Crux on rocks

Review: Scarpa Crux Approach Shoes

A highly versatile approach shoe that does just about everything you could expect an approach shoe to do…and damn well, too!

If you want an approach shoe that’s as good on the trail as it is on the rock, you might not have to look any further than the Scarpa Crux. It’s a high performer that comes in at a light weight, offers great foot support and provides superior grippiness to most of its competitors on steep and wet ground. These sturdy, high-ground hybrids feature a super-comfortable EVA midsole, recycled mesh upper, a superbly sticky Vibram outsole and an articulated toe for a handy performance boost on climbs and scrambles – just about all you could ask for, really! Ideal for the mountain-going minimalist? Read on to find out…!

Scarpa Crux Approach Shoes: The Stats

Weight:12.6 ounces per pair (size 10)
Material:Suede leather, recycled polyester, EVA, Kevlar
Closure:To-the-toe lacing
Resolable:Yes
Water-resistant:Yes

Design features of the Scarpa Crux Approach Shoes

The toes

Scarpa toe
  • To-the-toe lacing – allows you to customise the fit of your shoes to the shape of your feet and activity type
  • Rubber toe rands – protect your feet from bumps and bangs
  • Climbing zones in toe area – allow for more precise footwork on steeper ground

The soles

Sole of shoe
  • EVA midsoles – provide comfort and support
  • Vibram® Vertical Approach soles – durable, super-sticky rubber for superior grip
  • Aggressive tread – provides grip on wet and muddy ground

The materials

Scarpa crux shoes
  • Kevlar® forefoot webbing – helps the natural suede uppers retain their shape
  • Eco-friendly – made using 50% recycled polyester in the lining and mesh

Scarpa Crux Review

Heading out into the outdoors can pose a number of Catch-22 style dilemmas. What to take and what not to take? Never is this more true than when selecting your footwear. After a few months of using the Scarpa Crux, I think I can safely say I’ve found a solution to many of the woes that were once part and parcel of my pre-hike and pre-climb decision making.

In these past few months I’ve used the Crux for just about everything – hiking, walking the dog, scrambling, on trad routes, on multi-pitch bolted routes and even had them on for a few days at work! My boss wasn’t too impressed, but I am. Big time.

The take-home from this very varied degree of usage is the Crux’s versatility and all-day comfort. For me, these are the two ‘must-have’ features for any approach shoe, otherwise I just wouldn’t see the point. I’ve had the Crux on for a few 10-hour days in the hills and climbed in them for a good 5/6 hours without feeling the slightest discomfort. The fact that I could wear them on lengthy approaches and then go and tackle long trad routes without changing footwear was the bonus of all bonuses!

The soles on the Crux are another highlight. I’ve had other approach shoes which lacked a decent tread and therefore were prone to landing me on my backside on downhill stretches, mud, or wet ground. The Crux dug in well in all of the above situations and even kept me upright on a very steep, 2-hour descent through leafy forest, mud, grassy slopes and scree. They also gripped well on wet rock – something I really didn’t expect but was delighted to discover all the same. Most approach shoes are notorious for their lack of grip after even just a light sprinkling of rain, so Scarpa have definitely made something of a breakthrough with the materials use in the soles of the Crux.

Scarpa Crux

For hiking, the EVA midsoles, light weight and thorough cushioning make the Crux every bit as comfortable as a pair of trainers or running shoes. For climbing, the articulated toe area, substantial toe rand and superbly sticky soles were exactly what I’d always hoped for in an approach shoe, offering a perfect mix of the best features of a hiking boot and those of a nimble climbing shoe.

With regard to water-resistance, the Crux haven’t let me down. They’ve dealt with the odd splash through shallow streams and puddles no problem and kept my feet dry in a few moderate showers. I’m aware they’re water resistant as opposed to waterproof, but you really can’t expect any more from a shoe that ends just below the ankle.

To come back to that all-important aspect of versatility, I’ve now put the Crux through the wringer in a wide variety of terrain types and in various weather conditions. My feet have remained happy throughout and I’ve found, I believe, a tried and trusted partner for many a happy adventure to come.

Climbing in Crux shoes

What I love the most about the Scarpa Crux

As mentioned above, summer hiking and mountaineering can always pose a few problematic ponderables gear-wise. In the past I’ve tried various approach shoes but never been overly endeared. The compromises were always too great to make up for the potential benefits. The shoes I’ve owned have always been too heavy, not robust enough, too slippery, too clumsy or didn’t offer enough support. With the Crux, I think I’ve found pretty much the ideal hybrid of hiking boot and climbing shoe that will be perfectly suited for a lot of the stuff I get up to – hiking below the snow level, hiking in hot temperatures, scrambling, lengthy trad climbing routes and, well, just walking the dog!

The best thing about the Crux for me is that they allow me to leave my climbing shoes at home on long trad or multi-pitch routes. Often, when facing a day of up to fifteen pitches, I look ahead with very little relish, knowing that about half-way up the climb my feet will be smarting and I’ll probably have to doff the shoes at every belay point just to give my toes and heels a breather. I’ve now used the Crux on almost a dozen routes of over 10 pitches and haven’t once felt uncomfortable.

Climbing

On the approaches, too, they did something I couldn’t claim of my previous pairs of approach shoes…they kept me up and off my backside! Yep, the tread on the Crux is very similar to that on standard hiking boots and grips very well on muddy, wet ground, and even on wet rock, too. The number of slips I’d taken with certain other approach shoes had put me off ever buying a new pair, but the Crux have given me renewed faith. The best thing about this, of course, is that I don’t have to carry a second pair of shoes when taking on a climb or hill with a lengthy approach before hitting the steep stuff.

Another smaller feature that endeared me to the Crux are the laces. In many pairs of hiking boots I’ve owned the laces have been a touch slippery and have tended to come undone while I’m on the move, but those on the Crux humored my laziness and stayed tied throughout the day.

What I don’t love so much about the Scarpa Crux

All in all they’re very lovable. To mention any flaw I’d really have to squeeze it out of myself. The penny-pincher in me might be slightly tempted to lament the price, but compared to similarly priced approach shoes I’ve used the Crux offer far better value for money. You get, after all, what you pay for!


Verdict

The Crux are very practical, comfortable and versatile approach shoes. They’re a fraction pricier than a lot of other models out there but offer so much more in return. I’d particularly recommend them to anyone who mixes up their hiking with a bit of scrambling or who does a fair amount of lower level multi-pitch or trad climbing. For others who are simply looking for a light, comfortable hiking shoe to spare themselves the weight, bulk and heat of hiking boots, they’ll take care of that for you, too!

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Disclaimer: Cool of the Wild received this product free in return for an honest review. We only recommend gear that we love from companies we trust and we are under no obligation to give a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are that of the reviewer and we are in no way influenced by the brand or company.

About Kieran

author-kieran

Kieran is a nuttily-passionate climber, mountaineer, trekker, trail-runner, and all-round lover of wild places. He has spent most of his life doing cool things in the Himalaya, Rockies, Dolomites and the Italian Alps, where he now lives and spends his time stomping trails, clambering up crags, ticking-off peaks and, occasionally, sleeping (with reluctance!).

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