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Thread: Approach Shoes?

  1. #1
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    Approach Shoes?

    This is TGR so the answer is probably going to be "Barefoot JONG" or "sneakers from "walmart". But I am a gear nerd and bored so curious to get people's thoughts...

    Does anyone use Approach Shoes for spring/summer missions with a bit of rock scrambling before hitting the snow line? What do you think? I've been using trail running shoes and have occasionally found myself wanting a little more grip in rocky terrain. Approach shoes might be a bit overkill for walking towards the snow line but my climber friends swear by them... Is this a case of looking to spend money on a problem that doesn't exist or do y'all like them for this use?

  2. #2
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    Iíve had a half dozen pairs over the years and used them for approaches, scrambles, backpacking, and alpine rock. Iíd say the only downside is snow traction with the smooth tee forefoot and former rubber. Ive liked the Salewa Mountain trainer with Goretex. Nice cross between approach and hiking shoe and doesnít wet out as quickly as a Scarpa or Asolo with just canvas/nylon.


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  3. #3
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    They aren't really marketed as approach shoes but all of the shoes Astral makes have excellent grip on wet rocks. They were originally meant for ww rafting and kayaking but they now have hiking/trail running options. They are basically designed to be in rivers so they drain water well and dry quickly, kind of the opposite of a gore tex shoe.

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  4. #4
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    I've owned Five Ten Guide Tennies, which at least at one point were kind of the gold standard. Great shoes but not super durable. Unless you're doing lower class technical rock moves (~5.5+) I don't think you need anything more than nice trail shoes, like Sportiva Akashas or something. but the Tennies (and Salewa makes similar stuff) do have a legit climbing-rubber style toe.

    IMO just get a more rock oriented trail running shoe... but it depends on how comfortable you are scrambling. Fwiw climbers swear by approach shoes because they're even worse brand/gear whores than skiers are.

  5. #5
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    Is this where I say Chacos?

    I'm following along cause I could also use something between running shoes and leather boots in my shoe quiver.

  6. #6
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    My only beef with approach shoes is they all have tapered toes for more precise climbing, makes em rough on my wide feet on lengthy approaches with a multiday pack.
    If you find a tough shoe that dries quick, does rock work, can do 10-20 miles a day, and holds up for a while i want to know


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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by riff View Post
    My only beef with approach shoes is they all have tapered toes for more precise climbing, makes em rough on my wide feet on lengthy approaches with a multiday pack.
    If you find a tough shoe that dries quick, does rock work, can do 10-20 miles a day, and holds up for a while i want to know


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    Try on the La Sportiva TX 4, been a good wide fit for me.

  8. #8
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    I have a pair of astral loyak. Their drain holes let dirt and small rocks into the shoes. Iím not sure about the other models of astral. Their rubber soles are great (sticky). Altra usually has a running shoe model that has sticky rubber; typically, the model has ďmountainĒ in its name.

  9. #9
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    For hiking to ski lines an approach shoe is probably overkill. If you want some better rock traction on the way some good trail runners with a grippy sole should do the trick.

    For 4th class scrambling, long easy alpine climbs, and semi-technical approaches and walk-offs, approach shoes are the shit. Trail runners can work here but when the hiking turns into easy climbing, I think approach shoes are worth it.

    Agreed on the Sportiva TX4. I have pretty wide feet and these fit me great, and they hike and climb very well. Guide Tennies have good rubber but I've had some major durability issues with a couple pairs.

  10. #10
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    Iíll check out the tx4ís thanks


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  11. #11
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    The TX4 looks like a new version of a Sportiva I used to own. It was a nice compromise - wider toe with sticky rubber and a bit of a tread.

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  12. #12
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    Anyone have a recommendation on a shoe that's similar to the TX4 but with a thinner last? I know it's probably not as durable but does anyone have experience with the TX Guide?

  13. #13
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    I don't remember the model name, but these kick ass.


  14. #14
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    I had many friends, coworkers, and my wife swear by the garmont model called ďsticky weekend.Ē Itís no longer made. They were super stiff, full leather, sticky rubber, and super durable. Iím not sure if the current garmonts still fit into that mold. Hopefully they do.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by bodywhomper View Post
    I had many friends, coworkers, and my wife swear by the garmont model called ďsticky weekend.Ē Itís no longer made. They were super stiff, full leather, sticky rubber, and super durable. Iím not sure if the current garmonts still fit into that mold. Hopefully they do.
    Yep.
    https://www.rei.com/product/146788/g...E&gclsrc=aw.ds

  16. #16
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    I find classic approach shoes to be very clumsy on rock and super heavy, but I hear what you are saying about grip on a lot of trail runners.
    I'd take a look at the La Sportiva Bushido 2. Great grip, light, a bit more protection and robust than your average trail runner, but still a lot more 'precise' than your average approach shoe.

  17. #17
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    One other option. Altra King MT - lightweight trail running shoe that has real aggressive tread. Pack down super tight. Also wide last if that helps. The treads are big and run fully across the bottom. So if you're going straight up, they dig in real well. Only downside is that on side slopes you need to be careful since they can then act like runners

  18. #18
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    Approach Shoes?

    Just a heads up, itís 5.10 day, 30% all their stuff. I really like their shoes, use em for mtb and daily drive the access but Iím a flip flop guy 95% of the time so Iím probably not the best shoe advice guy.
    Fear, Doubt, Disbelief, you have to let it all go. Free your mind!

