A high-performing, durable, super-grippy approach shoe that’s also at home when walking trails.
- Sticky sole
- Good midsole support
- Runs small
Black Diamond Mission LT Approach Shoes: first impressions
Among the ranks of the best approach shoes, the Black Diamond Mission LT Approach Shoes are pretty light, with a fit that feels more like a sock than a standard hiking shoe. Instead of a separate tongue, the entrance to the shoe is a single stretchy piece of padded fabric that wrapped 360° around my ankle. (See: What are approach shoes?)
The Diamond Mission is built with a single-piece knit upper reinforced for rock and scuff resistance in the toe, heel, and on the sides, and offer a surprisingly high degree of breathability for such a rugged shoe. There's also a beefy EVA midsole that protects your feet from the impact when hiking on bumpy trails. But with these shoes it’s all about the grip underneath, really, and the shoes' multi-directional tread pattern, reasonably deep lugs, and super-sticky rubber all give you plenty of confidence when traveling in any type of terrain, whether is be mud, scree, talus, or on steep rocky scrambles.
• RRP: $140 (US) / £130 (UK)
• Materials: EnduroKnit one-piece breathable knit upper; EVA midsole; BlackLabel-Mountain rubber outsole
• Weight (per shoe): 312 g / 11 oz
• Colors: Anthracite / Wisteria
• Compatibility: Trail hiking and approach walks to peaks and crags
On the trails
When I’m scrambling on rocks, whether on a technical hike to a mountain summit or en route to the base of a climb, I want a sticky sole on my shoe that I can trust not to slip. This is it. (For alternatives see: Best hiking boots and Best hiking shoes.)
Made for traction, even in wet conditions, the Mission LT Approach uses Black Diamond’s climbing shoe rubber in its sole. They form it into a tread that proved aggressive on the trail, and able to handle fourth-class scrambles (see: What is scrambling in hiking?) and fifth-class ascents thanks to the smooth climbing toe and the shoe’s protective rubber toe rand.
The durability was a welcome surprise. And the lightweight and ultra-breathable upper kept my feet from overheating when I was hiking in this shoe.
Many approach shoes skimp on the midsole. These didn’t. The Mission Approach has an energetic EVA layer that felt more like a running shoe. A nylon rock plate protected my feet from bruising, without compromising the shoes’ technical chops when it was time to scramble or tackle easy climbs. And when my feet did leave the ground, carabiner-friendly loops on the tongue and heel let me bring these along for the descent.
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