I need to replace my badly worn out approach shoes. Besides getting to the crags I also use them in longer trips to big peaks, during which use they need to be fairly stiff in order for them to be good to walk in with relatively big pack.
This rules many shoes out, as they are too soft and/or lack proper cushion in the mid sole. Most of the hiking boots don't come to question either, as I fail to see the logic in mid high shaft. That may have place in climbing boot, but in hiking boot I feel that is both unnecessary as well as counterproductive. They add weight and warmth, neither of which are desirable properties for such use scenario. They are supposed also to add stability, but as far as walking goes, I don't buy that logic. Unhindered ankle mobility is far more important in my book. In order for the shaft to actually provide sufficient support, it would have to be higher and stiffer.
Feature wise Scarpa ZodiacScarpaZodiachttp://www.scarpa.net/all-scarpa/products/approach/zodiac/zodiac-g.jpgChosen by alpine guides to face different terrains, approach and technical trails. A versatile, technical, precise and resistant shoe. Water resistant suede upper, snug fit and up-to-the- toe lacing system for volume control. Moraine sole and Mulaz Vibram® tread, technical and precise in climbing. looks like it could be exactly what the doctor ordered. And Scarpa shoes typically fit my feet very well. Unfortunately they are pricey, reviews seem to be impossible to locate and none of the local shops have them.
Zodiac is essentially a bottom half of a B1-graded boot with a properly stiff sole unit complete with big, aggressive lugs and a serious protective rand making it ideal for stuffing into cracks. B1 boots are targeted to winter walking and may do at a pinch for the very easiest mountaineering routes. Zodiac obviously has no shaft, so they are not as warm or as well suited for walking in snow than B1 boots with the shaft. In return, they are lighter and more agile. And they are probably stiff enough to be used C1 crampons (such as Kahtoola, Grivel G10) in some use scenarios. Word of warning though, using Zodiac with crampons is no substitute for real crampon compatible boots and proper climbing crampons. That being said, such combo might be viable lightweight option when having to cross occasional snow fields. Not at all uncommon when approaching rock climbs in alpine terrain.
At roughly 500g/show depending on the source, Zodiac is about 200g lighter per shoe lighter than Scarpa Rebel (regular and GTX), which are about the lightest boots compatible with semi-automatic crampons. Rebel Pro weights the same (708g/shoe, give or take few grams depending on source and size) than Rebel or Rebel GTX, making them the lightest shoe that comes with welts front and back making them compatible with crampons with "automatic" binding.