Just to explore this a little more
Posted by: Glenn_MacGrady on Oct-06-12 11:59 AM (EST)
First of all, the topic is high traction sandals. I'm not sure there are any felt-soled sandals, but it could be a good experiment to glue felt on the bottom of some old sandals and see if it works.
I had felt-soled booties for a couple of years when I was an avid WW boater in the 80's. They wore out fast and I didn't replace them with another felt pair. I really never noticed any in-water traction difference.
That brings us to the treacherous put-in/take-out scenario. There are some of these if you are off the beaten path. But felt is only good (allegedly) for the wet and slimy rocks that are under the water or near the water's edge. The treacherous part -- steep inclined, rocks, roots, slippery soil, slippery scree, loose soil, muck -- is usually above the water line. In those areas of treachery, my preference is the kind of sole on a good hiking boot -- not felt, which I think would be an inferior material with which to lug a heavy canoe.
The soles of my NRS Attack Shoes served me very well, in the boat and in all land and water conditions, on a six-day solo paddle with 8 miles of endurance portaging this summer. My Bean Explorer sandals would have worked also. A thin soled water shoe or felt bottom would not have worked well on the portage trails or roads. I didn't want to have to switch off using different shoes.
(Tangent: the Attack Shoe has a terrible, inflexible instep for kneeling canoeists unless you do the surgery I recommend in my comment on the NRS site.)