- product provided for the review by outdoorkit.co.uk -
|Mmm... A very pretty pair of rock shoes|
First impressions were good, a super tight fit out the box meant they'd stretch out and become the perfect size for my feet (I ordered the same size as my approach shoes). The love bump is obvious straight away, the shoes balance on each end when on a flat surface, a bump is seen in most shoes at this end of the market - they mirror the natural shape of your foot and allow you to fit the shoe properly.
|The "Love Bump".|
Hound Tor, Sheeps Tor and Chudleigh Rocks have provided some great excuses to get these shoes up some trad routes, both single and multi-pitch. The Shamans did very well, sticking well on defined holds but also gripping the rock while smearing. They did fair better on the granite, I think this may have been to do with the higher levels of friction on the rock and the huge amounts of polish on the limestone at Chudleigh. In all the time I've been wearing these shoes my foot has only slipped once and that was on a very glass like patch of rock at Sheeps Tor, it's been great having shoes on that you can trust. Climbing shoes don't make you climb any better, they just allow you to climb at your best, they help get the best out of your footholds and they give you the confidence to really commit to moves.
I felt the shoes were the right size for me on single pitch routes but over longer and more tiring multi-pitch climbs the shoes began to ache my feet, this is very common in climbing shoes but I'd love it if a brand could find a way of reducing the fatigue while keeping the shoe tight. The 3 straps worked well to get the shoe tight but I found they would catch on the beginning of the velcro, this means if your foot can just fit in the shoe with a tight squeeze then it's very easy to not get them much tighter, I found that I had to keep remembering to pull the tab past the velcro to get a proper fit.
|The small velcro bump which can stop you from getting the shoe as tight as possible.|
The lack of definite point at the front of the shoe meant footwork needed to be a little more precise, this wasn't too bad but is something I needed to get used to after using a slightly more pointed rock shoe. Another minor issue with the Shamans is the heel fitting, the rest of the shoe fitted fine but that was a definite pocket of air below my heel, this didn't affect my climbing but on the descent it kept making a funny noise, much to the amusement of my climbing partner!
Bouldering is a bit from different from trad climbing, it requires much more precise footwork up short, but technical routes. The shoes handled bouldering well, I felt really comfortable using my foot for heel hooks and toe hooks - something my old Scarpa rock shoes didn't do. The precise foot work took a bit more thinking due to the point issue I mentioned above, after a couple of hours I had got the hang of the new shoes and I was confident in my foot placements.
|A cheeky heel hook!|
These are a great pair of rock shoes, not only do their job excellently but they also bring confidence and power to the rock. As I said before, they won't turn you into Chris Sharma but they'll certainly help you become the best climber you can be and that's what great rock shoes are all about. I'm looking forward to taking these shoes up plenty more routes in the future!
Thanks for reading!