Level Six Creek Boot; $62 (www.levelsix.com)
The Level Six Creek Boot is a classic neoprene paddling bootie, plain and simple. There's nothing particularly fancy to see here but it gets the job done. Whether you're walking on slick rocks or standing on an SUP, the traction is dependable, and the strategically placed webbing bands add structure. An elastic drawstring around the mid-ankle cuff keeps sand and grit from entering the bootie and ensures that it doesn't get sucked off your foot when swimming. I found that the 1.5mm neoprene is plenty warm enough for 3-season conditions, making this an excellent choice for days when I want to switch between playboating and standup paddling seamlessly.
If know I'm going to spend all day on slippery rocks or long portages then I'll choose a different shoe, something a bit beefier and with more traction like the Eddy or the Rassler. But for days when I want to prioritize insulation in the water and comfort in the boat, the Creek Boot is a great choice and comes at a nice price point.
More 2017 Footwear Reviews:
A trail-focused water shoe with breathable mesh on top and plenty of support underfoot.
A purpose-built paddling shoe with ankle support, grip, and a thick sole.
A sturdy hiking shoe for heavy loads and muddy conditions.
The NRS Velocity is a sturdy. purpose-built, high-top paddling shoe with plenty of support and cushion for long portages.
The Body Glove Dynamo Rapid is a minimalist water shoe for light and fast adventures.
The NRS Boundary Boot is a calf-high neoprene boot for cold, wet, muddy conditions.
C&K’s team of expert gear testers reviews the year’s best paddling shoes before the 2017 season.
Five Ten applies their legendary rubber to a sleek and durable paddling shoe.