Home » Black Diamond Circuit Approach Review | Good for Casual Use?

Black Diamond Circuit Approach Review | Good for Casual Use?

The Black Diamond Circuit Approach is marketed as a shoe that can be worn for a little bit of everything. I thought this was really cool because I’m always looking for hike, approach, and workout hybrid training shoes.

Overall, I like the appearance of the Black Diamond Circuit Approach and they do a fairly good job for working out and light hikes. The knit upper breathes well and the BlackLabel-Street sticky rubber outsole grips different surfaces pretty well.

However, despite liking their appearance and the idea behind them, I have found a few key cons with the Black Diamond Circuit Approach shoes and I’ll discuss those below.

In this Black Diamond Circuit Approach review, I’m going to discuss a variety of categories to help you decide if this model is a good fit for you.

Black Diamond Circuit Approach Performance Review

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Who Should Invest In the Black Diamond Circuit Approach?

The Black Diamond Circuit Approach shoes can be a good option for anyone wanting a shoe that they can wear out and about casually, for light hikes, and for light to moderate workouts.

This shoe does an adequate job in all of these contexts and I think if this shoe aligns well with your foot anatomy and shoe aesthetic preferences, then you’ll enjoy the Black Diamond Circuit Approach shoes.

Black Diamond Circuit Approach Review

In the gym, this shoe is stable enough for lifts up to 365 lbs and their versatility is okay. They also look pretty good when dressed up and can be a fairly good option for light hikes in warmer months.

That being said, if you have wide feet or need a shoe for serious training or hiking, then you’ll want to pass on this model. This shoe has a narrow fit and lacks long-term durability and the ability to be a serious performer.

Black Diamond Circuit Approach

$109.95

Black Diamond Circuit Approach Shoes Product Shot
3.5
Stability
4.0
Versatility
4.1
Durability
3.0

Best For

  • Light Hikes
  • Easy to Moderate Difficulty Terrains
  • Casual Workouts
  • Narrow Feet
  • Casual Wear

Falls Short

  • For Long-Term Durability
  • For Wide Feet
  • For Serious Training

Black Diamond Circuit Approach Pros

Over the course of my testing with the Black Diamond Circuit Approach, I’ve found multiple pros to enjoy with this model.

  1. Knit Upper Breathes Well and Is Comfortable
  2. Good Hybrid Shoe for Narrow Feet
  3. Look Great for Casual Wear and Can Be Dressed Up

The first aspect to like about the Black Diamond Circuit Approach shoes is their upper construction. I really enjoy the knit upper in this model and it provides a comfortable fit with a nice level of breathability.

Black Diamond Circuit Approach Knit Upper

I could see the Circuit Approach as being a good three-season shoe. The knit is heavy enough for foot warmth with socks on cooler days, but light enough to keep the feet relatively cool on hot days when wearing thin socks.

This model can technically work in four seasons, but I think you’ll want to avoid wearing them in cooler snowier months. Their minimalist sole construction and knit upper absorb water which would be less than ideal for winter hikes and snow.

Testing the Black Diamond Circuit Approach for hiking

The second aspect to like about the Black Diamond Circuit Approach is its ability to perform as a hybrid-style training shoe. This model is designed to be used for daily wear, working out, and hiking with some light scrambling.

Overall, I think this shoe delivers in these contexts and is much better served for more casual training and hiking sessions. I think if you go into this model understanding this, then you’ll be happy with this shoe’s performance.

Testing the Black Diamond Circuit Approach for lifting

In the gym, their stability is good up to about 365 lbs for light to moderate loading, they should work well. They’re also pretty comfortable which makes them an easy pick for light hikes where the terrain isn’t too technical.

The final thing to light about the Black Diamond Circuit Approach is its appearance and aesthetic. While appearance is subjective, I feel like this is a really good-looking shoe for what it is.

Testing the Black Diamond Circuit Approach for daily wear

You can dress this model up pretty well and the colorways they offer go with different outfits pretty well. I could see this being a good pick for someone that wants a shoe for commuting and running errands, then going to be active. 

Black Diamond Circuit Approach Cons

I enjoy the Black Diamond Circuit Approach for certain contexts, however, they do come with a few cons that take away from their overall performance.

  1. Durability Could Be A Lot Better
  2. Not Great for Wider Feet
  3. Falls Short for Serious Training and Hiking

The first drawback to the Black Diamond Circuit Approach which is also my biggest knock against them is their durability. More specifically, I think the rubber toe wrap in this model needs to be reworked.

