I'm not sure whether the Dunlop Volley has managed to build a big bushwalking following around the country, but here in NSW it has been a particularly popular shoe for many decades. It is light weight, doesn't leave you with soggy waterlogged feet in the wet, and most importantly has spectacular grip on wet rock. While outside of a few clubs they are probably seen less and less on bushwalks, they still remain the dominant shoe for canyoning (the price has helped with this fact too!)
Recently Dunlop has done a 'redesign' of the shoe, apparently moving to a much softer and cheeper rubber which is wearing out far to quickly. Dave Noble had an interesting post about this recently (http://www.david-noble.net/blog/?p=951
). My first reaction was that people were over-reacting. My first use of the new shoes weren't too bad. I probably got lucky.
Last week I did a seven day canyoning trip in the remote Wollemi NP (http://fatcanyoners.org/2012/01/18/coorongooba/
). This is not an area where you want, or can afford to have gear failing. On this trip my new style Volleys were terrible. The grip was gone within three days, they gave me serious blisters and the sole was so thin I was starting to plan ways to attach the soles of my thongs to the shoes for the long walk out.
Since my return I have sent a scathing email to Dunlop. I haven't had a response yet, but I intend to express my disgust at the failure of these shoes.
Now I am in a serious dilemma. For the last four or five years I have walked exclusively in Volleys. Whether it is a canyon, a bushwalk, caving or pretty much any other outdoor activity, this is what I strap on to my feet. But on this trip I was really seriously contemplating abandoning the old favourites.
It seems I'm not the only one. A good friend has just made the decision to move to specialist canyoning shoes. From his review of the 5.10 Canyoneering SAR's (http://fatcanyoners.org/bush-guide/5-10-canyoneer-sar/
) I don't think he is going to switch back, even if Dunlop restores the old Volley.
I'm quite interested to hear what everyone else's experiences are? Does anyone else still walk in Volleys? Have you had problems with the new ones? Are you going to stick with them?
I'd also like to encourage any Volley wearers who have experienced a loss of quality to contact the company here: http://www.volley.com.au/contacts/