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Jman

Approach Shoes

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I do not own a pair of rock shoes... yet, but I was considering first buying a pair of approach shoes - something to hike moderately in, scramble, or do "easy" rock climbing. The Five-Ten Guide Almighty looks to be about the best of them all (stealth rubber, lacing to the toe, etc). Has anybody had any experience with or heard any comments on these? Any other recommendations?

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I have a pair of the five-ten mountain masters and I cannot say enough about them. They are, hands down, the best pair of trail/approach/hiking shoes I have ever owned or used or tried on. I would buy them again in a heart beat.

Excellent.

The only potential problem...or should I say thing to keep in mind...is that stealth rubber does wear down quickly, when compared to regular sole rubber. So if you want the sole to last, wear them only for the trail/approach/climb.

------------------

Have a nice day.

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I bought a pair of 5.10 guide almighties last year, I also have a pair of Garmont Sticky Weekends and just aquired a pair of lowa-triolets. Here are my comments:

Rock Climbing- Guide almighties rule. They climb rock like a pair of loose fitting rock shoes. They have a sticky rubber sole and are flexible so they don't edge, but they smear well. The lowa triolets are next best, they are stiff enough to edge well. Sticky weekends, not good , even though I fit them tight they just don't edge that well or smear well.

Trails- the guide almighties have a smoothdot sole limiting traction. They are really comfortable, but lightweight, like a tennis shoe, and not real good tracton if things are wet or muddy. The Triolets are more like a light hiking boot so they're fine. The sticky weekends have a good vibram sole, but like I said, I fit mine tight, so when I hike in them they are uncomfortable.

Off trail/snow- I use a pair of light aluminum crampons with all of these boots for limited snow travel. The guide almighties don't work well at all on snow with or with out the crampons. They are so lighweight that the crampons cuts into my foot when traversing and sometimes they even slide out of the straps because they're not rgid enough. The sticky weekends have been okay and the lowa triolets are probably the best even though I haven't used them that way yet (second hand info - my friend wore a pair of the lowa triolets on the ptarmigan traverse last year and said they worked great).

Weight-Guide almighties are the lightest, so I've used them on long alpine rock climbs, when they spent a lot of time in my pack.

Best time I had in an approach shoe - I did one route last year where the approach had some big granite boulders for quite aways. Boulder hopping in the guide almighties was a total kick in the pants. They were so sticky, I could jump from boulder to boulder, and regardless of the angle of the landing, I'd stick it everytime. I felt like spider man.

Hope this helps.

Rgds

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Yes, the thin sticky rubber sole will wear out quickly and you'll regret buying the shoe. I personally feel it's a gimmick, I have the LaSportiva Boulders ($15, anybody?) and did climb in them. Popular crags can be approached in any shoe or better sandal, not good for scrambling - wears out quickly, not necessary for climbing as you'll quickly outgrow 5.0 - 5.6 level they are good for and on the other hand it'll take a while to climb 5.7+ with a pack on. The only place is descending, if you like to carry shoes instead of sandals.

Better off buying a comfortable shoe like 5.10 Impact or one with a stiffer and thicker sole for better edging on scrambles (I love my Lowa Triolet despite the colour), LaSportiva has a new one - Hyper. A high top is an advantage for hiking but heavy to carry.

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Don't buy without checking out the La Sportiva Hyper Guide. Jim Nelson has them. My wife just bought a pair. They will be fine for approaches, scrambles, easy rock climbs, and for use with our Stubai aluminum crampons for things like getting across the Stuart Glacier to the upper north ridge.

I have a five-year old pair of Garmont Sticky Kevlar Climbers (the high top version of the Sticky Weekend). Great shoe, but apparently discontinued. Jim has few small pairs left on sale.

I hear good things about the Lowas, but have heard that the Guide Almighty wears out rather quickly. It's pretty light duty.

Have fun.

