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Discussion Starter #1
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?

Thanks.
 

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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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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.

Phillip
 

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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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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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GoBro
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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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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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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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Discussion Starter #11
We are in Northern California and have been all using different shoes. I have had a pair of Teva shoes that are about to give it up. They were the generation before the Churn. The things that are important to us are; the ability to lace them tightly, good sticky soles, the ability to drain water, easy on over dry suit feet, the ability to wear with swim fins. Several of my guys are wearing the Churn- but have had them come off at the heel. The pull chord lacing system does not allow the shoe to be tightened enough. I did call several companies and give them some ideas, such as a real heel cup- to prevent slippage, interior mesh to keep sand out, a Velcro flap over the lacing to keep loops from catching sticks. Everyone says its too much a "niche" market. I tried to explain that kayakers would wear them as well- they all told me to go to China and for 10,000 I could have a prototype---- I am a fireman, not a shoe maker. I appreciate all your responses. We have all tried lightweight tennis shoes- on issue is they begin to stink after a while and they often hold water and get heavy. I may buy a pair of the 510's and see how they feel with the fins. We operate three PWC's, a Zodiac, and two rafts. We run about 30 calls a year- except during a drought-. We have everything from large volume valley floor rivers to Class V water. So we sort of need a do everything shoe.
Again, I appreciate all your responses.
 

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Have you looked at the Five Ten Canyoneer SAR? They might not fit your criteria as I'm not sure fins would fit over them. But our swiftwater rescue team has been wearing these for a couple years and love them. The steel toe is nice to keep from bashing toes on rocks, just watch out for foot entrapment. Can swim in them, very sticky rubber and drains water quick.
 

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Sorry you are having a hard time finding a solution. Most manufacturers have to offset the financial loss of niche shoes with broader markets. It took the canyoneering community more than a decade of harassing and prototyping to get shoes like the Five Ten and La Sportiva.

The Canyoneer: great shoe that works with every criteria BUT fins. Everything about the shoes, from midsole to rand/support, is bulky and high volume which doesn't collaborate well with most fins. And those buckles are stiff and massive.

La Sportiva Xplorer: Lower volume but doesn't drain nearly as well as your situation is likely to require.

I would think your best bet is the Astral Rassler for the criteria you have mentioned. They tend to be made of a more flexible material, are much lower volume than the canyoneering shoes and have Stealth rubber.

Considering your criteria you overlap well with fly fishing demands but that is a demographic that is not known to change fast and the current offering are still rather bulky.

Best of luck and hope you and your crew find a viable solution.

Phillip
 

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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.
I used to wrestle in HS and we used to use athletic tape to tape our laces down.
They also make lace covers for wrestling shoes that might work,Asics Wrestling Shoe Lace Covers - (Red Color):Amazon:Sports & Outdoors
Here's an amazon link but a local sports store may have something you could try out.
 

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no tengo
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I have tried a lot of river shoes but am never satisfied with the durability, warmth, comfort or support. Always something seems to be lacking. I don't just sit in a boat all day there is hiking, scouting, rescue whatever that needs to happen. What about looking to the fishing industry? I came across this brand they are made for walking around in or to water all day and I am seriously considering this for whitewater application. Would be nice to know if anyone has tried these or something similar out. Simms Wading Boots: rugged fishing boots that provide the best wading traction & grip available with optimal foot support.
 

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I have had a lot of experience with 5.10 shoes specifically the MSR Canyoneers, and Ascents and limited time in the Water Tennies, and I can say that there is nothing comparable to their rubber. Ask any paddler out there and those with 5.10's are doing the bulk of hard portages. I've even been with crews in granite canyons where we carried all the boats at the harder portages cuz they were terrified of their footwear. The Brewer's no longer have the 5.10 rubber on them so those of you who have that model...better hang on to em!

I have primarily stuck with the Ascent model of shoes to kayak in. They have a mixed upper (mesh/synthetics) which allows them to drain and dry quickly. The sole platform is rugged with great support and the famous 5.10 sticky rubber. After 2 years on a pair, they've yet to blow out anywhere...and they've seen a lot of river days. This summer I brought a pair of SAR Canyoneers with me for a month expedition and were in them for 27 straight days. They too are rock solid and held up amazingly.

Not sure if you fins would accept these two models. The Water Tennies might fit in there. My experience with them is limited.

http://fiveten.com/products/footwear-detail/14791-aescent-dark-grey-citron

http://fiveten.com/products/footwear-detail/13845-canyoneer-sar-orange

Good luck
 

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Another vote for the Astral Rasslers. 5.10 rubber but in a better formed shoe, in my opinion. One thing I discovered when I was last researching was this was that there are lot of different flavors of 5.10 rubber out there. For instance the discontinued 5.10 Savants that used to be popular with boaters user a harder compound that's not as good when wet as their water shoe specific rubber. Might be something to keep in mind.
 

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Another vote for the Astral Rasslers. 5.10 rubber but in a better formed shoe, in my opinion. One thing I discovered when I was last researching was this was that there are lot of different flavors of 5.10 rubber out there. For instance the discontinued 5.10 Savants that used to be popular with boaters user a harder compound that's not as good when wet as their water shoe specific rubber. Might be something to keep in mind.
Its a shame they don't provide the formula information on most websites. Here is the Stealth Rubber website:

Stealth Rubber - The Formulas

Five Ten does list which formula they use on the product page for each of their shoes, like the Water Tennie uses the Aq rubber.

Phillip
 

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I love my 5.10 Canyoneers, but I definitely prefer a beefier boot vs a shoe. I got them for my last GC trip, when we were planning on doing some canyoneering. They were great. They were a bit bulky for longer hikes, and it didn't seem to be a good use of the sticky rubber if we weren't doing anything technical.
 

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5.10 stopped supplying all external manufacturers their rubber...Adidas bought them out and is keep the rubber proprietary.
 
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