Palm Rock Water Shoe – The unsung hero of our kayaking wardrobe
It’s easy for the mind to wander when you are out on the water on a calm day with the water lapping gently against the hull of a kayak. That is exactly what happened the other day when I found myself staring at my feet and feeling ungrateful.
You see, I was wearing my Palm Rock water shoes: An unostentatious pair of 3mm neoprene “booties” with rubberised sole. It struck me that I had never written about these, yet they are one of the most frequently used pieces of kayaking kit I own.
I have better water shoes (The Palm Camber being my favourites), but my trusty Rocks get a lot of use and very little recognition for it. It’s time for me to put that right.
Palm Camber are a mid-weight, ankle high boot constructed of 3mm neoprene. The sole is injection moulded rubber in Palm’s diamond pattern. This gives it superb grip without compromising flexibility. It’s softer than a trainer sole, but still protects the foot. The boot is slip on and has a Velcro strap to keep the foot securely in place. All very sensible, all very practical. But why does the humble Rock get so much use?
Firstly warmth. Being a soft southerner I’m not so keen on a cold ankle when the water is cool. The Rock isn’t a full-height boot, but almost perfectly meets the bottom of my wetsuit, keeping me snug in that 3mm neoprene. That height also means ankle bone protection against hulls, foot rests and viciously edged foot pegs. All good.
Next up, Grip. The sole on the rock is far more flexible than, for instance, a training shoe. There’s enough protection to save you from a stone or twig in the foot, but that flexibility means more purchase and grip on a wet kayak.
As you’d expect from Palm, Rock water shoes are made from quality materials and construction is solid. I can’t even recall when I bought my Rocks, but they’ve certainly had a few season’s use with little more attention than an occasional rinse and look like they have plenty of use in them yet. Pretty good for kit of any type, let alone boots with an RRP under £30.