Updated: Feb 14, 2021
Footwear is so important! If you have ever tried to walk through a river, on the banks or through any other rescue scene, like a suburb or rural area that flooded and someone's yard and half their house is underwater, you know this to be true.
Our rescue team wears NRS work boots. They are almost like a combat boot that any other first responder would wear except they are made for the water. They have ankle support, reinforced toes, and thick soles to protect your feet from all of the unexpected objects or rocks you will be stepping on. If you are looking for a protective water boot, look no further, this is it! Wearing them with a drysuit is no issue, although you'll want to go up 2-3 whole sizes to accommodate the drysuit bootie and thick socks. If you look at the back of the boot you will notice a lip protruding from the heel area, this is so you can wear and secure fins if needed. Pro tip: If you find these difficult to put on while wearing a drysuit, sprinkle some baby powder in the boot or rub powder on your drysuit bootie.
NRS has a large selection of footwear. For recreational activities, we wear NRS Boundary boots. The model we have has been discontinued since it was purchased (I snagged the boots on a nice clearance sale). They are tall, provide shin protection and warmth and most important they make walking on rocks in the river feel good! They are also comfortable to SUP in, and I can tell you from experience that not all footwear is comfortable to SUP in. Foot fatigue or cramping feet is not what any SUPer wants especially if you are on an extended trip. We did 14 miles on the Delaware river last fall with these boots and could not have been happier with their performance.
Due to NRS having such a large selection of wetshoes, there are several pairs on my radar that I'm itching to try out and probably will in the spring. NRS Free Style wetshoes look SO comfortable and I've seen other paddlers flaunting them about. They are also very affordable.
NRS paddle wetshoes are similar to and resemble the soles of my above mentioned discontinued Boundary boots that I already know are comfortable. They have the added benefit of side zippers and use heat-reflecting titanium to keep your feet warm. Honestly, how cool is that? If you needed extra convincing that this is a great boot, the heat-reflecting titanium should be doing the trick. And that isn't all, as the paddle wetshoe also has a vaporloft lining that assists with repelling water and quick drying. I learned a long time ago that neoprene takes an extended time to dry so this is an excellent selling point because no one wants to put on wet wetshoes!
The new Boundary boots from NRS offer more protection than the former model, plus a quick lace system. The sole of the new Boundary boot has thick lugs for high traction and protection from any rugged terrain. NRS went a step further with these boots and added in a protective shim to guard against puncture from sharp objects. If you have ever read one of my magnet fishing blogs you know as well as I do that there is plenty of rusty and sometimes sharp metal on the river bottom. All of the extra protection makes this boot very appealing.
If none of these options are what you are looking for, then perhaps the NRS ATB wetshoe is. I would describe it as a workboot/paddleshoe cross over.
Regardless of what you do in the water the boots and shoes listed in this blog have you covered. For a complete listing of all NRS footwear please visit their site. This post represents only a sample of the boots we believed would be most useful to our audience.