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Shoes for canyoneering - Inov-8s?
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Will Webster
Shoes for canyoneering - Inov-8s? on 03/13/2012 20:01:58 MDT Print View

I'll be going on my first canyoneering trip next month. It's an 8-day guided backpack in northern AZ of which one day will be in a slot canyon, with a lot of wading and probably one swim. The hike leaders recommend a backup pair of shoes. I normally hike in Inov-8 Rocklite 315s, but I was wondering if I should go with a different shoe for this hike. I picked up some 5.10 amphibious shoes which are supposed to have super-sticky soles, but they're 15 oz heavier than my 315s so I'm not so sure about them. I don't have a lot of opportunity to try shoes on in my area. What I'm thinking is another model of Inov-8s, built on the comfort last or even a bit wider to accommodate .5 mm neoprene socks plus wool socks underneath (my feet get cold even when not in 60F water), and with the stickiest soles I can get. These would either be my only shoes for the trip, or a wet day/backup shoe to the 315s.

Any thoughts what Inov-8 models I should be looking at, or other brands to consider?

Will Webster
Nobody? on 03/15/2012 14:17:06 MDT Print View

No responses, but in case someone stumbles across this with the same question, the folks at Inov-8 recommended the Rocklite 295. Same Comfort last as the 315, relatively wide to accomodate warmer socks, and their stickiest rubber. I've got some on order from Zappo's, along with a pair of 3 mm insoles to fine-tune the fit.

Randy Nelson
(rlnunix) - F - M

Locale: Rockies
Shoes on 03/15/2012 14:43:20 MDT Print View

Depends on the canyon. You may not have that much time in the water and when you are you may be swimming or in water where the traction isn't that bad. Or short sections where it is really slippery which you can just deal with. In that case, I'd use trail runners. Which is what I've used for the ones I've done. But when we did the Narrows hike in Zion where you are in and out of the water constantly, I sure wish I had the 5.10 Canyoneering shoes my friends were wearing. The beginning and ends of the river weren't that bad but the middle section was really slippery in my trail runners while everyone else was doing a lot better. But I did make it. I think if I can make it through that OK, for 1 slot canyon on an 8 day trip, you can get by with trail runners. I would by a pair of those 5.10s specifically for canyoneering if they came in wide. Too bad.

Barry Cuthbert
(nzbazza) - MLife

Locale: New Zealand
Re: Shoes for canyoneering - Inov-8s? on 03/15/2012 15:47:14 MDT Print View

I'm sure Roger Caffin would agree with me... Dunlop Volleys. But you can only get them in Australia

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Shoes for canyoneering - Inov-8s? on 03/15/2012 15:53:47 MDT Print View

Why Barry would you recommend a canvas topped shoe for really wet conditions? Those Dunlops look like Keds. Just take your Inov-8s. I wear the Terroc 330 on the Lost Coast. Wet, rocky with periods of immersion. They do fine. Good traction.

Toby Salz
(tobysalz) - M
Re: Re: Shoes for canyoneering - Inov-8s? on 03/15/2012 15:58:42 MDT Print View

look at five tens -- amazing grip on wet granite. their sole rubber is amazing. i use the five ten savants as my go to white water kayak shoes.

Tyler H
(ctwnwood) - F

Locale: The Palouse
Dunlops on 03/15/2012 16:11:49 MDT Print View

In defense of of Barry's recommendation and in response to Ken's negative attitude, I've also read that the canvas topped Dunlops are the shoe of choice of experience canyoneers in Australia.

It seems like comfort and functionality might trump a few ounces in the application. I think people like the Dunlop's because they've got nice sticky rubber and are way cheaper than anything from Inov. Sandy canyons tend to destroy shoes, so why waste the money.

This guy seems to be managing fine:

Dustin Short
(upalachango) - MLife
Re: Dunlops on 03/15/2012 16:42:31 MDT Print View

The 295s should treat you well. I go everywhere in my Roclite 315s and really hate the rubber for wet slickrock. I'm looking to upgrade to an Inov8 with sticky rubber sometime soon.

I would say if you have the 5-10s you won't be disappointed. I've not used them myself because they are so sport specific, but they have a following for a reason. Sure they're heavier but you aren't doing long miles in canyons like if you were trail hiking so the weight penalty is less of an issue and the performance benefit makes up for it. But any sticky rubbered show will probably work since really you just want neoprene for wet warmth.

.5mm neoprene socks will suit you well. I wouldn't wear any thick socks with them though (either outside or inside) just a thin liner. Neoprene socks aren't waterproof, just really warm so any sock will get waterlogged and the thicker the worse. If you're worried about temperatures then I would upgrade to a thicker neoprene sock (2 or 3 mm).

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: Shoes for canyoneering - Inov-8s? on 01/03/2013 21:22:31 MST Print View

What did you get and how did they work out? I normally use 315s as well. I need to get something for my son.

Richard Fischel
canvas sneakers/chuck taylor's on 01/03/2013 21:47:08 MST Print View

you might be surprised to know that hi-top converse chuck taylor's are popular amongst folks that race sailboats. the bottoms have great traction on wet slippery decks, they are comfortable in bare feet, they dont fall apart if they get soaked and the canvas tops drain and dry quickly. i've hiked a fair amount chuck taylor's without any complaints.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Hmmm... on 01/03/2013 23:20:08 MST Print View

I very much doubt the Inoc-8s would withstand the high abrasion of canyoneering.

