Time For A Shoe Checkup?

Time For A Shoe Checkup?

A confluence of factors have led me to the inescapable conclusion that I need to buy a new pair of climbing shoes.

The first factor is that I haven’t bought a new pair of shoes in almost two years, and due to a healthy stockpile I still have shoes in the rotation that are in some cases 7-10 years old.  With my aging Five Ten V10’s suffering a devastating pull-tab rip the other week I’m starting to brace myself for the eventual retirement of these old standbys, and the rest of my collection is, frankly, looking worse for the wear.

The second factor is that in mid-June Mrs. Narc and I will be visiting the Front Range, and it would be nice to have a fresh pair of shoes at the ready for the bouldering we’ll be doing.  Given my inability to “train” for more than a week at a time without hurting something I’m going to need all the help I can get to climb anything in RMNP or Mt. Evans.

The final factor, and perhaps the tipping point in the whole matter, is the 5.10 Days Of May promotion running this week at Rock/Creek which is offering 10-30% off my favorite brand of shoes, Five Ten.

Rock/Creek's 5.10 Days Of May

While I’m still hoping to wake up one day and realize that the discontinuation of my beloved V10’s was all just a bad dream, I’m starting to think I’ll just have to move on.  And while new models from Five Ten like the Quantums are certainly tempting (even if they’re not on sale) I’m feeling like I may be inclined to stick with something I know I’ll enjoy like the always reliable Dragons.

With this indecision in mind I’m curious to hear from you, the trusted reader, about what your favorite climbing shoe is these days.  While I’ve been on the Five Ten bandwagon for the better part of 10 years now I’m certainly open to hearing about shoes from other companies, so don’t let that discourage you if La Sportiva, Evolv or a different brand makes your shoe of choice.  Besides, it does seem to be the year for people to be switching their shoe loyaltiess so fire away in the comments…

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66 Responses to Time For A Shoe Checkup?

  1. Scotty Vegas May 3, 2011 at 1:34 pm #

    Oh man. up to 30% off!? Let’s check the Blackings… $114! I know what I’m buying on Friday!

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  2. Jeremy Devine May 3, 2011 at 1:39 pm #

    I’ve tried a couple five-tens before but they don’t seem to fit my low volume feet well. I’ve been climbing on the Scarpa Women’s Thunder for a year and a half now and I could live with only this model forever! They’re simply the best all around precision shoe I’ve tried. I climb a lot of steep face, cracks, and slab where they excel. I can definitely heel hook in them, but over-hung bouldering attempting to grab micro edges or pockets with the toe would be the only difficulty. But my climbing style doesn’t really have a lot of that. I mainly climb steep trad and I wouldn’t want any other shoe for the job!

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    • Narc May 3, 2011 at 1:43 pm #

      Cool! Where do you climb all this steep trad??

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      • Jeremy Devine May 3, 2011 at 1:54 pm #

        It works great for Adirondacks, NY; JTree; Red Rocks; North Carolina; NH; I use it at Rumney, but I’m feeling like a different shoe for overhanging might be in order.

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    • Carlos Lugo May 3, 2011 at 2:57 pm #

      If you have a low volume foot, try La Sportiva. I’ve been wearing the 5.10 Team since they dropped. LOVE the shoe, but the 5.10 heel has always been a little “baggy” for my foot.
      Switched to the new La Sportiva Python yesterday. Heel is a much, much better fit for me.

      If 5.10 works for your foot shape, they make superb shoes– but i think nature has built me to be a La Sportiva guy…

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  3. Kaleb May 3, 2011 at 1:42 pm #

    The Optimus prime is by far my favourite bouldering shoe, and I go through shoes a lot, so i have had most of the shoes worth having. My Shaman’s are in the mail, and they are supposed to be amazing, so its worth trying those pairs on. But ya, I am in love with the rounded toe box on the optimus prime, weird to get used to, but amazing!!

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  4. Laura May 3, 2011 at 1:43 pm #

    I just purchased a new pair of shoes – my first “women’s” shoe, and so far, so good. Like you, I’m usually a Five Ten buyer, but this time I switched to the La Sportiva Miuras (women’s, and in this case, lace up). I’m also usually a velcro kind of girl, but I was swayed by a $50 savings if I bought the Miuras and I’ve been happy thus far. My usual men’s Anasazi velcros are getting resoled, so I haven’t given up on them! I’m a big believer in finding the best shoe at the right price – I just have trouble swallowing a $150 price tag! Good luck with your shopping.

