Black DiamondShadow Climbing Shoe

BD's most aggressive.

With its sharp asymmetry and deep downturn, the Shadow Climbing Shoe is undoubtedly the most aggressive option in Black Diamond's exciting lineup of new footwear for the vertical world. Instead of vertical, however, the Shadow shines on overhung boulders and routes. The NeoFriction Fuse rubber sole has a sensitive, sticky nature so you can feel micro-edges on your toe, and instead of making the sole out of several cut strips of rubber, Black Diamond molded the rubber directly onto the upper to reduce peeling and increase longevity. Equally unique, the upper features a soft, breathable knit microfibers with rubber strips for effective toe-hooking.

  • Black Diamond's aggressive, downturn shoe for climbing overhangs
  • Knit upper with printed rubber strips for effective toe hooking
  • NeoFriction Fuse rubber molded onto upper for long-lasting traction
  • Soft midsole enhances sensitivity for better precision
  • Reviews
  • Q & A

I wanted to love these...

  • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

I wear a size 13 street shoe. Followed BD's sizing guide when I purchased theses without trying them on...what a mistake. Cannot wear them for more than a few minutes before feeling the urge to limp.

The toes were in agony; hotspots for days and way curled but the toe box seemed large enough at first to accommodate the initial break in...I mean, these are top shelf shoes from a top shelf company? Surely this is how they are supposed to be. I did manage to send a few bouldering problems that I would slip off of in my less aggressive shoes...but after a few sessions in these...I went back to leather Sportivas. These Shadows are now back-ups in the gear pile or potentially ebay fodder for when my Sportiva's need to be resoled. Highly recommend trying several sizes on before purchasing...or skip BD until they refine their fitting.

Sizing From Another Planet

  • Familiarity: I returned this product before using it

My left foot is 10.5, my right foot is 11.0. I read the other reviews and ordered size 12 as a precaution. I almost broke a shoehorn trying to get into the left shoe, and was in so much pain I could not stand up. And as for the right foot, fugetaboutit! I couldn't even get my foot in halfway. I suggest you read the review with the picture of a 9.5 street shoe and the 9.5 Shadow next to it. A picture is worth 1,000 words! Go up a minimum of 1.5 sizes maybe 2 to even approach pain tolerance for breaking in. Alas, I can't comment on the performance; I couldn't get them on... They're headed back to Backcountry and a pair of 11 Aspects are due to arrive tomorrow. Maybe my luck will change.
FWIW: I totally love Backcountry's efficient return protocol...

They Run Small

  • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

I really wanted to like these shoes, and there are many things that I did like, however the sizing killed them for me. I read the reviews and saw a mix of feedback regarding the sizing: Some (including BD) saying that they are true to street shoe size and some saying that they run small. I wear a 10US in my street shoe, and thought to play it safe I would order up half a size and got a 10.5. Unfortunately, they were still on the small side. I wore them to the gym once thinking that I could break them in after a few sessions. However, I don’t think I will be able to endure the break in process. As others have pointed out, if you do buy these I would go at least a full size up. For reference my foot type is kind of duck footed.

Pros:
-BD's new sticky rubber is great and keeps you on holds
-The shape does a nice job on a variety of climbing styles
-Love the upper’s rubber, which allows you to articulate your toes
-Nice wide toe box
-Great for toe hold and heel hooks
-Nice looking design
Cons:
-While the width is great for people with wide feet the length is not. From my point of view, the toes can be curled in an aggressive shoe but something in the design made it very painful when I weighted a particular point. I thought about sizing up but I was scared the heel might get too wide. Too be fair though, I didn’t try other sizes on. There is a lot that is great about this shoe, so I’m sure this is the right shoe for some people.

Great fit and performance!

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I have been climbing with my Shadow's for a couple months now and I love them! they are a great shoe for challenging overhung climbing of course as this is their ideal use. considering how aggressive the downturn on the toe is they are surprisingly comfortable especially after a bit of break in. I tend to only use them when climbing hard outside or on steep gym problems and routes. If you are looking for a new hard climbing bouldering or sport shoe these are one of my top picks! Sizing for me was great. I tried 9, 9.5 and 10. My street shoe size is between a 9.5 and 10. I went with the 9.5 in these and they are perfect after break in.

a little skeptical but love the feel!!

