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Ultimate List of 10 Best Canyoneering Shoes

When it comes to canyoneering in the great outdoors, one of the most essential pieces of gear is your trusty shoes. For those who are new to canyoneering, it often requires that you trek through wet and often treacherous terrain like waterfalls, slippery riverbeds and canyons for a period of time, so you’ll want a grippy shoe that holds up and gives you stability and comfort all day long. The last thing you want is cold wet feet or a strained ankle from slipping on the rocks.

What are the Best Canyoneering Shoes?

To decide on the absolute best canyoneering shoes suited for novice as well as experienced canyoneering adventurers, we have examined dozens of shoes for canyoneering and reviews left by real users, hikers and adventurers who bought and used them personally for their expeditions. Based on what they experienced first-hand and shared honestly, we have shortlisted the top 10 canyoneering shoes for you to consider, including their most important features, to help you make an informed decision before you buy it for yourself.

On top of that, to make it easier for you, we have also compiled a list of basic canyoneering guidelines, critical tips and frequently asked questions (FAQs) to consider before buying the perfect pair of shoes for canyoneering. You can find it further down in the canyoneering article. So without further ado, here’s introducing the best canyoneering shoes.

1. Salewa Men’s Wildfire Approach Shoe

Specs
Price: 💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Weight: 0.32 pounds (0.15 kg)

The Salewa Men’s Wildfire is a basic approach shoe that is also appropriate for a variety of canyoneering endeavours.

It is made of mesh with a synthetic sole, so it will be more water-resistant than other leather or suede options. The Salewa models are flexible in terms of different uses while at the same time offering great stability and reasonable price.

Pros

  • Breathable and moisture-wicking
  • Offer plenty of grip and stability
  • Value for money

Cons

  • Not entirely waterproof

2. Adidas Terrex Scope High GTX Men’s Hiking Shoe

Specs
Price: 💲💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Weight: 1.21 pounds (0.55 kg)

One of the more premium options on the market, this Adidas shoe stands out for its breathability and water resistance, thanks to the fact that it is made from synthetic and mesh materials.

It also has an incredible grip and offers great support as you walk through the wet terrain and waterfalls. Just keep in mind that it is a higher boot, so it may not be appropriate for warm humid weather. However, it makes for good ankle support for canyoneering.

Pros

  • Waterproof and breathable
  • Great for a variety of terrain
  • High Cut Boot for ankle support

Cons

  • Premium pricing in the market
  • Warm and snug hence might not be suited for extremely humid climates

3. La Sportiva TX4 Approach Shoe

Specs
Price: 💲💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Weight: 0.37 pounds (0.17 kg)

Though more known as an approach shoe, the La Sportiva TX4 is a great option for canyoneering as well due to the fact that it is a durable and hardy shoe with great grip, which is the most vital factor a canyoneering person will require.

This model is made from synthetic material and is designed for long treks, perfect for canyoneering outings or going through a riverbed. La Sportiva is an incredible rock climbing shoe brand and hence without a doubt one of the leaders in the market for the rubber, snug and grippiness of their shoe ranges.

Pros

  • Extremely comfortable and durable
  • Good grip for rough and slippery

Cons

  • Not waterproof only water resistant
  • Premium pricing compared to other shoe models

4. Merrell Women’s Moab 2 Vent Hiking Shoe

Specs
Price: 💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Weight: 0.75 pounds (0.34 kg)

This suede leather and mesh hiking shoe offers comfort and breathability all day long.

It has a grippy Vibram sole and great support, so you will stay comfortable and safe all day long as you abseil those waterfalls and hop from rock to rock. However, they may be more often used for hiking than canyoneering.

Pros

  • Great grip and arch support
  • Breathable mesh

Cons

  • Not waterproof
  • Better fit for hiking than canyoneering

5. Arc’teryx Acrux FL

Specs
Price: 💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Weight: 0.88 pounds (0.4 kg)

These durable, breathable grippy shoes are specifically designed for hiking on mixed terrain, but they can also serve as a good canyoneering shoe. Similar to La Sportiva, Arcyteryx is a very established climbing brand that besides making good grippy footwear, specialises in waterproof membranes as found in their jackets and backpacks as well.

Pros

  • Offer great stability and ankle support
  • Incredibly comfortable for long expeditions

Cons

  • May not hold up as well in water compared to other models
  • Specifically designed for hiking

6. Scarpa Men’s Gecko Approach Shoe

Specs
Price: 💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Weight: 0.08 pounds (0.04 kg)

These Scarpa men’s approach shoes are similar to the previousArc’teryx shoes in that they are perfect for hiking and trekking over mixed terrain.

They have a rubber sole that provides excellent grip in dry and damp conditions. However, they are 100% suede, so they may not be the most appropriate for extremely wet environments like walking deep in rivers.