John Sharp

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I checked out the Triolet on Lowa's website. They look promising, I could do without the red (doesn't match anything of mine, my color happens to be blue... since we know how all-important coordination is), and the MSRP sucks! - $165. Heck I paid only $5 more for my Technicas. Know of any place that has them for cheaper... or, even has them for that matter? Are they really worth it?

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I'm telling you, check out the mountain master. It is beefy enough for hiking and climbs very well. More beefy than the 5-10 Guide almighty.

I took them from car to camp to summit of the grand via the exum ridge. And loved every step, edge, smeer, and crack-jam along the way.

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I'd have to concur with the Mountain Master. I got a pair for $60 CDN back in the day when i was a pro-dealin' ArcTeryx lackey. They're far and away the most comfy shoes I have ever worn. Climb good too. HOWEVER, I haven't worn them in the mountains all that much, honestly, mainly for Squamish and so on. Did have them at Leavenworth & Smith, where they kicked ass for scrambling around - ditto for the boulderfields in the Fraser Valley.

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Thanks for all the great info!! Keep it coming. Mark's comments are very helpful, since I was considering Lowa and Garmont, too. Just to clarify, these would only be for very light hiking, more for the rock climbing aspect without having all-out rock climbing shoes. I have a pair of Technica TYC's for mountaineering that are totally awesome - great for crampons and virtually no break in time (got them a Jim Nelson's shop).

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My wife has those Sticky Weekends and hates them: stiff to hike, soft to climb yet not good enough to smear, blister-making no matter what you do. I think they are outdated technology or just a bad idea from the beginning.

Do try the Hyper Guide-s as the latest version of Lowa Triolets is hard to find.

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I like em a bit beefier myself. They are not really true approach shoes but I wear my La Sportiva Trango Pluses for nearly everything. They hike great, are crampon compatible (with the right ones), fit me well, and I climb everything up to 5.8 in them. Suprisingly even though they have a few seams I have NEVER gotten wet in them. They edge just about as well as my rock shoes but have great traction. The only things they don't do are smear wonderfully. If they fit your foot they may be the perfect do all spring/summer alpine boot.

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ProMountain Sports has the Lowa Triolet shoes for just $89.00!

Try them on, you won't regret.

When I just started climbing the idea of approach/climb shoe was very appealing but during the next 4 years I discovered that they are rarely used as such. If you want to preserve the sole you'll end up never using them. Triolet will serve you in hiking, scrambling and aiding as the it is stiffer than 5.10's mentioned.

You wouldn't want to wear Trango Plus to Leavenworth, Smith, Index, Static Point or Darrington - too heavy and hot.

[This message has been edited by rafael (edited 03-19-2001).]

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So what do most people do when they venture out to climb a crag? Wear sneakers or light hiking boots to the base and then change into the climbing shoes while stashing the boots in the bushes for later retrieval? Or do you throw the boots into your pack and carry them up the face? Is it rare that people actually climb in approach shoes? Is it better to just hike in my hiking boots and buy/carry rock shoes?

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Jman, the best thing to wear is teva-type sandals to prevent smelly feet. unless you are paul piana and going for that pose-boy look, then you can wear your cow-kickers to the crag.

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I do wear my 5-10 mountain masters to the crags, but I don't wear them around town. That is where you will get the wear on the soles.

Don't be paranoid about wearing the approach shoes, just don't wear them as city shoes and expect them to last.

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Jman here is my 2- bits about "approach" shoes. Don't waste your money! It's an advertising scheme to force people to buy more crap. Any shoe that hikes well won't climb well, and any shoe that climbs well won't hike well. The sole needs to be flat to smear which is mostly what you will do on lower angle beginer routes and any rock slabs or scrambles you will encounter on approachs. Most approachs I know of involve mud, wet grass and moss. You need traction to navigate this "trash" and most approach shoes lack it. When starting to climb, you will progress much quicker in a rock shoe than in an approach shoe, which will detract from the experience. Any one that can climb well in an approach shoe already had extensive practice, it requires precise foot work, which most novices lack.

