For a long time I was closed to why there should be a segment of shoes besides (or between) mountain boots and sneakers. Does it really need some special shoes for every application, every eventuality?
After a few years with stiff, chunky mountain boots on the foot, it is somehow clear that many hikes are then rather in the medium difficulty. Mountain boots are actually oversized for such activities - and sneakers have too little grip and stability. Approach shoes were tested in the alpine and the Garmont Dragontail LT got the top grade "price tip". That made me curious about such shoes for all sorts of "liners" that can overtake a hiker. He was praised in the alpine for his "very good lacing, the hard sole and the stable construction"
So comes the realization that these supposed niche products "approach" or just in English "approach" shoes cover a much broader scope. The final test in climbing is then: how I could do without it for years! Lightweight, grippy, stiffer sole than sneakers or trail runners, hang comfortably on the belt or find some space in the backpack.
Made of sturdy 1.8 mm suede / polyamide with a grippy Vibram sole Q811, reinforced by a rubber cap around the toe box. The midsoles are built in three different hardnesses: medium for good cushioning, stiff for stability (on the shoe in yellow) and very red in the front for a good climbing performance. Thanks to "Heel Lock" and a lacing that reaches to the toes, it brings enough pressure on the forefoot during light climbs and fits like a glove.
... in the practical test
I carried the Garmont Dragontail LT the first two days, for running in, at work and in the city. After these first 20 kilometers, he nestles comfortably on his foot. A first tougher test, outside in the forest in the high ropes course Immenstaad, he passed with flying colors. Some of the stations there are climbing sites on the fourth difficulty level with rather unsightly and slimmed-down climbing holds. Here the Dragontail trumped properly, even pointed queuing was unproblematic thanks to the rather stiff sole. Only at the very small bars on the climbing tower, he then fails, as expected. The next challenge was the shoe in the Danube valley in the Mehrseillängenklettern - here he showed good grip and comfort in the rain on the descent. Since then he accompanies me through everyday life, easy hikes and climbing.
UPDATE 28.8.2014: Meanwhile, after more than a year of regular use, the inner lining on the right heel has worn through. However, this is the weak point in all shoes (and socks) for me or my narrow heels.