TEVA Cherry Bomb 2 Whitewater,
$80, www.teva.com/ cherry-bomb-2-kayaking-booties
The Good: The new Spider Rubber and J-Step technology outsole keep a firm, sturdy hold in slippery situations. Great Protection for the little piggies in and out of the water.
The Bad: The lacing is a bit stiff and fragile over the top of the boot, does not allow for the real cinching I like when I’m eyeing the churning whitewater ahead.
The Ugly: Plastic and I don’t mix well. I pulled too hard and one of the plastic ends popped off the laces the first time I put the boots on.
I never really think about my feet unless I stub a toe or develop a case of frost-bit nerve damage on one of my outings. But after a few busted toenails and heart pounding slip-ups I’ve learned to appreciate that my tennis shoes do not belong in the river; and a rubber outsole with some serious grip can literally provide the lifesaving extra hold on those green stone monsters under the whitewater. It’s also not a bad idea to have sturdy durable tread for the portages over dry land when a rapid is just too dangerous to chance.
I set out with these Cherry Bomb 2s on a few treks into the wild waters of Northern California. First I took a jaunt across Wiskeytown Lake near Redding, the boots had exceptional insulating warmth on that chilly paddle during a hail deluge. After that I spent a few days up in Plumas County playing on the Feather River, Spanish Creek, and Lake Almanor. The slick rocks of Spanish Creek were easily traversed with minimal slips and slides, and I confidently kept my footing on some jagged shoreline along the Feather River. The rugged outer of this boot really held up well to this fairly rigorous beating.
The Cherry Bomb 2 has well-thought-out features including rubber toe bumpers, a long gusset at the ankle for easy on and off fit, hook and loop ankle strap, neoprene uppers, and serious grip with the Spider Rubber tread and heel cage support. What I did find to be lacking in the boot was the top lacing which is too stiff to really cinch down the boot. I pulled a bit too hard and the plastic aglet (yep that’s what it is called) came right off. Honestly, the boot fit snugly with the ankle strap and side gusset cinched down so this isn’t a deal breaker.
The Bottom Line is: research and development and a few beers brought out a high quality boot made specifically for the U.S. National Raft Team and some of the best paddlers in the world.
These boots provide excellent features at a great price. This means that those feet of yours will be the last thing on your mind. The boots will keep them warm and protected so you can keep your eye on the roaring class IIIs around the next corner.
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Author: David Skinner