Well so far so good with these next generation Five Ten Canyoneer 3 boots which I am trying out as wading boots (check here). I have been using them hard and so far they are holding up perfectly, and it almost goes without saying that they are far lighter and easier to wear than the mostly pretty heavy and clunky wading boots that we tend to use with our breathable chest waders. All I can do it so keep on using them, see how they hold up after another period of time, and then keep you posted - but aside from how good these Canyoneer 3 boots are to wear was wading boots, it’s the soles on them that have really freaked me out with how ridiculously good they are.
With those previous generation Five Ten Canyoneer SAR boots that sadly failed on me over time, I knew the grip on the soles was good, but I never gave them a chance on their own as the first thing I did was to put a set of those Orvis studs in them. But I took the decision this time around not to put any studs in these (yellow) Canyoneer 3 boots and see how they might do. It was a risk I suppose in that I know my Simms wading boots with studs in and how they react on certain surfaces, albeit we all slip and stumble from time to time, but I really wanted to see how these slightly strange looking soles on the Canyoneer 3 boots might do when used over the sort of ground I might go fishing.
Well I’ll tell you this for starters - if all wading boots had the same soles as on these Canyoneer 3 boots, then in my mind that’s the end of needing metal studs. Holy frigging cow these Canyoneer 3 soles are just incredible, and I have no idea how they work so well when I remember how poorly so many hiking boots I used to wear for rock fishing would perform with gripping to various surfaces. All seem to have some kind of rubber soles, but for all this premium we seem to pay for the word Vibram on a sole, give me whatever the soles are on the Canyoneer 3 boots any day of the week - because they are flat out brilliant.
I am going to try and find out more about these soles, because it’s just amazing how they grip so well on so many of the sorts of surfaces that you or I might be needing to walk, scramble and wade. I hear the word “sticky” used sometimes with regards to soles, but aside from the pattern on the soles, the rubber on the bottom of the Canyoneer 3 boots looks like normal rubber to me - but it can’t be, surely, not with how well it helps me grip. OK, so you still have to be bloody careful on those horrible black and green slippery rocks that could break an ankle in a heartbeat, but where I know that I am needing metal studs on my regular boots to give me more grip, I know that these Canyoneer 3 boots are giving me at least as much and quite possibly more traction as such. If I had these exact soles on the bottom of my now battered Simms Rivershed wading boots for example, I wouldn’t bother putting metal studs in. One thing that I really notice as well is that on “regular” rocks, it doesn’t matter if they are wet or dry, or indeed if your soles are wet or dry - nope, the soles on these Canyoneer 3 boots seem to grip just as well wet or dry.
Now of course this ain’t going to mean that much if the boots fall apart on me in the near future, but I am quietly hopefully with how they are holding up, and perhaps when I go to the iCast show I could take these Five Ten Canyoneer 3 boots to the Simms stand and plead with them to talk to Five Ten and buy these soles to use on their wading boots. Granted, this will most likely result in a big fat nope, not interested, but it has to be worth a go. I have used these Canyoneer 3 boots loads now in saltwater, over essentially all the sorts of surfaces I would need to deal with for my fishing, and as much as I thought I might end up doing so, I just can’t see the point in putting any wading studs in the soles when they are performing so fantastically well.
The only thing I have not done with these Five Ten boots is try them out in a river. The best sole material I know of for freshwater fishing is felt, indeed when I was out in Bolivia for example, one of the clients had not followed the kit list and literally could not stand in his rubber soled boots that some idiot had recommended to him in a shop back in the UK. It was so lucky that one of the guides had an old pair of felt-soled wading boots that fitted this client ok. I would be really interested to see how these Canyoneer 3 boots might work in a river, and considering that they are actually designed for freshwater canyoneering, I reckon they could do pretty well. For now though, the soles on them are without doubt the best non-studded ones I have ever used in saltwater fishing, and here’s to hoping the boots last me for a decent length of time as wading boots. We shall see……