Arc'Teryx entered the footwear market a few years back, and they are clearly committed to producing shoes that match the quality and performance of their gear and apparel step for step. The Konseal FL melds excellent hikability with approach shoe features for all-day comfort and performance.
A quick search of the intertubez reveals the word Konseal to mean, "A form of capsule for enclosing a dose of medicine that is offensive, caustic, or the like." OK, so they've seen our feet, fair enough. Being the jaded gearfloggers that we are, we threw the shoes on and took off into springtime slush immediately. We immediately appreciated the grip of the Vibram MegaGrip sole in wet conditions, but imagine our disappointment when the shoe leaked and our delicate – and caustic! – little piggies got wet. Back at the ranch we finally got around to reading the description: turns out, not actually waterproof. Totally our bad, we assumed from the sleek, welded look of the Konseal FL that it must be waterproof, but that's what you get from not RTFM.
So after some weeks of daily use, we're happy to report that this is a fantastic shoe that does everything well. It's not a traditional approach shoe, due to the laces not going down quite far enough and the extra cushioning, but we see that as a good thing. We loved the original Five Tennies because they didn't sacrifice comfort for climbing ability, but somewhere along the decades since approach shoes seem to have become more of a heavy and inefficient climbing shoe. The Konseal FL's attributes let it excel at trail hiking, thanks to the decent rocker in back, and long approaches where you might need to do a bit of class six scrambling, e.g. some shallow pockets and low angle smearing. The tread pattern has a lot of voids, so it handles mud pretty well, and the shoe is a pleasure on the downhill thanks to the extra padding.
The end result is a shoe you're happy to put on and leave on. Perhaps the best compliment we can give the Konseal is that you just don't notice them while moving over and transitioning between terrain ranging from trail hiking to scrambling. The light weight – 2lbs 10oz for a pair – and sleek profile help a lot, so don't be surprised if you're suddenly wearing them everywhere. Just remember: not waterproof, despite how they look!