The NRS Desperado sock is a long time favorite among playboaters, and paddlers that want river footwear with minimal volume. The NRS Freestyle Wetshoe
is basically an advanced, space age version of the Desperado sock. It comes complete with a Vapor Loft interior, HyrdoCuff closure system top, 1.5mm rubber soles, and great lateral support. What's the best part of the Freestyle Wetshoe? It retails for $44.95
, which is a whole lot less than other competing brands. As usual, NRS is offering a high quality product with very useful features, for the budget conscious consumer (and commercial outfitters).
COMFORT:Features like the Vapor Loft interior lining, HydroCuff Closure System top and rubber side bands for lateral support all lead to a low volume shoe that you can wear all day long. Vapor Loft is a synthetic fiber that makes it easier to get in and out of the shoe, keeps your foot warmer, and also does NOT get wet. It's the same material found in their super warm and plush Radiant Wetsuit. The Hydro Cuff top is also really nice for keeping sand and debris out of the shoe. This feature will also make a stand up paddlers life a little bit easier, because they spend quite a bit of time walking boards back to shore...For freestyle, especially park and play kayaking, it's nice to be able to get in and out of the boat, and not worry about getting a few teaspoons of sand in each booty every time you walk in the water. The rubber bands on the side of the shoe will add support, and ultimately keep your foot comfortable when walking too and from the river.
A close up of the Vapor Loft interior. It's warm, plush and 100% completely hydro phobic. Waterproof!
Vapor Loft adds quite a bit of value to the Freestyle Wetshoe.
The Hyrdo Cuff top will act as a barricade to keep sand and debris out of the shoe. This is an awesome feature for playboaters, river surfers and anyone spending lots of time hanging out in the eddies of sandy rivers.
This is a closeup of the rubber bands that provide support and comfort when one spends long hours in the shoe, on varied terrain.
VERSATILE:Because the soles are 1.5mm thick, and offer great flexibility and traction, the NRS Freestyle Wetshoe makes a good downriver playboat booty as well. The soles and lateral support makes portaging and getting to and from the car a breeze.
A closeup of the sole. Notice all of the slices in the bottom. This creates traction and flexibility; two good features to have in a river shoe.
SUPPORTIVE:The NRS Freestyle Wetshoe has support reinforcements on all different parts of the shoe. The above mentioned rubber side bands provide lateral support, the toe area is covered with an extra layer of rubber, and the heel has added support as well. I would imagine that this would be the ideal shoe for a trip to Uganda or some remote location with great playboating.
Added reinforcement in the toe box is nice for long hours in a play boat, and jamming your feet in the front of super low volume bow's, as well as NOT stubbing toes on shore.
Heel reinforcement and support. This section of the shoe somewhat resembles a climbing shoe.
LOW VOLUME: This "pro" is fairly obvious, but needs to be mentioned again. This shoe is very low volume, especially considering all of the protection and features that it provides.
VALUE: The NRS Freestyle Wetshoe is the same price as the Desperado sock, but has more feature than costlier options like the Desperado shoe. For $44.95, it's a superb value, but then again, that is what NRS is known for.
NOT AN EXPEDITIONARY RIVER SHOE:We've mentioned a few times that the Freestyle Wetshoe is supportive. It built for a specific purpose, which is playboating. This can include downriver freestyle kayaking, but not creek boating. It is not constructed to provide the type of support that you would want in a potential rescue scenario. If you want a pair of relatively low volume river shoes, that you can creek in, check out the Astral Brewers...
NRS just upped the ante in the sub $50 river shoe market. The Despearado socks were a popular item for us. These shoes have a lot more features, but do not cost any more. They were built specifically for freestyle kayaking, but could be worn rafting, stand up paddling, river surfing, or anytime that you would want a low volume, flexible, nimble, yet supportive river shoe.