So.  Your feet and what you put on them to go into the water…

In the photo above you’ll see, at the top left, my old wetsuit boots.  They were acquired for scuba diving.  Tricky to get on, and meant to have flippers put on over them.  They’re TIGHT. I tried using them for kayaking- it made sense, right?  Wetsuit boots.  Turns out that they slide around really badly on wet river rocks and you can (and I nearly did) crack your tailbone OFF wearing these things in a river.

No problem.  I bought a new pair (next pair to the right) that had zippers!  Zippers are good, as I was hurting myself trying to wriggle into those scuba boots.  To keep the zippers from unzipping, they also have velcro straps.  And •voila• they have felt bottoms that are amazingly good at letting you walk on slimy river rocks.  Very nice.  But the style quotient is so low as to open the wearer to public ridicule.  I was young and my ego couldn’t take it.  I got one of the first pair of Teva wethikers.  They’re not pictured here as I ordered them online, and subsequently they didn’t fit well (there are advances that have been made and now getting a better fit is a high-tech thang on some websites like, I believe, Merril’s)  Anyhow, they tore up my feet and they were early in wethiker technology and they came apart on my later.

The purple pair above were given to me by a buddy.  He’d ordered them, they didn’t fit, he ordered something he liked better and I got the purple booties.  I had to quit wearing them when all my gear wound up being purple at one point.  Plus, these things were early in their manufacturer’s attempts at wetshoes, too.  There were better choices.

The boats I was paddling at that time were getting smaller, too.  (Savage Fury… anyone remember these boats?  woo.  Anklebuster.  And I was part owner of a squirt boat.) so I started wearing neosocks, and just having to hobble on the stony ground.  One pair had a sole of sorts.  Number 5 above. They’re okay.

Then, of course, I broke down and joined the Sandal crowd.  I mean, really… sandals are the original shoes after all.  I got some nice ones, and found that the cheap ones would occasionally work out, but the more expensive, techy ones were probably worth the extra coin.  There’s the pair I wore on the Grand Canyon, in the photo next to last.

The final pair of shoes I also got for the Canyon.  They were some of the few pairs that fit me at the Outdoors Outlet store- my size is pretty common and they’re hard to find at outlet prices.  I fear that these were in the Outlet store because they sold very poorly.  Probably the only reason they haven’t come apart completely is that I don’t rely on them all the time.

I’ve mentioned another pair of wetshoes I used to have- those DID get used all the time.  They were a pair of 5•10 Nemo shoes.  Don’t go looking, they’re not still being made, despite being stylish enough (for wetshoes), cheap enough, well-wearing enough and dependable until the very very end.  I proved that by wearing them hard and long until they actually disintegrated off my feet during a Whitewater Rescue Class- right after I’d been bragging that they were the thing I was most glad to have.

Soooooo… What do YOU like to wear when your feet have to be wet?