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Baffin BV1 & Baffin Swamp Buggy Shoe Review

Words by GoKayakingAdmin

on 10/09/2014 13:24:00

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Baffin BV1 & Swamp Buggy Shoes.

Long are the days gone where hardened paddlers have had to put up with floppy paper like neoprene shoes, as are the days where we had to ruin a pair of decent mountain boots to go paddling.

Paddling footwear has improved drastically over the recent years with one brand in particular leading the way.

Now, from the arctic climate of Canada, there is a new product on the market, and I had the chance to test out the new Baffin BV1 shoes for kayaking available at Go Kayaking North West RRP £89.99.

 

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Selecting the right pair of shoes for kayaking can be tricky.

They need to fit over a dry sock and potentially 2 other neoprene socks, fit your feet, be comfy in the kayak, grip on rugged terrain and most importantly be secure and have no snag hazards.

Companies have dabbled in trying to squeeze all these qualities into an affordable shoe, but only now can I confidently say this has been achieved.

So for those of you who are new to the Baffin brand (like myself) here’s a little information about them.

The brand was established in 1997 in Canada, a country with uncompromising landscapes and rugged extremities.

The company realised the need for footwear which could provide the utmost protection from the elements.

By understanding and modernising the fundamental layering system which inspired the Inuit’s, the Baffin brand developed different layering systems for their different shoes allowing you to be fully engaged with your environment, regardless of the elements.

The BV1 shoes are constructed of 6 layers each with different functions – breathability, drainage, cushioning, a rugged outer sole and a mesh which prevents stones and grit from entering the shoe.

This is all held together with an elastic fastening system. So does it all work? – Yes.

I’ve worn the shoes on a few river trips in the UK which involved wading in, portaging, scrambling and rescue drills on slippery, wet limestone and not once was I inhibited by my footwear.

The rugged soles provided me with plenty of protection and grip on the wet rocks but were flexible for me to fit my large feet (UK13) in the kayak comfortably.

The outer ventilated layer ensure they are breathable and lightweight. The drawstring fastening system is quick, simple and secure.

The excess string can be neatly tucked away and secured under the tongue of the shoe, minimising the snag hazard.

The most impressive element of this shoe was the draining system. Often with shoes, water and silt accumulates in the shoe.

The drainage system in the BV1 shoes ensures that water and silt drains out through the sole, thus keeping your feet warmer, dryer and protecting your dry sock.

The most important part of this intelligent feature is that silt cannot filter upwards through the drainage holes. Water and silt filter out, but silt cannot filter in.

 

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So, any compromises? Well, yes. There is one. The lightweight, breathable outer doesn’t exactly keep your feet particularly warm but a shoe that can keep your feet warm, won’t be particularly lightweight or breathable. So unfortunately, there is no having your cake and eating it too.

On the positive, this can make the shoes more versatile, as both a summer shoe or with the addition of a set of separate neoprene socks, a warmer winter shoe as well.

It is also worth noting the lack of ankle support, but they are designed as a lightweight kayaking shoe, rather than a boot. Baffin do offer a Boot with ankle support called the Swamp Buggy, available at Go Kayaking North West for £99.99.

This show has all the features of the BV1, but with more ankle protection.

Overall, Baffin has taken another step at getting a ‘perfect’ shoe for kayaking with very little to compromise on.

They are lightweight, robust, breathable, secure, tough with a solid protective sole and features to protect your dry suit and made by polar explorers.

Whether you need the Swamp Buggy or BV1 you are guaranteed to get a top quality shoe that will only strengthen your grip on the elements, ensuring you’re the best you can be.

Buy them here at Go Kayaking North West.

Sources of information & further reading:

Baffin Website

Baffin Brand History

Go Kayaking North West Website

Go Kayaking North West Facebook

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