Pros

  • Extra grip rubber sole
  • Appropriate for a wide variety of terrain

Cons

  • Not waterproof
  • Premium Price range compared to other models

7. Five Ten Guide Tennie Approach Shoe

Specs
Price: 💲💲💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Weight: 0.87 pounds (0.4 kg)

The Five Ten Guide Tennie approach shoes are a solid, all-around shoe that is great for moderate hiking, everyday use as well as for getting to the base of the crag. The dotted flat rubber sole provides excellent protection and grip, and there is a generous coating around the toe for those rockier patches where you might require it. The stiff profile helps support your feet over rougher terrain, which is particularly important when hiking around the base of rocks and crags, and the reinforced toe will help you climb the most basic of routes without the need to change into your climbing shoes.

Where the shoes are made of leather, they are not so breathable, which means on hotter days, your feet are more likely to sweat and become unbearably hot than if you were to wear a synthetic pair of approach shoes.

Pros

  • Made of Leather
  • Reinforced toe portion that helps in climbing
  • Excellent protection and grip

Cons

  • Not so breathable compared to synthetic models

8. KEEN Men’s Austin Shoe

Specs
Price: 💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Weight: 0.87 pounds (0.39 kg)

This comfortable canyoneering shoe is one of the most stylish options available.

It is made from waterproof Nubuck and leather and offers great arch support. However, it offers very little breathability and, if very wet, will take a long time to dry.

Pros

  • Stylish and comes in a variety of colors
  • Comfortable
  • Arch Support

Cons

  • Not waterproof
  • Offers little breathability

9. Vasque Men’s Grand Traverse

Specs
Price: 💲 (fewer 💲 = cheaper)
Weight: 0.78 pounds (0.35 kg)

The Vasque Men’s Grand Traverse is a hand-made leather hiking and canyoneering shoe with breathable mesh panels and a durable toe cap.

It has a grippy Vibram sole that is appropriate for a variety of terrains both dry and wet. It offers great support, but takes quite a while to break in, which might not be ideal if you are looking at the last minute for a new pair of shoes for your canyoneering trip.

Pros

  • Durable yet lightweight
  • Breathable mesh panel
  • Durable toe cap
  • Made with quality materials and offers great traction on the sole

Cons

  • Takes a while to break in
  • Offers minimal ankle support

Verdict

After all of our long research about the Best Canyoneering Shoes, we found that Salewa Men’s Wildfire Approach Shoe is the best Canyoneering Shoe available today.

There’s also a Premium Option with all the best features and high-quality materials if you have more money to spend, namely Arc’teryx Acrux FL.

However, if you are on a slightly tighter budget, you can also consider the KEEN Men’s Austin Shoe as an affordable alternative.

Our other reviews you may find useful in your research:

What You Should Know Before Buying Canyoneering Shoes

What are Canyoneering Shoes

Canyoneering shoes are a specific type of footwear with great grip and water-resistant benefits that makes it suitable to walk on uneven and slippery surfaces and terrains like waterfalls and riverbeds.

How to Pick the Best Canyoneering Shoes

Canyoneering requires quite a bit of navigating over precarious and uneven terrain (sometimes even slippery), and your shoe should provide excellent friction. Additionally, you’ll want to keep in mind the flexibility, durability, and support of the shoe so that you don’t end up with an injury in your canyoneering trip.

Advantages and Benefits of Canyoneering Shoes Over Normal Shoes

Although we see people do canyoneering with normal running shoes with a good grip, they are not advisable due to some safety reasons. There are certain advantages to using a specific shoe designed for canyoneering that comes with ankle support to walk on uneven rock structures and rocks. Canyoneering shoes tend to be much more hardy and hold up better than normal shoes which are made more for daily city use, so the sole will not last after navigating mud, rocky, sharp and wet terrain in different climates.

Additionally, canyoneering shoes will offer more sole support, stability, and traction than normal shoes, which will keep your feet and ankles safe even after a multi-day trek. Finally, lots of canyoneering shoes are made of waterproof or water-resistant membrane, something that will come in handy when trekking through rivers, splashing through those rapids and waterfalls puddles.

Things to Look Out For That Differentiate

There are a couple of factors that differentiate between models and brands of canyoneering shoes. First off, certain shoes are more water resistant than others, something that may be of importance to you depending on where you plan on doing the canyoneering. It is especially important if you are doing it in a cold climate or walking through a lot of river beds, as these can make or break your experience. You should also pay attention to the material of the sole, body of the shoe and if it offers a strong hardy grip when you walk on a smooth or slippy rock. Also pay attention to the weight of the shoe, as you won’t want anything too heavy that makes the climb or walk uncomfortable over time.

Proper and Safe Usage

You’ll want to be sure that your shoes fit snug and properly to avoid any slippage or ankle twisting. Additionally, you’ll want to be sure to break in your shoes before taking them out for that very first canyoneering, as there is nothing worse than uncomfortable shoes and blisters when you’re out on your action-packed outdoor adventure. Lastly, be sure that the shoe that you choose has the right amount of support for your foot. This will help you to avoid heel and sole injuries which could make that canyoneering trip for you and others less pleasant.

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