The Arc'teryx Arakys is one of the strangest shoes we've ever slipped our swollen, trail weathered dogs into. While the Arakys (shout out to the nerds at Arc'teryx for what we think is a Dune reference) offers up some unique features on an exceptionally lightweight approach shoe, it didn't score well in our metrics. Our testers aren't a fan of their climbing ability or their lack of hiking support, and the strap system doesn't work very well.
Arc'teryx Arakys Review
Cons: Floppy, not very supportive
Our Analysis and Test Results
This shoe doesn't climb as well as the stiffer shoes or the more sensitive ones. Somehow, the Arakys manages to feel floppy and clunky at the same time. Though it climbs much better than your average hiking shoes, relative to other approach shoes, its performance is lacking.
A stiff platform helps when standing on edges, and the Arakys is a soft, lightweight shoe. Our testers feel like they need to fully engage their toes to keep from oozing off even large edges.
"Never fear, trust the smear" was the late great Dean Potter's adage when soloing slabs. Our testers found it much easier to trust the smear in other shoes that offer more sensitive for easy slab climbing. Basically, if you're third classing the slabs above Lurking Fear while topping out in the dark, many other shoes are a better choice than the Arakys.
The low profile of the toe box on the Arakys actually makes for pretty decent crack performance (for an approach shoe). So…it's good for warming up on hand cracks at Indian Creek. Wow! You must be a great climber if you're hiking 5.10 in your approach shoes!
The Arakys has a "one-handed" closure system, eschewing laces for a strap system reminiscent of a Chaco sandal. We found that the buckle didn't hold the strap tight, and our tester with high volume feet thinks there isn't enough "slack in the system" to properly cinch the shoe tight. Additionally, having high volume feet makes the shoes hard to get on and off quickly, since the elastic sock liner is pretty tight. On the plus side, the back of the shoe folds down easily, allowing you to slip the shoe on like a clog while you putter around the crag.
This lightweight shoe is only supportive enough for short approaches or longer approaches when you're not carrying a heavy pack.
Weight & Packability
This pair of shoes weighs a scant 19.5 oz, and they stuff down nicely into the bottom of a pack. They are also fairly low profile and unobtrusive when attached to your harness. These shoes have a clip-in loop on each heel that are also essential for yarding on when you're trying to get your foot in the shoe.
This shoe comes with a steeper price than better-performing approach shoes. Additionally, laps on Royal Arches, Cathedral Peak, Solar Slab, or any other wonderful solo/scrambles with crack climbing are likely to wear through the synthetic uppers rather quickly.
The Arc'teryx Arakys is a swing and a miss with our testers. Its main virtue is its low weight and packability for clipping to a harness.
— Matt Bento