-- Last Updated: Sep-21-12 9:03 AM EST --
I prefer these until it gets really cold.
Year round. Chota makes a similar product with a thinner sole.
Wool socks maintain some amount of warmth even wet, work fine under these.
Then I go to mukluks, mine are actually diving dry boots.
I find sandals to be quite uncomfortable for paddling. Either the sole is too thick, or they are so flimsy that the straps can catch on the pedal (dangerous).
Make sure that you just drop your legs and feet and physically relax sometimes while paddling. Many newer paddlers actually go for a position that is too tense and locked in.
Hip/leg angle is personal. The one I prefer is a back killer for many for example. You may have to play with the seat and thigh braces for a while. Some also find that they need to continue the support under their thighs beyond the edge of the seat, by adding in some shaped minicell. You can tell if this would help by sticking a partially inflated paddle float under your thighs.
If it is two of you, you should learn and practice rescues asap, while the water is still warm. You have a significant advantage because you can count of doing assisted rescues. Done right, a smaller woman can use the boat to help get a much heavier guy in by the way.
Just get dry bags for anything you care about. Plastic boats tend to leak some around the hatch, it's just a question of how much and where.