La Sportiva Gandalf
The Gandalf has been discontinued. The La Sportiva Gandalf was renamed and is now called the La Sportiva Ganda.
I have been looking for 10 years for shoes like this. These are NOT for long hikes on established trails. They feel like climbing shoes that you can walk around in.
I tried them on an indoor wall and they felt like stiff climbers. They did much better that all the other approach shoes, which are basically light hiking shoes w/ sticky rubber.
I hope more companies make shoes like this. I have bouldered in 5-10 Camp 4s, and they are really only good for friction or very large footholds. I think these Gandalfs will be much better on rock than all the other approach shoes.
I like to get to a bouldering area and walk around and do a little of this and a little of that and keep moving without changing shoes 5 times a day.
The main difference is in the front half of the shoe. It feels very much like a climbing shoe. And the whole shoe has a tighter fit than a hiker. Which is better for climbing more vertical than friction and worse for hiking.
These are not for long hikes. When you take long strides on flat ground, your feet will not like it.
But when you are walking around amongst boulder problems, they are great. Not quite as good as climbing shoes for dime edges and tiny toe pockets, but fine for all else.
They blow away all other approach shoes for climbing.
These are great to put on at the car and wear for a few hours as long as you are not doing any long distance hiking.
Note: You can loosen the laces to make hiking more comfortable and you can buy a bigger size for more comfortable hiking, but you will lose what makes them good climbers.
These are made to be fit tight to your feet, but not too tight.
Standing, scrambling, easy walking, climbing -> you can do it all day and never want to take them off, but lengthen your stride and pick up the pace on flat ground and you will see that they were not made for long distance hiking.