Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

I haven’t given up on trying to find an alternative to (fly fishing) wading boots

I really wish it wasn’t the case, but the only two pairs of wading boots that have lasted what I believe to be a decent amount of time for me are the (now discontinued) Simms Rivershed and the previous version of the Simms Guide boots. Both are/were outstanding wading boots for the kind of grief that a number of us put these things through, but it has always niggled me firstly how much they cost when compared say to a good pair of hiking boots, and secondly how comparatively heavy they are. As good as Simms can be though, their newish and lighter weight Vapor wading boots failed on me within three weeks and they were also really uncomfortable to stand around and fish in for longer periods. Not one of my better buys……..

You might be aware that around spring last year I gave a pair of the Five Ten Canyoneer SAR boots a proper go - see here and here. They were comfortable and light to wear as wading boots, I was gutted when they started to come apart on me after a few months of heavy use (see here), and I had to put it down as an experiment that nearly worked. Five Ten UK did some digging around and came back to me with their findings that over time it was saltwater rotting away at the construction of those SAR boots and there was nothing I could have done differently.

It's not easy taking photos of your own feet!!

It's not easy taking photos of your own feet!!

Well I now have a pair of their brand new, next generation Canyoneer 3 boots to try out, and yes, they are colourful!! I have been wearing my battered but still going strong pair of Simms Rivershed boots recently and these Five Ten Canyoneer 3 boots are just so much lighter. They aren’t giving a load of ankle support like a true pair of heavier duty wading/hiking boots, but having worn them out once now at a spot that involves a fairly steep walk down and then fishing over all manner of rocks and sand, these new Canyoneer 3 things feel really comfortable and really easy to wear. I got used to those clips on the previous Five Ten SAR boots I used, but I am liking the fact that there are laces on these new ones, and they are very easy to tighten up. There’s a bunch of info here, and below is a video I found on YouTube that gives you a good overall sense of the boots.

The only way I can find out if these Canyoneer 3 boots might be a viable alternative to wading boots is to do what I did last time around - wear them for my fishing, see how they go, and then keep you lot posted. I have seen them online for around £110, and from the info I have been sent about these new Five Ten boots, they are made somewhat differently to that previous generation SAR boots I tried - hence me hoping that these new Canyoneer 3 ones might last the course for me in saltwater. I like my Simms wading boots, but I would far rather walk and scramble long distances in these Five Ten ones - and even if they are a little more colourful than fly fishing wading boots……..

I have done one thing differently this time around with these Five Ten Canyoneer 3 boots - with all their talk about the soles on these things offering such good grip in and around water, rock etc., I have decided not to put any studs in them for the time being. Most boots offer a decent grip once you put metal studs in the soles anyway, so I want to see how these new boots perform without any studs in there at all. As I said above, I have been out fishing once with these new boots on and I must admit that I was rather amazed at just how good the grip is on them. I am very used to studs, but I made sure to not hold back and walked across the rocks as I would normally would, and within a short while I was building up a lot of confidence in these Five Ten soles. I don’t know how they work, but holy cow they grip to the rocks.

OK, so I did not walk across any meaningful weed, and I didn’t find any of those horrible shiny, glassy boulders to see if I could try and break my neck on one, but is there anything that grips onto racks of weed and rocks like that? All I can say so far is that these Five Ten Canyoneer 3 boots seem to have one hell of a sole on them. I will keep them studless and see how I get on. And as with the original SAR boots that I tried out last year, I am a UK size 11 shoe and I went for a UK size 13 with these new Canyoneer 3 boots to allow for a sock and then the neoprene sock on the waders, and they fit perfectly. I would imagine that sand will quite easily get into the tops of the boots, and especially bearing in mind that many gravel guards at the bottom of breathable waders are at best perfunctory - I will most likely wrap some lightweight neoprene gravel guards that I have for flats fishing around the tops of the boots and then bring the ones on the waders down over that and see how I get on.

I am stubborn by nature and I don’t like giving up. Aside from manning the hell up and going wet wading all year (no thanks), I haven’t found what for me is a viable alternative to wearing breathable waders from the fly fishing market (although the new Vision Heavy Havu waders might just be the best non-Simms waders I have ever come across, I need to see how they last, but so far, so very, very good indeed, some info here). But there do seem to be some options out there for replacing the need to wear what are often some pretty badly made and overpriced wading boots that simply don’t last for us, and these Five Ten Canyoneer 3 boots certainly are interesting so far. Time will tell and I will report back, but for now, have a good weekend and may plenty of fish come crawling up your lines.