The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Arc'teryx Arakys Review

These shoes are most suited to short, mellow approaches.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $150 List | $149.95 at Amazon
Pros:  Lightweight, very packable
Cons:  Floppy, not very supportive
Manufacturer:   Arc'teryx
By Matt Bento ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Sep 5, 2019
  • Share this article:
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
72
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 12
  • Climbing Ability - 35% 7
  • Hiking Comfort - 25% 6
  • Support - 20% 7
  • Weight and Packability - 20% 9

Our Verdict

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.


Compare to Similar Products

 
This Product
Arc'teryx Arakys
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award  Best Buy Award 
Price $149.95 at Amazon$130.00 at Amazon$140.00 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
$128.38 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$120.00 at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
100
0
72
100
0
84
100
0
79
100
0
74
100
0
71
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Lightweight, very packableLightweight, comfortable, supportive, climb wellAwesome balance of hiking and climbing abilities, great supportSupportive, durable, very sticky rubberDurable, great traction in dirt and mud, excellent value, workhorse approach shoe
Cons Floppy, not very supportiveSynthetic uppers not as durable as leatherRelatively heavy and bulkyHeavyHeavy and bulky, especially when carrying on your harness or in a pack
Bottom Line These shoes are most suited to short, mellow approaches.These are the best approach shoes out there for the majority of climbers.This model combines all-around performance with the ability to handle big loads and big walls.A good all-round approach shoe, especially for folks with narrow feet.These durable shoes are well-equipped for miles of hiking and scrambling at a great price.
Rating Categories Arc'teryx Arakys La Sportiva TX2 La Sportiva TX4 Scarpa Crux La Sportiva Boulder X
Climbing Ability (35%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
9
Hiking Comfort (25%)
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
8
10
0
7
Support (20%)
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
10
Weight And Packability (20%)
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
4
10
0
3
10
0
1
Specs Arc'teryx Arakys La Sportiva TX2 La Sportiva TX4 Scarpa Crux La Sportiva...
Outsole Vibram Light Approach Vibram Mega-Grip Vibram Mega-Grip with Trail Bite heel Vibram vertical approach Vibram Idro-Grip V-Smear dot pattern
Upper Material PU coated ripstop nylon Polyester mesh Leather Leather Leather
Weight per pair (size 9.5) 19.5 oz 20.3 oz 26.2 oz 27.2 oz 32.8 oz
Width Options Regular Regular Regular Regular Regular
Mid Height Available? No No Yes No No
Lining Material Synthetic Non-slip mesh Non-slip mesh Recycled polyester Mesh
Midsole Injected EVA Mem-lex/C2 Combo Cord Traverse injection MEMlex EVA Micropore EVA
Sticky Rubber? Toe Rand? Yes, Yes Yes, Yes Yes, Yes Yes, Yes Yes, Yes

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


The easy on and off strap system kind of remind our testers of Chaco sandals..except Chaco straps work much better.
The easy on and off strap system kind of remind our testers of Chaco sandals..except Chaco straps work much better.

Climbing Ability


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.

The flop factor doesn't help these shoes edge well.
The flop factor doesn't help these shoes edge well.

Edging


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.

Smearing


"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.

Our testers found the rubber adequately sticky for easy smearing on low angle slabs.
Our testers found the rubber adequately sticky for easy smearing on low angle slabs.

Crack Climbing


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!

A low volume toe profile makes these shoes better at jamming thinner cracks.
A low volume toe profile makes these shoes better at jamming thinner cracks.

Hiking Comfort


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.

These shoes lack structure required for strong hiking performance.
These shoes lack structure required for strong hiking performance.

Support


This lightweight shoe is only supportive enough for short approaches or longer approaches when you're not carrying a heavy pack.

Weight is an important consideration if you'll be carrying your approach shoes with you on a multi-pitch climb.
Weight is an important consideration if you'll be carrying your approach shoes with you on a multi-pitch climb.

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.

A pull-tab doubles as a clip-in point for securing the shoes to your harness.
A pull-tab doubles as a clip-in point for securing the shoes to your harness.

Value


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.

Conclusion


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