No Trail? No Problem

Flexible Footwear: 5 Best Approach Shoes


Somewhere between short day hikes in Yellowstone and forays above the tree line to bag a couple of Colorado 14ers last year, you probably realized your trail runners or light hiking shoes just don’t cut it on off-trail, gnarly terrain. You don’t need a full-blown alpine climbing boot or rock climbing shoe (note: don’t hike in climbing shoes unless you want your feet looking like ground beef), so what is the best shoe for your next miserable bushwhacking epic multi-day adventure? Technical approach shoes blend everything you like about your trail-running shoes — ankle support, beefy soles, light weight — with the sticky rubber and technical details of a climbing shoe or heavier boot. If you’re going to spend a few hours tackling slot canyons in red rock country or slogging long miles to your favorite local peak — or even if you just want a little extra support to stick on the mountain, these approach shoes will keep you on the trail.

MORE GEAR FOR THE TRAIL: Best Hiking Packs | Summer Outdoor Retailer Roundup | Best Trail Running Shoes

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