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Approach Shoes

Scarpa Iguana

Iguanas can climb anything, according to the Green Iguana Society’s guide to iguana-proofing a home. It is fitting, then, that these light and nimble approach shoes pay homage to the arboreal green lizard.

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Iguanas can climb anything, according to the Green Iguana Society’s guide to iguana-proofing a home. Bookcases, stone fireplaces, even the chimney—and that’s just indoors! It is fitting, then, that these light and nimble approach shoes pay homage to the arboreal green lizard.

The Scarpa Iguana marks the softer and lighter end of the approach- shoe spectrum in this series. While the Lowa Approach Pro GTX Lo may reign supreme in the alpine, the Iguanas are better suited for the crag, multipitch descents or when weight is critical. The shoes weigh in at 1.1 pounds for a pair (size 42), and the upper collapses to fit in a pack. The shoes can be clipped to a harness by the heel loops, making them easy to carry up a climb
for the walk off.

For such a soft shoe, the Iguana not only hikes well, but also climbs surprisingly well on scramble-y approaches and descents, wet rock, and even easy fifth class. Their sticky Vibram Reptila rubber outsole has light tread in back for hiking and a smooth “Max Grip” climbing area under the toe, like a climbing shoe. The Iguana also has laces for the length of the shoe, from the protective rubber toecap to the tongue, which pulls the soft knit-polyester upper tight like a sock.

The Iguana’s stretchy upper is breathable and soft as a slipper, yet keeps out sand and grit. The shoe, however, doesn’t defend well against thick mud or puddles, since it provides little, if any, water-resistance. These are minimalist approach shoes with only light support, so I wouldn’t take them on long or burly approaches, or on snow.

Like the animal Iguana, these shoes are fair-weather creatures. They love dry rock and sunshine, which make them a great fit for the crag and desert. One of my favorite features is how the heel folds down, turning them into a slipper for easy on, easy off access between burns and belaying. I’ve found
myself reaching for them more often than not, and along with climbing days, they’ve become my “everyday” shoe for the office, mountain biking, running errands, etc. The Iguana is one of the most comfortable shoes I’ve worn.

——Hayden Carpenter

PROS: Light and packable. Super comfortable and breathable. Women’s version available.

CONS: Light support, absorb water easily.

BEST FOR: Fast and light.