Red Chili Spirit IZ Velcro, $89
Overall grade: B+
, multi-pitch routes
Moderately asymmetric; medium to wide width and volume throughout
Rock shoes with EVA-foam padded heels are now widespread throughout the market. Designed to up the comfort factor for all-day climbing, these models have gained a dedicated following, but many people are turned off by their funky, chunky appearance. If you’re of that mind, take a look at Red Chili’s new Impact Zone technology. Rather than going the slabby wedge route, Red Chili has placed the foam, carefully contoured to a performance last, inside the shoe’s sticky-rubber outsole. The only way you can see the padding is by actually cutting up the shoe (see our photo).
The result is a shoe that delivers a higher level of performance than a typical EVA-wedge shoe. It’s not a shoe that will take your climbing to the next level, but it is one that can make long sport-climbing and bouldering days more enjoyable. “The Impact Zone heel is designed to give extra comfort at the crag, on short descents, jumping off problems, or trucking around your bouldering circuit,” says Red Chili’s Richie Patterson. Smearing and sensitive footwork aren’t this shoe’s specialty — think edging.
Aside from enjoying from the Spirit’s comfort, testers also noted that it has an excellent fit system. “The triple Velcro straps are excellent for making it comfortably tight,” said one tester, who believes it’s the best Velcro system yet.
Red Chili/Excalibur: 801.942.8471, www.redchili.de
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