Looking for a pair of versatile approach shoes? Or trying to find all-round tough adventure travel footwear? Read this review of Haglofs Vertigo II as they may be what you are looking for.
The Haglofs Vertigo II are top of the range ‘approach shoes’ from the well regarded Swedish manufacturer. Tough and adaptable they impress right out of the box. We’ve tested them over a range of terrain to see just how useful they really are.
What are approach shoes?
Approach shoes are a very useful mix of climbing and trekking shoe. You’d never try to walk far in a pair of climbing shoes, or try to climb a crag in hiking boots. But by combining a little of each you get a shoe that’s comfortable enough to ‘approach’ a climb, or do some scrambling and hiking.
The approach shoe niche is widening, and it’s no surprise. What you have is a highly adaptable design that’s finding favour not just on the approach to a climb, but also on the high street and as all-round tough adventure travel footwear.
When deciding on which pair might be best for you, you’ll be accepting a compromise at both ends. Still, shop smartly and you’ll find versatile approach shoes that are suited for much more than approaching a climb – and useful for more than just a climber.
Review of Haglofs Vertigo II: First impressions
Out of the box you’ll notice the build quality of the Haglofs Vertigo II is excellent. You’ll also be surprised at the weight. Clocking in at 950 grams they are not the lightest on the market, but the trade-off is the build quality and features: you’re getting full Gore Tex lining, tough nubuck leather and reinforced toe and heel sections.
And they are the easiest shoes to put on and take off. Clever design allows the tongues to fall open almost immediately. Unlike many shoes that lace right to the nose, you don’t need to free them right down to get your foot in. Easy on, easy off. A great start for this review of Haglofs Vertigo II.
The laces also grip tightly and pull through quickly, again saving time and much faffing around. Some manufactures really have kept the climbing shoe lacing right up to the tip. The Haglofs however compromise, lacing further than walking shoes but not right up.
I do feel that they could do with an additional eyelet further near the tongue. Other than that they lace great.
Review of Haglofs Vertigo II: Tech specs
If you’ve tried shoes or boots that use synthetic materials and always preferred leather, you’ll be pleased with the Vertigos. The combination of nubuck uppers and full Gore-Tex lining gives you the durability and guaranteed (within reason) waterproofing.
No review of Haglofs Vertigo II would be complete without listing their features:
- EVA midsole for low weight and good ground contact
- Water repellent nubuck upper and Gore-Tex Performance Comfort lining
- Star-shaped upper design for a natural flex
- Long lacing
- Rubber reinforced toe and heel for increased protection
- Sticky rubber outsole
Versatile approach shoes: What are they good for?
Some of the other approach shoes I’ve tried were too rigid to be comfortable for any length of time – and virtually unusable on concrete thanks to their very rigid front foot. The Haglofs have enough cushioning and comfort for day to day wear (just), and are strong enough for scrambling and should prove suited for many miles of trekking.
Climbing shoes are tough: totally unsuitable for walking, they are like rigid ballet pumps. Maybe remember this when shopping for approach shoes: You need to match them to the terrain you are likely to use them on.
What stops some approach shoes from being versatile is the need for them to have a rigid front foot; when you’re jamming your toe into a crack you need it to hold, not flex like a trainer. The Haglofs Vertigo II hold tight – the sticky reinforced nose and heel help – but they have enough flex to be comfortable.
So far what really impresses are the footbeds. Haglofs claim that they conform to the shape of your feet. They are one of the best I’ve tried, previously I’ve needed to swap out insoles – largely due to manufacturers cutting costs – but not with the Haglofs. Comfortable from day one they are definitely adaptive and I’d be keen to find out if they are proprietary so if I can buy replacements in the future.
These shoes are tough, but what impresses most is how comfortable they are which makes them very versatile approach shoes.
Review of Haglofs Vertigo II: Testing
Let’s be honest an out of the box review of Haglofs Vertigo II is fine, but we always need more information before buying.
So far I’ve scrambled in them and they were excellent, they also were good enough for some basic bouldering, if a little fat-fronted. Several days of walking muddy tracks proved them to be watertight.
I’ve even tried them on a few low-tide runs where they were agile and light enough for 5km of sandy pools. I’m testing them next trekking in Gran Canaria so keep an eye on our social accounts for updates and videos.
Review of Haglofs Vertigo II: Conclusion
Hybrid designs always have their limits – a penknife of multitool will have a screwdriver, but you’ll want a full size tool for bigger jobs. You need to be realistic with these shoes. They are not for full rock climbing ascents, but are rigid and surefooted enough for scrambling and comfortable enough to hike many miles.
As the top approach shoe in the Haglofs range, and retailing at around £140, you’d expect great spec and materials – and you get both. These shoes are versatile approach shoes, they do a lot and they do it well. They are not cheap but so far I’m convinced they are worth the money.
They are by their nature a compromise, but if they keep performing as well as they have and can take the miles, they could prove a very good compromise.
All-round tough adventure travel footwear?
It’s not easy to find one pair of shoes that hack it from airport to woodland track, via some rocky scrambling. As versatile approach shoes give you pretty much everything you could need, choose well and you could have a one shoe fits all solution.
Did we just create the all-round tough adventure travel footwear niche? Maybe…
We hope you found this review of Haglofs Vertigo II useful. If you are looking for versatile approach shoes or all-round tough adventure travel footwear then they would be a good choice. They cost £140 and come in Magnetite Danger (grey/red) or Hurricane Blue (blue/grey), find out more at: www.haglofs.com