For a long time Dunlop Volleys have been the shoe of choice for a lot of bushwalkers and canyoners in NSW.
They are particularly good for canyoning. The sole, favoured by roofers for a long time, has very good grip. This naturally carries over to canyoning. Volleys have changed over the years. The original Volley OC has gone. Manufacture of the remaining model – the Volley International moved from Australia to overseas in the 80’s and a lot of bushwalkers were worried that the quality of the shoe would deteriorate. It did perhaps, but not as much as feared.
A more expensive model – the “Volley Classic” was also made but did not seem to offer any great advantages in terms of wear or durability. Its thicker sole had a honeycomb manufacture that starts to crumble after a while when the shoes are used for bushwalking or canyoning.
Recently, things have changed. And significantly for the worse! The old style Volley Internationals are no longer made. A replacement model is available that looks superficially the same. One way to tell the new from the old is to look inside. The new models are coloured inside. The old models are the same colour as the outside (e.g. white). The old models have “Dunlop” just above the laces, the new models have “Volley”.
I have not tried the new models, but some friends have. They are universally disappointed with them. They seem narrower for a given size and seem to pinch the heel as well. The inner sole seems very poorly made and slops about in the shoe when wet. The upper seems to last about as long as the old model but the sole seems to wear out much much quicker. On a recent trip, I was wearing old style Volleys and two friends had the new style ones. We wore them in exactly the same country for 5 days of very rough canyoning in the Northern Blue Mountains. This country is very hard on footwear – and Volleys do not last too long. A pair of the old model Volleys would probably last about 10 – 14 days of hard use. Have a look at the photo showing the sole wear difference between the two models. Both shoes were unused before the trip – and straight from the box.
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