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“One of the best shoes I’ve ever used that climbs everything well, with a perfect balance of softness and durability.”
Soft and sensitive are the two words that echoed through our testers’ review notes on the new Instinct VSR. Built almost exactly the same as the outstanding Instinct VS—a favorite around here—shoe designers put Vibram Grip 2 rubber on the shoe, which is a softer and more supple compound. The other major change was making the upper fit even closer, so testers said, “I wore it like a sticky-rubber sock; my toes could actually feel even quarter-inch bumps.” The VSR stood out impressively for bouldering when techy heel and toe hooking were necessary. In an apples-to-apples comparison with the Instinct VS, testers found that they complemented each other well. A single Velcro strap dials in fit for the microsuede upper, and a pleasant surprise: Even though the Grip 2 rubber is very soft, it has impressive durability, showing no signs of damage after three months of use.