The North Route has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best approach shoes for 2020.
Reviewers Paid: $99.00
These are the stiffest footbed approach shoes I have ever encountered-a positive. Uppers are the classiest and most durable I have known. I wore them into the ground.
Over time the fabric will fray on the edges where it's stitched to leather in the flex zones. The look is fuzzy, but there was ZERO structural failure for the life of the shoe. The all-metal lace eyelets are a bit sharp-edged and will chafe laces.
To me it's a fair trade for cheesy fabric eyelets. I sliced one of those in two, with a misplaced trekking pole on a different pair...
Service life ended after nearly three years when the impressively hard rubber compound Scarpa by Skywalk soles' lugs finally wore down to nearly smooth. Critically, the midsole had become deformed from high mileage. I'd still use them but for this issue.
These were tough, comfortable, and stylish shoes. I wouldn't recommend them for carrying a full pack, but for everything else they were first-class. The uppers are still just fine.
I use 3/4 length Birkenstock insole/orthotics for metatarsil support, beneath the original footbed liner. My feet are low-volume. Scarpa products tend to fit me well. These shoes were replaced with Scarpa Heliums.
Materials: leather; gore-tex; cordura
Use: day hikes; work
Break-in Period: not really
Weight: 36 ounces/pair; size 46
Price Paid: $99