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zion narrows - footwear question

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zion narrows - footwear question

Postby mtnlubber » Thu Jun 30, 2011 9:03 pm

I'm doing the 16 mile zion narrows trip in early august as a 2 day backpack.

I haven't dont much water-based or river hiking in the past and was wondering if anyone had thoughts on what kind of shoes I should wear.

Would old trail runners be ok? or Keens? or should I rent canyoneering boots and neoprene socks from a local outfitter?

Thanks!
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Re: zion narrows - footwear question

Postby Buz Groshong » Thu Jun 30, 2011 9:14 pm

mtnlubber wrote:I'm doing the 16 mile zion narrows trip in early august as a 2 day backpack.

I haven't dont much water-based or river hiking in the past and was wondering if anyone had thoughts on what kind of shoes I should wear.

Would old trail runners be ok? or Keens? or should I rent canyoneering boots and neoprene socks from a local outfitter?

Thanks!


I did an up and back some years ago in April. Used the rented canyoneering boots, but then I had to rent a dry suit for that time of year. I usually do running shoes for canyons that require a lot of stream crossings, but the Narrows is all in the streambed, not just a bunch of crossings. I think it would be worth renting the boots because of the large rocks hidden under the water if for no other reason.
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Re: zion narrows - footwear question

Postby MoapaPk » Thu Jun 30, 2011 9:18 pm

I wore five-ten canyoneers years ago; might have been overkill. I have my own pair, but you can rent them at ZAC (Zion Adventure Company) in Springdale.

The shoes should drain well and easily, and should have substantially grippy soles, and good protection for your toes. Walking the lower section of the Narrows has be equated to "traveling over grease-covered bowling balls." Have neoprene socks, and trekking poles (or at least one stout wooden pole).

Has the Park service opened up the campsites on the river? Last I knew, they wanted to survey the campsites, since there was damage in the massive flow this winter and spring.

I did it as a dayhike with shuttle. Nothing would make me do that as an overnight -- you will have to pack everything in drybags, and do swims with a full pack.

Take a waterproof camera if you can.
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Re: zion narrows - footwear question

Postby michellen » Thu Jun 30, 2011 10:39 pm

As of last weekend the Narrows was still closed to top-down hikers (we had a permit for it and one of the campsites, needless to say we were disappointed). From what I understand the bottom day hike section has been opened in the last couple of days, though. Hopefully by August you'll be good to go. It would have been my first Narrows trip so I can't speak from experience, but from what I've heard, renting the canyoneering shoes and neoprene socks is a good idea (for reasons Moapa describes) as well as the pole (regular trekking poles can bend/break easily).
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Re: zion narrows - footwear question

Postby Stu Brandel » Fri Jul 01, 2011 12:07 am

I agree with MoapaPk about having a more robust shoe. I have done the full hike three times, each time with standard hiking boots (I did not own canyoneering shoes until recently). I appreciated the ankle support and the strong toe and sole for the algae-covered bowling balls, as I was frequently jamming my feet intorocks at odd angles. Also, I agree strongly about having a staff or trekking poles. As I always did this as a daytrip, my staff saved me from sevral falls due to end of day tiredness.
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Re: zion narrows - footwear question

Postby Buz Groshong » Fri Jul 01, 2011 2:23 pm

I'll go along with what others said about poles. I rented the gear from Zion Adventure Company and they included a sturdy wooden closet pole; definitely better than regular trekking poles.
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Re: zion narrows - footwear question

Postby nvskier1 » Fri Jul 01, 2011 10:31 pm

I run that canyon at least a few times a year....in high water and low......have never worn anything but old runners and have not had any problems.....do see the tourists with the 5.10 canyoneering shoes but believe that's a bit of overkill.......cheers
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Re: zion narrows - footwear question

Postby builttospill » Sun Jul 03, 2011 9:25 pm

This depends a lot on personal preference and your feet/ankles.

A friend and I did top-down in a day with light packs. I wore old, worn-out running shoes. They drained well but didn't have much support. I have fairly good ankles and my feet handle abuse well, and I was definitely fine on the slippery rocks. My feet don't really mind being wet for hours. A nice pole (from Zion Adventure Company) helps.

My friend wore the 5.10 Canyoneers from Zion Adventure. He liked them for the support, but he developed some rubbing/blisters on the back of his foot that bugged him quite a bit for the last half of the hike.

I think if you usually have to worry about ankle support, the canyoneers or at least a high-top trail runner might be worth it. If you have bullet-proof ankles, you can definitely get by with running shoes.
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Re: zion narrows - footwear question

Postby tonyo » Wed Aug 03, 2011 2:18 pm

+1 on the Canyoneers with neoprene socks. The Virgin River is often too murky to see the rocks on which you'll be stepping, so planning good foot placement is often impossible. The Canyoneers protect both the bottom of your feet (stepping on all those rocks with regular hiking boots or water shoes is hard on the soles of your feet) and your ankles. Heel support is also very good. I bought mine at the 5.10 outlet in Redlands, CA for $80.00. Don't know how much they are to rent.
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Re: zion narrows - footwear question

Postby MichaelWB » Fri Aug 12, 2011 11:12 pm

I can highly recommend the Merrell Waterpro Maipo shoes and Seirus Neoprene socks, which served me well in Spring Canyon (Capitol Reef), Death Hollow/Boulder Mail Trail, and twice in the Subway, (low water in October and waist-high creek during run-off the following spring.) Planning to return to Zion soon for a Narrows/Orderville hike, and will be packing them again!

Michael.
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