Rating (out of 5)
Value for Money: ****
The Storm are Boreal’s latest offering for 2010. They are a hybrid velcro / lace combination and the system looks very different from other shoes currently on the market. The shoe profile is similar to The Mutant and the Blade (but they are made on a new last), that profile being asymmetric with a slightly toe down feel to them.
The uppers are made from split leather, so no smelly bacteria forming here, and feel very supple. They have lightning flash decals if you like that sort of thing and are unlined so may stretch a little. They have a padded mesh tongue that felt very comfortable although I didn’t think these would be a comfort all day shoe, they had too much of a performance feel to them.
My shoe size is a size UK8 and the test shoes were a UK 7.5. I could put them on and climb in them straight from the box, for a short period at least! Once I’d climbed in them for a day or so they wore in very nicely. I particularly liked the heel in these shoes, they have the same heel configuration as The Blade and Mutant with an aggressive, ridged arrangement to aid heel hooking, the overall shape of the heel was excellent and I could feel the air being pushed out and a vacuum type effect keeping the heel firmly in place, it never moved in any climbing situation I put them through. The main feature of the shoe is the new lacing /velcro system.
You get a little card with the shoe explaining how to put them on. You tighten the shoe up for the first time, by tightening the velcro strap; sliding the lace up and locking it off. There is a nice little fitting animation on the Boreal website. When you want to release it, you just undo the velcro strap and the whole system loosens just enough to remove the shoe. You can then re-lock the fit by tightening the velcro. This worked well and I got the required fit with little effort however it did occasionally prove a little problematical when my feet where hot and sweaty.
The toe profile meant that I could stand on small edges and the stiff midsole made it comfortable to do so. They coped very well on routes at Malham and Horseshoe Quarry where precise footwork takes a lot out of the polish. In fact, out of all the test situations I found the shoe excellent for limestone sport climbing and edgy bouldering. The concave midsole pushes the toes down into the big toe area, this idea is not new but it isn’t as aggressive as may other shoes so felt more comfortable for prolonged periods of climbing.
On the grit the shoe performed well, the FS Quattro rubber has been established for some time now, and as long as it is kept clean it will smear with the best. I did find the shoe a little stiff for this until they wore in, but after several weeks they were fine. The fitting system meant that the shoe offered a tighter fit over a larger area that 2 velcro straps would normally supply together with a more efficient fitting than a lace up.
So, a good offering from Boreal; a great all round shoe that will perform in all climbing situations from trad to bouldering. I have used these shoes all summer and they still feel great on and have kept their performance intact.