In the Arc’teryx shoe lineup, the Konseal AR, LT, FL 2, and FL 2 GTX fill the niche of tackling the approach. Durable, lightweight, fast, and waterproof, all four of these models have their own perks. What they don’t offer is extra ankle support like the Acrux LT GTX.
In summary, the stiff sole and abrasion-resistant uppers of the Arc’teryx Konseal AR offer rugged durability. What these shoes lack in comfort, the Konseal LT makes up for with every stride. Meanwhile, the biting grip of the Konseal FL 2 and FL 2 GTX beckon your feet to the crag.
Let’s get a closer look at how these options pit against one another.
Although the Konseal AR is one attractive-looking shoe, it’s stiff as a board. Same with the Konseal FL 2 and Konseal FL 2 GTX. While this is ideal for lengthy scrambles, it’s a problem when the going gets mellow.
The comfort level will leave you wishing you opted for a wider toe box and more cushioning on flat trails. For comfortable day hiking shoes, you’ll want to use the Arc’teryx shoe finder.
The Konseal LT is precisely the opposite. The breathability and flex of the mesh uppers in combo with the lighter weight provide ample comfort on mellow and rocky terrain.
Arc’teryx even thoughtfully added in a collapsible heel, turning these into slip-ons for lounging around base camp. Of these four options, the Konseal LT is the one I would slap on for a full day of ascending the approach.
When scrambling around boulders, you need reassurance at your feet. All four of these Arc’teryx approach shoes offer a solid degree of traction. Which, of course, varies with conditions and terrain.
For instance, the sticky tread of the Konseal FL 2 clings well to rocks and hard-packed trails, as does the Konseal FL 2 GTX. The biggest difference with this shoe is the Gore-Tex waterproofing adds better traction in wet conditions.
This will likely improve your approach as mother nature releases her furry but to a degree. The design of the shoe leads me to suspect some water may seep in around the tongue, causing some slippage inside.
Meanwhile, what the Konseal AR lacks in comfort, it makes up for in traction. This shoe provides a solid grip on smooth slabs and jagged surfaces. The shallow lugs provide full foot contact allowing you to grab surfaces like a chameleon.
As for the Konseal LT, this shoe surprisingly holds its own among the bunch. The lightweight design and tacky sole offer ample traction on rocky terrain and talus slopes. Just don’t test these when it starts to pour.
Stiff soles may not be ideal for comfort, but they help with stability. The rigid sole of the Konseal AR does well when the terrain resembles anything but flat.
The Konseal FL 2 hugs the foot with higher synthetic sidewalls that increase stability with each maneuver. Its waterproof counterpart, the Konseal FL 2 GTX, does this and more as it meets the challenge of sloshy conditions with sure-footedness.
And our lightweight friend, the Konseal LT? Even these add stability when precision counts most.
Needless to say, all offer good stability. Yet, if I’m slogging through muddy terrain with a loaded pack, I would go with the Konseal FL 2 GTX.
Slap the Arc’teryx label on anything, and you expect durability. Or so you would think.
Don’t get me wrong; any approach shoes will take a beating. But the Konseal LT may wear out faster than the others. This is mostly due to design.
The collapsible heel leads me to suspect durability issues down the road. Same with the toe cap.
On the other hand, the Konseal FL 2 and FL 2 GTX offer better durability. But like the Konseal LT, I fear the toe cap may eventually separate from the synthetic mesh of both pairs.
Then there’s the Konseal AR. These shoes are built to take some serious abuse. From the abrasion-resistant upper suede to the sole, this is the best option for durability out of the four.
The Konseal AR, LT, FL 2, and FL 2 GTX all work for scrambles and climbs. Yet, it’s their technical features that limit their use for varying activities.
The Konseal AR may claim “all-around” use, but the comfort level is less than desirable for the mellow section of a hike. Although, they do look good being sported around town.
The Konseal is the opposite. The comfortable fit and lighter weight can take you from flat hiking to jagged scrambling with minimal compromise. It will let you hop around with agility while you're at it too.
What the Konseal LT doesn’t excel at is scrambling up super slick boulders. For wet and muddy climbs, the Konseal FL 2 GTX is a better choice. Meanwhile, the Konseal FL 2 balances weight with traction to keep you light on the approach.
Approach shoes are best when you need precision at your feet. The Arc’teryx AR, LT, FL 2, and FL 2 GTX all offer great stability best paired with rocky terrain. Yet, it’s the Konseal AR that marries tacky traction with rugged durability that’s built to tackle technical climbs route after route.