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  5. Matt de Camara May 3, 2011 at 1:50 pm #

    I’ve been hooked on 5.10 as well. I can’t get away from the Anasazi’s. Stealth rubber is bomber.

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  6. Marten May 3, 2011 at 1:59 pm #

    i’ve just got the blackwings 2 weeks ago and they are way more comfy than the dragons

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    • Narc May 3, 2011 at 2:01 pm #

      Interesting. In what way??

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      • Scotty Vegas May 3, 2011 at 2:09 pm #

        They’re not quite as stiff as the Dragons. Plus the velcro closure and the tongue are super super comfortable. The shoe was just more pleasant to wear and climb in than the Dragons. They’re even sensitive enough to smear really well. I demoed them twice and like them better than my Soltuions.

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      • Marten May 3, 2011 at 2:12 pm #

        dont know for sure but the mix of padded tongue, bigger holes on the toe box and this strange upper might be the reason. it kind of conforms to my feet better when warmed up / properly sweated. heel feels a little bit more squishy though but hooks fine.

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      • Tyler May 3, 2011 at 5:57 pm #

        I agree. I have solutions, but I made the mistake of demoing blackwings, and now I kinda really want to switch.. They’re just a lot more sensitive than the solutions, and I like the heel a whole lot more. Very good shoe.

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  7. Zac Wasielewski May 3, 2011 at 2:26 pm #

    I’m a huge fan of 5.10s, but picked up the La Sportiva Miuras on a whim last year and they immediately became my everyday bouldering shoe. The balance of comfort and performance is perfect. I occasionally pull out the 5.10 Projects for my hardest climbs, but the Miuras feel so good I usually don’t bother.

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  8. Duke May 3, 2011 at 2:34 pm #

    The Dragons are my go-to bouldering/hard sport shoe. Haven’t found anything that locks your foot in like the laces do. That being said, I’ve been tempted to try a pair of Quantums just to see…

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  9. Mtnpaul May 3, 2011 at 2:41 pm #

    I was a long time Five Ten user but when they changed the heel on my favorite shoe, the Anasazi Velcro, and it fit me totally different I went looking for new shoes. After trying a few different shoes I’ve finally settled on the Scarpa Instinct S and absolutely love it. I was never a slipper guy but this shoe blows me away with it’s power AND sensitivity. I never though I could get both in the same shoe.

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  10. Carlos Lugo May 3, 2011 at 2:54 pm #

    Not to point out the obvious, but if you’re a huge fan of the V10s, why not move to the Team 5.10? The Team is a rework of the V10. It has all of the same features– even potentially built on the same last. I think it’s actually the exact same shoe with slightly snugger heel, a strap, and a new color.

    I’ve been wearing the Teams since they were first released… really solid shoe. I’ve only JUST (literally as of yesterday) switched to the La Sportiva Python because i have a tendency to fix what ain’t broke.

    But if you’re a V10 guy, the Team 5.10 is pretty much Five Ten doing you a favor by adding improvements to your favorite climbing shoe…

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      • Narc May 3, 2011 at 3:05 pm #

        Now this tidbit is very interesting. It just so happens that I have a brand new pair of the regular Team shoes in a box in my basement that I had kind of forgotten about. I wasn’t too psyched on breaking them out because of the sizing problem I mentioned below with the LEs.

        Very intriguing…but don’t tell this to Mrs Narc otherwise she might not be as keen about me buying yet another pair of something different 🙂

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        • Carlos Lugo May 3, 2011 at 5:18 pm #

          It’s sorta annoying… I actually got the non-LE (“regular”) first. Took me a few tries to get the size right, but it worked out.
          When i got a second replacement pair, I ended up getting the LE’s (they were discounted somewhere) in the same size. Couldn’t figure out why the breaking in process was so painful.
          On a whim, i tried on another pair of the regular ones (same size) at Miguel’s and immediately noticed the difference in fit.
          After some googling, i realized that they apparently “fixed” the size issue introduced by the LE.

          Anyway, hope it works out for you!

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    • Narc May 3, 2011 at 3:03 pm #

      As you noted I do have the Team shoes. I do like them but the fact that the
      pair I have is so hard to get on gets old after awhile

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      • bteamclimbing May 3, 2011 at 3:45 pm #

        Hard to get on means hard to get off, which is a plus in my book. They get easier with time as well. Also try putting your shoe on differently, or using the plastic bag technique.

