The Cuesta is an amazing product, let down by one, completely subjective, flaw.
This is a much better approach shoe for UK conditions than the typical smooth, sticky rubber soled trainer.
Dotty rubber, and the like is great in California when the approach is half an hour up low angle granite slabs and talus. In the UK, you are more usually either hiking along a muddy path, down a steep grassy slope above a sea cliff or perhaps tramping across some moorland.
You might be able to climb Ewhatever in a pair of five tennies; but wobbling along the path beneath the upper tier at Gogarth after a bit of rain, you might as well dip your socks in Vaseline and throw the smooth soled shoes in the sea.
The rubber studs on the Cuestas work very well on soft, wet grass and mud. The shoe feels light, but appears very durable in the limited test time. The rubber rands around the toe are beefy enough to withstand being shoved into scree slopes and cracks.
The rubber feels sticky on rock; although the ‘studded’ sole means that the rubber studs tend to squirm about on smaller footholds. A narrow area of smooth rubber around the toe and inside edge would improve their climbing performance, with relatively little impact on the traction on soft ground.
The lacing system gives a good hold on the foot, and they do not suffer from rolling nearly as badly as many approach shoes when walking across slabs or twisting them into cracks. The pull-on tabs are solid enough to clip the shoes to, if you are carrying them on a route. They weight 398g for a pair of size 8s, which is about average for a pair of trainers.
The Cuestas are also really comfortable, with a good, snug, supportive fit straight out of the box.
They sound like an ideal pair of approach shoes, so what’s the downside? Well, they look terrible. They do come in other colours than the reviewed yellow and black, but would probably still look like a £10 pair of kids’ rugby boots in odd colours. One of the other colour options is the intruiging "oyster / grey squirrel", which sounds more like a slightly dubious starter than a shoe.
Approach shoes shouldn’t have to look particularly fashionable, but inoffensive would be nice. A scientific survey was taken to eliminate reviewer prejudice, and the Cuesta received an almost universal critical panning in the pub. Having said that, one questioned described them as ‘funky’, so perhaps they appeal to some…
Berghaus say: “A performance ascent shoe. Built around a sport
last allowing the low profile rand and asymetric lacing to sit
tightly to the foot for accurate ascenting and easy bouldering.
The low profile midsole coupled mutli-function Tri stud
outsole combine to give great cushioning and grip
in most conditions. EVA breath and an ortholite
sockliner create a superb comfort environment.
All held to the foot by the EHS system”
Berghaus are trying to say:
A really good approach shoe for UK conditions; designed for people with ‘individual’ taste, or those who don’t care what their shoes look like.
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