What hoe am I looking for?

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    Mitchell Ebbott


    Locale: SoCal

    EDIT: Ugh. Submitted this halfway through editing the title, so I guess I'm stuck with that.

    Trails get boring sometimes, so I've been doing a lot of trips lately that involve significant amounts of rock hopping, stream wading, rock scrambling, and climbing of loose dirt slopes. My current shoes are great for the trail but have come up short for these applications—especially when it comes to traction on smooth, sometimes wet rock.

    I realize I'm basically asking for an approach shoe, but I have two concerns with most approach shoes on the market.
    1) They tend to lack in the breathability department. I want something with a mesh upper that will dry quickly.
    2) I'm unsure how well approach shoe soles will handle loose dirt. There's a lot of that on the slopes of the San Gabriel mountains, and it can be pretty dangerous.

    Any suggestions?

    Mitchell Ebbott


    Locale: SoCal

    Here are the top candidates so far. I'd love to hear from anybody who has experience with these models.

    Salewa Wildfire
    Salewa Firetail EVO
    Inov-8 Roclite 295
    La Sportiva Bushido


    Daryl and Daryl
    BPL Member


    Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth

    I recommend Lucy but Joyce is also nice.

    Lori P
    BPL Member


    Locale: Central Valley

    Well, haven't hiked in the San Gabriels. But if there are cold, deep stream crossings, plus loose slopes (scree for example), I would pack my breathable trail shoes, a pair of waterproof (and immersion proof) socks to layer over my light wool socks while crossing in my shoes, and a pair of full length gaiters that fit my foot and leg well. Because I don't like boots and I don't like wet feet (which is what Goretex has always given me), and carrying one of those sets of Neo overboots just ain't happening.

    Jeffs Eleven
    BPL Member


    Locale: NePo

    Man that is a good one!

    Too bad there's not stickies

    Tom D.
    BPL Member


    Locale: Southern California

    I've seen a few people wearing the LaSportiva Bushidos the last few days in the San Gabriels, one last night on the Ski Hut trail up Mt. Baldy. They seem to like them, I may try a pair.

    Peter Bakwin
    BPL Member


    Bushido is a great shoe & has quickly become very popular for trail running. The outsole is passably sticky, but not as good as the Ultra Raptor – that's got the stickiest rubber of any true trail runner. A little beefier than Bushido. If you want even stickier rubber while still very breathable the Xplorer is excellent – more of an approach shoe fit with a narrower toe box. For spring '15 Sportiva will have a Helios SR, where the SR is for sticky rubber. That's a more minimal kind of trail runner, 2mm drop, 8oz shoe.

    James holden
    BPL Member


    the reason approach shoes usually have durable less breathable fabrics is because they are built for 3rd/4th/easy 5th class scrambling … cracks especially destroy mesh shoes in short order

    the closest thing ive found to a "mesh" approach shoes is the old inov terroc 330 with decently sticky rubber … i hear that the roclite 295s are supposed to be more or less similar with sticky rubber

    at least i hope they are since i just ordered all the pairs in my size from here … at 33 smackaroos a pop … note these are the older version

    they also have the newer version for 36 yankee doodle dollahs here …

    i must admit that that i quickly ordered for myself before sharing the link on this thread … on the off chance that yr the same size as me


    Jeff Jeff
    BPL Member


    I've been doing approaches to alpine climbs in the PNW in Vasque Mindbenders. I am so happy with them that I only take my Scarpa approach shoes when I am doing roped climbing in approach shoes (which is a narrow niche between scrambling and normal rock climbing).

    David Thomas
    BPL Member


    Locale: North Woods. Far North.

    This reminds me of a Jeopardy episode. Famously unflappable Alex Trebek gave the answer, "A term for a long-handled gardening tool can also mean an immoral pleasure seeker" and was expecting the question, "What is a rake?" but contestant Ken buzzed in with "What is a hoe?" causing Alex to pause and wait for a ruling from the judges.

