Best Approach Shoes

Hiking Shoes + Sticky Rubber = Approach Shoes

Approach shoes are a climber’s best friend! Having a good pair of Approach shoes can allow a climber to comfortably climb a route or boulder without changing shoes.

Finding the best Approach shoes is key to being comfortable at the crag and stable on the approach.

The main reasons to exchange your hiking boots for Approach shoes are:

  • The grip on bare rock is amazing
  • You will look cool flashing your buddies project with them on

Seriously though, you’ve most likely seen someone walk up with there Approach shoes on and cruise something that others are projecting.

Sticky Rubber

Climbing shoe rubber specializes in gripping rocks. The rubber is optimized to perform well on all different types of stone.

Beginners Rock Climbing

Popular brands of Sticky Rubber include Vibram, Stealth, Friction Science, and Trax.

Since Approach shoes are worn for longer durations than climbing shoes the rubber is often made to be more durable. However, the change in performance is only negligible.

Another difference from typical climbing shoes is the pattern on the sole of the shoe. Climbing shoes have a flat and often ground edge on the sole whereas, Approach shoes will have some texture to it. The texture on Approach shoes is often in the form of “dot rubber” or other similar designs. This allows the shoe to have traction in loose gravel and dirt.


Approach shoes come in a wide variety of styles ranging from boots to minimalist slippers. Choosing the right pair depends on what you typically do on climbing trips.

If you want to wear your shoes around town and at the gym then a more comfortable minimalist shoe will fit you well. If you like to climb places where the approaches are graded in the Yosemite Decimal System then you might want to look for a high-performance shoe.

You could also be the kind of person that likes to trail run and scramble all in one session. For this, you will need a shoe that has extra cushioning and running geometry.

Whatever you do there is an Approach shoe for you!

Top 5 – Best Approach Shoes

The following are our picks for the best Approach shoes on the market!

#5 Evolv Cruzer Approach Shoe

Rubber: Trax

Style: Minimalist

The Evolv Cruzer Approach Shoes are about as barebones as it gets. With Trax rubber shoes and a canvas construction, these shoes are everything you need and nothing you don’t.

These shoes are barefoot friendly and ready for any 5 easy that comes your way!

#4 La Sportiva Boulder X Hiking Shoe

Rubber: Vibram

Style: Hiking Shoe

The La Sportiva Boulder X Approach Shoes are perfect for anyone trying to do some serious hiking. The Boulder X has an amazing flat edge that make it great for edging on small holds as well.

You may have trouble climbing V13 in the Boulder Xs but that’s only partially the shoe’s fault!

#3 Five Ten Aescent Shoe

Rubber: Stealth

Style: All Around

Ever want to rock climb in your Vans? Well, here it is! Five Ten has made a shoe that fits like a street shoe and climbs like entry-level climbing shoes.

Supporting the ever sticky Stealth Rubber soles the Five Ten Aescents are ready for anything you throw at them!

#2 La Sportiva TX3 GTX Hiking Shoe

Rubber: Vibram

Style: Running

This one is for all the runners out there. If you have a scramble on your usual running route these are the ones for you! The Vibram rubber will keep you on the wall and the contoured heel will keep you in stride.

La Sportiva prides themselves in making the absolute best shoes on the market. The TX3 is the best trail running approach shoe by a long shot.

Make sure you set a PR on your next trail run with the La Sportiva TX3’s!

#1 Five Ten Guide Tennie Approach Shoe

Rubber: Stealth C4

Style: Guide Tennies

Quite possibly the greatest shoe ever made let alone Approach shoe. The Flagship of Five Ten shoes has little to no flaws. The Shoe is ready for the toughest climbs and the longest hikes.

The Guide Tennie comes in all different colors and materials. If you don’t see one you like right away it won’t take long.

Final Thoughts

We hope you liked our picks for the best Approach shoes of the year. If you have a different opinion let us know in the comments below.

Have fun flashing on your friend’s projects with your new Approach shoes on!

Keep Crushing Y’all

Owner and Operator of Every Last Rock. He is dedicated to spreading the Stoke about all things climbing. Often found Bouldering around the US and obsessively training.

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