It has happened. I have become one of those people who wears approach shoes to the bar, even when not coming straight from the crag. The bar isn’t the only place I wear them: I wear them to work, to walk the dog, to the grocery store. The Five Ten Approach Pro; they just look so darn good.
Aside from its bonus street appeal, the Approach Pro is a straightforward and practically designed low-volume approach shoe. The extended lace system helps the shoe fit snugly, the hard wearing and thick canvas upper keeps out dirt and sand, and the secure rubber exoskeleton produces a durable and supportive shoe that feels precise and responsive. The light-tread Stealth C4 rubber sole, which extends up and over the toe to aid technical scrambling and climbing, provides bomber friction for ascents and descents, boulder hopping, regular trails and low-grade pitches.
A pair (of U.S. men’s size 9) weighs 1.2 pounds, and can be stuffed in your pack without adding unnecessary ounces or taking up valuable space. Likewise, the shoes are light enough to be clipped to your harness, and the offset gear loops help orient them to keep them out of the way while climbing. I’ve squeezed up some pretty heinous chimneys with these smashed against my butt without having too much of a sense-of-humor failure. As such, if I have to carry shoes up the rock with me, these are the ones I grab.
Another benefit of the Approach Pro is that despite extensive wear—even in the hostile bar environment—the shoes, both canvas upper and rubber sole, proved extremely resilient and showed minimal wear after 50 days of general use.
These shoes are great multi-pitch companions but they will not replace your hiking boots on long approaches, as they lack cushioning and arch support, or on approaches that involve snow or water, as they are not waterproof.
In short, Five Ten have designed a tough, no-fuss approach shoe for short to medium approaches that not only works on the rock, but also holds enough aesthetic flair to wear from crag to coffeehouse. Keep an eye out for me downtown on Saturday night. I’ll be the girl wearing approach shoes with abandon.
—— Harriet Ridley
PROS: Good balance between weight and durablity. Look good. Men’s and women’s versions available.
CONS: Not very breathable and not supportive enough for long approaches.
BEST FOR: Short- to medium-approaches, multi-pitch climbing and urban cruising.