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Approach shoe with ankle support

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 birks3746 04 Jun 2021

Hi, looking for advice/recommendations on approach shoes that have ankle support...

I tend to use trail running shoes as rather than actual approach shoes for approaches, as the tread is better for wet/grassy/slippery walk ins. Unfortunately persistent ankle problems mean my ankle rolls too easily (and for no apparent reason).

So I'm looking a shoe that has a good tread, good ankle support and would be light enough to hang off the back of a harness on a multi-pitch (ie probably not classic walking boots), and isn't ridiculously expensive. Any suggestions? Cheers Luke

 oceannash909 04 Jun 2021
In reply to birks3746:

La sportiva TX5s, I have the low cut version and they offer great support, but if you have ankle problems then get the high cut. They are a "hiking shoe" but they are almost identical to all of the other Sportiva approach shoes however they offer a bit more support, are more burly, and have larger lugs for mud etc. Although I haven't tried these yet, the Salewa Wildfires look pretty good, that will probably be my next approach shoe.

Hope this helps

In reply to oceannash909:

I too find TX4s very stable, so TX5 might be good for the OP, if they fit of course.

My two penn’orth- I first turned an ankle badly while wearing my highest, most “supportive “ boots, after decades of fell running in minimal shoes with no problem. I now believe ankle stability is more about a good heel cup, not the height of the boot/shoe.

 cathsullivan 04 Jun 2021
In reply to birks3746:

I have a similar issue and had many years of repeatedly suffering very bad ankle sprains (almost always done while carrying a heavy climbing sac and while wearing shoes light enough to hang off my harness). Eventually, after a very stern word from a podiatrist, I gave in and started wearing walking boots for most crag approaches.  I carry a pair of very light approach/running shoes in my sac and just clip those to my harness while climbing.  It has it's downsides obviously, but in the end I gave up the idea that footwear existed which would suit me for walking with a heavy rucsac on rough ground yet also be OK for hanging off my harness.  My climbing sac is a bit heavier now, but let's face it it's already pretty heavy so not much of a percentage difference.  And the benefit of climbing with a very light pair of shoes on my harness, and not spraining my ankle badly for years, is well worth it.  I actually also use a very light and foldable stick, which I can even fit into a very small daysac if needed (e.g., on a big route with a long walking descent).

I resisted both of these things for years, mainly due to pride I think.  But things are better having changed footwear and started using a stick. I did do all the usual wobble board business but I have got quite bad proprioception in my lower legs and my balance is not the best esp. when carrying a heavy load. There was only so much I could do with exercises and balance training and, for me, it wasn't enough (which will not necessarily be the case for other people of course).

 BruceM 04 Jun 2021
In reply to birks3746:

TX4s mentioned above have a very high narrow heel footprint so really bad for unstable ankles.  Both partner and I have owned and ditched them.  Highcut version is no better.  Partner had a horrendous ankle injury (6 months off kind of thing) from those silly things.

Ideally try something with a lower and wider heel.

Keens are the best for us, but are quite broad at the front as well, which may or may not work for you.  But they are excellent for stability.

Good luck.

In reply to BruceM:

> TX4s mentioned above have a very high narrow heel footprint so really bad for unstable ankles.  

... which just goes to show the dangers of asking for advice on the internet! BruceM’s experience is the polar opposite of mine. 


For what it’s worth, I’ve just checked and the heel of my TX4s, measured at the sole, is actually wider than the Meindl big boots I was wearing when I tore ankle ligaments. To the OP,  I guess what matters is how they *feel* to you: trial and error might be your only option I’m afraid.

 birks3746 08 Jun 2021
In reply to birks3746:

Thanks for all the recommendations!

Cheers, Luke

 Tim Davies 08 Jun 2021
In reply to birks3746:

Similar situation 

I now wear an ankle support (tight fitting elastic one ) that seems to make a big difference and provides that bit of extra confidence against rolling the ankle (again ....) 

 Marmolata 11 Jun 2021
In reply to birks3746:

From what I've read high cuts don't support the ankle more than low cuts they just protect you from banging your ankle on a rock and water flooding your boot.

 neuromancer 11 Jun 2021
In reply to birks3746:

It's already been spoken loosely about, but the only boots that have ankle support are ski boots. Ankle support in hiking boots is a well-established myth, and only perpetuated because it sells footwear.

If you roll your ankles in trail shoes, have a look at the trail shoes you're wearing. Something like a Salomon Speedcross (high heel counter), or a Hoka (massive stack height) will make you more surceptible to it.

This also solves your hang on a harness issue, as minimalist shoes are lighter. You also don't want an actual approach shoe, as you say your walkins are 'grassy' and 'wet' - approach shoes are usueless in these conditions.

 neuromancer 11 Jun 2021
In reply to birks3746:

I would add to this that unless you have a completely goosed joint and need fixing braces (ie with pivots like a ski boot), avoid ankle braces in anything other than the acute immediate phase of an injury. If you don't use ligaments and tendons, they don't return to normal elasticity and you'll always have ankle problems.

Much better off fixing the ankle. My advice would be to brush your teeth standing on one leg morning and night from now on!

 VictorM 12 Jun 2021
In reply to neuromancer:

> Much better off fixing the ankle. My advice would be to brush your teeth standing on one leg morning and night from now on!

That's what I do to strengthen overall tendons and ligaments in my legs and it has worked wonders agains old knee injuries as well!

 girlymonkey 12 Jun 2021
In reply to birks3746:

I was having some ankle niggles at the start of the year and the physio told me I needed to strengthen my glutes. Sure enough, I am having far fewer problems now. Worth a try? 

In reply to rsc:

> I’ve just checked and the heel of my TX4s, measured at the sole, is actually wider than the Meindl big boots

Yeah; I didn't recognise the 'narrow heel footprint' description of my TX4s...

https://www.decathlon.co.uk/p/men-s-waterproof-approach-shoes-rock-black/_/R-p-309766?mc=8559589&c=GREY

maybe the colour isn't your favourite, but you did say not ridiculously expensive, £79.99, so there you are. A bit more ankle support than trail running but not super high, is that high enough for you?

Post edited at 13:06
 lucozade 12 Jun 2021
In reply to birks3746:

And my (occasional) tuppence... I've used some La Sportiva Raptors for some time for a huge variety of mountainous adventures. The Ultra Raptors (for me) are similar to the TX4s which I was forced to sell simply because the area just under the ankle on the shoe was quite narrow in width and 'sharp' (unlike the Raptors which are very padded under the ankles). The TX4s therefore sadly dug into my ankles non stop. So if you've got 'low ankles' then not the TX4s but otherwise they are a cracking shoe! As suggested the TX5s are even more firm. Or the Ultra Raptors if trail shoes work well for you aside from the ankle rolling? I found the Raptors very stable simply as they fit like a glove. (Now to find a replacement for my Raptors...)

Post edited at 20:39

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