Approach shoes are trail hikers that are also intended for diversions such as easier rock climbs and scrambling that require good traction, a secure fit, and durability. The Granite, with men's and women's versions, meets those needs with a comfortable, stable shoe built on a last that is best for people whose feet are wider at the ball of the foot.
Some useful features include speed laces that run all the way to the toes, a reinforced toe area, and sticky high-traction soles. This mostly full-leather shoe runs a little warm, and the stock laces are a tad slippery; I have to double-knot them.
- Lacing system
- Superior traction soles
- Not my favorite laces
- Doesn't vent moisture as well as most trail runners
The Granite is a low hiking shoe designed to bridge the gap toward rock climbing. If you like a firm fit, don't feel the need for lots of cushioning, and crave a durable shoe with a high-traction (and high wear) sole, it's a great shoe.
Out of the box, the pair weighed a hair over two pounds on a digital hand scale. For my size, that is pretty average for an approach shoe. The outer part of the shoe is almost all rough leather (doesn't look smooth), and as you can see, there is another layer of black leather stitched over the toe, to protect from wear if you're using them to go uphill on rocks.
The laces go almost all the way to the toe, through eyes at the bottom and speed lacing through loops of leather on the upper half, topped with one metal hook. Pretty long laces.
The sole is pretty low-profile, shallow lugs.
Finally, the midsole is moderately cushioned with very firm foam. This does not feel like a soft, cushioned shoe, but rather a shoe that gives you a good feel of the ground. The sole/midsole combinations also firm in the sense that it will flex as you move, but not nearly as easily as many trail runners.
The positive side of that is that the firmer combination better protects your feet from hard rocks.
The relatively thin insole provides limited cushioning, but that's about it.
I generally get approach shoes a half size larger than normal to limit the risk of banging my toes on steep uphill and downhills. This shoe runs a bit wide in the forefoot, so I wear them with a pretty thick pair of wool socks. with laces that go down to the toes, it's easy to get a very secure fit with these shoes.
I don't happen to like the slipperiness of the laces and have to double-knot them so they don't loosen up. That said, this is among the most comfortable approach shoes I have worn. Because they are basically an all-leather outer, they form nicely to your feet as you wear them.
It's a little too early to tell after about 125 miles in the shoes, but the leather upper, laces, and midsole should have a long life and have virtually no wear. The soles already have some visible wear under the balls of the feet, at the front edge of the toe, and along the heel. Most of the trails nearby are dominated by rocks, so shoes tend to wear relatively quickly. These have worn faster than some due to the high-traction sole.
Outstanding. I love these on slabs and steep rocks. The price you pay for outstanding traction? As noted above, these soles are going to wear more quickly than most.
In the Field
I have worn these shoes over the last 2-3 months on a series of local day hikes and occasionally walking on roads. Local hikes here mean rocky trails along the river or in the Shenandoah Mountains in Virginia, great testing grounds for a shoe like this. I have worn them with backpacks up to about 30 pounds.
On really hot days, I changed socks in the middle of the day because like virtually all leather shoes, these don't vent moisture as well as a shoe with panels of nylon. (Note, the Oboz Teewinot I recently reviewed has an all-leather outer that is perforated with tiny holes, and I was rewarded by a cooler experience on the hot days in those shoes).
I'm sure I will wear these out, because the combination of fit, comfort, traction, and durability is near-perfect for a shoe of this style.
Highly recommended. Good luck finding them, I had a hard time. It's worth the search.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $120
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Reviewers Paid: $120.00