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Black Diamond Momentum Review

If the shoe fits, the Momentum is a fine choice for a new climber looking to save some money
Black Diamond Momentum
Photo: Black Diamond
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Price:  $95 List | Check Price at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Durable, inexpensive, easy on/off
Cons:  Not great at edging, uncomfortable for wider feet
Manufacturer:   Black Diamond
By Matt Bento ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 5, 2021
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56
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#29 of 29
  • Edging - 20% 5
  • Cracks - 20% 6
  • Comfort - 20% 7
  • Steep Terrain - 20% 5
  • Sensitivity - 20% 5

Our Verdict

The Black Diamond Momentum is the entry-level option in 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 frequent a humid, sweaty gym, you'll appreciate this breathability while climbing and for the long-term reduction in shoe smell. Nothing feels worse than sliding your foot into a sweaty shoe, especially when 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 some other budget options.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Best Buy Award Best Buy Award   
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Check Price at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
Check Price at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
Check Price at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
$57.82 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
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Star Rating
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Pros Durable, inexpensive, easy on/offComfortable design, respectable edging, low-profile toe, excellent priceAffordable, flat midsole is comfortable all day, well-balanced performance across many areasEasy on and off, comfortable, "thin" profileComfortable all-day-long fit, breaks in fast, sensitive, good heel-hooking, great value, nice look
Cons Not great at edging, uncomfortable for wider feetMediocre precision, subpar on the steeps, somewhat insensitiveInsensitive, imprecise fit, ineffective design for steep terrainStretch a lot, not great for edgingLoose fit, toes curl up out-of-the-box wears out fast, not best for extreme edging
Bottom Line If the shoe fits, the Momentum is a fine choice for a new climber looking to save some moneyDecent overall climbing performance at an affordable price make these a sold choiceAn entry-level shoe ideal for beginners that comes at an awesomely low priceThese shoes are great for hand cracks and training in the gymA great shoe for beginners or those looking for a dedicated gym climbing shoe
Rating Categories Black Diamond Momentum La Sportiva Finale La Sportiva Tarantu... Five Ten Moccasym Evolv Defy Black
Edging (20%)
5.0
7.0
6.0
3.0
5.0
Cracks (20%)
6.0
7.0
7.0
8.0
5.0
Comfort (20%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
Steep Terrain (20%)
5.0
6.0
5.0
5.0
6.0
Sensitivity (20%)
5.0
7.0
6.0
8.0
6.0
Specs Black Diamond Momentum La Sportiva Finale La Sportiva Tarantu... Five Ten Moccasym Evolv Defy Black
Style Velcro Lace Lace Slipper Velcro
Upper Synthetic knit Leather / microfiber Leather/Synthetic Leather Elastic Synthratek synthetic upper
Width Options Regular Regular Regular Regular Regular
Lining Hemp Unlined None Unlined Nylon
Rubber Type Neo Friction Vibram XS Edge FriXion RS Stealth C4 TRAX XT-5
Rubber Thickness (millimeters) 4.3 mm 5 mm 5 mm 2 mm 4.2 mm

Our Analysis and Test Results

The BD Momentum is a beginner shoe designed to offer comfort, cost savings, and durability, but these benefits involve some performance sacrifices. Compared to the uber-popular Evolv Defy, this shoe is a little stiffer and feels narrower, likely because the knit upper stretches minimally. The neo-friction rubber is adequately sticky and super thick, 4.3mm, to ensure that they hold up to the early days of sloppy footwork.

Performance Comparison


The Momentums feature a unique knit upper, the most breathable we've...
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 it's possible to some decent edging with these stiff, supportive shoes. Many of our testers are used to softer, more sensitive performance shoes, so edging in these clunkers took some getting used to. New climbers will want to pay special attention to their footwork, ensuring 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 like this. 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 for their toes to be 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, 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're not as useful for thin cracks as other shoes with a pointer toe that can sneak more rubber inside a small opening. If you have a narrow foot, climbing hands size cracks will probably feel fairly comfy, but wider feet will likely feel some pain while crack climbing in these shoes.

Steep Terrain


Performance with pockets is dependent on a shoes' edging prowess and the shape of the toe. A pointy toe on the end of a relatively aggressive shoe is usually ideal for pockets. These shoes are ok at edging, but 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 think other models can allow you to better utilize small features on overhanging terrain.

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

Sensitivity


These shoes have a medium-stiff midsole that allows some flexion during lower angle slab climbing. As we mentioned earlier, the thick rubber can cause the Momentum to feel clunky and difficult to feel dime edges or divots that are key for sending difficult slabs. If sensitivity is what you're seeking, look for shoes with thinner rubber and a softer sole.

Opposite opposed velcro straps hold the shoe securely to the foot...
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, and 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 acute discomfort.

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

Value


The Momentum definitely checks in as a budget shoe, and the knit weave and molded rubber feel like they will last, provided you aren't climbing cracks exclusively. Although our review highlights other models as Best Buy Award Winners, don't hesitate to select this option if it fits well and you're seeking a great deal.

Conclusion


We're excited to see what comes out of Black Diamond's entry into the shoe world. The BD Momentum is a solid entry-level shoe that supplies value, comfort, and decent performance.

Matt Bento