The Asolo Nucleon GV are an incredibly light pair of walking/approach shoes. Over the last few months I've found them perfect for walking in the UK, carrying on multipitch climbs in Morocco, and just wearing for everyday use. They keep your feet dry, weigh next to nothing and look smart - what more could you ask for?
I have found the Nucleon GV to be great for walking on a variety of terrain in a variety of conditions. Whether it's muddy tracks in the Peak, dry desert trails in Morocco or pounding the pavements in Kendal, the Nucelon GV have performed well due to their four best attributes: being lightweight, waterproof, breathable and grippy. Here's a bit more detail on each of them:
This is the stand-out feature of the Nucleon GV for me. On my kitchen scales they weigh just 650g per pair, in size 10 - and the first time you pick them up you'll really notice the weight (or lack of it). In terms of weight, they are closer to a trail/fell running shoe than your average chunky approach shoe, and this makes them better for walking long distances as they don't weigh your feet down. Due to their lightweight construction they also have a low profile, making them more like a sleek trainer than a clumpy walking boot. For these reasons they were perfect for a recent trip to Morocco where I was climbing 600 metre routes. Because they are so light and slim they were easy to carry on my harness. For anyone who's climbed with a pair of boots on the back of their harness (or two if your partner is being particularly lazy!) you'll understand the pain of lugging your shoes up a route. I'm not saying that the Nucleon GV are unnoticeable but they severely lessen the pain. In fact, the only pair of non-climbing shoes I took to Morocco were the Nucleon GV; they were perfect for travelling there, for walking through the Atlas mountains, and then for being carried up steep bits of them.
The Nucleon GV are lined with Gore-Tex and, given how light and slim they are, they're surprisingly waterproof. Splash through a puddle, traipse through a bog or dip your toe in a river and the Nucleon GV will keep your feet dry. This is great for approaching mountain and moorland crags, general walking and everyday use (if you live in the UK where it's constantly raining, at least...). However, if your whole foot goes in the river or, I imagine, if you're trekking through deep snow, you're going to get wet feet. Once the water goes over the tongue of the shoe the lining is inevitably going to make them slower to dry than an unlined shoe. This isn't really a criticism, as given how sleek the Nucelon GV are they are more waterproof than you might expect - but if you're looking for footwear to walk in snow or extremely wet conditions then you would probably be better with something higher-cut or more heavyweight.
It's perhaps not surprising how breathable the Nucelon GV are given that they are such a light shoe. This makes them great for long walks in amenable conditions and even when walking in the desert my feet were not overly hot or sweaty, despite that Gore-Tex lining. The downside of this of course is that they are not going to keep your feet warm in very cold conditions. That said, my feet have never been cold wearing them through this summer, autumn and now into the beginning of winter.
The Nucelon GV have an Asolo/Vibram Megagrip rubber sole. They have been perfectly grippy on rock, both wet and dry. Scrambling up to the base of climbs in the Nucelon GV has been no problem and I have never found myself unexpectedly slipping around when walking. The lugs on the sole of the shoe are not particularly deep, so they are not best suited to deep mud, steep wet grass or snow. Neither is there a pronounced heel ledge for downhill traction on very sloppy ground. Nevertheless, for regular walking and crag approaches I've found them more than fine.
Fit and Comfort
This is a fairly slim fitting shoe. I wear them in the same size as my regular trainer size and they fit my narrow foot very well. Unless you have particularly wide feet I would recommend buying them in your regular size (available for men in sizes 6-13.5, and for women in 4 - 9). One thing which I immediately noticed when wearing the Nucleon GV was a supportive curve under the arch of my foot. This is the Anatomic Footbed, which helps the shoe feel very nice and comfortable, fitting precisely to the shape of myfoot. When you think about it, the foot is not exactly flat, so having a curving/rising footbed makes sense. The Anatomic Footbed fits my foot very well but it is something worth bearing in mind in case this sort of feature doesn't work for you - I'm sure that not everybody's arches are as pronounced as mine!
In general the Nucelon GV has been a very comfortable shoe straight out of the box. I have had no rubbing, painful spots or blisters. For me they are also comfortable to walk long distances in without a thick pair of socks, even over rocky ground. I'll put this partly down to the shock absorbing midsole, and partly to the support provided by that Anatomic Footbed. There is perhaps not as much cushioning in the shoe as you might find in a heavier trainer, but still plenty given their slim profile.
Though I've worn the Nucelon GV daily for five months, and on a variety of terrain, they are showing surprisingly little wear. The uppers, soles and rands are still in great condition and there are no obvious spots where the shoe is beginning to deteriorate. One might expect such a lightweight shoe to start to disintegrate a bit after heavy use but apart from them being a bit dirtier and the colour starting to fade from the trimming near the sole, they are like new. They are also just as waterproof as when I first got them. I feel like I should be writing a bit more about the durability, but happily there's nothing much to report: they've been really durable so far!
The appearance is another big plus point of the Nucelon GV. I'd say the colour scheme works really well. Being predominately grey with yellow detail gives the shoe quite a smart appearance and, coupled with its slim profile, it could easily be mistaken as a casual trainer. It's really nice to be able to wear something that has the practical qualities of the Nucelon GV whilst also looking smart. No longer is every approach shoe bright orange or green, which is great, but I often find that those which are not are simply the offending shoes in a more subtle colour. However the Nucelon GV are genuinely attractive and understated. You could easily sneak into an office or a club wearing a pair. That's enough fashion blogging for now, this is not really my forte since I'm from Yorkshire. Put simply the Nucelon GV look good!
If you search for the word 'surprising' in this review you'll find it comes up five times. Perhaps that's because I have a limited vocabulary or perhaps it's because I have been genuinely surprised at how comfortable, durable and waterproof the Nucelon GV have proved to be, given how light they are. They may not be cheap, but if you are looking for a shoe that is excellent for general walking, particularly on firmer ground, approaching crags, and carrying up routes in amenable conditions then the Nucelon GV is a very good contender given its weight to quality ratio. For winter or prolonged wet weather use though, perhaps look elsewhere. Last, and least importantly, fashion: If you're after a fully fledged and robust approach shoe that also happens to look smart, then look no further.
One-piece water-resistant 1,8 mm suede leather upper. Gore-Tex® lining, waterproof and breathable. Midsole in eva mono density. Asolo®/Vibram® Megagrip highly technical sole. The balance of the outsole has self-cleaning lugs designed for optimum performance on varying types of terrain. Classic lacing system. Toe rubber cap.
- Price: £148.50
- Weight: 325 (g) (1/2 pair size 8 UK)
- Sizes: 6 - 13.5 (men) 4 - 9 (women)
- Upper: Water-resistant suede 1.6 - 1.8mm + Schoeller® soft shell
- Lining: Gore-Tex Extended Comfort Footwear
- Anatomic footbed: Lite 2 plus
- Sole: Asolo/Vibram® Megagrip (rubber-eva)
For more info see asolo.com