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        • Narc May 3, 2011 at 3:50 pm #

          I’ve had mine for a couple of years and it definitely has gotten easier but I would like to be able to take them on and off a bit more easily, especially when bouldering in cold weather. Perhaps some sort of shoe horn is worth trying…

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  11. randy May 3, 2011 at 2:57 pm #

    sportiva. solutions or testarossas.

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  12. Doug Lipinski May 3, 2011 at 3:00 pm #

    I really want to like Five Ten, but I have pretty narrow feet and I’ve just never found a pair that worked for me. I’m one of the huge number of fans of the sportiva Testarossas. I used those and one other pair for 5 years before a resole last fall. I think I have fairly precise footwork, but that’s pretty impressive durability. They’re still my shoe of choice for all bouldering/sport near my limit. I think those plus a cheaper, more comfortable shoe are all I need. I haven’t bought a pair of shoes since 2003 (took almost 2 years off in there) so I really haven’t tried any of the newer models other than the Solutions which fit similarly to the Testarossas, but are a bit less sensitive/flexible.

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    • Scotty Vegas May 3, 2011 at 3:35 pm #

      You may try the Blackwings. I’ve got a really narrow foot and the only shoes that have fit me well in the past have been Sportivas. I’ve got a pair of Miura lace and Solutions. The Blackwings fit just as well as my Solutions and there wasn’t any mushiness in the heel.

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  13. Cadydreams May 3, 2011 at 3:34 pm #

    La Sportiva fan here. I climb in the Solutions alot and love them immensely. I have a narrow foot so the 5.10’s don’t work for. At least the older styles I have tried on previously, not sure about the newer models though. I am also liking my testarossas more and more.

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    • Micah June 3, 2011 at 4:32 am #

      I also have a narrow foot, wore through 3 pairs of solutions since they were first introduced, and decided to switch it up and try the Teams recently. I was pleasantly surprised by the fit of the toe box and the heel, and i’ve been enjoying them quite a bit.

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  14. bteamclimbing May 3, 2011 at 3:44 pm #

    Heres a review of the new Hornet by 5.10 (http://bteamclimbing.wordpress.com/2011/05/01/these-shoes-have-me-buzzing/) One of my new favorite shoes.

    Also, if your dont have the 5.10 Teams shoe, you need to get a pair. Immediately.

    BTEAM

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  15. Jasin Nazim May 3, 2011 at 4:10 pm #

    Evolv Defy. At the rate I go through shoes, its the most I can spend. While they may not be top of the line, I am sure that they could climb harder than I can

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  16. ajw May 3, 2011 at 4:34 pm #

    Check out the new Evolv Shamans

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  17. Jeremy May 3, 2011 at 5:05 pm #

    Geeze this is the blind trying to lead, get off the 5.10 and la sportiva band wagon and actually open your eyes to cheaper and BETTER PERFORMING shoes. In the past i’d be one of the first to down talk Madrock, but with their new shoe designs and rubber, they are quickly becoming one of the top shoe companies out there. Try the con- series or the new demon, they will blow you away. There’s a reason why Sasha, Obe and Rob D rock them. Dont’ hate till you try em, and at $50 less than those bandwagon shoes you have no reason not to.

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  18. ian May 3, 2011 at 5:49 pm #

    I used to be a Dragon devotee, but I’ve recently switched to the Scarpa Instinct S, on the endorsement of Dave MacLeod. It outperforms the dragon at everything but severe heelhooking (and the difference is minimal), they’re more comfortable, better constructed, and cheaper. Plus they’re orange.

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  19. mark May 3, 2011 at 6:27 pm #

    I’m a sportiva addict. For hard boulders, the Solutions are pretty hard to beat; they come on and off pretty quickly once broken in, they stick to small nubs impressively well, and the heel hooks feel amazingly secure. -Mark

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  20. Josh May 3, 2011 at 6:41 pm #

    Thanks for the heads up on the sale at Rock/Creek. I’ve been dying to get a pair of Blackwings, and even though I don’t need new shoes yet, I’m taking advantage of the lower price tag.

    I wear a size ten in the 5.10 Team shoes (regular, not LE), what size would that work out to in the Blackwings? Has anyone worn both styles that can comment on how the sizes correlate with each other?

