Nearly everyone here at OutdoorGearLab spends a lot of time climbing, from big wall routes to sport climbing and bouldering, and everything in between. We've burned through hundreds of pairs of approach shoes over the years, and our collective experience is a boon to you.
Our lead tester tried eight pairs of approach shoes during his summer on the Toulmne SAR site scrambling in the High Sierra, bouldering, and sport climbing in Bishop and numerous other California, Nevada, and Utah climbing adventures.
We devised an updated set of evaluation metrics that balance climbing ability with hiking ability. We independently weighed each of the size 9.5 models we tested and sought out boulder problems and climbing routes where we could compare these shoes side-by-side, edging, smearing, and crack climbing. We probably looked a little strange bouldering in Bishop and trekking up to Indian Creeks crags wearing one Five Ten shoe and one La Sportiva shoe, but that's how we test, side-by-side.