Boreal Ninja Review 2019

When is a Ninja not a Ninja? When it’s an unmasked Mutant!

Star rating given for modern performance!

You can’t imagine the excitement I felt when Boreal contacted us to ask for a review of the new Ninjas. ‘Ninjas, I asked myself. Could this be true; the legendary slipper that I wore throughout the early 1990’s and did laps on Raindogs at Malham Cove for training? Bring it on!’. I owned both the red and green versions and I even had friends that bought every pair in the shop when it became known that Boreal were discontinuing them. So I was super excited to be testing a pair for the spring bouldering season.

The box duly arrived and I must be honest and say that I was a little disappointed that the slipper didn’t look anything like the 90’s versions I wore. They have, however, proved to be a very good modern update and are more suited to a modern style of climbing. Very aggressive and a super performance fit mean the Boreal Ninja are suited to hard climbing both indoors and out.

The upper is made from microfibre and so far hasn’t been to smelly (which can be an issue with microfibre). The advantages of microfibre are that it doesn’t stretch so much as leather and you can wash it easier. It’s been more than adequate throughout the test conditions and hasn’t split. The only place I can see a split happening is with the is with the pull tab at the front; with the Ninja being so tight around the foot you do need to pull quite hard on both the front pull loop and the rear ones in order to get the slipper on. The fit is super precise, in discussion with Boreal they advise that as I normally use a UK7.5 in climbing shoes that I go up a size. I compromised and went up half a size to a UK 8 (I normally use this size for ‘comfy’ climbing or outdoor climbing work). They were very tight to get on and painful to use for a while. They have given a little but I feel that Boreal were correct – the fit is ideal for send hard projects but for outdoor bouldering circuits and indoor climbing I feel the extra half a size would have been better. That said the fit is truly great for precision footwork so if you’re good with your feet you will like them.  

The Zenith rubber had great friction on Sandstone. Bowden Doors, Northumberland.

Although the look is similar to the Mutant the last is a little different, this makes them narrower with more support at the arch and heel. So somewhere between the Synergy and Mutant in fit. As I said earlier, the heel is truly awesome and the slipper deserves the star grading for this alone. If you rely on heel hooks then you will find the Boreal Ninja just up your street. They never moved a millimetre on even the most aggressive of heel hook moves. The injection moulded heel is completely covered in the super sticky Zenith rubber, Boreal were innovators on this technique and their heels just seem to get better and better. That doeas mean that the Ninja can be a bit of a faff getting on and off, especially in warmer conditions and the fit doesn’t lend itself to all day wear – I need to get them off as soon as possible!

The heel on the Ninja is perfect for heelhooking. RAC boulders, North Wales

Not only is the heel covered in Zenith the toe is too. As with many modern type slippers and Velcro shoes there is complete coverage of the toe area for hooking and if you could stand the pain: crack climbing! Again, the rubber is excellent, which is just as well as the sole has 4mm of it. The Ninja slippers has begun to soften up although the midsole has kept the toe area in good shape with little deformation. I would expect this mould to my foot shape the more I wear them as the slipper is unlined. Finally the Rand Wrap comes up under the arch to offer support and keep the shoe in its aggressive shape. It wraps around the heel to keep the slipper tight against the achilles heel – which was a problem with the original Ninja. Heel comfort is further improved with a seam strip sewn in at the heel seam.

Good precision on gritstone chicken heads. Caley boulders, Yorkshire

In conclusion; although the new 2019 Boreal Ninja bears no resemblance at all to the original 90’s versions they are bang up to date with all the modern features you would want in a modern climbing slipper. They have all the innovations of other performance models in the Boreal range and are a great shoe for bouldering and indoor climbing which would also be useful for hard sport climbing if you’re strong enough.

The Boreal Ninja comes in sizes UK 4 to 12 in half sizes and are made in Spain at the Boreal factory.

SRP is £100 and they are available from specialist retailers throughout the UK and the world.

Disclaimer – CGR reviewers are never paid to provide a review and the website does not take advertising or link to affiliate sales. We are a bunch of keen climbers and travellers that accept sample products and offer an honest and independent review of the item. The reviewer will often keep the sample after reviewing it for both hygiene and safety reasons and more often it’s in no fit state to return!


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