About six months ago, I started to notice local kayakers sporting a new kayaking boot made by Keen. When I asked what it was, I was told it was the new “Gorge Boot” designed by a kayaker in the Columbia Gorge. They all seemed to love it and said that it worked great on wet rocks.
There’s a lot of new gear out there but when I saw the Oregon Rafting Team had started wearing the Gorge Boot, I knew it had to be good. They’re a raft racing team, but they also find time to tackle gnarly, demanding rivers in the Northwest. They demand the best of all their gear, shoes included, so I figured I’d give them a try.
When I went online to buy a pair, I was shocked that the boot was only $70. Considering how much I’m hooked, they’re a really great deal. Yesterday was my second day kayaking with the Gorge Boot and they are officially amazing. The totally sticky soles are one of the most important things as they stick to wet rocks when I’m carrying my kayak around a rapid that’s above my skill level (which I do often). I immediately felt solid walking on rocks with my boat on my shoulder.
I ordered the boots a 1/2 size too big to fit my drysuit’s booties and they fit perfectly. Even when I don’t wear my drysuit, they fit like a glove and are very comfortable. Their easy to use and versatile cinch tightening system is great, as are the loops that you can use to help pull them on. On a cold day, wool socks, dry suit booties, and cold fingers make for a tough time getting shoes on, but no with these – the wide opening and grab loops make it easy!
In short, these are awesome kayaking shoes. Whoever it was that designed these knew exactly what I needed in a kayaking shoe and delivered!