You may not know this, but Swedish outdoor brand Haglöfs are actually owned by the global sportswear giant, Asics. Asics are a brand not lacking in experience when it comes to producing footwear and are a market leader in running shoes, so I was expecting big things from the Haglöfs Rocker GT Men’s Approach Shoes.
Before I go any further I can’t stress enough, how important fit is when choosing shoes of any kind. A shoe can have an amazing design and all the technology in the world behind it, but the bottom line is that if it doesn’t fit you then you’ll think it’s rubbish! This has been the case with many different types of footwear that I have tested in the past, from rock shoes to mountain boots. They were probably all good products, but they just did not fit my foot shape.
Luckily with the Haglöfs Rocker GT Men’s Approach Shoes this was not the case and I found the fit to suit my feet perfectly.
Haglöfs say: “The versatile and lightweight Rocker GT shoe is perfect for long approaches, easy climbs or a via ferrata. Comfortable with excellent control, it is made with lightweight GORE-TEX® for complete protection.”
I have used them for walks, crag approaches, descents, scrambles, the pub and have also rock climbed up to VS 4c (both on limestone and on volcanic rock) in them.
Straight out of the box I found them to be comfortable, there was no initial clumpiness or bedding in period required and I was particularly impressed with how well cushioned they felt, probably a result of the proprietary Asics “GEL” in the rear and solyte in the midsole.
The sole tread pattern is definitely designed with a bias towards rock, and features a Wet Grip Rubber with rice husk for improved grip in wet conditions. I don’t know if I noticed any super grip properties in the wet or damp as a result of this, but I didn’t go slipping over on my ass any times either. They also feature AHAR+ ASICS® High Abrasion Resistance Rubber too and I must say that after a full summer season of use and abuse, they’re holding up pretty well. In terms of performance, I found rocky trails and scrambles to suit them best rather than wet grass or mud.
Haglöfs say that the upper is constructed from non absorbing synthetic fabrics to maintain low weight in wet conditions. These do the job well and coupled with the rubber toe rand and heel reinforcement they are proving to be a very durable shoe indeed. Whilst Haglöfs produce a non-Gore version, the Rocker GT is lined with Gore-Tex to keep your feet dry. This is also aided by a tongue gusset to prevent snow and water entry through that area. Obviously this is a low shoe so moisture can enter over the top of the ankle. The downside of the Gore Tex lining is that it does tend to be warm and sweaty in summer conditions.
The asymmetric lacing system gives a secure and precise fit which is particularly helpful for scrambling and rock climbing. Other useful features include a tab on the back of each shoe so that they can be clipped to a climbing harness and carried up the route for long descents.
All in all I love the Haglöfs Rocker GT Approach Shoes. They are comfortable, well made and above all, they fit my feet well. They are a great choice for rock climbers who want a comfy approach shoe that can handle tricky descents, as well as tackle some easy climbs too. The sole is definitely biased towards rocky ground and is not so good on mud or wet grass.
- RRP: £120
- Find out more at the Haglöfs website.
About the author:
Kevin Avery has been climbing for over 20 years. He loves all aspects of the sport from sunny cragging to Alpine north faces and bouldering to ski mountaineering. Kev has a keen interest in all things gear, he enjoyed a spell as Gear Editor at UKClimbing.com, is a trainee IFMGA Mountain Guide and highly active in the outdoors. He likes to test kit to destruction. When not climbing he enjoys running in the hills and cycling. He’s also partial to a decent pint of ale (but that’s a secret).