Climbing footwear for 2015 ups sensitivity, while approach shoes get more comfy and durable

Check out the latest climbing footwear debuts headed for outdoor retail shelves in 2015.
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This Outdoor Retailer Summer Market recap is brought to you in partnership with Gore-Tex.

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The biggest trends in climbing shoes at Summer Market are showing up in several new high-performance models, along with a few mid-level shoes that close the gap between all day comfort and performance. There also are several new approach options that continue to blur the line between climbing and hiking.

Climbers looking to push their limits will have several new options for high-end footwear in 2015. The La Sportiva Genius (MSRP $190) is the latest iteration of the brand’s No-Edge concept. Unlined, with a 3-millimeter sole of Vibram XS Grip2 rubber, this shoe will allow advanced climbers to stand on their feet more confidently than ever before. The ScarpaFuria (MSRP $169) weighs in at only 195 grams, and offers unparalleled sensitivity due to the lack of midsole and 3 millimeters of Vibram rubber between a wearer’s foot and the rock. Tenaya shoes are known for effortlessly combining high performance and comfort, and the company’s new Tarifa (MSRP $165) continues in that tradition. Lower volume and stiffer than the Oasi, this is a highly precise tool for climbing technically demanding routes. The latest shoe to come out of Evolv's Sharma Signature series, the Synch (MSRP $150) is a high-performance slipper built on the Nexxo platform, but with a new closure system that's easier to get into and out of. It promises to offer a high level of sensitivity for those climbs where being able to feel every ripple is essential.

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Stepping down from the peak-level shoes are the models that combine comfort with the ability to climb well all day long. The new Vapor V (MSRP $159) from Scarpa is a full redesign that features a slightly downturned shape offering high-level climbing performance with more comfortable fit. A new split-sole design allows for more flexibility, and a redesigned heel pocket is more comfortable. Evolv also has a new offering in this category, with the Luchador (MSRP $139), a lace-up in the Sharma Signature series with a slight downturn that's ideal for technical face climbs and thin cracks. The unlined Five Ten L’Asym (MSRP $125)allows for a custom fit, while utilizing the softest and stickiest rubber the company makes, Mi6.

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The Five Ten Verdon (MSRP $150) features a molded EVA foam insole that fills the space under your toes for a performance-oriented fit while still offering the comfort of a shoe you could wear on a ten pitch route at Red Rocks. The Evolv Spark and women’s Nikita (MSRP $80) is an entry-level, all-leather shoe aimed at comfort, support and durability for newer climbers.

On the approach front, climbing-focused footwear is adding more comfort and durability. The Salewa Wildfire Pro (MSRP $199) was designed with feedback from Jackson Hole Mountain Guides, with the end result being a more precisely fitting shoe that uses a blend of leather and microfiber, with improved traction via the Vibram Megagrip sole.

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Arc'teryx gets into footwear with an introductory line of technical shoes and boots featuring its Adaptive Fit technology, a separate internal booty (think ski boot construction) that can conform to any foot shape, wicks moisture and dries quickly. The absence of a tongue eliminates pressure points and provides a more comfortable, custom fit. Meanwhile, the one-piece TPU outer shell of the shoe increases durability with few failure points. Even the venting on the shell is burly, with individually coated TPU nylon yarns forming the netted area that promotes breathability. Climbers likely will be interested in the Alpha2 FL (MSRP $270), which allows for the inner booty to be removed for drying or switched out for more or less insulation.

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After teaming up with Gore Tex, Five Ten is introducing its first waterproof breathable approach shoes. The Guide Tennie Mid GTX (MSRP $180) and Camp Four GTX (MSRP $180) now feature Gore Tex, making them more versatile and appealing to consumers who live in wetter climates.

For the mountaineers, the new Scarpa Charmoz Pro GTX (MSRP $329) keeps everything that made the Charmoz a popular boot, but upgrades the midsole and sole package to dual-density PU construction, which is both more shock-absorbing and more durable.

--BJ Sbarra

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