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Tecnica Sulphur approach shoe reviewed: hike and scramble in comfort

One of the best approach shoes that has the ability to handle mellow technical rock climbing

The spring climbing season is already here in many places, and it may be time for new approach shoes. There’s a range of possibilities and your best option will be determined by the kind of terrain between you and the climbs you have in mind for this season.  If you scramble on technical terrain you’ll want shoes with narrower profiles, lower lugs and a high friction toe rand. If you are mainly hiking, a heavier midsole and higher heel offer the most comfort.

If you do a bit of scrambling and hiking to get to the rock, the Sulphur, which integrates features for both kinds of terrain, may have the versatility you need. The sturdy midsole of the Sulphur will give your foot a protective platform on talus and gravel slopes. The 1.5 mm suede leather uppers are likely to put up with a lot of talus abrasion. The upper is reinforced at the toe and heel with protective counters. The raised heel adds stability on the downhills and the rocker makes for a natural gait in a shoe with a solid midsole for climbing and protection from sticks and rocks.

A pair of Sulfurs weigh in at around 800g, depending on shoe size, so it’s a mid-weight approach shoe. The fit is roomier in the toes and midsole than some shoes, making it comfortable on hikes. The Sulfurs seemed more breathable than some approach shoes, but lack a waterproof breathable insert, a reasonable trade-off on hot approaches.

Tecnica Sulphur

The Vibram outsole, with its Megagrip compound was secure on all kinds of trails from gravel to mud and excelled on rock. After all, it’s the closest compound to rock climbing rubber Vibram uses in approach and hiking shoes. The laces did a good job of stabilizing the shoe on the foot; it didn’t come as close to the toe as some lace systems, but it made it possible to cinch up the roomy toe-box for climbing on smaller holds.

A sturdy, all-round approach shoe with above-average climbing capabilities.

Tecnica Sulphur Specs

Weight: 800 grams
Upper: 1.5 mm suede leather
Internal lining: Soft mesh
Insole: Ortholite
Midsole: Compression moulded dual density EVA with high rebound compound
External sole : Vibram® Megagrip