Unparallel Lace, Sirius and Regulus Review

Unparallel are the new kids on the climbing shoe block - but the newness of the company belies the expertise behind it. Building on over 20 years' experience making rock shoes in California, they are already gaining a superb reputation in the climbing world. The company was started in 2017 by Sang Lee, who handled development and production for Five Ten climbing until Adidas closed the Redlands outlet.

The Unparallel rock shoes were tested on Peak Lime, Grit and Sandstone  © Nick Brown - UKC
The Unparallel rock shoes were tested on Peak Lime, Grit and Sandstone
© Nick Brown - UKC

Dark Ventures have recently started importing the shoes into the UK and we're taking a first look at a range of their shoes; the flat and stiff UP lace, the aggressive Regulus and the versatile Sirius. Like all the shoes in the Unparallel Range, they use UP Rubber. I'm a firm believer that not all boot rubber is created equal, and UP rubber is as sticky as it comes. The company also offer each shoe in a low volume model - perfect for women or those men with narrower feet.

UP Lace

The UP Lace is a flat shoe and its main selling point for me was the stiff rubber. The climbing shoe market in recent years has veered towards very soft, floppy shoes that are great for climbing indoors; however, many rock climbers have felt under-catered for. Supportive and precise edging is its aim, but it also manages to sustain a level of comfort (once broken in) whilst maintaining performance.

The Unparallel Lace  © Nick Brown - UKC
The Unparallel Lace
© Nick Brown - UKC

Fit

The first thing you notice when putting the UP Lace on is that it's a stiff shoe. Stiff shoes can be relatively unforgiving initially and they do need a breaking in period. The laces allow you to cinch the boot tight, leaving very little empty space – something I've always considered to be a massive bonus.

The heel is relatively narrow, fitting comfortably around the rear whilst retaining a slight bit of room - this helps to mould into certain heel hooks. I'm a big fan of this heel. Thanks to the tight fit I have almost no slippage once the heel is in use.

The UP Lace Heel being tested at Griff's Buttress  © Rob Greenwood - UKC
The UP Lace Heel being tested at Griff's Buttress
© Rob Greenwood - UKC

Use

This shoe is an all-rounder. I've had it out on Peak limestone, gritstone and Fontainebleau sandstone. It's as at home on small edges as it is smearing, making it perfect for many of the places where I've tested the shoe. Its stiff sole performs superbly on Peak limestone, where you are relying on the boot to provide support on the tiny edges. The quality of the rubber is significant when you're on friction dependant climbs, giving you absolute faith that your foot won't pop off unexpectedly.

Once the shoe starts to lose its edge and begins softening (which takes a while thanks to the quality of the rubber), its purpose changes slightly. Whilst still performing well on edges, they become either an all-day comfort shoe or ideal for gritstone smearing.

The laces enable a very tight fit  © Rob Greenwood - UKC
The laces enable a very tight fit
© Rob Greenwood - UKC

The build quality on the UP Lace is top notch  © Nick Brown - UKC
The build quality on the UP Lace is top notch
© Nick Brown - UKC

Overall

Competitively priced at £110, this is a bargain for an all-rounder that can be used for nearly everything. The build quality is top-notch; the traditional weak points on rock shoes such as the lacing system, the pull tabs and the rubber's edge show very little sign of wear.

Unparallel say:

The UP Lace is the stiffest shoe in our line for the ultimate in precision footwork and edging capability. The fast lacing system allows for easy on/off and a perfect precise fit every time as well as added lace protection for foot jams when crack climbing. The full RH rubber sole and stiff midsole combination gives ultimate friction and versatility.

UP Lace prod shot

  • Sizes: 2-13 UK (men) 5-12 UK (women/LV)
  • 4.2mm RH rubber
  • Stiff midsole
  • Lined synthetic upper

For more info see darkventures.co.uk

Regulus

The Regulus is the stiffest of the more aggressive shoes in the Unparallel range, which means that the most pressure is on the toes and the heel – it's not a shoe for comfort! The forefoot has a rounded toe box with low asymmetry, meaning it's not great for pockets, but it's versatile enough for most styles.

The Regulus is Unparallel's stiffest down turned shoe  © Nick Brown - UKC
The Regulus is Unparallel's stiffest down turned shoe
© Nick Brown - UKC

Fit

Again, this comes in a standard men's fit and a LV/women's version. The Regulus is a tricky boot to get on your foot initially, requiring the use of a supplementary plastic bag. Once on, my narrow feet needed the strap as tight as possible meaning the shoe may be better for those with wider feet. The shoe is quite high, leaving room for the stiffness to curve your foot into a downturned position.

I've found that the shoes do bag out slightly over time, leaving some dead space which can lead to some movement in the shoe during use, particularly when heel hooking. Perhaps two straps would come in handy for when the shoe starts to expand? However I suspect that this would fundamentally change the composition of the shoe.

It features a large patch of rubber on the top of the toe for 'extra friction when toe hooking.' This means there's an initially uncomfortable breaking in period whilst the knuckles of the toes are pushed up against the roof of the shoe.

The Regulus makes clawing on steep rock easy  © Rob Greenwood - UKC
The Regulus makes clawing on steep rock easy
© Rob Greenwood - UKC

Use

The edge provides precision and the stiffness allows for quite a lot of support on the smallest edges - one caveat being that the rounded profile doesn't allow for much room when stepping through. The low asymmetry means the shoe isn't really designed for pockets, although it can hold its own on almost every rock type, particularly on the limestone found in the UK. The stiff midsole means the shoe is useful for sport climbing when stood on small edges for a sustained period.