In my model, the toe wrap started to lip and peel off after a few training sessions and one 10-mile hike. I’m hoping this is just a one-off case, but after reading other reviews, it seems to be a common problem with this model.

Black Diamond Circuit Approach Durability

The hike where I noticed this happening was also pretty casual in nature. We hiked to Lake Isabelle via the Lefthand Reservoir and the terrain is pretty easy throughout. This is also why I’d say pass on this model for more technical hikes.

The second knock that I have against the Black Diamond Circuit Approach is their sizing and fit. This model runs pretty narrowly which is a bummer because I think this limits this model’s potential of being a good fit for those with wider feet.

Black Diamond Circuit Approach Sizing

Even if you size up in this model, I’m not convinced they’ll be wide enough in the toe box for many. I have a neutral-width foot and found this model to be too tight through the toe box. My feet were not happy after that 10-mile hike in them.

For working out and hiking, I felt less stable moving laterally due to the narrowness of this shoe’s midfoot and toe box. I think if Black Diamond widened this model’s last, then they’d be a much stronger performer.

My last drawback with the Black Diamond Circuit Approach is their performance for more serious training and hiking. With hybrid-style training shoes, you can sometimes run into the issues of their performance decreasing as you get more niche with your sessions.

Black Diamond Circuit Approach for Training and Hiking

I think this stands true for this model for two key reasons. First, the durability for this model just isn’t there, especially if you want to take them on gnarly hikes. Second, the width can be limiting for both training and walking which can then impact overall stability.

Performance

To discuss the performance of the Black Diamon Circuit Approach shoes, I’m going to break this section into three key performance areas. I’m going to discuss how the Circuit Approach does for working out, hiking, and daily wear.

This way, if you’re considering this model, you can get a well-rounded idea of their performance to see if they fit your individual context and needs well.

Black Diamond Circuit Approach Performance Overview

Testing the Black Diamond Circuit Approach for Working Out

In the context of working out, the Black Diamond Circuit Approach’s performance is just “okay”. They’ll get the job done for more casual lifting and versatile training but will fall short as you get more serious.

For example, these would not be my first pick for heavy leg days, but for more casual strength training they do an okay job. The EVA midsole provides enough stability for lifts up to about 365 lbs.

reviewing the Black Diamond Circuit Approach for lifting

The rubber outsole also provides a nice level of traction. I could see these being a good option for anyone wanting a pair of shoes for more accessory days where the goals are more general strength and metabolic work.

If you’re wanting a shoe for serious lifting and CrossFit, then you’ll want to look into other models. The lack of width and durability in these shoes is a serious turnoff for serious training.

reviewing the Black Diamond Circuit Approach for lifting Weights

Testing the Black Diamond Circuit Approach for Hiking

When it comes to hiking, this shoe is good for more casual stuff, but I’m not sold that will deliver for technical hikes. This shoe is intended to be a hybrid model that can work for hikes and scrambles up to rock climbing areas.

For hiking, this model delivers a pretty comfortable ride. They walk a good line between feeling minimalist with a good level of articulation while also giving you protection from rocks and different surfaces.

reviewing the Black Diamond Circuit Approach for rock scrambles

The BlackLabel-Street sticky rubber outsole with diamond lugs also does a pretty good job with traction on different rocky surfaces. They did a pretty good job when navigating gravel and loose terrain, but did lack a little bit on rocks that were damp.

This shoe has potential, but the durability issue I ran into with this shoe makes me hesitant to recommend them to those who are much more serious with their approach shoes.

reviewing the Black Diamond Circuit Approach for hikes

If you’re investing over $100 USD for shoes, then they should last — at a minimum — a few months void of notable durability issues.

Testing the Black Diamond Circuit Approach for Daily Wear

On a daily wear basis, the Black Diamond Circuit Approach is pretty good, but they could be so much better with a better fit. The good with these shoes include their appearance, collapsible heel, and outsole.

This shoe looks good and you can wear them in a variety of contexts and outfits which is a perk for those wanting a shoe primarily for daily use. I also like the collapsible heel on this model and I feel as though that’s an underrated construction perk.

reviewing the Black Diamond Circuit Approach for walking

If you need these to slip on quickly when changing shoes or taking the dogs out, for example, then this comes in handy. You can slide these on and not stress breaking the boot.

