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Old 11-16-2014   #1
Grass Valley, California
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 8
Five Ten River shoes

I lead a water rescue team and we are always looking for shoes that work for what we do. The Teva Churn has been popular, but because of the soft heel- it can be pulled off. We are looking for a lightweight shoe with good grip on slippery rocks that we can swim in. We also use swim fins a lot over our shoes.
Does anyone have any experience with the Five Ten River Tennis shoe? Have you ever worn them with a swim fin? What is their durability?


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Old 11-16-2014   #2
Duluth, Minnesota
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 175
The grip is great on the water tennie but mine only lasted one summer. Granted they got used every day and probably never dried out all season so I'm not sure how much I could expect from ANY shoe.

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Old 11-16-2014   #3
cedar city, Utah
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,931
I haven't tried the latest generation but it looks like they have worked on durability, at least by adding a full rand to eliminate fabric wear.

A user on a backcountry review mentioned concerns of flex when used with fins (in response to question about appropriateness for diving).

Five Ten rubber has historically been some of the best in the industry and is undoubtedly sticky. The downside is they are primarily a climbing/mountaineering company so they are never likely to fully tailor a shoe to kayaking needs.

One aspect of Five Ten shoes that I struggle with is they tend to be "floppy" compared to other shoes in the category. That was my experience up to a few years back and recent reviews on places like Blister seem to still agree.

If you have a narrower foot and want a different balance between support (midsole) and sticky rubber you might look into the La Sportiva Xplorer. Lower cut than the Five Ten tennies but their shoes tend to be stiffer. Definitely a shoe and not a booty and more of a generalist than specialized footwear.

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Old 11-16-2014   #4
., Arizona
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 83
I really like my water tennies. A lot of grip when wet, even on the slimy rocks. They drain well. Good padding, a little insulation and great protection all around the foot. I've worn them once with the nrs rescue fins and felt a little bulky but solid, I don't have too much experience with fins. Durability is good as long as you don't leave them baking in the sun. Only complaint I have is that the laces are exposed and I've had them get caught a couple times but they can be trimmed and tucked in. I also use them for canyoning and as an approach shoe in colder weather.
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Old 11-16-2014   #5
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Eastern Slope, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2,404
I had the first generation Water Tennies and liked them, but they did not have the long-term durability I demand as a river guide. I used a pair of Saucony trail running shoes this year that already had hundreds of miles of trail running and backpacking on them and they're still in better shape than the Five Tens were after a single season of just rafting. Night and day - and the Sauconys were $60. Mesh tennis shoes from the thrift store and good neoprene socks would be the best investment for your organization, in my opinion.
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Old 11-16-2014   #6
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BZN, Montana
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 1,489
I'm on the clumsy and overworked side of the equation when portaging. I like sticky rubber when facing exposure. For me buying a new pair of river shoes every year is worth the piece of mind. Depending on the nature of your swiftwater rescue scenes they may be over kill on the grip and not as durable as you would like. I would count on 40-60 days of use before the rubber and cloth begin to separate.
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Old 11-16-2014   #7
Duluth, Minnesota
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 175
Yep, about half way through the season mine started to come apart. If my boat, skirt, paddle, or pfd wears out I understand as we ask a lot of that kind of gear. It seems like shoes should hold up better. I hate to say it but I had NRS shoes that lasted for over 5 years. 5.10 should be able to do better than NRS.
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Old 11-17-2014   #8
Westminster, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 286
I've always like 5.10 rubber. My water tennies sole has started to delaminate after about 40 days use.
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Old 11-17-2014   #9
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Silverthorne, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 577
NRS has a new river boot launching this spring to compete with the FiveTen Water Tennie. I have a pair on order and can post more information once I receive them.
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Old 11-17-2014   #10
Bozeman, Montana
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 61
The Astral Rasslers have the same rubber as the water tennies. I have the Brewers (low top) and love them.

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