The 2011 Boreal Krypto Rock Climbing Shoe – the all new high perfomance rock shoe from Spain.
When we reviewed the BorealStorm (http://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/review.php?id=2606) in 2010 we were sceptical about the lacing system and concluded that the shoe was a good all round performer but the lacing system needed further improvement. When the new 2011 Boreal Krypto arrived I was glad to see that the lacing system had been dropped in favour of a more traditional velcro strap fastening. But had it retained an all round performer cachet?
Well, spring had arrived and it was time to maintain and store the winter kit, dust off the trusty crash pad and start to think about power, balance and technique because the Grit was calling. So it was great to able to try the shoes out. As I said earlier they are a traditional Velcro fastening boot; the uppers are made from slip lasted split leather, so no smelly bacteria forming here, and feel very supple. Ventilation was further aided by an integral padded, meshed tongue. They are also unlined and I opted for a UK 7.5. My normal trainer size is a UK 8; having worn them for a while I have noticed some stretch and on reflection I should have got a size UK 7, I feel this would have helped maintain the performance fit. The stretch was limited by the addition of a rubber reinforcement band across the upper part of the toe, this also had the benefit of aiding with toe hooking and scumming. They were comfortable to wear climbing straight from the box and it was reassuring to note that the shoes came with a six month guarantee.
The toe profile was aggressively asymetric, but comfortable in a way they shouldn’t be and I was able to wear them for a reasonable period of time without desperately want to get them off my feet. The performance toe profile meant I was able to stand on small edges and I could feel the ball of my toe being pushed into the hold. They also smeared very well, especially on the grit as they were quite flexible with the half stiff midsole. I must say these were a superlative gritstone shoe and performed very well on all types of gritstone climbing – although they were uncomfortable in sustained fingercrack style cracks. At first I thought they might be alittle too soft but on limestone they also performed well, whether it was trading at Stoney, sport climbing at Malham and I found them great for steep climbing on crags like Kilnsey. I found them a little tight for multi pitch climbing, on a CGRUK trip to Tremadog I had to get them off my feet asap on any belay I could, so maybe not ideal for wearing all day on a long mountain route unless you sized them accordingly.
The sole rubber is the well established FS Quattro and as long as the rubber is kept clean it will offer as good friction as any other rubber. The excellent IRS heel also meant that the shoe was very comfortable in the heel section. I do find the heels on Boreal shoes some of the best for my foot shape (narrow and bony) and I could feel the air being pushed out and a vacuum effect take over, brilliant for heelhooking.
They have proved to be a great sport climbing shoe and have performed well in all the climbing situations I have used them on. It’s good to see that Boreal have postponed the MiFit experiment and resorted to the tried and tested Velcro straps. The shape is excellent and the materials top class, many may not like the FS Quattro friction, but I found it fine for the routes I was doing.
So, a good offering from Boreal. A great, all round shoe that will perform in all climbing situations: from trad to bouldering, and are awesome on Gritstone routes. I have used these shoes all spring and they still feel great and have kept their performance intact. Finally, they were a little too soft for my weak climbing style and I would have liked them a little stiffer as I would have climbed better on very fingery wall climbs; but hey ho, I can always hang for longer on the fingerboard!