Hands-on Gear Review
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Street Price: $95
Pros: Really sticky sole, hikes and climbs well, light weight.
Cons: Sand and water gets in, wear out quickly.
Best Uses: Long approaches, climbs that you walk off and need to bring shoes up with you.
I have used the Exum Pros for long approaches in the Tetons, the Winds, and the Sierras and have been extremely happy with their performance. They are an amazing lightweight shoe for climbing and hiking, but they don't last much more than one season of frequent use. I find the pros of having a comfortable and light shoe that is really sticky on the bottom outweigh the cons of them wearing out quickly. I prefer the performance of these shoes over clunkier shoes like the Insight or the Camp Four and they are more versatile than other lightweight shoes like the Five Ten Daescent. If you feel like you need a shoe that offers more support, try the La Sportiva Boulder X or the Five Ten Camp Four.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The Exum Pros are a trail running/hiking shoe hybrid design, making a light and comfortable shoe that can carry you long distances and climb well.
If you plan on doing long approaches, or scrambling on easy fifth class before a climb, these shoes are fantastic. Since the shoes have sticky dots on the sole, the laces go all the way to the toes, and the toe box is slightly pointed, these shoes excel at climbing. Having an approach shoe that is comfortable to walk in as well as to climb in is a bonus.
These shoes are very light weight. I read a hiking statistic that for a woman, every extra pound on your feet is like adding five pounds on your back. Having lightweight shoes makes a huge difference, especially if you are already hiking far with a heavy pack. The Exum Pros don't feel like I have anything on my feet, which means one less cumbersome accessory to worry about. Their weight also makes them a good candidate for clipping to your harness if you are doing a long climb with a walk-off. The only shoes in this review that are better at this are the Five Ten Daescents, which don't hike very well. Bulkier shoes like the Five Ten Insight or Camp Four were heavy and cumbersome while climbing while the Exums Pros are less noticeable on the harness. I clipped the Exum Pros to my harness while climbing the East Buttess of Middle Cathedral in Yosemite and felt that they were the best shoe to have brought with me on the climb.
What makes these shoes light and breathable is the mostly mesh upper. This mesh also lets sand and water in much more easily than an all-leather shoe like the 5.10 Insights or Camp Fours. I find that after walking through a sandy, gravelly patch in the Exum Pros I always have stuff in my shoes that I have to empty out.
Another downside to the mesh upper is that it doesn't last as long as some of the other approach shoes. After one season they are usually pretty hammered. Putting some Shoe Goo on the seams helps prolong their life, but not by much. I like these shoes so much that I wish they would last longer!
These shoes are ideal for long approaches and any approach that involves some technical climbing or a climb that requires you to carry your shoes with you. I particularly like them for the long approaches involved in the Tetons and the Winds where hiking fast improves your chances of success on a route, and every approach involves some scrambly climbing. Their light weight helps with hiking fast and their mostly mesh upper cools your feet well. For approaches with a heavy pack you may prefer a shoe with more cushion and support, like the La Sportiva Boulder X. The Exum Pro has a distinctive heel that makes it easier to catch etriers with your feet, so they work for big wall climbing, even though they aren't as durable as the Five Ten Camp Four.
At $95 these shoes aren't too expensive. However, they usually only take one season of frequent use before blowing out. If you want to buy an approach shoe that will last you a while and give you the most bang for your buck, check out something a little beefier like the Five Ten Camp Four or the La Sportiva Boulder X.
La Sportiva Exum Pros - Men's
— McKenzie Long
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: June 4, 2011
Credit: La Sportiva
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