The Best Canyoneering Shoes of 2021

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Canyoneering is an adventure sport at it’s finest. From scrambling over rocks to rappelling through waterfalls to shimmying through a slot canyon, you are likely to encounter all sorts of different terrain types during one canyoneering route.

A sport like canyoneering requires specialized shoes to help keep your feet happy and safe through all conditions. Although you could use your everyday sneakers, they won’t have the best grip on the soles, won’t drain well, and aren’t likely to protect your feet as much as you would like. This is why, if you are into canyoneering, we recommend finding the best canyoneering shoe for you.

If you’d rather just pick up our top pick, you can do so by using this link here.

Our Top Favorite
Five Ten Men's Guide Tennie Canvas Approach Shoe,Gun Steel Blue,8 M US
Our Top Runner Up
adidas Men's Terrex Scope GTX Core Blue/Black/EQT Yellow 9.5
Our Top Value Pick
Salomon Women's Techamphibian 3 W Trail Running Shoe, vintage kaki, 5 M US
Book Title
FiveTen Guide Tennies Approach Shoe
Adidas Terrex Scope GTX Approach Shoes
Salomon Techamphibian 3 Water Shoe
Prime Eligible?
-
-
Our Top Favorite
Five Ten Men's Guide Tennie Canvas Approach Shoe,Gun Steel Blue,8 M US
Book Title
FiveTen Guide Tennies Approach Shoe
Prime Eligible?
-
Our Top Runner Up
adidas Men's Terrex Scope GTX Core Blue/Black/EQT Yellow 9.5
Book Title
Adidas Terrex Scope GTX Approach Shoes
Prime Eligible?
-
Our Top Value Pick
Salomon Women's Techamphibian 3 W Trail Running Shoe, vintage kaki, 5 M US
Book Title
Salomon Techamphibian 3 Water Shoe
Prime Eligible?

Last update: 2021-09-18 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Our Favorites for the Best Canyoneering ShoesOur Favorites for the Best Canyoneering Shoes

FiveTen Guide Tennies Approach Shoe

Our top all-around pick goes to these versatile shoes from FiveTen. The brand is known for its rock climbing, approach, and biking shoes, so they cover lots of disciplines. This model is known for being lightweight and durable due to its leather covering. The main challenge with these shoes is their drainability, so if you’re looking to do lots of routes in the water, this might not be the shoe for you. Overall, this shoe will provide great support and grip on all types of surfaces, and its lightweight nature won’t add extra strain to your feet and legs throughout a long day.

Why Choose These Canyoneering Shoes:

  • If you are looking to invest in a good pair of canyoneering shoes for a variety of conditions, this is a great shoe to go with. They offer a good balance of weight and support that will keep your feet in good condition.

What Makes Them Unique:

  • Leather foot covering keeps your feet well protected
  • Exceptionally grippy soles
Five Ten Men's Guide Tennie Canvas Approach Shoe,Gun Steel Blue,8 M US
  • Stealth C4 rubber
  • Sandwich Mesh lining that maximizes breathability, cushioning and durability
  • Vegan-friendly construction

Last update: 2021-09-18 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Bestard Aqua Pro Shoe

Bestard may be best known for making mountaineering boots, but they do have some pretty impressive lines of water-based canyoneering shoes known as their Hidro Line. The Aqua Pro is the low-cut, lightweight shoe from this line, but if you’re looking for a water-based shoe with ankle support, the other shoes in this line are some great options. The shoe has a Vibram sole that offers great grip and has ways to keep the laces of the shoe tucked away, so they don’t get stuck on things in the water.

These shoes may be more of a challenge to find than some other options on this list, but don’t let that stop you from looking at it. They do have a skinnier footprint than some of Bestard’s larger boot designed shoes, but if you can find your size, they will perform well for you.

Why Choose These Canyoneering Shoes:

  • If you intend to do lots of canyoneering routes in and around the water, these are the shoes for you. They offer amazing grip and great drainability.

What Makes Them Unique:

  • Vibram sole provides great grip, in and out of the water
  • Laces tuck away so they won’t get caught on things underwater

Arc’teryx Acrux FL Approach Shoe

Although they run on the more expensive end of outdoor gear in general, Arc’teryx is known for its durability and having a really solid warranty. If you have the money to spend on these shoes, or really any gear from Arc’teryx, you know that you’re getting some good gear. These shoes are known for having a great grip on rocks, offering a good balance between drainability and protection, and for being one of the most durable options out there. The main drawback besides the price tends to be the sizing as these shoes tend to run skinny, so they may not be the best option if you have wider feet.

