I am the Advocacy Director for the American Mountain Guides Association, based out of Boulder, Colo. I am also an AMGA Apprentice Rock Guide, and have guided in various locations in the past ranging from the San Juan Mountains of southwest Colorado to Red Rock Canyon, outside of Las Vegas, to the Cascades of Washington. Needless to say, anyone who rock guides for any length of time becomes pretty picky about their choice of hiking / approach shoes.
Living in Boulder, I spend a lot of time rambling around the Flatirons, often soloing many of the east face slabs, which range from 4th class to 5.6 or so. When I acquired the Fast R shoes, I felt this would be a great test for them. While they are not an “approach shoe” per se, I have been incredibly impressed with their all-around performance. The first thing I noticed was their weight, or lack thereof, and the fit. Having radically different sized feet, it can be problematic for me to get a performance fit from almost any shoe. The Fast R’s innovative lacing system proved equal to the task of getting a performance fit on both of my misshapen feet (too many years in tight climbing shoes…).
So the shoes hike great, and the little bit of running I’ve done on the trails has been quite comfortable. However, being a person who views the Flatiron slabs as an extension of hiking, would these lightly lugged soles be up for easy 5th class scrambling? Needless to say, I’ve been impressed. While they do not have the edging platform or sensitivity of a true approach shoe, I’ve felt totally comfortable climbing at the 5.5 level or so. The sticky rubber soles grip the rock amazingly well, and the lacing system allows me to really crank down the fit so there is no excessive movement. When I’m done, having the support of a light hiker/ trail running shoe is great for the hike out, not feeling like my feet are being destroyed in some minimalist shoe. I’m definitely excited about this shoe, and look forward to trying more Adidas products in the future. The Fast R has been my go-to shoe for most days’ mountain adventures, and I commend Adidas for developing outstanding products for this segment of outdoor recreationists.