review by Tony Lourens
Approach shoes have come a long way since everyone was rushing out and getting themselves a pair of 5.10 Camp 4s a decade or two ago. It is a similar evolution to the climbing shoe since Boreal’s Fire, and indeed in the world of headlamps since Petzl’s icon Zoom. So much has changed in all these spheres.
Over the last five years or so, the leaders in the climbing shoe world have come to the party with some pretty impressive approach shoes. Shoes, that when you wear them and use them in the hills, you think to yourself, ‘how can they improve on this?’
Well, not surprisingly, Black Diamond, after lengthy R&D, have come out with their new series of approach shoes. As soon as I heard of this I knew they would be a serious contender for the top slot, because have you ever had a disappointing piece of BD kit? I pretty much doubt it!
After wearing the Mission for about four weeks over some rather tough (and long) stony approaches, climbing up beautiful rocky ridge lines on Table Mountain, guiding clients on moderate rock climbs on Lion’s Head and putting up ropes on easy sport routes, I concluded that my original suspicions were 100% correct. They performed beautifully, and deserved a top ranking.
The new Mission Lt is a superbly designed, high-performance lightweight shoe, that performs excellently on technical, rocky terrain and is way comfortable enough for those long approaches as well.
The sole is super-sticky BlackLabel-Mountain rubber and has a flat area around the toe to facilitate technical climbing. It also has a sticky rand covering the entire toe box, which is great for cracks and also general resistance to rough terrain.
The uppers are constructed with a one-piece ultra-breathable EnduroKnit, which is durable and regulates temperature well, keeping your feet cool on hot days and also aids the drying process, if they get wet.
The tongue forms part of the upper, which is totally sealed so the shoe has a sock-like bootie fit, which offers great support, does not let any grit at all into the shoe, and can actually be worn as a slip-on around the base of the crag. At first this sock-like fit feels a bit tight, and it takes a little effort getting the shoe on, but after a few sessions, you will be quite used to it and wouldn’t want it any other way.
Coupled with comfy padding around the ankle area, a tuned EVA midsole for stiffness, nylon plates around the base of the shoe for protection and a secure webbing system to cinch everything together, the Mission Lt is practically the perfect approach shoe. It also comes with two tags for fitting and stowing.
Stylish, masterfully crafted and extremely well priced, I can’t see any reason to not check out these babies when next shopping for approach shoes.
• EnduroKnit is a one-piece breathable, durable knit upper
• BlackLabel-Mountain rubber is high performance sticky rubber
• Rubber toe protection
• Sock-like bootie fit
• Nylon rock plate for protection
• Tuned EVA midsole for stiffness and comfort
• Webbing reinforced fit system
• Multiple webbing loops for various tagging options
• Weight: 312 g (each) size 9/EUR 43