The canyoneer is a shoe designed with canyoneering in mind, but I think its an excellent kayaking shoe as well. I rented a pair to do a backpacking trip through Zion narrows years ago and never forgot how good of a shoe they were. The version 2 update is a less bulky shoe which is better suited to kayaking than the first version. I got a pair of the canyoneers and recently took my new shoes on a test run on lower south boulder creek.
1) Incredible traction on wet rocks. Hands down this is the best feature of these shoes. The shoes blow away the traction of several of the shoes I have used before including NRS attack shoe, nike tokatee, and keen hood rivers. The other shoes range from horrible to mediocre when it came to traction on wet rocks. The canyoneer is like having a shoe with the grip of octapus tentacles. This is the main reason I got these shoes.
2) Solid sole. A huge plus walking around on colorado blast rock mank. Most of the kayaking shoes I've worn have too thin of a sole, which makes it painful stepping on sharp rocks. The solid soles also make for decent hiking, as tested on the 1 mile lower south boulder creek hikeout.
3) Good ankle protection. Nice foaming around the ankles to offer a bit of protection from rock hits while scrambling.
1) Bulky. All the benefits come with the drawback that the shoe is bulky. I can fit the shoes in my dagger nomad 8.5 boat, but had to adjust the foam. The shoes are bigger than most kayak shoes, and thats the price you pay for the great traction, and awesome sole.
2) Another minor con is the buckle system. Simple velcro would have done fine for kayaking, but since its a canyoneering shoe I don't fault 5.10 for it. Its not that big of a deal though.
Over the last few seasons, I have been disappointed many times by my previous shoes. I liked the nike tokatee, but they discontinued the shoe, and it had a very thin sole. I replaced them with the NRS attack shoes and the traction was poor with the NRS shoes. I had several close calls almost slipping into huge rapids and portages in oregon, and that drove home the fact that I needed better shoes.
The canyoneers feel bomber. Walking around in the creekbed is no issue. Doing some rock climbing moves to scout and counting on your shoes for traction is no problem. Where other standard booties are slippery, these shoes are steadfast and sticky. When the shit hits the fan, and I need to sprint along a river bank I don't want to be slipping, or getting hurt because rock points smash through a weak sole. I want a shoe that gives me the traction and stability I need. Setting safety, un-pinning boats, active rescues, log / hazard removal, retrieving gear, hiking out... many common circumstances that require you to be out of your boat with good traction, good support, and in control: this is where the canyoneers shine.
I'm very impressed with the 5.10 canyoneer. Awesome shoe!!!
website has a picture and basic info. Click on footwater and then water.
This is a great bootie, but there could be improvements made for a kayaking specific shoe. If the shoe were slimmed down a bit, the buckles replaced by velcro, and the overall design was planned to be stuff into a kayak, it could be the best kayaking shoe.
One other note on sizing. Order a full size larger than what you wear for regular shoes. In doing some research, I found this noted many times, and it held true for me as well. I wear 11's, but got the 12's. With wool socks and drysuit booties, the size 12's are a perfect fit.