Black Diamond Technician Approach Shoes | Review - Outdoors Magic

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Black Diamond Technician Approach Shoes | Review

A approach shoe that’s more focussed towards climbing than hiking

Why We Chose The Black Diamond Technician: Innovative construction, useful details, technical performance

Once an out-and-out climbing hardware brand, Black Diamond have gradually been expanding their repertoire. The first big move was into apparel, and we’d say it’s been a mightily successful one. Last year, they edged into footwear with the launch of a fairly broad climbing shoe collection. Now, for 2020, the focus is on approach shoes.

There are three new launches altogether: the fairly casual Session Approach, which is basically a sneaker; the slightly more technical Mission LT Approach; and then this this, the Technician Approach.

Who Is The Black Diamond Technician Approach For?

This is a fairly serious approach shoe, one that leans heavily towards climbing. It’s the kind of shoe that you’d want for those approaches that are short but serious; where you need something very precise for edging but also need underfoot protection for any scrambling along with a bit of cushioning underfoot for the sections where you’re walking on rocky trails.

Materials And Construction

At 340g per shoe the Technician Approach is very lightweight for its category. That’s largely due to its thin upper which is made from what Black Diamond call EnduraKnit. This isn’t to say it’s flimsy up top though. You could still expect it to shrug off any rough rock, and you’ve also got that solid toe bumper and PU rand to help with longevity as well. What’s particularly impressive about the toe bumper is that it’s shaped to give a clear line of sight for precise foot placement. It also tucks underneath the EVA in the midsole to add a bit of extra stiffness.

“This is right at the lighter, more flexible end of approach shoes, where the line between walking shoe and climbing shoe really starts to get blurred.”

Speaking of precision, the lacing goes a good way towards the toes and pulls in evenly enough to give the potential for a closer fit right down the foot while rubber wings on each flank lock the foot right in to prevent sliding.

The upper features Black Diamond's tough EnduraKnit. Photo: Mike Brindley
The lacing, as you'd expect from an approach shoe, goes right down to the toes. Photo: Mike Brindley
The outsole uses a rubber compound that's similar to the one Black Diamond use on their climbing shoes. Photo: Mike Brindley

As for the sole unit, Black Diamond seem to have put some good thought into this as well. The EVA in the midsole, for instance, is quite thin at the forefoot to give more feel, then it’s nice and thick at the heel, giving a good amount of cushioning, particularly while descending.

There’s a huge climbing zone on the outsole, a reasonable lug depth for enough grip on slippy tracks and a rubber compound that’s very similar to the one used on the brand’s climbing shoes.


If you like your approach shoes to feel solid and stiff, as tends to be the normal style, you might want to look elsewhere. To the Scarpa Mescalitos, perhaps, or to La Sportiva’s TX4.

The toe has excellent precision. Photo: Mike Brindley

This is right at the lighter, more flexible end of approach shoes, where the line between walking shoe and climbing shoe really starts to get blurred. With that in mind, it might be worth considering going half a size up here. This really does give a precise fit, one that gives preference to technical capability over long distance comfort. In other words, it’s not one of those approach shoes to wear to the pub. If you’re looking for something like that though, the other shoe in their new line, the Mission LT should fit the bill we think.

Black Diamond Technician

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