New sticky approach shoe from Mammut promises decent all-round performance with a bit of urban outdoorism thrown in.
The reality of approach shoes like Mammut's new Redburn Pro is that - rather like urban 4x4s - relatively few of them are used for gnarly off-roading or the scrambling / via ferrata trips that they're designed, or sometimes just styled for. But it's nice to know that they can walk the walk if needed.
Powered By Raichle
And to be fair, that's something that Mammut should know all about. Their footwear line is, ahem, powered by 'Raichle Footwear Technology', which means years of expertise producing alpine-friendly footwear. It's not surprising then that the shoe has a heap of climbing styling going on with a suede and fabric upper, rubber rockboot-style toe rand and and lacing pattern that reaches way down to the toes.
There's more underfoot as well with a 'blocked out' toe area logoed 'Climbing Zone', just like the Vibram Mulaz sole. Except that this is Mammut's own-brand Gripex™ Cougapproach outsole. Apparently this also has 'claws and rib-shaped profiles inspired by mountain lions'. In any case, it looks like a nice balance between all-round grippiness and potential rock-friendly slickness up front.
Sticky Rubber Sole
That 'climbing zone' is a different colour to the rest of the sole unit, but doesn't seem to be any more sticky - in fact the whole sole unit feels reassuringly gummy thanks to the use of sticky rubber for added grip. It's also got a decent amount of lateral stiffness for helping you to stand on ledgy holds.
Also underfoot, the mid-sole is a simple Poro EVA wedge affair, light and cushioned, while up top, BaseFit Technology connects two of the mid-foot lace loops with the sole unit for improved hold. There's also something called a Flex Tongue, which along with a decent amount of internal padding means that while the fit is quite precise and technical, it's still a comfortable shoe to wear..
There's no waterproof membrane either, which along with not using a Vibram sole has kept the price to a reasonable £100 and means they should also stay tolerable cool when it's hot and sticky.
Overall the Redburn Pro feels like a good compromise between walkability and the mix of a precise fit and the sticky rubber you need to work better on rock than standard issue walking shoes.
Our experience is that generally the better an approach shoe works on rock, the more compromised it tends to be for walking comfort, with stiff, sparsely padded soles and uppers and a close fit making for a less than pleasant walk-in.
First impressions are the Mammut has got the balance just about right. The snug but comfortable fit and sticky rubber sole with decent lateral stiffness should work well for scrambles, via ferrata and easy multi-pitch rock routes, but there's still adequate underfoot cushioning and a bit of a rocker to the sole unit making for a natural walking motion so you can get to the bottom of the crag in comfort.
And of course, they should work equally well as an all-round outdoor trainer if that's your bag, though we'll be keeping an eye on the wear rate of that sticky rubber sole.
The Mammut Redburn Pro is priced at £100 in the UK with more information at www.mammut.ch.