The 10 Best Approach Shoes

Updated June 10, 2017 by Sam Kraft

10 Best Approach Shoes
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 25 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. A must-have for rock climbing, river traversing and tackling mountains, these approach shoes are specifically designed to offer high levels of traction, comfort and breathability for male and female outdoor enthusiasts. Available in a variety of designs to suit any taste and at prices to meet myriad budgets, they are also a good choice for walking, hiking or simply strolling around town. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best approach shoe on Amazon.

10. La Sportiva Boulder X

The women's La Sportiva Boulder X take stickiness to a new level, with a sole designed to positively hug rocks, boulders, and any other terrain you encounter. They also offer a lot of extra cushioning in the sole for better shock reduction from hard impacts.
  • secure footing on wet surfaces
  • handy adaptable lacing system
  • stretch out a bit over time
Brand La Sportiva
Model 862
Weight 2.4 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

9. Scarpa Crux

The men's Scarpa Crux are ideal for bouldering and scrambles, plus they work fine for a variety of climbing conditions with their sticky Vibram outsole. To give you a more secure fit without sliding around on your foot, they lace all the way to the toe.
  • comfortable for long hikes
  • strong forefoot webbing with kevlar
  • internal padding may shift around
Model CRUX-M
Weight 2 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

8. Evolv Women’s Cruzer

If you want a pair of shoes that’s as easily worn in the grocery store as on the trails, then the Evolv Women’s Cruzer are a good bet. They manage to look stylish while still offering all the benefits you need from a rugged approach shoe.
  • collapsible heel for slip-on use
  • comfortable to wear without socks
  • soles may scuff floors
Brand Evolv
Model Cruzer Purple-W
Weight 2 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

7. Vasque Traverse

Lightweight and comfortable for walking and hiking, the men's Vasque Traverse also offer impressive water resistance for when wet conditions arise during your adventures. For those with wide feet, though, this model may be a bit too narrow for their liking.
  • abrasion-resistant toe cap
  • sticky outsole for solid grip
  • lack adequate heel cushioning
Brand Vasque
Model Grand Traverse-M
Weight 2 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

6. Adidas Outdoor AX2

Designed specifically for hiking versatility, the men's Adidas Outdoor AX2 provide a solid amount of traction on almost any surface. They’re lightweight, breathable, and waterproof, so you can wade through small streams and boulder along the shoreline.
  • molded sock liner for comfort
  • insole is removable
  • not the most durable option
Brand adidas outdoor
Model AX2 Breeze-M
Weight 2.2 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

5. Evolv Cruzer

For maximum grip and control as you embark on your next challenge, the men's Evolv Cruzer can be comfortably worn with or without socks. They have a moisture-wicking, microfiber memory foam insole that cushions the foot, minimizing the stress of impacts.
  • folding heel for an easy slip-on
  • reliable traction on slippery rocks
  • heel too narrow for some feet
Brand Evolv
Model Cruzer-M
Weight 2 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

4. Five Ten Guide Tennie

The men's Five Ten Guide Tennie blends maximum comfort with reliable grip and control, so you can tackle those precarious hikes with less fatigue. They feature a proprietary toe design that delivers precision edging power and adds to overall durability.
  • cozy compression-molded midsole
  • lightweight for easy maneuverability
  • ankle support is not great
Brand Five Ten
Model Guide Tennie Leather-M
Weight 2 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

3. Vasque Traverse

Designed for speed and agility across a wide array of terrains, the women's Vasque Traverse feel good the moment you slip them on, so you won’t go through a few weeks of breaking them in before they feel right. They stick to the ground well, too, even on gravel.
  • 3 colors to choose from
  • good option for narrow feet
  • sleek and attractive appearance
Brand Vasque
Model Grand Traverse-W
Weight 2 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

2. Patagonia Splice

The women's Patagonia Splice can handle anything from casual athletics to multi-day hiking excursions through harsh terrains. The sides are marked with attractive pink accent dots to give them a sense of style without appearing overly feminine.
  • microbe shield to reduce odors
  • temperature-regulating footbed
  • mesh tongue wicks away moisture
Brand Patagonia
Model Splice-W
Weight 2 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

1. Salewa Wildfire

The men's Salewa Wildfire have an attractive webbing pattern on the sides and a tongue with special grooves to expertly accommodate the laces, which allows them to fit snugly and prevents the shoe from slipping around. The soles are quite stiff for use on the trails.
  • mesh inner lining for air flow
  • interchangeable orthotics
  • designed for all seasons
Brand Salewa
Model Wildfire-M
Weight 2 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

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Last updated on June 10, 2017 by Sam Kraft

Sam is a marketing/communications professional and freelance writer who resides in Chicago, IL and is perpetually celebrating the Cubs’ 2016 World Series victory.

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