    These shoes preform awesome, and the construction is killer!! Since they do the rubber in the same place as the shoes they have a unique construction,.

    Amazing aggressive shoe!!

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times


    I'm an intermediate climber and was looking for my first pair of aggressive shoes. I heard about the BD shadow and was immediately entreated by the style a description. With a larger foot and street shoe size of 10.5 - 11, I settled with a size 12 and they fit just right. For a comfortable fit with minimal growing room, I recommend going a full size up from street shoe. Take it from me 11.5 hurt, and 12.5 was too large, however, the 12's fit just right. The heel is pretty wide and the toe box is comfortable. For now, the rubber holding out well, it will be interesting to see how long it will last. After about 20 min of climbing in the shoe, I find my self-taking them for a short recovery. All and all great shoe, only time will tell, as to it stands up to accessive wear and tear.

    True to Size

    • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

    These are true to size, so just go with your street shoe.

    They perform well, and good on small feet. The rubber is great. Not sure how it will last, yet.

    The heel box is similar to 5.10, so a bit roomy. Also, it's tight to pull on, but then comfortable after that. These don't have a long break in period.

    True to Size

    Black Diamond Shadow

    Here's a quick run-down of the Black Diamond Shadow climbing shoe. Designed for aggressive sport climbing and bouldering. These bad boys excel in steep, overhung routes/problems where you can really get your try hard on.

    That's.... informative.

    Trust Your Feet.

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times

    As soon as I heard BD was coming out with shoes I had to get my hands on a pair. I was lucky enough to try a pair of 10.5's. I have been using them for about 2 weeks now and can say with confidence that these are an amazing pair of shoes. I haven't had the best of luck finding the "right" shoe but with these the aggression and down turn is just enough to be able to really trust your feet and not having them blow out. The edging with the Shadows help with the perfect placement. And when needed the smearing on these is really nice.

    The sizing is finicky. I was talking to the BD reps and they said at the very least, for a performance fit, go your street shoe size. I wear a 9.5 and with the 10.5 had a bit of wiggle room in the toes but nothing to be concerned about. The heel fits incredible for a shoe that is a full size bigger! Through the break-in there will be hot spots and some discomfort, but that is to be expected.

    Overall, love the shoes and for BD's first time designing shoes I think they nailed it.

    EDIT: When I initially tried the shoes, my concern for the sizing had me in a pair a full size larger. I just got my street shoe size (BD recommendation) and I am way more confident in their recommendation now and will have an updated review once I get them broken in.

    Call me or email me if you have any questions or sizing concerns.
    801-523-4066
    jrepman@backcountry.com

    So close..

    • Familiarity: I returned this product before using it

    Short version is: I really wanted to like these shoes, but the fit just wasn't right.



    Pros: The knit upper is super comfortable, the rubber seems ultra-sticky, nice aggressive shape, and it looks really cool



    Cons: The cons all come down to the sizing and shape of the shoe.

    First on the sizing - these shoes are really, really tight (even for climbing shoes). As an example of how downsized they are, both shoes in the picture are US size 9.5. I tried on my street shoe size and couldn't even stand up in them because of the pain in the toes. Make sure you size up if you don't want to be in constant pain (I had to go up a full size).

    Once you get the right size, it all comes down to foot shape. I have a medium-volume foot, and these felt super baggy, especially on the top of the foot. In comparison, I tried on a pair of Scarpa VSRs and they fit like a glove. If you have larger feet, these seem like they could be great, but, absent that, probably better off with a different shoe.

    So close..

    Perfect

      These shoes are awesome. They are so comfortable and give you so much control and power. They are a great all around shoe and give much support with heel hooks. They do run a bit small. I am a huge fan of the scarpa instict VS, these run about a half size smaller than those. If you like a really snug fit, I would go 1-1.5 sizes smaller than your normal shoe size.

      beautiful shoes & fit small

      • Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

      I just got those shoes and they feel really awesome! They are definitely one of the best performance and most beautiful shoes. I just wanna talk about the sizing because I got size eight for miura vs, solutions and these shadows and those fit really small. They are the same size but the solutions are the largest then it's the miura, and the shadow s are much smaller. They even feel smaller than the eight shamans. It was a struggle to put them on. So just take that into account when you are buying them.

      beautiful shoes & fit small