River Shoes



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  • River Shoes

    What do you guys wear on the river? I am working on planning a trip on the birch in september. I bought a book about rivers in AK and it recommends knee high rubber boots. Everyone down here in OR claims that is a very bad idea. The rest of the clothes recommended seems to be about the same but the footwear is the point of contention. So recommendations with an explenation of why you wear what you do would be appreciated. And if you want to through in any other recommendations feel free.

  • #2
    Not sandals! (IMHO)

    Hey Scotty,

    I've seen quite a few folks wear the rubber boots like you mentioned, I've always found them less than comfortable. Lots of folks wear the gore-tex waders, and they are a lot more comfortable in my book, but I hate putting so much extra stuff on and off. I usually wear some sort of wading shoe. The teva gamma ones are pretty good, and my orvis boat shoes are fine, even the sperry topsiders work fine, as long as they drain and dry quickly, and give decent traction on slick rocks. The only thing I don't like about them, and even more so in sandals, is the gravel gets inside them pretty easy and it annoys me later on. And, in the really cold glaciated stuff, eventually my toes and ankles get really really really cold. If I were to only wear one set of footwear, it's be a pair of simms wading boots with neoprene socks for warmth and protection of my ankles from the more bony river rocks, or the NRS work boot is about the same. The neo socks give you that bit of warmth, and the boots and socks are tall enough that they don't fill with gravel too easily and they protect your ankles. Plus, if you do wind up wearing the waders, the boots will work perfectly for them as well. Good luck, the Birch is a beautiful river! Oh, did I mention stealth rubber innsead of the felt soles? I've busted my @$%%^*^*%$&$ too many times from silt clogged felt soles trying to maintain traction on a rowing frame, tube, airplane float, or gunnel of an aluminum boat... and I think the stealth rubber gives every bit as much traction on slick rocks from my travels. Not to mention you can actually hike quite comfortabley in a boot with stealth rubber soles!


    • #3
      September River Footwear


      It can be pretty cold up here in September. Teva sandals aren't gonna cut it. You really only have two choices; hip boots or chest waders. Lately I'm liking my breathable chest waders with sock feet, and a good wading shoe with gravel guards. Wet wading is no fun in September up here.

      Michael Strahan
      Site Owner
      Alaska Hunt Consultant
      1 (406) 662-1791


      • #4
        wading pants

        I have to agree with Mr. Strahan's post, I'll never make the mistake of wearing rubber boots for any amount of walking again in Alaska, especially in the rivers (got blisters bad last year trying to walk only about 5miles a day in them). Bought a nice pair of chest waders with sock feet and have decided the $200 investment was well worth it (threw my rubber boots away).


        • #5
          Aqua Socks

          Go with the aqua sock/NRS boot set-up, its the most functionable and comfortable. If you go that route, size them accordingly. Personally, I got them a size and a half large so that you can wear your wadders with them as well, which also provides plenty of space for the aqua sock. However, be careful with the rigid edges of the NRS river boot, it may cause detrimental damage to the wader at the point it connects with its neoprene booty.


          • #6

            Not sure if you mean Birch Creek or not, but no matter what, if you go under, waders will fill up and hold you at the bottom even more than concrete blocks tied to your feet. Remember that most rapids are immediately followed by deep pools.

            I usually wear ExtraToughs knee boots for warmth, complete water-proofness in shallow water, and fairly easy exit in case they hold me under.


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