Canyoning footwear -- a review of a couple options from 5.10

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Canyoning footwear -- a review of a couple options from 5.10

Postby FatCanyoner » Sat 10 Mar, 2012 8:29 am

G'day folks,
I'm not sure how many canyoners are on here, but I'm assuming there are a few around. I recently started a threat about issues with the Dunlop Volley, which has been the canyoning shoe of choice for Aussies for decades, and the fact that the problems were forcing me to look for alternative footwear for canyoning (the post is here FYI: http://bushwalk.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=8826).
In the end I picked up a pair of 5.10 Canyoneer 2's, which were very kindly brought over from the US by an American canyoneer who was coming to Aus. So far I've used them for a weekend of tough canyoning in the Wollemi wilderness, which put them up against lots of scrambling / climbing / scrub / tough canyon conditions. They've also done an easy day trip. I have been blown away by how well they have performed. In almost ever situation they are better than the Volley's, and they seem to be hard-wearing, even in the tough conditions of the Aussie bush. I'm now looking at getting a bushwalking shoe from the same company which is basically a running shoe with the canyoning sole (which is made of two types of climbing rubber).
Anyway, for those who are interested I've written up a review with some pics here: http://fatcanyoners.org/bush-guide/five-ten-canyoneer-2/
Also worth reading is the review which inspired me to buy these shoes. Joshua ended up choosing another model from 5.10, the SAR, which are designed to be even tougher. In the end the added cost and engineering actually turned me off this option, but it may work for other people. His review also goes through a lot more of the technical specs of both shoes, including the specialist rubber they use for the sole. You can read his review here: http://fatcanyoners.org/bush-guide/5-10-canyoneer-sar/

Finally, has anyone else here bought some specialist canyoning shoes? If so, which ones? What has been your experience? Is there something better on the market?

It does seem like this area is going to improve soon. Even Adidas are apparently working on a specialist canyoning shoe, which is due out this year.
The Fat Canyoners: trip reports, technical tips, gear reviews and more: http://fatcanyoners.org
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Re: Canyoning footwear -- a review of a couple options from

Postby nq111 » Sat 10 Mar, 2012 6:35 pm

Interesting to see these getting developed and read the reviews. I used to use volleys when i was young - not for canyoning but at regular walking that often involved stretches walking up creeks. I transitioned to boots for regular walking- and despite the current crowd telling me i am closed minded and out-of-touch - would never go back to shoe type options. Boots are a different technique like one of the reviews said - for example you can't edge the same way in volleys as a boot with a stiff sole and hard edge. So no surprise to me that a dedicated product is better - the volleys option was only for lack of anyone trying to produce anything specific.

Now we just need some shoe manufacturers to make some good, tropical hiking boots (like military jungle boots / regular hiking boot hybrids) for the 2/3 of the world's population that live in between the tropic of capricorn and tropic of cancer :). Unfortunately most of that 2/3rds are poor - so it probably won't happen any time soon. But surely the market must be as big or bigger than canyoning/canyoneering?

How do you think the 5.10s would hold up as an option of regular walking in wet and muddy conditions? I note that you note they don't give much ankle support - though lots of people don't seem to mind that.
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Re: Canyoning footwear -- a review of a couple options from

Postby Dale » Sun 11 Mar, 2012 8:29 am

They look nice ! I've been on the lookout for shoes to use rafting. Important would be grip for rocks during portages / swims, toe protection, drainage and ability to do double duty hiking. Thanks for the review.
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Re: Canyoning footwear -- a review of a couple options from

Postby FatCanyoner » Sun 11 Mar, 2012 9:26 am

nq, there are some interesting options I am looking at for hiking as well. I don't like boots, but I know what you mean about having a stiff sole and hard edge. 5.10 have a couple models that are basically running shoes, but with the solid sole of the canyoning shoe (including the heal guard). They seem to offer all the benefits of a boot (other than ankle protection) in a lighter shoe. I don't worry about ankle support much. I twisted my ankle several times walking in boots, but have never had a bad sprain in Volleys, so my experience is that it is a bit of a myth.
One company that I'd recommend checking out in your hunt for tropical hiking boots is http://www.bestard.com/. I haven't worn them, but they are very well regarded overseas.
Dale, a canyoning shoe like this could work well. The grip is exceptional on rock. The SAR version has a hardened plastic toe guard (basically the protection of a steel capped boot). They have drainage holes that work well, so you don't feel like a space man. And they are designed as 'approach shoes' also, so can handle a lot of hiking. The downside is the specialist canyoning shoes are rather ugly. But we don't do this outdoor stuff to look fashionable!
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Re: Canyoning footwear -- a review of a couple options from

Postby nq111 » Sun 11 Mar, 2012 12:05 pm

FatCanyoner wrote:One company that I'd recommend checking out in your hunt for tropical hiking boots is http://www.bestard.com/. I haven't worn them, but they are very well regarded overseas.


Now, how is it possible no one has told me about these before?!! :lol: Put some Vibram mulaz soles on them and they look like they would be approaching that dream boot I have in my mind but no-one makes. By hook or crook - I will have to track down a pair of these and try them out.

On the ankle support thing, I have to agree to disagree with you (and also with a heap of other more experienced and knowledgeable outdoors people than I!). I can (and have) rolled ankles walking on a flat concrete paths but despite many stumbles and potential roll-overs I am yet to do so in the bush( on various tough terrain and with substantial weight on the back) since taking to good boots. I did role ankles in the bush (and quite badly) before boots.

People can argue (quite successfully) that I should train my muscles better, pay more attention to the terrain, get fitter etc. but the reality is as that I can strap on the right boots and hit some pretty tedious terrain and be safe against a fairly high risk (in my case). I guess it is the compromise approach of a sometimes weekend outdoorsperson to a dedicated adventurer. I can't be the only one - the military (USA) produced the (often-quoted by shoe proponents) research on the substantial burden of extra weight on the feet but still insist on boots in all situations.
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Re: Canyoning footwear -- a review of a couple options from

Postby Dale » Mon 09 Apr, 2012 8:28 am

Thanks for the heads up on the 5.10 brand Fatcanyoner. I've decided to order a pair of these http://fiveten.com/products/footwear-de ... ter-tennie which look like the bomb for whitewater trips.
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Re: Canyoning footwear -- a review of a couple options from

Postby FatCanyoner » Mon 09 Apr, 2012 10:06 am

Nice. I'd be keen to hear how they perform. I've picked up a bushwalking boot that they do which has the same climbing rubber sole as the canyoning shoes to see how they go. They certainly seem well built so far.
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