Review of NRS Boundary Shoes

08 January 2015

NRS Boundary Shoe review by active360

Keeping warm for flat water SUP paddling in winter is mainly about keeping feet and hands warm.  Experienced paddlers rarely fall in so light thermals and a cag are generally enough to keep warm while you are moving.   However static feet can get very cold and this makes paddling uncomfortable.

Launching a SUP from a river or lake bank generally involves getting wet feet because of the need to wade in deep enough to clear the fin.   Some boots seal around the ankle to prevent water getting in. This generally makes the boots difficult to put on and even harder to remove.  Also a tight seal can restrict blood supply to the feet which will make it harder to keep them warm.

Another approach it to use very thick neoprene which will keep wet feet relatively warm.  This works for surfing and downwind sea paddling where feet are moved around a lot – but not so well for river SUP where the paddler moves their feet infrequently.  Keeping feet dry but insulated enough to be warm if they get wet is the ideal.

The boundary shoe, conceived for sea kayaking has a high top which enables the wearer to wade in water 38cm deep and stay dry. In the event of a swim or wading in deeper water ingress is limited by a buckle and strap at the top of the boot.  The boundary looks much better on than it does in online images. 

NRS Boundary Shoe

The shoe is made of 5mm neoprene which is thick enough to work in most conditions above 5c.   With a thermal sock it would work quite well in temperatures down to 0c.  You may need a bigger size to enable this as a tight fit generally reduces circulation.

The high traction sole provides good grip on slippery riverbanks and plenty of protection from sharp stones and glass etc. The sole is not clumpy and allows good movement around the board.  The shoes are really comfortable and much more like neoprene shoes with extended tops than boots.  I completely forget that I have them on while paddling and only remember when launching and leaving the river.  They only weigh less than .7kg per boot and area easy to fold and pack.

As with all equipment there is scope for improvement.  A thermal lining in the foot area would make the boot even warmer so socks would only be required for subzero temperatures.  A slightly thicker neoprene around the toe section could also work, as would an 8-9mm (instead of 7mm) insole. Also extending the rubber edge around the toes by a few cm so that water can’t sit on the neoprene over the toe area (where it transmits heat) may also help.

However, as it stands this is by far the most practical winter SUP boot we have ever tried and improvements would be fine tuning to make it even better.  I wish I hadn’t been put off by the rather heavy appearance and tried them before.   I’ll be wearing mine on every cold day on the river until spring arrives.

Available to order at £84 and we have demo pairs in size 8 and 11 info@active360.co.uk

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