Are you comparing the best approach shoes in 2021? If you want a pair of shoes which are highly versatile to be used outdoors for both climbing and hiking, approach shoes are what you need. With these hybrid shoes, you can climb crags and boulders, then hike or trail run without changing shoes. Nevertheless, choosing the right approach shoes is not going to be easy especially if you do not know what are the essential features. We’ve done the research and have found ten of the best approach shoes available at this point in time.
Here are the most important things you must consider to find your perfect approach shoes.
List of 10 Best Approach Shoes of 2021 – Reviews & Comparisons
1. La Sportiva TX4 ($140)
Designed for long approaches on rugged terrain, these wonderful sgoes combine features from climbing shoes, mountaineering boots, and mountain running shoes. La Sportiva TX4 provides protection, low weight, and durability for new and experienced climbers.
2. Five Ten Guide Tennie ($120)
Five Ten Guide Tennie are excellent approach shoes that has hand-ground, beveled climbing toes for precision edging power. With sticky rubber both on the sole and the top of the toe box, they climb well in cracks. The ergonomic design, mesh linings and compression-molded midsoles provide comfort when hiking long miles or engaging in scrambling and technical climbing.
3. Arc’teryx Konseal FL ($155)
Arc’teryx Konseal FL are superlight approach shoes that are created for technical approaches and day hikes over tricky tracts. The shoes offer stability, traction comfort and confident grip in a minimalist design. The single-layer ripstop mesh uppers with integrated lacing prevent excess dirt and debris from getting inside the shoes while remaining breathable and cool.
4. Scarpa Crux ($130)
Scarpa Crux are awesome shoes that offer support and protection on slabby scrambles and rocky trails. The shoes are very comfortable and lighweight. Their durable suede uppers with lace-to-toe design offer a performance fit. The Vibram® outsoles with Megagrip rubber provide outstanding traction.
5. La Sportiva Boulder X ($120)
La Sportiva Boulder X are the approach shoes every climber, no matter new or expirienced, would want to have. Featuring sticky rubber and soft padding, the shoes keep your feet comfortable while hoofing it to and from your favorite climbs. The patented Mythos to-the-toe lacing allow you fine-tune the fit and tie the laces as snug or loose as you need to.
6. La Sportiva TX4 Mid GTX ($190)
La Sportiva TX4 Mid GTX are awesome shoes that offer support and protection at a good weight. These boots are built to excel in technical mountain terrain with the help of Vibram® Megagrip grippy outsoles. The Gore-Tex® waterproof breathable membranes keep your feet dry.
7. Scarpa Zen Pro ($179)
Scarpa Zen Pro approach shoes look great and offer support and protection on slabby scrambles and rocky trails. The Vibram® Spyder II outsoles provide excellent stick without picking up pebbles and gravel. The shoes have leather uppers with abrasion-resistant, polyurethane-injected reinforcements.
8. Garmont Dragontail MNT
Garmont Dragontail MNT is a stunning approach shoe created to deliver remarkable performance and fit. The shoe features a stiff and heavy-duty sole that perform great on rugged terrain and rocky trails. The asymmetric closure system gives lacing that crosses the foot at an angle similar to the toe joint, enabling the boots to flex like your feet. Garmont Dragontail MNT is perfect for approach, bouldering and long distance backpacking.
9. Salewa Wildfire Edge
The Salewa Wildfire Edge are wonderful approach shoes that perform well on rocky terrain. The low-top cut and the lack of waterproofing make them specialized for dry conditions. The 3F system connects the insteps of the shoes with the soles and heels, ensuring flexibility, support and a correct fit.
10. Arc’teryx Konseal AR
The Arc’teryx Konseal AR are innovative approach shoes that keep you steady on technical terrain. They are specifically made for agile adventurers who need a combination of stability, support, and comfort in various conditions. The compressed EVA midsoles and 4mm thick OrthoLite® 3D-molded inserts offer lasting cushion.
Approach Shoes – Buying Guide
The first thing you should consider when buying approach shoes is the sole. Good approach shoes have a smooth patch of rubber covering the toe which can help you with smearing or edging on rocks. As for the heel, they should have flat heels to assist with downhill braking and essential for steep slopes. Next, a good sole is flat with sticky rubber which helps to provide grip on rock or trails, and it should have suitable lugs for your need. Smaller lugs are needed if you climb more, and larger lugs are better if you hike more. Next, you should find approach shoes with ample arch support if you like long hikes as it will provide you with more comfort.
The top of your shoes are also important, and you should consider these following elements when choosing approach shoes. Firstly, you should make sure that your shoes have heel loops. These loops at the back of your shoes allow you to easily get them on or off as well as to clip them on to your gear. Secondly, you have to look at their materials. There are varieties of materials such as mesh, canvas, leather, and synthetics, and each has its own level of durability, breathability, water-resistance, and weight. For the lace, there are standard lace, straps, and BOA lace which are a matter of preference. Meanwhile, a well-cushioned midsole is a must to make longer approaches and hikes a lot more comfortable. The rubber rands which run around the front, top, and sides of an approach shoe are also necessary to increase durability and climbing skill.
The Additional Features
There are things you should consider as essential to meet your needs and lifestyles outdoors, including the additional features. If you spend most of your outdoor time in hot weather or if your feet tend to get clammy, mesh panels are perfect for their breathability. Even though they may lack durability and protection, they are just perfect if you want to hike casually in the sun. However, if you want to go for wet terrain, you can find Gore-tex (GTX) approach shoes for water resistance to keep your feet dry and water out. The only drawbacks for this kind of approaches are that they are less breathable and a bit heavier.
Next, if you want lighter steps or lighter backpack, lightweight approach shoes are to choose for reducing fatigue on challenging moves, climbs, and descents. Yet, lightweight shoes are not so supporting and durable. For lightweight shoes, you can try ones made of lightweight material such as canvas or mesh. Nevertheless, durability can be one most important factor climbers need in their shoes, especially if you tend to enjoy challenging tracks or courses. Durable approach shoes are surely heavier and less breathable, but they can tolerate harsh moves and treatments, and of course last longer. If durability is what you need most, you should choose leather or synthetic uppers to meet your needs.
The Right Size
You should find the right fit to make sure of comfort and safety. First of all, you have to make sure there are enough rooms for your feet, so there are no pain, discomfort, or pressure points. However, there should be little or no heel lift when walking. To find these perfect shoes, you can fit them in the evening with a pair of socks to get a more accurate fit. You should choose more closely fit shoes if you want to climb more on technical rock, but a bit roomy shoes are what you need if you hike on trails more, Overall, as mentioned before, you should choose approach shoes that match your lifestyle and outdoor activities.