Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Super-sensitive, precise toe placements.
Cons: Not comfortale for long periods, not the stickiest for toe-hooking.
Best Uses: Sport climbing and bouldering.
This is a solid shoe but it is not one of our top picks. We would rather go with a high performance Velcro shoe like the La Sportiva Solution or Scarpa Booster for hard boulder problems and sport or a more all-around shoe like the La Sportiva Miura. To get the most performance out of the aggressively down-turned toe, you need to size these tight. And if you size tight, we much prefer a Velcro shoe like its sibling, the Scarpa Booster, so you can get it on and off fast.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
The aggressive down-turned toe and rubber on top of the toes for toe hooking makes this shoe excel at steeper angled rock. It has a very aggressive shape, which really transfers power to tiny edges. The fit was great – no dead air spots. Overall, the shoe exudes quality construction (we did our best to not let the mini Italian flag on the shoe bias us). It uses suede leather uppers and Vibram XS Grip2 rubber (same as the comparable and popular La Sportiva Solution).
How does this compare to the Scarpa Booster? The main difference is the design of the toe box on the Instinct, which seems to be a slight bit more precise and pointy for tiny holds than the Booster. The Booster has a more rounded toe box that is better at smearing but not quite as precise for standing on small footholds.
The toe hooking rubber didn't seem as sticky as other shoes such as the La Sportiva Solution. The main dislike was the time required to take these on and off when working on a hard bouldering problem. However, if you are sport climbing this is not as big a deal. The shoe seems to fit so well already that the laces don't seem that necessary; Velcro would be just fine.
Compared to the La Sportiva Miura, the Instinct is better for really steep sport climbs, but the Miura edges better and is a better all-day shoe. We felt we could only comfortable wear the Instinct for 10-15 minutes.
These shoes are built for steep angled sport climbs or boulder problems with the aggressive/down-turned toe. We would only use this shoe outdoors and definitely do not recommend it to beginners.
These shoes have lasted us much longer than most. So while they are a bit expensive, we expect them to give a great long-term value.
— Chris Summit
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: November 24, 2012
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