Arbpro Clip N' Step Boot Review
I have quite a long history with the Arbpro Clip n Step boots and I’d love to give you a long term review of these boots. I have gone through 2 pairs of these boots and would highly recommend them to anyone looking to get a solid boot for climbing trees. When it comes to footwear in tree work, I get between 1 -1.5 years out of a pair of boots and these boots have fallen into the same lifespan as others. Let’s get in depth on some of the pros and cons of this boot!
So to start off the review, I do tons of spike-less climbing as well as a ton of crane removals where I’m standing in my spikes all day long. I also have a really high arch. Other than that my feet are average size when it comes to width and length. I have worn boots from Carolina, Asolo, Salewa, and Arbpro. When I first started out climbing, I wore Carolina Lineman boots because everyone else I worked with was wearing them. The massive heels on them worked well spikes but also made me feel like I was going to a strip club to work the pole instead of going to work in trees! I then made the switch to Asolo Fugitives which are an all around amazing hiking boot that also double as a great tree climbing boot. I then switched to Salewa Mountain Trainers and then finally to the Arbpro Clip n Step, then the Arbpro Evo 2 then back to the Clip n Steps.
So after all those boots, I have to say that the Clip n Steps are one of my favorite boots. The soles are sticky and make climbing without spikes super easy. The sole is supposedly softer than other rubber compounds and is said to wear out faster on the ground while walking on pavement. I haven’t found this to be the case and they seem to wear at the same rate as any other boot I’ve worn. The boots are about the same amount of grip on wet limbs and icy ground as any other boot I’ve worn as well. So for the most part, the soles are comparable to other boots on the market.
At the time of my first pair of Clip n Steps, they were the only boot available that had the little fabric tether to attach your knee ascender to. This was great seeing as I hate the extra bulk of carrying a knee ascender in the first place and a foot loop was just an added amount of bulk. The fabric tether reduced the need for the foot loop on the knee ascender therefore making me much happier! Now the Clip n Steps as well as the EVO 2 are available with the knee ascender attachment tether. The tether is now replaceable as well which is a huge upgrade compared to the previous models that were deemed useless if you broke the tether. I will say that the tether is kind of a pain to get on the boot when you first get them but it is nothing to sway you away from these boots.
The fit of the boot is great! I do a lot of rock climbing and these boots feel a whole lot like my rock climbing shoes while in the tree. I love the laces that go to the toe and keep boots fitting snug and precise while aloft. The leather out is rugged and holds up well over time. The one downfall that I have always found with Arbpro boots is their laces. The laces are relatively delicate and don’t hold up as well as the rest of the boot. They can easily be replaced with inexpensive paracord if they do happen to break though but I would still love to see this issue addressed through Arbpro.
The eVent fabric has been great for the life of the boot as well. This fabric is similar to Goretex in it’s breathability as well as its waterproofing. If I’m standing in ankle deep water for long periods of time, yes, my feet will get wet but they don’t get wet when walking through dewy grass or anywhere after it rains. The boots are relatively warm but they also aren’t rated for a winter boot. I have worn them through winters in the Midwest for a couple years and I’ve yet to lose a toe from frostbite!
Wearing these boots with spikes is no big deal and I haven’t had an issue with losing the bottom of the shank off my heel, which is something I can not say about my Asolo boots. As great as they were, losing the shank was always such a pain to fix and made for some very non confidence inspiring climbing! The Arbpros haven’t had that issue at all . They have also been comfortable climbing in spikes all day without any foot fatigue or pain. Again, I have a high arch and I feel like this could also be a reason that I haven’t had any foot pain but I can’t say for sure. I’ve yet to really have a pair of boots that are super uncomfortable while wearing spikes.
Overall, the Arbpro Clip n Step are one of my favorite pairs of boots for all around climbing and general tree work in and out of the tree. The red color could be a bit off putting to some but I think they make for a highly visible boot that looks good while in the tree. The usual 1 to 1.5 year lifespan has been comparable to most other boots I’ve used and abused over the years as well. The great fit and comfort level make this a solid boot for a beginning climber or a veteran looking for their next boot!