Words & photos: Sancha Myall
I live on the Jurassic coast, where the beaches are pebbly and extremely uncomfortable to walk on. I’ve always been a grin-and-bear-it person when it comes to the pebbles., I pump up and get to the water as quickly as my pain threshold allows. Since wearing the Zhik booties, I now enjoy walking to the water; they’ve become one of the first things I pack to take with me, whether paddling or just swimming.
I went from wearing booties only in winter or for events which require you to for health and safety reasons, and now wear them on every paddle, river, sea, lake or canal. Zhik states that they have been designed to enhance the barefoot feeling and have certainly achieved this.
Calling the Zhik bootie Lightweight is an understatement. They easily slip on your feet, and no fighting is necessary. The water expels so quickly that you don’t get wrinkly feet. The thin sole allows you to still move around your board freely, but somehow, when walking on the ground, they still feel cushioned. Every aspect has been thought about in the design process. They even have a removable inner sole, making it easy to keep them clean. The fabric they’re made of is highly breathable, which speeds up the drying process. I could come home, rinse them, and they’d be ready the next day.
As a barefoot paddler, I wasn’t sure how much I’d like them, but I honestly don’t think I’d return to paddling without them. I have all the benefits of wearing booties without feeling like I’m wearing them when moving around my board.