When you are rock climbing, you go through a myriad of stages through the expedition. Sometimes, you may even require multiple gear and equipment for a successful expedition. And especially for climbing, you go through flat grounds, steep and rocky terrains before you reach the start of your vertical ascend. However, climbing shoes may not be very comfortable for a hike around the base to get to the start of your climb. This is where approach shoes jump in. 

The best approach shoes are designed to allow you to safely and comfortably get to the start of your climb. Typically, approach shoes combine the features of hiking shoes and climbing shoes. Consequently, they are built to offer ample protection, rigidity, and comfort. And their most prized feature is their sticky rubber outsole which offers superior traction and grip to withstand even the roughest or wet terrains.

Listed below are 8 best approach shoes in 2020. Each pair showcases its incredible hybrid features that make the shoe an excellent option to go for. The choice is all yours.  

How To Choose Approach Shoes – Buying Guide

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Material

When choosing the best climbing approach shoes, the material used is an important factor to consider. Typically, approach shoes feature at least two types of materials. The upper material and the outsole material. The best climbing approach shoes are made of leather upper. Leather is a favorable material because of its durability and water resistance

A leather fabrication also boasts incredible ruggedness and its ability to stretch over time eventually gives your feet a natural contoured fit. However, leather is not as breathable. Some approach shoes feature a synthetic textile mesh lining to enhance breathability and air circulation. The outsole on the other end is built with a rubber material.

Rubber is favored because of its naturally high friction qualities which help to enhance traction and grip.  Rubber is also highly durable and rugged thus, it supplements the hoes’ protection at the bottom. The approach shoes also feature midsoles and footbeds made of compression molded EVA or EVA foam, which significantly adds cushioning ad comfort to the shoes.

Sole

As mentioned above, approach shoes are built with insoles (which includes midsoles) and outsoles. Insoles and midsoles are designed to provide comfort and absorb shock absorption form impact. Outsoles on the other end primarily provide traction and grip. Additionally, outsoles also supplement the boot’s protection, waterproofness, and durability.  

In short, sole designs significantly impact shoe performance. For example, manufacturers incorporate special engineering to create lightweight yet highly protective and grippy rubber outsoles. This special design gives the shoes a lightweight function and impeccable traction. Midsoles and footbeds on the other end are made with EVA foam which increases cushioning and padding to the shoes. 

Lug Pattern

The function of the outsole attached to the best climbing approach shoes is not limited to the rubber fabrication. For the outsoles to really be functional, they must incorporate the right lug patterns. Lug patterns are the molded outlines at the bottom of the shoes which help to enhance grip and traction. 

Five Ten Men’s Guide Tennie Approach Shoes, for example, feature a dotted pattern that offers excellent traction on rocky terrains. This design also leads us to the next point. Lug patterns will also tell a lot about where the shoes are ideally designed to be used. Traditional lug patterns, for example, perform better on trails than on rocky terrain. 

Weight

The best climbing approach shoes must be lightweight as they are an alternative to hiking shoes. You surely don’t want heavier shoes weighing you down as you climb. Thus, weight is actually a feature to scrutinize when you are choosing which approach shoes to buy. 

Leather shoes tend to be a little heavier than non-leather approach shoes. However, if you go for non-leather approach shoes, you may be compromising the qualities that leather brings with. It all depends on what you are willing to work with. In general, go for approach shoes that don’t exceed 25 ounces.

Size

You want your approach shoes to provide a snug fit. Avoid loose shoes at all costs because they will risk your safety and performance when climbing. Therefore, the size of your shoes should be examined. Going for one size below your regular size allows for the fit you are looking for.

However, different manufacturers may have slight variations to their sizing ad fit. Go through their sizing guides to understand their fit and dimensions such as length and width. Additionally, it doesn’t hurt to go through real life customer reviews to understand the true fit of the shoes. 

Comfort

Many factors are combined to make the best climbing approach shoes comfortable. When trying to gauge the comfort of your shoes, look at factors such as sizing, foot support, padding, and breathability. If your shoes simply boast impressive traction and a rugged upper fabrication, it doesn’t mean that they will necessarily feel comfortable. It just means that they enhance your performance. 

Yet, comfort is also an important factor. You don’t want to be climbing whilst struggling. Getting the right size and fit, means that your feet will not be at risk of pain or injuries. Foot support and paddings such as TPU heels and EVA foam insoles also provide cushioning to keep you going longer. 

Additionally, nobody wants wet, stinky and uncomfortable feet, no matter the situation. Thus, fabrications such as mesh lining and paneling help to cub this issue by providing your shoes with ample air circulation. 

FAQs

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Q: What Are Approach Shoes?

A: 

Approach shoes are a hybrid spin-off combing the construction designs of hiking and climbing. Approach shoes are designed for making the approach, hike or scramble up to the start of rock climbing routes or areas. They are basically designed for walking around the base of rock climbing terrain and provide the grip, balance, lightweightness, and comfort needed.

Q: Are Approach Shoes Good For Walking?

A: 

Yes. Because of their lightweight build, ample cushioning and breathability, approach shoes are good for walking. Plus, they come with the advantage of grippy outsoles which provides high traction especially when you are walking on steep or rocky areas.

Q: What Is The Difference Between Approach Shoes And Hiking Shoes?

A: 

The most significant difference between approach shoes and hiking shoes is their outsole design. Approach shoes are designed with super grippy rubber outsoles to help them navigate steep and rocky terrains, typical when climbing. Although their bodies are similar to hiking shoes, they tend to be more lightweight, breathable and well cushioned.

Q: What Is The Purpose Of Approach Shoes?

A: 

The purpose of approach shoes is to get you to the start of your climbing area comfortably. Even at the base of your climbing area, you will still experience steep and rocky terrains, thus, approach shoes are designed to withstand these rough terrains. Their highly comfortable, protective and enhanced friction outsole build makes them the ideal choice for their function.

Globo Surf Overview

The approach shoes reviews outline how these bad boys form an essential part of your climbing experience. The approach shoes prove to bear impressive traction, generous cushioning and breathability whilst maintain their ruggedness and strong structure. As much as they are designed to get you to your climbing base, they also feature versatile construction that gives them a multipurpose finish. You can even rock these shoes as everyday walking or light hiking shoes. The buying guide above offers an excellent guide to help you know what to look for when choosing the best approach shoes. And the list of the 8 best approach shoes above is an excellent place to begin the search.

Globo Surf Approach Shoes Reviews

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Rated 5/5 based on 1 customer reviews
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I love this article. Great guides. Thank you for showing me this shoes. I got a pair and I plan to use them on my next adventure.

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Globo Surf
My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!