The best climbing spots are not usually right on the beaten trail — often they are up steep, loose rocky paths, over odd-shaped boulders, and down even steeper scree-filled passes. This is terrain that your thin and feeble climbing shoes just can’t hack. That’s what the “approach shoe” is for.
Approach shoes, well-known in outdoor climbing circles, are designed for getting you to the climbing areas, which often involves scrambling and navigating very uneven terrain. Given that, they’re not just great shoes for climbers. Approach shoes can also be a perfect shoe for summer adventures because they are general super comfortable and light. They often become your go-to as a light-hiker, gardening, going to a BBQ cook-out, everything shoe. In short, an approach is like your hardcore-slipper, your best friend.
Which is probably why a company as big as Adidas Outdoor has an offering. Their Terrex Scope GTX. which is their top-of-the-line approach shoe, has been around since 2014. This year’s model — with color changes and rubber upgrades — is worth a look.
When we first slipped on the Terrex Scope GTX, they felt really stiff, but in a good way. The sole is thick and extra grippy, with enough angle that we didn’t feel unbalanced, but not too stout that we felt weighed down. This particularly became apparent while balancing on slicker, uneven surfaces. The tread has nice deep cuts, which is great for longevity and traction. After wearing the Terrex Scope GTX for a long period of time, the sole did pack out a bit more, which would make it more connective on more granite-style boulders.
Other great features include the rubber tongue tip, a really stiff heel (which made it easy to slip the shoe on and off without hands and not compromising the structure of the shoe). Also, we really love the waterproof membrane. Some say it’s overkill for lighter shoes like the Terrex Scope GTX, but we found that it really stayed dry in rain, puddles, and some submerged situations, like gushing spring streams. Get a pair at backcountry.com, $165.