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How We Tested Approach Shoes for Women

By Lauren DeLaunay ⋅ Senior Review Editor
Tuesday May 14, 2019

Where We Tested


Living in California, we're surrounded by all different types of climbing and all different kinds of approaches. From long slogs into the High Sierra to big wall missions in Yosemite and short hikes to our favorite Bishop bouldering areas, we used these shoes everywhere we went. We learned the ins and outs of all their features to bring you a comprehensive analysis of all eight pairs.

Testing Process


Our judgment started the minute we took each pair out of its box. We weighed them, compared our initial impressions and then started wearing them everywhere. We ran errands, rode our bikes, went hiking and pretty much refused to take them off. We noted things about their fit, compared their support levels and recorded all our findings. Then, things got serious.

We put these shoes through the wringer on El Capitan!
We put these shoes through the wringer on El Capitan!

We climbed everything we could find in these shoes, from boulders to big walls, sometimes stuffing five pairs at a time into our packs so we could get reliable side-by-side data. We approached peaks in Tuolumne with different shoes on either foot so we could notice the smallest differences in their fit. We climbed the same routes time and time again so we could figure out the tiny details of each pair that set them apart from the others.

For three months, we hiked dozens of miles and climbed thousands of feet of rock in these shoes. From the long, slabby descent off El Capitan's East Ledges to the loose talus slopes of the Eastern Sierra, we indeed took them everywhere. We kicked steps and climbed knobs in Tuolumne, spent hours in aid ladders in Yosemite, and brought them along on our favorite multi-pitch routes. We pushed their limits on technical terrain as well, edging, smearing and jamming them on multiple types and textures of rock.

Taking in the view of our Editors' Choice Award winner and California's Mount Conness
Taking in the view of our Editors' Choice Award winner and California's Mount Conness

As the fall season came to a close, we felt satisfied that we had worn out all eight pairs. We'd evaluated them individually and side-by-side, taking detailed notes along the way. We're pleased with our review and believe that you will find an incredibly comprehensive analysis of the best models on the market today.