2019 Climbing Shoe Review: Red Chili Voltage 2

Aggressive Comfort
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The Red Chili Voltage 2, MSRP: $160

The Red Chili Voltage 2, MSRP: $160

Fit

One tester, who likes her shoes tight, came down a full size off her street shoe, while our other tester, who likes things comfy, wore his street-shoe size. Both noted that the Voltage 2 is very comfortable for a performance shoe—“like putting on a cozy, thick sock.” Both testers also noted no deformation/stretching, and good fit-control with the offset Velcro closures.

Specs

Downturned, asymmetrical shoe. Knitted mesh upper; leather footbed; RC-tension midsole; UltraGrip toe patch; 4.5 mm Vibram XS Grip 2 outsole.

Pros

Mega comfort for a downturned shoe—a tightly conforming fit and soft footbed with no pinch spots. Edging was the shoe’s strong suit (one tester gave it a 10), as were heel hooking and scumming (she gave a 9 for jessery).

Cons

Smearing and jamming can be tricky given the downturn, though the Voltage 2 is expressly not built for these things.

Field Notes

“I would recommend this shoe to anyone looking for a performance shoe but who doesn’t get off on screaming pain,” said one tester, who used the Voltage 2 to redpoint the steep, heel-hooking and edging climb Backdoor Man (5.12a) at Staunton State Park, Colorado. While this tester, who wore his shoes large, wished the big toe and heel had more bite, our other tester, in her tight pair, couldn’t sing these attributes’ praises enough. On a V5 on the slippery quartzite of the Swan Mountain Boulders, Colorado, she “locked in perfectly” on the heel-hook beta, calling the Voltage 2 the “most perfect heel-hooking shoe I’ve ever used.” Perhaps this is because the shoe has a well-considered ample forefoot mixed with a tapered heel and only slightly extruded heelcup—the anatomical shape meant the heel stayed put. And for the rock’s demanding edging, she noted performance so natural she barely had to consider it; she also appreciated how well the edge has held up. Basically, if you like aggressive shoes but can’t stomach foot pain, this is a top contender.

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See the rest of our 2019 Climbing Shoe Review.