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Best Approach Shoe for Hiking/Scrambling

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Hi,

I'm looking for some advice on new hiking and scrambling shoes. I need something that will be sturdy and comfortable for long hikes, and also at home on hard scrambles and easy climbs (planning to do the Cuillin Ridge this summer, so need new shoes for that). 

My current options are:

  • La Sportiva TX4 GTX
  • La Sportiva TX Guide Leather
  • Salewa MTN Trainer 2 GTX

Does anyone have any experience with these shoes, and if so which do you think are the most suitable?

Thanks

 Mike-W-99 19 Apr 2022
In reply to AndrewB121:

Your overthinking things, something comfortable your going to be happy in for X+ hours is best.

I did the ridge in my gardening trainers (old slightly falling apart scarpa crux)

Post edited at 23:16
8
 oliwarlow 19 Apr 2022
In reply to AndrewB121:

Obviously fit very much depends on foot shape..but I have found the TX4s (gortex or non) to be excellent. Expensive yes, but the durability means they get good wear compared to something like the 5tennies. Again depends on confidence but the climbing the cuillin would be no bother in them

In reply to AndrewB121:

In my experience, something comfortable for long hikes and something technical enough for easy climbing are two separate categories with limited overlap. All approach shoes are a compromise at one end or the other.

Have you considered something a bit more running shoe-like? 

Like the Scarpa Rapid maybe: https://www.ukhillwalking.com/gear/footwear/approach_shoes/scarpa_rapid_-_approach_shoe_meets_trail_shoe-13861

Or the La Sportiva TX Guide - the non-leather version might be a bit lighter and cooler for summer: https://www.ukhillwalking.com/gear/footwear/approach_shoes/la_sportiva_tx_guide_shoes-12980

But what do you mean by 'long'? Anything more than a few hours of walking and double digit distance, and a trail running shoe is likely to be more comfy.

That said, I've personally got on well with the TX4 in terms of both all-day comfort (relative to most approach shoes) and technical ability. These are the ones I'd currently pick for things like the Cuillin ridge, but I've also happily done hillwalking days with much less scrambling in them:

https://www.ukhillwalking.com/gear/footwear/approach_shoes/approach_shoes-11581#la%20sportiva

For me, non Gore-Tex is better, especially in summer.

Of course the main reason I keep using them is that they fit me well. So that is your ultimate decider. You'll have to try on several pairs to really get an idea.

 jezb1 20 Apr 2022
In reply to AndrewB121:

I love my TX4 mids!

Use them for all sorts. Running Mountain Leader courses, scrambling stuff and have climbed V Diffs in them.

When this pair die I’ll be getting another 😊

 galpinos 20 Apr 2022
In reply to AndrewB121:

I love my TX Guide (non-leather) but:

  • They have a narrow and odd toe fit, not for everyone.
  • The sole is coming away on one of mine/has split after approx a years mild use. Hopefully just unlucky as La Sportiva used to be known for quality
 GCO 20 Apr 2022
In reply to AndrewB121:

I also have a pair of TX Guide shoes and scramble/climb easy routes (Up to S) in them regularly. But would reiterate the point made about the narrow toe. This probably helps with climbing, but might not be best for longer walks. I adjust the lacing to suit the activity and this works for me. 
 

They have good cleats under the heel which makes them better for descending slippery paths etc. For this reason, I prefer them to my TX2s (which are great for slab climbing, by the way).

In reply to AndrewB121:

There have been a number of reports of durability issues with TX4’s mine included. 
https://www.mountainproject.com/forum/topic/122176533/tx4-failure

In reply to AndrewB121:

There have been a number of reports of durability issues with TX4’s mine included. 
https://www.mountainproject.com/forum/topic/122176533/tx4-failure

 mik82 20 Apr 2022
In reply to AndrewB121:

I've got a pair of TX4s (non GTX) that I've had for a few years and are great for approaches/scrambling/going to the pub.  I'm not sure I'd wear them on long hikes - I use some high top inov8s for that. 

The fit does seem to vary wildly between la sportiva models so bear that in mind. TX4 non GTX are quite wide whereas TX4 mid GTX are narrower and lower volume.

In reply to Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com:

Thanks for the advice, I'm definitely planning to try them on before buying. 

I had considered something like the Scarpa Rapid, so I'll give them a try too if I can.

Post edited at 09:35
In reply to AndrewB121:

I have a pair of TX4’s which I find excellent for long approach walks, scrambling, everyday wearing. Also found them to be very durable. 
I went and tried on some TX4 mid GTX’s recently and found the fit very different to my TX4’s which was a surprise and dissapppointing. 
I think TX4’s would fit the bill if they fit you well. I also have some TX2’s which are comfy but probably only good for going to the shops or a bit of cragging.

Post edited at 09:39
 neuromancer 20 Apr 2022
In reply to AndrewB121:

I've got to be honest, I think approach shoes are shite. I have a pair of TX2s and a pair of Konseals. Neither are fund to climb in - both way too soft for any edging but then not particularly comfortable or good to run or walk in either as the tread is compromised. I found myself having to only pick massive footholds or smear, whereas in proper boots you can edge / climb cracks well. If you really need to move fast, wear some running shoes as the difference is marginal.

