Canyoneering Footwear

March 09, 2016  •  2 Comments

It seems that canyoneering, is one of those sports that borrows and adapts gear from other rope and aquatic sports. As the sport grows in popularity, more canyoneering specific gear becomes available. It seems that footwear has been an area that has been lacking in options. For the longest time, the only canyoneering specific footwear, (available is the US) was the venerable 5.10 Canyoneer boot.

P3080014P3080014OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Old 5.10 Canyoneers. This design held for years. The goofy look and recognizable tracks on dirt made it easy to spot them in the wild.

It looks like this model hung in there for years. The rand was kind of low, and they would wear fast in exposed areas, but early runs of this model were pretty OK. In later years, runs of this model became famous for delaminating early and often.

In 2015, my 5.10 SARs delaminated after 3 canyons.
 

5.10 replaced my Canyoneers 2 SARs with a pair of the new 3s. While waiting for the replacement, I got a pair of Bestard Canyon Guides. These are boots made in Spain and it looks like Bestard is a serious brand of mountaineering boots (www.bestard.com) from Adventure Plus

OptionsOptionsAs of spring 2016, the best options for canyoneering footware.

On the left, Bestard Canyon Guides. On the right, 5.10 Canyoneers 3. Both after a year of canyoneering.

5.10 Canyoneer 3s5.10 Canyoneer 3sMuch improved quality. They do not delaminate like the late 2's. Yet, they seem to have weak spots. Just after 1yr, the mesh in the front is desintegrating. I had to soak the front in Aquaseal.

5.10 3's Do not delaminate, but have weak spots in the front. I had to cover the front mesh in Aquaseal to keep the mesh from disintegrating.

 

BestardsBestardsHolding pretty good after a year. Weak spot seems to be the rand where the foot bends.

Bestards holding pretty good after a year. Weak spot seems to be the rand where the foot bends.

Sole ComparisonSole Comparison5.10 Stealth rubber is famous for being sticky. I found Bestards to be just as sticky. I like how the Besatrds have a better edging zone on the inside foot.

5.10 Stealth rubber is famous for being sticky. I found Bestards to be just as sticky. I like how the Besatrds have a better edging zone on the inside foot.

BestardsBestardsCool lace locking mechanism.

Cool lace locking mechanism.

 

5.10 Canyoneer 3s5.10 Canyoneer 3sNeck is useless to keep sand out.

Neck is useless to keep sand out.

 

5.10 Canyoneer 3s5.10 Canyoneer 3sSoole profile with notch unde the arch gets stuck in rock features.

5.10 sole profile with notch under the arch gets stuck in rock features.

Adidas HydrosAdidas HydrosGood for class C canyons....close to useless in sandy enviroments. Bothe the zipper ones and the laced ones develop sand pockets in the linning.

Other options are in the Adidas lineup.


Adidas HydrosAdidas HydrosZippers will fail quick in sandy enviroments.

Adidas Hydro Pro and Hydro Lace are OK for class C canyons. In sandy canyons, the zipper gets clogged fast. The lace-up model fares batter, but both models develop sand-pockets between their lining and exterior. The fine sand gets in there via sandy water. After the water dries, the sand remains there. After several canyons, your toes do not fit in the toe-box anymore. You need to slash the lining.

 

After a year of wearing both Bestards and 5.10 boots, these are my impressions:

Bestard Canyon Guides are super light and comfortable. They seem to withstand abuse better than the 5.10s. Bestard's sole pattern and rubber are sticky enough, and I like the flatter thread better with a generous edge zone for climbing. Bestards provide great ankle support. I have taken these boots in a couple of multi-day Grand Canyoneering trips with a 45 lbs pack. I feel like they are a bit too much for shorter dry canyons, and that is where I use my 5.10 Canyoneers 3s.

 

Right Canyon No 48Right Canyon No 48Look! We must be in the right canyon.

Bestards Canyon Guides in the Grand Canyon: 12 Mile approach, climbing, edging, canyoneering, rafting.

Canyoneers No 45Canyoneers No 45Canyoneering Escalante

Lee T Wilson stemming high on Bestard's Canyon Guides.

The ideal canyoneer footwear should:

  • Be comfortable enough to use on day or multi day routes.
  • Offer enough ankle support to carry heavy packs on very uneven terrain.
  • Be made out of materials that do not get degraded by constant water exposure.
  • Drain fast and not allow excessive amounts of sand in.
  • Have protection for very high abrasion enviroments.
  • Have soles that are very sticky and shed mud fast.

If you want a "do it all" tough, comfortable canyoneer boot, give Bestards a try.


Comments

2.Adolfo Isassi
Thanks Chris!
Those "Fitwell" boots look interesting. Thanks for sharing them.
1.Chris(non-registered)
Hey Adolfo. thanks for the good pictures. it's true that the 5.10s delaminate very easy -but the good thing is that they know about it and you always get them replaced for free and fast ;)

I think maybe you should try to get a hold on the Fitwell! I am only in water-canyons, so have no idea on how the zipper will behave in sand, but while wearing the fitwell, i never ever had any stone or gravel inside the boot!
You can see a picture of the Fitwell here: www.canyonauten.de/bilder/fitwell.jpg
The friciton is similar to the Bestard
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