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How We Tested Climbing Shoes

By Matt Bento ⋅ Senior Review Editor
Friday March 1, 2019

Where We Tested

We loaded these shoes into the roof box and took them on the road. Starting in the bouldering mecca of Bishop CA, we made our way to Lander, WY, where we spent the month climbing all angles of bullet hard limestone in Sinks Canyon and Wild Iris. From there, we trekked to Idaho's City of rocks to find out how each shoe performed on granite cracks and slabs. Next, we continued our tour de granite in Yosemite Valley, putting the shoes through their paces on classic crack climbs and boulders. Finally, we escaped the from the summer heat to the high country of Tuolumne Meadows, home to some of the most technical (and scariest) climbing we've ever encountered.

Who Tested and What Type of Terrain

We put these shoes on experienced climbers who've been at it for years. Climbers with fat feet, skinny feet and everywhere in between climbed cracks, steep faces, and slabs, evaluating each shoe for comfort and sensitivity, in relation to their unique foot shape. We took them on pitches of rock climbing of every sort: sport, trad, and bouldering. As climbers and guides, the single most crucial thing we wear are the shoes on our feet. How well your shoes perform, and how comfortable they are can make or break an experience, so getting the right fit and performance is crucial.

We assessed these shoes primarily on how well they climbed and how they treated our feet on boulders, single pitch affairs, and after long days of climbing. We evaluated critical aspects of their performance such as how they edge, smear, and climb pockets, in addition to the durability, comfort, and versatility of the shoes. While testing of this nature is inherently subjective, our side-by-side assessment by testers of different foot types and climbing preferences creates an accurate, unbiased assessment of each shoe.

These Tarifa model is perfect for cruising up the technical  knobby faces found in Tuolumne Meadows.
These Tarifa model is perfect for cruising up the technical, knobby faces found in Tuolumne Meadows.