I was slightly apprehensive about the new Mammut Redburns as I have been a confirmed “tennie” man for some years and have never really considered another approach shoe (as long as the 5:10s were still available anyway). As it happened, I had a few full days of various “approach” type activities that coincided with being asked to review the shoe, so I thought I’d put them to the test in a number of arenas.
Firstly, we had to place a load of targets in some woodland on the Downs for an experiment into the way search dogs work, so I spent a good 4 hours walking on slippery and steep terrain in the shoes. They were a little tight at first, although they were new, so that’s probably to be expected. They were quite rigid though even after the expected “new shoe stiffness” wore off and this may not be to everyone’s taste. I can imagine if you were on your feet all day in these shoes, on rough terrain they could start to get a little uncomfortable. Also on a later, similar day in the countryside, walking through long grass during a very wet day it became apparent that these shoes are not waterproof – not something they advertise as a feature admittedly, but worth noting that you will get wet feet.
I then spent an afternoon working with a rescue team setting up some hauling systems from a climbing tower. Normally, if I use the climbing wall I would wear rock shoes, (although this is rare, as we tend to focus on more industrial ascending or raising / lowering systems), but I thought this was a great opportunity to have a look at the sticky rubber and reinforced toe “climbing zone”. What worked was that the rubber was genuinely sticky, and that was a benefit, although even though the toe section is clearly for climbing (they wrote “climbing zone” on it) it doesn’t seem to be any different from the rest of the shoe. To be honest I don’t know enough about shoe design or climbing shoe design to know if this is to expected or not, but it did strike me as odd.
Anyway, the bit that I found not so suitable was the stiffness of the shoe whilst climbing. Clearly, it’s not a rock shoe and so isn’t going to perform like one, but I found the stiffness of the shoe meant that I couldn’t feel the wall almost at all and that my foot kept turning over at the ankle as there was no give in the body of the shoe. Still if you were going to really climb something, you’d use a rock shoe, right?
Finally, between these two experiments I had to spend a couple of days n the office / a research library doing the boring parts of research. I found the shoe as a good sensible urban walking shoe – very comfortable – and I was happy to wear them all day. So a clear unambiguous winner for the Redburn on that score.
So, in conclusion, if you’re going walking over rough ground for a day or more, wear walking boots. If you’re climbing anything vaguely technical for anything longer than 20 minutes, wear rock shoes. If you’re doing a bit of either of the above, and / or general being on your feet in an urban environment you can do worse than the Mammut Reburn Pro.