Hiking and climbing often go hand in hand when it comes to outdoor activities and exploration. We often find ourselves encountering rough or uneven terrain, and this can be tricky if you don’t have the right footwear.
That’s where a pair of approach shoes can come in pretty handy. In this guide, we have gathered some of the best approach shoes on the market for you to look at. We also give answers to the question, what are approach shoes? Take a look at this concise guide and see if these could be the right match for you.
What are Approach Shoes?
Approach shoes are actually quite a common form of footwear, and you have probably seen them a lot more than you think. People commonly ask what are approach shoes and what makes them different? Well, here are a few answers to that question:
- They are hybrid footwear that combines the features found in hiking and climbing shoes
- They have a sticky rubber sole for traction on steep or rocky terrain
- They have additional cushioning for comfort
- They are more lightweight than regular walking or climbing shoes
- They are more breathable than regular walking or climbing shoes
These features make them perfect for increased agility on rough terrain. Their light and breathable construction makes them more versatile for outdoor use, as well as helping to reduce fatigue while you are walking.
How to Choose a Pair of Approach Shoes
It’s not always easy to choose the right footwear for your next excursion, and the same applies for approach shoes. The first question you should be asking yourself is, do you need a pair of them? They were designed for wearing on the “approach” to a rock climb, and while their uses go beyond that, this is an important factor to bear in mind.
Always make sure that the shoes you have chosen have the classic sticky sole. This helps you to grip the terrain better, especially if it is rugged and uneven.
They give you more confidence when you are standing on the edge of cliffs, and ensure that your feet are going to stay where you put them. If they don’t have this sole, then you need to put them back and keep looking.
They have thicker uppers that are reinforced to make them stronger and more durable. Usually, the upper will be made of leather and have a protective toe rand that is made from the same sticky rubber as the sole.
This is essential for climbing and hiking in uneven terrains, such as the like the mountains, jungles and rainforests of Guanacaste Costa Rica as it provides excellent protection for your toes and feet.
It is vital to reiterate the importance of the sticky sole. The whole point of these shoes is to prevent you from slipping and falling while climbing, so a good standard sole is key. Each sole is different in appearance most of the time, but they all contain lugs and the same sticky material.
You should always check out the reviews for the shoes you are looking to purchase. They can tell you a lot about a product and its overall quality, giving you good insight before you buy.
While expensive shoes are often more durable and reliable than the cheaper ones, this is not always the case, and so the reviews can come in very handy. Look at the quality and not the price tag.
Things to Look for
When you are looking to buy a pair of approach shoes, it’s important that you choose the pair that is right for you. There are a few things you can look for when you go to make your choice that add a little something extra to these great pieces of footwear.
Additional padding for your comfort is a key aspect of approach shoes. It’s a versatile shoe that was made to carry you through a range of outdoor activities. A well-padded shoe means that you will be able to go on for longer without feeling fatigue. It also means that your legs and back have some extra support.
Breathability is also something to look for. Hiking and climbing can really work up a sweat, and there is little worse than having to walk in wet shoes.
A breathable approach shoe means that there is constant airflow to keep everything moving and remove the sweaty moisture from the shoe. This can also help to prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi inside the shoe.
All that’s left is to choose the perfect pair for you. Take a look at our approach shoes reviews for some of our favourite models.
Best Approach Shoes for Men and Women - Comparison Table
Best Men’s Approach Shoes
Best Women’s Approach Shoes
Further Approach Shoe Models
Here are some of the other great approach shoes that we reckon will keep your feet comfortable and well protected.
The North Face Hedgehog
With this approach shoe, you’ll be able to take on any terrain, no matter how tough or uneven. With a great sticky sole made with Vibram, the grip and tread are superb and sure to keep your sturdy.
They are also waterproof; so wet days walking doesn’t need to end with soggy feet. These women’s shoes have a great design, but it should be noted they can take a little time to break in.
Make sure you walk around in these with thick socks before you take them out for real.
A popular and very well-known brand, Timberland have been making walking boots for decades. These are some of the best approach shoes on the market for men, and they are made from leather with a strong upper for extra protection.
The sole is sticky and sure to give you a firm grip on all types of rocky and uneven terrains. They are waterproof, comfortable, and incredibly flexible. Just be warned that they can have a slightly narrow fit.
There are some fantastic approach shoes available here, and hopefully, you have been able to find the best approach shoes for you. Whether you are looking for something that comes at a budget price, or something with a higher tag, there is a whole host of options here for you to consider.
From models with extra padding and waterproof features, to those that focus primarily on the best possible grip and tread, everything has been included with a superb selection for both men and women. So no matter what you are looking for there is a shoe (and a brand) that is perfect for you.
What did you think of our approach shoe selection?
Are there any you would have added? We love hearing from you, so feel free to leave a message in the comments below.