Patagonia Rover Review (& Giveaway!)

(contest details at bottom)

patagonia-rover-shoeAs a guide, and someone who will routinely get 150 to 200 days of outdoor climbing each year, one of the most important pieces of gear I’ll use are my approach shoes. I recently had the chance to try out the new Patagonia Rovers, and they didn’t disappoint. Read on for the low down on this lightweight yet impressively durable approach shoe.

The first thing that jumped out at me was their weight. At 8.8 ounces, they are almost half as light as the iconic Guide Tennies. On multi-pitch routes where I wanted to be able to carry approach shoes with me on my harness, their light weight and low bulk made them an easy choice, from desert towers to free climbing on big walls. Another thing you might notice right away is the softness of the shoe, which is great for things like shoving them in your pack.

They also climbed nicely thanks to the sticky rubber and well defined edges in the toe of the shoe. I used them extensively on 3rd, 4th and easy 5th class terrain and felt comfortable moving on the rock, smearing on slabs and short roping via stances and body belays. The Rover makes use of a two part sole where the toe area is harder and the heel is softer. This helped the shoe excel at both hiking and climbing. Additionally, smoother rubber under the ball helps the shoe climb well, while more featured rubber under the heel gave it enough traction for hiking.

The shoe is designed as a mix of minimalist trail running and mountain performance, resulting in a 4mm heel to toe drop and relatively slight cushion throughout. I’m a longtime, semi-serious runner who is pretty minimalist with running shoes but this shoe didn’t have enough cushion for me on longer hikes. Particularly, sharp rocks along the trail started to make my feet ache. Their lack of rigidity also prevents them from being ideal for aid climbing or standing on small edges.

The fit of my Rovers was perfect for hiking but occasionally on harder fifth class terrain the Rover started to leave something to be desired, largely due to the lack of support in the shoe. I led up to 5.9 limestone sport in them, but had a hard time standing on edges and didn’t feel as secure as other dedicated approach shoes in this terrain. I also used the Rover while climbing Tricks of the Trade in Zion, a 1,900-foot climb. It was a great shoe to clip to your harness or stuff into a day pack, but on the single aid pitch of the route, my feet were aching after standing in aiders.

Back to the good stuff, the breathability of the shoe is one of its greatest assets. While other approach shoes can make your feet hot and sweaty, leaving you ready to rip them off as soon as you can, the Rover breathes well, which improves the overall comfort of the shoe. On the other hand, if using it to hike through snow or in wet environments, the shoe will get you wet, so that’s something to consider.

Lastly, I was impressed with their durability compared with some of the other lightweight approach shoes I’ve sampled. I burned through two pairs of Evolv Cruzers in a summer, but after 6 months of solid use with over 50 days of walking, scrambling, and climbing, the Rovers are holding strong. I honestly expected the shoe to fall apart before writing this review, and almost made it a personal challenge to do so. I failed in that regard,  although, after much effort, they are at least starting to look used like a shoe should. The combination of the rubber toe rand and reinforced toe panels has helped the Rover persevere through repeated abuse.

At $125, the Rover isn’t cheap but it’s also in line with a lot of other approach shoes out there. At first I balked at the price, assuming the shoe wouldn’t be worth it and wouldn’t last. But, after extensive use and seeing how well it can perform, I’m sold.

If you’re looking for a lightweight shoe for shorter hikes and that can climb moderate terrain well, while later hanging indiscreetly from your harness, the Rover is worth a look.

Sizing: I am an 11 street shoe and that is the size I wore in these.

Retail is $125, more info and tech specs are available on the Patagonia website.

Mike Schneiter is the owner of Glenwood Climbing Guides.

CONTEST DETAILS: The good folks at Patagonia are so psyched to spread the love about this shoe that they’ve given us a pair to give away. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment about what you would do with these shoes this summer if you won them. Contest only available to US residents. One entry per person. Winners will be chosen by random drawing through the Splitter Choss super computer. Folks affiliated with Splitter Choss aren’t allowed to enter, more fine print, etc, etc, etc. Contest closes 5/23/14

Check out this video for more on the shoe from Patagonia:

Disclaimer: Wait! Before you go handing over your credit card number, ask yourself, do you really need to buy more new stuff? If so, this product is worth a look. In the spirit of full disclosure, it was provided to for the purpose of reviewing. Don’t worry, though, our integrity can’t be bought!

