DESCRIPTION: A top performance shoe with a moderately aggressive downturn and extra stiff midsole that excels at steep and overhanging technical sport and traditional climbing.
MATERIAL: Vibram XS rubber, microfiber upper, antimicrobial lining
MSRP: $ 165.00
Lowa’s Red Eagle Lace climbing shoe offers some great features that instill confidence while climbing, whether it be at the gym pulling on plastic or at the local crag, these shoes are dialed to perform. Lowa’s use of the Vibram XS grip rubber is a key component in this shoe as it has to be one of the stickiest I have ever used and it remained sticky and flexible in a wide range of temperatures from high 20’s F into the 80’s F (at time of testing we had not gotten much warmer that that). Although the toe box on these is a bit tall; making micro pockets a bit difficult to find purchase in, the stiff sole and great rubber allows great smearing and edging on even the smallest flake or chip.
One of the most noticeable positives about this shoe is that it almost seemed to truly mold to my foot, much like leather shoes of the past. The more I wore it, the more snug and comfortable it got, almost as if it was mapping my foot. With a mildly aggressive downturned toe the shoe allowed great edging and a decent contact patch with the rock surface even on overhanging routes. The stiffness of the sole was supportive enough to weight without fear of too much flex while still allowing enough “feel” so that seeking out elusive flakes and chips was manageable. The heel pocket was another surprise for me. Often on aggressive shoes the heel pocket snugly cups my heel which is amazing, but then it seems to cut in on my Achilles tendon while I am heel hooking or really reaching for an almost out-of-reach nib of rock. Fortunately with these that was simply not a problem.
The materials in the upper are a microfiber mesh that was comfortable and seemed to aid in wicking a bit of sweat away from my foot so that I was not swimming in the shoes after longer climbing sessions. As for fit…well, for a guy with “skis” for feet, think long and skinny, I tend to choose smaller sizes so that my foot makes up for lack of volume by being squished into a smaller shoe. While I wear an 11 in street shoe, I managed to fit into a 10 in the Red Eagle lace with only minimal wincing. And after a very, very short break-in period these lace up shoes are dialed to my foot.
The combination of sticky rubber and snug fit made reviewing this shoe a true pleasure. While you might know of Lowa for boots and trail runners, Lowa has also been in the climbing shoe market for years…in Europe. Only to have broken into the US market in 2014, so if you have not experienced these yet, be on the lookout as I think they are going to make a big splash in the US.