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The 13 Best Approach Shoes for Hiking and Climbing, In accordance with Experts

When youre hiking, you will want shoe thats cushioned, supportive, and grippy. However, the classic hiking boot can feel out of place post-hike. Enter approach shoes. The very best approach shoes share characteristics with hiking boots and climbing shoesdesigned for climbers who have to hike rugged, rocky trails to access the cliff base but dont desire to lug heavy boots while theyre climbing. In the last couple of years, these specially designed hybrid shoes have become in popularity to interest a wider outdoorsy audience since they provide that hiking-ready support in a concise, stylish package.

What exactly are approach shoes?

Approach shoes have super-grippy rubber on the outsole and frequently a far more adjustable match laces that extend to the toe. Most approach shoes also feature something called a climbing zone on the outsolea smooth (non-lugged) rubber at the toe, just like a technical climbing shoe, for better precision and edging capability.

Due to these trendy and technical features, the shoes make a fantastic hybrid between hiking and everyday grinders. However, each approach shoe includes cool features that youll desire to consider, such as for example water resistance for wet climates or nonmarking rubber (some soft, sticky rubber can leave black marks on light-colored flooring). The largest thing most of the climbers stressed was getting a shoe that fits your foot, whether thats a shoe designed for hiking, running, or climbing.

Why are approach shoes popular?

Professional climber and writer of the brand new childrens climbing book How exactly to Solve an issue Ashima Shiraishi says shes noticed the popularity of approach shoes surge especially in the last few years. I believe its because of the looks, she says, which she describes to be not too out-there. Youre not likely to hike Everest in those shoes, however they offer that balance where you appear to be youre likely to go outside. Natalie Sheffield, substitute teacher and part-time Outward Bound instructor in Salt Lake City, also noticed the approach shoe learning to be a standard style around town, even among individuals who arent typically climbers.

In the climbing community, these adventure-ready shoes also began migrating to the approach to life scene in gyms before the pandemic. Jeremy Yee, the overall manager of Touchstones Diablo Rock Gym in California, wears his approach shoes to work regularly. Over his 10 years in the climbing industry, Yee notes that approach shoes went from resembling a scaled-down hiking boot to looking like something it is possible to feel safe wearing each day.

Do you know the best approach shoes?

While approach shoes provide a fashion-forward, active look, they still deliver that technical performance climbers have to adhere to slippery surfaces, smear against flat rocks, and keep their balance on uneven, rocky terrain. For the best choices for urban and backcountry adventures alike, we talked to climbers, hikers, and outdoor expertsand scoured the web for the top-selling pairs. Below, find which shoes made the list, then meet us at the crag.

All products featured on SELF are independently selected by our editors. However, once you buy something through our retail links, we might earn a joint venture partner commission.

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