In reply to AndrewB121:

Another vote for the tx4 gtx

But get them as mid (which sort of makes them a lightweight walking boot than an approach shoe if you are going to get pedantic on us). I find most actual approach shoes great for say walking in a town to a pub, but lacking on the hill, would make an exception to that for tx4. But when there's heather, scree, midges, boggy bits, etc you'll be pleased you got the mid not the shoe

Post edited at 10:04
In reply to CantClimbTom:

I'll definitely consider the mid version, thanks. 

In reply to mik82:

Why do you say you wouldn't wear them on long hikes?

In reply to AndrewB121:

OK, maybe stating the ****** obvious, but a reminder that any lightweight gore Tex shoe/boot won't last as long as a traditional leather one. How long depends on how much you use them, but very heavy/frequent usage (like an outdoors instructor) could trash them in spring+summer+autumn. But again stating the obvious they'll probably be lighter and more flexible and approachy

In reply to CantClimbTom:

I know, hence why I've been looking at the leather version of the TX Guide, and at the TX4 GTX and Salewa's, because all look fairly sturdy from what I have heard (although the issues with the TX4 mentioned above are a little concerning). I'm coming from a pair of mostly leather Merrell hiking shoes which have lasted a good 6 years or so of fairly heavy abuse, and would like shoes that last a good amount of time as well. 

 tagscuderia 20 Apr 2022
In reply to AndrewB121:

I've got Black Diamond Mission LTs which are ultra lightweight and very comfortable. A nylon rock plate and decent heel breast make them a great scrambling shoe for Snowdonia.

I've also got Salewa MTN Trainers, both low and mid, love them. Great sole unit for walking (good rocker, aggressive heel breast) and scrambling (grippy, climbing zone on the toe, stiff enough to edge) and aesthetically pleasing.

N.B. I have a wide, high volume forefoot, with neither the TX4 nor TX5 close to fitting; couldn't even get the TX Guide on my feet! The Salewa MTN Trainer low is narrower than the mid, yet the mid's heel-cup is narrower. And the MTN Trainer 2 was too tight across the top of the foot for me, due to the mesh covering the tongue. Fit is obviously the crucial point but I'd recommend all 3 shoes/boots for long days walking and scrambling over mixed terrain.

In reply to tagscuderia:

I think I also have quite a wide forefoot, so I might have the same issue with the La Sportiva's. Interesting that the Mountain Trainer 2 has a different fit to the Mountain Trainer. I was going to use the Mountain Trainer Mid to check the fit of all 3 Salewa shoes as that's the only one I can find in stores nearby, but I guess that might not work. 

Post edited at 15:43
 tagscuderia 20 Apr 2022
In reply to AndrewB121:

"Interesting that the Mountain Trainer 2 has a different fit to the Mountain Trainer."

The last is the same, but the 2's mesh doesn't allow you to 'open' the shoe. They may break-in, but it was far too tight for me to risk that not happening. I'm on my 3rd pair of the MTN Trainer and whilst snug... they're as good as I can find ⁠— and they're my choice most days in the hills.

The difference between the low and mid isn't huge, but it is noticeable when trying both. I'm in 11.5s, would love 12s for the width but then the sole rocker is too far forward; foot length + 15mm to size them. I ordered off Amazon with free returns, a hassle but ultimately worth it.

P.S. the TX4s are talked about as having a roomy toe box, but if you actually have wide feet, they're cr*p. But most of my issues stem from low profile shoes above and just behind the MTP joint, so you may still be fine with the MTN Trainer 2; the sole unit looks better designed and constructed over the previous version, which is its flaw regards longevity, so get the 2 if you can.

In reply to Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com:

> In my experience, something comfortable for long hikes and something technical enough for easy climbing are two separate categories with limited overlap. All approach shoes are a compromise at one end or the other.

+1. Unless you have very narrow pointy feet most approach shoes aren't all that comfy (YMMV)

> Have you considered something a bit more running shoe-like? 

That looks like a rebadged Hoka 😉

 tagscuderia 20 Apr 2022
In reply to AndrewB121:

Just noticed that you're after GTX... I'd try the MTN Trainer Mid, yes it's a boot but you'll be pleasantly surprised ⁠— it's a great design!