    While I’m at it, I do have to say that I love the 5.10 Team shoe. It was a revelation once they were broken in, but it took a couple of painful weeks before they started to feel good. The heel is the best I’ve tried and never slips. They are very sensitive, and the aggressive toe is great for overhanging problems. The slipper style fully conforms to your feet, almost like you’re not wearing shoes. The only complaint I could make is that they can sometimes be too sensitive. Overall, they’re the best shoes I’ve worn, by far.

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  21. Steve May 3, 2011 at 7:03 pm #

    If you really dig the V10 you owe a look at the Cava T-rex Raptor. It is the same shoe.

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  22. Hayes May 3, 2011 at 7:45 pm #

    5.10 Teams. They’re my business shoes. they have an awesome toe and heel

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  23. Josh Olson May 3, 2011 at 9:49 pm #

    I don’t know much about 5.10 vs. evolv, but I would suggest checking out the Pontas. I started on a set of 5.10 spires, and switched to the evolv defy. From there I got the Optimus Primes, then the Pontas. I got them in lace for trad, but I was pleasantly surprised when I took them to some steeper stuff. The shoe fits me perfectly, meaning wonderful heel hooks, and the edging is amazing. Climbing routes in the sandstone belt of Wisconsin means that edging is the main focus of my shoe, so I guess my opinion should be taken with a grain of salt.

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  24. Spro1 May 3, 2011 at 10:09 pm #

    Climbing for a decade, you are no doubt aware of the single greatest shoe ever created, the La Sportiva Miura’s.

    Check Adam Ondra’s scorecard for awesome shoe confirmation.

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    • Narc May 4, 2011 at 11:07 am #

      He is kind of ruining this whole argument isn’t he??

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  25. badger May 3, 2011 at 11:01 pm #

    Scarpa has some great shoes lately. I have the Instincts in lace-up, and the craftsmanship, fit and performance are top of the line. And the Vapor velcros might be the best all-around shoes I’ve ever worn- like and Anasazi velcro, but with a better heel and slight downturn.

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  26. Jimmy Webb May 3, 2011 at 11:27 pm #

    Just got a pair of the new La Sportiva Pythons.. and I can’t believe how good they are!

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    • Carlos Lugo May 4, 2011 at 4:29 am #

      Agreed. I started breaking them in yesterday. It’s like the Teams and the Solutions made a baby…

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  27. Spraynard Winfield Kruger May 4, 2011 at 12:46 am #

    No one has mentioned these yet, but the Jet7’s are incredible *unless* you have ladylike heel dimensions….still even with my heel deformity i highly recommend these…

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  28. Brian Antheunisse May 4, 2011 at 1:28 am #

    Ive started to really think about what factors go into a shoe being the “best,” and usually the different factors i think about include things like fit, rubber, quality of materials, price, quality of company, etc.

    Different companies invest their designs usually into one or a few of these qualities. For instance, its a pretty well known idea that fiveten puts a lot of work and science into their rubber. Evolv seems to have some of the cheapest shoes on the market, along with Madrock, who also seems to put some work into rubber. I wont confess to knowing much about Scarpa, except that they seem to be similar to sportiva (because of a converted shoe-designer or something?), both of which seem to put the most work into the science behind how the shoe fits your foot. Sportiva and scarpa also use vibram, which is an entirely separate company basically devoted to rubber…

    Ive thought about which seems to be the most important and ive come to these conclusions:

    Rubber: As more and more science seems to be put into rubber, in virtually every company, i’ve decided it really does not matter very much anymore. 999 times out of a 1000 (or maybe more) I do not fall off a climb because my foot slipped due to an error that could have been fixed by a stickier rubber. I fell because i didn’t place my foot correctly on the foothold, or i wasn’t pushing hard enough on my toe to keep the friction. Maybe back in the day, the difference between fiveten and other companies rubber was like the difference between a square wheel and a circular wheel. But nowadays its like each company is fighting to prove who’s wheel is closer to a completely perfect circle, when, if you really think about it, doesnt really matter anymore. If you get into an accident that was your fault, it wasnt because your wheel wasnt circular enough, or even if your tires rubber wasnt sticky enough, it was because you made a mistake. Maybe fiveten has the stickiest rubber, but considering how close every single company is to it, i dont think this is an important enough quality to rely on when making a decision like buying a shoe.

