Chris Townsend is impressed by these waterproof approach shoes by Canadian brand Arc’teryx
Mountaineering and ski boots with removable inners have been standard for many years now but these are the first shoes I’ve seen with this design.
The liners are Gore-Tex booties that could be used on their own for hut or camp wear as they have tough soles. They don’t have laces. Arc’teryx says that the tiny gap between outer and inner allows for air exchange and moisture dispersion, which makes the shoes more comfortable. The shoes come with low liners that are the same height as the outers.
There are also optional mid-height and insulated mid-height liners that you can swap in. The uppers are unusual as there are no seams, the materials being thermolaminated. This gives a smooth outer with no stitching to abrade on rocks.
There’s no real tongue, just a small piece of stretch fabric across the forefoot. The shoes are stiff side-to-side and quite stiff toe-to heel. The sole is low profile and the outsole has a ‘smearing grip insert’ for rock climbing. Arc’teryx describes them as ‘technical alpine approach footwear’ and I can see they’d be good for steep rocky terrain.
These shoes have a unique design and the idea of separate interchangeable liners is appealing. Arc’teryx says the liners ‘conform to any foot shape’. They obviously haven’t seen my feet! On me they are too tight and I can only walk a short distance in them before my feet are really sore.
The outers on their own are fine but of course only suitable for warm, dry conditions. I like the idea of removable waterproof liners as they make footwear far more versatile (I’d like to see a thin non waterproof liner too).
These are intriguing shoes and I’m looking forward to seeing where Arc’teryx take the design. They are expensive but then they are unique.