    Mitchell Ebbott


    Locale: SoCal

    Thanks all for your responses (and jokes… I had that coming), and especially for the tip on the Helios SR, that looks promising! Poking around La Sportiva's site, I also found the Anakonda, which they advertise as having the stickiest rubber of their non-climbing shoes, the lug design is very aggressive (good for loose dirt), AND it's explicitly designed to drain and dry quickly.

    I'm between the Anakonda and the Inov-8 right now, but leaning toward the Anakonda I think.

    M B
    BPL Member


    I tried bushidos and they werent what i was looking for. Very much seemed a stability and control shoe.

    Toe box is also a little low, my toes hit the top fabric and that was irrirating. Pretty much all sportivas ive tried were like this. Without an insole they had enough room. And thats half sixed up in length too due to narrowness. If i remember correctly, the heel also got a little loose when sized up.

    Monte Masterson
    BPL Member


    Locale: Southern Indiana

    Darn, I got excited when I saw the title of this thread. Thought I was going to be able to do some trolling.

    BPL Member


    Poor poor Monte.

    I prefer the La Sportiva Wildcats for hiking but ripped the mesh on them hopping and cursing my way through the talus and scree of The Enchantments.

    I bought a pair of LS Raptors for rocky hikes like that. I can't give you a long term review but so far, they appear to be a more durable option.

    If you're familiar with the Wildcats, I'll warn you that the fit of the Raptors is quite different. I much prefer the wide toe box of the Wildcats and the Raptors are snugger (highly technical term I know).

    Alex Wallace
    BPL Member


    Locale: Sierra Nevada North

    My friend wore these on a couple of our trips through the high Sierra and was really impressed with their grip. He also praised their all day comfort and declared them the best shoe he's ever used.

    For comparison, I wore a pair of the Five Ten Guide Tennies and while they too felt super sticky on slick granite, they were just a bit too "soft" in the underfoot and my feet started to fatigue by day 2. Also, the Five Ten shoes were not a good trail shoe, they're not meant to be, in that they don't breathe particularly well and take some time to dry out.

    Anyways, something to check out. I know I'm going to.

    Adidas Terrex Swift Solo shoes.

    Terrex Swift

    Link .
    BPL Member


    Nico .
    BPL Member


    Locale: Los Padres National Forest

    Maybe have a look at the Patagonia Rover shoe.

    Patagonia has discontinued their entire shoe line but this shoe is still available out there at the various web retailers (backcountry, etc.).

    It's sorta' a combination between a mesh trail runner and an approach shoe.

    Link .
    BPL Member


    Nico, click on my above posts :)

    Ken Bennett


    Locale: southeastern usa

    I used the Roclites on a longish hike this summer (Long Trail e2e). Traction is great, both wet and dry, and they are good in mud and muck. They dried quickly, and held up well. I did use them with aftermarket insoles. My wife used a pair of the women's Roclites, and ended up getting the thinnest Sole insoles for them in Manchester to solve her blisters-between-the-toes issue.

    My only concern at the end of the hike was a mild stress fracture in my left foot. I've not had that issue before, and I don't know how much was shoes and how much terrain, or maybe just getting old(er).

    Mitchell Ebbott


    Locale: SoCal

    Wow, you guys are fantastic! Now I have too many good options to pick from…

    Do you know how well the Patagonia Rover does on loose dirt and gravel? That's my only hesitation, with the short lugs in the back and smooth forefoot. But as long as they do decently on that, I think they might be the perfect shoe!

    BPL Member


    Locale: The West is (still) the Best

    Pata ended their relationship with their shoe maker

    Nico .
    BPL Member


    Locale: Los Padres National Forest

    I've had a pair of the Rovers for the last 3 months or so. I haven't had an opportunity to really push them on anything too technical, but so far they've been perfectly acceptable for me. I've mostly just worn them for some easy day hikes and mountain bike rides though. I picture them excelling on a trip that involves some rock scrambling and/or tromping down/along creeks doing a lot of boulder hopping.

    I know Patagonia was aiming for a "do it all" shoe that could be at home on a day hike or trail run just as much as for some low level rock climbing/scrambling. There's a few reviews out there that seem to have mostly positive things to say about the shoes.

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