I must have worn out a hundred pairs of shoes, some of them great, some not. I have even found the perfect shoe only for it to cease production, which can be very frustrating. Trying on a new brand of shoe always feels like a gamble. The past few years I have stuck to a certain brand with inconsistent results.The biggest hurdles I see when choosing a shoe are as follows;
Do they fit? Can I actually use my feet without pain?
Is the rubber good quality?
Do they support my foot? - especially my arch and my big toe.
So when I tried on a pair of Simond Edge I considered all the above..
First the fit, I want no pockets of air in the shoe, and no crushed toes or burning ankle pain. A good fitting shoe may be a little tight, but there is a difference between discomfort and pain. If you want to have good footwork you must be able to use your feet. Everyone's feet are different, I would say the Simond Edge fitted my feet well if a little tight, my toes were a little bunched but the shoe design means it didn’t hurt. Tick number 1!
It does feel different to my usual shoe, which took a little getting used to but no more than a couple of sessions and my feet had become accustomed to the “feel” of the shoe. This due to the stretchiness of the sole, which I was worried would over stretch and become loose, but a few months into testing and the shoes still fit really well.
The rubber is Vibram XS Grip 1. The difference between XS Grip 1 and 2 is the softness, XS 2 is harder and longer lasting where as the Edge's XS grip 1 is stickier and softer.
So far though the XS grip 1 has lasted a bit better than the Stealth C4 on my other shoes, and feels really grippy. So I can definitely say the rubber is good quality.
As far as support goes I climb 5 - 7 days a week indoors as well as outdoors, on different rock types and angles. This means that I require lasting comfort, and that is what I have got in the Simond Edge. It is not the most supporting on long rests on small foot holds but throughout moves the shoes feel like a second skin. This I believe is due to the softness of the shoe, although I do own a stiffer pair of shoes for those rare moments that I choose to rest on a small edge or large pebble.
The Simond Edge have lasted well over the past few months and seen some serious action, so the ultimate question is would I recommend trying them out?
At a better price than equivalent shoes there’s every reason to try them. As for using them, if you see me around at the moment you will see the shoes on my feet. he Simond Edge have become my go to shoe. I have been known to arrive at the crag with 2 - 3 pairs of shoes but without realising it I have recently only been taking my Edges to the crags. They're a must try next time you're looking for a quality climbing shoe.