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

Peñon de la Mata
Peñon de la Mata

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 34).

Haglofs Roc Icon GTs

Haglofs Roc Icon GTs
Haglofs Roc Icon GTs

Cost €145 (103GBP)

Manufacturer “Blurb”

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

Pros

  • A really good looking shoe

  • Hard wearing and solid build quality

Cons

  • Too flexible to be a good scrambling shoe

  • Loses feel on harder scrambling moves

Haglofs in action
Haglofs in action

Five Ten Guide Tennies

Five Ten Guide Tennies
Five Ten Guide Tennies

Cost €125 (89GBP)

Manufacturer “Blurb”

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?

Pros

  • Unbelievable traction on rock

  • Stiff sole makes for precise edging performance

Cons

  • 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

Scarpa Crux

Scarpa Crux
Scarpa Crux

Cost €140 (100GBP)

Manufacturer “Blurb”

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.

Pros

  • Good all rounder

  • Solid build quality

  • Superb climbing performance

Cons

  • None spotted!

La Sportiva Ganda Guide

Thanks to Ian Tupman for this review

La Sportiva Ganda Guide
La Sportiva Ganda Guide

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.

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • Expensive (€260/£185) and becoming less available

  • Not waterproof

  • Un-sewn tongue allows grit and water to get in but provides ventilation

  • No better on wet rock than standard Vibram soled boots

Final Thoughts?

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.