What Are Approach Shoes?
Approach shoes are a hybrid footwear of hiking shoes and trail running shoes. They are perfect for the great outdoors as the main features include grippy rubber soles, lightweight material, and comfort for your foot. Much like any other equipment for trekking in nature, footwear is categorised as one of the most important to get right. Therefore, you want to make sure your feet are both secure and comfortable. Nobody wants to be the one who’s carried home!
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Approach Shoes to Tackle Any Terrain
The functionality of approach shoes make them a hybrid of a hiking shoe, climbing shoe, and trail running shoe. This is on the grounds that the elements of the footwear, like soft padding and sturdy soles, allow for miles and miles of comfortable trekking. All while providing stability and traction over the rockiest terrains. Therefore, due to their grippy rubber soles, approach shoes are a type of footwear often favored by climbers. This is due to the comfort and stability they provide, allowing the user to tackle any uneven ground that may come their way.
The overall structure of this mountain footgear, represents characteristics of a trail running shoe. Since they are designed to be comfortable for the approach of a climb. The distinctive difference between approach shoes and trail runners are the soles. Trail runners, like our Wool Cross X Trail Shoe, feature EVA soles which are lighter and more flexible than rubber. In comparison, approach shoe soles are the same as climbing shoe soles, in the sense they have the same grippy rubber. In addition, they also have extra rubber protection over the toe area, especially important to help grasp rock surfaces.
If you are curious about what footwear you should be wearing for your next backpacking adventure, we have a guide to help you understand what makes a good walking shoe.
Who Would Benefit from this Footwear?
When it comes to outdoor footwear, there isn't a one size fits all. Depending on your needs and lifestyle you may feel more comfortable in different shoes compared to your friends. Which is why it is important to understand how a hiking boot should fit correctly, just like any other shoe you would wear for a long period of time. In the long run it could save you from a painful walk.
The intention of an approach shoe is to get you from the trailhead to your end climbing goal. Although, the features they possess include being narrower and more snug, which is beneficial for any vertical climbing, as you can grip on to the rock surface securely. That's why they are favoured mainly with climbers over hikers. This being said, just because you’re a climber does not mean you automatically need approach shoes. For short, easy walks to the crag you can opt for trail running shoes instead.
If you're still debating whether approach shoes are right for your lifestyle needs, we have made it easy and created a hiking boots vs shoes guide to determine what footwear is best for you.
Hiking Shoes vs Approach Shoes vs Trail Running Shoes
When deciding between an approach shoe, a lightweight hiking shoe, and a trail running shoe, it ultimately comes down to activity type and personal preference. We’ve put together the key difference between the two footwear choices, to make your decision easier.
Hiking shoes, like our lightweight Wool Cross X Alpine, are an option to support your feet on long distance walks with little to no climbing. They will cushion your feet throughout various terrains you may embark on. The soles are what differs hiking shoes from approach shoes, and our boots combine EVA soles with micro-grip technology. The cushioning of these soles also acts as shock absorption, meaning strain on your joints could be reduced. They also weigh in at only 860 grams, which is lighter than a litre of water! Meaning our hiking boots won’t slow your adventures down. You could be the leader of the pack, blazing your way to the summit in ease!
Trail Running Shoes
Trail running shoes vary from a traditional road running shoe, as they are designed to protect the toes and side of your feet against any rocks or rubble that may enter your path on an open trail. As well as this, the patterned indentations on the sole is what helps to provide excellent grip. What makes them a popular choice for long distance walks, in comparison to a hiking shoe, is the weight. Typically hiking shoes can be seen as heavy or bulky, whereas a trail runner like our Wool Cross X only weighs 550 grams! Just like any of our other lightweight sneakers, you can be confident knowing you will be comfortable all day thanks to the merino wool lining.
Approach shoes have greater use when you are faced with various rocky terrains. The idea behind this footwear is to provide comfort and support to long semi-technical approaches to climbs. Because of this, the soles are what differs from hiking shoes. Approach shoes have similar soles as climbing shoes, in the fact that they are made from a softer rubber. Typically, this softer rubber has a stickier texture, which is what helps you grip to rocky surfaces.
If you want to find out more about men’s hiking shoes and women’s hiking shoes, we have everything you need to know about what makes a good walking boot for your next adventure.
Indulge Your Feet in the Lightweight Experience
Approach shoes can be a great addition to many people’s backpacks, when planning their next outdoor trail. They are commonly favored by climbers due to the soles being supportive against rock surfaces. Although this isn't to say non-climbers can’t take advantage of the properties they possess.
An approach shoe, like our Wool Cross X, has many benefits which include:
- Micro-grip sole technology - These soles will help to support your footing over any terrain.
- They weigh just 550 grams - The lightness of these approach shoes means you won't be weighed down when they’re on your feet or in your backpack.
- A lining made from merino wool - Merino wool has temperature regulating properties, meaning your feet can be comfortable whatever the season.
- These shoes feature 3D KnitTechnology - Our 3D KnitTechnology is unique to Giesswein, so you won’t find it anywhere else! This means that the merino wool used has been stretched to provide both comfort and support. So you won’t compromise on stability.
- The shoes are incredibly breathable- Breathable sneakers have a merino wool lining, which allows your feet to breathe and even gives you the option to wear them without socks!
Wearing approach shoes can be a great addition to your backpacking adventure, as they are super lightweight and comfortable. You may even forget you’re wearing them!
How to Care for Trail, Hiking, & Approach Shoes
Trail, hiking, and approach shoes all need to be cared for just as much as your other equipment. If you care for your shoes properly, they could provide many more years of enjoyment on the nature trails. Here are three easy ways to prolong the lifespan of your shoes:
- Clean your shoes after each trek - After each walk clean your footwear with a damp cloth to remove any debris, mud, or dust. This could help to keep your shoes looking like new. Alternatively, if you have outdoor shoes like our Wool Cross X, you can pop them straight in the washing machine. As washing merino wool at home is super easy!
- Condition / waterproof your shoes - Out of the three shoe types, approach shoes are the least likely to be waterproof, since the factor of breathability is far more important. What you can do, to add an element of water resistance to any of your outdoor shoes, is to condition them. This could help to prevent wet feet if caught off guard in a rainstorm.
- Store shoes correctly - Before storing away your footwear, make sure they are dry and clean, as well as avoiding any direct sunlight. These small tips could help to keep your shoes in tip top condition.
Approach Every Adventure In Comfort With Giesswein
Take your next steps in comfortable Giesswein footwear. Being proud of our heritage, we are a third generation run wool company. Our goal is to reinvent the positive attributes wool has to offer, which is why we use a range of high quality wools for our products. Merino wool is a staple of ours and features in our men’s sneakers and women’s sneakers. The properties this material brings will keep your feet cosy throughout the seasons.