When it comes to gear…don’t ask me. I am not your usual gear obsessed climber. My decision making skills are usually based on the price, the safety and the aesthetic. Safety always comes first, then price, then the color/design. Functionality is taken into consideration too. Usually I am pretty motivated by bright, girly colors or things that look like they could have been owned by a Stonemaster. Have you seen the new Butora Libra’s? I fell in love with the design because they look psychedelic. And as for my hot pink Evolv Rockstar’s, I haven’t climbed in my Shaman’s since I got them! Once I find something I like, I tend to use it until it is completely destroyed, duct tape and all. Has anyone seen my harness…yeah I know, that I should probably replace.
So when presented with the opportunity to try on, AND climb in new shoes without having to buy them at the Stronghold grand opening, I had to take it.
I was sooo very excited about these shoes and even more excited to get to climb in them. As a huge Evolv fan, I was so happy that they made some comfy looking slippers. I had thought about getting slippers before I got my Rockstar’s and had tried on the 5.10 Anasazi MoccAsym’s, but I hated the way they fit. I guess I had high expectations for the Addict’s, but I was somewhat disappointed. First off, the rubber didn’t seem as sticky as I would have liked and I just didn’t feel like they fit my feet very well. They felt too big in some places and too tight in others. The top, elastic part of the shoe kind of dug into my foot/ankle during certain movements, and was pretty uncomfortable. I think part of the issue is that they are men’s shoes and it was wickedly hot in the gym, so I have to attribute some of the dissatisfaction to the gym conditions.
Ok. These shooooes. I have always wanted them. I have the men’s Shaman’s and I bought them because they were discounted at the outlet and because the rubber felt thicker so I figured they would last me longer (yeah, I’m a cheap ass), even though I was much more interested in the LV’s. Once I started wearing my Rockstar’s though, I just kind of forgot about the existence of aggressive shoes. The LV’s feel like what I imagine a ballet slipper must feel like to a ballerina. They are painful but, the, ‘hurts so good’, kind of pain; manageable, and worth it. The three velcro straps make them easy to adjust, as well as, easy to get on and off. Ultimately, they are great shoes with sticky rubber, they fit like a glove (with the exception of some awkward farting noises coming from the heel on the right foot), and they actually make heel hooks fun.
I think I was one of the few people that got to demo the Butora’s, as they are a brand new line. Xan got a couple pairs at Sender One during Nationals. He has been primarily climbing in them since, and is thoroughly enjoying the new brand. I was having a rough day climbing, I had worked all morning and it was probably 95 degrees in the gym by the time I got there. I warmed up in the Addict’s and then moved on to the LV’s. I was climbing terribly, slipping off of V2’s and shaking on V3’s. I took a break and decided to at least try on the new line of shoes. I put them on and was initially put off by the high arch support and pressure on the sides of my feet. They were TIGHHHHHT! I awkwardly stumbled over to the bouldering area with them on and watched Xan send a somewhat overhung V5 with pink tape…I decided I wanted to try it, mostly because of the pink tape, but also because of the small crimpy holds. The rubber of the shoes seemed a little harder than the Evolv’s and I didn’t think I would get very far on the problem due to the heat, but…I flashed it! I topped out and my toes literally went numb while I waited for a newb to figure out how to down climb the rock ladder. Moral of the story; tight, uncomfortable, aggressive shoes can help you send hard shit and overcome climbing barriers. While I really like being able to tell people that I sent a project in my comfy Rockstar’s; the next time I am projecting a V13, I will remember to put on my most circulation inhibiting shoes.
At some point during the event, I had gone over to talk to the Mad Rock rep, and the fancyshmancy, wonderfully light and sleek, Hulk HMS biner caught my eye. I was playing with its smooth screw gate while Marcy told me about the new women’s shoes (the Lotus and the Lyra) that are coming out in June.
I told her that I had never climbed in Mad Rock’s, but that I had always been intrigued by the Concave Sole, and that I was the absolute worst when it comes to knowledge about gear. She was super friendly and gave me her card, a Mad Rock 2014 catalog, and a run down about the Trigger Wire biners (that will be perfect for projecting 12’s outside 🙂 ).
Guess who won the free Mad Rock shoes in the raffle…ME! I can’t wait until June so I can get my hands on some of those badass new Mad Rock shoes! Thanks Stronghold and Mad Rock!!!