Mountain Project Logo

Best running shoe to climb in


Original Post
J. Manning · · Seattle, WA · Joined Sep 2011 · Points: 240

Let's say you wanted to run to your remote, easy rock climb - 10 or more miles roundtrip, climbing up to low/mid 5th class - I can't imagine any shoe does this well, but what are some contenders?  I've been looking at running and trail running shoes that potentially climb ok, and approach shoes you can maybe run in.  

that guy named seb · · Britland · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 205

Something by la sportiva, it may be worth looking at arc'teryx's new offering i think it's called the norvan or something.

t.farrell · · New York, NY · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 60

LS Helios SR

Maybe some adidas stuff with stealth rubber

Long Ranger · · Boulder, Colorado · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 75

Probably the LS TX2 or TX3. Lots of people run the Flatirons here in LS Mutants. You could also just get a fav. pair of trail runners resoled in dot rubber. Smearing is fine, edging is iffy, fat foot jams are OK. Be prepared to be on point with technique. 


James T · · Livermore · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 80

I don't run much anymore, but when I did I liked a fair bit of space in my toe box. I hike in trail runners (mostly LS) and while the rubber can be nice there's not much climbing use to a floppy toe.

My personal approach would be run with climbing shoes in a lightweight pack and switch for anything more than 4th class. However, I'm not a strong climber, but those who are seem to be able to climb harder than me in vans so whatev

Brian Abram · · Celo, NC · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 495

The Scarpa Iguana fits a little wider in the toe box than a Sportiva TX2, and if you tighten the laces down, I think just about any climber could comfortably climb 5.4 in them.

andrew.reed · · Manitou Springs, CO · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 25

La sportiva vertical K's if you can find them. Check Amazon. 

Jason Halladay · · Los Alamos, NM · Joined Oct 2005 · Points: 11,056
James T wrote:

My personal approach would be run with climbing shoes in a lightweight pack and switch for anything more than 4th class. However, I'm not a strong climber, but those who are seem to be able to climb harder than me in vans so whatev

I tend to lean towards this. Shoes that climb well generally aren't great for longer distances of running and shoes that run well aren't great for low-fifth class climbing. If I go for a single shoe, I sacrifice climbing feel for trail comfort every time. I've had too many long outings in approach shoes that beat the crap out of my toes on the long approach/return running segments. 

Alexander K · · The road · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 130

After doing stuff like this a bit too much here are some thoughts. I Thru-hiked the PCT with a lot of climbing side trips from the trail so I walked (and occasionally ran) ~1200 miles in approach shoes. I tried a few things and settled on Salewa Wildfires sized the same as a pair of trail runners. 

The key is to pick something with sufficient toe room for the waking/running, that still has the rubber/stiffness of a approach shoe. You simply can't turn a pair of trail runners into a climbing shoe. When you want to climb just cinch down the toe box as much as you can and make do. Toe bang always ends badly, and since you will always be running for longer than you are climbing you can only suffer so much.

highaltitudeflatulentexpulsion · · Colorado · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 35

I used to do quite a bit of this. I was very happy in my favorite trail runners and a pair of climbing slippers in my hand or small bag. The extra hassle is more than worth it in comfort on the climb.

NWNINJA · · Nederland, CO · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 80

Helios SR runs and climbs really well. Great for running/soloing the flatirons. 

Long Ranger · · Boulder, Colorado · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 75

I'm not a huge fan of Helios SR myself for climbing in. It's a great, light, minimalist trailrunner, but the upper will tear a little eaiser than a lot of the other shoes in LS's line, and the bottom has a really thin outsole, with windows where the midsole is shown. Running them in rocky terrain (like the trails surrounding the Flatirons) can be downright painful, when a sharp rock hits one of those windows. The Helios also have no rock plate, exasperating the problem.

 I've raced a 50k in them, and that I would def. do again.

John Vanek · · Gardnerville, NV · Joined May 2013 · Points: 0

For the past decade I've been running in The North Face Ultra GTX trail shoe. I've also scrambled low fifth class, like 5.4 and under. Awesome runner, sturdy construction and lots of rubber around the toe. But if climbing anything harder (or a longer route) I carry rock shoes.

Austin Baird · · SLC, Utah · Joined Apr 2009 · Points: 95

La Sportiva Mutant - hands down. Great for anything up to 60 miles, climbs up to 5.8 like a champ. Comfortable.

Eric Klammer · · Boulder, CO · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 2,075

Another vote for the LS Mutant. They have seen long techy ridges, lots of scree fields, Flatirons on Flatirons and many trail miles. The uppers still look nearly new but the tread is about gone and they are pretty pounded out. I've had then for 8 months or so now and I'm about to order some new ones for this next summer. 

Great trail runners that allow for secure climbing as long as you're not doing a lot of edging!

I should also add that they have a flat sole so it would be possible to resole then with dot rubber if you really wanted to. Not sure exactly how well they would run after that but it's something to consider. 

WadeM · · Golden, Co · Joined Apr 2010 · Points: 290

La Sportiva definitely has the market cornered here. The mutant/akasha is my alpine approach shoe for 90% of my adventures. Both climb slabs just great. Jamming is alittle tougher as the soft sides of the shoes get torn up.

I've been testing the Arc'teryx Norvan for the past 6 months and have had great results.  They use better rubber than Sportiva and are a bit beefier in the fabrics. Climbed up to 5.8 Eldo in them.

Austin Baird · · SLC, Utah · Joined Apr 2009 · Points: 95
WadeM wrote:

La Sportiva definitely has the market cornered here. The mutant/akasha is my alpine approach shoe for 90% of my adventures. Both climb slabs just great. Jamming is alittle tougher as the soft sides of the shoes get torn up.

I've been testing the Arc'teryx Norvan for the past 6 months and have had great results.  They use better rubber than Sportiva and are a bit beefier in the fabrics. Climbed up to 5.8 Eldo in them.

How do the Norvans run? Comfortable runners or more of an approach shoe?

WadeM · · Golden, Co · Joined Apr 2010 · Points: 290
Austin Baird wrote:

How do the Norvans run? Comfortable runners or more of an approach shoe?

They run great! Definitely more of a running shoe than an approach. Longest run so far has been about 12 miles. They have a high price point compared to the other shoes.

Dhane Knakkergaard · · Intervale, NH · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 115
andrew.reed wrote:

La sportiva vertical K's if you can find them. Check Amazon. 

My all time favorite trail runner. Why did they stop making em?

Logan Schiff · · Brooklyn, NY · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 60

Helpful info here that I will use one day when trying to break the car to car record on various classics throughout North America.

J. Manning · · Seattle, WA · Joined Sep 2011 · Points: 240

Very helpful info, narrowing down some new ideas, wasn't really familiar with Sportiva's offerings.  I'm not trying to break any records, we just have some seriously long approaches in the Cascades and Olympics.  

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Post a Reply

Log In to Reply