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Gear Review

Five Ten Hiangle

The Hiangles are clearly aimed to be a lower cost competitor to high end aggressive the Solutions, but they have a few major downsides for me.  First, the opening for the shoe isn’t big enough.  I could barely get my foot into the shoes I tested, yet the size was still larger than I would want to wear.  The second problem I had was the heel size and shape.  As with many Five Ten shoes, the heel has leather on the sides which makes the heel have voids and feel like the shoe is baggy.  The general use of the shoe was very good and was the best experience I’ve had from a pair of Five Tens.  The toe rubber was good and thick enough that I wouldn’t expect it to wear as quickly as solutions.  One final downside, unrelated to shoe performance, was that the shoes turned my feet blue from the dye in the leather.  This didn’t just happen when my feet were hot or when I wore them many times in a day.  One short pitch and my feet would be so blue that I couldn’t even get it to scrub off in the shower.

Over the few months I have had the shoes; they already have significantly worn edges although the rest of the shoe shows no sign of wear.  As I mentioned, the shoes are difficult to get on for the size, but they are fairly comfortable.  If they were sized down more for a better fit I don’t know if they would be as comfortable.  It’s a relatively stiff shoe and can edge, but does not have very good sensitivity so I found it hard to tell when I was standing exactly where I wanted.  The Five Ten rubber performed well smearing even though the shoe is more downturned and not designed for it.  The added toe rubber which seems to be industry standard for aggressive shoes was good, although it was a bit thicker than it needed to be.

Five Tens usually don’t fit my foot well once I size down enough.  This pair wasn’t sized down quite enough, but for the first time it didn’t feel like my foot was falling out over the side of the shoe.  I like the closure system (single Velcro strap on a slipper style shoe, similar to the Solution), but I think this pair doesn’t execute it quite right.  As I mentioned earlier, the opening is so small I could barely get my foot in even though the shoe isn’t quite downsized enough.  If it was slightly larger it would be much better.  They were nice, easy to get on and off and quick to fasten the single Velcro strap.  I would make the strap shorter though.  Currently when the shoes are on, the strap goes past the end of the Velcro leaving the end dangling.

Overall I am quite torn by this shoe because it’s decent, but with some easy fixes of the issues I mentioned I think it could be a very good shoe.  It’s also nice for a first aggressive shoe since it’s going to be sold at ~$120.

 

Testing Notes:

I received these shoes for free, although not from the manufacturer, to test.  I climbed many pitches in them over the course of several months.  I used them for sport climbing, mostly on limestone, and a little bit of bouldering.  This pair of Hiangles was size 10.  I usually wear size EU 40.5, Five Ten 9-9.5, and street shoe 10.5.


Scarpa Booster S Review

 

The Booster S is a great shoe for sport climbing or bouldering.  The shoes were quite tight, yet remained quite comfortable thanks to the two straps Velcro closure system and lined inner which helped give the shoes a nice glove fit.  The straps are just barely short enough that they don’t dangle off the end of the Velcro and get in the way like some other straps.  The split sole allowed for increased flexibility at the arch of the foot and greater sensitivity.  The heel shape could be improved upon to reduce the voids on the side of the heel that are so common in climbing shoes, but the added rubber on top of the toe was great for forcing pressure to the tips of the toes and getting extra purchase on toe-hooks.  In the spectrum of stiffness and sensitivity the Booster S achieves a great balance: nice and sensitive to feel the rock and smear, yet just stiff enough to edge well. The stickiness of the rubber was excellent as well, helping the shoes stick to smears and sloped edges.

Overall I really like this shoe and it’s among my favorites for sport climbing and bouldering.

Testing Notes:

I tested theses shoes for one day through a shoe demo.  For a more complete review I would need a longer test period.  This Booster S pair was size EU 41.  I usually wear size EU 40.5, Five Ten 9-9.5, and street shoe 10.5.


La Sportiva Solution Review

The first time I had a pair of solutions they were very tight and took a couple weeks to break in.  Since then my solutions have been a dream.  The synthetic lining and Velcro closure make them easy to get on and a nice snug fit.  They fit my foot like a glove and are amazingly comfortable even when new because they press all around my fit instead of a single point.

The rubber is quite sticky, but solutions are not the most sensitive shoe.  That said, I think the thickness contributes to their durability.  Despite being very aggressive, they can still smear like a champ when needed.  The P3 platform ensures solutions keep their aggressive downturn until their dying day.  The downturn isn’t just good for climbing steep routes or problems though.  I’ve found it exceptionally handy for pulling onto a high toe on vertical territory.

I have heard many people complain about the heel on solutions, but for me it fits so perfectly that I have yet to wear a shoe that I can heel-hook in better than the Solutions.  The only time I have had an issue with the heel was on a boulder problem that had a heel hook on such a large rail that I was above the sticky rubber onto the yellow band that has low friction.  The rubber on top of the toe is great for extra friction when you’re pulling at your limit too.

Overall, I think this is the best sport climbing or bouldering shoe I’ve seen or used.  They maintain their aggressive downturn, edge, smear, and basically just make you send your project.

One final note is that I have tried on Solutions before and had 40 be too small, 40.5 be too big, and 41 fit well.  I know they are handmade and this causes some discrepancy, but make sure you’re confident in the size you get.

Testing Notes:

I did not receive these shoes for free.  I have purchased multiple pairs of Solutions on my own.  I wear size EU 40.5 and street shoe 10.5.


Evolv Addict Review

The shoes were smaller than I would have purchased, especially for a flat shoe.  The fit of the shoe favors a narrower foot and caused some pain in the small toes, which I suspect would happen for my foot even in a larger size.  If the user had a foot shape that fit the shoe better I believe they could be a comfortable all day shoe.  Another concern for me would e the stretch in the shoe.  Despite the painfully tight fit for the first several months; they stretched to a comfortable fit.  If the user is not willing to tolerate the break in period then the shoe would likely become loose and baggy.

The rubber was very stiff and not as sticky as some shoes.  I found it difficult to trust the rubber on routes with smooth limestone.  The stiffness allowed for decent edging, but the flat slipper design made small edges feel insecure as the shoe began to roll.  The stiff rubber also drastically reduced the sensitivity for the shoe.  The smearing was not hampered by the stiffness, but was limited by the friction of the rubber.  The one significant benefit of the stiff rubber, was that I have used them for over 100 days of climbing and they are just finally needing a resole.

The slipper model is never very good for heel-hooking and the Addict’s are no exception.  Slip on means slip off and it’s usually easier off.  The stiff sole helped protect the foot for jamming, but with the slipper I found the shoe getting stuck in cracks and nearly losing it off my foot.  While it’s probably fine most of the time, it’s an issue to keep in mind so you don’t end up half way up a wall with one shoe.

Overall, I’m not a fan of these shoes.  I don’t to lots of crack climbing and I’m not a big fan of slippers.  Beyond that, these shoes don’t fit my foot well.  If you’re a fan of the Moccasym and want to try a new shoe, this might be just what you’re looking for.  If you want a performance shoe, keep looking.

 

Testing Notes:

I received these shoes for free, although not from the manufacturer, to test.  I climbed many pitches in them over the course of many months.  I used them for sport climbing, mostly on limestone, and a little bit of bouldering and trad climbing.  This pair of Addicts was size 9.  I usually wear size EU 40.5 and street shoe 10.5.