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Thread: Approach Shoes in the Whites

  1. #1
    Senior Member dave.m's Avatar
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    Approach Shoes in the Whites

    Do you use approach shoes for hiking in the Whites and if so, could talk about your experiences using them? I really need the most supportive footwear under foot that I can find and am considering trying approach shoes for summer peak bagging and backpacking with light loads.

    My son asked to hike Lafayette yesterday so what's a dad to do? We ascended and descended via the beautiful Greeenleaf Trail.

    My light EMS boots finally died last year and so I wore my recently resoled (thanks Limmer) Fabiano Rias. The Ria are a traditional leather lined 1/2 shank Norwegian welted boot. All 5 1/2 lbs of them are traditional.

    While they definitely slowed me down on the ascent, I sit here this morning experiencing something I had forgotten since moving to lighter boots - I have no foot pain of any sort. I laced those Fabianos up in the parking lot and never touched them all day. I was particularly grateful for the undetfoot support and grip on the descent. I should note that years of cycling combined with very fallen arches have left me with numerous foot injuries so to be pain free the next day is a huge deal for me.

    I would love to approximate this level of support and grip in a 2lb low cut shoe or 3/4 height boot.

    Here's a review of one of the shoes I'm looking at but would love to hear from folks who've been using approach shoes in the Whites. I'm particularly interested in whether or not their climbing outsoles translate in grip on our rocky trails.

    https://www.outdoorgearlab.com/revie...a-sportiva-tx4
    - Dave (a.k.a. pinnah)

    " Power corrupts. Absolute power is kind of neat." - John Lehman, US Secretary of the Navy 1981-1987

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    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dave.m View Post
    Do you use approach shoes for hiking in the Whites and if so, could talk about your experiences using them? I really need the most supportive footwear under foot that I can find and am considering trying approach shoes for summer peak bagging and backpacking with light loads.

    Here's a review of one of the shoes I'm looking at but would love to hear from folks who've been using approach shoes in the Whites. I'm particularly interested in whether or not their climbing outsoles translate in grip on our rocky trails.

    https://www.outdoorgearlab.com/revie...a-sportiva-tx4
    What a good dad... doing Laffy on a summer weekend!

    I have been using Merrill Moab Waterproof lows for day hiking and find them a nice change from heavy boots. However, they provide no ankle support on rocky descents. They have very aggressive Vibram soles and stick like glue even in the wet. For day hikes with a lite pack on moderate trails I think they are great.
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    Strange days indeed -- most peculiar, mama
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  3. #3
    Senior Member dave.m's Avatar
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    Chris, I live in Moabs as my daily shoes. Have 3 pairs of them currently.

    I'll do front country trail walks in them and have taken them (and other shoes like them) on real hiking trips and have hurt my feet badly with them. They lack a supportive shank or midsole. To make matters worse, I wear a size 14 shoe/boot so my footwear is proportionally less sturdy than the same model in a smaller size. There's just so much more to bend.

    Love my Moabs. But not for this.
    - Dave (a.k.a. pinnah)

    " Power corrupts. Absolute power is kind of neat." - John Lehman, US Secretary of the Navy 1981-1987

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    I once had a pair of LaSportive Boulder approach shoes and now have a pair of Mammut Ridge Low approach shoes. My general feeling is that approach shoes do have stiff midsoles and provide good support, but they also have little cushioning for the bottom of the foot. I've also bought mine to be a bit more snug than normal hiking shoes which makes them less comfortable than my three-season boots for long distances. The friction of the rubber outsoles varies with manufacturers, but LaSportiva's sticky rubber should be fine. If you do choose approach shoes, you may want to make sure they are large enough to add a custom footbed and thick socks to provide adequate cushioning.

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    I've had the TX4's for several years but I primarily use them for actual (climbing) approaches. I don't use them much for just hiking unless it involves some steeper slabs (Huntington for example). They don't have that much cushioning and my feet get beat up wearing them on just a typical hike. However I sized mine down 1/2 a size because I was going to use them for approaches.

    You have a big spectrum from "trail runners" to "lightweight hikers" to investigate. Approach shoes are on that spectrum but a lot is just marketing hype. If I were you I'd look for a heavy "lightweight hiker" since you are coming from a heavy hiking boot background.

