This story originally appeared in the May 2015 issue of our print edition.
Don’t judge the Sloper solely from its stout appearance—it’s way more agile than it looks. “They’re supportive and surprisingly light; I’ve never worn a shoe this light that lets me carry heavy packs long distances,” one tester said. At about 12.5 oz. per shoe, the Sloper cuts weight but not versatility and durability thanks to a board-lasted design that creates a sturdy, semi-rigid base. The full leather upper offered protection when wading through rolling talus in the Rocky Mountains, and the specialized velours leather layer is rough (instead of smooth, like nubuck), which allows for more airflow between the fibers, providing toughness and breathability at the same time. A second layer of leather around the bottom of the foot and at the toe increased durability in high-wear spots. “Because of the combination of a minimal weight but loads of support, I always choose these for long-approach and/or heavy-pack days, especially when it’s both.” Extra padding around the low-top ankle added to the comfort factor. The MammuTec sole’s sticky rubber combined with a horizontal lug pattern offered excellent purchase on rock, trail, and dirt, and testers found that “these climb just as well as techier kicks due to a rigid but light feel.”
A stylish approach shoe that delivers tons of support, the Sloper is excellent all-around and can be used for technical climbing, scrambling, and trail hiking, as well as romping around town without sounding the teched-out siren.
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