La Sportiva Helios
“These will become the only approach shoe you’ll ever wear,” one tester said after a few weeks of use at NorCal bouldering areas and around the Front Range of Colorado. Thanks to the shoes’ airy comfort right out of the box, all other testers agreed. Designed as a follow-up to the lightweight Vertical K trail runner, the Helios is a bit burlier with a thicker midsole and a slightly beefier upper for added foot support for long distances, weighing in at 8.9 oz. per men’s 10.5 shoe. “This bridges the gap perfectly between the agility of a minimalist shoe and the protection of a heavier approach shoe,” another tester said. Everyone felt light and fast in these, confident that the wrap-around gusseted tongue would keep the foot securely in place, and the lugged Frixion AT rubber would stick to every rock slab and trail they encountered. Their extreme flexibility is perfect for rock hopping and smearing, but technical edging is not a strong suit. The Helios really shined for approaches on trail.