Arc’teryx provided me with the Konseal LT approach shoes to test and review. My thoughts and opinions expressed here are unbiased and sincere based on my experience with the product.
The Arcteryx Konseal Approach Shoe Review for versatility, fit, and comfort.
So when Arc’teryx sent me these pair of Konseal LT approach shoes to try out, naturally I jumped at the chance. I’ve been eyeing them for a while now and my upcoming climb at Joshua Tree National Park is the perfect place to see how the performance.
My Arc’teryx Konseal review covers my experience with these approach shoes. and how they did over several months of use.
Konseal LT- Arcteryx approach shoes
The Arc’teryx Konseal LT is a durable approach shoe, designed for technical terrain, carrying light to medium weight gear, and short-distance climbs.
What makes the Konseal LT approach shoes unique, is they’re a nice balance between the feel of a climbing shoe combined with the durability of a hiking shoe. Certain specific feature elements like the collapsible heels and Vibram sole sets them apart from most other approach shoes.
The Konseal LT uses engineered materials you would expect from Arc’teryx and is an overall comfortable approach shoe with superior performance for those quick climbs, bouldering terrain, or everyday use.
If you are not familiar with the differences between an approach shoe or a hiking shoe, let’s break it down. Let’s get started!
Approach Shoes vs Hiking Shoes
Hiking shoes and approach shoes are built for very different tasks. While they may look similar and have some overlap in features, the differences in their technical features make them ideal for different types of hikes.
Both shoes are lightweight options to hiking boots, which you would wear when carrying substantially heavier loads over rugged terrain across many miles. However, hiking shoes and approach shoes are great for those wearing daypacks while crossing rocks, dirt trails, and other technical terrains.
Hiking shoes are familiar to most hikers and made to be comfortable and supportive on long hikes or walks. They are a cross between trail runners and a hiking boot. What makes them different is their stiff midsole (the part between your foot liner and the outsole) provides support for your feet when you’re carrying a backpacking backpack loaded with gear or walking over miles of a section hike trail.
They also have a breathable upper material so that sweat can easily evaporate to keep your feet dry and prevent blisters. Hiking shoes are normally constructed with a tough outsole and laces that tighten for a secure fit.
Additionally, they will be waterproof, which is helpful when you’re walking through wet or muddy terrain. The bottom of these shoes have deeper lugs, which create traction on dirt surfaces. Indeed, these are best suited to flat trails where you don’t need much of an edge on the ground.
Approach shoes are made for shorter treks that require more technical climbing moves. If you plan to hike less than two miles, you could use approach shoes as your main footwear. For example, rock climbers are usually on trails that have more “technical” paths, which include steep, rocky, and dangerous surfaces.
Approach shoes really deliver performance in this department. Often used barefoot, approach shoes provide a high level of grip with a snug fit to gripping cracks when climbing.
Also, approach shoe construction has extra support and grip for when the trail gets steep and slippery. They have stiffer sole and less aggressive tread pattern than hiking shoes, so they’re ideal for scrambling over rocks or up steep grades.
That said, I look at these like a cross between climbing and hiking shoes to help me climb rocks or other difficult terrains. To illustrate, the grooves in the rubber soles aren’t deep, providing more surface areas so you can get good traction, even on the steepest surfaces. Their outsoles are stiffer than those of hiking shoes. which also helps with traction when you’re scrambling up rocky climbs.
Where Should You Wear the the Konseal LT
These are meant to be worn on rock surfaces or smooth surfaces because the shoe tread pattern is more flat, similar to race car wheels. There is a lot of surfaces for its grippy sole to attach onto rocks.
What’s more, you can wear these while you are belaying someone above you because you won’t slip or slide in the shoes. The Arc’teryx Konseal LT is also perfect for walking up to the staging area for rock climbing and setting up anchors at the top when you are top roping.
If you want to only carry one extra pair of shoes for climbing or walking around the campsite, then these fit the bill. Especially with rock climbing shoes. You don’t want to wear them in the dirt because it roughens up and decreases the stickiness of the sole, which ruins the shoe.
I want to point out that since you want to feel the surfaces, cracks, crevices, nooks, and crannies of the rock, you will want to wear these approach shoes barefoot.
