Tester (and Climbing Production Manager) Trina Ortega putting the Evolv Rockstars through their paces on the local limestone
Women’s and mid-level sport performance models
Ladies and gentlemen — in that order — please take your seats, as the intermission is over and Act II of the 2004 shoe review is about to begin. In this issue, we have two line-ups for your viewing pleasure: women’s shoes and mid-level sport shoes. We’ll spare you the big intro, so please refer to the June issue (Climbing 2004 Rock Shoe Review: Part 1) for detailed descriptions of general shoe fitting and design. The “women’s” category has been growing for several years, and unlike the other shoe categories, it does not revolve around performance or climbing type, but rather fit. The stereotypical women’s foot is very narrow, with a lower arch and shallower, lower heel cup. But while bodies can be gender-typed to some degree, there are always exceptions. Many women don’t fit the standard female-foot mold and will find a better fit among the numerous standard rock shoes. On the flip side, some men may find a good fit in a women’s shoe, although the styling details of some models also are gender-targeted. This year’s entries in the women’s market run the gamut from entry-level to high performance. Our other category in this issue is an emerging one, which we call, for lack of a more colorful term, mid-level sport shoes. Many climbers find themselves stuck in a gray area as they progress into the 5.10 level. Going from board-lasted and supportive entry-level shoes to soft, high-end performance models can be an abrupt transition. High-end shoes can be very demanding on technique and foot strength, and many climbers find learning how to use these shoes as challenging as the actual climbs they are attempting. Manufacturers are responding to this gap by producing shoes that balance comfort and structure with higher-end performance, melding firm soles and beefier rands with performance lasts. You can expect shoes in this category to perform quite well climbing in the gym and on outdoor sport routes up to 5.12 without turning your dogs into twisted, mechanically morphed rock-grabbing devices. Now, on with the show.
2004 Rock Shoe Manufacturers Acopa: (510) 262-9581, www.acopausa.com Boreal: (310) 576-9965, www.e-boreal.com Bufo: (877) 922-5462, www.rockshoes.com Cava/Liberty Mountain: (888) 902-5462, www.libertymountainclimbing.com Evolv: (714) 891-0555, www.evolvesports.com Five Ten: (909) 798-4222, www.fiveten.com La Sportiva: (303) 443-8710, www.sportiva.com Mad Rock: (503) 797-1952, www.madrockshoes.com Mammut/Climb High: (802) 985-5056, www.climbhigh.com Montrail: (206) 621-9303, www.montrail.com Red Chili/Excalibur: (801) 942-8471, www.redchili.de Saltic/Bear Adventure: (866) 472-5842, www.salticshoes.com Scarpa/Black Diamond: (801) 278-5533, www.scarpa-us.com Triop/Vertical Addiction: (403) 688-1830, www.vertical-addiction.com