Trad is rad!
Given that Black Diamond’s Salt Lake City warehouse is five hours away from Indian Creek and a few miles from Little Cottonwood Canyon, it only makes sense for BD's footwear designers to come up with something like the Aspect Climbing Shoe—it even looks like the quartz monzonite that makes up Little Cottonwood. This shoe is simply meant to jam sandstone splitters and stand on slabby granite. BD meticulously chose the upper’s leather from the finest European tanneries to ensure a plush feek in between a rock and another rock, and the leather wraps around the laces and breathable, knit tongue to reduce pinching while jamming. The stiff sole is composed of a uniquely molded NeoFriction Edge rubber that is long-lasting and reliably sticky for Yosemite’s test-piece slab routes littered all over Little Cottonwood Canyon.
- Climbing shoe designed for slabs and cracks
- Plush leather upper feels cozy when paired with splitters
- NeoFriction Edge rubber molded onto the shoe for durable traction
- Stiff sole enhances support
- Flat last ensures day-long comfort for multi-pitches
- Q & A
Too stiff and not well made
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
These shoes are too stiff and the rubber is not that sticky. If you're climbing somewhat overhung routes with slopers or pockets, a lot of times the shoes end up slipping off the holds. Also, both me and my roommate got these, and both pairs developed holes in them after some use. The "molded" rubber technology seems to leave bubbles in the rubber which later develop into holes. I personally love the Black Diamond brand and these shoes have been somewhat of a disappointment for me. They're probably decent shoes for a beginner but not for you if you're climbing 5.11 and beyond unless all you need is edging.
Do these run true to size or no?
I would size down a half size in these.
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First climbing shoes
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
They are awesome. Super durable and a good fit. I definitely recommend starting with these shoes if you are getting into climbing! I got them for my boyfriend and they've got the job done.
I haven't climbed a ton in these yet, but they're great so far. They can edge extremely well because of the hard rubber and Pebax plate in the midfoot. Also, they're very comfortable, I wear a US 9 street shoe and got the US 9 as well for the Aspect. If you want very high performance get a half size down, but it will be very tight at first. Here's a link to an in-depth review of the engineering behind this shoe. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xv8VTTlqGl4
Sandstone to Granite
My first impression of the BD Aspects was on Jah Man tower outside of Moab, Utah. I was a bit hesitant to take new shoes on a multi pitch day right off the bat but wanted to put them to the test of a longer climb. I wear a Womenâs size 7 street shoe normally, and from other reviews I was advised to go with my street shoe size for the Aspect. I tried on both Womenâs 6.5 and 7, the 6.5s and were a perfect small toe curl fit and the 7s were comfortably snug no curl. Due to the fact that I was going to be wearing them in Indian Creek for a week the very next day, on long splitter routes and potential multi pitches I went with the 7s. I will tell you now continuing to wear them in places such as Little Cottonwood, I wish I went the 1/2 size down. In the end they were more than comfortable, and I did not take them off at any anchor in pain! The Aspects have a good toe point on them that I enjoyed smearing in the smaller cracks. Some features I really like with the Aspect is the tough toe added with a soft flexible midsole. These great features help protect your toes while still giving that needed flexibility to twist and jam. Edging on this shoe is pretty phenomenal and defined, I can see it more on this BD shoe than the TC Pros. The Neofriction rubber was good for smearing granite and again that flexible mid-point helped in that area. I would like to see some ankle protection on this shoe! With that all said and done, I am loving the Aspects and they have now been my outside trad shoe ever since I picked them up! Still have some breaking in to do, but off to a good start.
Off to a good start
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
I got the chance to test these out this past year I'm sold. I've only climbed in La Sportiva's and the feel is very familiar, especially with the edge. The lower, outside lace holes are covered, preventing the laces from getting torn up and the side rubber gives a little extra padding for those long, crack pitches. On 90+ degree days in Utah, the rubber surprisingly stuck to 10+ little cottonwood slab! I wear a 12.5 street shoe and got the 12.5 size of this shoe. This was good for 1-2 pitches, as well as bouldering, but for all day wear, they were a little too tight. I would go with 13 next time.