Approach Shoes

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What are approach shoes?

Approach shoes are low-profile shoes designed to facilitate progress over varied, often technical terrain, with a view to reaching a climbing wall. Typically, users wear them primarily for walking, and then change into climbing shoes once they've reached their destination. However, some models can be used for both walking and climbing.

These hybrid shoes combine features usually found in traditional low hiking boots with elements typical of climbing shoes. They offer the possibility of covering relatively long distances while ensuring adequate grip on the rocks encountered along the way.

What are the differences between approach shoes and low hiking boots?

There are several distinguishing features between approach shoes, low hiking shoes and trail shoes.
First of all, the outsole of approach shoes is generally designed to offer notable rigidity and excellent grip. A special zone, often made of Vibram material and called the "climbing zone", facilitates climbing on stony terrain, smooth rocks or névés that may be encountered along the way. In addition, a front guard, commonly known as a stone guard, is often present to prevent injury in the event of a fall or contact with stones.
Approach shoes are also characterized by their foot support, which is considerably reinforced. The lacing system generally runs quite low, enabling precise adjustment. What's more, the back of the shoe provides good support around the ankle, malleolus and Achilles tendon.

How to choose the right approach shoe?

These criteria are essential for choosing your approach shoes wisely.


For climbing enthusiasts, it's customary to wear tight-fitting shoes for ascents. On the other hand, when using approach shoes for longer or shorter walks, Via Ferrata routes or less technical routes, it's essential that you can wear them comfortably. They need to fit snugly for good support, but without exerting excessive pressure on your feet, to guarantee your comfort for one or more hours.


The quality of the grip on the soles of your approach shoes is of paramount importance, as it enables you to venture out on various types of terrain. When you're moving towards a rock face, it's common to encounter rocky terrain or slightly technical rocks. Having shoes with excellent grip is essential to ensure you can tackle these obstacles with confidence. The presence of a "climbing zone" in the forefoot is also crucial.


It's worth noting that approach shoes are not designed exclusively for mountaineering and are not intended to be worn in the high mountains. The weight of approach shoes can be a variable criterion depending on your personal preferences.


Although not a strictly necessary criterion, it can be very advantageous to choose waterproof approach shoes. They'll keep your feet relatively dry in bad weather and wet conditions.

Find all our models of approach shoes from your favorite brands!

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