Backpacker

Light Hikers

[Best approach shoe]

ARC’TERYX KONSEAL FL

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

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