Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Maybe the highest performing approach shoe on rock
Cons: Expensive, not great for longer hikes
Best Uses: Guides and climbing addicts who want a comfy shoe to climb technical rock routes that are well below their ability.
Manufacturer: La Sportiva
This is one of the best approach shoes out there. It is a favorite among guides, who can climb just about any moderate rock route in them. We even hear of people climbing 5.12 in these. That said, they are SUPER expensive. They are over double the price of the Five Ten Guide Tennie or the La Sportiva Boulder X. Are they twice as durable? Maybe. Twice as good? No. They are awesome, but will be hard for most people to justify the price when the Guide Tennie performs as well as most people need for an approach shoe and the Boulder X is not far behind. If you have deep pockets, get the Ganda. If you are on a budget, get the Guide Tennie for better climbing.
View our complete Climbing Approach Shoe Review to see how this compared to others.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
What is not to like about this shoe? The performance is unbeatable whether on cracks, edging or smearing. Think of it as climbing as well as a sloppy regular climbing shoe. We can't think of a climbing approach shoe that does better when it comes to climbing your hardest in approach shoes. Everything about the shoe is high quality. The toe rand is extra generous and wraps all the way into that critical area on the outside of your foot where many other approach shoes blow out. The sticky dot rubber tread extends the entire length of the shoe for great smearing.
The only thing to mention other than the expensive price tag is that these are not ideal for longer hikes when sized tightly. The whole point of spending $215 on this shoe is it climbs so well, but that is only if you size it a little on the small side. If we were High Sierra climbing, we would lean much more toward a shoe like the Evolv Escapist or Five Ten Savant or one of the La Sportiva Exum Pro. In fact, we have noticed that even some top La Sportiva athletes rarely wear the Ganda and instead lean toward the Exum Pro, which is much better for hiking and approaches. All that said, if you size the Ganda loosely, which we don't really recommend, then it would perform above average on long hikes.
As awesome as the Ganda is, it is still half way between being a really good climbing shoe and being a really good trail shoe. That would not be a big deal if it cost $100. But at $215, it's harder to justify the price when you could almost get a pair of the awesome La Sportiva Muira and Exum Pro for the same price. In fact, in a search we just did with the Outdoor Gear Price Finder, we found the two on sale for a combined price of $200. The Ganda is rarely on sale for less than the $215 sticker price.
All that said, the Ganda scored above average for durability and is one of the few approach shoes you can resole without losing a lot of performance. So they may offer the best long term value if climb in them a ton and get them resoled.
These are ideal for guides or people that climb a lot of technical rock climbs well within their ability.
There is a high top version of this Ganda called the Ganda Guide. It comes with more support and a more aggressive sole for hiking (it only has dot rubber under the front of the foot and the back has a regular hiking boot pattern). It is $20 more, which puts it at $235.
— Chris McNamara
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: November 26, 2012
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