/ Let's talk rubber

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The Lemming - on 13 Sep 2013
Are all rubber soles much of a muchness, or is there one clear sticky winner?
balmybaldwin - on 13 Sep 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

All much of a muchness... otherwise you'd see all the pros using one particular brand rather than seeking any brand that will sponsor them. - Don't get me wrong, everyone has preferences, and the rubber has different qualities, but it would be obvious if one was head and shoulders above the rest
yesbutnobutyesbut - on 13 Sep 2013
In reply to The Lemming: I think they're all very good if kept clean. Plenty of people step onto the rock without cleaning and 'squeaking' their shoes first. The best rubber in the world isn't going to work covered in dirt, dust or chalk.
gethin_allen on 13 Sep 2013
In reply to The Lemming:
I've always found boreal rubber to be rubbish but apparently they ha e some new stuff that I haven't used. Red chili rubber is good but very soft and not very durable. Good old 5 10 stealth is my favorite as it's both sticky and durable.
The softer stuff is always going to deform and give some grip easier than firmer stuff but once you have weight on the rubber I imagine it's pretty much the same. And firmer stuff is less likely to roll of tear away.
pork pie girl - on 15 Sep 2013
In reply to yesbutnobutyesbut: what's squeaking your shoes?
Keendan - on 15 Sep 2013
In reply to The Lemming:

Softer rubber like 5.10 and Evolv is grippier but wear out more quickly.

Harder rubber like Sportiva and Scarpa lasts longer and is better for edging. Less grippy.
i.munro - on 16 Sep 2013
In reply to pork pie girl:

> (In reply to yesbutnobutyesbut) what's squeaking your shoes?

At the bottom of a route or boulder problem, before climbing, first scrub off what dirt/chalk you can on the carpet that you're standing on then using your thumb or the heel of your hand rub the front of the sole of your shoe really hard until the top layer of rubber, which is stuck to all the remaining dirt/chalk. peels off leaving a clean layer to climb on.
Moistening the rubber helps (saliva is traditional).

Not doing this negates any advantage of purchasing expensive rubber & will contribute substantially to foothold wear .

Having said that if you're going to chalk the footholds anyway , as many seem to ....

Nicola Ciancaglini on 19 Sep 2013

There isn't such a thing as La Sportiva rubber. LS, Scarpa and many others use mainly (only?) Vibram rubber which comes in different flavours. Over the recent years there has been a trend in making ever thinner shoes with thin rubber to maximise sensitivity (XS Grip and XS Grip 2). LS's Speedster are a prime example. However, it goes without saying that less rubber will wear out more quickly, and softer rubber will wear out even more quickly. FiveTen uses mainly Stealth rubber which is known to be very stiff. Some love it, some hate it. Those who love it don't seem to be able to do without it. There must be a reason. But there is a sort of come back of the stiffer rubber. Even Vibram came out with the Edge flavour which is not far from the stiffness of their old XSV rubber. Boreal are the guys who started it all. After their original breakthrough with the Fire, they lagged behind the competitors for quite a while. Their Quattro rubber was never great. What not everyone knows is that at some point it has been improved, but they didn't change the name of the rubber. Their choice. The most recent batches of Boreal shoes with the new Quattro sole are marginally better than the older ones. The new Zenith rubber is an hybrid. It feels stiff, but it's actually very soft and very sticky. So soft that many reported problems when edging. Go figure. Then there are the usual climbers' legends... like LS shoes with Stealth rubber being la creme de la creme, the best of the best. It has to be said that this is one area of the whole industry where very little is happening. As I said, the feedback from climbers across the world is leading manufacturers to go back to the stiffer rubber. So maybe, maybe FiveTen got it right all the way. Even the structure of the shoe itself is going back to rewarding simplicity over complex designs, though this is not the subject of this topic. I can't avoid thinking of Steve McClure climbing mostly with the FiveTen Anasazi and crushing everything on his way. How long have the Anasazi been around for? And how about Manolo climbing super hard slabs with LS Mythos?

All the above to say that of course there isn't a rubber that is obviously better than all others. We just have to man up and be more like Steve and Manolo. Easy


CurlyStevo - on 19 Sep 2013
In reply to The Lemming:
I've found both evolve and boreal rubber to be noticeably less sticky (the normal stuff boreal use not their high end stuff).

Like others I have found the red chilli rubber is as sticky as 5:10 but not as hard wearing. My new scarpa shoes have vibram XS edge and they are performing well so far.

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