Designed for lightweight scrambling and climbing and approach or hiking, the Konseal FL shoes from Arc’teryx are an excellent option as approach or hiking shoe. In fact, they made it onto my list as one of the best hiking shoes. Despite their sleek appearance and more conventional design (which includes a tongue), these are actually cutting-edge technical shoes. The new Konseal FL from Arc’teryx is a flexible, high-performance sneaker that is guaranteed to be a hit with customers. After they were broke in, I fell in love with my new pair.
Table of Contents
- Weight each piece: 320g (US size 9, men’s)
- Vibram® MegagripTM is the sole.
- Sole: EVA Foam
- Polyurethane mesh upper in a one-piece weave
- Some more options include:
- Inset eye loops for the laces
- The mid-foot chassis is made of TPU.
- The sole is multi-patterned for a better grip
- The OrtholiteTM footbed is sculpted in 3D.
Arc’teryx Konseal Material and Construction
The new Konseal FL approach shoes are the first in a new series of footwear. Arc’teryx strayed from the successful Acrux line’s sock-fit, tongue-less design when producing the FLs, thus the new naming system makes sense. Of course, there are far more significant differences between the shoes than just a tongue! It was a surprise to see the shoe given the abbreviation FL (fast and light) as its weight is the same as the Arc’teryx SL (superlight).
The upper of the shoe is constructed entirely of a knit polyester mesh, which is sewn from the heel to the toe. This extremely robust and breathable material is not in the slightest bit waterproof! While the Gore-Tex variant is less breathable, it is more water resistant.
The Arc’teryx Konseal FL has “raised perimeter sidewalls” on the sides and rear. Reinforcement that extends around the shoe’s sides and rear where the fabric isn’t covered by the toe cap is called a “band.” The perimeter sidewall protects the fabric from wear while also adding stiffness in high-wear regions.
With a 4mm OrtholiteTM footbed, the Konseal FL approach shoe has a pleasant but durable microsuede inside.
How They Look and Feel
In both the Konseal FL and the Acrux SL, I sized down by a whole size. Exactly what I was looking for in terms of a performance fit. The fit was perfect. However, they have a somewhat different fit than the Acrux series of approach shoes, especially when they’re brand new. My medium-wide feet have somewhat ridged higher perimeter sidewalls, which makes for a noticeable variation in the shoe’s breadth at the ball of the foot. On the forefoot, the shoes feel like light climbing boots, rather than shoes. However, after a few days or a week of wear, they become quite comfortable and secure, with no movement of the heel.
A combination of the toe-to-toe lacing and the cushioned tongue makes it possible to wear the Konseal FLs in a variety of settings, from a tight performance fit for climbing and tough scrambling to a loose fit for walking around town or at the crag. There are no pressure points or difficulties in any setup.
The Arcteryx Konseal FL is one of the few approach shoes that excels in both rock and slippery terrain. Few are able to do both at the same time. One of the select handful is the new Konseal FL shoes.
Arc’terys improved on the Acrux’s already excellent changeable tread pattern. Of course, they preserved the normal climbing zone region at the toe, but they also added some deeper circular lugs to provide traction on rock slabs and muddy terrain. A tiny climbing zone type pad on the heel provides traction when walking down granite slabs while the heel has deep transverse lugs to sink into soft paths. Traction patterns have been carefully created to provide the wearer with the sensation of security when traversing uneven terrain. Vibram® MegagripTM rubber soles are, of course, excellent for grip.
Using high-quality rubber and a variety of tread patterns, the Konseal FL’s provide a very stable shoe across a wide range of terrain, from granite slabs to muddy trails.
I’ve put the Konseal approach shoes to the test on a number of somewhat difficult rock climbs and found them to be a great fit! Low-5th class terrain particularly benefits from the mix of sticky rubber, strong sole, and low profile toe. The bottoms of my shoes didn’t want to fold up when I stood on them on very narrow edges, yet my toes fit perfectly in gaps.
On the plus side, the plastic midsole chassis made wearing the Konseal’s with aids more bearable because it provided support and protection around the arch of my foot as well.
The Konseal FL appears to have been designed with durability in mind. I’ve discovered that the laces and the sidewall around the knuckle on the baby toe are the most vulnerable parts of approach shoes. As a result, these two parts wear out rapidly and can lead to a shoe’s doom if they’re not properly cared for. The Konseal FL’s are specifically designed to address these two shortcomings in their construction.
When jamming and climbing, the laces are recessed so that they don’t come into contact with the rock and get worn out.. But abrasion-resistant knit polyester mesh has held up pretty well thus far and has taken the brunt of wear and tear.
Additionally, the Konseal FL shoe’s higher perimeter sidewalls give extra protection against wear and tear. Aside from a few minor scrapes and bruises, I’m certain these shoes will take a lot of wear and tear while traversing scree slopes and climbing through gaps.
As of yet, I cannot comment on the long-term durability of my Konseal FLs because I have only been using them for a short period of time. However, they’ve fared admirably so far, and I have high hopes that they will continue to do so.
In short, it’s long-lasting, light, and highly effective.
The downside is that it is not watertight. A GTX version is available if you’d prefer.
One of the best multipurpose approach, scrambling and hiking shoes on the market today. One of the best-performing approach shoes I’ve tested on both trails and rocks. If you’re willing to give up water resistance in exchange for breathability and performance, this is the shoe for you!
I love hiking, backpacking, and camping. From the Camino de Santiago to the West Highland Way in Scotland or simply a great day hike on the weekend. Hiking refreshes me, my mind, and keeps my body reasonably fit. So far I have walked three Camino routes and many other long distance hikes in the UK, Canada, and around the rest of Europe. One of the best was my hike up Ben Nevis.