Are these canyoneering boots a viable alternative to wading boots ?
If you wear wading boots for any kind of fishing then I would hazard a guess that like me you have a bit of a love/hate relationship with them. I can't live without them but it bugs the hell out of me that to get a pair of hard-wearing, comfortable and "might actually last a decent while" pair of wading boots, for the most part you have to spend some serious dosh - and it's the sort of money that always makes me wonder how much we are actually getting for our outlay when you compare say what the same money would get you on the hiking boot front.
The wading boots that I believe are by far and away the best ones I have used, the Simms Rivershed, well we're talking as good as £200 UK retail price. I so wish this was not the case, but having used (and trashed) all manner of wading boots, I just don't think that most of the "cheaper", sub-£100 are going to last you any serious length of time if you fish a lot over hard ground. The Greys Platinum boots did me pretty well for example, but then I started wearing the Riversheds and I realised how a pair of wading boots could somewhat more effectively stand up to what I was putting them through. But are the Simms Rivershed boots really worth around £200 ? Well it doesn't really matter at the end of the day, because if you want them then you're going to pay what it takes to get them. A number of people I fish with agree because they have them as well.
Hence my keeping an eye on other alternatives out there. I can't try out every wading boot on the market so there may well be some boots out there that are cheaper and last as well as my Riversheds - but I haven't come across them though. I have tried regular hiking boots with studs screwed in the bottom of them, and although they worked fine and were really light to wear, continuous immersion in water doesn't remotely suit hiking boots. And then I saw one of the lads in Morocco using a pair of boots that I had never seen before................
Charles had a pair of Five Ten Canyoneer Boots with him. He had never used them before the Morocco trip but over the course of a week he was getting on really well with them - and bear in mind Charles was fishing like a real man and wearing neoprene leggings, instead of breathable waders like us lesser-men. I called him the Human Mermaid. We were fishing some pretty hectic ground most of the week and I took more and more notice of his boots, although until Charles turned up with them I had no idea that the word "canyoneering" even existed, let alone there being specialist boots for it. I love my Simms Rivershed wading boots, but you couldn't accuse them of being remotely lightweight (but are the soon to be launched Simms Vapor Boots going to be worth us looking at on this front ? I hear that they are, see here).
I got back home, spoke to a few people, and then I found out that a bloke I know over in France has been successfully using a pair of Five Ten Canyoneer boots for around two years, fishing multiple times a week over rocky ground. He has just upgraded to the Five Ten Canyoneer SAR (Search and Rescue) boot and has been getting on really with them. Studs have been put in the soles etc.
So I have got a pair of the Five Ten Canyoneer SAR boots here to try out. The two lads I have talked about who I know have had experience of them are mostly wet-wading and are using the boots in their usual shoe size. I though am not a real man when it comes to not wearing waders and therefore I needed to allow for that neoprene sock at the bottom of my waders - I am a size 11 shoe and I went for a size 13 Canyoneer boots and they seem like a perfect fit when I am wearing my waders.
So what are they like ? Well they're bright !! That aside, they are just completely different to the sort of wading boots that you and I might be used to wearing. They are very light for a start, the soles seem to be plenty solid and chunky enough, and overall they seem to be very well built. You put your foot in one of the boots, secure that flap around your ankle via velcro and then do those straps up. No laces and no metal stuff to rust. I do like the slightly more solid looking front to the boot on the SAR model over the standard Canyoneer one, but with what that bloke got out of them over in France then perhaps I am worrying about nothing. They are designed to be used in water so there are drainage holes etc. I have looked around plenty for an alternative to wading boots, but anything else out there just doesn't seem to be meant for potentially continual submersion - until these Five Ten Canyoneer boots came onto my radar.
I have only put eight studs in each boot so far as you can see above, mainly because I wasn't sure if the sole was deep enough closer to the front of the boot - those awesome Orvis PosiGrip Screw-In studs of course. Yes, they are by miles the best wading studs I have ever used, in fact I am not sure if mine are ever going to actually start wearing down. I have worn my Five Tne boots out fishing twice now. I wish I had been able to wear them more, but unless you've been hiding in a hole for the last few weeks then you might have noticed a little bit of adverse weather wafting around !! Let's say I've spent five hours walking/clambering/wading etc. in them so far. I've got as much grip as I have with my Riversheds, the Five Ten boots are noticeably lighter (and brighter) and are very comfortable, and so far I am highly optimistic that these things might well the first viable alternative to a traditional wading boot that I have come across.
What I like perhaps the most is that they retail around the £100 mark, and for that £100 I feel like you're not remotely compromising when compared to "budget", sub-£100 wading boots. I was not sure about the straps and no laces, but if you do the straps up nice and tight then the boots move with you really well (and as much as I love Simms wading boots, the laces they put on their boots are just awful) - and the straps don't remotely "bite" into your feet at all. Overall they just seem like a really good pair of boots that so far are working very well for me as a pair of wading boots. I can't tell you yet how they might last for me on a long-term basis, but I'll keep you posted on how they do - I have high hopes though and if you are looking for a new pair of wading boots, you don't want to spend Rivershed money, and you want something substantially lighter to wear and move around in, then it might be worth a good look at these Five Ten Canyoneer AR boots.
Monday Morning Metal Madness - The first great metal track of the year, from the mighty Polish band Behemoth, called "Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel", from their soon to be released album "The Satanist". The lead singer (ok, roarer)/guitarist Nergal has recently recovered from a bout of leukemia - holy cow is this some way to come back from such an illness with some truly savage yet gloriously catchy and over the top death metal. Don't watch this video if you are easily offended, but personally I love the imagery, the feel, the pomposity/ridiculousness, the way the video is put together, and of course the music. Now that is a song to start your week off with a bang !! Nice aren't I ?