Review by: climbinginchico, 2005-07-15
I got the Bandit with SR toe rand and have mostly used them in Yosemite and Tuolumne.
There is a tiny bit of deadspace on the inside of my left heel, but this is only noticeable when my feet get really sweaty on long walkoffs. Also, right behind the tops of my toes there is a bit of deadspace, not noticeable when climbing. I think this might be due to the SR rand. The only spot of discomfort I get is on the top of my 4th toe on my left foot(next to my pinkie toe), where I get a small hot spot after wearing them for more than 2 hours in a row. This doesn't happen on my right foot. My right foot fits a little tighter than my left, but it's also about 1/4 size larger. I like the pointed toe, it uses pockets well, but I would ideally have a slightly thinner toe profile through the top of the toes. The front is nice and pointed, but the top bunches up a tiny bit and makes it a little harder to jam into really thin cracks.
The ankle design is much better than the older styles, no rubbing or discomfort. The pull on tabs are located well also.
The support of the shoe is really good. I might go just a tiny bit stiffer, but they are awesome as is. Great for foot camming in cracks, and standing on in fist cracks. Toe pointing into pockets gets a little hard on my arches, but that might be because of old injuries as well, however my Kaos don't have this problem. The fit is awesome. If I were buying them again, I might go for a half size larger with a flatter toe profile, but this might cut down on edging performance. I got these shoes for longer hard trad, and they have performed well. I wore them for 15 pitches in Yosemite and only took them off twice. I might somehow get a little more arch support, such as in the Kaos, but without the more extreme sole design. Maybe just a tiny hair stiffer, but the stiff midsole option might do this, depending on the degree of stiffness added. Overall- they are excellent as is, my favorite pair of shoes. Not quite as comfortable as my Mythos, but perform overall much better (edge better, jam better, smear about equal, and I love the toe rand) and have 95% of the comfort.
I believe mine have the new rubber. The friction is better than LaSportiva's and Stealth, in my opinion. Edging wise, the shoes edge much better than I expected, about as good as my Kaos. They really surprised me with the smearing ability, for as well as they edge. This is a testament to the rubber quality- they smeared their way up 10c granite slab, and polish in Yosemite on lead, and I really didn't question the shoes at all. For comparison, I wore my mythos on the same route, and they didn't smear as well, sliding in a few spots the bandits didn't.
I think the hardness is dialed in well, A friend of mine recently got his mythos resoled with trax and fully agrees- leaps and bounds better than original. I will send in my mythos to you to be resoled, but that will take awhile- I wear the bandit's almost all the time now. The only way you can improve is to somehow improve smearing without killing edging. The edges of the rubber seemed to wear down and round a bit faster than my mythos, but I have also done much more edging with the bandits. They still edge superbly and better than my mythos. But, everyone I have talked to thinks the new Trax is the best rubber out there...
The construction is top notch. They fit my feet well, and are holding up extremely well to granite abuse.
Delamination is no concern- the rubber looks nearly new still, except for a tiny bit of wear and tear. It's lasting really well for how well it sticks. There are 4 tiny spots where the rand is peeling away from the upper, 3 on the inside my ly left foot at the widest part of the shoe, and one on the outside of the right foot at the widest part. Each of these is about 1/8 to 1/4 inch long, and goes down 1/8 inch. I noticed them about 3 weeks ago, and they haven't gotten any worse. I'm not concerned at all about them. Other than that there is no damage to the rand. I was doing a 10d stemming/rand smear in a seam route yesterday and inspected the rands afterwards, and there was hardly any noticeable abrasion. The rand also smears and scums well, along with toe and heel hooking.
There has been no problem with the rubber. It barely looks used, people are amazed that I have been using them for over 6 months, and the rubber isn't wearing a lot. No chunks at all, though there are a couple small chunks out of the toe of my Kaos, which I have been using for about a year now.
No problems with the rand, other than those small spots listed above.
The uppers molded to my foot pretty well, there has been no stitching problems, or even noticeable wear from crack climbing. They don't even smell bad.
These shoes are my choice for harder trad routes. I love how they edge and jam. They are just stiff enough to be comfortable standing on a foot or toe jam, yet still be sensitive enough for face climbing. I have had people ask me how I can stand on a foot jam so comfortably, and I tell them it's the shoes.
About the only thing I can complain about is the really thin crack jamming. This is because the toe profile isn't as flat/thin as it should be for really thin cracks. But, I don't have a very high volume foot, so this might be an individual problem.
Lowering toe box volume is the only improvement I can think of, other than maybe putting some venting in the uppers to let the feet breathe a little. They don't get super hot, but it would be a welcome addition.
These are damn near my perfect climbing shoe. I know this is true, because unless it's an easy, super long route, I wear these for anything but super hard sport. The only improvement would be a slightly thinner toe profile, which would help tons on hard trad, where the cracks just get thinner and thinner.