You can wear them around town as well, I’ve worn them on errands to the grocery stores and work.
Design and Technical Features
Notably, one feature that makes the Konseal LT stand out among the other shoes in the market is how light and nimble, yet sturdy it felt. Most approach shoes are either durable and rigid, or light weight and flexible, but never both.
Since you use your toes to grip into cracks, I liked that the rubber sticky part of the toe area comes up from the bottom and covers the top of the toe box. Without a doubt, you can use all parts of the toe box to grip the surface or grooves. It’s design incorporates a 3D molded rubber toe cap with raised perimeter sidewalls to create a protective toe box.
Konseal LT has an abrasion and rip-resistant polyester mesh upper, which is robust while allowing air permeabilityTongue with gussets reduces dirt and gravel from collecting inside your shoe. It’s lacing system allows you to tighten or loosen the laces in order to create an adaptive fit to your foot.
Made from highly durable, EVA foam midsole to enhance stability. Chassis hugs and provides foot protection
Outsole and grip
The flattened tread allows for more contact with the surface, whether it’s a boulder or concrete. I love that this shoe is barefoot friendly. Arc’teryx specially developed the Konseal LT outsole using a Vibram® MegaGrip™ rubber compound with a lug texture pattern. Translation: these shoes can be worn climbing or hiking.
Lacing System and Tongue Design
One of the reasons why these shoes can be worn without socks is due to the integrated lacing system that has plenty of lace holes so you can create a custom snug and comfortable fit. These have a great fit with or without socks.
The Konseal LT also has a gusseted tongue works to keep debris and dirt out of the shoe. In addition, it’s tongue features a webbing loop so I was able to straighten or pull up the tongue easily.
Testing on Trails
I tested these shoes while rock climbing in Joshua Tree National Park and while bouldering near Big Bear Lake. After about 2 weeks of use, these shoes softened up really well and were very comfortable to wear. I wore them without socks while climbing at JT and with socks while bouldering around the lake.
The approach shoe fit me like a foot glove each time with both barefoot comfort or with socks. Furthermore, the upper materials held up well and didn’t show any wear or tear. I expected this much from all the clothing, packs, and footwear from Arc’teryx, known for their high-quality and durable gear.
While I don’t own or have tested the Arakys approach shoe, I’d imagine the Konseal LT is comparable in terms of weight, fit, and breathable upper.
In between climbs, I wore these shoes as a belay slipper and for short walks around camp. The rubber top cap and higher sidewalls created a nice toe box that offered protection for my toes during those occasional accidental kicking of rocks.
A feature I really like is the collapsible heel, which allowed me to squish it down and pack it in my daypack without using much space.
The uppers and lacing system hugged my feet without losing any of the flexibility I needed for my multi-pitch climb. Overall, my feet also felt stable in the approach shoes when I walked on slippery rock faces or through puddles.
These are lightweight shoes, weighing just about 10 ounces (approximately 270 grams), and felt very light on my feet or hanging from my daypack.
Even though it has all the extra features that add to the weight, making it heavier than a climbing shoe, I still consider this an ultralight shoe. This is due to the Konseal LT’s still weighing less than other approach shoes in this category.
I was impressed with how comfortable the Konseal LT was, even after wearing them all day long. It’s TPU midfoot chassis supported and gave reliable arch support to my feet. The footbed is soft and cushiony. It’s that kind of good feeling you get from a favorite pair of shoes you’ve spent months molding to your feet.
Since Arc’teryx used breathable, air permeable materials in the uppers, so you can wear them in the warmest summer conditions. The poly-mesh upper material increases air permeability and kept my feet cool and dry. My feet didn’t stink even though I wore them all day with and without socks.
Overall, I found these approach shoes to be very comfortable, despite the rigid soles. The Konseal LT outsole design did not disappoint me. As mentioned earlier, its performance while scrambling and on crags was excellent.
These shoes are one of the most comfortable approach shoes I have tried, possibly due to the arch support and how light they were. These shoes are both sock and barefoot-friendly.
