Light Hikers

[Best approach shoe]


Our take Most shoes that aim to split the difference between climbing and hiking are great for scrambling, but less so for hammering out big miles. Enter the Konseal. A 4mm OrthoLite insole sits atop a bouncy EVA midsole, creating a plush ride more comfortable than any other approach shoe we tested this season. This combo protected one tester from rocks and roots during 100 trail miles outside Chamonix, France. (Tradeoff: The extra cushioning decreases ground feel.) A TPU frame also provides more stability than a typical low-cut hiker, allowing one tester to shoulder 60 pounds of climbing gear to and from the crag.

The details The ultrasticky Vibram Megagrip outsole held tight to slick, polished limestone in France’s Verdon Gorge, but the shallow, 3mm circular lugs weren’t much help in slush on Alaska’s Hatcher Pass. The relatively stiff sole and pointy toe help the Konseal edge, and our testers had no problems torquing it into cracks and small pockets. Note: The Konseals are available in a Gore-Tex version for $200.

“The insoles are so comfy that I pulled

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Backpacker

Backpacker2 min read
2. The Greatest of All
“YOU WON’T FIND any social trails out there,” the driver says, motioning to the tundra over his shoulder as I unload my gear from the back of the bus. That’s why I’m here, I think. I just spent six hours riding into Denali National Park and I’m ready
Backpacker2 min read
Flavorful Flora
WHERE This scraggly tree can be found at lower elevations (below 7,000 feet) across the continent in canyons, hillsides, and along roadsides. Look for them near water sources such as rivers and creeks. HARVEST Fruits in late August. The tart and swee
Backpacker1 min read
Can-Do Attitude
“Some friends and I polished off a 12-pack of beer while camping near a creek in a national park. We left the empties on the bank and went to bed. Torrential rain fell during the night, causing the creek to rise. I woke up to find all of the cans had