Day Hiking
Adventure Cycling
Other Activities



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 at camp?

Here is what I do about footwear for my paddling trips...

Because 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 March

masthead photo courtesy




gj studios - outdoor adventure specialists copyright information OAC's Facebook Page follow us on twitter