    Quality of materials (and price): Ive been climbing about 12 years, and ive gone through every major shoe company you find in america, and i almost always find at least SOMETHING that is poor quality on the shoe. My fivetens would always bust holes through the toes sooner than any other shoe (with the exception of Madrock, but i feel like the all-knowing Climbingnarc wouldnt make such a rookie mistake, buying Madrock). This would cause me to get them resoled or replaced. Lets face it. Resoling shoes is not practical unless you truly cannot afford another pair. With Evolv, Ive had trouble with pulltabs, ripping heel cups, laces ripping, velcro straps breaking…etc. When it comes down to it, the price of the shoes really reflect the quality of the product. The two most prestigious shoe companies are the two most expensive shoe companies, sportiva and fiveten. Everything cheaper than these two i would argue is of a proportionately poorer quality, with the super cheap madrock coming in last place. I mean, come on, LaSportiva is handmade from italian leather.

    Quality of company: The clearest way to prove your company’s quality…is how long your company has survived. Poor quality companies dont make enough money, therefore only the best survive, with the best of the best at the top with enough money to do research and improve their product. Evolv, even though they have had incredible success early on, has only been around about 6 or 7 years. Madrock only a little longer. Five ten however has been around for over 20, and LaSportiva is currently celebrating their 80th anniversary.

    Fit: How the shoe fits your foot is an incredible quality that i believe is the most important, and i think many people will agree with this. Without a doubt, LaSportiva is leading the way in innovation of new concepts in shoe construction.

    As it has become obvious, I believe LaSportiva is the best shoe company on the market. They are still selling unedited designs of shoes they made 10 years ago, as well as releasing incredibly innovative designs with actual science behind the designs. Fiveten, on its website, prides itself in a lot of “firsts,” all of which are really impressive, however that was then, not now. Check out the catalog page for the Solution:

    http://lasportiva.com/catalogue/catalogo.php?cat=10&cod3=199&Language=EN#

    Theres 5 different tabs to click on that go into, with pictures and extreme detail, the science behind their shoes. They even have such unique designs that some of them are even patented, like the P3. All five ten has at each of their shoe pages is a little paragraph describing the different midsole, or the asymmetrical last, or whatever the shoe has.

    Theres a reason almost all of the best american (or even the world’s best) climbers, who can probably have whatever sponsors they like, chose LaSportiva. They are the best. The incredible quality even makes up for the price. After trying the solutions, I immediately tried to switch my shoe sponsor from evolv to sportiva, and i was rejected. Instead of continuing to promote a company i no longer thought was the best, i chose to have no sponsor and to buy my own solutions, and i would try again next year. This kind of sucked at first, but when my first pair of solutions lasted me TWICE as long as any other shoe i had ever had, I was hooked. It was actually cheaper to wear a better shoe, because in the same time it took for that pair of solutions to need a replacement, I would have had to buy two pairs of any other companies shoes.

    Climbingnarc, do yourself a favor and buy a pair of solutions. They are without a doubt the best shoe on the market, especially for bouldering, and this is coming from someone who has actually tried all of the best shoes, not just someone who got one pair of shoes they liked, and never bought another pair since. Thats like saying Vanilla is the best ice cream when you havent even tried chocolate! (and we all know chocolate is the best…)

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    • Colin May 4, 2011 at 2:38 am #

      Agreed 100% on La Sportiva. But for my particular foot shape, the Miura VS’s fit like a glove and they’re my shoe of choice. I’ll keep buying them until Sportiva stops production…and if/when that happens, I’ll probably buy another 10 pairs and keep them in storage.

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    • Paul N May 4, 2011 at 4:26 am #

      Brian I think your thoughts are dead on and to add to it I would say the lesser know Scarpa is right there with La Sportiva as far as quality and design. Definitely an underdog in the US (and maybe Europe for all I know) they make all their shoes in Italy and as you mentioned are now working with the same designer who created a lot the famous Sportiva shoes like the Miura and the Mythos. Scarpa rock shoes have come a long way in the last two or three years and they might be harder to find but are worth looking at for sure.

      If I had to rank companies based on your criteria I’d put La Sportiva and Scarpa at the top of the pyramid as the two Italian companies pushing design and quality followed by Five Ten and Evolv who have decent designs but manufacture in Asia which just can’t match the attention to detail the Italians have.

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    • bteamclimbing May 4, 2011 at 5:31 am #

      Shouldn’t you be studying instead, Brian?

