If you're seeking a single rock shoe to do a bit of everything, and which offers comfort without making major compromises on performance, then the Crux series would be well worth a look, say Rob Greenwood and Penny Orr.
"The Zenith Pro 2.0 rubber really feels like a step up from the brand too, being noticeably stickier than previous compounds, and feeling on a par with the likes of Vibram XS Grip."
Quite a damning indictment of Boreal's other rubbers: this noticeably stickier, step-up rubber is as good as Vibram's lower tier climbing rubber.
> "The Zenith Pro 2.0 rubber really feels like a step up from the brand too, being noticeably stickier than previous compounds, and feeling on a par with the likes of Vibram XS Grip."
> Quite a damning indictment of Boreal's other rubbers: this noticeably stickier, step-up rubber is as good as Vibram's lower tier climbing rubber.
That's a strangely negative take on a positive comment.
As per my comments on Zenith Quattro within the relatively recent review of the Boreal Beta and Beta Eco, it wasn't - in my opinion - the grippiest; however, it was, in turn, much more durable. You can't have everything and Boreal have designed that compound with longevity in mind.
When it comes to previous versions of Zenith Pro, I've used (and reviewed) a fair few shoes that have featured that original compound, including the Lynx back in 2015, the Ninja in 2019 and the Ace in 2020. It's been good, but certainly no way near as good as this, which is - in my opinion - a massive step up in terms of performance. That said, it's hard to be objective about these things, as it's not a test - it's a review - hence subjective by nature; however, in use I've found it to make a noticeable difference.
As such, it's pretty far from a damning indictment. Quattro's focus - in my eyes - is durability, Zenith Pro 2.0's is on performance. Yes, it performs better than its predecessor, and yes - in turn that means its predecessor was a poorer performer. Does that mean they were terrible, no - it just means that these are better.
Ok, let's run through your statements here:
Given XS Grip isn't a new rubber, why have you made the comparison in this review but not in the other reviews of the Ninja, Lynx and Ace? Would it not have been useful information for the readership of those reviews if you'd said the rubber on those was nowhere near as good as XS Grip? If my comment seems strangely negative to you, I'd say your previous reviews seem strangely not negative to me given the above. Shoes aren't cheap.
Whilst I don't appreciate my comments being thrown back at me as 'statements' (this is a conversation on a climbing forum, not a police investigation), the point you have is an interesting one regarding why I drew the parallel this time, but hadn't done previously.
Were I to go back and re-write those reviews, maybe I would approach things differently, but the reason I didn't (rightly or wrongly) was twofold: firstly, because the difference is quite subtle and secondly, because it's very hard to be objective. Perhaps I over-egged it when I said 'nowhere near', but forgive me for a bit of hyperbole - these reviews can be very dry without a bit of character injected into them!!
To demonstrate just how subtle the differences can be, and the reason I historically refrained from drawing too many comparisons, take a look at XS Grip vs. XS Grip 2. Thus far we've focussed on the former, but the latter is supposedly superior, but is it actually? I'm sure that Vibram would have some stats, and I'm sure those stats would say that it's better, but in use - can you really tell?! I doubt you could, and if you did would you ever be able to write it off as anything but bias brought about by the fact that you believed it to be better?
The difference between Zenith Quattro and Zenith Pro 2.0 was actually much more obvious, which is why I explicitly commented, compared and contextualised their performance within both the Beta/Beta Eco and Crux/Crux Lace reviews.
In the future I'd anticipate doing something similar. Draw parallels where I can, as it is useful to know, but with a strongly worded caveat that it is often much more subtle than the difference between Quattro and Zenith Pro 2.0.
At the end of the day, it's a review - not a lab test.
Thanks for the response Rob, and sorry about the 'statements' - I'll dial back the inquisition!
I'd agree that I probably can't tell the difference between XS Grip and XS Grip 2 and wouldn't choose a shoe purely because it had XS Grip 2 over one with XS Grip when fit, midsole etc. would make more of a difference.
My initial comment and follow-up are mainly because I feel burned from purchasing a pair of Ninjas. The first time I tried them I was pinging off footholds and cutting loose on my warm-up problems, problems I've been absolutely solid on in a range of XS Grip 2 and XS Edge shoes. I swap shoes to my old XS Edge pair and the problems are easy again, feet stay on, no cutting loose. Try the Ninjas again - more foot pops; back to the old shoes - solid. I give them a bit more a chance, let them break in a bit, but I still get unexpected foot-pops when I use them so I tend not to. Maybe it's not the rubber (or not just the rubber), but in back-to-back comparisons on the same problems the Boreals slip where others stick. Maybe I should get them re-soled in XS Grip or Edge and see whether I get on with them then but that seems like throwing good money after bad. So you see why a review singing the praises of Boreal's new rubber for being as good as XS Grip prompted the negative comment.
Thanks for the context, that makes a lot more sense now.
I'd certainly not experienced anything like that with the Ninja, but if I had I would definitely have said - much like I did with the Beta/Beta Eco (where I noticed something very similar to what you're describing).
I also massively respect and appreciate the point you made regarding the cost, because these things aren't cheap, and the reason why you read reviews in the first place is to try and avoid situations like the one you've found yourself in, where the product you've bought doesn't live up to expectation (an expectation which you have as a result of what was written within the review). As a result of this, it's really important that reviews are written honestly, and critically, including both the good and the bad.
With climbing shoes it's particualrly tricky, because there's so many factors involved, but still - I can see why you feel burned.