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Reviews by ghisino (7)

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Booster Climbing Shoe (Manufacturer link) Average Rating = 4.83/5 Average Rating : 4.83/5

In: Gear: Shoes: Climbing Shoes: Velcro

awesome shoe ruined by a poor heel 4 out of 5 stars

Review by: ghisino, 2008-11-01

this shoes maybe have the best front portion I have ever tried in a shoe.
honestly very painful, but mixing power, precision and sensitivity like no other. Very versatile, too.

But, the soft heel construction is a huge limitation : unless you fill it perfectly, this kind of heel feels and works quite badly even sized insanely small.
It should either be made way smaller and tighter (maybe assuming that it stretches for people with big heel) OR, stiffened up someway.

The big disappointment for the bad heel comes when considering that being rather uncomfy, this velcro is more suited for boulders and steep routes than for long vertical walls (where it'll perform surprisingly well but cook your feet at the same time, substituting sensations with pain in the last meters).

so either you have a fat heel or its a one trick pony for specific problems where its power/sensitivity mix is appreciated and no crucial heel hook is involved. too bad.

Katana Velcro Climbing Shoe (Manufacturer link) popular Average Rating = 4.12/5 Average Rating : 4.12/5

In: Gear: Shoes: Climbing Shoes: Velcro

Get them thight! 5 out of 5 stars

Review by: ghisino, 2008-10-31

Nice "neutral" and versatile shoe for mid to wide feet, ideally suited for those who have the big toe as long as the 2nd or slightly longer.

got my first pair after moving close to fontainebleau, since its one of the few shoes on the market who fit my heel decently (I have a narrow and low heel compared to my wide fat forefoot). At the same time I was looking for edging performance : a lot of mid-grade problems here need a shoe that does well on sharp micro-crimpers called "grattons".
Third criterium of choice was comfort : might sound strange but I like a more comfortable shoe for bouldering than for rope climbing - comfortable in the sense of being berable for several minutes albeit taken crazy small.

These felt very precise on some test footholds in the shop, and really helping the foot-they transfer quite a lot of pressure from your toes to under the arch, even if they are not an absolutely stiff shoe.

heel precision is another big plus, if you fill it up well : good rubber, stiff, very precise on small features, not slipping from your foot.

Comfort is high as expected : they are not far from a "natural" foot shape, so they don't put a lot of pressure on fingernails and such.

biggest raccomendation, take em really small.
A size that feels "right" in the shop turns out to be a gym or alpine-climb shoe after 4 or 5 sessions, and you will soon get a second, smaller pair.
A size that you have trouble getting in when new, will soon stretch in a nice way to the point that you can easily stand them for 20 minutes or bouldering or a 30-meters pitch, and at the same time are very stable on forefoot and heel. Just take time to climb some easy stuff or walk in them at home.
Heat and humidity accelerate the stretch a lot, so gym climbing will help, as well as putting them on just after getting out of a warm shower.

As others said they stretch in volume but not lenghtwise : expect a more aggressive foot position when broken in than when new, with your toes slightly scrunched instead of flat.
It is really nice for bouldering or sport climbing, maybe less for finger cracks.

Also expect them to become quite softer than in the beginning-nothing bad or extreme if sized correctly, just don't be scared that you won't be able to smear with them.

only downside is some durability issues, it is fairly easy to damage whatever part of the shoe you use repeatedely (trying the same heelhook or toehook move over and over is a typical case). Not a shoe that will last forever.

Argo Average Rating = 4.50/5 Average Rating : 4.50/5

In: Gear: Shoes: Climbing Shoes: Slippers

review 5 out of 5 stars

Review by: ghisino, 2007-07-05

Really nice shoes!
I'm a big fan of downturned soft shoes and of slippers (even if I don't climb that many roofs or severe overhangs really), so this shoe obviously suits my taste.

It works very well if you have strong feet and if you use the proper foot technique for this kind of shoes : you won't really "edge" anything, but rather smear over footholds while "grabbing" them with your toes...almost like climbing barefoot. This is common to all downturned shoes and takes a bit to be mastered...

I also find that these particular shoes might take a bit to get accustomed to. In the very first place I wasn't totally happy and my footwork with them was quite floppy. After a couple climbing days in them I began to feel a lot happier and now (first pair resoled, second pair just bought) I really prefer them over my other slippers (la sportiva cobra)

On the other hand it could be disappointing for climbers who need a lot of support to consider a shoe "precise"...

Another handicap could come from the shape : it's not a very sharp-pointed shoe and could suffer a bit on small pockets...

Obviously, it really shines wherever you need pulling ability from your feet.

I feel the rubber over the toes is not only very useful for toe hooks but also helps to keep the fit tighter, making it more precise...or at least I had this feeling in the shop, when comparing it with the predators, which felt a bit looser fitting...

The heel has a very straightforward design but feels great : snug and rigid enough, probably best heel I've climbed along with lasportiva venoms...

they do stretch a bit but I would still consider them in the non-stretch category, you don't have to squeeze your feet into painful sizes knowing they'll bag out in two days on the rock...I'd say they'll just get 1/4 size bigger and a bit softer.
Anyway beware that the elastic band DOES stretch, as all elastic bands, take your time pulling them carefully on your feet before saying you "can't get in".
If you order online, my advice would be to go half size below street shoes : I generally wear size 10 and I'm happy with 9.5 in the Agro.

As someone else said, they are very comfortable...I'd say that I couldn't get into a size small enough to be painful, without the help of a plastic bag!
Anyway in the very first days if you wear them a lot and sweat into them the lining could be a bit rough on your toes' skin...this problem seems to disappear completely after the first days.

At last the best thing : here in europe, they can be found pretty cheap

I'd give them 4 for the performance alone, I give 5 considering the price too

Cobra Shoe (Manufacturer link) popular Average Rating = 4.46/5 Average Rating : 4.46/5

In: Gear: Shoes: Climbing Shoes: Slippers

best quality/price in a slipper? 5 out of 5 stars

Review by: ghisino, 2006-12-07

the shoe is apparently discontinued in the US but still produced and sold in europe.

It's been upgraded with the new XSGrip rubber, which is stickier and a lot softer than XSV. Overall this makes for a softer, more sensitive and even more comfortable shoe, but a little bit of edging power is lost.
Still maybe the best multipurpose slipper after many years, and for sure the best quality/price compromise on the european market.

Works better with strong feet, medium-to-wide, bigger big toes. It will stretch a lot, so downsize aggressively : get the tightest pair you can slip into...

Mamba Average Rating = 4.50/5 Average Rating : 4.50/5

In: Gear: Archive

Review 4 out of 5 stars

Review by: ghisino, 2006-05-10

this is an ultra-soft slipper, designed primarily for training on gym walls.
Very similar to LaSportiva Mantra s, but not as downturned nor as asymmetrical, wich means it doesn't "grab" footholds in the same way.
Still has a minimal intersole, and the syntethic leather won't stretch very much...this means that, if used by strong-footed climbers, it will edge quite effectively, with the drawback of some foot fatigue.
On the other hand, top-grade smearing and sensitivity. The rubber seems to be (on plastic) as sticky as vibram or just slightly less, but it loses grip in a very progressive way, making you aware that it is going to slip off a second or two before it does.
The heel is very soft and might disappoint some in first place...however, it seems to fit very well and hooks in a decent way once you get accustomed to it.
Downsize aggressively : get the tightest you can!!!

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