New Haglöfs Scrambly Approach Shoe...
... and the fine balance between performance and comfort.
There's one new bit of kit I haven't included in our Haglöfs spring 2013 preview and that's the new Rock Icon scrambling and approach shoe, which is due in the shops early next year.
It's a neat-looking little fella available in Gore-Tex and non Gore-Tex versions complete with de rigeur rockboot style rand and 'down to the toe' lacing.
Just like, in fact, the existing Roc Legend. And it sports a sticky Vibrtam sole unit with blocked out edging areas, just like the Roc Legend and suede leather uppers, just like, you know...
Too Focussed For It's Own Good
So why produce another shoe? Well, actually, the Roc Legend turns out to have been a bit too single-minded for its own good.
A combination of partly an uncompromising, climbing style fit and mostly a sole unit that's devoid of any significant cushioning to improve contact with the rock and reduce rolling on edges also means it's quite uncomfortable to wear for longer than an hour or two. Or to walk any distance in...
... which means, that while it would be ideal for, say climbing a hard-ish scrambling route like Snowdon's Clogwyn y Person Arete, you'd probably want another approach shoe for the walk-in and walk-out. Which kind of defeats the purpose of the whole exercise.
And on top of that, it also means that the Roc Legend isn't much cop for general 'look at me, I'm a gnarly climber type' loafing around town stuff.
The Styling And The Sticky
Cue the Rock Icon, which has the styling and the sticky, but adds actual EVA cushioning under the forefoot with a PU wedge at the rear rather than the rock solid chunk of 'something a bit like concrete' used for the Legend's mid-sole. It still has the extended lacing and assymetric fit of the Legend, but should be a whole lot more comfortable.
Of course that also means it'll be a little less composed on the rock, but let's be honest, at least you might actually be wearing it when you reach the route and, realistically, you might also be able to wear it comfortably during the other 99.9 per-cent of your time when you're not on a high-grade scramble or Via Ferrata, like on the North Face of the stoned fruit aisle.
And if you really are a gnarly climbing hardnut, the Roc Legend is still in the range.
Out spring 2013, the Roc Icon GT with Gore-Tex is going to sell for £130 and without the GT, £110. Both the Icon and the Legend are available both in men's and women's versions.