 JimbotheScot 20 Apr 2022
In reply to AndrewB121:

Got the tx5s ace tbf and v v grippy

 kaiser 20 Apr 2022
In reply to AndrewB121:

Best ever were the 5-10 Camp Four boots

Super comfy, super grippy

 Wooj 21 Apr 2022
In reply to AndrewB121:

I used to wear the la sportive tx4 but my 2nd pair split like someone else said on here. For actual scrambling and easy routine I use the la sportive Boulder trainer. Miles more robust than the tx4 and feels very solid. Maybe would ache my feet after a long long wear but they are perfect for scrambling in. 

 morpcat 21 Apr 2022
In reply to AndrewB121:

I did the Cuillin Ridge in TX2s including TD Gap and Raeburns. They are super grippy on (dry) rock and I have yet to find anything with as reassuring a feel for scrambling. I've also used them in the more traditional "approach" role for climbing around Scotland and Chamonix and in places with long approaches and descents like the Piz Badile. I love how light they are, and that clipping them to your harness is no big deal. They're perfect for something like heading up Curved Ridge, harness clipping for a route on Rannoch Wall, and then descending the ridge again afterwards. HOWEVER, the soles are flexible so they aren't as good for edging versus a stiffer shoe, and the cushioning is very thin so on longer days your feet can feel a bit bashed. If those two points are a concern for you, and you aren't concerned about weight, I'd recommend TX4 or TX Guide instead.

In reply to CantClimbTom:

> OK, maybe stating the ****** obvious, but a reminder that any lightweight gore Tex shoe/boot won't last as long as a traditional leather one.

I bought a pair of TX4 to do the TMB. They were perfect for that; comfortable, grippy, reasonably water resistant, and fairly protective of the sole of the foot. They then lasted about another 18 months almost continuous use. I usually find that the uppers give up before the soles, especially with synthetic uppers. The TX4 uppers didn't split until the sole had worn through to the midsole.

I bought another pair. When those wear out, I'll buy another pair, if they're still made.

Obviously, fit is personal, and that includes upper longevity (due to different flex points in different feet).

In reply to AndrewB121:

I found my Sportiva Ganda Guides (non Goretex) were brilliant in the Cuillin for both walking and climbing, at least in dry conditions. They used to get a lot of positive reviews. I think they are long discontinued (2015?) but the TX4s were supposed to be the nearest replacement.

 Rick Graham 21 Apr 2022
In reply to oldie:

> I found my Sportiva Ganda Guides (non Goretex) were brilliant in the Cuillin for both walking and climbing, at least in dry conditions. They used to get a lot of positive reviews. I think they are long discontinued (2015?) but the TX4s were supposed to be the nearest replacement.

My take on  Ganda Guides and Boulder X.

The gandas are good at nothing except being comfortable.

The boulder X are good at everything walking and climbing except being totally waterproof.

In reply to Rick Graham:

> The gandas are good at nothing except being comfortable. <

I suppose that shows how personal these things are. Or how expectations differ.

FWIW I'm a low grade climber, but I did quite a bit of online research in forums and shop visits before getting the Ganda Guide and have just looked at Outdoorgearlab which still has a review up. "This La Sportiva Ganda is the best approach shoe out there for real deal climbing, earning a Top Pick for Climbing Ability. It is a favorite among guides, who can climb just about any moderate rock route in them. In our previous review, which weighted climbing performance more strongly, the Ganda was our Editors' Choice winner. For light and fast pushes on big alpine rock routes and traverses, the climbing ability of these more than make up for the hiking limitations created by the snug-fitting forefoot. We even hear of people climbing 5.12 in these. The Ganda is also one of the most durable products we tested, and will stand up to years of hard use and multiple resoles."

Irrelevant really as its discontinued.

Post edited at 20:47
 tagscuderia 22 Apr 2022
In reply to AndrewB121:

Remembered another option: Mammut Kento Low GTX.

 bowls 22 Apr 2022
In reply to AndrewB121:

I just use fell shoes now, my mate has recently got a deal with VJROCK  (company based in Finland).  I bought a pair of these (based on his recommendation of the superb grip they offer).  The other thing other than the superb grib, is the slimline nature of the shoes, which makes them great on scrambling and easier climbs.  Sure they have studs, but on the very low grade stuff holds shouldn't be that tiny.  Would definitely recommend giving them a try:  They are incredibly light too.

They are probably the only shoe I have ever worn (including running trainers) which I have been able to wear straight out of the box with zero breaking in time.

https://www.peteblandsports.co.uk/buy/vj-sport-unisex-irock-3_8329.htm

Post edited at 13:30
 camstoppa 22 Apr 2022
In reply to AndrewB121:

I've had 2 pairs of Salewa GTXs which I liked but the durability was rubbish and I wouldn't but them again. They both wore through and split on the side by my little toes so it seems like a design defect (it could be foot defect but other shoes/boots seem to manage my feet).

Since then I've tried some Dolomite approach shoes which unfortunately are still going because although the rubber sticks really well they are a nasty combo of over stiff soles and floppy uppers making then uncontrollable when climbing and uncomfortable for walking any distance...

I've also got some La Sportiva Boulder X which, despite being one of the ugliest shoes I've ever had, climb and walk very well. They are seemingly indestructible. I'd recommend these but they're not water-proof in puddles because the tongue is low and separate (they repel wet grass ok).

Post edited at 15:32
In reply to AndrewB121:

Ive used tx4’s nor about 8 years and on my 2nd pair, i have been super impressed but them and will use nothing else


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