Caving Boots

The “Wellies” (Wellington boots) in the Facebook “Caving Gear” application inspired some brief conversations on good caving boots:

Some Wellington boots come with felt on the tread — which I’m told is good for traction on slippery rocks while fishing.

Some caving groups, such as the Chouteau Grotto, are known for using shoes with football cleats in very muddy caves like the Devil’s Icebox. And it occurs to me that this might be useful in Carol Cave as well — as long as the boots tie firmly enough to the foot as to not get pulled off when pulling feet out of mud! ;->

Last night at the Banff film festival, the “Canyoneer 2” shoe, at five-ten was recommended. (See “Footwear -> Water” on their flash site.) Looks like it would hold onto the foot well, and keep most mud and sand out of the shoe. But the tread doesn’t look very ambitious. Maybe I should try these for my next pair of caving boots.


(A visitor was looking for OTB Footwear Sar Water Boots, so I thought I’d mention them.)


Bottom line: I have to recommend the Norcross Shrimp Boots, recommended by John Hargreaves.
(See comments.)

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7 Responses to Caving Boots

  1. We used rubber boots similar to wellies as dive boots while doing commercial diving in the gulf of Mexico. There they are referred to as shrimp boots as they are used on the shrimp boats. We would put a couple of tight wraps of duct tape just above the ankle before a dive to keep the bottom mud from pulling them off. some divers also cut drain holes to allow excess water out but I never needed that.

  2. jeffgrigg says:

    Interesting. A little searching also reveals a few more ideas:

    OTB “Search and Rescue” boots:
    http://www.opsgear.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=OTB-SAR
    Mesh-covered holes in sole for quick drainage.

    “Rocky S2V Boots” with drainage holes:
    http://www.botachtactical.com/ros2vtabode.html
    (IE: “army boots” -> now “combat boots”)
    They’re even fireproof! (…not usually an issue in caving. ;-)

  3. I’m sure they’d work well, but those seem a little pricey for caving especially compared to good old shrimp boots or wellies :)
    http://www.foreandaftmarine.com/749289.htm

  4. jeffgrigg says:

    I’m currently using Monarch IV Hiking Boots from REI. They work pretty well; good traction and drain reasonably well — through the sides. They get a bit more sand in them than I’d like, but it’s usually not a real problem.

    http://www.rei.com/product/747770

  5. jeffgrigg says:

    Tried my new Norcross Shrimp Boots yesterday on an 8 hour trip to the terminal sump in Berome Moore cave. (Purchased boots from John’s link above.) I’m pretty happy with them. They’re keepers.

    Good things:
    + simple
    + cheap
    + good protection from most rocks
    + good at keeping the sand out

    Not so good:
    – can feel rocks through soles and sides of boots (so they don’t give great protection)
    – holds water
    – top of boot abrades legs (tuck pants into boots or wear something to protect thighs)
    – easy to pull off in “boot sucking mud” like Caroll Cave. (Maybe I should tie something around the ankles after putting the boots on.)

    But overall I call them a winner.

  6. Jeff Grigg says:

    I find it interesting how this page, of all the pages on my blog, seems to attract really trashy spam. Maybe it shows up on certain keyword searches. Hmmm… People can be so odd.

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