The best approach shoe we tested for hiking to and from climbs is the Five Ten Camp Four. Whether on trail or scrambling over rough terrain, this shoe delivers. It's supportive if you are carrying heavy loads, but remains comfortable when you're not. However, most climbers who seek a better balance between hiking performance and climbing ability on more technical rock will be better served by one of our award winners.
Five Ten Camp Four Review
Cons: Limited climbing ability, a little bulky when put in a backpack
Manufacturer: Five Ten
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Five Ten Camp Four is one of the most comfortable and supportive approach shoes for hiking on either smooth or rough terrain. That said, we found its climbing ability quite limited on technical rock.
The Camp Four earned one of the lowest climbing ability scores; it smears and edges OK, but wasn't in the top half of performers in either sub-category.Edging
While the new Camp Four's sole has a section designed for edging, our lead tester found it only worked well on relatively large holds. This product has one of the roomiest forefoots and widest toe boxes we tested, so folks with wider feet may find better edging performance.Smearing
The Stealth S1 rubber on this shoe is formulated for hiking performance, but is fairly sticky on rock. What limits the smearing performance is the relatively small contact area with the rock under the forefoot.
If your foot fits in the crack, these provide good support for crack climbing. While the toe is more low profile than some others, it is also the widest.
While this is one of the least breathable products we tested, we found it downright cushy for trail hiking and scrambling, with or without a heavy pack. The Stealth S1 sole has big, oval lugs that provide great traction in both dirt and mud. The gusseted tongue also keeps trail debris from getting to your sock. Five eyelets (the lower four are tunnels sewn into the leather upper) provide a minimal but effective lacing system. Like the Guide Tennie, this is a relatively high volume shoe. Our lead tester with skinny feet achieved a good hiking fit, but the lacing system was at the limit of its tightening.
The second most supportive of the shoes we tested, the Camp Four is a great choice for carrying heavy loads and standing in aiders. It is just a little stiffer than the La Sportiva Boulder X and Scarpa Zen. This product has more forefoot rocker, or upward bend, than other models we tested. For a stiff shoe, this helps create a comfortable stride.
Weight & Packability
The Camp Four is the lightest model we tested that received a high score for support. Our size 12 test model weighed in at 2 pounds and 2 ounces for the pair, quite light considering the full leather upper and extended toe rand. While the sole is bulky, the upper material is quite flexible; these shoes smush down smaller than similarly supportive models for stowing in your pack.
One of the notable improvements with the redesigned Camp Four is increased durability. The upper is now constructed with fewer seams in the leather, and the new plastic heel cage protects the rear of the shoe. This said, overall durability still falls in the middle of the pack. Of the shoes that hike very well, we find the Salewa Mountain Trainer and Scarpa Zen are more durable.
This is a great shoe for getting to and from the crags on a variety of terrain, and is surprisingly light considering the support it delivers. Due to good muddy traction and water resistance, this is a good choice for East Coast climbers, or anyone that encounters mud, puddles, and small streams on the approach.
For lots of folks, this is the best choice for multi-day big wall ascents in Yosemite. The upper is durable, you'll be comfy standing in aiders all day, and there's great support and stickiness for humping your haul bags over to the East Ledges or the North Dome Gully.
This shoe is reasonably priced at $150. We thought the previous generation a little pricey considering its durability, but the new version addresses those issues.
If you want an approach shoe designed primarily for comfortable hiking and foot support, but that still smears well, the Camp Four is a good choice.
— Brandon Lampley