I’ve always used traditional wading boots in my fishing adventures, but about a year ago I decided that I wanted to try something different. I was looking for a lightweight boot I could hike in and yet have it still be functional for wading. Simms and Orvis have some nice offerings, but I finally went with La Sportiva TX Canyon Approach shoes.
The TX Canyon is a canyoneering boot that is designed to be a good hiker in both wet and dry conditions. As La Sportiva says, canyoneering shoes need to do it all: offer support, flexibility, sticky traction while wet/dry, be able to shed water quickly, remain lightweight in all conditions and most importantly; be indestructible. These goals seem impossible to meet in one boot, but when I found some on sale I decided to buy them and try them out.
The boot appears to be ruggedly constructed. They are ankle height and have a hook and loop strap that covers the laces that keep them from being snagged on vegetation. The toe box is ample enough that my feet don’t feel cramped in them, even when wearing neoprene wading socks.
I normally wear a size 12 shoe, but since I wanted to use the TX Canyons with my Simms Guide Guard Wading Socks, I decided to go with size 13. The fit was great. However, the TX Canyon boots don’t have any arch support and they don’t have a removable insole. My feet, knees and back need arch support, so I inserted a pair of Superfeet EASYFIT half insoles into the boots and tried them out. Perfect! I got the arch support and heal stabilization that I desired, but I didn’t get the cramped toes that a lot of insoles cause.
The TX Canyons have a flexible sole, but it’s stiff enough to give support and protection from stream bed boulders. I found the outer sole to be good, with its climbing zone platform, deep lugs, flat tread and trail-bite heel, but I also felt I needed a little more “bite”. I’m not as steady on my feet as I used to be, so to increase the stream bed grip, I added three Simms Hardbite Wading Boot Studs – For Felt Soles to both the foot and heel of each boot. I chose the Hardbite for felt, as they are longer than the rubber sole version. I used a file to take off the sharp screw points and square the tips. I screwed them in using some blue Loctite. I’ve now hiked and waded in them many days and for many miles. None of the Hardbite studs have fallen out and the stream bed grip is very good. I’m pleased.
I’ve been pleased with the La Sportiva TX Canyon Approach shoes. Sure, I’ve modded them to fit my needs, but I do that with a lot of my gear. I like how they feel when I hike; they are so lightweight. I like the protection they provide against the rocks and boulders of my streams, and I like the ankle and heel support. I also like the climbing toe zone platform that isn’t available on my other boots. The stiff toe platform helps me get up and over boulders and out of the stream easier. They are like the toe rand on climbing shoes. I’ve used them when travelling, and they pack nicely, as they are smaller than my traditional wading boots. So far, they’ve held up admirably. I look forward to using them for years to come.
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