My first (and last) pair of Keene eVent boots began to have seams come apart from wear after ONE weekend in Utah's slot canyons.

Brian Lindahl
(lindahlb) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
canyoneering shoes on 01/07/2013 13:58:59 MST Print View

I do about 8-12 technical slot canyons a year in Utah - most of which include multiple miles of non-slot canyon approaches.

You're only spending 1 day in a slot canyon, so I wouldn't worry too much about durability. If you coat the seams with Aquaseal, durability will definitely NOT be a problem. Traction is mostly overrated in non-technical slot canyons. You're not going to be climbing/stemming a lot and you're not gonnna be doing the Narrows. The Narrows is really a river, and you're in the water almost the whole time. The flowing river water creates smooth round rocks that can be quite slippery. Floors in wet slot canyons are mostly sand.

You don't need neoprene socks - waste of money. I've done some of the burliest colder canyons (i.e. Imlay - 16 hour day), where wearing two wetsuits or a drysuit are required and the water temps are just above freezing. While cold feet can be mildly uncomfortable while in the water, it's never that bad, and they'll warm almost instantly when you leave the water. Neoprene socks are a comfort item for canyoneering.

I wear medium thickness wool socks. Good insulation when wet, easy to wring out and dry. Good buffer against sand abrasion, which can easily create wounds on your feet. I usually dedicate mine towards canyoneering, since you can never get 100% of the sand out.

If you REALLY want new shoes and are just looking for an excuse, I'd highly recommend approach shoes (any REI or outdoors store can point you to a pair). Pick the pair from one of the major climbing companies that fits you the best - 5.10, Evolv, Scarpa, or La Sportiva. I like the Scarpa Cruxes. If you're dealing with a lot of water, drill a few holes in the back of the shoe, above the internal footbed. Buy/create some plugs that you can install from the inside. Use the plugs during normal hiking, and remove the plugs on water days.

Pros over 5.10 Canyoneers:
* They'll fit better
* No buckles to break (they're garbage)
* Cheaper
* Drains better
* Just as sticky (climbing rubber on all)
* Can wear them for other activities

Edited by lindahlb on 01/07/2013 16:30:28 MST.

Trevor Martin
(trevormar) - MLife

Locale: Rockies/ Desert Southwest
Re: Re: Re: Shoes for canyoneering - Inov-8s? on 01/07/2013 14:24:17 MST Print View

The traction of the 5.10 canyoneers can't be beat. I bit pricey and not the lightest shoe out there but if you end up doing a number of technical canyons then I think it is the way to go as they are pretty much the gold standard. I have done a number of technical canyons in the Colorado plateau and I even did a long distance buckskin + paria hike in them and they worked well with some aftermarket insoles.

I have heard of people having problems with the buckles but so far mine have held up very well. They dry fast and drain well and fit my foot well and are comfortable.

If you are doing less technical canyons and you are planning on hiking farther (which it sounds like you are) then I have had good success with lightweight quick drying trail runners like many have mentioned plus a neoprene sock, liner socks and a heavier synthetic / wool blend in various combinations depending on the conditions. Although I can't really comment on how well the innov8 shoes work since they do not fit my foot very well.

Edited by trevormar on 01/08/2013 14:05:17 MST.

j lan
(justaddfuel) - F

Locale: MN
Re: Shoes for canyoneering - Inov-8s? on 01/07/2013 14:31:22 MST Print View

Innov-8 295s will feel great for this application, quick draining, grippy, light weight, comfy, supportive.

But I will bet you a new pair that they will not last longer than 3 months of moderate canyoneering use. ;)

Michael Ray
(topshot) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: canyoneering shoes (for Narrows) on 01/08/2013 12:08:07 MST Print View

I understand you were replying to the OP above, but I AM doing the Narrows (and a couple popular short slots in Escalante) in late June so would you still use neoprene socks then? David Chenault wrote that the only time he wouldn't wear Hydroskins (or thicker) in the Narrows would be in August. He seems a pretty stout adventurer, but maybe he has cold feet? :)

It seems most people I've read about do use neoprene with wool socks over them. I would have assumed the wool socks would go under them so it was good to learn otherwise.

As for shoes, I plan to just manage with my Roclite 315. I'll have my stout aluminum poles as well.

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Socks in the Narrows on 01/08/2013 12:24:54 MST Print View

I walked both the Subway and Narrows in Inov-8 295s with thin Smartwool socks in October. The shoes worked very well and my feet were not uncomfortably cold. In fact, it was pretty nice and comfortable. I don't know if its colder in June.

Brian Lindahl
(lindahlb) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: canyoneering shoes (for Narrows) on 01/08/2013 15:30:05 MST Print View

You'll be fine without neoprene socks in the Narrows. You'll be moving, so your feet will stay comfortable. It's long cold swims, or being stuck in potholes for a long time, where your feet get really cold - i.e. your feet aren't working. The Narrows water is not really that cold either - sunlight gets in there. After spending all day in Imlay, it was actually feeling quite warm.

It's just like your legs in cold weather. The more you move them, the warmer they are. The more you move your feet, the warmer they are.

Poles are a good idea for the Narrows.

You'll probably notice this, but if it's warm enough on the way out, take every opportunity of waist+ deep water to swim or a hybrid-swim-walk. You'll move a TON faster than all the people on the side of the canyon trying to keep themselves as dry as possible - it can be almost comical.

Edited by lindahlb on 01/08/2013 15:31:51 MST.