Can the best shoes com­pare to a boot for a wide range of ter­rain... or should they stick to what they do best?

Trail (UK) - - SHOES VS BOOTS - Tester Tim Butcher

■ Ma­te­ria● Suede leather

■ So●e Vi­bram Dy­namis LBT ■ Me■’s 40-47 ■ Wome■’s n/a ■ Weight 1062g (size 47)


I can see why this is a pop­u­lar shoe with out­door in­struc­tors and climbers, as it’s de­signed for tech­ni­cal ap­proach routes to crags, such as scram­bles and rock­ier paths – and it was cer­tainly com­fort­able enough to be worn all day.

The good-look­ing up­per is suede leather, but with­out a Gore­Tex wa­ter­proof lin­ing I had to be care­ful where I stepped. The fit is neat and pre­cise, with lac­ing that ex­tends right to the toe keep­ing my foot se­cure, and there’s good cush­ion­ing un­der­foot, so my feet re­mained comfy, even dur­ing the long de­scent at the end of the day.

Even with­out huge lugs or a de­fined heel breast, grip was as­sured as we de­scended in the rain down a man-made stone pitched path. But this shoe re­ally stood out from the crowd when scram­bling, with great sole stiff­ness in the fore­foot and toe area. I’d cer­tainly choose these, rather than any boot I own, for scram­bling up rea­son­ably dif­fi­cult rock routes.


Although my feet were dry on Great Gable, for sus­tained walk­ing on wet days in the hills boots with a high an­kle cuff and a Gore-Tex lin­ing will keep feet drier and more com­fort­able for longer. And when cross­ing steep scree, I needed far more sup­port than a shoe can of­fer, and I was pleased to have the op­tion of a pair of boots to swap into at such times.

While the sole was great for scram­bling over rock, the shal­low lugs and ab­sence of a heel breast would make de­scend­ing wet grass and bog­gier paths quite dicey.

These are great shoes for what they are in­tended for, but are an ex­pen­sive lux­ury for footwear that’s not ideal on all moun­tain con­di­tions. Boots will al­ways have their place for big moun­tain days where you’ll meet a wider range of ter­rain.


Ideal for scram­bling over rock and very com­fort­able on rocky paths, but for a wider range of ter­rain other shoes and boots have real ben­e­fits.

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