Why Choose These Canyoneering Shoes:

  • If you are looking to invest in a pair of canyoneering shoes that will last you for years, this is the shoe to go with. They come with a higher price tag than many of the other options, but will last you for years and give you great performance.

What Makes Them Unique:

  • Specially designed tongue keep debris out of your feet
  • Inner lining helps fit tightly to your feet for the best performance
Arcteryx Acrux FL Approach Shoe - Women's Light Graphite/Big Surf 8.5 US
  • Keeping the science of the foot in mind these were constructed with durability, breathability, and efficiency for safe traveling in even the harshest of environments
  • The interior liner is separate, which provides an adaptive fit that allows for incredible breathability and weather protection
  • The liner is made from a stretch nylon mono-mesh that will not conform or absorb moisture

Last update: 2021-09-18 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Our Runner Ups for the Best Canyoneering Shoes

Our Runner Ups for the Best Canyoneering Shoes

Adidas Terrex Scope GTX Approach Shoes

These shoes offer a good all-around option. They have a laceless tie system, good drainability, Gore-Tex water protection, and amazingly grippy soles. They utilize Stealth Rubber, which is one of the leading brands of climbing shoe rubbers available on the market today. They tend to take a while to break in, though, but once you break them in, they’ll become a great fitting option for a canyoneering shoe. These would make an amazing shoe for rappelling, since they are more fitted and have fewer laces and ties hanging off of them, meaning less to get caught in all the gear.

Why Choose These Canyoneering Shoes:

  • If you want a good all-around shoe that will do well both on land and in water, this is the shoe for you. They offer a good balance between great drainability and great water protection, with a Gore-Tex outer coating.

What Makes Them Unique:

  • Stealth rubber soles for top-of-the-line grip
  • Lace less tie system to minimize hang-ups

Last update: 2021-09-18 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Adidas Terrex Hydro Lace

Adidas Terrex offers some great outdoor gear at a pretty reasonable price. This shoe is their water model and offers the added benefit of some ankle support as well. They’re a little on the heavy side, but they do offer tons of support for your feet, so if that’s something that you’re looking for, this might be the shoe for you. They are also known for being incredibly grippy on all kinds of surfaces, which is a plus for sure.

Why Choose These Canyoneering Shoes:

  • If you are looking for a shoe that will carry you through water-based canyoneering routes, will giving you amazing protection and support for your feet and ankles, this is the shoe for you. With a higher profile, the shoe provides an extra level of support for your ankles.

What Makes Them Unique:

  • Extra ankle support
  • Amazingly grippy soles

Last update: 2021-09-18 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


La Sportiva TX4

The La Sportiva line of TX2 to TX5 is known for being amazing shoes, but their TX4 offers a good mix of support without being too big and bulky. They utilize some of the best rubber out there for the soles of their shoes and are a brand loved by climbers the world over. These super comfortable and long-lasting shoes have one major downside, their drainability. The shoes offer immense protection for your feet but don’t tend to drain water well and hold onto moisture for a while. These shoes are best for land-based terrain where grip places a large role in your success.

Why Choose These Canyoneering Shoes:

  • If you are looking for shoes that will protect your feet through all kinds of land-based environments, this is the shoe for you. With great protection and great grip, this shoe will carry you through a multitude of environments.

What Makes Them Unique:

  • Great support for your arches
  • Super grippy soles
La Sportiva TX4 Approach Shoe, Carbon/Flame, 46
  • Designed for long approaches on rugged terrain
  • Durable leather upper for comfort and abrasion resistance in rugged terrain
  • Traverse lite injection MEMlex midsole with TPU stabilizer for all-day comfort and support

Last update: 2021-09-18 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Our Value Picks for the Best Canyoneering Shoes

Our Value Picks for the Best Canyoneering Shoes

Salomon Techamphibian 3 Water Shoe

Salomon is known for great shoes, and their water shoes are no exception. Their whole techamphibian and amphibian lines are amazing for a lightweight, more cost-effective option. If you plan to do lots of water travel, these shoes may be right for you as one of their main draws is their amazing drainability. One of the main downsides of this shoe is its general lack of protection due to the mesh side panels that help with drainage. Salomon shoes do tend to last well, though, so if you take good care of these shoes, they could get you through many adventures.

