Dave takes the all round performance Lynx shoes from Boreal for a test.
Boreal Lynx is the consummate all-rounder. Featuring a subtly downturned last shape and ultra sticky Zenith™ rubber, Lynx is just as happy padding up a friction slab as it is standing on micro edges.
I can still vividly remember my first pair of Boreal Fires – they were a revelation. I was a mere slip of a lad and the week before I’d been trying a notorious extreme called Synopsis. A thin crackline with very little for your feet. I’d been using a pair of Galibier Contact boots (there were no climbing shoes in those days!) and failed miserably all day. I spent a whole weeks wages on a brand new type of boot called Fires, I’d seen Jerry Moffatt wearing them bought a pair and BOOM! Synopsis was sent with ease and aplomb to applause and disbelief from my mates. I was hooked and I have tried, used and tested a whole variety of Boreal shoes in the following years.
My favourites had been the Blades, the fit was always super good in these and the precision great. Most importantly the heel was perfect, it just seemed to slip over my heel and fit like a glove. I’ve since tested a couple of shoes and they have just never seemed as good as the Blades.
The Boreal Lynx however have seen a comeback of form for Boreal. Gone are all the techy gimmicks (see the Storm review) and what we have is a good quality, well fitting shoe that has performed well in all the climbing situations I’ve tested them in.
So, let’s talk about the fit. When I spoke to the Boreal contact they did say the Lynx fitted a little more tightly than usual and recommended my normal shoe size as a guide to fitting. My approach shoe size is a UK8 or Eur 42. I decided to request my normal test size of a UK7.5 or Eur 41.5 as I felt that I could honestly comment on the fit. When they arrived I was immediately taken back to the days when I had to fit shoes with plastic bags on. The shoes were very tight and only after a month of testing have they begun to feel like I can wear them on a route – but only then a sport route.
So that recommendation from Boreal rings true – these fit small for the size and I strongly recommend going to a climbing shop to try and buy. The shoes would have been so much more comfortable a half a size bigger if I wanted an all day fit. Remember too, in most of my reviews I always state that fit is king – there’s no point having the stickiest rubber, if the shoes do not fit well they are not going to perform for you. The fit of the Boreal Lynx has been great, a real return of the super fit of the Blades. They felt like a real performance shoe, a shoe I’m wearing for my hard projects, a shoe I need when precision footwork is required.
The longer I have been using the Lynx the more convinced I’ve become that I chose the size correctly. OK I’ve had to endure the plastic bags, the week or so of trying to walk around the house and the ‘oooh, oooh, oooh, I can’t wait to get these shoes off’ bouldering and route attempts. But after a month I can wear them for periods of time in reasonable comfort. I’m not going to be wearing them for a decent on Scafell Crag, but I can walk down from a route at Stanage.
So that’s the fit – think performance and buy accordingly. The Boreal Lynx were fairly stiff to begin with but the sensitivity has improved with use and they have softened up nicely, but not too soft. The excellent fit has been maintained by the stitched lace webbing, these webbing bands are close enough together to keep the stretch of the unlined split leather at bay and ensure you can cinch up those laces nice and tight for the redpoint yet loosen them off for a descent if you need to.
The heel on Boreal shoes has been some of the best in test in recent tests. The Lynx did, however, have a little dead space . The V2 rand has a tension strip that fits the heel around the Achilles tendon and still makes it comfortable, I never had any issues with the heel leather digging into the back of my heel. The ribbed heel strip gave good traction of heel hooks and the heel is finished off nicely with two large heel loops that make it easy to pull the Lynx on as well as carry on a harness.
The Zenith rubber is now a well established rubber and I have noted in recent years that there is very little difference between the three main rubber makes at a performance level. The shoes never felt they were slipping on anything other than very polished Limestone (and even then they were generally OK). The updated Zenith performed perfectly OK on all the rock types I tested them on and the Lynx have kept their edges throughout the test period.
The toe box is fully randed and although the test size was a little too tight for extended toe hooking the asymmetric toe gave brilliant edge control as well as being reasonable for smearing and crack climbing.
So in conculsion, I consider myself an all round climber and although having Malham and Kilnsey on my doorstep means I tend to sport climb quite a lot (it’s good for fitness)I found the Boreal Lynx a great shoe for all occasions. They can claim to be in the performance category as the fit is supreme as long as you get the sizing right for your foot shape. The claim to be an all rounder is a tough call but I believe Boreal is onto a winner with the Lynx and if you are currently wearing Jokers and are looking for a move into the performance category then the Boreal Lynx might just be what you are looking for.
- Excellent fit (if you get your sizing right – they do size a little small).
- Zenith rubber is very grippy.
- Split tongue is very comfortable.
- Made in Spain.
- A small amount of dead space in the heel.
- Takes some time to wear in.
Dave Sarkar has tested and reviewed climbing, mountaineering and outdoor equipment for almost 10 years. He works as a qualified MIA both in the UK and Internationally: working full time as a mountaineering instructor and expedition leader for his company Wild Spaces. When he isn’t working in the mountains he’s playing in the mountains and enjoys all aspects climbing and mountain sports whether bouldering at his local crag or ice climbing; as long as he’s going upwards he’s happy!