Is the Bestard Canyon Guide the best canyoning shoe available? Over a course of an entire season of guiding for a canyoning tour company, I managed to rigorously test them to their full extent.
The Bestard Canyon Guide has been available for a number of years in Europe and is now making its way across the world into different markets. We purchased our shoes during the tour of the Bestard Factory in Spain. Bestard shoes are hand made unlike other brands which are machine made in China or other places. Personally I find this shows dedication, spirit, passion and let alone quality.
A quick back ground on the the testing parameters I have personally put these shoes through. Guiding 2 trips per day from June to October pretty much every day, with the most common course having a nice 1.5km hike up to the start. In rough values, probably around 200 tours wearing these shoes from 08:30 until 17:00 every day.
The Bestard Canyon Guide model I used for testing is the 2013 model which since then, has been updated fixing some of the areas for better wear protection and other small items. So let’s move onto the section by section review.
When you put these shoes on for the first time you instantly notice the difference from other canyoning shoes. They are extremely comfortable and well fitting. Bestard has been making shoes for 75 years in a small town called Lloseta, at the foot of the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range, on the island of Mallorca, Spain. They have a strong collection of mountaineering boots ranging in all styles which are extremely tough.
Everything about these shoes exudes quality. There are no buckles or extra frills with everything servicing a complete purpose. They were designed, tested and redefined by many Spanish Canyoning Guides.
There are so many parts that make the Bestard Canyon Guide. The level of detail is simply amazing for a canyoning shoe. They make 2 versions, Male and Female and no other company has done this before. The female version is slightly smaller in width than the male version. They are quite easily distinguishable between each other, the mens are orange and the women’s blue.
The lacing system on the Canyon Guide is nothing short of amazing. You can tighten the shoe exactly to how you feel from the toes all the way to the ankle. This makes walking in these shoes a breeze. The best feature is the lace locking system which holds the bottom section in place while you lace the ankle section. I twice had the experience of having the laces cut through by sharp rock and I didn’t really notice much difference as the ankles were still nice and tight. The best thing about the laces is even if they do break you can replace them or re tie them together and just keep on going.
The sole is a Vibram IdoGrip, a specialised sole made especially for the Bestard Canyon Guide. Stiff but flexible enough to be able to walk for hours on end. Initially the soles were quite slick compared to the FiveTen Canyoneers, but after a while wearing them in and also rubbing the sole on asphalt to take off the top layer, the soles were perfect. Not once did I slip and in some places I have more traction then over guides did with their Canyoneers.
The ankle support is excellent and will be a big benefit for some and having the high gaiters is one of the best features over any other shoe. I usually wear neoprene socks to keep keep my feet nice and warm and do not get rocks or sand inside the shoe. That’s not an issue with the Bestard’s amazing gaiter system. Having the ability to tighten and loosen the gaiter depending on where you are walking makes everything so comfortable.
These shoes have lasted the test of time and durability. I’m very tough on shoes. I can quite easily go through a pair of shoes within 6 months. My previous canyoning shoes started to fall apart just a few months into canyoning and that was only going every so often. Although the sole has worm down and is now fairly smooth and there are places where the rubber edging has worn, I’ll keep using these shoes until there is nothing left.
These boots are very comfortable! They’re much more comfortable than most other canyoning shoes around. There is good padding around the heel and ankle which is not stuffy or boxy. The inner soles are quiet good for standard and if you need something different you can replace them with other types of inner soles. The protection around the toe area is great too. I never suffered with sore toes or broken nails as I have done with other canyoning shoes.
The water draining in these shoes is awesome. First you have 2 exit ports on the inner side of each shoe,and secondly the orange mesh allows the water to evacuate as well. Never once did I feel like I was wear a boot full of water.
I will quite happily wear these through any canyon I do. They are the perfect shoe for explorers, professional and recreational canyoners. Lightweight, robust, comfortable and the support from the manufacturing company is amazing as well. In our opinion there is no other shoe that is better for canyoning at the current time than the Bestard Canyon Guide.