Scrambling about in Adidas’ new solo stealth approach shoes, £95. Grippy soles + lightweight comfort + rad red and black styling = instant favourites. Plus Shauna Coxsey‘s a fan, so you know they’re going to be pretty cool.
Approaching: I wasn’t quite sure I even needed approach shoes. I have hiking boots and I have climbing shoes, surely there was no real requirement for kicks that landed in the middle ground? But after wearing the Stealth shoes on a climbing trip last weekend, I’m sold. Perfect for scrambling over rocks and summer hikes in the mountains, their comfy, bouncy rubber soles help you get straight up to the rock face and limit the time you need to squeeze your feet into your climbing shoes (which, let’s face it, tend to be bloody painful). The Stealths start off feeling quite stiff and rigid but they soon loosen up and mold to your feet, and the sturdy, grippy Stealth® rubber outsoles protect you from sharp rock and give good traction on even wet or polished stone.
Climbing: I wore my Stealths on a foray to the Dorset coast’s eclectic collection of quarry routes (Goddamn Sexual Tyrannosaurus, anyone?) and loved them – they’re so grippy you can keep them on for easy climbs and long routes, then switch to climbing shoes for anything more technical. Finger-friendly laces and a rubbery tongue mean you can lace the shoes up tight and really dig your toes into the rock. Sizing is generous, though, so it’s worth trying on a size below your normal one to avoid them rubbing. The triangular grid soles give great traction and the snug fit gives you confidence taking on easy moves. They aren’t heavy, either – when you want swap them for your climbing shoes you can tie the Stealths onto your rucksack and forget about them. I especially like wearing them when belaying, as the ADIPRENE® under the heel gives a nice cushioned feel when you’re standing poised and ready to take a climber’s weight.
Out and about: The stealth shoes definitely deliver in the style stakes, and all my rock-mad mates have been coveting them. They’re great for city cycling, summer hikes and just lounging around in a pub garden. They’re warm and waterproof, too, so they’ll see you through winter climbs and sudden downpours. I love the Dennis the Menace-esque red and black detailing – so much outdoors kit aimed at women is automatically an insipid pink or purple, so badass red makes a nice change.
Verdict: The perfect shoe for climbing adventures – flexible, comfortable and super grippy. Their good looks and versatility make them totally worth the investment if you’re planning a summer of roped-up adventures or hiking in rocky places.
For more climbing inspiration, check out Adidas’ Stealth video – it’s guaranteed to make you want to pack up your gear and head for the hills.