  19. #19
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    I love my Five Ten access knits. On my second pair after losing the first in the ocean. Sticky sticky rubber, decent support, and really comfortable in a fairly tight fit. They dry reasonably quick, breathe well, and keep my hot feet relatively cool.
    I use them day to day along with day hikes and scrambling.

  20. #20
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    Approach Shoes?

    What do the mediocre amateurs wear? They seem to climb a lot in dynafit trail runners.

    https://youtu.be/GG59q44R_4g

    I used to love the sticky weekends, then switched to hiking shoes w/ sticky rubber.
    Well maybe I'm the faggot America
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  21. #21
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    For all this shit, a good fit should be king. Those old garmont sticky weekends never fit my skinny heel. The newer last (a.d.d.) of garmonts do not fit my forefoot w/o toe rubbing. That goes for most ďapproachĒ shoes for me. I had went through many pairs of montrail trail runners, including resoling with stealth dot rubber. They were great for me until an extended multi day wet canyoneering trip, where the minimal touching of my outer toes to the shoe turned into big ass blisters. Had several multi day (dry) trips on the shoes before hand w/o problems. A friend who had feet shaped like bricks used to do multi day wet canyon trips with his feet crammed into Sportiva boulders w/o problems; he fit them pretty close to a sport shoe. The skin of his feet must be like leather or something. Some of us are lucky freaks.

  22. #22
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    For a long time I loved approach shoes and they were basically all I wore. I've done less scrambling lately, so I've worn trail runners more, but I still have a number of "approach" shoes.

    One thing that hasn't been mentioned is that there are basically two types of approach shoes. One is light, flexible, meant for smearing, etc. and often is meant to be clipped onto your harness/pack once you get to the climb. Other alpine approach shoes are much more rigid in their construction, have deeper lugs which is much better for loose terrain though they generally have solid rubber on the inner toe area for edging climbing. I sometimes see these labeled "alpine approach" shoes. The Garmont's pictured definitely look like they fall into this category. The aforementioned Salewa Mountain Trainers certainly do (I bought a pair, and they were gorgeously made, but didn't quite fit right). I have gore tex and non-goretex pairs of Millet Tridents that are similar and which I wear any time I'm carrying a pack or going to be walking on really rough stuff. I love their stiffer shank and the stability it gives me. They're basically a lowcut boot. If you're leaving them at the bottom and picking them up on the way back down, they seem like they'd work well for you.

    On the other hand, I have had multiple pairs of Adidas Terrex Swift Solos (which I think have been discontinued). They are super flexible, light, airy, and very sticky, but I wear the soles pretty quickly and the tread depth is very shallow, so they are better for hard stuff than loose stuff. They go a lot of places with me as they are super light/packable so they get tossed in. A lot of the more climbing oriented approach shoes fall into this category. I like them for scrambling and they're nice to put in the bag, but I'm not sure I'd like them climbing up to the snowline if you have to cross snow as their tread is just to focused on smearing traction.

  23. #23
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    I can't recommend against 5.10 Guide Tennies enough. I know friends who are still using pairs that are 15+ years old, with multiple resoles, but something changed in their durability in the past 10 years. I've owned three pairs and every pair has lasted less than 300 miles of walking/scrambling. First pair was warrantied after the sole fell off on both shoes on the same climbing trip. Second pair lasted less than 150 miles before the upper blew out and I trashed them. The third pair was donated to me by a friend who scored them in a raffle. Those lasted a bit longer, but still had the sole rip off after scrambling through some snow before a 4th class climb. 4th class with a duct taped toe box is pretty lame. I gave the pair to good will after shoe-gooing them and never looked back.

    The most recent true approach shoe I've owned is the Salewa Wildfire. They had high quality construction, good sticky rubber, and decent grip on rock even when wet. Unfortunately, they didn't fit me well so I donated them. I've been doing a lot less class 4-5 scrambling in the past few years too, so I've been in whatever cheap trail runners that fit me best from the local used gear exchange place.

    Has anyone checked out the new Black Diamond approach shoes? They look decent.

  24. #24
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    Garmont Dragontail MTN. And yes, it does kick ass. Nothing else like it, IME by far the most torsionally stiff footwear marketed as "approach shoes." Compared to the others, Dragontail MTN is more like a low-top stiff-soled backpacking boot, sorta a low-top C-1 [UK] light mountaineering boot. Not as smeary but edges much better than other "approach shoes" [marketing term], nearly like a real light mountain boot for off-trail, steep forest duff, firm snow, etc. Available in non-GTX (my preference) and with GTX liner. GTX liner version available in high top.

    Quote Originally Posted by MakersTeleMark View Post
    I don't remember the model name, but these kick ass.


  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeezerSteve View Post
    Garmont Dragontail MTN. And yes, it does kick ass. Nothing else like it, IME by far the most torsionally stiff footwear marketed as "approach shoes." Compared to the others, Dragontail MTN is more like a low-top stiff-soled backpacking boot, sorta a low-top C-1 [UK] light mountaineering boot. Not as smeary but edges much better than other "approach shoes" [marketing term], nearly like a real light mountain boot for off-trail, steep forest duff, firm snow, etc. Available in non-GTX (my preference) and with GTX liner. GTX liner version available in high top.
    My feet are 100.5 wide. Would these shoes work?
    I'm pretty sensitive to lateral pressure

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