The Acrux SL Leather from Arc'teryx is heavy on simplicity; a seamless one-piece upper, a bespoke Vibram sole, and minimal toe and heel protection allow clean lines to belie some neat features within.
Simplicity is a hard thing to get right, but Arc'teryx make it their forte. The smart looking leather upper conceals what they call their 'Adaptive Fit Lite' liner - a sock-like stretchy inner that is super-comfy out of the box. It also replaces the tongue, saving weight and improving comfort by keeping everything where it should be and boosting breathability. Even in the hottest climates (we tested these in the desert) the shoe is a lightweight, surprisingly airy, joy to wear.
This is enhanced by balance in the sole; often approach shoes - aimed at climbers - are too stiff for general use. It's a very subjective area, but we think Arc'teryx have nailed it here - stiff enough to be supportive on moderately techy hikes, but soft enough to be comfortable all day.
The sole unit helps in this too. The flat-ish lug profile of most approach shoes is helped out with a nicely curved heel to promote a natural gait, and there is good shock absorption in the EVA midsole. Further forward the standard 'climbing zone' rubber is ideal on rock, but does lose a little grip on steep softer ground.
Overall this is an incredibly balanced shoe, which gives it its versatility and therefore its value. Smart simplicity perfected.