Time Flyers: Boreal Flyers '86


Climbing footwear has come a long way in the last 25 years, so when a company re-releases a model from 1986, it’s making a statement. The Flyer was one of the original sticky-rubber approach shoes, and the new Boreal Flyers ’86 ($129, e-boreal.com) have received just one major update: an outsole of Vibram’s Walk Friction rubber. That sole, with a forefoot smearing zone and ample toothy surface area along the rest of its length, fared well on a combination of surfaces, from loose, sandy gravel to mud and bare rock. An almost-to-the-toe lacing system secures the foot, and forefoot and heel rands offer scuff protection. The shoe has no pull-on loop, which made clipping to the harness problematic, and a lace-slot would prevent debris from getting in the shoe. The Flyers ‘86 worked great for cragging or scrambly stuff, but I’d think twice before using them as an alpine approach shoe. Deeper mud (or snow) and wet, slimy rock were the only surfaces that seemed to faze this shoe. —John Connor