42 Responses to Patagonia Rover Review (& Giveaway!)

  1. What do I plan to use them for? Getting to the crags! I’m relatively new to the sport (I started last year) but I have fallen in love with it and all I ever want to do now is climb. I intend to hit the crags as much as possible this summer and a pair of approach shoes would be greatly welcomed!

    Marcos Montano May 9, 2014 at 2:26 pm
  2. I’d take them to Squeamish when I go on my rock climbing trip!

    Mike Bowsher May 9, 2014 at 2:38 pm
  3. linking up the Cathedral Range seems like a pretty good idea!

    ben May 9, 2014 at 2:55 pm
  4. Baboquivari – I’ve been staring at it every day on my drive to work.

    Cody May 9, 2014 at 3:28 pm
  5. I’ll use them for the intended purpose, approaches in toulumne and scrambling all around the sierra!

    brad May 9, 2014 at 3:51 pm
  6. I’m going to Switzerland for one and a half month of multi-pitch climbing. The long approaches and descents would be a great test for those shoes!

    Vincent May 9, 2014 at 5:23 pm
  7. Mauna Loa sea to summit.

    Vincent Franzen May 9, 2014 at 9:08 pm
  8. Use them to trail run before hitting up some sport routes in southern Illinois!

    Dan Boser May 9, 2014 at 10:41 pm
  9. The Rover trail shoes: Ain’t this somethin’? I told my pap and mam I was going to be a mountain man; acted like they was gut-shot. “Make your life go here, son. Here’s where the people is. Them mountains is for Indians and wild men.” “Mother Gue”, I says “the Rocky Mountains is the marrow of the world,” and by God, I was right. Keep your nose in the wind and your eye along the skyline!

    Bill Gibson May 10, 2014 at 12:52 am
  10. Looking forward to some alpine runs and ridge routes this summer, would be nice to have a nice sticky shoe for the 4th and low 5th class terrain.

    Ralph Kolva May 10, 2014 at 6:35 am
  11. I’d love to snag a pair to take out to Yosemite when I head out there in the early fall for a little trip (I’ve never been!)

    They’d be great for scrambling around the boulders of San Diego county too.

    Joe Kiefer May 10, 2014 at 10:27 am
  12. I would use them for all my planned hiking and trail running this summer!

    Wehaf May 10, 2014 at 10:33 am
  13. I would love to take them with me to the Lienzer Dolimites this July. Going to do some alpine and sport multi piches there. And my current approach shoes are fubar.

    Till May 11, 2014 at 6:58 am
  14. I’d use them for some alpine scrambles in the High Sierra, and then this fall I’d use them for approaches and descents in Red Rocks.

    Jon Moen May 11, 2014 at 9:27 am
  15. I would love to use these while I stand around drinking beer in Rifle talking about beta on routes I’ll never get up.

    Bryan Gall May 11, 2014 at 10:02 am
  16. Summertime approaches in the Needles!

    Josh May 11, 2014 at 12:56 pm
  17. After fishing season in alaska I would take them on any adventures I do up there and then they would be my go to approach shoe for any and all climbing through the Sierra Nevada. They will see all sorts of use in the High Sierra.

    Matt May 11, 2014 at 8:15 pm
  18. Perfect shoe for summer in the south with trips to crags and boulders. Would also be a lot nicer to clip to a harness than the bricks I’m wearing at the moment.

    Brian Payst May 12, 2014 at 9:29 am
  19. Runnin up dem flatirons!

    Matt May 12, 2014 at 10:39 pm
  20. Finish the Hilgard traverse in Southwest Montana and get my bail cam back!

    Parker Webb May 13, 2014 at 10:13 am
  21. I’d just wear them like any good piece of gear- from grocery shopping
    to approaching Castleton. On the way to ride the Colorado Trail or hiking
    Canyons of the Ancients National Moniment. And, probably around the office
    at the newspaper.

    Brandon Mathis May 13, 2014 at 11:19 am
  22. my friends make fun of my ghetto “approach sneakers.” make me cool, please

    Brooks Fortune May 13, 2014 at 11:23 am
  23. I’m going to be exploring the Shuteye Ridge area later this summer with my son on one occasion and a pal on another. Taking him backpacking for his b’day! That’s the perfect shakedown cruise for these shoes.

    Mongo like lightweight approach shoes that are durable!

