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Approach Shoes

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More about Approach Shoes

Approach shoes at Sport Conrad

Cap and sunglasses on, rope bag packed and ready for the wall? The best climbing spots are often found on rough terrain, narrow paths or unpaved trails. On unpaved terrain, injuries can easily occur due to slipping or twisting, so you should always choose shoes that have the right grip. To ensure that you always get to the via ferrata safely and can fully concentrate on climbing, we offer you a wide selection of high-quality approach shoes.

What are approach shoes?

Approach shoes are designed to facilitate the approch to the climbin crag or via ferrata. Unlike a climbing wall in a hall, a via ferrata or rock can usually not be reached via a flat and level surface. On the contrary, the path to the via ferrata is often rocky, uneven and quickly becomes dangerous without the right grip. Therefore, approach shoes should not be missing in any equipment.

Approach shoes have several advantages over other climbing shoes, as they are optimally equipped for their area of use. These shoes are a kind of hybrid of climbing shoes and hiking boots. However, the shoes can be used not only for the approach, but also for via ferrata and for climbing on the rock, if this is not yet so technically demanding that securing by rope is necessary.

What makes approach shoes so special?

The approach shoe have various characteristics that distinguish them from other climbing shoes, so that they are optimally designed for the approach and make the way over meadows and scree to the climbing crag pleasant.


Approach shoes have to withstand a lot and should accordingly be made so that they remain robust and maintain stability under all circumstances. For this purpose, they are made of special material mixtures that are flexible and yet resistant. Therefore, mainly synthetic fabric, but also leather are used. At the toe area and the heel of the shoe are also often rubber caps, which should protect the shoe from strong abrasion on scree. Furthermore, the low shoes are often very light due to the materials used and can be hung on the climbing harness after the approach by a loop, which is located on the heel of the shoe. Due to the lightness, they are also suitable to be stowed in the backpack next to hiking boots or climbing shoes.

On top of that, approach shoes are often equipped with a membrane under the top layer that is waterproof yet breathable. This ensures that no water gets into the shoe, but water vapor generated by perspiration is transported away and released to the outside. Thus, the approach shoes remain dry, even with heavy sweating.


It is very important that your approach shoes provide you with optimal support during all outdoor adventures on the mountain and rock. To ensure this support, the approach shoes have a lacing (also called a climbing lacing), which reaches all the way to the front to the toe area. This long lacing allows you to adjust the low shoes perfectly to your foot, and it offers you the best possible stability and support - even when it gets rough.

Heel construction

In some shoes, it is the case that special heel constructions have been developed to further optimize the support of the shoes. For example, you can find it in the Salewa Wildfire Edge and the Salewa Wildfire Edge GTX shoes. Here, the lacing of the shoe is connected to the heel by steel cable, which means that when the lacing of the approach shoe is tightened in the toe area, the heel is also fixed. 


The sole of your approach shoes are especially important, because how good the grip of your shoe depends on the sole. Your shoes should maintain stability on any surface, so many approach shoes have a high natural rubber content in their soles. This ensures the shoes grip on any surface, from woods and meadows to rocks. The sole structure of approach shoes is often relatively flat, so that the sole does not get caught so quickly in the rocks. Which sole thickness you prefer, whether you want to take advantage of a slight cushioning in the front area of the low shoes, or whether you prefer a high flex (flexibility of the approach shoes), depends on your individual preferences.

Climbing Zone

Many approach shoes have a so-called Climbing Zone at the toe of the shoe. This describes a treadless section of the shoe that is suitable for approach climbing, via ferrata climbing or even simple rock climbing. The Climbing Zone without profile offers better grip on uneven surfaces and thus prevents the shoe from catching on rocks on the approach, via ferrata or rock and thus offers you the best possible grip, both when walking and climbing. However, it should be noted that the Climbing Zone, as the name suggest, is mainly intended to simplify climbing and via ferrata in itself.

For whom are approach shoes suitable?

Approach shoes are true all-rounders. They can be used by hikers as well as via ferrata walkers, because the shoes are adaptable and therefore flexible. Their use is particularly suitable for use on rocky and uneven ground, because the shoes offer stability and support. Approach shoes, however, are suitable primarily for the approach to the via ferrata or rock, so you should keep in mind that the shoes, despite all the advantages, do not replace high-quality hiking boots or climbing shoes for professional via ferrata or hiking.

What should you look for when buying?

Which shoes are right for you, you should decide individually. When looking for the right approach shoe, it is therefore important to pay attention to several things.

The right size: your approach shoe should fit neither too tight nor too loose. To make your approach as comfortable as possible, you should choose shoes that fit your feet perfectly.

Sole: Whether hard or soft sole, or a sole with a lot of flex - this question you should ask yourself while buying your approach shoes. According to your individual preferences, you should try out what kind of sole feels best for you.

Fabric: The question of the right fabric should not be ignored. Depending on when and where you use your approach shoe, you should consider whether you need a waterproof shoe. Therefore, when searching, consider whether your shoe should rather be made of synthetic fabric or leather and also whether your shoe needs a waterproof membrane or not.

No matter what brand, size or type of approach shoe you choose, a comfortable wearing experience should come first in such a movement-intense sport as climbing and the associated climb.

An optimal approach with every use of approach shoes by Sport Conrad

You are looking for high-quality approach shoes for optimal grip on any terrain? Then Sport Conrad is the right place for you. Search and find your ideal approach shoes in our online store and choose freely in terms of brand, size and model. From Salewa, Salomon and Dynafit to Adidas Terrex and Dolomite, we offer you the right approach shoes for your climbing gear, so you can maintain grip and stability on your next climb.

Here you can read more about climbing:

Packing List for a Via Ferrata Adventure
Climbing Essentials: All you need to know
Ortovox Trad 25 climbing backpack product review

Safe on the mountain and in the climbing hall: Everything you need to know about ropes

Get vertical: Climbing shoe guide

Effective training for climbers with Blackroll

The most popular types of climbing at a glance