Question on Approach Shoes

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Re: Question on Approach Shoes

Post by maverick » Wed May 11, 2016 3:32 pm

I've done 50+ milers in Salewa Wildfire GTXs quite happily and without blisters/major foot issues.
Those are highly rated approach shoes, but with the OP having a wider forefoot, the Salewa's will probably not fit him with its slim toe box.

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Re: Question on Approach Shoes

Post by mitchellisdumb » Sat May 14, 2016 5:14 pm

Approach shoes by nature are sort of a hybrid between trail runners and climbing shoes, and you'll find that where they fall on that spectrum varies widely by the model. Typical approach shoes tend to have a thick suede or canvas upper for durability in cracks and a tight forefoot, but there are a few (too few) models that lean further toward the minimalist trail runner end of the spectrum.

My favorite shoes by far are my Patagonia Rovers, which IMO are the perfect shoe for High Sierra scrambling. They have the minimalist trail runner features that really matter to me—a highly breathable, quick-drying mesh upper, a wide toebox, low heel-toe drop (4mm IIRC), and light weight (20.5 oz for a men's 10.5). But they also have some great approach shoe features—a very sticky sole with a wrap-around toe rand, durable reinforcements in sections of the upper, and to-the-toe lacing so I can cinch down the toebox in technical sections.

Protip: put an extra twist in the laces right above the toe box, it'll keep slack in the toe box from migrating up.


Unfortunately, the Rover got discontinued with the rest of Patagonia's footwear line. Last I checked there were a few sizes still available on Amazon. Until recently there was nothing else like them, but La Sportiva's new TX3 and TX2 models look very promising.
Last edited by mitchellisdumb on Sun May 15, 2016 11:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Question on Approach Shoes

Post by KathyW » Sun May 15, 2016 7:57 pm

If there is no snow or just some patchy snow and I'll be doing some scrambling or cross-country travel, I just wear my five-ten guide tennies for the whole trip. If there is enough snow travel involved that I'll want rigid soles, I've been known to have both the guide tennies and lightweight mountaineering boots with me. A number of years back, I only had the lightweight mountaineering boots when I did Lyell and I regretted not being able to switch to dry approach shoes after I got the Lyell/Maclure saddle for that one difficult move - it was hard in wet mountaineering boots. One could also carry regular climbing shoes, but I like the approach shoes because on the way out once off the snow I can put the boots in my pack and wear the more comfortable approach shoes.

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Re: Question on Approach Shoes

Post by alpinemike » Sat May 28, 2016 11:25 am

I have some experience in this department. For the past 2.5 years I have worn approach shoes exclusively while backpacking. This means that all of my long days, short days, and climbing days were done in approach shoes. Considering what Rogue and I do.. routinely technical climbing for both climbing up passes and mountains there is no other shoe that would get the job done right. The only issue I've suffered is likely due to the declining quality of shoes in general these days I can only get a pair to last me at most 40 or so days. And it's never the sole that's the problem.. it's always something like the stitching or the sole ripping off the toe box. My first approach shoes was a Scarpa Crux which is really enjoyed but alas there was stitching that came undone after about 20 days. The next pair was a La Sportiva Boulder X which I also found to my liking but alas after about 30 days the toe box became undone. This year I'm going to the Scarpa Zen Pro... The most burly looking approach shoe and the one that was highly recommended to me. The fit was great for me but I also have narrower feet. In your case I would likely recommend the La Sportiva since their shoes are wider in general. Finding the proper approach shoe will allow you to climb most anything other than technical Class 5 terrain and given the right fit they will be perfectly compatible with comfort for something like a trail runner.
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