    Eric O'Rafferty May 13, 2014 at 2:09 pm
  24. I would wear them to work

    Jon May 13, 2014 at 3:33 pm
  25. I’d use them to do the full Fitzroy ridge traverse next Austral summer 😉
    I hear you only need approach shoes for it!

    Kevin May 13, 2014 at 10:21 pm
  26. I’d wear them on long walks.

    My e-mail: blackasphodel(at)yahoo(dot)com

    BlackAsphodel May 13, 2014 at 10:57 pm
  27. I’d wear them climbing around Europe this summer. Arco, Osp, paklenica…enough said.

    Matt May 14, 2014 at 5:26 am
  28. There is a bouldering circuit two and a half miles out on single track into the woods from where I work, and I have been scheming at how to efficiently incorporate running out to the boulders after class before I bike home across town.

    Having a pair of Rover’s would hopefully enable me to bike to work in them, run out to the boulders, and crank out a circuit of 30 some boulder problems without having to pack dress shoes, running shoes, and climbing shoes. So far I am running out holding my rock shoes (I can’t stand running with a pack), but I would like to free up my hands for a water bottle.

    Paul Trendler May 14, 2014 at 6:34 am
  29. I’d use them when I go out to Pictured Rock, MI and Sandstone, MN.

    John May 14, 2014 at 12:41 pm
  30. I would wear them when we go to Yosemite this summer — hiking and climbing. They look very comfy!
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

    Carolsue May 16, 2014 at 2:21 am
  31. Run up the Santa Clara Divide road (closed since the Station Fire) and highball boulder at Mt. Pacifico in the Angeles National Forest. Please gimme them shoes!

    Mike DePatie May 18, 2014 at 11:57 am
  32. I injured my foot climbing about a month ago a little bit after I landed a job near Yosemite Valley this summer. Coming off of a climbing injury and trying to get back into the swing of things I am on the market for a trustworthy pair of approach shoes. This is my first time near the valley and Tuolomne Meadows area and I am looking forward to getting out there and experiencing what John Muir describes as the “first time he experienced Church in California.” Gotta love it!!

    Jeff Pod May 18, 2014 at 1:12 pm
  33. I would love a pair of Rovers fir a summer of cragging in Colorado, the Southeast, and beyond.

    Aaron May 18, 2014 at 6:41 pm
  34. I will use the Rover’s for my first trip to the Tetons, and beyond! My girlfriend and I are road tripping for one last glorious summer before grad school and we have a lot of classic moderate alpine routes on the tick list like the Owen-Spalding.

    Nick May 19, 2014 at 10:16 am
  35. I would drive immediately to the highest outdoor cliff and start climbing. 🙂

    Matt May 19, 2014 at 12:12 pm
  36. I’m new to climbing, and I’d love to win these to expand my horizons this summer!

    Ellen M. May 19, 2014 at 8:42 pm
  37. I will use the Patagonia Rover to wear while exploring The Appalachian trail that cuts through Pennsylvania and to hike/boulder with! I just moved to PA and am looking to explore this summer.

    Anthony C. May 20, 2014 at 8:10 am
  38. I would use these for approaches in CO, specifically RMNP, Clear Creek, Boulder Canyon and hopefully many more crags.

    Evan May 20, 2014 at 11:22 am
  39. These would be my go to trail runners and all purpose bumming around shoe!

    Eric M May 20, 2014 at 3:05 pm
  40. I would skip through the hills smiling.

    zac May 22, 2014 at 2:36 pm
  41. I would rock them to some sick multi pitch routes.

    Adam Floyd June 14, 2014 at 11:42 am
  42. Afghanistan. I’ve been looking for the perfect shoe for versatility, convenience, and style for daily wear in a harsh, combat environment. These guys would need to be ready for everything, from a quick physical training session run through the desert or burpees on the flight line, to being comfortable in a shura with local elders, to being tough enough to hold up in case “it” hits the fan in a fire fight. I think I found my go-to.

    Gerry Sims June 27, 2014 at 6:39 am
Locals Corner

Bulldog Creek Dog Walk (IV WI 4+)

Hayden Carpenter and Tom Bohanon recently repeated an obscure ice climb on the south side of Mt Sopris. Given a brief mention in Jack Robert’s ice guide, Bulldog Creek Walk is described as being 100 meters of WI 4. What they found was seven pitches of ice in a remote setting that makes for one […]

Connect with Us

Real Time Web Analytics