Arc’teryx followed up the popular Acrux SL approach shoe with an urban looking leather version. But don’t let the sleek appearance fool you, this is a very technical shoe that’s equally at home on the rock or in the alpine as it is on the sidewalk. The leather may add weight and reduce breathability but it also increases durability. When combined with technical soles and a great out-of-the-box fit the leather version is a winner for anyone that’s willing to sacrifice a little weight for more durability. I’m not sure that it lives up to the SL (Superlight) acronym though, LT (Lightweight) would be a bit more accurate in my opinion.
- Weight: 706g per shoe (claimed)
- Sole: Vibram® Megagrip™
- Midsole: EVA Foam
- Upper: Seamless one-piece 1.5mm split suede leather with thermolaminated construction
- Lining: Tongue free non-removable liner
- 3D moulded Ortholite™ footbed
- Multi-patterned sole
Fit & Feel:
The Acrux SL Leather shoes fit my medium width feet quite well right out of the box and so didn’t need a break-in period. Of course the fit improved over time as the leather relaxed a bit around the widest part of my foot.
The flat laces on the Acrux SL Leather shoes are a definite improvement over the stiff round laces provided with the original Acrux SL shoes when it comes to both comfort and function. They don’t create pressure points over the top of the foot on the tongue-less shoe and the laces stay tied. The Adaptive Fit liner also provides a sock-like fit that holds the heel securely in place giving the shoe a secure feel while eliminating chaffing. The liner also makes the shoe a little more difficult to put on though and the front and rear pull loops are a great help.
The shoes are very comfortable over a wide range of temperatures as the tongueless design provides good ventilation over the top of the foot. I found the leather uppers to be a bit warmer and less breathable than the synthetic material used on the original Acrux SL though.
The Acrux SL Leather approach shoes feature the same combination of sticky rubber and multiple tread pattern that made the original Acrux SL’s such a versatile and functional shoe. The smooth rubber “climbing zone” at the toe transitions through the familiar poke-i-dot pattern mid-foot to a deeper lugged trail runner type tread pattern under the heel. This means that the Acrux SL Leather shoes are great on the rock but also perform very well on slick downhill trails and grassy slopes.
I didn’t test out the GTX (Gore-tex) version and so never pushed the shoe in really wet conditions such as dew laden grass. However, the hydrophobic treatment on the leather did keep my feet dry during numerous rainstorms, even after a summer of abuse.
One attribute of the tongue-less, Adaptive-Fit liner design that I really like is the gaiter-like seal it provides against my ankle. I almost never got any rocks or sand in the shoes in terrain that had my climbing partners stopping dump pebbles out of theirs.
Pros: Durable, comfortable, versatile and stylish shoe
Cons: Heavier and a bit hotter / less breathable than the synthetic version
A sample was provided for testing but this of course does not influence my review.