I found that this shoe really came into its own on steeper ground. On overhanging terrain, they felt like having a set of fingers on your feet that could dig in and keep your body close to the rock.

The heel is acceptable, although for tricky heel hooks I would favour the Sirius, as the Regulus seems to have slightly more movement when used in anger. This can be controlled slightly by cinching the strap tightly.

The Regulus has rubber on the top of the foot for toe hooking  © Rob Greenwood - UKC
The Regulus has rubber on the top of the foot for toe hooking
© Rob Greenwood - UKC

The rounded toe profile on the Regulus  © Nick Brown - UKC
The rounded toe profile on the Regulus
© Nick Brown - UKC

Overall

Like the UP Lace, the Regulus is priced at a very reasonable £110, and for a performance rock shoe you can't get a much better price than that. The strap is thick and a metal fastener is used, providing extra durability. It's not a shoe for slabs and wouldn't be my first choice for vertical edging; it's a shoe for steep climbing and thanks to the exceptional rubber, it's a top performance shoe.

Unparallel say:

The Regulus is our stiffest downturned shoe providing both comfort and absolute precision for any angle and all styles of climbing. The unlined synthetic upper provides a soft feel on foot while maintaining a perfectly snug and secure fit. The full RH rubber sole and stiff midsole provide exceptional edging ability and the extended rubber over the toe box provides extra friction for toe hooking. The highly tensioned heel and sling shot rending locks your foot into the shoe providing extra power and bomb proof heel hooks.

Regulus prod shot

  • Sizes: 4-13 UK (men) 3-10 (women/LV)
  • 4.2mm RH rubber
  • Stiff midsole
  • Unlined synthetic upper

For more info see darkventures.co.uk

Sirius

The Sirius is a downturned and aggressive lace-up shoe. It features an offset lacing system that allows you to really pull the shoe tight, and a small amount of rubber on the toe. Once again, Unparallel have reinforced where you usually find weak points on shoes and with all that in mind you have an impressive shoe out of the box.

The Unparallel Sirius  © Nick Brown - UKC
The Unparallel Sirius
© Nick Brown - UKC

Fit

Once again you get a choice of standard fit or a women's/low volume alternative; hats off to Unparallel for offering the same shoes in both. My feet are at the narrower end of the spectrum, and the standard Sirius fits them well, as the laces allow me to really tighten the shoe around the shape of the foot. The heel is narrow and tight-fitting, which lends itself to precise heel hooks.

I was able to wear these shoes straight out of the box with very little discomfort, and they felt precise and sensitive right away - there was hardly any breaking in required.

Sirius' are great on a range of gradients  © Nick Brown - UKC
Sirius' are great on a range of gradients
© Nick Brown - UKC

Use

Unparallel describe the Sirius as the 'perfect combination between sensitivity and friction', and they're not far off. The rubber is not quite as stiff as the Regulus, although it provides enough support to fare as well on vertical terrain as it does on overhangs. In actuality, this medium stiffness midsole is the best thing about the shoe - it gives a flexibility rarely found in an aggressive downturned shoe, and for me the Sirius performed well on a range of angles.

One area where the shoe didn't perform well was toe hooking, but I wasn't particularly fazed considering how well in other respects the Sirius copes on steep and vertical ground.

The Sirius has a narrow, tight fitting heel  © Nick Brown - UKC
The Sirius has a narrow, tight fitting heel
© Nick Brown - UKC

Overall

As a boulderer, the Sirius is my go-to shoe. It offers precision and stability, whilst the flexible midsole helps the shoe perform on a range of angles. The reinforced laces give you every last drop of snug fit, and it has the same superb rubber as the rest of the range. It's competitively priced at £120.00, so if these fit your feet I would highly recommend them.

Unparallel Say:

Precise and aggressive – the Sirius Lace is the shoe for your most demanding projects! Equally at home in the gym or outside these shoes excel on vertical and steep overhung terrain where every last fraction of friction helps to propel you up. A full RS rubber sole and medium stiffness midsole provide the perfect combination of sensitivity and friction. The offset lacing system allows you to dial in the perfect fit and provides extra surface area for toe hooks without sacrificing fit or function. Your climbing partners will swear that you're cheating with these shoes!

Sirius prod shot

  • Sizes: 2-13 UK (men) 3-10 (women/LV)
  • 3.5mm RS rubber
  • Medium stiffness midsole
  • Lined synthetic upper

For more info see darkventures.co.uk

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25 Jun

They are a bit like going back in time, to me they look like the classic miura, the old V10's and a dragon? Nothing wrong with that though.

25 Jun

Interesting thanks. Were you fazed or phased?

26 Jun

I was wondering what size would you recommend for the Regulus. I use HiAngles and typically go 1 size down my shoe size.

I was told that Regulus is a little tighter and so i thought half size smaller than shoe size will be good for a tight feet for bouldering mainly.

I would suggest (personally) only half a size down from shoe size for regulus. It will still be a fight to get on first time but gets easier. I also have the up lace which I have a full size and a half smaller than shoe size and fits brilliantly without pain. I hope this helps
26 Jun

thanks. I already ordered half size down from outside.co.uk and can't wait to try them on. Shoes are in customs right now. Thanks for great service :)

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