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Packrafting Footwear Suggestions
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Kevin Goulding
(baha-kev) - MLife
Packrafting Footwear Suggestions on 06/03/2009 10:50:18 MDT Print View

Hi all,

Trying to figure out the best choice for footwear on a packrafting trip - summer, high altitude, 30-50 miles backpacking, lots of getting out of the boat and scouting rapids, wet rocks, submersion, etc.

I am considering the Salomon SpeedCross 2 trail running shoe. It seems to be (1) lightweight, (2) breathable / fastdraining, and (3) great gripping ability without being heavy.

What do you guys use? and, your thoughts on the Salomon SpeedCross 2?


Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Packrafting Footwear Suggestions on 06/03/2009 10:59:19 MDT Print View

I just use my regular trail runners (Inov-8 Terroc 330). They have mesh sides and drain water quite effectively. If you're going to go with a shoe specific to packrafting though there are definitely options. For instance, Ryan uses about as drainable a shoe as possible - the Salomon Tech Amphibian.

Tech Amphibian shoe
* note the 'drain ports' along the side and above the heel.

Looking at photos of the Salomon SpeedCross 2 you mention they seem to be along the lines of my Inov-8 in that the mesh fabric will drain well. One thing to consider is as you're sitting down on the side of your boat preparing to get in, briefly lift your leg in the air so water can drain out the top.

Brett Tucker
(blister-free) - F

Locale: Puertecito ruins
Re: Packrafting Footwear Suggestions on 06/03/2009 20:08:40 MDT Print View

Does the SpeedCross 2 have a mesh upper? Photos I've seen seem to show more of a ripstop fabric, which jibes with the product description, ie "water and debris resistant upper" and "more breathable than waterproof shoes." This description seem problematic from the standpoint of water sports.

Kevin Goulding
(baha-kev) - MLife
Re: Packrafting Footwear Suggestions on 06/05/2009 15:54:49 MDT Print View

Thanks guys.

So there's a give & take between more trail oriented (better support) shoes versus more water oriented (more drainage, grippability).

I am leaning towards getting a regular trail shoe, and draining my feet (hung over the side like you mentioned) before getting in the boat. I think support for the hiking portion is more important, as I will have weight on my back. And as long as the trial shoes aren't "waterproof", they should drain reasonably well.

I used old sneakers (non-trail running shoes) last weekend and they worked fine for the water, rapid scouting, etc. so I am thinking trail running shoes would only be an improvement on that, plus better for the trail itself.


PS. Now considering Salomon XT Wings S-Lab trail running shoes (b/c on sale).

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
Fireblades on 07/05/2009 20:13:44 MDT Print View

My LaSportiva Fireblades are the fastest drying shoes I've ever owned. Faster than my old Exum Rivers or 5.Ten Canyoneers.

Great shoes.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: Packrafting Footwear Suggestions on 07/05/2009 20:18:02 MDT Print View

Ryan J. has been looking at these lately:


Look like a good cross between water shoe and trail shoe.

Jason Brinkman
(jbrinkmanboi) - MLife

Locale: Idaho
Re: Packrafting Footwear Suggestions on 07/15/2009 00:59:28 MDT Print View

Just bought SpeedCross 2's today. They are very tight micro-mesh type fabric on top with a lot of rubber overlay. They don't impress me as particularly free draining even though they might breathe okay. You'd be better off with XT Wings or XA 3D Ultras if you stick with Salomon.

Other (more amphibious) options mentioned above are significantly better draining.

Edited by jbrinkmanboi on 07/15/2009 01:00:21 MDT.

Gregory Topf
(notoriousGRT) - MLife

Locale: PNW / Switzerland
Even with drainability, do your feet really ever dry while in boat? on 07/15/2009 06:20:56 MDT Print View

I tend not to focus so much on drainability unless I plan to be switching back and forth a lot between land and water during a single day with long enough hikes to actually dry the feet. Even with good drainability and quik-dri socks, do one's feet ever really dry out while rafting?

If one accepts this, one can focus on other design criteria. With the added dimension of water travel added to the general lightweight backpacking equation, I think wet traction is a primary driver along with the normal lightweight backpacking criteria.

I really like the rubber from Five-Ten. I would wear the Savant if it fit my feet. I ended up with the heavier Camp Four for fit reasons only and have been pleased with it for hiking and wet-traction.

Roman Dial
(romandial) - F - M

Locale: packrafting NZ
Re: Fireblades on 07/15/2009 19:32:20 MDT Print View

I liked the fireblades too. went through three pair. Back to Saloman XAs because the sole has better traction on wet surfaces.

Jack Newton
(figster) - F

Locale: Central Arkansas
Not to beat a horse! on 08/04/2009 07:03:40 MDT Print View

But I use Nike Shox Jungas (!!?) exclusively as my boating shoes. They are super light (soaking wet), drain well, dry well, protect against dense Arkansas rock, and allow you to dash around camp.

While probably not better than those Innov8s, a pair of Jungas has gone through several unusually wet seasons for me.