My Top Five Approach Shoes and Why I Like Them


Anyone who spends a lot of time walking in the mountains will agree that a good pair of boots or shoes is absolutely essential for safety and enjoyment. I talked about boots in general, and specifically about the boots I currently use, in this post. There are times and places where I prefer shoes over boots, particularly when I’m heading up to a crag to climb, or when doing a day’s scrambling. Here’s the inside info on what’s currently on my shoe rack.  

L to R: Inov8 Trailtalon; Five Ten Climbing Guide Tennie; Scarpa Crux; New Balance Goretex walking shoe; Five Ten Eddy

L to R: Inov8 Trailtalon; Five Ten Climbing Guide Tennie; Scarpa Crux; New Balance Goretex walking shoe; Five Ten Eddy

Inov8 Trailtalon

I bought these for a bit of running and walking to crags in the Lakes, and for carrying up longer mountain routes on my harness to wear on the descent.

Good points

  • Excellent grip on grass and mud

  • Comfortable

  • Lightweight (250g), so easy to wear and easy to carry on a harness to wear for descent

Bad points

  • Not brilliant on rock, but OK

  • Not waterproof at all

  • Not super tough

More info on the Inov8 website

Read an independent review

Five Ten Climbing Guide Tennie

I got these for guiding, teaching leading and easy climbing, because wearing rock shoes day after day when working makes my feet sore.

Good points

  • Really good for easy climbing

  • Great friction

  • Have worn well

  • Keep some wet out

Bad points

  • Not so good on wet grass, poor on mud

  • Not completely waterproof

  • Not so comfortable for long descents – I bought mine snug so they are better to climb in

More info on the Five Ten website

Read an independent review

Scarpa Crux

I got these for working on the Cuillin Ridge, as I needed a comfortable sticky shoe to wear for long days and climb/scramble up to VDiff/Severe.

Good points

  • Pretty good grip on mud and grass, really grippy on rock

  • OK to climb in

  • Comfortable for walking

  • Keep out the wet quite well

Bad points

  • Not totally waterproof

  • After seven days on Skye some of the stitching was coming away, but Scarpa gave good service and replaced them.

More info on the Scarpa website

Read an independent review

New Balance Goretex walking shoe

I’ve had these a while, and I can’t remember the model. I bought these for doing longer mountain walks and crag approaches which in the Lake District are often wet and boggy.

Good points

  • Very comfortable

  • Good on mud, OK on rock

  • Very waterproof

  • Have lasted well

Bad points

  • Not brilliant on rock

  • Not as breathable as other shoes eg the Inov8 Trailtalon

Five Ten Eddy

These aren’t approach shoes, but they are definitely worth mentioning. For many years I used old running shoes for gorge scrambling, and they worked OK. However, they take ages to dry out, and can be a bit slippery.

Good points

  • Amazing grip on wet rock

  • Lightweight

  • Dry out quickly

  • Not too expensive

  • Comfortable

Bad points

  • Not the most robust

We couldn’t find a link to this on the internet, which suggests it might be no longer available

Read an independent review:

What about you?

What’s your favourite pair of approach shoes, and why? Leave a comment and share your advice. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!