Five Ten Eddy; $100 (www.fiveten.com)
Five Ten brings its legendary high-traction rubber to its new paddling shoe, the Eddy, a versatile water sneaker that finally bridges the gap in Five Ten's line between the minimalist Water Tennie and the beefy Canyoneer 3. While the Water Tennie was more of a beefed up bootie, the Eddy is a low-profile sneaker that looks like the kind of exercise shoe I would wear to a gym.
The Eddy has a Phantom™ rubber sole that grips slick/wet surfaces as well as any shoe I've ever worn. Perhaps the biggest feature of the Eddy, however, is the clever drainage system. A durable mesh-rubber upper combined with drainage under the sole and heel ensures that I'm never sloshing around with water inside of my shoe and that sand/grit exits the shoe before doing damage to my drysuit booties. All that drainage isn't good for booty beers, but it's a huge benefit for performance.
Five Ten took a page out of the Astral playbook and did away with the removable insole. In a water shoe, this means one less place for mold and mildew to make your booties smell terrible and deteriorate rapidly. That was a huge problem for me with the Water Tennie and hasn't been an issue with the Eddy.
Another huge feature is that the rubber sole wraps around the toe, preventing stubbed toes and providing increased durability to a typically high-wear area that's been known to fail on the Water Tennie as well as the Astral water shoes.
The Eddy is my new favorite high-performance paddling shoe and it's performed excellently on paddling trips to Colorado and Québec. People with wide feet should be wary because this shoe is relatively narrow and the mesh upper does not expand much with use. I wear a 9.5 street shoe and the 9.5 Eddy fits great when I'm barefoot but has plenty of space for my drysuit booties and thick wool socks.
More 2017 Footwear Reviews:
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The NRS Velocity is a sturdy. purpose-built, high-top paddling shoe with plenty of support and cushion for long portages.
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C&K’s team of expert gear testers reviews the year’s best paddling shoes before the 2017 season.