For a long time the humble Dunlop Volley was the shoe of choice for tennis players, roofers and canyoners alike. Cheap, grippy and reliable. Somehow they had escaped the twist on the old engineering adage of ‘Cheap, Strong, Light… Pick any two.” but then things changed.
Ownership, manufacturing processes, materials… whatever, canyoners started to find the quality and reliability of the good old Volley was a little random, if not far below what they had been. See David Nobles report for more .
Suddenly more expensive options were becoming more appealing and with the American ‘Canyoneering’ scene getting bigger there are now canyon specific options out there.
The Fat Canyoneers have some good write ups on some of these like the Bestard Canyon Guide the Five 10 Canyoneer SAR and Canyoneer 2 or the Adidas Hydro pro and I have to say I was a little tempted to give one of those a go. *I’ve seen been trying the Bestards
However I’ve always been a fan of Teva sandals and so I thought I’d give a bit of a report on my latest pair.
My little brother introduced me to Teva ‘Water shoes’ back in the 90s. Originally the Teva guys strapped a bit of car tyre to their feet to help stop them falling out of their kayaks or something. Things progressed from there.
I always thought they were as grippy, if not more so, as the Volleys and being sandals it was a lot easier to clear the sand out of them. You still got a bit of sand build up under the arch of the foot but a good shake in the water or kick against a rock tended to clear it out, no need to stop and take them off.
The only real issues I had with the older models, other than the less than stylish combo of sandals and woolen socks, was the open toe caught the occasional stick and they were a little finicky when trying to stay dry by toeing across a thin ledge..
Newer models such as the Trail Dozer address those issues (well maybe not the sandal/sock faux pas) by including a toe box. Making them kinda like shoe sandal hybrid.
So I purchased a set of Trail dozers a few years ago on special for about $70 au. We were just getting back into canyoning, doing 1 or 2 a year so they weren’t getting a great deal of serious (ab)use but were being used as a bit of an every day summer shoe.
First impressions were they were more comfortable off the bat than the older models while retaining good grip and easy of shedding of the sand build up. The enclosed toe was much better, both at deflecting sticks and providing more positive grip on those thin ledges.
The tough/ abrasive conditions of our sandstone canyons will take their toll on any shoe but the Dozers have held up reasonably well.
Getting back into things a bit more seriously I’ve pounded these through around 50 canyon trips now, including a fair bit of off track scrub work.
One of the retention laces let go about 3 trips ago, a simple knot reconnected them and I continued on. They are scuffed and battered and the sole is starting to loose its grip but they are still serviceable and adding in the causal day wear I have to say I’m pretty happy with how well they have lasted and at about 1/2 the price of some of the canyon specific options I will be purchasing another set.
The Dozers 3 and 4 seem a little more shoe like so it will be interesting to see how they go with sand. Other options retain the more open style.