shoe.    I was skeptical that the sole wouldn't be as great as a vibram model or that the synthetic uppers wouldn't hold up like leather but it was unfounded.  They are built to last and are very grippy.

I have used their Mocs for several years now as my water/shore fishing shoe. They are great too.
https://www.salomon.com/en-us/shop/product/rx-moc-4-0.html#color=20162

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