Approach shoe ? Sticky Beasts? Shoes for indoor climbing? You wonder what Approach shoes are and where they perform best? Do you really need an approach shoe or are they just trendy outdoor shoes?
Approach shoe are made specially for those who needs them to be firm enough to go on challenging terrains, yet light enough to feel as if you are wearing your house slippers. Traditional hiking boots gives you real good security in a hike, but you might find yourself overdressed on short distances. What are the features I would expect to find in an approach shoe?
- Light weight
- Good sole profile for terrains wet or rocky
- good isolation
- comfortable, air cushioned
- easy to slip in and out
Puuh, we put a lot of expectations in a shoe for such a short distance. But it is also how we would love them to be. It was hard to imagine the industry brought out an intermediate category of hiking shoes just for shorter hikes. The increasing demand and popularity of the outdoor sports gives them every reason to do so. And I’m glad they did. A simple sports shoe without a good profile would make you feel insecure, and heavy hiking boots could make you feel overdressed but so secure. Oh yes, lightweight is the keyword to todays garments. And the approach is not always a comfortable highway. Thus an approach shoe was born.
Garmont ‘s approach shoe Sticky Beast made a solid impression. It was light, stable, the green colour looked much better than it did online. I slipped my foot in the shoe. Wow! For a moment I felt like cinderella. It was comfy, ensured a snug and secure fit, and the toes had lots of room. The modern design made it really easy to use the shoe as casual wear. And I’d bet if cinderella had worn the women’s sticky beast then, she wouldn’t have lost her shoes at all.
The Sticky Beast
The premiere came the following weekend. Rain showers were forecasted and wet terrains were waiting for us as we planned on a crag located within a 30 minute hike with some scrambling. It had to be a shoe that’s water repellant, and has a good grip. It was good to know that the Sticky Beast comes with a Vibram® outsole ready for challenging terrains and a steady grip on slippery grounds. The rubber toe bumper helped prevent abrasions against rocky surroundings and the dual Density EVA Midsole offered superb cushioning. Well, I was all set for the day.
The approach to the crag ended in a jiff. It was so comfortable I almost forgot I was wearing brand new shoes. So this was what the barefoot technology all about. Great! The 1.4 mm water repellent suede kept my feet dry and happy throughout the hike. Vibram soles gave me confidence on areas that were slippery and steep, and it was really comfy to walk in them. The shoe had good isolation features especially while belaying. The soles were hard enough to move around in rocky terrains and I could imagine using them in easier Via Ferratas too. The Sticky Beasts slim cutting gives you plenty space for your toes and assured during the hike downhill that none suffered a blue nail at the end of the day.
The only thing I missed on the shoe was the little sling at the heel collar which is usually a great help to quickly slip in and out of the shoe. It is a basic feature for most shoes today. I couldn’t imagine why they designed this model without it. Even Garmont ‘s competitor, who offers a very similiar model has this. At crags where belay infrastructure are less comfortable (e.g. standing on a ledge) it wasn’t possible to hang the Sticky Beast on a carabiner to prevent them from flying down, away from you. The approach shoe would’ve gotten full points if not for this missing feature.
The Sticky Beast really has many technical elements necessary for the approach to the crags or “shorter” hikes. Once you’ve gotten in it, they are so comfy you forget you are wearing a well performing Approach Shoe thats light enough ( ~ 440g) and yet ensures security for the most important part of the body in outdoor terrains. I have not seen anyone using this shoe for indoor climbing (did I read that right on the ad? ), I would strongly suggest wearing a climbing shoe instead. Garmont makes sure that the woman who buys italian outdoor shoes, have sturdy, yet stylish feet, outdoors.