How do I choose the best canyoning shoes?
Looking for the best canyoning shoes? CanyonZone will help you choose which canyoning shoes to invest in, along with a comparison of the most popular canyoning shoes available on the market today.
HOW TO CHOOSE CANYONING SHOES
Choosing the best canyoning shoes isn't an exact science, but given the environmental variables we encounter while canyoning, there are a few things to keep in mind. Let's take a look at some of the variables:
-How good the grip and adhesion is
-The durability of the shoe
-How comfortable are the shoes during approach and descent
We will take a closer look at each of these points
CANYONING SHOES GRIP
Grip is arguably the most important feature of canyoning shoes, and the canyoneers normally base their decision on which canyoning shoes to invest. Canyoning shoes that provide good grip reinforce a canyoneer's confidence in their ability, especially in trickier sections. Technology has evolved and today the materials used are specifically designed for wet environments, increasing adhesion to rock surfaces.
The sole design also aids with traction on muddy terrain, especially when approaching.
CANYONING SHOES DURABILITY
Durability is another measure of canyoning shoes: the harsh conditions of use demand extraordinary durability and resistance as we walk through the canyons. The stitching and gluing must be of good quality to withstand the constant hitting that we expose the shoes to; the tongue has to go through countless descents to make it worthwhile.
The last construction of the canyoning shoes must also protect the canyoneer's feet from impacts against rocks and also in technical maneuvers, such as protecting the rope from wear and tear with the feet.
CANYONING SHOES COMFORT
Comfort may be overlooked, but on demanding approaches and long descents, choosing the most comfortable canyoning shoes should be part of your decision making. Comfort does not only mean cushioning, but also protection and insulation: you are likely to descend a canyon with fresh and cool water, so these factors should be considered when choosing canyoning shoes.
Shoes that are not too heavy also help us conserve energy as we progress up the canyon.
Canyoneers in subtropical regions can benefit from shoes that provide more insulation, while in tropical and warm regions canyoning shoes that dissipate heat well and keep feet cool may be the best choice.
CANYONING SHOES: A COMPARISON
We have selected the most popular canyoning shoes in the market: the Adidas Terrex Hydrolace, the Fiveten Canyoneer 3, the Bestard Canyon Guide and the Mont Bell Sawer Climber.
ADIDAS TERREX HYDROLACE CANYONING SHOES
By far the most balanced of any canyoning shoes currently in the market, the Adidas Hydrolace 2021 is a favourite amongst professional & recreational canyoneers around the world. Adidas has invested considerably on the development of these shoes, with testing held in multiple locations from New Zealand to Bali and USA.
Since acquiring FiveTen in 2011, Adidas has also held the patent for the Stealth© rubber compound, a favourite amongst climbers. The main feature of the Adidas Hydrolace canyoning shoes is the use of the Stealth© rubber for the outsole: it is a variation of the same Stealth C4© rubber used on FiveTen climbing shoes and provides superb grip in any condition.
The Adidas Hydrolace shoes are extremely comfortable benefiting from Adidas’ expertise in the sneakers industry; they are also built to last through extensive testing and Terrex adventure footwear knowledge. The shoes provide excellent insulation even in the coldest of waters. The downside is its weight when wet: it becomes heavy due to the lack of drainage and water absorption by the neoprene used in the lining.
FIVETEN CANYONEER 3 CANYONING SHOES
The latest iteration of the pioneer canyoning shoes, the FiveTen Canyoneer 3 canyoning shoes have been a popular choice due to its excellent grip in any condition. Available in 2 versions (guide and regular) and featuring the Stealth© rubber compound for the outsole, it has been widely used by canyoneers in both Europe and the USA. Despite the excellent grip, it is not the most comfortable shoe for long descents: we find the sole to be too thick and hard, and not enough cushion on the heel makes it not the best option for long descents. Many canyoneers have also complained about the durability of the latest version, with issues arising after only a few descents. Still, it is a great option for those looking for canyoning-specific shoes.
The guide (red) version is built with a canvas outer, which increases its durability in harsh conditions when compared with the regular (yellow) version. The FiveTen Canyoneer 3 shoes are very light and drain well, which slightly increases its comfort rating.
BESTARD CANYON GUIDE CANYONING SHOES
Bestard’s main canyoning boots are designed with the canyoning guide in mind. Featuring an integrated gaiter to keep rocks & sand from coming in and an orange fabric on the body, it provides excellent ankle protection and is super lightweight. THe Bestard Canyon Guide’s outsole is a Vibram™ Idrogrip, which works well in wet environments but is sub-par in some rock types such as schist. We find that the grip improves after a bit of wear. Bestard offers a free resole of the shoes when worn out: you must cover the shipping costs to their workshop in Europe. The laces tighten all the way from the ankle to the toes, providing excellent fit according to your taste.
It is worth mentioning that Bestard has some new additions to its line of canyoning shoes, namely the Wildwater Pro which seems to follow the trend of black and red canyoning shoes.
MONT BELL SAWER CLIMBER
(Not standard in our range).
The Mont Bell Sawer Climber is little known in the canyoning community: a good explanation is that it is not marketed as canyoning shoes, but as shower climbing shoes. Shower climbing is quite similar to canyoning, but instead of descending a canyon, shower climbers go up, climbing waterfalls and traversing sections. It is a popular sport in Taiwan and Japan. The Sawer Climber is super lightweight and fits snugly on the feet due to its lace system, providing a climbing shoe feel. Its body construction is in mesh which provides excellent drainage but poor insulation, therefore it is a nice option for tropical climates. The Sawer Climber uses Mont Bell’s Aquagrip outsole, which provides excellent grip in all conditions, in and out of the canyon. Mont Bell also offers a felt sole which works great when walking on rocks but wears quite quickly: we’d go for the Aquagrip sole any day.
One of the downsides of these canyoning shoes is that they provide little protection for the feet, and can deteriorate quite quickly if subject to harsh & abrasive environments.
As a final recommendation and summary.
Using the above factors to choose the best canyoning shoes for your canyoning practice will give you more confidence as you progress in the canyon. Did we miss any shoes? Please contact us.
Hydrolace 2021 Adidas
Heavy when wet
4.5 / 5
Canyoneer 3 FiveTen
3.8 / 5
Sawer Climber Mont-Bell
Canyon Guide Bestard
3.8 / 5
NB: Taken from BASECAMP
Overview Canyoning knowledge base: Go back.