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    Senior Member SpencerVT's Avatar
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    I have been using North Face gore tex shoes the past few years on drier hikes where I don’t anticipate encountering a lot of mud and I really really like them. Worth a look on their website to see what they have for a selection, but it may not be the foot support and cushioning you are looking for.
    Spencer
    Bigfoot

  7. #7
    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldEric View Post
    I've had the TX4's for several years but I primarily use them for actual (climbing) approaches. I don't use them much for just hiking unless it involves some steeper slabs (Huntington for example). They don't have that much cushioning and my feet get beat up wearing them on just a typical hike. However I sized mine down 1/2 a size because I was going to use them for approaches.

    You have a big spectrum from "trail runners" to "lightweight hikers" to investigate. Approach shoes are on that spectrum but a lot is just marketing hype. If I were you I'd look for a heavy "lightweight hiker" since you are coming from a heavy hiking boot background.
    Well put. True approach shoes usually have a softer stickier rubber sole like "Stealth". Great grip but they wear out quick.
    "I'm getting up and going to work everyday and I am stoked. That does not suck!"__Shane McConkey

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    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
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    I lost my reply a couple of days ago and I see many have covered my points. I think you will find that many here have several different shoes for the weather, time of year and terrain. I've worn sneakers in the rain on Waumbek but I'd want at least a light hiking boot for the Northern Presidentials. Fit for what you are doing is key. For those using them for climbing approaches, I see your repliers are looking at sizing smaller like climbing shoes. Others getting sizing more typical of trail shoes.

    I know many people do lots of their gear shopping online, for myself, I want to wear footwear for a while in the store before I buy. Over time, I've also learned my feet fit better in Asolo's. Merrell's, EMS and Salomon boots and shoes. TNF, Raichle's, Nike's and LaSportiva's were too narrow for my feet. If you have have good experiences with a couple of brands, I'd probably stick with those.
    Have fun & be safe
    Mike P.

  9. #9
    Junior Member VinnieG's Avatar
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    I started out hiking in moabs. They are comfy with no break in for me but they would only ever last 1 season. I have since switched over to all scarpa they seem to run wide in the toes which works for me.

    I wore out a pair and a half of High top scarpa tech ascent gtx approach shoes over a few recent seasons. The grip in non muddy conditions is unparalleled. In mud they are super slick. Not super waterproof either. Definitely no real padding under foot, you will feel it after 20 miles. I only wear them for really rocky trails at this point.

    I switched to a pair of scarpa zodiac tech gtx this year and they have been all around better. More Waterproof, good mud traction, fine rock traction, tough upper, and some actual padding under foot. Feet feel way better after 20 miles. Only downside is they are heavier. They would still likely be half the weight of your leathers though.

  10. #10
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    Check out the Lowa Renegade Low. About 16 ozs or so. Fairly stiff and protective sole.

  11. #11
    Senior Member dave.m's Avatar
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    Thanks all for the thoughtful and helpful replies. Thr Scarpa Zodiak and Lowa Renegades are definitely on my short list. !
    - Dave (a.k.a. pinnah)

    " Power corrupts. Absolute power is kind of neat." - John Lehman, US Secretary of the Navy 1981-1987

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    Quote Originally Posted by jfb View Post
    I once had a pair of LaSportive Boulder approach shoes and now have a pair of Mammut Ridge Low approach shoes. My general feeling is that approach shoes do have stiff midsoles and provide good support, but they also have little cushioning for the bottom of the foot. I've also bought mine to be a bit more snug than normal hiking shoes which makes them less comfortable than my three-season boots for long distances. The friction of the rubber outsoles varies with manufacturers, but LaSportiva's sticky rubber should be fine. If you do choose approach shoes, you may want to make sure they are large enough to add a custom footbed and thick socks to provide adequate cushioning.
    I know this is a little late in the game…but wanted to add to this thread since others may be in the same boat. I echo all of what JFB states. My boot requirements are very similar to the OP and I have had decent luck with FiveTen Guide Approach shoes. This is where all of JFB’s points are spot-on. I would recommend using them (or something similar) mostly for peak bagging though. Maybe some extended descending if you have a little extra room in the front of the toe box…which is difficult to achieve since most of FiveTen’s offerings are born of climbing shoe style and don’t exactly have a wide forefoot and toe box. (Good to hear that Limmer was able to breathe new life into your Fabiano’s though!!!)
    Best of luck out there this summer to all!

  13. #13
    Senior Member TEO's Avatar
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    I don't know if Limmer Boot Co. still exists, but if they do, or if Peter Limmer & Sons would make them for you, you might think about the Limmer Walker or the Oxford.

    They'd have to fit well and you'd, of course, have to break them in, but they'd last a lot longer than an approach shoe.

    P.s. What about PT?
    Last edited by TEO; 07-05-2021 at 11:03 PM.

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