We took a pair of Haglofs Roc Icon GTs, some Five Ten Guide Tennies, a couple of pairs of Scarpa Crux’s and some La Sportiva Ganda Guides and put them to the test. But which comes out as the best all round Scrambling and Approach boot in our review?
Scrambling and Approach Shoes
The ideal approach shoe should be tough, well protected and provide enough support and stiffness for easy climbing but still remain comfy enough for the approach and descents from the mountain.
The Testing Arena
We chose the peak of the “Peñon de la Mata”, a magnificent piece of limestone, just north of Granada on a hot day at the end of May 2015. We frequently use it for our mountain scrambling adventures. We had a hot approach followed by various traverses of the mountain scrambling routes in ascent and descent before the downhill back to the car at the day’s end.
The scrambling varied between grades 1 and 3 with the odd pitch of rock climbing Mod or Diff (rock 3⁄4).
Haglofs Roc Icon GTs
Cost €145 (103GBP)
A waterproof approach shoe that offers good walking comfort. Suitable for hiking, scrambling and via ferrata. EVA midsole with PU heel wedge for good stability, low weight and comfort. Sticky rubber for excellent traction. Long and asymmetric lacing for the best fit and comfort. Rubber reinforced toe and heel for increased protection.
Our Opinion and Review
Good quality and build, but more designed as a summer walking/trekking shoe than for out and out scrambling and climbing performance
A really good looking shoe
Hard wearing and solid build quality
Too flexible to be a good scrambling shoe
Loses feel on harder scrambling moves
Five Ten Guide Tennies
Cost €125 (89GBP)
We made the world’s first approach shoe in 1985 with our ground-breaking product – the Five Tennie. The Guide Tennie’s hand-ground beveled toe delivers precision edging power without sacrificing hiking comfort, and the Stealth® C4™ outsole guarantees unrivaled traction.
Our Opinion and Review
Almost as good as wearing rock slippers on the rock with superb edging and traction. Ok but less comfortable on walking ascents/descents due to the stiffness of the sole (maybe they’d take crampons?). Initial tests suggest not a hard wearing boot?
Unbelievable traction on rock
Stiff sole makes for precise edging performance
After one, admittedly hard, day there were signs of wear on the lower rand. Longevity?
Less comfortable as an approach shoe than a scrambling or climbing one
Cost €140 (100GBP)
The Crux takes technologies that have been developed in our trekking and climbing range and combines them together to give a hybrid that has all of the characteristics required to be a top approach shoe. Toughness is provided by using our best quality suede in the upper, a rubber toe and heal rand gives protection whilst the new Vibram Vertical sole with sticky rubber, tough EVA midsole and forefoot cradle system ensures support and confidence. It’s not just the colour that’s green, they’re made using 50% recycled polyester in the lining and mesh!
Our Opinion and Review
If you want a shoe that handles both the approach and the scramble/climb then this would be our choice. A good combination of comfort and performance.
Good all rounder
Solid build quality
Superb climbing performance
- None spotted!
La Sportiva Ganda Guide
Thanks to Ian Tupman for this review
Bought for scrambling on dry rock in southern Spain but tested on wet and dry granite on the Isle of Arran, Scotland, August 2015.
The box says ‘Approach’ boot but the route in to Cioch na h-Oighe is wet and boggy and so the Ganda Guides (which are NOT waterproof) were kept in the rucsac until I reached the rock.
On wet or greasy sections of rock, even rough granite, the boots simply slipped off. However, when the soles are dry and on dry rock, they are superb. Excellent traction when smearing and the sole provides a reassuring platform when edging.
Comfort straight from the box
Reassuring edging and great traction on dry rock
Good sole construction. Excellent in descent
Good ventilation (but see below)
Excellent lacing system, laces do not slip or become loose
Expensive (€260/£185) and becoming less available
Un-sewn tongue allows grit and water to get in but provides ventilation
No better on wet rock than standard Vibram soled boots
Best for walking comfort - the Haglofs Roc Icon GT
Best for rock performance - the Five Ten Guide Tennies, La Sportiva Ganda Guide
Best all rounder - the Scarpa Crux
N.B Thanks to Simon Gardner, Cat Bee and Ian Tupman for helping with this test.