Hands-on Gear Review

Black Diamond Momentum Review

Price:  $90 List | $89.95 at REI
Compare prices at 4 resellers
Pros:  Durable, inexpensive
Cons:  Not great edgers, uncomfortable for wider feet
Bottom line:  If the shoe fits, the Momentums are a fine choice for a new climber looking to save some money.
Editors' Rating:   
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Style:  Velcro
Upper:  Synthetic knit
Lining:  Hemp
Manufacturer:   Black Diamond

Our Verdict

The Black Diamond Momentum is the beginner price point shoe from Black Diamond's brand new shoe line. It features a unique knit pattern on the uppers, making these some of the most breathable shoes we've ever tested. If you're climbing in a humid, sweaty gym this summer, you know how soaked your old synthetic Evolv Defys can get during long training sessions. Nothing feels worse than sliding your foot into a sweaty shoe, especially if it's cold sweat. The knit weave makes sure that will never happen to the Momentums. The downside? The Knit weave isn't as soft or comfortable as the softer Defys or the La Sportiva Tarantula.



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Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Matt Bento

Last Updated:
Wednesday
May 16, 2018

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The BD Momentum is a beginner's shoe, tooled for comfort and durability, offering limited performance. Compared to the uber-popular Evolv Defy, these shoes are a little stiffer, and fell narrower, likely because the knit uppers stretch minimally. The neo-friction rubber is adequately sticky and super thick, 4.3mm, ensuring that they'll last through those early days of sloppy footwork.

Performance Comparison


The Momentums feature a unique knit upper  the most breathable we've encountered  great for sweaty climbing gyms.
The Momentums feature a unique knit upper, the most breathable we've encountered, great for sweaty climbing gyms.

Edging


If you can feel the edges through the thick rubber, then you're happily taking advantage of these stiff, supportive shoes. Many of our testers are used to a softer, more sensitive performance shoe like the La Sportiva Skwama or the Five Ten Quantum, so edging in these clunkers took some getting used to. New climbers will want to pay special attention to their footwork, making sure their toe is precisely on the most positive part of an edge. That's a little more of a challenge in a less sensitive shoe. Our wide footed testers found it difficult to size these shoes for edging, since the shoes felt tight, even before they tried a size the was short enough that their toes were flush with the front of the shoe.

Edging  smearing and toe hooking felt a bit clunky in these shoes.
Edging, smearing and toe hooking felt a bit clunky in these shoes.

Crack Climbing


These shoes aren't precision crack machines like the La Sportiva Kataki, but the knit uppers did surprise us with their durability. The toe volume isn't as low as some of our favorite crack shoes, so they don't climb finger cracks as well as Five Ten Moccasyms or La Sportiva Katanas. If you have a narrow foot, climbing hands size cracks will feel fairly comfy, but wider feet will hurt while crack climbing in these shoes.

Pockets


Pocket performance is dependent on a shoes' edging abilities and the shape of the toe. A pointy toe on the end of a relatively aggressive shoe works well in pockets. These shoes are ok at edging, and the toe box is a blunt, symmetrical shape for comfort. They're fine for training in the gym, but when it's time to hit the road and make it count, we recommend the Butora Acro or the La Sportiva Solution for serious pocket pulling.

Our tester commented that delicate smearing felt difficult in these shoes.
Our tester commented that delicate smearing felt difficult in these shoes.

Sensitivity


These shoes have a medium stiff midsole, allowing for some flexion for lower angle slab climbing. As we mentioned earlier, the thick rubber causes the Momentums to feel clunky, and difficult to feel dime edges and divots that are key for sending difficult slabs. The La Sportiva TC Pros and Five Ten Quantum are both a better choice for techy slabs, albeit a much more expensive one.

Opposite opposed velcro straps hold the shoe securely to the foot. The Knit upper and the split tongue didn't feel as soft or flexible as our favorite shoes.
Opposite opposed velcro straps hold the shoe securely to the foot. The Knit upper and the split tongue didn't feel as soft or flexible as our favorite shoes.

Comfort


These flat lasted, symmetrically shaped shoes are comfy for the medium or narrow width foot. The split tongue and opposite opposed velcro straps make it easy to get them on and off, but if sized correctly, you should be able to wear these comfortably all day. Initially, some of our testers felt a pressure point on the top of their foot when standing on a lower angle climb with the shoe flexed, but this worked itself out after several pitches in the shoes. As with most velcro shoes, the buckles can sometimes position themselves between your foot and the rock while crack climbing, causing some acute discomfort.

Best Application


Looking to try climbing but don't want to pay $200 for a pair of foot torture devices? The Momentum is a solid choice for those starting out. That 4.3mm of rubber will come in handy when you're dragging your untrained feet all over the wall, and these shoes will support you weak toes as they develop into strong, edge crushing steel talons. Does your partner train obsessively in the gym and then put his/her stinky climbing shoes in the back of your car? These could make a great gift for that odorous but lovable climbing obsessed significant other.

The Momentums worked just fine for mellow circuiting in the Happy Boulders.
The Momentums worked just fine for mellow circuiting in the Happy Boulders.

Value


$90 is a steal for a pair of climbing shoes these days, and the knit weave and molded rubber feels like it will last, provided you don't climb cracks exclusively. Our Best Buy Award Winner Remains the Butora Acro While the Acro is about $50 more expensive than the Momentum, it is a much more versatile, higher performing shoe that climbs as well as much more expensive shoes.

Conclusion


We're excited to see what comes out of Black Diamond's entry into the shoe world. The Momentum is a solid entry-level shoe with some unique features.

Matt Bento

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Most recent review: May 16, 2018
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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Average Customer Rating:  
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