Best shoes for Kloofing

Hi Guys, need a bit of help here…
What have you found to be the best shoes for kloofing, in other words BEST GRIP?
I have tried aqua shoes, rocky sandals, outdoor-type trail running shoes, my normal vibram soled hiking boot - all very slippery when wet.
Dont mind it being wet, no ancle support and so on, just the grip
People in the know-how: what is best?

HI Mel
A few articles and forums I’ve read agree that approach shoes with a climbing-rubber compound sole is the best option. One should ideally look for a shoe with a synthetic upper to manage water damage and quick drying time.
The legendary FiveTen Tennies with their super grippy Stealth rubber would have been my recommendation, but I do not think one can find them in SA anymore (might have to import). Check our other manufacturers that make both rockclimbing and approach shoes and see if you can find an approach shoe that uses a climbing rubber compound (Evolv, La Sportiva, Boreal etc.)
Hope this helps!

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Have a look at these (pricey but I’m a big fan of Black Diamond - premium gear)

https://blackdiamondequipment.co.za/product/mission-lt-ws-approach-shoes/

Thanks Willem, I was wondering about approach shoes…
Will give them some decent thought and some research​:wink::blush:

Hi mel.

Crocs.

I know this might sound crazy at first but hear me out.

Many people think crocs are slippery and bad on wet surfaces but they forget that crocs were initially made to be water shoes!

There is a general rule: the softer the sole of a shue, the better the grip. If you look into trail running shoes you will see that some soles are made soft specifically for this reason. If the sole is softer it is able to bend and sink into crevices that a hard sole isn’t able to.

The only downside to the soft sole is that it wears away easier. This, however, isn’t really a problem for crocs. This is because the surface of the sole gets rougher as it wears down since it is kind of like a sponge that has thousands of little holes and edges that increases the friction between the rock.

Best option would be to wear wetsuit socks with the crocs. It ensures a snug fit and keeps your feet warm.

All this is me speaking from experience. I hiked up the drakensberg in crocs and I have done a few other several-day hiking tours in crocs. (with a 20+kg bag on my back). I also climbed a few mountains including victoria peak, matroosberg, helderberg dome and a traverse from stellenbosch mountain over to haalkop. If you don’t worry about ankle support then crocs is the best option.

No need for fancy approach shoes.

Edit: fixed typos

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Wow… this sounds interesting! Something I would never have even thought of.
But it sort of makes sense. I use to have croc-like flip-flops that I took on backpacking trips to wear at camp, mostly for weight but also because they were durable on rocky surfaces, dries quick and so on.
Definitely gonna try this, thanks!

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@Spaniel
I’m curious about this Croc story, so just two questions:
Do you find they squash flat with a heavy pack? (many trail shoes cannot cope, obviously not built for it…)

And, do your feet not slide sideways inside the Croc when cruising along a contour without flat path for example?

Third bonus question, do you have wide feet, or narrow elegant Italian feet?

cheers, c.

@Carl

  1. Squash flat? Please Elaborate. If you are asking if they deform permanently to have a thinner sole, then no. They keep their shape after excessive pressure has been applied to the sole.

  2. Nope. I always wear socks with the crocs to prevent chafing and to limit sweat from causing my feet to slide around inside. I think socks on the rubber sole might have more grip than socks on the insole of a regular shoe/boot :thinking:

  3. My feet are on the wider side.

Thanks Spaniel.

When I carry a heavy pack (say 20kg+) my trail runners literally flatten under my feet, I can feel more stones, pressure points etc. Also, they feel as if their grip and structure deforms to the point of not feeling trusty anymore…when clambering over rocky sections I almost get the sense they’re on the verge of shredding off. They have not so that’s a relief.
I just recalled you saying you carried a heavy pack in the Berg and were happy as a lark.

Cool.

@Carl Re: Squash flat.

I like to describe crocs as having a lot of cushioning but little support (In terms of rigidity of the sole). I prefer having that flexibility in the sole but it sounds like you might feel more comfortable with a more rigid sole.

I like to look at it like this:
When you have a rigid sole and you step on a rock the sole on the rock forms something like a seesaw (Basically like a rigid plank on a fulcrum). This then causes you to have to use your ankle to stabilise yourself. It also might cause your shoe to tilt to the side causing your foot slide into the sides of your shoes which causes pressure and heat causing blisters to form. I also feel like it affects your balance negatively.

Crocs have a softer sole which bends around rocks when you step on them. This stops your foot from tilting and sliding into the sides. Instead, it stays planted in the centre of the shoe. I guess a downside of this could be if you are constantly walking on uneven terrain then your foot would become overworked. I usually only started to notice this at the end of day 3 with a heavy bag on my back. My feet usually recover with a nights’ rest.

@Spaniel A comprehensive explanation, cheers.
I pretty much have my feet firmly planted in the trail runner camp, thus far, and not for ideological but rather practical reasons. On our recent trip to The Wolkberg I simply ended up walking through the umpteen rivers with my Salomons…there’s a point where you just give up taking em on 'n off…at that point I recalled your ‘Croc comments’.

I love these stories, in your case you use other people’s “camp shoes” for the main course, I read recently a dude did the whole PCT in Hush Puppies. About 3yrs ago I forgot my trail runners at home and ended up hiking about 40-50kms (all day hikes) in my Sperry Canvass Top Siders, amazing grip those shoes.

Thanks for the input.