Spend your money on a good pair of rock shoes that fit well! ( Don't let some sales "elf" talk you into something too small, it will not help!!!) Just carry your rock shoes in a daypack with all your other essentials. Continue to do your approachs in your hiking boots, or better yet try a high quality pair of running shoes or trail runners. They fit better, offer more cushion on hurting feet and knees, and have better traction than most approach shoes. (I also find they climb just about as well!) They also tend to be lighter take up less space, and are as equally non effective at keeping out water as approach shoes. Oh yeah, and cheaper!

Approach shoes are just like fancy, stretchy, flashy climbing clothing, they don't make any thing easier they just make you look better.

Good Luck!

ron

* As Dru noted, Tevas also work although I disagree about the smell. Some of the funkiest feet I've smelled were in Tevas.( Not my own of course!) Something about the materials they use holds some serious funk!

 

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Aproach shoes: dumb. Save your money for something else. In my opinion, there is no gap between the domains of sandles, tennis shoes, and a pair of hiking boots. I think approach shoes are just glorified tennis shoes with special rubber that wears off quick. And, I think they're the geekiest things I've ever seen. When ever I see anyone wearing them, I just laugh at a sucker fooled into thinking they've got something special. That's a tangent. The bottom line: they're just tennis shoes and I suppose you've already got a pair of those; save your money.

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I would have to disagree with Freerider about approach shoes just being fancy. I don't leave home without my Mountain Masters. They rock! And to say a pair of trail running shoes climbs just as good is ridiculous. I have worn many good pairs of trail running shoes and yes they have always felt better than my approach shoes until, I got 5.10 mountain masters. They are just as comfartable and have just as much traction and a hell of alot more traction on rocky terrain than running shoes/trail running shoes. And they do keep water out better than my running shoes that are usually composed of alot of mesh and thin fabrics so your feet breath better. I have had bad luck on approaches with Garmont sticky weekends, Sportiva Boulders, the old 5.10 tennies, and every other pair made in the last 8 years but those other shoes don't even compare to the new bread of approach shoes. I would say give the mountain masters a try and you won't be disapointed.

Mike 'my shoes didn't make me look better' Schaefer

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i will give my vote for fiveten mixed masters....after climbing 5.10 in them, running between toulume & the valley(plus other runs), done numerous peaks with them and some v2 bouldering....i would have to say that they are mixed masters....as rod said though they do wear out fast....6 months is longest they've held up.

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Well, everybody has given me great info and a lot to consider. However, many thanks to Freerider - he has made a point I cannot argue with. Since I am a gumby, I probably need the best of both worlds: hiking boots for hiking to the crag, and rock shoes for climbing low angle / easy climbs. No sense in wasting my money on something that will probably wear out too fast and that will not provide me that advantages I need to learn.

Good points! Hence, I've already bought a pair of rock shoes - Scarpa Generators - on clearance and with my REI dividend check, so they were cheaper than any approach shoes. Although, I would like to know others' opinions about these, so I'll start another thread on that... (not that it really matters anyway, since I already bought 'em :-)

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Check out Sierra Trading Post (www.sierratradingpost.com) ...they've got the previous version (in the wild green color which I happen to think is kind of cool) of the Lowa Triolet on sale for $90. Not bad - and many sizes, too. I've got a pair on the way and hope they fit well. The new version appears from the Lowa website to be a little sleeker and lower profile; I think the sole is the Vibram Sebolet, the same one that's on the Garmont Sticky Weekend.

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Does anyone know how the fit is on those Lowa Triolet's? I have a wide foot (bunions) and they appear to be fairly narrow. My Lowa Civetta's are pretty narrow, but I only use them for ice climbing. Great price for boots that retail for $160, but the color has to go! I would make these dirty in a hurry.

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Re: Mountain Masters

I bought a pair at REI (don't laugh) last year, and they told me the rubber was some new formulation, supposed to last longer.

Well, maybe so, but after 1 year, this pair is looking kinda thin. I wear 'em every day, in town, and I think that was a mistake.

Other than that, I like 'em. But I think I'm just gonna go back to wearing hiking boots to the crags; stash 'em at the base....

 

- rob

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