SOM Footwear Made in USA
Health & Beauty

Is SOM shoes an ‘approach’ shoe?

Hiking volcanic terrains can trigger internal monologues that can go on and on, particularly when starting in the early hours of the night. The journey may not answer all of the questions, but it can entertain you for 8 to 10 hours and may lead to some interesting discussions with your climbing partner. The conclusion of determining if SOM shoes are approach shoes will be up to you too!

On our recent vacation, Olie and I went to Washington and Oregon States, and we climbed volcanoes. Our plan was to climb Mount Rainier, and that was the one thing for which we took the time to prepare. Weather conditions were one of the factors, and we also knew that late season (early October) may not be ideal on the mountain. On our way there, we learned that rain was in the forecast and we had to make other plans until the weather turned in our favor. Looking at the map, Mount Hood caught our attention and the weather looked good enough to complete a successful climb there. During our trip, we also climbed Mount Adams, St Helens, and we explored Crater Lake.

When the question arose

The approach to each of the mountains was on volcanic ground – very sandy and/or rocky until we reached ice and snow. At that point we needed to switch from hiking shoes to boots and crampons. I am a fanatic of SOM Footwear, and the last thing I wanted to do was switch to my bigger boots; although necessary in the mountains to better protect against rocks, they are never as comfortable as my SOMs. For this trip, I wisely chose to wear my HiLites to minimize  grainy sand getting into my shoes. I am still new to mid-top shoes but I liked them in the snow last year and thought they would perform as well in sandy terrains. 

On our way up to Mt Hood, I was very pleased with my SOMs. It has been a long time since we climbed technical terrains and I was proud of my SOMs’ performance. The terrain was getting steep and we were on a scree slope, which is basically stepping on sliding, grainy sand topped with small rocks, along with a number of bigger rocks that often become unstable when the ground moves around them. Olie had already switched to his boots and he was wondering when I was going to switch to mine, being a bit worried that a big rock could roll on my lightly-protected feet. I finally put my boots on, but a question was turning in my head: Could my SOMs be considered approach shoes? On our way down, when we switched back into our comfortable SOMs, we discussed the question: neither of us knew the answer. By the time we returned to internet access, we had forgotten the question and were already moving on to our next adventure.

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