Why Choose These Canyoneering Shoes:

  • If you are looking for a canyoneering shoe that will drain fast and do well in water, but don’t want to break the bank, this is the shoe for you. These shoes are known for drying fast and lasting through many adventures.

What Makes Them Unique:

  • Mesh side panels for extra drainability
  • Lower price point than many other canyoneering shoes while maintaining great grip
Salomon Women's Techamphibian 3 W Trail Running Shoe, vintage kaki, 5 M US
  • Mesh construction moves seamlessly from dry to wet conditions, a sipped outsole ensures grip on wet rocks and surfaces, even under water. 
  • Cabriolet design for easy on, easy off.  
  • Sensifit wraps evenly around the foot, and Quicklace provides fast adjustment on the fly, while a heel strap comfortably locks the back of the foot in place.    

Last update: 2021-09-18 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Nike Air VaporMax 2019

We understand that finding some of these outdoor shoe brands can be challenging for some people, but other shoe brands do offer alternatives. The Nike Air VaporMax 2019 series are all good options for a lightweight and breathable shoe that could be used for easier canyoneering routes. If you want to up your game in canyoneering, this may not be the best shoe for you since the rubber on a normal sneaker won’t be as grippy as the rubber on an approach shoe, but it will perform well on most dry terrains and some water terrains.

Why Choose These Canyoneering Shoes:

  • If you are looking for shoes that you can find almost anywhere and will get you started with canyoneering without costing you an arm and a leg, these are the shoes for you. These shoes are a perform well, while being more accessible than some of the outdoor specific brands.

What Makes Them Unique:

  • Lightweight design won’t weigh you down
  • Great breathability for traveling in hot climates

Last update: 2021-09-18 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


How to Choose the Best Canyoneering Shoes for You

Take a look at the list of differentiating factors between canyoneering shoes and try to decide what matters the most to you. Do you intend to do lots of climbing based routes? If so, try looking for a shoe that has a good grip on rocks, such as an approach shoe. Do you intend to mostly be traveling through water? If yes, then maybe try to find a solid shoe in your price range that has good drainability.

We recommend looking at sites like REI or backcountry.com to find a good selection of a variety of brands and styles of canyoneering shoes. These sites also offer things at a good discount and have frequent sales, so keep your eyes peeled for those. REI carries brands such as Teva, Merrell, Astral, La Sportiva, Salomon, NRS, Adidas, North Face, and more. Backcountry.com carries a similar selection and tends to be cheaper, but doesn’t always have the full range of sizes available.

Key Differentiators of Canyoneering Shoes

Support and Structure

The amount of support you will need will depend on the type of canyoneering route that you will be doing. A longer, more hiking oriented route will likely require a shoe that has more structure and support for your foot and ankle. A route that is more rock climbing based will likely require a shoe that is better for edging and smearing but will probably sacrifice some of the support in favor of a lighter weight shoe.

Grip and Sole

Many of the shoes we like for canyoneering are rock climbing approach shoes that utilize the same style of rubber found on the soles of rock climbing shoes to provide added grip to the shoe. If you’re doing a longer route, this amount of grip might not be as important as the traction of your shoes on dirt or other trail surfaces, but if your route is more climbing based, it might be good to pay attention to what type of rubber your soles are made from.

Overall Protection

Although canyoneering shoes are discussed in terms of their technical features, they are still just shoes, and if they can’t protect your feet from thorns and rocks, then they aren’t very good shoes. Some shoes are designed to be more breathable, but this often comes at the price of sacrificing some of their ability to protect your feet from punctures. Take some time to think about the type of environment that you are likely to be traveling in before you purchase your shoes.

Drainability

Many canyoneering routes require you to scale up or rappel down waterfalls, wade across creeks, or even swim for sections. If you like to do these more water-based routes, it’s probably a good idea to invest in some good canyoneering shoes made for water. You can find shoes with some amount of mesh siding or other sides that drain well, but still offer a good amount of protection to your feet.

Price

As with any climbing or canyoneering gear, shoes can get pretty expensive, so it’s a good idea to think about how much you’re willing to pay for shoes. Keep in mind that sometimes cheaper shoes wear out faster and will end up costing you more in the long run than investing more money upfront in a more expensive pair of shoes. Try to find a balance between cost and durability that works for your needs and for your bank account.

Other Important Things to Consider When Buying Canyoneering Shoes

Like we talked about with the price, you should consider how often you’re going to be willing to shell out money for a new pair of canyoneering shoes. If you’re looking for a pair of shoes to last you years, you may have to compromise on some other factors to make the shoes more durable. It’s something that’s worth thinking about before you invest in new specialized shoes.

