Tuesday, 08 November 2016 09:30

Dachstein Spursinn Approach shoe Tested and Reviewed

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Dachstein have an illustrious history but are probably best known in the UK for their legendary gloves, but when we heard they also produce a "unique" line of shoes and boots we couldn't turn down the opportunity to give their approach shoes a full-on test.

 What Dachstein say:

In cooperation with Dachstein’s brand ambassadors – "blind climber" Andy Holzer and Air Race pilot Hannes Arch – the top-model "Spürsinn" has been developed.

Dachstein Spürsinn 1

The extremely lightweight shoe combines the qualities of trail running and mountain approach footwear and boasts with the sporty high-tech look of the new Dachstein-design line. The Vibram® Pinter sole was especially developed for the "Spürsinn", giving the shoe its characteristic sensitivity for a precise impression of the surfaces underfoot, while providing excellent stability on challenging mountain passages. The midsole is fortified with an additional anti-torsional plate that feeds back the forces applied tot he shoe for optimum progress and energy use. Robust, rubberised toes and heels protect the quick-dry mesh from wear and tear.

Sport Hiking, Approach Upper material PU,

Mesh Liner material Breathable lining Technology

Mono-tongue construction,

OrthoLite® Insole

Sole Vibram® Pinter

Height Low Colour Blue, Red, Yellow

Weight 690g @ Size 43.5

On the hill:

My Outdoors decided to review these shoes from Dachstein as we're not too familiar with their footwear but they have legendary status for making gloves. What attracted me to the Spursinn LTH is the description of an approach/trekking hybrid shoe. Straight out of the box, first impressions are that it is a rigid shoe, with a stiff midsole and little flex at the toe. The foot-bed is narrow and the shoe has a tapered toe-box; similar to Scarpa and La Sportiva. The styling is a bit unusual and they do differ visually from many brands of approach shoe on the market.

I spent some time getting the lacing correct on the Spursinn. The inner leather is soft but very smooth and slippy, so I felt I had to bolt myself into them. This proved to be a mistake as soon as I put a few miles in, as the narrow foot-bed wasn't too forgiving. It may sound as though I have a wrong fit in this shoe, but they just need some time to establish the best lacing configuration. The soft tongue and evenly distributed lacing allowed for easy adjustment however and soon I was happy and off.

Dachstein Spürsinn 4

I chose a 7.5 UK size making them a snug fit for my feet, as I felt I wanted to exploit the rigidity of the midsole for technical scrambling and this choice paid off. As with all shoes, unless you understand the foot-bed design of this brand I recommend getting into a shop to try on Dachstein's sizing, because they are not overly generous.

The Spursinn looks like a trainer in design, but they are a tough and rigid shoe owing to the full leather upper construction and stiff midsole. Dachstein describe the Spursinn as having attributes of a running shoe and work well for speed hiking. You need to consider carefully here what your preferences are if you travel fast and light while trekking. I personally find the lack of flex and hugging profile of the Spursinn less preferable for long distances. Another aspect of this shoe is that although there is some venting in the leather upper for breathability, it doesn't allow you to wet them out on trails. They have no membrane and once wet, your feet squelch around a lot in the full leather interior. I've made the transition to trekking longer distances in the UK in just simple trail shoes and trainers, happy to cross streams and bogs safe in the knowledge I can wet out the shoes and carry on. As a contrast, the Spursinn differ greatly to this style of walking shoe. The heel strike is also very firm with little cushioning, so it feels like quite a hard ride.

Dachstein Spürsinn 5

Dachstein describe the Spursinn as having “characteristic sensitivity for a precise impression of the surfaces underfoot, while providing excellent stability on challenging mountain passages”. I do agree to an extent. The lightweight construction suits my own walking style: I prefer to tip toe along on individual rocks and boulders in rockier areas and I especially use this approach when descending mountain paths. However, the outsole and profile of the shoe is quite narrow, so if you want a wider and more solid base to walk on, especially when descending with a larger pack on, then the Spursinn may not be for you. The heel section of the sole is also quite smooth and would benefit from some more treading here, as I did slip a few times on wet grass. Lastly about the sole, there isn't much of it, being quite thin, so it doesn't seem to be a shoe that will last you years.

Dachstein Spürsinn 2

Where the Spursinn does excel though is in its intended environment; steep technical scrambles and low grade climbs. As soon as I got off lower paths and onto steeper approaches the Vibram grip sole comes into its own. Edging is possible and the narrow toe box allows you to exploit pockets in the rock easily. As I mentioned, I chose to get a close fit for this reason and once into a more vertical incline the heel counter and leather upper cupped my heel reassuringly, allowing me to edge just on my toes. The rubber toe caps provide firm protection. The high scooped insteps give great stability when climbing.

To weight up the Spursinn, I've needed to understand its limitations. It is not ideally designed for trekking in the often soggy UK. It has a full leather upper and Dachstein haven't made it waterproof, yet there is no lower venting to allow the shoe to drain if you're unlucky enough to get wet in them.

It is described by Dachstein as an ideal shoe for via-ferrata and technical approaches and I have to agree with this. I've worn them on Tryfan in Snowdonia and they feel right at home on steep Welsh rock. The shoes are small and light enough to fit in the top of a pack ready to be worn on dry approaches and also as an option when chunkier boots or hiking shoes won't cut the mustard on steeper scrambles or challenging summits.

Last modified on Tuesday, 08 November 2016 11:40

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