Boreal Crux Lace Climbing Shoes Review 2023

A good technical all round climbing shoe that fits well, performed on a wide variety of rock types and comfortable (ish).


  • Good all round performance
  • Moderate asymmetry offer some comfort
  • Well priced for climbing shoes


  • Not the ideal bouldering circuit shoe
  • Microfibre and rubber uppers can mean sweaty feet in hot conditions

It was a revelation when I bought my first pair of Boreal Fires in the early 1980’s. Three months of saving and dirt bagging and I was the proud owner and the only person in my climbing circle to own a pair – I mean, Jerry Moffat climbed in these! They paid off too, my grade shot up from HVS to E2 in a matter of weeks as I waltzed up slabs with the world’s stickiest rubber on my feet. Since then I have climbed in a whole variety of Boreal shoes and boots and they have been companions on some of my best climbing adventures whether that has been doing laps on Raindogs at Malham Cove, my first ascents at Kilnsey or ice climbing in Norway, Cogne and Ben Nevis (in ice climbing boots of course!).

The Boreal Crux Lace is the latest iteration of the established Crux shoes and offers added performance from the Jokers, which we reviewed back in 2017. Lace ups should be given serious consideration when choosing a climbing shoe. Although velcro offers flexibility and the option for easy removal when doing something like bouldering. Lace up shoes offer a superior fit and the ability to fine tune that fit further down the foot than velcro can offer. Want to repoint that vertical wall on small edges – crank them up super tight. Want to smear up that gritstone slab – loosen them off a bit. I’ve always found lace up climbing shoes much better for redpointing than velcro shoes for that reason and I’ve always owned a pair for single pitch sport climbing.

The Crux lace are designed as a moderate performance shoe suitable for technical climbing and excels on edgy footwork intensive climbs. The last is moderately downturned and only slightly asymmetric so they have remained comfortable to wear throughout the test. I probably wouldn’t to wear these for multi pitch but I reckon the Crux velcro would be more suited to that. The toe profile is just the right balance of offset and comfort to enable me to wear them for reasonable amounts of time. I wasn’t desperate to get them off when lowering off from a route. As I said earlier the edging ability is excellent and there is plenty of toe rubber for hooking. 

The mid sole is well tensioned and should offer good support for your arches. There is also plenty of orange tensioning rand up and around the heel. The mid tension is made from recycled rubber but more on that later. The heel is well tensioned with a high volume, I have always got on with Boreal heels and it was one of the reasons I moved away from 5.10 Anasazi’s back in the day. The heel on the Crux Lace didn’t disappoint and stayed firmly in place on the most intensive of heel hook problems.   

The uppers are a mixture of microfibre and mesh. The entire shoe is vegan in materials and construction (this includes the glue which is usually the issue) so you can be sure of it’s ethical credentials. Then wide tongue makes the shoe easy to get on and more importantly easy to get off, especially in warmer conditions. The front part of the shoe material has a rubber coating to help with toe hooking. The microfibre is very comfortable next to skin – as comfortable as leather I would say. I am blessed in that I do not suffer with smelly feet so the Crux has so far have not succumbed to smelly trainer syndrome in my gym bag.

And so to the rubber. The rubber is Zenith Pro 2.0 and is super sticky. I have had absolutely no problems at all with friction and the Crux Lace have performed brilliantly on all rock types from polished limestone to gritstone and chalk encrusted indoor holds. The Zenith rubber has been a staple of Boreal shoes for a number of years now and it has been slowly improved and morphed into the Zenith Pro 2.0 which is their best yet. The rubber thickness in 4-4.5mm and although this may feel a little bulky for high end bouldering performance it’s a perfectly acceptable compromise for added edging security and durability. Zenith Pro 2.0 also cover the heel so you can expect rock solid friction for heel hooks.

The wide tongue opening and the spaced lacing offers good adjustment for a wide variety of foot shapes and the heel offers quite a high volume and support at the achilles. For those who prefer a lower volume you might consider the female version. The Crux Lace is finished with two heel tabs that are solidly sewn in so you can clip them onto your harness for that multi abseil with confidence.

Finally onto the ESG credentials of the Crux Lace. Firstly the shoe is made in Spain you you can be sure that the people making them are being paid and treated fairly. Climbing shoes are a very complicated part of your climbing equipment. There are many parts needed and they are critical safety feature – just the merest slip of your climbing shoe on a small hold will usually send you into full on fear mode. Therefore I’m happy that the contact part of the shoe is made from the very best materials available – even if they are virgin and not recycled. And so it is with the Zenith Pro 2.0, that said Boreal are making moves forward and the arch support midsole is made from recycled materials and hopefully further moves towards adding more recycled content into the construction would be welcome.

In conclusion, the Boreal Crux Lace is a great, all round, performance shoe which would be suitable for those of you looking to push your grade forward. The excellent Zenith Pro 2.0 rubber offers excellent friction on a variety of rock types and the comfortable upper material and toe box mean that they should perform straight out of the box.

The Boreal Crux Lace comes in sizes UK 5 – 12 including half sizes. The owner volume female version comes in sizes UK 21/2 – 8 1/2.

The SRP is £110 and they are available direct from and specialist retailers.

Disclaimer – CGR reviewers and writers 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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