Review by: superbum, 2005-05-08
I bought these shoes specifically for cracks...from the super wide to thin hands (I use the discontinued Scarpa Minimas for thin cracks). and I haven't been disappointed. I give this shoe a 4 because it excells in its intended use area...Cracks. Just for fun, I took them bouldering in Bishop and had a terrible day edging and toeing on the little smooth patina edges that characterize the Buttermilks. These are a CRACK shoe. I'll admit, they do fairly well on friction climbs (Joshua Tree tested), but if there are crucial edges outside the crack, consider slapping on something else.
I have very narrow feet with an even narrower heel. When I first tried these on in the store the shoe's heel contacted mine all around but was not super tight, lending me to think that it could slip out on a hook or high angle smear. So far my heel has stayed locked in place nicely and didn't slip at all while hooking on J-Tree's bearded cabbage (I kept my left foot in my Scarpas for edging though.)
I am pretty accustommed to tight shoes after a winter spent in Bishop, so I tend to lash my splitters down tight before a climb. This is OK for shorter routes, but when the pitches start stacking up, I've found that the widest part of my foot gets uncomfortable pressure and my heel gets sore at hanging belays. I've learned that tying them a bit more loose for long climbs enables me to wear them all day comfortably.
Despite all the negative remarks above, I stick to my 4 rating because once you slot these babies in a crack, you can go for miles. There is no pain or pressure and the generous rubber on the toe side sticks AND protects. With all the specialty shoes on the market almost every one has a downside. Those glaring faults are usually related to all the terrain/situations that the shoe was NOT designed for. If you wanna live in Hueco, then get something else. If you wanna live in the Creek, then these will do the job nicely.
PS: If you find that your crack has run out and you are looking at dicey, thin face moves to connect to that sinker jam 30 feet away and you look down and say, "S**t, my splitters don't edge worth crap!" take a breath, relax, and then think of Robbins running it out in wool socks stuffed into stripped down hiking boots...or Dale Bard, establishing boulder problems that took me weeks to get (in Mad Rocks!) wearing big, stiff high-tops...Then, suck it up and go.