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Scarpa Crux approach shoes review: versatile, comfortable, and popular for a reason

Lightweight, ultra-versatile approach shoes that cope well with dirt, gravel and water

Scarpa Crux approach shoe
(Image: © Scarpa)

Our Verdict

Ultimately, the Scarpa Crux does what it promises to do – it is versatile, comfortable and well built, making it a justifiably popular approach shoe that performs remarkably well.

For

  • Comfortable
  • Easy to put on
  • Vibram Megagrip sole

Against

  • Can let moisture in particularly in submerged wet conditions
  • Hard to clean mud off
  • Quite warm in hot weather

First impressions

Nimbly walking the line between high performance and extreme comfort, the Scarpa Crux approach shoe offers stability, protection, grip and a snug fit in roughly equal measure, although the scales are tipped slightly in favor of grip. The combination of two rubber materials in the outer sole adds muscle to the grip, and it’s worth noting this shoe uses the Vibram Megagrip outsole, the stickiest of all the Vibram rubber compounds, which makes them perfect for technical scrambling (What is scrambling in hiking?).

The folks at Scarpa have made sure to design the Crux to cope with a range of uneven terrain. ACTIV impact technology at a construction level ensures the materials are able to absorb the negative impact of groundshock to avoid placing greater stress on the lower limbs, whilst a full rubber rand around the toe provides durability, protection against scuffs, and confidence to trust the shoe to perform in scenarios which require precise footwork. For more on these features, check out Approach shoes vs hiking shoes.

Lastly, Scarpa’s technologies include eco considerations in their processes and materials, and the brand specifically choses materials and intermediaries that have been deemed environmentally friendly.

Specifications

RRP: $130 (US) / £120 (UK)
Weight (per shoe, women’s size 38): 370g/13.05oz
Materials: stretch textile lining; Vibram Vertical Megragrip sole; 1.8mm water-resistant suede upper
Colors: Men’s: shark / tonic; Women's Shark/Blue radiance
Compatibility: Technical approaches, scrambling, hiking

On the trails

For the climbers and outdoor users who aren't fussed about having shoes that boast  all the bells and whistles, the Scarpa Crux is the classic approach shoe (What are approach shoes?) - and one that lives up to its reputation for comfort and performance.

Breathability

The Crux have a design that meets the demands of more technical users, and their full mesh tongue gives increased breathability and comfort in hot weather. During the heatwave that kicked in when I was testing these shoes, my feet did feel a little bit warmer than if I was wearing a sneaker, but not uncomfortably so. It's also worth noting that the suede upper that's responsible for the added warmth is also the part of the shoe that's largely responsible for its famed robustness and durability, which will be a worthy trade-off for many would-be buyers. 

Size and Fit

The Crux is a foot-friendly, almost slipper-like approach shoe, although it is best suited for those with a slightly wider footbed. Scarpa recommend that buyers go down half a size.

A traditional suede upper gives a tailored and comfortable fit around the foot, while the toe lacing allows for a more precise fit that means less unnecessary foot movement of the sort that typically causes hot spots (see: How to prevent blisters).

Durability

The Crux is genuinely durable and will withstand lots of knocks and scuffs without seeming to wear through, so you can be confident of getting many miles out this approach shoe.

Waterproofing

These shoes are meant to keep most moisture out, but in really wet conditions, when my feet became submerged (after the heatwave we had two weeks of downpours while I was out testing these shoes), they left me feeling a little bit more vulnerable than I would have liked. The Crux kept the worst of the weather out – but very wet ground such as bog and wetland proved a challenge, and some water gradually got in, particularly around the top of the shoe, below the cuff. 

Performance

The latest version of the Crux benefits from having a Vibram Megagrip outsole, the stickiest of all the Vibram rubber compounds, and perfect for technical scrambling. Megagrip outsoles are a popular choice for outdoor types who don’t want the worry about slipping in wet, muddy conditions – meaning users can move with confidence, whether it’s on a mountain approach or a quick session to the local crag of an evening. The "climbing zone" in the toe also adds dexterity, making them a "shoo-in" (excuse us...) for low-grade multi-pitch climbs, scrambling, and hiking in more technical terrain.  

Scarpa Crux outsole

The Scarpa Crux outsole's "climbing zone" is ideal for scrambling (Image credit: Scarpa)

Look

If it was in a beauty contest, the Crux wouldn’t be the obvious contender to win. This approach shoe comes in a dark grey colour with a light blue shoelace – not the shiniest brightest shoe out there, but designed knowing dirt and mud and a full wet bog submersion won’t massively tarnish the overall look.