When La Sportiva first came out with the Exum Ridge approach shoe, it was a winner. I wore mine up and down the Grand Teton guiding moderate routes during many long days in the mountains until they practically fell off my feet, threadbare.
When I got this year’s version I was psyched. It feels like a comfortable running shoe underfoot and has plenty of sole to cushion rocky trails. Best of all, it climbs great. I find the dot rubber super sticky and the lacing system works well to crank them tight for decent edging.
They are built to last with more durable materials, extra rubber in the right places and quality construction. Also improved is the aggressive heel, which definitely makes loose descents less sketchy. Of all the approach shoes I tested during the summer, the Exum Ridge gets my vote as the best overall performer in all categories.