Boreal Storm Rock Shoes£89.95, added Apr/2010, see all Boreal news & reviews
Reviewed by threepeaks
Now, I was highly dubious that this would work when I first saw it. It took a while to figure out how to 'set' the laces, and then I first assumed that you were supposed to use the laces and the Velcro separately to offer varying degrees of shoe tension. When I realised this wasn't the case, I carried on using the lacing and the Velcro separately sometimes, because it offered refreshing versatility. It was very nice to be able to warm up with just the Velcro tab done up then cinch the shoe tight with the lace once I wanted to do something harder.
The toe profile allowed me to stand on small edges and the stiff midsole made it comfortable to do so. I coped very well on polished routes at Malham and Horseshoe Quarry. In fact, out of all the test situations, I found the shoe best for limestone sport climbing and edgy bouldering. The concave midsole pushes the toes down into the big toe area. This idea is not new but it isn't as aggressive as with most other models I have tried, so felt more comfortable for prolonged periods of wear.
- Sizes: 2-12 in half sizes
- Uppers: High quality split leather
- MiFit lacing: Provides a fast and secure fit
- Integrated padded tongue for comfort
- Midsole: Half midsole with anatomic cuataway
- Construction: Slip-lasted
- Weight: 460g pair size 6
- Lining: Unlined
- Sole: Boreal FS QUATTRO
- Characterisics: All round technical performance
MiFit Lacing system:
- Step 1: Position Velcro Tab for Optimum Comfort
- Step 2: Pull lace to tighten and slide metal grip to webbing
- Step 3: Tie knot to secure when desired fit is achieved
On the grit the shoe performed well too. The FS Quattro rubber has been established for some time now, and as long as it is kept clean it will smear with the best. I did find the shoe a little stiff for this until they wore in, but after several weeks they were fine.
The MiFit fastening system meant that the shoe did fit well - it certainly offered a tighter fit over a larger area than two Velcro straps do, and was quicker and generally easier to use than a lace up. The instructions indicated that you should tie a half hitch in the lace once tightened, but I found that just tucking under was enough to keep it tensioned for the route/problem. It also avoided the embarrassment of asking your mate to untie your lace when you're so pumped you can't undo the knot! I was slightly concerned that the lacing system would became useless if the small oval was lost or crushed (however once the knot is tied to 'set' the laces in theory you shouldn't need to untie them again), and that the elasticated tab didn't feel as robust as I would have liked, though.
A great all-round rock shoe that will perform in all climbing situations from trad to bouldering. Whether the fitting system will just be seen by others as a gimmick, time (and the UKC Gear Forum!) will tell.
- More information on the Boreal Website
About Dave Sarkar
He is a self confessed gear addict, suffering much derision on the Malham catwalk. He can often be found at his favourite stomping ground Almscliff with his mates and two sons who are beginning to give him a run for his money!