Though some manufacturers like to throw around the sexy-sounding "approach shoe" title, the CTC is no marketing gimmick. When my trip up a creekbed turned into a bouldering session, the CTC proved as nimble and grippy as a traditional climbing shoe. Wrapped in sticky rubber, the narrow toe box jams securely into cracks. Plus the platformlike rubber on the inner edge of the sole makes even a thin foothold feel like a ledge. Back on terra firma, the CTC cushions the foot enough for all-day hiking with loads up to about 25 pounds. www.montrail.comBonus: The all-synthetic midcut has good ankle support yet flexes well when smearing for a foothold.Bummer: With so much rubber along the toe box, the interior of the shoe heats up easily.
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