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Kayland Crux Grip

rated 4 of 5 stars

The Crux Grip has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best approach shoes for 2023.

photo: Kayland Crux Grip approach shoe

The Kayland Crux Grip is an approach shoe that in my opinion is better suited to the hike in than to actual technical climbing. They are primarily leather with some nylon (tongue area). They are not lined with any kind of waterproof/breathable membrane (GTX, eVent, etc).

The fit, in my opinion is just a but generous. I'm usually a size 8.5 or size 9 (US). Most often I order size 9. I ordered size 9 for these and they are just a tiny bit bigger than I'd like - especially for technical climbing. For hiking, they're fine for me with mid-weight wool socks. Materials quality and construction seem excellent (at first impression).

A couple of very minor nitpicks: The tongue is not gusseted, so it is possible for dirt and debris to get into the shoe under the laces. The toe rand is not sticky rubber. And, the provided laces are almost as thin as dental floss, and are way longer than needed. This at least is easy enough to fix.

For me, I have found them very comfortable for trail hikes. In fact, I find the miles seem to fly by in these shoes. Carrying a standard set of climbing gear in my pack (rope, rack, lunch, water), long approaches to cliffs are a breeze in these shoes.

The sole has a nice bit of stiffness that provides nice hiking support even over longer distances. The sole is very sticky vibram rubber, and the tread pattern strikes a nice balance between flat friction areas and knobby areas to provide traction on dirt, gravel, talus, pine needles, leaves, etc. Nicely secure on steep descents as well.

They breath well and are not too hot on summer days. The shoes are not waterproof; but they're mainly leather, so I put some nikwax on them and they now shed water/snow well enough (within reason). I love these as hiking shoes.

The other thing that 'approach' shoes are supposed to provide is support for easy technical climbing. For me, I was not as happy with these as climbing shoes as I've been with other approach shoes in the past (mainly FiveTen shoes — I thought those climbed well, but were pretty cr#ppy as hiking shoes).

For these Kaylands, perhaps because the fit is a bit generous for me, or perhaps because the sole is a bit stiff, they do not inspire me with great confidence when the terrain gets more vertical. They're not horrible by any means. Just not great. The rubber sole compound is sticky enough for good smearing, but the sole is too stiff for good slab climbing. Yet, there is not really enough lateral stiffness for serious edging. And the toe is a bit too boxy for effective jamming into cracks.

So, I would definitely recommend these as great hiking shoes that can handle a bit of climbing. If you are looking for better climbing performance, you might want to look elsewhere.

Price Paid: $65

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