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Gear Review: Black Diamond Mission LT Approach shoe

Recommended Price: £130
Weight: 600g (Pair, UK size 6 womens)

The Mission LT is one of series of new shoes by Black Diamond aimed firmly at climbers but as this model is also supposed to be suitable for a longer walk in, I was interested to test it for day walks and scrambles. I’d been wearing it for a couple of months on any dry day walks prior to lockdown and since then it’s been my shoe of choice for shorter local walks – so it has also seen a fair bit of pavement pounding.

The all-in-one knitted sock structure of the upper provides a snug fit and was instantly comfortable, needing no breaking in. The upper fits fairly tightly around the ankle preventing gravel and small stones getting in. It’s cushioned so it doesn’t rub on the achilles area but some will find the sock design hard to put on. I’ve got wide feet and was worried that the climbing pedigree of these shoes would result in a narrow toe box – however, having gone up a half size, I’ve found plenty of space and height in the toe area and it’s possible to widen the shoe easily by adjusting the laces. The insoles are removable if you want to replace them. The laces are connected to anchor points within the sides of the shoe that connect to the sole so when the laces are tightened the whole foot is wrapped very tightly. This would be useful if more confidence is required when scrambling; the laces can then be loosened again for the return to walking terrain. Spare laces are included.

A high rubber rand protects all the way round the shoe and across the top of the toe – made from sticky rubber this provides some added traction for scrambling. A plastic plate on the outside back of the heel provides additional stiffness and protection. There is a EVA midsole to provide cushioning, the shoes come in at the flexible end of the trail shoe spectrum. With no waterproof membrane the outers have proved breathable despite their snug fit, although they were not as quick drying as I would hope and the tight feel makes them feel hotter than some unlined shoes.

I thought the weak point would be the soles but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the amount of grip and durability so far. The tread isn’t particularly deep but being made from Black Diamond’s own-design rubber they are sticky, great for rocky trails and scrambling. Despite a lot of trail and road walking over the last few months the sole is not showing significant wear, so hopefully they will prove to be robust.

The other main plus point is the weight, these are very lightweight at 300g per shoe. In general a very comfortable shoe for walks and scrambles in dry weather.

Available in women’s sizes 3.5 – 9 and one colour (anthracite/wisteria). Mens version in sizes 7 – 12 and 2 colours (grey and blue).

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