My gripe with this model is once again their overall fit. With a wider last and a bit more arch support, I think this model would fare much better for a wider range of folks.

reviewing the Black Diamond Circuit Approach for day to day

Black Diamond Circuit Approach Sizing

When it comes to sizing for the Black Diamon Circuit Approach, I’d suggest sizing up a half size or a full size. This model’s length runs a little short and its width is narrow which gives them a pretty snug fit.

That being said, if you have narrow feet, size up a half size. If you have neutral width feet, size up a half size if you like snugger fits, and go up a full size if you like more room in your toe box. For wide feet, I’d suggest passing on this model.

Overall, I wish this model had more width in its toe box and the lack of width in this shoe is a major knock to its potential on longer hikes and when training.

  • Black Diamond Circuit Approach Sizing Thoughts: Go up .5 size to full size.

Black Diamond Circuit Approach Sizing and Fit

If you have additional sizing and fit questions on the Black Diamond Circuit Approach, drop a comment below and I can help you out accordingly.

Price Breakdown

For the Black Diamond Circuit Approach, you can expect to pay $109.95 USD. While this price isn’t as high as other top training shoes and approach shoes, I still think it’s pretty high for what this shoe offers.

I think if you can find this model on sale for around $85-90 USD, then they could be worth it if you like their style and plan to use them more casually for daily wear, working out, and hiking.

Why I think this model’s price is a little too high is due to their sizing and long-term durability. This model could be more comfortable if it had a wider fit and the materials are less than stellar with durability.

Black Diamond Circuit Approach

$109.95

Black Diamond Circuit Approach Shoes Product Shot
3.5
Stability
4.0
Versatility
4.1
Durability
3.0

Best For

  • Light Hikes
  • Easy to Moderate Difficulty Terrains
  • Casual Workouts
  • Narrow Feet
  • Casual Wear

Falls Short

  • For Long-Term Durability
  • For Wide Feet
  • For Serious Training

Construction Details

Below I’ve listed some of the key construction details to note about the Black Diamond Circuit Approach shoes. These construction details influence this model’s overall performance and durability.

  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: N/A
  • Weight: 11.10 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Knit Upper
  • BlackLabel-Street Sticky Rubber Outsole (With Diamond Lugs)
  • Collapsible Heel
  • Rubber Toe Guard
  • Eva Midsole
  • 6 Core Eyelets

If you have additional construction questions about the Black Diamond Circuit Approach shoes, drop a comment below.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q:
Do the Black Diamond Circuit Approach shoes fit true to size?

A:
The Black Diamond Circuit Approach shoes will fit true to size for those with narrow feet. If you have neutral feet, then size up a half size, and if you have wide feet, I'd suggest passing on this model.

Q:
Are the Black Diamond Circuit Approach shoes good for hiking?

A:
The Black Diamond Circuit Approach shoes are an okay model for casual hiking. This shoe will work best on easy to moderate terrains and trails that are somewhat shorter in length.

Q:
Can you workout in the Black Diamond Circuit Approach shoes?

A:
I like the Black Diamond Circuit Approach shoes for more casual training. When it comes to serious lifting and training, I'm not the biggest fan of the Circuit Approach shoes due to their narrow construction.

Takeaway Thoughts

Overall, the Black Diamond Circuit Approach shoes are a fairly good shoe for working out, daily wear, and light hiking. This model has a clean refined appearance and a pretty minimalist vibe to them which could be a hit for some.

I think if you have narrow or neutral width feet and you can find the Circuit Approach shoes on sale, then they could be worth investing in, especially if you want them for casual use.

That being said, the Black Diamon Circuit Approach is not my favorite hybrid-style training shoe on the market due to its fit and performance. I also think this shoe’s durability needs a buff, especially around the toe box.

If you have additional questions on the Black Diamond Circuit Approach, drop a comment below or reach out to me personally via Instagram (@jake_boly or @that_fit_friend).

That Fit Friend is a site that is supported by myself (Jake Boly) and its readers. If you purchase products through affiliates links on this site, then I may receive a small commission on the sale. These commissions help keep the lights on here at That Fit Friend so I can continue to create content and they help me purchase new models to review!

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Jake Boly

I've been in the fitness and strength training industry for nearly a decade. In that time, I've trained hundreds of clients, written thousands of articles, reviewed over 100+ pairs of training shoes, and have produced a large list of training videos. I live and breathe fitness and training gear, and I think it's important that reviewers walk the walk with the gear they're testing. As for my educational background, I have my Masters in Sports Science, Bachelors in Exercise Science, and have my CSCS.

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