Let me just say I think Gollum would have been a cooler name for La Sportiva's new approach shoe, especially since he climbs like 5.18 or something. So he kills midgets and other small game, even a mutant has gotta eat, right? Anyway, it's weird, they didn't ask me so we've got the Gandalf… oops! Copyright alert: new name: Ganda. Also, now available in a high-top Guide version.
I've had mixed luck with the approach shoe category. They are either too much like a rock shoe or not enough. That's changed with the Ganda: it fits like a glove, laces to the toes and with a combination of slip and board lasting it smears and edges well enough to work your way up 5.10 or beyond, depending on ability of course.
It also hikes comfortably. The dot pattern tread is not so deep that it collects too much mud, but is just featured enough to provide decent scrambling. Bring a brush to clean 'em up at the base of the climb and you're all set. The Ganda can definitely replace a hiking shoe/rock shoe combo for easy to mid difficulty multi-pitch and big wall climbs with big walk offs.
All approach shoes have to trade off durability of the sole for friction purposes, but the Ganda is designed to be resoled. With Sportiva's Italian-made quality this shoe deserves consideration, even if the price tag would make Gollum blink. Guides and other climbers who work as much as they play in the vertical world will rejoice.