Arc’teryx managed to maximize comfort without sacrificing performance with these shoes. This comfort was evident when I wore these shoes instead of my normal climbing shoes while ascending a multi-pitch climb.
What surprised me was the little to no break in time needed for these approach shoes. These were comfortable right out of the box from the first time I wore the Konseal LT shoes. Since I have high arches, I thought it would take longer to break in, but it was a nice surprise when it didn’t need that time.
After about 2 weeks, these approach shoes softened a bit and felt more comfortable than initially.
How do the shoes fit?
Sizing-wise, these shoes fit perfectly and are true to size. In general, I sized these shoes based on my running shoe size, which is size 11. The Konseal LT fit nicely because of how the laces ran all the way up and positioned, allowing the shoe to hug the foot. It had the fit of a climbing shoe but the comfort of a hiking shoe.
I have a medium-width foot, so for me. The fit was perfect. This may be due to Arc’teryx adaptive fit technology, which allowed this shoe to form to every part of my foot. However, I can’t imagine it would be comfy for someone with a wider foot.
Wet and Dry Surfaces
Its pretty grippy sole was perfect for walking around in shallow puddles. it isn’t waterproof at all. Dry surfaces are ideal.
Traction and Grip on different surfaces
The sticky rubber Vibram® Megagrip™ material is amazing! The outsole tread pattern is a durable and grippy lug-design, that creates excellent flat surface friction at the forefoot while allowing ease of stride on flat terrain.
To illustrate, the outsole’s pattern looks like discs scattered on the outsole, starting from almost flat at the toe to taller discs toward the arch/heel border. All of these features add to the approach shoe’s ability to have a superior grip on the different rocks in the two areas where I tested these shoes.
I liked that my feet felt secure when the Konseal LT sole gripped on quick routes and also allowed for efficient movement across the various surfaces.
These shoes are minimally water resistant due to the air permeable, polyester mesh upper material. However, the Konseal LT approach shoe has high sidewalls combined together with a laminated upper that helps seal out light splashes from small puddles around the lake. That said, I wouldn’t recommend wearing these approach shoes in the rain or snow.
After a month of putting these shoes to the test across different terrains and surfaces, these approach shoes have held up really well with little to no signs of wear. When the Arc’teryx Konseal LT got dirty, I used a little water and a soft cloth to surface clean the shoes, which made them almost look new.
In addition, the synthetic uppers didn’t have any lifting, separation, or tears after wearing these over the past few months, both on city streets and on climbs.
To conclude, I would give these shoes a 4.5 out of 5, with a 1/2 point deduction because the Konseal LT was not waterproof. Compared to other approach shoes, the price is about right, given how durable and high quality of the materials used.
Even after several months of wearing these approach shoes, they held up well and look barely used.
Final thoughts: An approach shoe for everyday adventures
The Arcteryx Konseal LT is a unique pair of approach shoes with enough versatile features that it was the only pair I brought on my climbs. To list the top features that make this shoe stand out to me, are the midsole which can support a high arch. Additionally, it has sticky Vibram soles grip to add traction and the heels fold down for packing or wearing as a belay slipper.
So I would definitely spend the extra money on these if they weren’t given to me. You are basically getting two shoes in one. You can substitute these as climbing shoes if you left your pair at home. That said, I wouldn’t wear these to walk miles in. They’re best for walking less than 2 miles to your climbing spot.
To sum it up, this Arcteryx Konseal LT is an excellent, lightweight shoe that will be your go-to for scrambling, quick routes, climbing, and puddling around the campsite, or just everyday wear. If you’re after an all-around lightweight shoe for an alpine environment, then the Konseal LT approach shoes should be a part of your climbing gear. It is also excellent as a camp and belay slipper.
I’m really satisfied with the Konseal LT and would recommend it to anyone looking for an approach shoe.
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About the Author
Joey Dang is the Director of the Family Nurse Practitioner Program at Western University of Health Sciences. He also works as a Family Nurse Practitioner at Central Medical Group.
Joey’s love for the outdoors was introduced to him when he was a Boy Scout. When he isn’t busy working, his favorite way to spend his free time are various ways to make great espresso drinks, photography and out backpacking, camping, climbing, and hiking.