Boreal Lynx Review

Boreal Lynx, 129 kb
It’s hard to be an all-rounder, and back when Boreal first announced availability of the new Lynx a question arose on the UKC Forums:

“is it even possible to have an all rounder shoe? Surely, the same shoe is not likely to perform for both short sport climbing and all-day multi-pitch?"

This got me thinking: is it an impossible task? It’s certainly a phrase I’ve used before, but thinking a bit more about it I had to admit that the concept seemed a little flawed – something that is good at one thing (i.e. edging) is surely never going to be equally as good at its opposite (i.e. smearing). However, despite some vagaries regarding the definition I don’t feel that the term is entirely inappropriate when it comes to the Lynx.

Rob Greenwood wearing the Boreal Lynx on Toadal Recall (8a), Malham Cove
© Penny Orr

Like every all-rounder the Lynx has its weaker areas, but in terms of its scope for a wide range of activities/styles/grades here we have a shoe that is stiff enough to support the feet of someone new to climbing, whilst simultaneously providing a bit more comfort for those more experienced climbers on long mountain routes too. On the flipside of this, Ben Moon recently used a pair on his ascent of Rainshadow (reported back in June 2015), so it’s the choice shoe of a 9a climber too – quite something…

The Lynx has a wide fit, with a high volume toe box and a subtly downturned last. The fit can be adapted around the foot by the lacing that extends to the very tip of the shoe, something that may sound obvious, but with many brands only continuing lacing to the mid-foot (leaving a potential risk for a sloppy fit) it is worth a special mention. As a result, despite saying the Lynx is ‘wide’ it would probably have been more accurate to say they fit wide feet well (in this case, my feet) but also fit feet of more standard width too. In addition to this the heel has been well sculpted so that it fits, not attacks, your heel/achilles tendon.

The well designed and supremely comfortable tongue, 114 kb
The well designed and supremely comfortable tongue
Lacing right down to the end of the boot ensures a good fit, 98 kb
Lacing right to the end ensures a good fit

Rob Greenwood wearing the Boreal Lynx on Lime Street Direct (E1), Willersley, 163 kb
Rob Greenwood wearing the Boreal Lynx on Lime Street Direct (E1), Willersley
© Penny Orr
On the topic of fit, I am quite guilty of buying shoes too tight (no matter how many times people tell me not to), but the Lynx was an exception. When trying them out I decided to go for a pair that fit comfortably and immediately, requiring little wearing in (n.b. I bought then half a size smaller than my standard shoe size). The result was quite interesting as the stiffness of the shoe meant that despite them being a little larger they didn’t suffer on small edges quite as much as I would have thought. In fact, the only down-side was that due to the stiffness there is a certain lack of sensitivity to begin with – but that is to be expected (you can’t have everything). The Lynx were a pair of shoes that I could happily wear out the box, without too much fear of losing my toes by the end of a day's climbing. In time I would say they have given in nicely, becoming more comfortable and sensitive over time, and after several months of consistent use have retained their size/shape nicely.

When it comes to rubber, the sticky Zenith compound has seen several updates since it was first released and their more recent models – the Dharma, Kintaro, and Lynx – feature the updated version. The resulting effect is the same level of grippiness, but with increased edge ability (please don’t ask me how…) The reality of this? Well, lots of people talk about rubber and the differences between them. I’ve certainly noticed it, but find that it’s often blown out of proportion in terms of its importance – in my eyes the No.1 factor when it comes to buying shoes is fit. Anyhow, following a period of initial breaking in they hit their sweet spot: performing well on a wide variety of rock types including Pembroke Limestone, Peak Limestone (which nothing grips on!!), Peak Grit (which everything grips on, albeit quite differently), and North Wales Rhyolite.

The build quality of the Lynx is excellent. One feature that particularly took my attention was the luxurious tongue, which overlaps neatly and has a lovely feel to it (or maybe I’m just going soft). Made in Spain (always nice to have something made in the EU) they are made to last and should suit the rigours of British rock climbing (i.e. not only the route, but the descents, screes, vegetation, long days, rough rock etc…). 


Controversial though it might sound, and imaginary though the concept might be, I do believe the Lynx to be a good all-rounder. In this day and age where many climbing shoe manufacturers appear to be discontinuing all their stiff boots it is quite refreshing to have Boreal present something a little different. If you’re after a pair of boots that could take you up long mountain routes from Diff to E6 (arms permitting) or 9as at Malham (!!) then try a pair on – they might just be for you.

What Boreal say:

Boreal Lynx is the consummate all-rounder. Featuring a subtly downturned last shape and ultra sticky Zenith™ rubber, Lynx is just as happy padding up a friction slab as it is standing on micro edges. Such versatility makes this the perfect “do it all” shoe.

The last shape has evolved from a previous version of our popular Lynx model, with a wider forefoot and slimmer heel offering a secure and comfortable fit for the average foot. We have also added a women’s specific last shape, designed to fit the contours of a lower volume foot.

The upper consists of a premium quality unlined split leather, with padded neoprene tongue. This works in conjunction with our full length lacing to lock the foot in place in comfort.

Boreal Lynx Mens, 145 kb
Boreal Lynx Womens, 131 kb

Rob Greenwood - UKC's advertising manager, eater of fried eggs and climber of 8a routes., 91 kb
Rob Greenwood - UKC Advertising Manager, eater of fried eggs and climber of 8a routes
About the Author:

Rob Greenwood is the Advertising Manager at

He's a passionate climber, hot yoga addict and eater of vegetarian food. He has done more UK trad routes than he's had roast dinners (and that's got nothing to do with the vegetarianism).

Aside from UK trad, he's dabbled with alpine climbing, Scottish winter, Himalayan climbing and more recently Peak limestone sport climbing.

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