I have been a true fan of Five Ten ever since I started climbing, equipped for differant types of rock and climbing styles with a velcro and lace up version at all times. There are climbing shoes good for slabs, others for overhangs and big comfy shoes for sun shone routes. For some reason that Five Ten changed the cutting and shape of these shoes in their newer models, made me look out for other models that offer a better fitting. I change my shoes almost every year, and this was a good opportunity to do so.
I’ve never heard of Rock Pillars before, but noticed an increasing trend for these shoes. It made me curious and I really liked the shape of these shoes and so I got myself a pair of Stream QC Velcros. Rock Pillars has categorized their shoes to differant climbing abilities. The Stream QC Velcros are built for the intermediate climber for best performances and yet offer enough comfort for the day. With a little internet research, these shoes has gotten some pretty good reviews so I braved myself out for an internet order. Here are some facts to this model from the Rock Pillars homepage:
- Lining: semi-lined
- Sole: GRIPPIN 4 mm
- Midsole: 1,1 mm SU11, thermo-molded
- Ventilated padded tongue
- Quick closure (QC) system
- Upper: natural Leather
- Sizes: 3 – 13 UK
The first trial of the shoe was made in Altmühltal. Reputed with it’s technical, slabby, denty holes I braved myself for the route “Toten Vogel”. The first run didn’t go to well. The route was absolutely polished, there were 2 wobbly stepless moves in the wall and my nerves desserted me. I changed shoes in the second run to my stream QC shoes and it went on much better. The shoes snugged well to my feet but it seemed a size too small! The toes were curled up and therefore not the perfect choice for slabby routes. I went home dismayed that I have new shoes there are too small for me, although they did give me a better feeling when dealing with tiny edges.
I did not give up. I took them on my next trip to Friaul. Most of the routes there were more structured, edgy, and either vertical or slightly overhanging. And hey presto! It became my best companion for the rest of the days. I felt secure, the shoe did not hurt, even after bouldering a long time on the route. This shoe has the perfect fit for dealing with small edges. The shoe was stiff enough to give your feet good support, the GRIPPIN sole proved frictional with any limestone and conglomarat rocks. I’m sure that other types of rock goes well too.
Summary: These shoes are great for climbing at any venues although I could not say the same for slabs. The Stream QC velcro is inexpensive and good value for your money. Remember that any climbing shoe is only worthy of a review after you have worn it for a few times (> 10 differant routes).