FAQ about Canyoneering Shoes

What Do You Need for Canyoneering?

Canyoneering is like rock climbing and hiking’s adventure baby. It typically involves a variety of environments including, but not limited to, rock scrambling and climbing, dirt, and gravel paths, going up and down waterfalls and forging across streams. This varied environment can lead to a variety of challenges, a large number of skills needed, and a large amount of gear and gear knowledge.

Overall, canyoneering requires very similar gear to rock climbing, such as anchor gear, rappel and belay gear, and a rope. One of the main differences is the length of the route and the type of terrain that you will encounter, meaning that a canyoneering route will require gear for more types of terrain than just rock. You will need gear to get you safely across the water, and most surfaces you can think of, it all just depends on the specific canyoneering route that you will be doing.

Can You Use Climbing Approach Shoes for Canyoneering?

Many of the shoes that we recommend are climbing approach shoes. This style of shoe works well for canyoneering because they give you the best traction on rocks due to the type of rubber used to make the soles. While you may want more arch or ankle support for specific routes or if your feet need the extra support, climbing approach shoes are a good option for canyoneering shoes. Many are even designed with edging and smearing in mind, making rocky scrambles a little easier.

What’s the Difference Between Approach Shoes and Hiking Shoes?

The main difference between approach shoes and hiking shoes is the type of rubber used on the sole of the shoe. Approach shoes utilize the same extra sticky rubber found on rock climbing shoes, but don’t often offer any ankle support and have minimal foot support in general. Hiking shoes, on the other hand, are more along the lines of a cross between running shoes and hiking boots. They utilize average shoe rubber for the soles and typically don’t offer ankle support, but they do tend to have stiffer soles, offering more support to the arch of the foot.

What are the Advantages of Having the Right Canyoneering Shoes?

Your feet are what carry you through most of your adventures in life, so it’s important to take good care of your feet. Put a little bit of extra time into finding the right shoes for your activities, and don’t be afraid to spend a little extra money. Your feet will thank you in the end.

Having the right shoe for a sport like canyoneering can help keep your feet and ankles safe and well protected through whatever terrain you may be crossing. Wearing the wrong shoes can turn a good day into a bad day very fast. Making sure that your feet are comfortable and prepared for what is ahead of you is a great way to help kick off your adventures.

Summary of the Best Canyoneering Shoes

To sum up, here are the best canyoneering shoes we looked at today:

Our Top Favorite
Five Ten Men's Guide Tennie Canvas Approach Shoe,Gun Steel Blue,8 M US
Our Top Runner Up
adidas Men's Terrex Scope GTX Core Blue/Black/EQT Yellow 9.5
Our Top Value Pick
Salomon Women's Techamphibian 3 W Trail Running Shoe, vintage kaki, 5 M US
Book Title
FiveTen Guide Tennies Approach Shoe
Adidas Terrex Scope GTX Approach Shoes
Salomon Techamphibian 3 Water Shoe
Prime Eligible?
-
-
Our Top Favorite
Five Ten Men's Guide Tennie Canvas Approach Shoe,Gun Steel Blue,8 M US
Book Title
FiveTen Guide Tennies Approach Shoe
Prime Eligible?
-
Our Top Runner Up
adidas Men's Terrex Scope GTX Core Blue/Black/EQT Yellow 9.5
Book Title
Adidas Terrex Scope GTX Approach Shoes
Prime Eligible?
-
Our Top Value Pick
Salomon Women's Techamphibian 3 W Trail Running Shoe, vintage kaki, 5 M US
Book Title
Salomon Techamphibian 3 Water Shoe
Prime Eligible?

Last update: 2021-09-18 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Overall, there’s a variety of options for canyoneering shoes, ranging from common brands to more expensive adventure specific brands. Each brand and style of shoe offers a different set of specifications to help you on your adventures, so take the time to figure out what works best for you. Regardless of it, you want to invest in an expensive pair of canyoneering shoes or buy a nice mid-range approach shoe or water shoe, we know there’s a shoe that will work for your adventures!

Did you enjoy this article? You might also be interested in our other climbing gear reviews here:

Here a few to help you out:

> Best Rock Climbing Pulleys

> Best Intermediate Climbing Shoes

> Best Quickdraws for Climbing

> Best Climbing Harness

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