New in for review is the adidas Terrex Scope GTX approach shoe complete with a Stealth rubber outsole for serious amounts of traction on rock. It's designed not just to grip like a hungry pit-bull on the rock itself, but also be comfortable and secure enough for walk-ins to crags and scramble routes.
Adidas Uses Stealth Rubber For The First Time
It's not the first approach shoe that adidas outdoor has produced, the original Terrex Solo was a light, stiff technical approach shoe, but without what we'd call properly sticky rubber. Fast forward a year or two and adidas now owns climbing shoe specialist Five.Ten and has access to the brand's proprietary Stealth rubber compound, arguably the stickiest sole stuff out there.
So it's not a huge surprise then that this year's adidas approach shoes, both the revamped Terrex Solo and the all-new Scope GTX feature a Stealth rubber outsole albeit with different tread patterns. Which is why we chose to review the Scope rather than the Solo.
Grippy Outsole Pattern
It has a much more pronounced lug pattern complete with a proper stepped heel and a lugged heel section for downhill grip, that appeals, not least because the last time we wore the smooth-soled Solos in the Lakes, we did a real Torville and Dean slide on a slippy grass descent.
The decent lugs on the sole unit of the Scope promise to work not just on rock, but also on the sort of messy terrain you come across in the British hills. Not that as well as the outsole, there's also a proper rock boot-style Stealth rubber toe rand for jamming into cracks plus some external heel protection too.
Initial impressions are that the sole unit is decently stiff. There is some forefoot flex longitudinally for comfortable walking, but the lateral stiffness seems promising for anyone looking to edge on small holds, plus there's no EVA up front to fold under pressure.
The rubber feels sticky too. Bear in mind it'll be a special approach shoe compound rather than full rock boot stuff, but it has a reassuring tackiness to it that promises tenacious grip on rock.
Of course you have to get there first and most UK scramble routes require a decent walk in so it's nice to find the sole incorporates an adiprene insert under the heel for cushioning. Up top. the tough-feeling fabric uppers give a decently close but comfortable fit with the upper two lace eyelets helping to keep your heel well in place - that's for the medium broad editorial foot with narrowish heel.
At around 485g per shoe - the label says 470g - the Scope isn't a bantamweight, and that's reflected with a reassuring sturdy feel on the foot. They're not quite 'clumpy' exactly, but there's a definite air of reassuring solidness to them.
Hungry Pit Bull
The real revelation though is the level of underfoot grip. If you've never used sticky rubber, you'll be astonished at much extra traction you get on either wet or dry rock. You can feel it on pavement too. Just no slip or slide. Add in the lateral stiffness for standing on small holds securely and performance on hard scrambles and easer rock climbs should be ace. The fit is snug enough to work precisely too, though not rock-boot tight - a good thing in our world.
Early days, but we reckon the adidas Scope GTX might just sit in the sweet spot between walking comfort and scrambling grip. If they work as intended you should be able to wander in to a scramble route or easy mountain multi-pitch, take advantage of the grippy rubber on the route itself and then meander off the top and back home again all without a change of footwear. Gore-Tex liner should keep your feet dry too.
On easier stuff - grade ones like, say, Crib Goch for example, they might be overkill, but then again, additional grip is always welcome. We'll be giving them a go in proper mountain terrain this spring and let you know how we get on in due course in a comparison with several other sticky approach shoes.
Price is £125 - not cheap, but the spec is impressive.
More information at www.adidas.co.uk.