CGR reviewer Katie takes a look at the Red Chili Spice – a female specific rock shoe.
… a radical and uncompromising high-end climbing shoe built on a special female last. Spice doesn’t just look good, it has what it takes. It’s built with a newly developed speed-lacing system, balanced pre-tension and asymetical shape. The midsole is tuned to the climbing style of athletic women.
Value for money *****
Climbing shoes are interesting things. Some people can chop and change from brand, but most stick with one kind that suits their foot shape. I’m lucky, I’ve been able to find a perfect shoe from most brands to create a good all round selection.
The Red Chili Spice is a lovely looking shoe, when I first opened the box I had a nice little coo at them. I really wanted them to fit well so I could wear them all the time! I’ll start the review by saying that unfortunately they didn’t really fit me…gutted. It was close, I have slim feet and even though these are lace ups I still couldn’t pull them tight enough to make my heel stay in.
So what I did was give them a good trial and tried them out in all different climbing situations, but kept in mind that they weren’t a perfect fit.
The Spice is a high end women specific shoe. Extremely light weight, with a speed lacing system. The sole is 4.5mm, high end Red Chili RX-2rubber. So a pretty well thought out shoe, for serious climbers.
I’ll start with the sole; the rubber is hard wearing which is a plus, but this comes hand in hand with not being very sticky; A flat profile, no down turned toes here. The sole is 4.5mm, to me it feels very thick, which isn’t normally my cup of tea; I like to feel where I’m putting my toes. I found myself misplacing my feet a lot, and because I couldn’t feel my toes, I didn’t trust them as much.
Saying this, I realised the answer to why I wasn’t getting the most out of these shoes; I don’t do much Trad. So, off to the crag and a bit of extreme seconding later, I found the reason why these shoes should be bought. The Red Chili Spice has brilliant precision edges, and any tiny edges you may come across on a climb seem like giant foot holds in them.
The stiffness of the shoe was something I’ve had to get my head around. A good stiff shoe is just what you need sometimes, so it would definitely be great to have in my repertoire, but for me it isn’t an everyday shoe, I like a bit of soft comfort. To compare them to other shoes on the market, I’d say they were closest to the 5.10 Whites in style, but with a specific women’s fit.
The heel looks like it will be great; I say it like this because my heel won’t stay in. Now as I’ve said before, I do have slim feet and heels, so anyone who already wears Red Chili’s or has broad feet will probably find them great. It is a comfortable heel and the rubber finish at the back is in the perfect spot for heel hooking (which a lot of brands get wrong). It’s finished well, and there have been no signs of peeling.
I’m a UK 4 in most shoes as standard, and I think that goes for the Red Chili’s as well; it’s purely the shape that is wrong for me. This isn’t a bad quality for the Red Chili Spice, like I said at the start, there are different shoes for different people, we don’t all have the same shaped feet.
The shape of the shoe hasn’t changed at all, but then it’s only been 8 weeks, so I can’t guarantee it won’t change. The speed lacing system is great, they say it’s a ‘new lacing system’ but I’ve seen it around for a long time in other shoes; but it works, it pulls in the shoe evenly and quickly, which is exactly what you want. The lace itself, although it looks awesome, is a bit slippery and doesn’t grip to itself as well as it should. This is by no means a deal breaker, just a critical comment from someone reviewing them closely.
So what is my conclusion of the Red Chili Spice; I think they’ve got it right. I know they don’t fit me that well, but I can still see where they work and how good they’ll be for people with the right shaped feet. Don’t go into buying this shoe with a view that it will be an all rounder for all types of climbing, it isn’t. It’s a stiff shoe, with positive edges, and if that’s all you’re looking for in a shoe, well here’s the one for you; At around £99.95, they price as well many other modern shoe.
I may have to keep trying with these shoes, not just because they’re so darn pretty, but because I feel like I’d be missing a trick if I didn’t use them to their full potential, which I don’t think I have yet. Oh well, Trad, here I come….