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      • Brian Antheunisse May 4, 2011 at 6:12 am #

        actually, yes…. :/

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    • Narc May 4, 2011 at 11:08 am #

      Great comment, Brian. Thanks for procrastinating from your studies long enough to share that! I will definitely consider the Solutions…

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    • Haynes May 4, 2011 at 10:22 pm #

      what about boreal, Bryan. they have been around for a long time, have hood quality, and INVENTED sticky rubber.
      I’m pretty sure the fires are just as good now as they were way back when. I mean really, the only shoes that even come close to matching the performance of boreals are flip flops from walmart.

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  29. Ronnie Dickson May 4, 2011 at 1:36 am #

    Hey Brian, here is my two cents. I just got a pair of Evolv Geshidos, but really just one shoe because I only have one leg. I have been rocking them out and they are my favorite shoe of all time already. They are more aggresive than a straight last shoe without having the outrageous downturn that only works on super steep terrain. They seem to mold to your foot like a glove and the heel cup is bomber. The new way Evolv is finishing their rubber sticks like super glue, and lastly as a one legged climber who is starting to work into the V8 grade I need every advantage I can get! So if Evolv can help me climb V8 with one leg just imagine what it can do for you with two!

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  30. Marcus Moreno May 4, 2011 at 5:44 am #

    La Sportiva Cobras are the most comfortable high-performing shoes I’ve ever worn by far. I’ve tried dragons, team 5.10’s, pontas, optimus, even miuras and solutions (Go La Sportiva!) but never had anything fit remotely like the cobras. No pressure points, just a sweet glove-like fit all around and wonderfully sticky. Might be looking into to the new strapped version pretty soon…

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  31. Crimpin' Ain't Easy May 4, 2011 at 1:52 pm #

    you aren’t getting these?….http://automated.tumblr.com/post/2868499129/now-that-is-sticky-rubber-new-at-the-or-show-from

    basically i got miuras because they’re super versatile, look dapper-er than other shoes, and i can’t climb hard enough to look cool in solutions…plus they dont get stinky for a while!!!!

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    • Narc May 4, 2011 at 1:56 pm #

      If only those shoes actually existed!

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  32. Mattwshere May 4, 2011 at 2:06 pm #

    You should try and get another pair of V10’s =P. Definitely one of the best shoes I’ve ever worn (and I got them new for like $20! Can’t beat that. Haha)

    Anyways, if you are looking in to new shoes for bouldering, your choices will probably come down to the team shoe from 5.10 (or any of their 6 new shoes that all seem to be aggressive minus the anasazi and super moc), Solutions from La Sportiva, or Shaman’s from evolv. I’ve tried all of them so I’ll try and give a good comparison between them all.

    In terms of comfort, I downsized solutions to a 37 or 38 (I can’t remember which, but I am 43/44 normally) and after getting them on which took a while (not as long as getting them off when I thought I was going to rip the pull tab,) they are super comfortable. They just kind of mold to your foot. Compared to 5.10s Team shoe, the solutions win in this category. The 5.10s were the correct size for me and after getting them on, weren’t great for comfort and made my foot cramp often. The Evolv Shamans on the other hand have comfort comparable to the solutions. With the Shamans, properly sized, you will put the shoe on and your toes will curl into the edge of the shoe giving a superb feel. The middle velcro strap actually pulls the arch of the shoe to your foot (solution has this too but I don’t think its nearly as good) and overall have an extremely customizable fit. The shaman’s are also extremely easy to get on since the entire shoe opens up down to the top of the toe-box. The only draw back is 3 small and long velcro straps which may as well make the shoe have laces. But they are there for a reason.

    The heel: Ive never enjoyed sportiva’s heel. It just doesn’t work with me. 5.10 heel and the evolv heel win here. The shaman’s heel pretty much just sticks to everything hands down and it just sucks your foot into it. For 5.10, the team shoe is comparable to the V10s heel. So you’ve had both and can tell there.

    The toe: Solutions win over the Shaman. I have not had the oppurtunity to try 5.10s using toe hooks. These are all agressive shoes so they are not going to be amazing at toe-hooking. The problem with the shamans is that the velcro comes down to the top of the toe-box. They have rubber on the top of the toe-box that is similar to the team shoe. On every toe hook, I want to go right where the bottom velcro is then adjust so my toe holds. However, since that velcro is there, it can’t make that initial grab. Could just take some getting use to but I’m still working toe hooks out. Solutions have a slight bump on the toe box which grabs much better than the shaman. Both the solution and shaman (I do not recall if the team shoe has this) has a ball indentation on the bottom of the shoe to help with pulling. It is much more prominent on the shaman.

