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Arc'teryx Konseal FL 2 - Women's Review

A low-profile shoe designed with climbing ability over comfort in mind
Arc'teryx Konseal FL 2 - Women's
Photo: Arc'teryx
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Price:  $145 List | Check Price at REI
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Pros:  Lightweight yet durable, great climbing ability
Cons:  Low profile, stiff midsole
Manufacturer:   Arc'teryx
By Jane Jackson ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 26, 2021
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64
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 10
  • Climbing Ability - 35% 8
  • Hiking Comfort - 25% 3
  • Support - 20% 7
  • Weight & Packability - 20% 7

Our Verdict

The Arc'teryx Konseal FL 2 is a super stiff, narrow approach shoe that excels at scrambling and talus hopping. We were impressed with the sole and narrow shape of the shoe when it came to scrambling and traveling over rocky terrain, and this pair doesn't weigh us down when clipped to a harness. Yet in general, these shoes were a bit too stiff for long-term comfort on the trail. After a few initial test days, we grew reluctant to wear these shoes on anything longer than a short approach due to their stiffness. It should also be noted that our lead tester has fairly wide feet, and experienced pain in the forefoot after wearing these shoes for long periods. Narrower feet might be more comfortable, but the stiff sole is unavoidable. They do, however, perform well on rock and we were impressed with their edging ability, durability, and sticky soles.

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$130.00 at Backcountry
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Pros Lightweight yet durable, great climbing abilityLightweight, great climbing ability, comfortableDurable, stiff, great climbing abilitySupportive, comfortable, durableComfortable, supportive, inexpensive
Cons Low profile, stiff midsoleNot as durable as someLacks cushion, expensiveHeavier, moderate climbing abilityHeavy, poor climbing performance
Bottom Line A low-profile shoe designed with climbing ability over comfort in mindThis is an all-around awesome shoe with excellent climbing performance and a comfortable, lightweight designThese shoes are confidence-inspiring, durable, and designed for alpine scrambles and other rugged missionsIf you're heading into the alpine or big walls, this durable and supportive model is well-suited for your endeavorsAn awesome budget option that covers the needs of most climbers, especially equipped for hiking comfort and long-term durability
Rating Categories Konseal FL 2 La Sportiva TX2 - W... TX Guide La Sportiva TX4 - W... Boulder X
Climbing Ability (35%)
8.0
8.0
9.0
7.0
4.0
Hiking Comfort (25%)
3.0
7.0
6.0
7.0
9.0
Support (20%)
7.0
6.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
Weight & Packability (20%)
7.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
4.0
Specs Konseal FL 2 La Sportiva TX2 - W... TX Guide La Sportiva TX4 - W... Boulder X
Weight per Pair (in oz) 19.6 oz 16.8 oz 21.5 oz 21.0 oz 28.6 oz
Sole Rubber Vibram Megagrip Vibram MegaGrip Vibram Mega-Grip Vibram MegaGrip Vibram Idro-Grip V-Smear
Width Options Regular Regular Regular Regular Regular
Upper 60% nylon, 40% polyethylene mesh Polyester mesh Synthetic Leather Suede
Midsole TPU chassis Traverse Lite dual-density compressed EVA, TPU Torsion Shank Traverse Injection MIMIlex 2mm polypropylene, 2mm LaSpEVA

Our Analysis and Test Results

A stiff midsole makes these shoes great for scrambling, crack climbing, and precision foot moves in talus, but unfortunately makes for a board-like feel on trails and long approaches.

Performance Comparison


Frictioning it out in the Konseal FL 2 - these shoes have impressive...
Frictioning it out in the Konseal FL 2 - these shoes have impressive climbing abilities.
Photo: Alexa Flower

'climbing-ability'>

Climbing Ability


These shoes excel in the climbing department. Their stiff midsole, Vibram MegaGrip rubber outsole, and lateral stability make for a great climbing platform. The lacing system is designed such that it can be snugged up all the way from the toes to the ankle — much like a climbing shoe. The ability to fine-tune the fit makes these shoes a great option for scrambling. The tapered toe box makes for a precision climbing machine. Additionally, the stiffness of the midsole and the durable, nylon and mesh uppers make the Konseal FL 2 feel solid in easy cracks.

We used the boulders of Camp 4 in Yosemite to put these shoes to the...
We used the boulders of Camp 4 in Yosemite to put these shoes to the test. We were impressed with their ability to stand on minuscule edges with ease due to their stiff midsole.
Photo: Alexa Flower

Hiking Comfort


The qualities that make the Konseal FL 2 a great shoe for scrambling and climbing are the same qualities that make these shoes less-than-ideal for hiking. We found the stiff platform and flat midsole to lack the support needed for all-day hiking comfort. The low ankle height also came into play in this metric and didn't provide enough lateral support to feel solid hiking on variable terrain. Additionally, the stiffness mentioned above also meant that the forefoot lacked flexibility and felt like a board against the bottom of the foot. The combination of the low-profile ankle and the stiffness of the midsole give these shoes a unique fit that seems to cater more toward scrambling than to long days on the trail.

Pounding out miles on flat ground can start to feel pretty arduous...
Pounding out miles on flat ground can start to feel pretty arduous in these shoes. They are definitely not designed with comfort in mind.
Photo: Alexa Flower

Support


The TPU chassis plus the 4mm Ortholite footbed give the Konseal FL 2 a solid base for heavy loads. The stiffness underfoot on the Konseal makes them a great option for scrambling, heavy loads, and even standing in ladders on a wall. That said, all this stiffness and support makes them fall short in terms of comfort since the design lacks padding or cushion.

Short, talus-filled approaches like those found in Yosemite are...
Short, talus-filled approaches like those found in Yosemite are great for the Konseal FL 2. Longer missions may require a shoe with more support underfoot and a higher ankle.
Photo: Alexa Flower

Weight and Packability


With a measured weight of 1.22 pounds or 19.6 ounces (size US Women's 7), the Konseal FL 2 is among the lighter shoes in this review. Their narrow profile makes them sleek and packable — easy to clip to a harness. Because these shoes are such great climbers and lack the cushion for long hikes, they work great as an on-route shoe. They will nail tricky down climbs and descents and aren't too heavy when clipped to a harness.

Lightweight and sleek, these shoes are a no-brainer to clip onto a...
Lightweight and sleek, these shoes are a no-brainer to clip onto a harness.
Photo: Alexa Flower

Value


These unique and techy shoes, like most products from Arc'teryx, are not exactly a steal. The Konseal FL 2 are fairly expensive, but are also well made and thoughtfully designed—which is to be expected of most Arc'teryx products. The uppers, though not leather, are impressively abrasion resistant and the rubber toe cap adds protection and an extra layer of durability to the front of the shoe. Their durability adds to their value, as they seem like they may last longer than some of the flimsier models we've tested.

Psyched on the friction provided by the FL 2. These shoes climb very...
Psyched on the friction provided by the FL 2. These shoes climb very well, but become pretty uncomfortable on long approaches due to their stiff sole.
Photo: Alexa Flower

Conclusion


The Arc'teryx Konseal FL 2 are durable and well designed, with a stiff midsole and a toe box designed for precision. The abrasion-resistant nylon upper and wrap-around rubber rand stabilized and protected our feet in rocky terrain while the sticky rubber soles and overall stiffness made for a solid climbing shoe. We were not as impressed with the all-day hiking comfort of these shoes and wouldn't recommend them for long approaches. They don't provide much room for the feet to swell and don't fit a wide foot very well. In the end, the Konseal FL 2 felt like a great option for specific situations but lacked the all-around performance of some of the other shoes in this review.

Jane Jackson