Approach shoes tend to be either very close to a climbing shoe – climbing performance over comfort – or very close to a hiking shoe – comfort over climbing performance. The Garmont Sticky Cloud is definitely the latter, and for those looking for a bombproof shoe for via ferrata or long grueling approaches, it excels.
The Sticky Cloud is a burly shoe, no doubt about it. Tipping the scales at close to two pounds for a pair, the shoe is clearly built to take serious abuse: a rock-solid toe cap and thick, high-void tread will protect your precious little piggies through the gnarliest of boulder fields. The sole wraps around the heel, complete with tread blocks, so if you need to land a heel hook you're good to go.
Really the only nod made to pure climbing features are the laces, which go down to the base of the toes for a solid fit, and the flat surface on the sole at the point of the toe, which makes it easier to smear and edge on smaller ledges and pockets. Where the Sticky Cloud really shines is on the descent, with generous padding under the heel that cushions the roughest heel strike.
One nice small touch is the heel lock setup: the cord that wraps around the heel has little plastic grommets for the laces, which keep them from getting too twisted. If you're looking for a shoe that will coddle your feet during long approaches and steep descents and still give you some options for making the occasional class five move, check out the Sticky Cloud.