Designed by the legends Fred Nicole and Dave Graham, the Dragon is very popular for cutting edge bouldering and sport climbing as well as world class competition climbing. This new Dragon is different in many ways from the original, old school Dragon. This new version is extremely lightweight at 5.6 oz (size 9 US men's), making them one of the lightest rock shoes we've ever tested. Here's how they compare to the other shoes in the category as far as weight: Evolv Shaman = 9.3 oz, La Sportiva Solution = 8.8 oz and Five Ten Team 5.10 Shoe = 7.2 oz.
For your average mid-high level climber/boulderer, a slight amount of added weight is not a big deal and can be totally worth it for the ease of use of the Velcro closure systems. For the elite, highest-level athlete having the lightest possible shoe could make a difference. In addition to being lighter weight, the Dragon outperforms the Shaman, Team and Solution at all-around technical footwork. It performs better and better the steeper the rock gets.
Here are a few of its contenders' stronger and weaker points: Team Shoe toe hooks better, being covered in rubber, but does not edge as well. The Shaman is very comfortable for how down-turned it is and performs fairly good at everything. The Solution also performs well all-around but the single strap has been known to break, possibly leaving the shoe grounded. If you are looking for the lightest high-performing shoe for steep, extremely difficult rock with the adjustability and security of a lace-up as well as the tried and true, super sticky Five Ten rubber, then the Dragon could be your best option.