    Edging: SHAMAN. There is no comparison to how well these shoes edge. Team 5.10 would be second, Solutions 3rd. You can edge on nothing with the shaman. Looking at the shoe, it almost looks like there is a thin coating of extra rubber around the edge that helps preserve the sharp, strong edge so it does not get rounded fast. The shoe is also designed in such a way, as I mentioned earlier your toes get curled in for a perfect fit along the edge, that edging anywhere on the shoe is amazing. The main toe for all of the shoes, being aggressive shoes, has tons of power. I can’t really pick which one is better, they all have similar designs here. It would come down to rubber.

    Rubber: 5.10 Mystique vs Sportiva Vibram vs Evolv Eco-trax. 5.10 is the stickiest rubber in the world! The rubber on the evolv shamans though has to be a new formula because it is much better than when I tried Pontas shoes on a year and a half ago. 5.10 probably wins here.

    Recommendation: Shamans because the color scheme is awesome! Good points for all of the shoes. Bad points for all of them as well.

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  33. Yohans May 4, 2011 at 5:36 pm #

    The Shamans are going to be the new “it” shoes, because they are incredible. I demoed them a couple weeks ago, and they just improve upon the solutions in just about every way possible. If your second toes are longer than your big toes, you might also want to try the Optimus Primes also by Evolv. They are made specifically for such a toe type and while they are down-turned and high-performance oriented, they are still comfy and very capable on slabs and smears. The Optimi are my all time favorite shoes – well, until the shamans arrive.

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  34. Garrett Kendall Gregor May 5, 2011 at 2:43 am #

    Hey Narc…

    Maybe I’ll finally be able to introduce myself when you come to the front range…

    As for an overall review, I think BA put it pretty well… However, I have found that 5.10’s rubber is hands down better than any other company’s that I have ever tried. I know I haven’t gone the full gamut, but I know from experience with Sportiva and Evolv, that while they make pretty good shoes, the rubber was just lacking…

    I don’t see myself switching on 5.10 anytime in the near future, as their research on rubber has only gone more in depth, and the quality and selection of their shoes has continually gotten better throughout the years.

    I also recommend the Teams if you like the v10s. Right now, I’ve found that my new favorites are the hornets and the Super Moc’s – both of which I would highly recommend. I switch between the 3, and tend to use the Team’s for just about everything. As has been said, they are very similar to the v10s, but use a newer rubber and have far superior toe hooking capabilities. The hornets are awesome because they are, what I describe as, a cross between an anasazi and a dragon. They aren’t quite as aggressive as the dragon and are thus better suited for all around climbing. The hornets are also paired with the new mystique rubber which I find wears very well over time as these shoes got better and better the more I wore them.

    The super moc’s are a more fitted and updated version of the original moccasyms with a very sensitive front (due to the seemingly popular dual layer toe box – the split toe rand they call it) and a more snug feeling heel.

    Everyone’s foot and climbing style is different though, and everyone will prefer something slightly different to compensate – so choose what you like and try on as many as you can…

    You’ve got my picks though 😉

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    • Narc May 5, 2011 at 11:48 am #

      Nice, thanks for the thoughts, Garrett.

      We were actually climbing right by each other at the Lode one of the days
      during spring break and I didn’t quite realize that was you with the
      Raboutou’s…

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  35. Garrett Kendall Gregor May 7, 2011 at 5:26 am #

    oh, wow – I didn’t even realize… sorry I didn’t introduce myself – honestly, I don’t even know you’re real name or what you look like… haha

    look me up on facebook so we don’t miss each other when you head out this way…

    see you this summer

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  36. James Coughlin March 6, 2012 at 3:08 am #

    My last pair of shoes were Boreals. They fit my feet perfectly. I’ve tried LaSportivas but find them to be quite narrow for my feet. I recently tried on the Scarpas and purchased the Feroces. They are a great fitting shoe for my wider feet.

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  37. Ryan Zen December 19, 2014 at 1:28 pm #

    Honestly,
    MAD ROCK all the way. the new redlines are siiiick

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