Mike Kimmel works as the Department Head for English Language at the Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy, a public high school that works exclusively with competitive skiers and snowboarders (ranging from Alpine skiing, freeride, all forms of snowboarding competition, and nordic). He is also a climbing coach and primary routesetter for the Vail Athletic Club, and a guide for Adventure Travel Guides. He’s worked as a setter and coach for 10+ years, and has sent many young climbers to USA Nationals, and a few kids to Continental Championships.
I don’t sit still very well. Every day, my routine transitions between teaching in a school building, working/training/setting/coaching in a climbing gym, and getting outside at every opportunity, which usually meaning hiking a few miles to clean off new boulder problems, or driving deep into the woods on forest service roads to develop and open new sport routes. Because of the constant changes in environment, I tend to have extra pairs of shoes in the truck of my car, trying to stay ready for anything.
However, sometimes it is inconvenient to need to carry extra shoes, and sometimes I forget that the pair I left in the trunk got pulled out last time I went climbing. The goal of finding footwear that can transition between these environments and hold up well has always been tough, but I think I found a surprisingly versatile piece of equipment with the Cruzer Slip-On.
Much like the previous Cruzers, the slip-on is a low-cut, sneaker-style approach shoe with a lugged slab of approach shoe climbing rubber at the base. They have a surprisingly thick, supportive insole, and a very snug and comfortable fit, which feels much more climbing-performance oriented than I would have expected. They are very light and low-profile, and because of this, are possibly the easiest pair to toss in a climbing pack or clip on using the back pull tabs.
The versatility of this pair is where the Cruzer Slip-On shines. The fit is actually on par with a lace-up approach shoe, and I feel very confident standing on edges and smearing while routesetting. The additional bonus of having that level of fit without straps or laces makes this the most easy-on, easy-off approach shoe that exists. Beyond using them as work shoes in the gym, I’ve hiked several miles at a time for the sake of scoping new lines, and when it has come time to pull out the trail tools and move around earth and dirt, I haven’t felt the need to change into anything more burly – the Cruzer Slip Ons shed the dirt pretty quickly, and are grippy enough for any trail.
Most impressive is the durability of the canvas material, which has held up after months of using these as my go-to shoe for boudering, sport climbing, and as a slipper for around the house and classroom. On top of that, these might be the most affordable approach shoes on the market, and they are offered in several different colors. Chill.
From Evolv: Please note that the Psyche is intended as an approach shoe only and is not meant to hold up to the wear and tear of technical climbing.