Canyoning footwear: 5.10 Guide Tennie approach shoe

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– Bjorn Sturmberg

These were the first shoe I bought after Dunlop Volleys went out of favour following their decision to destroy their rubber composition and thus entirely lose their credibility with traditional users such as canyoners and bushwalkers. The 5.10 Guide Tennie is not specifically a canyoning shoe, rather an ‘approach shoe’ designed for technical scrambling on your way to a climb.

5.10 Guide Tennie approach shoe after seven months of solid use

Technical (read somewhat difficult yet unroped) scrambling is, I would say, a pretty niche activity, but it happens to be one I am a great enthusiast of. That said, these shoes also do well on regular walks, but don’t offer the same level of the support or cushioning of a hiking shoe or a trail running shoe.

Once again comparing to them to Volleys, the Tennies provide a distinct lift in comfort. Besides being really useful on the sometimes tricky approaches to rock climbs, I have also found them to really come into their own on tougher passes trips that involved dicey scrambles.

Scrambling in Tennies (on the southern pass of Mt Solitary)

The grip provided by the climbing rubber (in this case C4 stealth ruber) is quite remarkable. On dry rock, both on features and when smearing, they undoubtedly match, or I would claim outperform, the Volley.

There have been a number of occasions where I have found myself on wet rock, whilst scrambling in a serious position, and have been super impressed (and relieved) by the sustained grip provided.

The other fat canyoners have had similar experiences when using the canyoning specific shoes made by 5.10, the Canyoneer SAR and the Canyoneer 2.

Given all this, I was pretty excited to recently get my hands on a pair of the new 5.10 Water Tennie (a version of the shoe designed specifically for wet uses like canyoning and kayaking), which I am just itching to try out!

Tennie C4 stealth ruber soles after fairly extensive use

The only design issue I have with these shoes is their narrow length. This is just a personal problem that I have quite often, given my wide feet. My pair are wide enough to fit me comfortably but I therefore loose the sharp ‘edging’ of the front of the shoe, which is one of its major selling points. Testing them on a few short rock climbs recently I found that I was really missing this, however speaking to other climbers it seems that if the fit is right the edging is everything it’s hyped up to be.

Another concern, which can only be answered over time, is their durability through the Aussie scrub. Thus far the leather uppers have held up surprisingly well (the photo at the top was taken after a solid seven months of use, including plenty of day-to-day use).

The contact between the high rubber nose and the leather is slightly detaching, though not as much as in other reviews and seems to have halted now.

Choosing them in a wide size was aimed at avoiding the pressure that constantly brought the Volleys to rub through whilst scrub bashing, and has so far been successful, with minimal wear visible on the sides.

So then to the online store’s crux question, ‘would you recommend this product to a friend’. Yes I would, if and only if you find them for sale at a reasonable price! I had tried them on on multiple occasion in Sydney but found the $200+ price tag an absolute deal breaker. I think this would still be the case for me now, even after really falling for them. I was pretty stoked when I came across a pair on sale for $50 (and in my size which never happens) on my last afternoon in the US.

Check out our reviews of some other canyoning footwear options:

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